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January 24,  2006

 A recommendation to establish a college preparatory high school in Wilmington is expected to be presented to the Christina school board within the next couple of months. Although a public school, it would be a boarding school.

Maurice Pritchett, assistant to the superintendent for family and community engagement and advocacy, told Delaforum that the committee which he co-chairs with Raye Jones-Avery, past president of Kuumba Academy, was ready to go before the board last autumn, but has held up while the district hires a new superintendent and conducts a bond referendum.

Modeled on the Seed School of Washington, an academically rigorous academy serving inner-city students in the District of Columbia, the goal would be to have all of its graduates go on to a college education.

The Wilmington school would also be directed toward economically disadvantaged youth, although it would look to draw students from families of various income levels from throughout New Castle County, Pritchett said.

The advantage of a boarding school, he added, is that students not only would be removed from day-to-day contact with such things as drugs and street crime but also would be in an environment where they would focus on their education.

The school in Washington is sponsored by the non-profit Seed Foundation. The one in Wilmington, Pritchett said, would be run under the auspices of the Christina district. It would necessarily require additional financial backing because of its room-and-board requirements.

Pritchett has been an educator in Wilmington for many years. A graduate of Howard High and Delaware State University, he was principal of Bancroft during the transition to court-ordered desegregation in the late 1970s.

He acknowledges a full measure of idealism in the plan, but points out that the committee is composed of people with their feet firmly on the ground. Mayor Jim Baker is one of the members.

  Only one in five college graduates and nearly a third of those earning two-year associate degrees have only basic quantitative literacy skills, a national survey by the American Institutes for Research found. That means that they can't estimate if their car has enough gasoline to get to the next gas station or calculate the total cost of ordering office supplies. CLICK HERE to reach the Institutes' website to read a summary or access the full report.

  Saying Massachusetts could become a legal battleground in the war over childhood obesity, a Washington, D.C., nutrition group has threatened a lawsuit in Boston against the Nickelodeon cable network and Kellogg Co. for using cartoon characters like Sponge Bob Square Pants and Tony the Tiger to sell junk food to children.  MORE

  Chief executive officers of major companies are now being paid 400 times what the average worker makes. The Houston Post reported that in reference to proposed new Securities and Exchange Commission regulations that would require corporations to be more forthright in disclosing executives' salaries. CLICK HERE to read the article.

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