Wilmington: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

In 1976 the New Castle County School District was reorganized and divided into four separate districts: Brandywine, Red Clay Consolidated, Christina (the largest), and Colonial. Each district encompasses some part of Wilmington along with other suburban communities, and each elects a seven-member board of education to govern its elementary and secondary schools. The New Castle County Vo-Tech School District provides vocational training for area students. The Christina School District offers special programs for gifted students, fine arts classes in all secondary schools, special education, including the Delaware Autistic Program, and the State's school for visually-impaired and hearing-impaired persons.

In addition to the public school system, there are seven private and parochial high schools and 10 private and parochial primary and middle schools that vary from college preparatory to religious training.

The following is a summary of data regarding Wilmington's Christina school district as of the 2002–2003 school year.

Total enrollment: 19,605

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 20

junior high/middle schools: 3

senior high schools: 3

other: 2 (Delaware Autism Program; Delaware School for the Deaf

Student/teacher ratio: 15:1

Teacher salaries (2004)

minimum: $32,559

maximum: $71,295

Funding per pupil: $9,373

The other Wilmington districts are as follows: Brandywine district (10,102 students in 18 buildings); Christina district (19,000 students in 28 buildings); Red Clay Consolidated district (16,000 students in 23 buildings); and New Castle County VoTech (3,300 students in 3 buildings).

Colleges and Universities

Since the late 1990s five additional post-secondary institutions have established operations in downtown Wilmington. Much of this growth in post-secondary education in Wilmington was the result of an aggressive recruitment strategy by the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, which called for the creation of a university campus district near Market Street. Together these efforts brought an additional 7,195 students to downtown Wilmington. Both Delaware State University and Drexel University have recently opened satellite campuses on Market Street. In addition, the Delaware College of Art and Design, Delaware's only professional art and design school, opened in 1997; and Springfield College also launched a center for human services near downtown. Other major accredited institutions in the Wilmington metropolitan region include the University of Delaware (Newark, DE); West Chester University of Pennsylvania (West Chester, PA); Widener University, with its Delaware Law School, the state's only law school (Chester, PA and downtown Wilmington campus); and Wilmington College and Golden-Beacom College (both in Wilmington).

Libraries and Research Centers

The Wilmington Institute Free Library system, consisting of the Wilmington, North Wilmington, Woodlawn, and La Biblioteca del Pueblo libraries, serves a population of 400,000 people and continues to expand in size, services offered, and collection of materials. Founded in 1788, the library houses more than 320,000 volumes, as well as a special collection of Delawareana, film and record collections, and an African American Collection of books, videos, and audio cassettes. Other public libraries include the Concord Pike, Kirkwood Highway, and Elsemere Public libraries.

Wilmington is also home to numerous special libraries. Among them are the Delaware Academy of Medicine's Lewis B. Flinn Library, devoted to consumer health; Delaware Art Museum Library; School of Law Library at Widener University; E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company Law Library; Hagley Museum and Library; and the Historical Society of Delaware Library. Research centers located in Wilmington include the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, a public-private partnership doing scientific research that is helping to develop Delaware's growing life sciences industry. In addition, five state-sponsored Advanced Technology Centers provide research and development in the areas of laser optics, semiconductors, and advanced materials. Alfred I. du Pont Institute of the Nemours Foundation performs research in pediatric orthopedics, cytogenetics, and microbial genetics. Delaware All-Sports Research performs and publishes research in sports medicine.

Public Library Information: Wilmington Institute Free Library, 10th and Market Streets, Wilmington, DE 19801; telephone (302)571-7400