Two programs in RCCSD honored by separate agencies

The Red Clay Consolidated School District has had a stellar month, as several of their programs received accolades.

The district’s “S3 STEM Summer Scholars” program, a summer enrichment program offered to students in grades four to eight, applying the principles of STEM to solving real-world problems in a structured environment, was honored with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce’s “Superstars in Education” award at their annual meeting in March.

Thomas McKean High School’s “Advancement Via Individual Determination” (AVID) program, created with a mission to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society, was also recognized with the “Superstars” award.

The district is also among three grand-prize winners in the 24th annual Magna Awards program, sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine, “American School Board Journal.”

This year, the Magna Awards recognized school districts and their leaders for their efforts to bring educational equity to their students, according to a press release.

Supported by food services and facilities management company Sodexo, the program honors districts across the country for programs that break down barriers for underserved students.

A panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from more than 100 submissions, the release states.

According to district communications director Pati Nash, the district was singled out for a new strategic plan, #Futureready, which focuses in part on college and career readiness and increased rigorous instruction at the high schools.

In 2012, Red Clay embarked on a journey to a new Strategic Plan.  The district noted a lack of districtwide focus on college and career readiness, a stalled strategic planning process and limited access to high rigor instruction. 

“In the five years since, the district has turned that around,” Nash said.

Nash said the district also has seen a dip in dropout rates to historic lows.

“The district’s graduation rate has risen, there are fewer out-of-school suspensions, and more Red Clay graduates are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities.” She said.

Superintendent Merv Daugherty said that, as a system, the district has raised their expectations of what its students can accomplish.

“We are pleased to say that our students have risen to meet the challenge,” Daugherty said. “To be recognized by the National School Boards Association for our efforts is a great honor, but the more satisfying reward is that greater numbers of our students are succeeding.”

Winners for the Chambers “Superstars” award will be honored at a reception and awards ceremony on Monday, May 14, 4:45 p.m. at Wilmington University’s Doberstein Admissions Center Auditorium, 320 N. DuPont Highway New Castle.

The “Superstars of Education” awards are now in their 26th year.