Partnership Zone School (Round 2) Profile: Bancroft Elementary School

September 6th, 2011

Category: News

On September 1st, 2011, Secretary Lowery and the Department of Education announced the 6 schools chosen to participate in round 2 of the statewide Partnership Zone Initiative (for more information about the Partnership Zone, see our previous blogs). This blog is the first of a six part series detailing these six schools.  

Bancroft is an elementary school located near downtown Wilmington, Delaware. Bancroft serves grades K-5 and had a student enrollment of 321 students in the fall of 2010 (enrollment information is not complete yet for this year). In the past few years there have been some major shifts in their student population. In 2008 they went from a K-6 to a K-5 school. That same year, their population halved, dropping from 706 in 2007 to 329 in 2008. In the next couple of years the Hispanic and ELL populations dropped dramatically while the African American and low income populations grew significantly. They now serve a very high population of low income (99%) and African American (93%) students.

Based on 2011 DCAS spring scores (50% of the determination for PZ schools), Bancroft students:

  • Demonstrated the second lowest scores in the district (Stubbs, a round 1 PZ school, performed worse) and is among the lowest performing schools in the state (but not the lowest).
  • Significantly trailed the district and state in proficiency (on average less than 30% were proficient in ELA, less than 40% in Math).

Based on DSTP historical trends (2008-2010, the other 50% of the determination), Bancroft students:

  • Have consistently trailed the district and state in ELA proficiency (by as much as 40%) and seen a faster decline in proficiency than the district or state (despite small growths from 2009-2010).
  • Have consistently trailed the district and state in math proficiency (by as much as 67%) but saw significant growth between 2009 and 2010 (the district and state largely stayed level).

It’s clear that Bancroft can’t stay the way it is. Bancroft has failed to meet AYP for the past 5 years, is on Academic Watch, and is under school improvement. While growth was made in 2009-2010 and a number of initiatives are in place (Bancroft is a community school model, has a parent resource center, and is participating in many of Christina’s Race to the Top plans), the results are clear that Bancroft students are achieving significantly less than their peers in the rest of the district and state. Drastic and significant change is needed to ensure that Bancroft’s students’ pressing needs are met.

It’s not clear yet what the results of the first round of PZ schools will be. However, there are plenty of examples around the nation of low-performing schools partnering with successful external organizations to become high-performing ones. The DDOE is reviewing requests for qualification from organizations who may be invited to present to school and district leaders this month.

With the significant amount of support the state has promised to support the turnaround process, Bancroft has the chance to be a turnaround example. But we to come together to find a solution that is best for kids; the first opportunity for the community to have their voice heard is at Christina’s next School Board Meeting on Tuesday, September 13th at (surprise) Bancroft Elementary school.

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Brian Yin



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