Howard High School of Technology

Howard High School of Technology

Every Delaware school district seems to have a different idea when it comes to a hybrid model, and for the New Castle County Vo-Tech, it's one grade at a time.

NCCVT's four high schools: Delcastle, Howard, Hodgson, and St. Georges opened their doors to a limited amount of students on October 19, with freshman on Mondays, sophomores on Tuesdays, Juniors on Wednesdays, Seniors Thursdays, and then everyone learning remotely on Fridays.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Jones said 70% of his district's families chose to take advantage of the in-person option and said having that fifth day not only allows for better cleaning of buildings, but also a chance to help those who might be struggling with the hybrid or remote learning models.

"Fridays are still going strong, and we'll still have that available for students who want extra time. We're opening that up, as time goes on, to more and more students and we think that will continue to be a good avenue for those students who need it."

Jones credited Career and Technical Education Specialist Jermaine Williams for putting together a playbook that helped preview how the schools would look when students entered, especially important for the freshmen who may have only been in the buildings for open houses and may not know basic things like layouts of hallways, bathroom locations, or even where cafeterias might be.

"We underestimate the amount of work that goes into this school year, but we really are recreating almost every facet of schooling. That playbook I think answered a lot of student's questions, that was great to see.

Choosing October 19 to begin the hybrid model means NCCVT students were back in classes before the first marking period ended.

As the first quarter of the school year comes to an end, Jones said schools like Delcastle are working hard to try to close any technology gaps that exist.

"They have a program where they literally send humans out to see these students door-to-door, face-to-face, and say 'hey, what's going on?' If we can't get their parents or guardians on the phone or computer, so we're doing all we can to make sure every single one of our students are engaged."

Jones said one challenge his district is facing as it wraps up the transition to hybrid are families who have decided to go against the survey, whether that means they said they would stay remote yet sent their students to class, or wanted to be in class, but stayed remote.

How those numbers play out will determine whether students could potentially get a second in-class day, as the state wants to see if it will move out of the Yellow in Delaware's reopening schools plan.

One absence from Monday's New Castle County Vo-Tech Board of Directors meeting? There was zero public comment during the prescribed period, a time-frame that has been utilized heavily, especially by Christina, Red Clay, and Brandywine families.