Capital School District
Reopening to Spur the Audacity of Hope to Uncover the Magic of New Beginnings
Business View Magazine Interviews Dr. Vilicia Cade, CEO and Superintendent for the Capital School District, serving the greater Dover, Delaware area
The COVID health crisis forced schools to break the glass ceiling on 19th century educational paradigms, catapulting education into the 21st century. Like most districts across the United States, Capital School District is working feverishly to reopen its schools safely. According to a Business View Magazine interview with the new Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent, Dr. Vilicia Cade, the district is advancing a vision that “spurs the audacity of hope to uncover the magic of new beginnings.” The vision includes embracing a three-pronged approach aimed at addressing students, staff, and parents with the community’s “wholistic” needs.
Capital School District epitomizes the heart of Delaware serving city, suburb, and rural residents. Thus illuminating why Senator Nation embodies such strong pride and enthusiasm for celebrating diversity. Capital School District serves a population of approximately 6,500 students that represent over 22 languages. The district employs a complement of approximately 1500 full time and part time staff in 12 schools at 15 distinct locations. There are seven K-4 schools (with preschool programs at most elementary sites). Capital School District is also home to two intensive learning centers for students that have significant needs.
At the secondary level, the district operates one fifth-sixth grade school, one seventh-eighth grade school, and one state of the art high school—Dover High School. Capital is the home of the Senators and Senator pride is demonstrated by the large number of staff members that are alumnae. The ethos of care is pervasive and a corner stone of the district’s culture. The district has the privilege to be located near the Dover Air Force base, offering educational options to active military personnel.
Capital School District is the centerfold district of Delaware – America’s first State. It is a premiere district that is nestled between Sussex County and New Castle County providing its residents the benefits of a convenient commute in either direction to the further southern point of the state; the famous beaches of Delaware including Rehoboth and Lewis or further northern part of the state; and the metropolitan urban center of Wilmington. Delaware is a small but mighty state with all the appeals and benefits that attract tourists and new residents seeking to leverage the advantage of no sales tax and lower property taxes coupled with top quality amenities.
The Capital School District’s location is often why it’s the sought after designation to convene statewide gatherings for educational leaders and statewide educational conferences. It’s no surprise that the district is gaining momentum for evolving as the heartbeat of Delaware. Under new leadership and armed with a renewed effort to advance strategic partnerships, Dr. Vilicia Cade is quickly learning why leadership in the capital of the state is unique. Dr. Cade is the first African-American female superintendent of the Capital School District and currently the only African-American female superintendent in the State. A former educational leader in the northern part of Delaware, her recent return from Ohio is celebrated and welcomed, as she is known for her infectious personality, flawless style, caring spirit, passionate advocacy, and innovative intellectual ability.
As the district of choice, students attending Capital School District have access to dynamic programs such as the Dover High Schools’ Academy of the Arts in which students can explore the wonders of performing and visual arts. Dover High School is in the forefront of eliminating barriers that limit access to Advanced Placement and College bearing courses. Students attending the flagship high school have many options in various career pathways: Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Teacher Academy, Business, Certified Nursing Assistant, HVAC, and Architectural Engineer are among the highlights at the high school.
The district offers many competitive programs at the elementary and middle school level also. Capital School District is very proud of its one-on-one device capabilities, eliminating digital inequities to position every student for success. The World Language Emergent programs that will scale to the high school in 2022 are currently offering elementary and middle school language connoisseurs the opportunity to wet their pallets with Spanish. These world language emergent experiences expand students’ knowledge way beyond language – strengthening students’ understanding of the importance of cultural diversity. The district offers several advanced academic programs, such as the ALPHA Program which is designed to meet the needs of high achievers with exceptional academic ability. Athletics and sports are well celebrated in Senator Nation. Students scholars are competitive and enjoy the synergy created by the accomplished band, bolstered by a strong tradition of pride.
As schools brace themselves for a return to in-person learning undergirded with uncertainty, the Capital School District is proud of its proactive stance with integrating social emotional supports. The advantage of this approach ensures that the district’s “pandemic pivot” in educating students post-COVID addresses wholistic needs as a priority. This work has been underway for several years.
