High School Happenings

William Penn & Wallin Students Settle In

When asked to choose between in-person and virtual learning, approximately 40% of Colonial families opted to have students return to the buildings. Due to the large student population at William Penn (WP), students who started returning this month were split into two groups, one called Cherry, the other Black. Both groups total 832 students.  Each group comes to WP twice a week for in-person learning. At Wallin, 39 students returned. Director of Schools Division for secondary students, Jim Comegys says,  “ At William Penn, it felt great seeing our teaching staff in classrooms, breakfasts, and lunches being served by our café workers, drivers waving as they dropped students. We hope behind their masks, there are smiling faces.  It feels like one more step forward!” 

Spanish teacher Maria Berrios agrees to say, "It was really nice to be in the building since [this] is my first year and being able to see my people from World Language in-person was amazing, I felt so welcomed!! It's been a great beginning with my students, very exciting with their active participation." 

Culinary Arts teacher Ian Baker looks forward to the “new normal.” It feels good to be at Penn...I am always determined despite the circumstances to do the job well," he said.

Gabrielle Cassel is among the virtual students who say," When I started online classes, I was a bit nervous and unsure, but as I got comfortable with the various tools we are using it became enjoyable." 

WP Senior Class Officers Elected

After a brief election, the William Penn High School Class of 2021 has elected the officers of the Senior Class Committee. This group will help find ways to celebrate the Class of 2021 as they finish their high school career at WP. They are (left to right):
Harman Bagga - President
Gabriella Thomas - Vice President
Karima Rivera - Secretary
Reilly Augustine - Treasurer

Sports Update

Winter sports are going well under new COVID restrictions. Check out this story that aired on 6ABC featuring Athletic Director Matt Sabol and William Penn’s basketball team!

WP Student Captures a Special Moment

A local bride and groom were in need of a photographer to help photograph their wedding. The bride reached out to a teacher/friend in Colonial asking for advice and she pointed the bride in the direction of the Digital Media program at William Penn. One student, Alex S, stepped up to the challenge and gave the couple some amazing photos to capture their big day. Cheers to Alex for showing once again what Colonials can do when given access and opportunities.

Middle School Happenings

Welcome Back!

About 900 middle school students who opted for in-person instruction returned to the classrooms yesterday.  At Gunning Bedford, they were greeted with a welcome back post that administrators and staff put together.  At McCullough, teacher Karen Keys says  “Being back in the building is a mixture of nerves and excitement.  I am happy to be around my friends and co-workers and be back in a routine.  There is so much that is unknown, so it does lend to more stress, but being around my great co-workers helps ease that.” Keys, like so many of Colonial’s teachers, went out of her way to make virtual learning fun and engaging for her students, Keys also wanted to add some non-traditional things to her virtual classes “I have been asking students for a favorite song of theirs so I can play it during class,” she says.  Renee Elliott is also happy to see students back in school. As part of the Nutrition Services team, she says, “I solemnly swear to never again take another “normal” day for granted!  The kids have arrived back at school and it is exhilarating to see the joy and excitement hidden behind their masks!  Feeding our students and keeping them safe is and has always been a top priority, but the simple warmth of their return has given me and the entire nutrition department a renewed sense of purpose!   While the schools remain slightly less noisy than in the past, they are once again coming alive with the sounds of learning, lunching, and laughter!  It is a great day in the Nutrition Services Department!"

Elementary School Happenings

Grant Keeps Kids Moving!

Back in December, a program called Donors Choose announced  $1,000 grants were available to teachers from New Castle County to buy supplies for Covid specific use either in-person or virtual classrooms. Many Colonial teachers took advantage of the opportunity.  Pleasantville teacher Rosy Burke decided to ask for 16 foot pedal exercisers that are placed under the desks for each of her students. She called her grant project "Pedaling Through the Pandemic."

“I am beyond excited to give my students this opportunity to MOVE IT in the classroom. They need movement in their daily lives and this will allow them to do that as well as keep safe by being socially distant!” Burke says. AJ Morales (left)  is one of Burke’s students who enjoys pedaling while doing school work saying, “ Having the pedals is a very cool way to learn and exercise at the same time.” Jolie St. John  (right) couldn’t agree more telling Ms. Burke, “I like them! They’re fun and help me focus.”

I Love To Read Month

February's I Love to Read Month is being celebrated in many different ways. Some schools are having guest readers pop into their classrooms virtually, while others like New Castle have in-person readers on staff visiting classes. Assistant Principal Jacobs loves wearing costumes when reading her favorite books to students. This year, this always colorful administrator wore a Crayola Crayons box while she read The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt to students. The kids got in on the action too, both in-person and virtually. I Love to Read Month is always fun!

The Giver Who Keeps on Giving

The pandemic may have put the brakes on the Ballard’s Reading Buddies mentoring program because visitors aren't allowed in schools, but that hasn’t stopped founder Louis Cummings (left) from seeing that students at Southern get books. Cummings is the widow of Delaware State Police Trooper Stephen Ballard who was slain in the line of duty. Cummings started the reading program in his honor and was determined to find a way to stay connected to Southern Sharks. She secured a New Castle County Cares Act grant to purchase books for all  830 students.  “We personally selected and sorted over 3,500 hundred books tailored to what the students are studying. Thousands of books waiting to arrive at their new homes!” Cummings said. That’s not all, she also collaborated with the local chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity that donated  830 reusable bags for the books. The frat brothers and a team of volunteers including Capitol police officers gathered after school to pack the books at Southern. Big thanks to all who helped, especially Louise Cummings! 

