Delaware Schools Beating the Odds

July 24th, 2012

Category: News

Last week, the state released the full results of the 2011-12 DCAS.  As we’ve already noted, there is much to celebrate in the results, and public educators across the state should be proud of the progress they and their students made this year.  Not only did the state meet its proficiency targets among every subgroup, but many schools also saw tremendous in-year and year-to-year growth.

In the weeks to come, we look forward to digging through and analyzing the complete DCAS data set.  One thing we are particularly excited to look at are the “beating the odds” schools – schools that are disproving the notion that schools in low-income communities will never excel.  We have found teachers and schools across the state – from all three counties and traditional public, charter, and vo-tech alike – that are placing their students on radically different life trajectories.  From a cursory review of the data released last week, here are some bright spots we’ve noticed already:

  • Howard High School, one of the four original Partnership Zone schools and a low-income city high school, outgrew the state in every grade and subject and boasted higher proficiency percentages as well.  In 9th grade ELA, for example, students grew at 138% of the state average, dramatically closing the gap between Howard students and their more affluent peers.  By the end of the year, 75.7% of the school’s 9th graders were proficient or advanced in ELA, compared with just 66.8% statewide.
  • Georgetown Middle School, a Sussex County school with a 72% low-income population, likewise significantly outgrew the state in every grade and subject and ended the year with a higher percent of students proficient across the board compared to the state averages.
  • Glasgow High School, another Round 1 Partnership Zone school, achieved higher fall to spring growth in every grade and tested subject.  Both grades, in fact, outgrew the state in ELA by at least 150%.  While students still trail the state proficiency averages, the tremendous school year growth is cause for hope.
  • Academy of Dover, a charter school with an 88% low-income population, saw tremendous growth among its third graders.  Students at AOD grew 106.9 points in ELA and 127.3 in math, compared with only 80.1 and 93.3 points growth statewide, respectively.  By the end of the year, AOD 3rd graders were proficient at a rate slightly greater than the state average.
  • One of many bright spots at Thomas Edison Charter School was its scholars’ performance on the 8th grade math DCAS.  By the end of the year, 97.8% of 8th graders at Edison (95.6% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) were proficient in math.

We were particularly excited to see such tremendous growth at two of the four Round 1 Partnership Zone Schools and to see so many Vision Network schools (Howard, Georgetown Middle, and Edison among the ones mentioned above) on our list.  As promised, in the weeks and months to come, we’ll be filling these pages with in depth analysis of the data and praise of the schools, teachers, administrators, and community partners that are responsible for this success.

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Dan Hay