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Dover Post
  • New school year brings change to Dover area school districts

  • Whether it’s a new Dover High building or new staff members at Polytech, the start of the 2014-2015 school year will mean changes for each public school district in the Dover area.
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  • Whether it’s a new Dover High building or new staff members at Polytech, the start of the 2014-2015 school year will mean changes for each public school district in the Dover area.
    Here we take a look at the most dramatic change affecting each district:
    CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
    By far the biggest change in the Capital School District is the new Dover High School.
    The journey towards a new high school began back in 2007, when the district purchased the property where the new 290,000-square-foot school is today. That process will culminate Thursday when the $114 million building will be occupied by the entire student body for the first time.
    “In almost every community across the nation, a high school is a centerpiece, not only for the school district, but also for the community, and Dover is no different,” Superintendent Michael Thomas said.
    The new school offers state of the art technology, plenty of natural light and adequate space for playing fields, all things that the old lacked.
    “I think this shows kids the expectations of community for their education,” Thomas said. “That’s a very significant thing.”
     
    POLYTECH HIGH SCHOOL
    When students enter Polytech High School for the first day of school on Aug. 25, they may notice that their school has gotten a bit bigger.
    A newly-constructed auditorium, auxiliary gym, and career and technical classrooms have been added. Portions of the main school building also have been renovated.
    “I think everybody is going to be very excited to see all of the new spaces we have,” Assistant Superintendent Mark Dufendach said. “[This expansion has] enabled us to upgrade our career and technical program to really be current with state-of-the-art equipment and will really help students excel and meet their needs of finding productive employment or furthering their academic work.”
    The addition involves two separate spaces. The auditorium, which is surrounded by career and technical education classrooms, made up one 54,000-square-foot addition while the 10,000-square-foot auxiliary gym was added as a separate space. The career and technical classrooms will house classes in electronics, computer programming, media and broadcasting and ROTC.
    In addition to the new spaces, some old spaces at Polytech were renovated. New bleachers and refinished floors were added in the main gym, fire safety and security systems were upgraded and the school’s nursing and dental labs were updated.
    Construction began in the fall of 2012 and the project will be complete in time for the start of school, Dufendach said.
     
    LAKE FOREST SCHOOL DISTRICT
    Page 2 of 2 - In school districts across Delaware, this will be the first year for full implementation of Common Core standards and the first year that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be administered.
    Common Core is a set of state standards that aims to create a common set of standards across the United States. Smarter Balanced is the assessment that gauges student progress under Common Core.
    “I think anytime we raise expectations of learning for students, which I feel Common Core has done, it’s a good thing that prepares them for the 21st century and for post-secondary education or to go right into the work place,” Lake Forest Superintendent Jason Conway said. “I think we, as educators, have to think about how to better prepare our students for those types of skill sets. I think our shift to Common Core, as many states have shifted, is raising the level of expectations and academic rigor.”
    The biggest challenge in converting to Smarter Balanced will be transitioning from the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System to the new test, Conway said.
    “The way we’re preparing kids for the assessment is by providing good instruction that uses a curriculum that implements Common Core,” he said. “We’re not doing anything different to prepare kids to do well on the assessment. It’s all about good instruction and using curriculum that’s aligned to the Common Core and that makes kids successful.”

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