Secretary of Education Dr. Lillian M. Lowery has approved Dover High School’s plan to have two principals as well as four other Race to the Top improvement plans crafted locally under federal guidelines for underperforming schools in the state.


Secretary of Education Dr. Lillian M. Lowery has approved Dover High School’s plan to have two principals as well as four other Race to the Top improvement plans crafted locally under federal guidelines for underperforming schools in the state.

The Delaware Department of Education announced the approvals on Monday.

In December, the Capital School District Board of Education approved a plan to dramatically revamp the administrative structure of Dover High School so that it would have two principals to handle administration and academics separately. It had awaited approval from Lowery since that time.

“District leaders worked closely with parents, teachers and other school community members to design a plan that will meet their building and students’ individual needs,” Lowery said in a prepared statement. “We now know what we need to do, but the work has just begun.

“We must continue to partner as we implement these plans in the 2012-13 school year,” she said.

Capital School District Superintendent Dr. Michael D. Thomas announced Lowery’s decision to his staff on Friday.

Under Dover High’s plan, Principal Eugene M. “Gene” Montaño would remain at the school as principal of administration, Capital Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tina Huff said. A principal of academics will be hired.

Dover High is one of 10 schools in Delaware’s Partnership Zone, created as part of the state’s $119 million Race to the Top federal award. Race to the Top is President Obama’s national effort to improve schools through fiercely competitive grants using money from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, also known as the federal stimulus package.

Since federal money comes with strings attached, Partnership Zone schools must carry out one of four models to significantly improve student performance.

Like the first four schools, the five plans approved in the second round uses the transformation model – where a school makes significant changes in its governance and operation, Kepner said.

Capital Board of Education member Brian E. Lewis had no objection to the original transformation plan for Dover. But he voted against the plan in December because of the co-principal portion that was subsequently added. He was disappointed in Lowery's decision.

“There is no data available to measure the efficacy of a co-principal,” he said Monday. “Why should the Capital School District implement something that they don't know will work or not? I hope Governor Markell and the public are watching. Many of my constituents feel this co-principalship is fiscally irresponsible.”

Dover High is receiving $271,276 per year in federal Partnership Zone money, state Department of Education spokeswoman Alison Kepner said.

In September, Capital School District’s Dover High was among the five schools named to the state’s second Partnership Zone cohort, Kepner said. The others were Christina School District’s Bancroft Elementary and Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Lewis Dual Language Elementary, Marbrook Elementary and Stanton Middle.

A sixth school – Laurel School District’s Laurel Middle – was identified in October because of a state calculation error, she said. Therefore, this school is about a month behind in its planning.

All of the schools join the state’s first cohort of Partnership Zone schools selected in 2010: Christina’s Glasgow High and Stubbs Elementary, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District’s Howard High School of Technology and Positive Outcomes charter school, she said.

Christina’s designated Race To The Top portion of the Partnership Zone allocation for Bancroft is $202,206 per year, she said. Red Clay’s designated RTTT portions of the Partnership Zone allocation are $167,818 (Lewis), $176,423 (Marbrook) and $205,157 (Stanton), respectively, per school per year.