News Release

Nicole S. Rowe
Administrative Assistant, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720

Wilmington University and Colonial School District Celebrate Partnership

This fall some William Penn High School students will get a glimpse into college life. They will have the opportunity to enroll in a Wilmington University college-level course without ever having to leave their own school. The dual enrollment opportunity is one of several initiatives planned by Colonial School District in conjunction with Wilmington University as part of a new community partnership.

Wilmington University President, Dr. Jack Varsalona and Colonial School District Superintendent Dr. Dorothy Linn, came together today before local dignitaries to sign a partnership memorandum of understanding at William Penn High School. With Delaware Secretary of Education, Dr. Lillian Lowery on hand, the official signing marked the beginning of a partnership that benefits students from both educational institutions.

Delaware was one of only two states to receive Race to the Top funds and as a result, the Colonial School District was fortunate to receive a federal grant as part of that program. After thorough research and planning the School District decided to use some of these funds towards enhancing services to high school aged students. The first step was to encourage these students to go on to college.

“We want our students to be prepared for a career or college once they leave William Penn High School,” said Dr. Dorothy Linn. “We believe this partnership will promote this vision and look forward to implementing these initiatives.”

Dr. Jack Varsalona praised the Colonial School District saying, “I applaud this school district for going the extra mile for the student who needed it the most.” He continued, “Anyone from William Penn High School who wants to go to college will get that chance if Wilmington University has anything to do with it. We feel privileged to be a part of this.”

Secretary of Education, Dr. Lillian Lowery, commended Wilmington University for their continued commitment to higher education in Delaware. “When we needed highly qualified teachers and leaders, it was Wilmington University who stepped up to the plate and participated in the Teach for America program,” Said Dr. Lowery. “And now with this partnership, Wilmington University has, once again, stepped up to the plate.” Dr. Lowery expressed how excited she was for the high school students. “To have an opportunity to experience college classes while still in high school is not only great for our high performing students, but also for our at risk students who might be the first person in their family to attend college.”

The new partnership will benefit students of William Penn High School and Wilmington University in the following ways:

Reading Clinics: Staffed by a Wilmington University professor and Master Degree candidates needing training and experience, struggling students in grades k-12 will get free after school reading assistance. While students from other districts can attend, Colonial School District students will be given preference based on enrollment. In addition, Wilmington University will offer reduced tuition rates.

Parent Training:  Non-English speaking parents will receive free assistance with reading and language instruction by Wilmington University instructors/clinicians, along with training to help their children at home with reading challenges.

Dual Enrollment: William Penn students can receive college credits while completing their high school matriculation. College level courses taught by Wilmington University faculty will be conducted on both campuses. Colonial School district will pay Wilmington University a reduced fee for the courses, with parents paying no more than a $60 registration and application fee.

Internships: Wilmington University student teachers needing to complete clinical training and internships will do so at Eisenberg Elementary School in a new clinical setting and Doctoral and Administrative internships will take place at the Colonial School District Administrative Offices.

High school senior, Colin Shinn, has already signed up for one of the Wilmington University courses that will be taught at William Penn in the spring. “The school called me to talk to me about the opportunity to take a college course and I said yes straight away,” said the William Penn senior who plays lacrosse. “When they mentioned there might be more courses like this in the spring I said I would love to take those courses too. I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Dr. Richard Gochnauer, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs at Wilmington University, hopes students like Colin will get a taste of college and want to keep going. “The first semester courses will be taught at William Penn, so that will be a more familiar environment for the students,” said Dr. Gochnauer. “We are hoping to get the students on our campus in the second semester so they can get the true college experience.  And hopefully, if they like it, they will be encouraged to continue their college education.”

Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - New Castle, DE