Sussex County Delaware
Woodbridge Students
Better in Most Areas
Sussex Beat, July 24, 2002

NOTE: Sussex Beat is a log of news briefs and commentary by Kerin Magill, editor of Sussex County Online, with contributions from Sussex County Online users.


Kerin Magill, Sussex County Online

SC Online

Woodbridge Students Better in Most Areas

By and large, Woodbridge School District students posted nice gains over previous results in the Delaware Student Testing Program.

While Woodbridge 8th and 10th graders continued to struggle in Math and 3rd, 5th and 10th graders are still having trouble in Writing, the district fared better in most of the tests than in previous years.

District students performed particularly well on the Reading test, as the 5th, 8th and 10th graders posted their best scores in the history of the DSTP.

Despite the improvements, Woodbridge students still have some catching up to do compared to other students state-wide.

Eighth graders were in the bottom three among 36 schools in the state in Reading, Writing and Math. Tenth graders, meanwhile, were next to last in the state in Math and 25th out of 31 schools in Writing.

The best ranking for any Woodbridge grade was in third grade writing, where Woodbridge third graders finished 63rd out of 87 schools.

Following is a look at how each Woodbridge class performed on each of the Spring 2002 tests.

  • 3rd Graders -- Woodbridge third graders improved dramatically in Reading as 70.08 percent met the standards in 2002 compared to 60.14 percent in 2001. That was still a little lower than the 71.32 percent of third graders who met the Reading standard in 2000.

  • 5th Graders -- Fifth graders posted their best Reading score in five years of testing with 70.8 percent meeting the Reading standards in 2002.

  • 8th Graders -- Eighth graders at Woodbridge Middle School posted their best score as 62.35 percent met the Reading standard in 2002. That's up more than 5 percent from the 57.14 percent of 8th graders who met the standard last year.

  • 10th Graders -- At 60.0 percent, 2002 saw the highest percentage of 10th graders who met state standards on the Reading test. It's the first time in the program's five years that more than half of the 10th graders met the standards.
  • 3rd Graders -- While not quite as many third graders met the Math standards as the 72.06 percent who did so in 2000, this year's third graders did beat last year's with 65.47 percent meeting the standards. That represents a 26 percent increase over the 39.74 percent who met the standards in the DSTP's first year in 1998.

  • 5th Graders -- Fifth graders continued their steady improvement as 58.39 percent met the Math standard this year. Fifth graders have improved in Math each year. In 2001, 55.48 percent met the standards.

  • 8th Graders -- This year's 8th graders improved over last year's 8th graders but still, only 28.24 percent met the Math standards in 2002. The 28.24 percent figure is the best of any 8th grade class at the middle school in five years of testing.

  • 10th Graders -- The good news is that this year's 10th graders improved dramatically over the previous two years with an 18 percent jump in the number of students who met the Math standards. The bad news is that only 29.47 percent of this year's 10th graders met the Math standard.
  • 3rd Graders -- Third graders continue to struggle with Writing as just 35.97 percent met the standards in 2002. That's better than the 27.85 percent who met the standard in 2001, but it represents a substantial decrease from the 44.53 percent who met the standards in 2000, the 50.0 percent who met them in 1999, and the 63.45 percent who met them in 1998.

  • 5th Graders -- Like the third graders, Woodbridge fifth graders have also fallen in Writing, with just 35.33 percent meeting the standards this year. That's down from the 47.37 percent who met the standard in 2001 and the 54.78 percent who met it in 1998.

  • 8th Graders -- This year's 8th graders posted dramatic improvements over previous 8th graders as 56.73 percent met the standard this year. That's nearly 14 percent better than the previous high of 42.95 percent of 8th graders who met the standards in 2001.

  • 10th Graders -- The most disappointing of the 10th graders' results, the 27.66 percent who met the Writing standards this year represented a 20 percent drop from the 47.71 percent who met the standard in 2001. That figure had been a 30 percent increase over 2000.
Storm Reminds Bethany of Flooding Woes

The four-hour storm that dumped up to seven inches of rain in Bethany Beach on Friday, July 19, 2002, didn't really help the dry conditions there.

And flooding caused by the downpour, besides closing roads in the resort town's business district, reminded residents who may have forgotten during the drought that the town still has severe drainage problems.

Flooding during storms is a perennial problem in Bethany Beach, where the fire company often has to park its vehicles on Route 1 until floodwaters recede in the fire station.

