This story was originally published on Set. 1, 2022 by WMDT 47. Written by Javari Burnett.


DOVER, Md.- “There’s no other opportunity in the state of Delaware like this and we’re excited for the challenge of middle school,” Associate Principal Dara Savage said.

Delaware State University’s Early College School just got bigger with the addition over 150 students in its new Early College Middle School. “We wanted to create that college going culture at an earlier age,” Savage said.

“I wanted to come here so I can get a better education,” 8th grade student Zach Gilbert said.

Associate Principal Dara Savage says the goal is to provide students with a quality education, with instructors dedicated to their academic success.

She adds its been quite the adjustment for students. “To see them come in and be so nervous and so afraid of everything because they’ve never been in middle school before in this type of setting,” Savage said.

“To see them go and look at their schedule and actually remember where to go and get in their locker because that’s a right of passage for middle school. They’re starting to get it.”

Students enrolled at ECMS can continue on to the Early College High School where they have the chance to earn up to 60 college credits, giving them a strong start if they choose to pursue a higher education.

“I think it will give me more college credits so when I go into college it will be easier,” 7th grade student Jayla Dukes said.

“We don’t let them take college classes unless they’re ready. So we make sure they’re ready so they’re successful once they enter those college classes,” Savage said.

As the program takes in its youngest students ever, they hope to give them a head start to not only become future college students but continue their education at the first states only HBCU. “They’re already hornets. Dr. Allen, the President of the University, was here to welcome them on their first day and he told them you’re part of us,” Savage said.

“It’s just an easy continuum that a lot of our students are taking advantage of.”

School officials tell 47ABC the class of 2020 saved their families over $600,000 due to the number of college credits students received while in the ECS program.

To find out more about ECS, click here