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SCASD votes to change Delta Program into schools; parents worry about potential effects

A sign in the State College Area School District's Delta Program building.
Anne Danahy
A sign in the State College Area School District's Delta Program building. The State College Area School District's Board of Directors voted to transition the program to two schools for the 2025-2026 school year.

The Delta middle and high programs in the State College Area School District will become classified as schools in 2025, following a unanimous decision at Monday’s board of directors meeting.

“I think there are a few benefits to making this shift," said Amy Bader, the president of the Board of Directors.

Bader said as schools, Delta middle and high schools will have their own school climate surveys and test data, instead of having it combined with the district’s other schools.

“There’s not an intent to change what Delta is or the direction it is. I think the only hope from anybody at the table and the administration is things to get better for students," Bader said.

Zofia Sullivan is a Delta high school student who also served on the Delta school exploratory committee. She says data is important, but:

“My fear is that reducing Delta’s essence to test scores oversimplifies its impact," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says many Delta students fear the school board and district do not understand what Delta is, and worry what changes could come down the line.

Linnet Brooks is a parent with a child in the Delta program. She also served on the exploratory committee.

"I am deeply torn. I would have loved to have seen Delta remain a program instead of become a school," Brooks said.

Brooks worries having Delta-specific data on standardized tests could lead to curriculum or culture changes down the line. She said many Delta students opt out of the PSSA or Keystone exam.

Pennsylvania schools must come up with an improvement plan if their participation rates drop below 95%.

Brooks also worries a Delta diploma may not have the same credibility as a State High diploma.

"My family may have a series of conversations surrounding that, which end up with my child leaving Delta," Brooks said.

A transition committee will work on a plan over the next six months to decide on names for the Delta middle and high schools, create a new plan for branding, decide if students want a separate graduation ceremony, and decide if graduation requirements should change.

That plan will be presented to the board at its Dec. 2 meeting. The two schools, one for grades 6-8 and the other for grades 9-12, will start in the 2025-2026 school year.

Sydney Roach is a reporter and host for WPSU with a passion for radio and community stories.