The Delaware Met high school in downtown Wilmington celebrated its official ribbon-cutting last week, and Head of School Tricia Hunter Crafton recently spoke with Town Square Delaware about the new charter school and its Big Picture Learning Model:
TSD: There are several charter schools in Delaware—what unique space will The Delaware Met fill?
THC: We want to attract and retain students who need a high-quality high school in Wilmington. We are unique because of our educational model, which truly puts students first through personalized learning. Each student, with the support of their advisor and in collaboration with their parents, will complete a personalized learning plan. This plan connects the dots between the items they are passionate about or interested in and the things they need to learn as a high school student. All of our students will seek internship opportunities in an area where they have a passion or interest, and the items they’re learning at school will be applied in a project they will do to benefit their internship site. We focus on rigor, relevance and relationships – we work to form relationships with our students, their families, and within our community. We aim to push academics higher by making material relevant to the students. We work to answer the questions “why do I need to know this?” before it’s asked.
TSD: What kind of student is a good fit for The Delaware Met?
THC: The Delaware Met is a good fit for students who want to personalize their educational plans. The focus on personalized learning allows each student to be the leader of their own educational program. While all of our students must meet all Delaware State graduation requirements, the focus on passions and interests, along with the internship experiences, make each student’s high school journey unique. We want students who want to think creatively about their education, want to explore their passions and interests, and want to be part of a school community that focuses on each individual contributing to the collective.
TSD: How does enrollment look for this year? What are your 3-5 year goals?
THC: We have about 240 students on roll for this year. Our goal over the next three years is to have 528 students – 132 students per grade level in grades 9-12. This year we have about 150 9th graders and about 90 10th graders. We will expand one grade level per year over the next three years.
TSD: Mentoring and private sector business engagement are a critical component of your model. What kind of engagement do you have as a new school just out of the gates?
THC: We have a “Learning through Internship” (LTI) coordinator, who is also our school counselor. He works to build community connections with businesses and organizations that would be willing to host an intern. We are currently building an internship database that will continue to be updated as students complete their personalized learning plans and we know their passions and interests. Students will seek their own internship opportunity from our database of internships. Community and business support is critical to this component of the program. We’re grateful to have wonderful community partners, such as the Chamber of Commerce, who are supporting us with this portion of our programming.