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Capital board: Middle school plans approved

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

Capital School District board members unanimously approved the schematic design for two new middle schools at their Feb. 19 meeting. The next public meeting with the district and Becker Morgan Group will be April 1. The firm expects to present at the Dover planning commission’s public hearing April 20.

Becker Morgan Group highlighted traffic patterns that will keep students away from cars and buses during pick-up and drop-off times, flexible or shared classroom spaces and the ability to expand in the future.

The two schools for grades six through eight will be connected on one campus on Pat Lynn Drive. Part of the funding for the more than $113 million project was approved in last spring’s referendum. Construction is expected to start in April.

William Henry

The board will not change the name of William Henry Middle School following the addition of the new middle schools, board member Sean Christiansen said. He dispelled the rumor brought to him by former teacher and administrator Cecil Wilson.

While the school building will eventually house the Kent County ILC and Kent County Community School, he said this shift will not result in a name change.

“The school has had several names since it was first occupied: William Henry Comprehensive High School, William Henry Middle School and [it] may one day change to William Henry School to go along with the shift in the district, but will not lose the historic prestige of being named after William W. M. Henry,” Christiansen said.

The clarification was met with applause from several William Henry alumni at the meeting. Many of them attended when it was an African American high school during segregation. William Henry was a 1902 graduate of Delaware State College and the first black physician to practice in lower Delaware.

The district plans to use state funding to renovate and restore the building to the way it was in the 1960s, plus updates to HVAC, electrical service and the planetarium.

The planning won’t happen until next school year because the district must wait for the state’s funding, superintendent Dan Shelton said. A representative from the William Henry Comprehensive High School Alumni Association will be on the construction committee.

Budget passes

The board voted unanimously to approve the district’s final budget with two amendments.

Sean Christiansen introduced an amendment to transfer $40,000 from contingency funds to buildings and grounds. This will go toward finishing Dover High School’s JV baseball and softball fields, including a storage building.

Board member Tony DePrima introduced an amendment to reduce the Board of Education’s budget line by $10,000. DePrima said the board spent less than the budgeted amount last year and is on track to spend less again this year. This is especially true when it comes to expenses for travel and conferences, he said.

AP Capstone course

Dover High School will become the first in Kent County to offer the Advanced Placement Capstone program after the board unanimously approved it.

In the program, students develop a final research project over two years. The first course, AP Research, will be available to 11th grade students next school year. The second course, AP Seminar, will start the following year.

Principal Courtney Voshell said AP Capstone allows for diverse enrollment because art students can submit film projects. Jaime Moore, library media specialist, and Teresa Emmons, Academy of the Arts director, will head the program.

Work-based learning

The board unanimously approved a new one-credit course for students to get work experience after completing a Career and Technical Education program. In the Work-Based Learning Practicum, 12th grade students can partner with employers for internships, co-ops, clinicals and other mentorships or projects. It will cost $3,770, and the funding comes from the state.

Dover High offers CTE programs in fields like teaching, nursing, culinary arts, marketing, engineering and more.