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Capital board updates: Superintendent search, storm damage, reopening

Three things to know from the Aug. 19 meeting

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
File photo after Tropical Storm Isaias hit Dover Aug. 4. Sylvia Henderson, interim superintendent for Capital School District, and Ade Kuforiji, interim assistant superintendent, looked at a huge tree that toppled over in front of William Henry Middle School in Dover. Kuforiji gave an update on the school during the Aug. 19 board meeting.

The Capital School District Board of Education continued discussions on hiring an outside firm to help find the district’s new superintendent Aug. 19. To do that, the board needs to approve a “request for proposal” that can be sent to firms.

The search process was put into motion after former Superintendent Dan Shelton announced his resignation effective July 1. 

At the July 22 meeting, the board unanimously agreed to work with John Marinucci, executive director of the Delaware School Boards Association, and asked him to prepare the RFP. He sent it to board members.

After a lengthy discussion Aug. 19, board members voted unanimously to further review and approve the RFP during a future workshop and special board meeting. Those meetings have not been scheduled as of Aug. 20. 

Update: William Henry Middle School damage

Since Tropical Storm Isaias ripped part of the roof off the historic William Henry Middle School Aug. 4, administrators like Interim Assistant Superintendent Ade Kuforiji have been working to evaluate the damage.

Kuforiji presented an update to the board Aug. 19, saying that practically every room in the middle school had damage. “The entire gymnasium floor was covered with water,” he said. “It was very devastating to see how much damage could happen in a few minutes.”

The state insurance office gave permission to start water and debris clean-up. Kuforiji agreed with Board Vice President Sean Christiansen in applauding the Servpro crews and their work in cleaning up the water.

The district now awaits the insurance office’s report on costs and repairs. Interim Superintendent Sylvia Henderson said she and Kuforiji met with the William Henry Alumni Association to talk about repairs to the building. “They are so vested in that school and it’s a historical landmark in our community,” Henderson said.  “We just reassured them that we will have open communication and that they will be part of that process, as well.”

In the meantime, district staff decided to move William Henry Middle School students and staff to the east wing of Central Middle School during the remote and hybrid learning plans. 

While the original plan was to use wings in Dover High School, Director of Instruction Paul Dunford said the Central Middle option was safer for students. Other school administrators said Central Middle gives them a sort of home base. 

Approved: In-school services like PT, OT

The board unanimously approved a motion that will allow students to come into schools for face-to-face services, such as speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy and school psychology, beginning Sept. 8 through the first six weeks of school.

Board members also approved a Sept. 8 start date for the community-based instruction programs for 18 to 21 year-old students with disabilities. This includes the Project SEARCH and STRIVE programs, which gives students workplace experiences at sites in the community like Bayhealth. 

Staff working face-to-face would be completely voluntary, said Todd Simpson, director of special education. “So, [our] ability to roll out the entire plan beginning September 8th is contingent on participation of staff volunteering to begin face to face,” he said. 

For more, view the full presentation

More Capital news

Educational Support Person of the Year: Jamel Trott of William Henry Middle School was selected as the Capital School District Educational Support Person of the Year. He was one of 13 candidates, and he will compete at the state level in November.

Plans for the new middle schools are moving forward, and the Delaware Department of Education approved the design, Henderson said. 

New teacher orientation began this week, and it included training on the new hybrid model and safety precautions. Capital welcomed 85 new teachers.