Charter School of Wilmington

Charter School of Wilmington
Charter School of Wilmington
100 N. DuPont Road
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
Coordinates 39°45′12″N 75°35′18″W / 39.75328°N 75.58832°W / 39.75328; -75.58832
Motto Expect the Best!
Opened 1996
School district Red Clay Consolidated School District[1]
CEEB Code 080164
President Charles Baldwin
Staff 66
Grades 9-12
Gender coed
Campus type urban
Athletics Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association
Athletics conference Blue Hen Conference
Nickname The Force
National ranking 36[2]
Newspaper 'The Blue Streak'
Yearbook 'Expectations'
Charter School of Wilm-1.JPG

The Charter School of Wilmington is a high school in Wilmington, Delaware, one of the first public/private (self governed, state funded) charter schools in the United States, opening in 1996. It occupies the third floor and a wing of the second floor of the former Wilmington High School building. There were 960 students enrolled in the fall for the 2008-2009 school year.[3]



Charter schools in Delaware were authorized by Delaware Code, Title 14, Chapter five, enacted in 1995. The school is operated by a consortium of six companies: AstraZeneca, Verizon, Delmarva Power, DuPont, Hercules Incorporated, and Christiana Care Health System.

The Charter School of Wilmington was chartered by the Red Clay Consolidated School District, and was directly descended from the 'Academy of Mathematics and Science', an earlier (now defunct) math and science magnet school run by the district. The school is a college preparatory academy that focuses on mathematics and science. Also occupying building that formerly housed Wilmington High School are the Cab Calloway School of the Arts and the James H. Groves Adult High School.

The Charter School of Wilmington is a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology.

The Charter School of Wilmington placed 127th in 2006, 75th in 2007, and 100th in 2008 in Newsweek's Top High Schools.[2] Furthermore, Charter placed 41st in 2007 and 42nd in 2008 as well as 2009 in U.S. News' America's Best High Schools, earning the Gold Medal.[4]

Novel approach to education

Rotating schedule

Charter has taken a research-based approach to class schedules. Rather than block system or a simple rotating schedule, Charter students take part in a rotating schedule with classes of different lengths. However, effective August 30, 2010, Charter began to use a modified block system, which combined the previous rotating schedule with block. With three rotating classes of 70 minutes and two fixed classes of 45 minutes(a mandatory study hall included) along with an "Activity Period" slot, the schedule allowed elongated class periods and eliminated the need for many lengthy, after-school extracurricular club meetings.

Shared classes with Cab Calloway

Students may elect to take Cab classes focused on visual arts, drama, and the musical arts, UD classes, or any other Charter classes during these periods. Cab Calloway classes are still limited in the fact that time time slots must match the two schools' schedules and thus certain courses can only be taken during certain class periods.

Research projects

Students participate in two to three mandatory research projects over the course of their four year education at Charter. During the sophomore year, all students complete a Science Fair project as a necessary requirement of their Biology class. During the junior year, students complete a Research project for their English classes. These research projects are used to reinforce (not introduce) the MLA style and to teach research for Liberal Arts fields. During the senior year, students may participate in a senior research project, involving either performing or investigating an empirical experiment, through creating an invention or shadowing a scientist. The project teaches the APA style and ends with a final presentation in front of faculty members.


General graduation requirements

Delaware state standards mandate semester-long health education and a full year of physical education, split into semester-long sophomore and junior gym classes. The Technology Utilization or Java classes satisfies the Delaware state standard for computer literacy, and three years of history and four years of math, science and English meet the state requirements for the respective subjects. A total of 24 credits are needed to graduate.

Advanced Placement

The school offers many advanced placement classes which allow students to earn college credit while still attending high school. Advanced placement courses include calculus (AB & BC), statistics, biology, chemistry, physics (C), environmental science, computer science (A), English literature, English language, Latin (Vergil), Latin literature, Spanish language, French language, U.S. history, U.S. government and politics, psychology, and economics. Many students choose to independently study for other AP exams or elect to take AP courses through the Cab Calloway School of the Arts.[5] Sometimes, academically motivated students prefer to self-study the material covered in an advanced placement class instead of attending the class. For students who choose APs as a part of their formal curriculum, taking the end-of-year national AP examination is required in order to pass the course.

Other Coursework

While not unique to Charter, there are some course offerings that are not seen at a majority of American high schools:

  • Software Engineering
  • Data Structures
  • Differential Equations
  • Digital Electronics Design
  • Robotics (introductory and advanced)
  • Forensics
  • Myths and Legends
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Philosophy
  • Photography
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
Students look over a UD MATH 243 problem after school.

Special tests

A challenge test administered to incoming freshmen allows prospective students to bypass mathematics classes up to AP Calculus AB, the Introductory Science courses, or the introductory foreign language courses. (Additional courses can be bypassed through other exams, such as the AP examinations or a French II final). These tests are not used to determine the phasing of students in each subject (Math, Science, English, History, and Foreign Language), which are determined by the admissions test. Phases range from 3-6, with non-academic classes (i.e. Driver Education and Gym) at phase 4, phase 5 being considered as honors, and AP and UD classes designated as phase 6.


