Some Delaware schools that are mostly populated by minority and low income students continue to see outstanding performance in subjects such as reading and math.
Over the past few years, Elbert Palmer Elementary school in Wilmington’s Southbridge neighborhood has been recognized by the state for noticeably closing the achievement gap. In fact, the school is set to receive $50-thousand toward programs so administrators can continue to close the gap. A process that’s ongoing.
“What’s real key is we don’t just close the gap we have to close the gap by raising everyone, so when we do that, that speaks volumes about our expectations for all students not just certain groups of students,” said Dr. Gina Moody, the principal at Elbert-Palmer Elementary School.
People interested in seeing where many students stand by race can go online and look at the achievement gap thanks to the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System report. If you take a look at 5th grade African American and White students for an example in reading, you’ll see during the 2010-2011 school year there was a 24 percent gap and only a 20 percent gap in the 2012-2013 school year.
In October, Lieutenant Gov. Matt Denn and Department of Education Sec. Mark Murphy named 17 recipients of the 2013 state’s Reward and Recognition School Award of $50-thousand. The schools have made the most progress at closing the achievement gap and according to administrators, good relationships as well as communication may just be the key to this success.
“I think before we can get to the teaching, we have to make a connection with students, so the relationship is one thing, so in education, we talk about relationship relevance, rigor but relationships should be first because I can have a beautiful lesson plan all laid out but if I’m not connecting to students that’s falls apart,” said Dr. Moody.
In North Wilmington, Hanby Elementary School principal Veronica Wilkie says the school recently started a math program to strengthen students math skills…the new math program is called Singapore math.
Basically it’s not as simple now as knowing that 7 plus 3 equals 10. The goal is to make sure students see every aspect of a number sentence. Therefore you can also say ten minus 3 equals 7 and so on.
“Our students need to know how to think through the problem not just in math but in reading they need to get those critical thinking skills done be able to extend it, take an item in their text book and not just find the answer but how does that answer relate to something else in your life,” said Wilkie.
Hanby, is one of the Reward and Recognition schools to also receive reward money to keep students moving in the right direction. Meanwhile, faculty members at schools like Hanby are still trying to figure out best place to put money that will enhance the learning experience for many Delaware students.