Delaware students team up with local university

Everybody wins, especially students, thanks to a new partnership between Delaware’s Colonial School District and Wilmington University.

The relationship benefits both educational institutions because it creates several new programs and services including:

Reading Clinic – Staffed by a Wilmington University Professor and Master’s Degree candidates in need of training and experience, struggling K-12 students will receive free, after-school tutoring. While all area students can attend, Colonial School District students will be given preference based on enrollment. In addition, Colonial teachers pursuing a Masters in Reading and certificate as a reading specialist will receive tuition reimbursement from the district. Wilmington University will also offer reduced tuition rates.
Internships – Wilmington University student teachers and doctoral candidates needing classroom training will do so at Eisenberg Elementary School and at the Colonial School District Administration Office, respectively.
Parent Training – Wilmington University instructors will offer free reading and language instruction to non English-speaking parents.
Dual Enrollment – William Penn students can earn college credits while completing their high school matriculation. Colonial School District will pay Wilmington University for the college-level courses, with parents paying no more than a $60 application fee, if possible.

“Wilmington University, I think, is going to benefit from experience of hands-on in the schools,” said Dr. Dorothy Linn, Colonial’s Superintendent. “…as well as our students will benefit from Wilmington University to be able to experience what college life is like prior to going to college.”

William Penn senior Khaliq Jetson plans to enroll in a college-level folklore class this year.

“It’s a great opportunity to just get college credits and have, as a high schooler, getting just a jump on college and figuring out how college classes work.”

“We believe that there are students who are seniors that are so ready and are just sitting, waiting out the year that we want them to be able to start college,” said Wilmington University President Dr. Jack Varsalona.

Dr. Linn says her district came up with the idea to forge partnerships within the community last summer, when it was preparing strategic and Race to the Top plans for the school year. Dr. Linn says Colonial reached out to the neighboring university, who was also interested in more community involvement, and both sides hammered out a plan to help students be both college and career-ready.

“I just cannot speak enough of Dr. Linn’s leadership because it really does start at the top,” said Dr. Lillian Lowery, Delaware’s Education Secretary. “To know what it takes for students to be at the proficiency level needed at each level, to be able to go into college and thrive is just a huge piece of the success of this program.”

The official partnership agreement, which kicks off in this fall, was signed Thursday afternoon at William Penn High School in New Castle.

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