The student body is made up of 960 students as of 2007-2008, including 68% of students coming from area public school districts, and 32% of the students coming from Catholic and other private schools. 99% of students attend college upon graduation. Individual students have won many state and national awards in mathematics, general science, biology, physics, journalism, French, Spanish, Latin and forensics competitions. In addition, students have also gained recognition in sports and other extracurricular activities.[1]


The student to teacher ratio is 18:1, with an average class size of 24 students.[1]

Members of Charter's faculty were Delaware's English Teacher of the Year in 1997, Conservation Teacher of the Year in 1999, recipients of the Science/Math Excellence in Teaching Award from the Science Alliance in 1999, and Delaware's History Day Teacher of the Year in 2002.[1]

Extra-curricular activities

Students play cards out front after school.


The clubs at Charter include:

  • A Capella club
  • Association for Computing Machinery - High school chapter
  • Art Club
  • Academic Bowl- National winner.
  • Chess Club
  • Drama Club
  • Dungeons and Dragons[1]
  • TEAMS Engineering Competition- Three time state champion and two time national champion for Division 4 Varsity
  • Envirothon - Perennial state champion, most recently 2008 champion of the North American Canon Envirothon competition, from among 45 states and nine Canadian provinces[6]
  • Humanitarian League of Delaware - Service Club[7]
  • Key Club[2]
  • Literary Magazine- Tangents
  • Math League - Perennial state champion since 1999 (except in 2010, where they only captured 2nd and 3rd places), national champion of Math League Press in 2005, 2008
  • Mock Trial - 3rd Place National Mock Trial 2008, 26th Place National Mock Trial 2009, 17th Place National Mock Trial 2010 - State Champions 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 17th in Nationals
  • Newspaper - The Blue Streak
  • Physics Olympiad - Twenty-four semifinalists, nine finalists, and three traveling team members representing the USA at the International Physics Olympiad since the school's inception
  • USA Biology Olympiad - Two finalists and one traveling team member since the school's inception.
  • Science Olympiad - State Champion since school's inception
  • Ski Club
  • Support our Soldiers - Raises funds and goods to be given to soldiers.
  • VEX Robotics - Top 10 nationally in 2006
  • Yearbook - Expectations, A potential candidate for the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award and Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crown Award.
  • Young Republicans
  • Young Democrats
  • Model United Nations
  • Helping the Underprivileged Globally (HUG) Club
  • URM (Under represented Minority) Cultural Awareness Club



The Charter Charger, named Lightning... Colloquially known as the "Force Horse."


  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country 2008 State Runner-up
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer- held a national ranking of 12th in the 2010 season.[citation needed]
  • Swimming 2007, 2008, 2011 State Runner-up
  • Tennis
  • Track- Indoor & Outdoor 2010 State Runner-up
  • Volleyball 2005, 2008 State Champions
  • Wrestling
  • Skateboarding


  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading-2006 State Champions; Runner-up, 2007 State Championships (Small Varsity)
  • Cross Country-2009 State Champions; 2009 County Champions, 2010 State Champions
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer- 2005 State Champion
  • Softball
  • Swimming 2006-2007 State Runner-up, 2007–2008, 2008–2009, 2009–2010, and 2010-2011 State Champions
  • Tennis
  • Track- Indoor & Outdoor
  • Volleyball

Club sports

  • Fencing
  • Ski
  • Table Tennis
  • Ultimate Frisbee


The school newspaper, The Blue Streak, was originally a small newsletter, written by students and printed on 8.5x11 inch paper. In 2002, Journalism was offered as a class and the paper received more funding. Now standard newspaper size, The Blue Streak has dozens of reporters and editors, and is published approximately eight times annually. The paper won 20 awards in the 2008 The First State High School Press Contest including 2 first place awards. [3]

Standardized exam achievement

All freshmen, sophomores and juniors at Charter take the Delaware Student Testing Program exams. Test scores at The Charter School of Wilmington are consistently the highest in the state with 100%, 99%, and 100% of Charter students in 11th grade scoring at or above expectations in reading, writing, and mathematics, respectively.[8]

  • Top-scoring Delaware high school in Math Assessments (1998–2010) [1]
  • Top-scoring Delaware high school in Reading Assessments (1998–2010)
  • Top-scoring Delaware high school in Writing Assessments (1999–2010)
  • Top-scoring Delaware high school in Science Assessments (2000–2010)
  • Top-scoring Delaware high school in Social Studies Assessments (2000–2010)
  • Highest average sat scores in the state (among all public high schools) (2000–2010)

Media Appearances

The Charter School of Wilmington has been featured on TruTV's The Principal's Office.[citation needed]


External links

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