Fifteen schools have won 2014 honors as state Reward and Recognition schools for their exceptional performance and/or closing of achievement gaps.
Secretary Mark Murphy announced the winners of the awards, formerly called the state’s Academic Achievement Awards, today at celebratory events in each county.
These awards, which carry a $50,000 prize for each school, were created by legislation spearheaded by Lt. Governor Matt Denn and passed by the Delaware General Assembly in 2009. The awards are given (a) to schools whose students are performing at an exceptionally high level, particularly those schools with large percentages of students coming from low-income households, and (b) to schools that have succeeded in closing the achievement gap for students such as low-income students, students from minority groups, and students with disabilities.
This year, there are two Reward/Recognition and 13 Recognition schools that will receive $50,000 each. Additionally, there are five Schools of Continued Excellence that won Reward/Recognition awards last year and had outstanding performance again this year but are not eligible for a financial award in the consecutive year.
Secretary Murphy was joined by the 20 principals and nine superintendents of the winning schools, along with students, parents, teachers and administrators. The winning schools have much discretion in deciding how to spend the money. As in years past, each school will appoint a committee with administration, teacher, support staff and parent representation to determine how the award will be used.
“The hard work of the educators, students, families and school communities that has led to this recognition deserves praise,” Murphy said. “We must take what is working well in these schools and share those lessons with school communities throughout our state.”
The 2014 winners are:
Title I schools (federal classification based on high percentage of low income population) identified for being either highest performing or high progress.
- Lake Forest East Elementary School, Lake Forest School District (also a Title I Distinguished School awardee)
- Nellie Hughes Stokes Elementary School, Caesar Rodney School District
These are chosen for exceptional performance and/or closing the achievement gap. Both Title I and non-Title I schools can qualify. Two of the schools are also Title I Distinguished school awardees. They are Title I schools that met the criteria for Recognition School that had not been Title I Distinguished school awardees in past two years.
- Beacon Middle School, Cape Henlopen School District
- Henry M. Brader Elementary School, Christina School District
- John M. Clayton Elementary School, Indian River School District
- Howard High School of Technology, New Castle County Vocational Technical School District
- Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Indian River School District
- Newark Charter School, Newark
- Odyssey Charter School, Wilmington
- Richard A. Shields Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District
- Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, Indian River School District
- Sunnyside Elementary School, Smyrna School District
- Sussex Technical High School, Sussex Technical School District
- West Park Place Elementary School, Christina School District
- Etta J. Wilson Elementary School, Christina School District (also a Title I Distinguished school awardee)
Schools of Continued Excellence
Schools which have received state awards during 2012 and continue to qualify for Reward or Recognition School distinction in 2013 are named Schools of Continued Excellence to recognize their sustained accomplishments. They will be eligible for funds again next year if they meet the Reward or Recognition School qualifications.
- East Millsboro Elementary School, Indian River School District
- Lake Forest North Elementary School, Lake Forest School District
- Long Neck Elementary School, Indian River School District
- North Dover Elementary School, Capital School District
- Sussex Academy, Georgetown
In May of 2012, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan approved Delaware’s plan for school accountability and support, granting the state flexibility from certain requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Under Delaware’s plan, schools work toward ambitious but realistic goals with the help of differentiated support from the state and their districts.
The state’s school classification system recognizes those schools that are excelling as well as provides more support to those that need it. Award categories are named annually: Reward Schools, Recognition Schools including the two Distinguished Title I Schools awardees, and Schools of Continued Excellence.
Under Delaware’s approved ESEA Flexibility, there is a provision to recognize two “Reward/Recognition Schools” – one for “highest performing school” and one for “high progress school.” Reward/Recognition Schools are Title I schools (based on poverty level).
The “highest performing school,” made adequate yearly progress based on the latest assessment results. It was among the top 10 percent of schools for the performance of all students and each subgroup on the combined English language arts and math percent proficient on the latest assessment, and it was among the top 25 percent of schools for all students and each subgroup on the combined ELA and math percent proficient on the past two years’ assessments.
The “high progress school,” showed significant annual growth for all students on the combined ELA and math percent proficient from the latest assessment and, in addition, reduced the gap for each subgroup.
Each Reward/Recognition school receives a $50,000 award.
Recognition Schools (including the Distinguished Title I school awardees)
Schools are recognized each year for achieving and sustaining significant student academic gains. These schools are selected in a way that aligns with the Title I Distinguished school criteria with the categories of “exceptional performance” and “closing the gap.” Unlike Reward/Recognition schools, Recognition schools can be either Title or non-Title I schools.
“Exceptional student performance” schools met the annual measurable objectives based on the most recent two year assessment results. These schools are the highest ranked schools when scored using combined ELA and math percent proficient for all students and at-risk groups (combined African American, Hispanic, Students with Disabilities, English language learners and Free/Reduced Lunch) using the latest assessment results.
“Closing the achievement gap” schools met the annual measurable objectives based on the most recent two year assessments. These schools have maintained or improved in the most recent assessment compared to the prior year’s assessments for ELA and Math percent proficient for all students and have improved in the most recent assessment compared to the prior year’s assessments for ELA and Math percent proficient for at-risk groups (combined African American, Hispanic, Students with Disabilities, English language learners and Free/Reduced Lunch). These schools are the highest ranked when scored using the difference in the achievement gap between the at-risk group and the all students group in most recent assessment as compared to the prior year’s assessments in ELA and Math.
Distinguished Title I Schools criteria
The National Title I Association has been selecting examples of superior Title I school programs for national recognition through the National Title I Distinguished Schools program since 1996.
The highest ranked Title I school from the “exceptional student performance” schools that has not been named a Distinguished Title I School in the previous year will be named a Distinguished Title I School.
The highest ranked Title I school from the “closing the achievement” schools that has not been named a Distinguished Title I School in the previous year will be named a Distinguished Title I School.
Each Recognition school receives a $50,000 award.
Schools of Continued Excellence
Schools which have received state awards during 2013 and continue to qualify for Reward or Recognition School distinction in 2014 are named Schools of Continued Excellence to recognize their sustained accomplishments. There is no monetary award.