The Caesar Rodney School District has been growing steadily over the past 10 years.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald chalks the growth up to a steady climb in population within the district. However, for the past three years they have been experiencing something that could be better described as a boom. They have added roughly 100 new students to the district each year.
One of the schools feeling the growing pains the most is Caesar Rodney High School. It is currently the largest high school in the state in with 2,030 students. But Principal Elvina Knight views the high numbers as a good sign.
“In the last four years we’ve seen a movement of the population into our district, to me that says that people like our district,” she said.
However, Knight did admit that if the growth continues something will have to be done to make more room. Fitzgerald has a potential solution.
“I would like to build a ninth grade academy,” he said. “I think it would fit well in our programing and it would create some space at the high school.”
Caesar Rodney High School currently has a ninth grade academy, which is designed to help students transition into high school life. Students in the academy are in separate section of the building and on a separate schedule for their core classes, but they head out into the main building for their electives. In Fitzgerald’s proposed plan, the program would be given its own building.
If the student body continues to grow district-wide, a ninth grade academy wouldn’t be the only new building in the district.
“If the student population continues to grow we will be looking at adding schools,” Fitzgerald said.
One of the other areas that this district anticipates expanding is in its technology. It has become more commonplace to see tablets and laptops in classrooms. Just last week, students in Lisa Kane's 12th grade anatomy and physiology class were using EKG sensors – hooked up to school laptops – to monitor each other’s heart rates.
Another piece of technology that has become commonplace in the district are smart boards, which are essentially a touch-screen interactive white board. Chalkboards are becoming a thing of the past.
Fitzgerald said that in addition to classroom improvements, the district’s ultimate goal was to get technology in the hands of each child.
“If at all possible, I hope we would be able to put iPads or netbooks in every classroom,” Fitzgerald said.
New technology may soon even effect how students attend class. At the high school, Knight is looking into offering compass learning, which would allow students to take classes online for college credit.
Page 2 of 2 - Some other big changes include an expansion of Advanced Placement offerings at CR, with 20 AP courses now available at the high school. The school is also offering human genealogy and Chinese language and culture to its offerings.
The district also recently added an enrichment program for high achievers, as well as two foreign languages at the middle school, six foreign languages at the high school, including Arabic and Chinese, and a Chinese immersion program at the kindergarten level at McIlvaine. By next year there will be a foreign language at every elementary school, according to Fitzgerald.
“We are constantly looking for ways to keep our students on top,” he said. “A spokesman with the Dover Air Force Base informed us that Chinese and Arabic seem to be in the greatest demand for the military.”
All of the technology and foreign languages are part of a plan that both Fitzgerald and Knight shared.
“When planning curriculum, we generally take a look to see what colleges and businesses looking for,” Fitzgerald said.
“Our goal is to make every student either career or college ready,” Knight said.