3 Kent schools cited for excellence

Lake Forest South Elementary School students, from left, Adalyn Dill, 5, Kortney Brown, 5, Riley Brown, 8 and Ava Miller, 7, hold their school’s Recognition School banner. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Lake Forest South Elementary School students, from left, Adalyn Dill, 5, Kortney Brown, 5, Riley Brown, 8 and Ava Miller, 7, hold their school’s Recognition School banner. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — Academic achievements at 12 schools in Delaware were officially recognized Friday by the state’s Department of Education.

Three Kent County schools — Dover Air Force Base Middle, Lake Forest North Elementary and Lake Forest South Elementary — were among those receiving recognition.

Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky presents Lake Forest South Elementary School principal Clifford Owens a Recognition Award certificate. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky presents Lake Forest South Elementary School principal Clifford Owens a Recognition Award certificate. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

“I congratulate the students for their hard work and perseverance and thank the professional educators and leaders who supported them on their journey to achieve excellence,” said Delaware Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky.

Ten of the schools recognized have demonstrated a narrowing of the achievement gap and/or showing exceptional growth on state tests for two or more consecutive year.

Two additional schools were awarded the title “School of Continued Excellence,” meaning it has sustained accomplishments after receiving the recognition in 2014.

“The most important factor in our improvement was changing our school’s mindset,” said Lake Forest South principal Clifford Owens. “We know all kids can and want to learn, we just have to realize that some kids learn differently than others — and we have to respond to each child’s needs accordingly. And we’ve been doing that with small groups and some one-on-one education.”

Lake Forest North Elementary School principal Laura Lands walks away wearing a big smile after receiving her school’s Recognition School award Friday at the Delaware Department of Education award ceremony held at DAFB Middle School. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Lake Forest North Elementary School principal Laura Lands walks away wearing a big smile after receiving her school’s Recognition School award Friday at the Delaware Department of Education award ceremony held at DAFB Middle School. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Another aspect to improvement was working in small groups, which has been successful across Lake Forest School District.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time, in addition to offering before and after school tutoring,” said Lake Forest North principal Laura Lands. “We also incorporate technology into the classrooms.”

Lake Forest Superintendent Brenda G. Wydner said it’s exciting to see schools improving across her district.

“All our schools are equally important and it’s great to see group efforts within the schools and even between schools,” she said.

Dover Air Force Base Middle was the third of the Kent County schools to be recognized and of the school’s improvement, the Department of Education said:

DAFB Middle School principal David Santore is all smiles as he receives his school’s Recognition Award. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DAFB Middle School principal David Santore is all smiles as he receives his school’s Recognition Award. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

“(DAFB Middle has) a multi-faceted intervention program in place that is designed to allow struggling learners to fill in their learning gaps. These interventions not only concentrate on re-teaching critical material, but also focus on pre-teaching high-priority core content that is essential for student understanding.”

Dr. Godowsky said the state needs to learn from the strides the schools recognized have made and find a way to apply their strategies to schools across the state to improve overall education in Delaware.

Each will receive $8,000 in honor of their achievements through the Reward and Recognition School award program created by the Delaware General Assembly in 2009.
Funding for the grants comes from the state’s School Improvement funds.

As in previous years, each school will appoint a committee including administration, teacher, support staff and parents to determine how the grant will be used.

For more information about all schools recognized at Friday’s ceremony, visit doe.k12.de.us and click “Accountability and Performance.”

Friday's event included entertainment at DAFB Middle School included music by the band. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Friday’s event included entertainment at DAFB Middle School included music by the band. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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