On Thursday, January 21, Milford Senior High School held a Freshman Expo, designed to provide eighth graders and their parents with information regarding the school. The group was welcomed to the event in the auditorium by Dr. David Carter, Principal who explained that the event was designed to show students what Milford has to offer.
“You are the graduating class of 2019,” Dr. Carter said. “One thing you are going to hear for the next four years is that we want to see you ‘Walk the Green in 2019.’ It is a mantra we will repeat over and over as our main goal here is to see each and every one of you succeed. I encourage all of you to ride the tide of Buccaneer pride!”
According to Dr. Kelly Green, Assistant Principal at the school, the district issued a survey to all eighth graders, asking them what programs they would like to see offered at Milford High School. She said that one request was that a foreign language pathway be added.
“More than 67 percent of your classmates wanted to study foreign languages,” Dr. Green explained. “Others of you were interested in medical careers. We want to be able to provide you with the pathways you want so that you can work toward achieving your goals in life.”
Shawn Snyder, District Resource Specialist, said that many times, when he was talking to people in the community, he heard that parents mentioned sending their child to one of the tech schools because they offered more Advanced Placement classes.
“The fact is, that statement is simply not true,” Mr. Snyder said. “In fact, Milford is number one in AP, offering more AP courses than Sussex Tech and Polytech combined. In addition, Sussex Tech does not offer Honors Classes, while Milford does. Milford High School is a Bronze Medal Winner in AP, only one of two schools in the area to have such an achievement.” Mr. Snyder also pointed out that students at Milford were able to enroll in Dual Enrollment courses, allowing them to complete English and Math college requirements while still in high school, saving thousands in college tuition in some cases.
Dr. Green and Mr. Snyder also pointed out the availability of the Wellness Center, designed to promote the health of the students, as well as the many clubs and organizations that students could participate in as an added part of their education. To emphasize the clubs and organizations available, the Drama Club performed “I’m a Believer,” one of the songs that will be featured in the Spring Musical, “Shrek,” scheduled for March.
“One thing that you will be hearing over the next few months is that we are working to build a new high school across from Redner’s on what is known as the Simpson property,” Mr. Snyder said. “Milford is the fastest growing city in Delaware, and our schools are showing just how much we are growing. The new high school will allow us to be more competitive, offer more programs and provide a better education for our students. However, we can’t build the new school without the passage of a referendum.”
Mr. Snyder explained that the increase in taxes for the average homeowner should the referendum pass be less than the cost of a cup of flavored coffee each day. He also explained that one of the reasons the district must ask for a tax increase is that a portion of transportation costs, which used to be fully covered by the state, were now being paid by the district, an added cost that the district was having difficulty covering.
“Your students have asked for a foreign language pathway, for additional courses that could help them find good careers or do well in college,” Dr. Green explained. “We can’t offer those things without a new school because we simply do not have the space to do it.”
According to a slide show presented by the school, the new high school would house grades nine through twelve. The current high school would then become a junior high school, housing grades six through eight. The Milford Central Academy would include grades five and six, moving the fifth grade out of the elementary schools, some of which are already over capacity. The old Middle School building would be divided into two properties, with the building and parking lot being made available for public or private sector adaptive reuse. Green space surrounding the school would be adapted for a city park, available for use by surrounding neighborhoods.
“One of the things we are hoping to do once the new school is completed is to partner with Bayhealth,” Mr. Snyder explained. “We want to work with them to create a medical program that will encourage our children to return to Milford when the finish college. Without the new high school, we cannot proceed with providing your students with the programs they have requested.”
Mr. Snyder and Dr. Green said that any parents who had questions regarding the referendum could speak to Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Superintendent, who would be available at the end of the evening in the cafeteria. They also said that questions or concerns could be directed to the district office at any time.