NOVEMBER 12, 2020

November's School Board Meeting

Did you miss Tuesday’s monthly Board of Education meeting? No worries, click the link above

Schiller Rejoins School Board

A familiar face re-joined the Colonial School Board. Rick Schiller, who served on the school board from 2013-2018, was sworn in at Tuesday’s monthly board meeting to fill a vacant seat until June. He and his wife Patsy, who recently retired as an administrative assistant after 26 years, have lived in the district for 32 years. “We’ve been a part of the district since our son started kindergarten at Carrie Downie, so you could say Colonial Nation is in our DNA,” Schiller said. Welcome back!

Virtual Academy Continues to Succeed

With over 8,100 students connecting on Zoom, the Colonial Virtual Academy continues to provide access to countless opportunities! “Giving parents options during this unique school year is crucial to student success and the remote educational model has come through with flying colors,” said Dr. Pete Leida, Deputy Superintendent. "This success is attributed to the unwavering commitment of our students, staff, and parents....the Power of WE!" Leida exclaimed. Colonial Parent Shavonne Ballard also shared her happiness with Colonial’s remote offering saying “I love this remote learning! I'm hoping it stays an option because my kids are really progressing and all of their grades are actually great. I plan on participating in remote learning as long as it's an option.” 
With 60% of our students learning remotely in Colonial’s Virtual Academy, teachers are being praised for their determination to keep students engaged and excited about learning. Carrie Downie Principal Doug Timm sent a note of kudos to his remote learning teachers saying, “The parents that I have spoken to have shared feelings of comfort in knowing they can keep their children at home for now and still receive the highest quality experience we can provide them.  I spoke to one parent after school last week.  She was very appreciative of how much she has learned and grown with your help...  Our families have shared their feeling of comfort that any Carrie Downie teacher is going to be a great teacher for their child,” Timm wrote.  

With amazing participation by students, unprecedented partnerships by parents, and innovative teaching practices by staff, there is no doubt that the Power of WE can handle any challenge that comes our way.

Some of the virtual academy successes:
  • Each school day, Colonial averages over 9,000 Chromebooks connecting to the internet to access learning! 
  • Each school day, Colonial average(s) over 8,500 students connecting to learning using Schoology (Schoology is used in grades 2-12) 
  • Each school day, Colonial average(s) over 2,100 students connecting to learning using SeeSaw. (Seesaw is an online instructional tool used in grades PreK-1) 
  • Each school day, Colonial average(s) over 8,100 students connecting to learning using Zoom. 
  • Over 10,900 devices have been deployed and/or replaced to Colonial students since remote learning began in March.
  • Over 145 mobile internet hotspot devices have been provided to students without internet access at home to support remote learning since remote learning began in March.
  • Over 4,300 Technology Assistance tickets have been resolved for students and staff by our Technology team since remote learning began in March.

Back to the Classroom!

Administrators, teachers, and staff eagerly greeted the students whose families opted for face-to-face instruction at elementary schools on Monday, November 9th. Some special groups of middle school students also returned to school. 

Castle Hills kindergarten teacher Erin Sanna says she prefers teaching the youngest scholars at the school in person even though she says it is difficult not touching those who need guidance with things like how to properly hold a pencil. Still, she was thrilled when one student ran into the building screaming her name when he saw her in person instead of on Zoom. “It was so much fun seeing my students. I am not sure who was more excited, me or the students, but it was a blast. We laughed and their positive energy was so refreshing. They look so different from Zoom! And of course, they look very different with a mask on their faces! They were pretty shocked to see me in real life as well!” she said.

Katie Zimmerman, a veteran teacher at Wilmington Manor, is also among those teachers who are providing face-to-face instruction. Zimmerman says her biggest challenges under the “new normal” are getting youngsters to wear their face masks properly throughout the school day and not being able to physically touch her students. “I’m a hugger so it’s hard not to give hugs!”

We are well prepared to keep our staff and students safe as we return to in-person instruction.  We have acquired personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to make sure that we are able to follow all of the protocols in place:
  • More than 11,000 reusable face coverings were ordered for Colonial students and staff. 
  • More than 100,000 disposable face masks were ordered to support students, staff, and visitors that are in need of a replacement mask 
  • 2,000 face shields with additional shields provided by DOE/DPH and Highmark.
  • More than 11,000 KN95 masks were ordered to support our custodial and nursing staff.
  • More than 50,000 gowns were ordered with additional supplies donated by DOE/DPH. 
  • 24,000 boxes of gloves were ordered for schools and other divisions. 
  • 10,000 thermometers were ordered to support student temperature checks at home. 
  • More than 8,000 floor, wall, and door signs to inform students and staff of best practices in safety

November Calendar Reminders

November 23-24 -- Elementary conferences, middle school special program conferences, high school conferences 

*All non-special program middle school conferences will be rescheduled for December by parent request.   

All students are doing Self-paced Online Learning Days (Asynchronous Learning) for students No Teacher Zooms

November 25-27 -- Schools and Offices Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

November 30 -- Phase 4: First day of face-to-face classes for those families that selected this option: middle school students, Wallace Wallin students, and Integration B & William Penn students 

Holiday Food Assistance

In the community, families needing free assistance can go to:
  • Rosehill Community Center parking lot,
    located at 19 Lambson Lane in New Castle
    Every Monday-Friday from 2-4 PM. 

  • Victory Christian Fellowship Church
    Open to the public every Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
    located at 100 Wilton Blvd in New Castle visit to learn more about the food distribution program there.

Sports Update

William Penn is just about midway through the fall sports season. Athletic Director Matt Sabol says it’s been great to see student-athletes competing and representing Colonial Nation.  At this time only two spectators per athlete are allowed on campus to watch competitions and they should be from the same household.  Spectators are also asked to wear a mask at all times, keep a minimum distance of six (6) feet apart from people who are from different households, and to wait for athletes in your cars following the games.

“With seeing a spike in the virus at this time, please emphasize to your student-athletes that they need to wear their masks on campus at all times while they are participating in their sports. We must take all precautions to keep our students and community safe,” Sabol says. For game schedules visit

WE Must Continue to Practice Safety

COVID-19 Testing Opportunities
Students, Staff, and Families are encouraged to know their COVID-19 status by taking advantage of testing opportunities available within their local community.  To locate the testing sites closest to you, please visit the Delaware COVID-19 Testing site.

Daily Health Screener
It continues to be important that anyone coming into a Colonial Building (Students, Staff, Visitor) complete the Daily Health Screener. For details, visit

If you have been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case over the past 14 days, you should not come into the building.  Close contact is someone who was within six (6) feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period.

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you should not come into the building and should discuss the symptoms with your primary care physician,

Parents should contact their school nurse to discuss any questions or concerns regarding positive COVID-19 cases, close contact with positive COVID-19 cases, and any other medical updates.

Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Since the start of the school year, Colonial Nation has encouraged students and staff to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet social distancing, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes.  These practices continue to be important both in and out of school.  As the weather becomes colder and families begin spending more time indoors, we ask that students, staff, and families follow the four recommended mitigation strategies when not in school.  This is our best defense on addressing COVID-19.  Together WE can help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Get it by Text

Sign up and stay up to date with what’s happening in Colonial! Get text messages about important things happening in the Colonial School District and its schools.

Important Text Updates right to your phone
From weather-related alerts to event reminders, we will let you know what’s happening in Colonial.

From your computer:

WE Will Continue to Demonstrate

Below is another kid-friendly video about the proper way to wear a face mask. Health experts are expressing a need to everyone to properly wear a face mask now that COVID 19 cases are spiking nationwide.
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.