Beyond the challenge of leaving summer days behind, students, educators and administrators are facing a few challenges as students head back to class on Aug. 25.

Beyond the challenge of leaving summer days behind, students, educators and administrators are facing a few challenges as students head back to class on Aug. 25.

From changes in state standards to handling the aftermath of a failed referendum, Milford School District is faced with the challenge of implementing new standards and testing while battling a tight budget. Here’s a breakdown of what Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel said are the top challenges for the district to overcome throughout the 2014-2015 school year:

 

OVERCROWDING

In 2013, the University of Delaware conducted a student growth survey that predicted an increase of about 45 students throughout the district this school year. As of Aug. 18, the Milford School District tripled that expectation, with new applications still coming in at Evelyn L. Morris Early Childhood Center and the district’s elementary schools. Because of the closing of the Milford Middle School in June 2013, middle school students are crammed into Milford Central Academy, which is currently over capacity. Kohel said the overcrowding will not affect teaching, but will have a negative impact on the physical space available to students and may pose a safety concern.

 

BUDGET CUTS

At the beginning of the fiscal year, Milford school board members voted to make more than $500,000 in cuts to the district’s budget, including 20-percent cuts to individual school and department budgets. Each school administrator is struggling with the cuts, which come in addition to a previous 10-percent cut the prior year.

 

A NEW STATE ASSESSMENT: DCAS VS. SMARTER BALANCED

Students across Delaware took the last-ever full round of testing with the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) in June, and now schools are preparing for the Smarter Balanced assessment this school year. Smarter Balanced is aligned with the Common Core, and replaces the multiple-choice style DCAS with more written responses. Educators expect a significant decline in state assessment scores this year because of the new test.

 

NEW STATE STANDARDS: COMMON CORE

This isn’t the first year for Common Core State Standards at Milford School District, but Kohel said the challenge will be completely aligning curriculum in all grade levels to Common Core standards.

 

BY THE NUMBERS: OVERCROWDING AT MSD

EVELYN L. MORRIS EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER

School Capacity: 603 2013-2014 Student Population: 422 2014-2015 Student Population: 428 Enrollment Difference: +6 BENJAMIN BANNEKER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

School Capacity: 720 2013-2014 Student Population: 514 2014-2015 Student Population: 536 Enrollment Difference: +22 LULU ROSS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

School Capacity: 650 2013-2014 Student Population: 615 2014-2015 Student Population: 640 Enrollment Difference: +25 MISPILLION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

School Capacity: 720 2013-2014 Student Population: 539 2014-2015 Student Population: 571 Enrollment Difference: +32 MILFORD CENTRAL ACADEMY

School Capacity: 1,000 2013-2014 Student Population: 996 2014-2015 Student Population: 1,053 Enrollment Difference: +34 MILFORD HIGH SCHOOL

School Capacity: 1,200 2013-2014 Student Population: 1,028 2014-2015 Student Population: 1,053 Enrollment Difference: +25