Black History Month Celebrations

Many schools and teachers are observing Black History Month. At Carrie Downie and Southern, students are sharing facts about famous African Americans during morning announcements. At Southern, students are even dressing for the part. Teachers know you’re never too young to learn, so at Colonial’s Early Education Program (CEEP),  Karen Weber incorporated a Black history lesson into her curriculum saying, "our current unit is about signs so we played a short video about Garrett Morgan and how he improved the traffic signal.  We showed a short clip from this video: 


 We then discussed the shapes and colors that we see on a traffic signal.  Then the children had an opportunity to draw and color their own traffic signal.”

  At the middle schools and at William Penn, students are reviewing daily virtual black History posts, and for the first time, the district is making daily posts on school Facebook pages and on the district website with information about people who made Black history and historic sites for the public to visit right here in our district and state!  

Wilbur Teacher Rocks the Virtual World! 

It’s not easy keeping the attention of kindergarten students, but Wilbur’s Joe Parret has mastered it and that's why he was featured in the News Journal. Click the link below and see for yourself!


There's No Day Like a Snow Day!

On Monday, February 1st schools and offices were closed due to a weekend snowstorm. While many feared virtual learning would mean the end of snow days for students and staff, administrators decided a snow day was in order just so everyone could take a break, and from the looks of things many did by playing outdoors in the wintry weather!

Berg Nation Gets Huge Holiday Donation

Thank you, Richards, Layton & Finger, (RLF)  PA, for donating over $14,000 towards the Eisenberg Food Pantry in a zoom ceremony!  These funds will be used to support the Eisenberg Food Pantry to provide needed supplies to families.  This is the 8th year RLF has donated to the Eisenberg Food Pantry.  Even during a pandemic, the law firm continued to support Eisenberg Elementary with overwhelming generosity! Family Crisis Therapist  Molly Perdue noted to the RLF staff "You have all given from the very bottom of your hearts!  The donation to the pantry has to be the largest ever!  I didn’t realize the enormity of it until I started an online order.  I was reaching 90 items and started to panic that I was spending too much money.  When I scrolled to the total, I realized that all those items barely put a dent in the total you have donated!  I feel so fortunate.  With the monetary donations, I am able to slowly build the pantry where the needs are most, ordering those items specifically.  Items like snacks (which most of the clients are begging for since the kids are home asking to eat more often) and items that our homeless population living out of motels can utilize like single container meals they can cook in the microwave.  The donations that the firm makes yearly typically sustain the food pantry for at least 9 months, sometimes the entire year.  I am so fortunate to have developed this relationship with your firm, I thank you for your service to our community and for allowing me to be the middleman to be able to give these amazing items to those in need!"

Kudos to Nutrition Services Staff!

The Delaware School Nutrition Association (DSNA) Board Members are honoring the hardworking and dedicated Delaware School Nutrition Members online during the month of February.   “Share The Love”, will showcase one District each weekday with a social media picture slide show of their dedicated staff members serving the children of their community during the pandemic. Take a look at Colonial’s dedicated and hardworking staff in the link below: https://fb.watch/3qpoOfHp8g/

WE Feed & Transport Students!

The weather forced workers in the nutrition services and transportation division to pivot last week, but their determination to see that students got lunch and breakfast never wavered.  Production Specialist Ruth Russell says, “these meals are essential for many families and provide their students with the nutrition necessary for optimal learning and good health.” Russell recounted a heartfelt message expressed to her by one parent about the Mobile Feeding program who wrote about the meals saying “ they have been very helpful for myself and my sisters’ son, who I care for during the day.  He is autistic, and for the first nine years of his life, he would only eat pizza, french fries, and chicken nuggets.  Now, because of school meals being presented to him on a consistent basis, he eats EVERYTHING on the menu!  He gets great joy in going out to the school bus to get his meals, and this is so important for a special needs child.  Because of this program, he has blossomed so much, which has opened him up to a whole new world of possibilities. In fact, he’s now able to sit down with his family for the first time in his life and enjoy the same meal they are having for dinner.  Thank you, Colonial for everything you have done for our family, and other families.”

Transportation Supervisor Drew Moffet is proud of his staff who are now not only delivering meals but also back to transporting some students to school. “I would have to say that the staff in the transportation department have stepped up since early on in this pandemic to see where they could assist our community.  A vast majority of our transportation staff are community members in the Colonial School District so they fully understand the needs of so many of our families.  Even when we began to transport students back to face-to-face instruction in schools, several of our drivers and aides continued to ask if the food would be delivered into our communities in order to provide meals to our students that were remaining in the virtual setting.  In the last 10 months that we have been assisting the nutrition services department in delivering meals into the community, it has been a true honor to watch so many of our Colonial staff feel the pride in knowing they are doing a good deed to help our community.  So many of our transportation staff have expressed their delight in seeing the smiles on the faces of students picking up meals each and every day!” Moffett says.

powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.