The district is unapologetic about its three intents: 1. A Linear and Streamlined District; 2. Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child; 3. Advancing Senator Pride. The three intents are focused on advancing a mission of educating students today for a changing tomorrow. The core values adopted by the Capital School District reflect three corner stones which can be characterized as excellence through equity, unity through love, and leadership through inclusiveness. Underscored by humility and academic excellence the district is tenaciously working to rebuild stronger it’s pride and sense of family. If you are looking for a district home that will provide your child with a first-class education while caring for your child and you like family than the Capital School District is the choice!
Capital School District Board of Education, in tandem with Dr. Cade recognize the momentum underway within the city of dover and are co-launching new rigorous efforts to ensure that the prestige and honor of living, working, and serving in the capital of Delaware rebounds post-COVID as a unifying force across diverse community leaders, state and local politicians, local institutions of education P-20, and civic organizations within Kent County especially in the City of Dover. Residents of the first state should be prepared to learn more about what is evolving as: We Lead in the Capital – Renaissance 2031. Dr. Cade was noted as stating, “it’s my belief that the Capital School District is the heartbeat of the first state and Senators establishes the rhythm for all others to follow”. We should all expect extraordinary things to emerge from Senator Nation, things that personify the uniqueness of leading in the Capital!
Dr. Cade has an important list of priorities for 2021-22 (Care, Continuous Improvement, Communication, Community, Capacity) with a focused, primary goal: “Returning to in- person learning – prioritizing the safety and well-being of students, staff, and community, while advancing a vision to address the wholistic needs of our students, staff and parents with community to accelerate learning gaps.”
Academic Programing Highlights
Capital School District provides enrichment opportunities within the general classroom for all students. The District offers many core academic programs that integrates social emotional learning. This is especially important as schools re-open. Senators are proud of the high yield Instructional materials, instructional strategies and social emotional strategies that positively impacts Capital School District’s Pre-K- 12th grade experience. To bolster the significance of care, the district has 21st Century after school programs in designated schools. The 21st Century programs vary from social emotional programs, STEM, arts related to culturally responsive related programs. They provide a great opportunity for strengthening home to school connectedness. Some highlighted programs are the following:
ACT (Accelerated Curriculum Technology) Services- This program is for elementary school students that demonstrate potential for giftedness. Students identified receive 90-120 minutes of instruction weekly with a gifted services teacher. The ACT activities focus on developing higher-level thinking and creativity skills with students working in small groups on projects and other engaging rigorous tasks. This also includes participation in Math League.
ALPHA (Alternative Learning Program for High Achievers) Services – This program is for identified gifted students. Students receive an accelerated academic program in a separate setting with a compacted general education curriculum in all content areas. Each student is given instruction at his/her appropriate level and at a pace designed to best meet individual needs. Additionally, personalized enrichment and other extension opportunities are provided in order to develop the student’s unique strengths and abilities. Students who are eligible participate in the program starting in the 3rd and 4th grades. The program is housed at Booker T. Washington Elementary. It is the only program like this offered in public schools in Kent County.
ACT and ALPHA students move on to Grades 6-8, they move onto a GATE team at William Henry and Central Middle to ensure that the students continue to receive core instruction from a teacher that is certified in Gifted and Talented.
Dover High School provides all students with a world class experience. Dover High school offers AP and Dual Enrollment Courses for accelerated learners. The district has broadened its services to include leveraging different forms of giftedness in areas that include the arts and music. This is not designed to detract from giftedness in the academic areas. Dover High School has garnered a stellar reputation for is performing arts academy and the ROTC air force programs that highlights the privilege of serving the local Air force base active military families living in the residential zone of the Capital School District.
*In 2022, the District will open a new state of the art Interconnected Middle School that will have two separate buildings connected by a common area.
AT A GLANCE
Capital School District
What: A public school district serving the greater Dover area
Where: Kent County, Delaware