Rehoboth Elementary School received national recognition for gains in bridging the achievement gap at a Dec. 2 ceremony in Dover in which three other Cape Henlopen district schools also earned state recognition.
Beacon Middle, Love Creek and Milton elementaries were named Recognition Schools, while Rehoboth Elementary was one of two Delaware schools named a National ESEA Distinguished School, established in 1965 by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Each school will receive an $8,000 award funded by the state's school improvement funds.
In all, 17 schools were recognized for state test performance or for progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups, including those from low-income families, racial minority groups and students with disabilities. Specific data on gains made in student groups was not made available, to protect student privacy.
Rehoboth Elementary Principal Amanda Archambault said the school has received state honors in the past, but this was the first time a Cape elementary school earned national honors. “The staff is confident that their efforts to make sure that all students are exposed to grade-level thinking and instruction, exposed to mindful intervention planning, and involved in rigorous, engaging instruction made for excellent test results in 2019,” Archambault said.
According to the Delaware Department of Education, 31 percent of Rehoboth Elementary students are not white; among several ethnicities, about 10 percent are African American and nearly 16 percent are Hispanic. About 15 percent of students are English learners, 25 percent are low income and 11 percent have disabilities.
Beacon Middle School Principal Dave Frederick said the staff is proud of its diverse student body and what each student has to offer. “The school focuses on teaching the standards, assessing the standards and adjusting instruction as needed, as well as applying high-impact instructional strategies,” Frederick said.
At Beacon, 12 percent of students are Hispanic and almost 10 percent are African American. About 2 percent are English learners, almost 20 percent are low income, and more than 14 percent have disabilities.
Love Creek Principal Lisa Morris said her school’s teachers believe meaningful relationships, high expectations and rigorous instruction are the main contributors to student achievement. “The school is proud to be making a huge impact on so many lives,” Morris said. “With a name that has ‘love’ in it, that says a lot.”
At Love Creek, 25 percent of students are not white; ethnicities include 8 percent African American and almost 10 percent Hispanic. More than 20 are low income, while 6 percent are English learners and 10 percent have disabilities.
Milton Elementary Principal Beth Conaway said teachers regularly use data to ensure targeted interventions are provided in reading and math. “This intervention includes small-group and individual conferencing for all students,” Conaway said. “The commitment to teacher learning is ongoing, as coaching professional learning communities are held weekly with reading and math specialists.”
Milton Elementary is the most diverse of the Cape schools that were recognized: 46 percent of students are not white; ethnicities include Asian, African American, Hispanic and multiracial. Nearly 62 percent are English learners, low income or have disabilities.
Recognition School awards were created by legislation passed by the Delaware General Assembly in 2009. ESEA - the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - was passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 to close the gap in reading, writing and arithmetic between low-income children in urban or rural schools and middle-class children in suburban schools.