DCAS Analysis: Bright Spots in Delaware Schools

August 14th, 2013

Category: News, Postsecondary Success

A few weeks ago we shared some initial analysis on our state’s DCAS results, which suggest that while our state has come a long way in recent years, there is still much more work to be done. As we have done in the past, we’re excited to share some of the bright spots we’ve uncovered—schools and students that are showing that demographics do not determine destiny. Based on our initial analysis we have found schools serving a diverse population of students across the K-12 spectrum in each of the three counties that are proving that all students in Delaware have the potential and ability to be successful. Here are some of these highlights:

  • Georgetown, an elementary school in Indian River serves a population that has one of the highest proportions of low income students in the state (84%). Its math proficiency was 84%, which is not only significantly above the state average of 70%, it also represents a whopping 7.5 percentage point increase from the previous year.
  • Academy of Dover, a charter elementary school in Kent County, serves a student population that is 90% low income and 88% minority, proportions among the highest in the state. Continuing its growth from last year, the school now meets or exceeds the state average in student proficiency in both subjects.
  • Stanton, a middle school in Red Clay, was named a Priority (formerly Partnership Zone) school last year, a designation meaning it was one of the lowest performing schools in the state. Serving a population that is 86% low income and 75% minority, it had one of the highest increases in student proficiency in ELA in the state, jumping almost 11 percentage points. While work remains to be done (overall ELA proficiency was 63%), such a significant increase deserves to be celebrated especially in a year when changes in student performance was largely flat across the state.
  • Seaford Senior, a high school in Seaford, serves a population that is 77% low income. In addition to a 9 percentage point growth in overall ELA student proficiency (one of the highest in the state), 42% of its 10th graders scored at an “Advanced” level on the ELA test, increasing a whopping 23 percentage points from last year. The proportions of students proficient and advanced still trail the state average, but if Seaford continues this trajectory, this won’t be the case for long.

It’s important to note that these are just a small handful of the many bright spots we are seeing. All across the state there are plenty more examples of schools that are doing great things for their kids, schools such as Howard High (a school we mentioned last year) or Lake Forest North and South Elementary schools that serve high proportions of low income students and who also demonstrate high levels of achievement and/or growth.

As students, teachers, and families across the state get ready for a brand new school year, it will be important for administrators and leaders to take a look at these schools to see what they can learn. In a small state such as ours, collaboration and innovation are easier to accomplish than in others and both of these will be critical to achieving the lofty targets our state has set for itself. In the meantime, we’ll keep looking at the data to see what other interesting stories we might uncover.

Do you know of another school that deserves to be mentioned? Share about it in the comments below!

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Brian Yin




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