But in the case of last Friday's storm, one local man who has spent the better part of four years seeking to solve the town's drainage problems said, "the only thing that would have helped is a dome over the town."

Harry Steele, who spearheaded two projecs designed to help with flooding in the town, said last week's storm caused a drain at the town's Loop Canal to collapse.

He said even though the town is now moving forward on drainage work on Pennsylvania Avenue -- which usually sees the worst flooding of any street in town -- as well as an inflatable bladder where the Loop Canal joins the Assawoman Canal -- rainfall such as last week's storm is unbeatable.

The storm also caused power outages throughout the area, forcing store owners to operate by candelight. Lightning strikes, including one on a Bethany Beach home, kept emergency workers busy throughout the afternoon. One couple's car ended up in a stormwater pond at Sea Colony because water was so high around the pond the driver couldn't see it.

Even though storms like last Friday's will cause flooding even under the best conditions, Steele said the drainage work on Pennsylvania will help with more routine rains, which still cause flooding on some town streets.

Town officials will meet Monday, July 29, with a consulting engineer with Davis, Bowen & Friedel to begin to finalize the scope of the project. Steele said the cost could range from $100,000 to $1 million.

Another project, the inflatable dam, is moving forward as Davis, Bowen & Friedel prepares a promotional video, showing just how it would work. The town will use the video to seek funding for the project.

One Week to Enter Millsboro Pageant

WIth just a few weeks to go before the annual Big Thursday Festival in Millsboro, sponsors remind residents that entrants in the Millsboro Pageant must register by July 31.

Participants compete for titles in four age groups: Little Miss (ages 4-6); Juvenile Miss (ages 7-9); Junior Miss (ages 10-12) an Miss Teen Millsboro (ages 13-16). Crowns, sashes, savings bonds and other gifts will be awarded.

The pageant will be held Thursday, Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Little League Complex on State Street. For information and applications, call the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce at 934-6777 or e-mail All entrants must live within the 19966 zip code.

The Miss Millsboro Scholarship Pageant, a preliminary to the Miss Delaware Pageant, will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, the day before the Big Thursday Festival officially opens, at the Millsboro Civic Center at Wilson Highway and Mitchell Street. The pageant is open to young women ages 17 to 24.

Both pageants are featured elements of the Big Thursday summer celebration, which also boasts an auction, a 5K run, a horseshoe tournament, a farm equipment show with an antique tractor pull, and food and crafts.

For complete Big Thursday festival information, visit the Chamber's website at

Gordons Pond Reopens After Chick Fledges

Now that the season's last piping plover chick has fledged, the half-mile stretch of beach at Cape Henlopen State Park's Gordons Pond area that has been fenced off for most of the summer to protect nesting piping plovers will be reopened this weekend, according to Park Administrator Pat Cooper.

The fencing will be removed on Saturday afternoon, so visitors can expect the area to be fully open on Sunday, Cooper said.

The chick has been seen flying from the nesting site in the pond area to the ocean surf, where it now prefers to forage. Two chicks from another Gordons Pond nest fledged.

However, the Point area of the park will remain closed, even though two chicks fledged there earlier this month and two more are expected to fly in about 10 days.In this historical nesting area, the annual closure is set by the state's Piping Plover Management Plan, not when the chicks can fly. Oceanside will reopen to the public on Sept. 1 and bayside will reopen Oct. 1.

With three nests documented at The Point, two at Gordons Pond and one at Delaware Seashore State Parks for the first time in 12 years, there was a possibility of 24 chicks.

Things took a disappointing turn shortly thereafter. Only two chicks were hatched at the earliest Gordons Pond nest; however they did survive and fledged in early July. The other Gordons Pond pair had to renest and three chicks were hatched on June 24. That nest's lone surviving chick is the one that began flying this week.

One chick was produced at the Delaware Seashore nest, but it and the parents were not seen after mid-June.

"It looks like we will wrap up the season with seven chicks," according to Holly Niederriter, the Division of Fish and Wildlife's nongame and endangered species biologist. "No matter how hard DNREC and volunteers work to help the plovers recover, we always seem to be hanging on by our fingertips. There is so little piping plover habitat left that it is very difficult to turn things around."

Last year there were nine fledglings. In 2000, five chicks fledged and in 1999 six chicks fledged.

DNREC's Piping Plover Recovery Program has been a joint effort of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Division of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Soil and Water Conservation for 14 years.

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