From the Executive Director

Powering Through to Finish Construction
December 2023

And then it’s December! I am not sure how that happened so quickly – although the beginning of the school year always streams into Halloween into family-teacher conferences into Thanksgiving and then into the scramble of the holiday season at high speed. Then add the choreography of moving classrooms and teachers around the needs and logistics of the construction! The desk sign that a colleague gave me, “Chaos Coordinator”, describes the days here at 700 N. Walnut Street rather precisely!

The urgency to finish the construction is undeniable—from burst pipes and malfunctioning HVAC systems to windows held in place with electrical tape to leaking roofs and chipped flooring. This is matched with the sense of urgency to continue serving our children and their families. These both require the pressing need to meet our fundraising goal to finish the renovations on schedule by summer 2024 so we can continue our work.

I am thrilled and humbled to share that we have raised $4 million towards the $6.7 million needed to complete the project. The wonderful support from local foundations, government entities, current and past Board members and a core group of donors with a history of service to St. Michael’s have been instrumental in helping to launch the campaign. Now, we need YOUR help to reach our goal and complete the renovations.

St. Michael’s has stayed open during construction and our families have stayed with us. They understand that while safety is the first priority, the quality of the early education and care we offer must continue at a high level. At this phase of the project, our motto has become “we not only power through; we consistently raise the bar”.  Our 30,000 sq.ft. facility has always been pristine and well-equipped; the construction rebuilds and strengthens the infrastructure to deepen the integrity of the facility itself. Our outdoor space, also almost 30,000 sq.ft., not only offers our children places to run, jump, swing, and slide, but also now has an outdoor classroom and is a certified outdoor learning space. Outdoor curriculum coordinators work with every class weekly, introducing children to the wonders and science of nature so our children have the opportunity to experience nature at its urban best.

St. Michael’s continues to attract educators who are lifelong learners. Even during the pandemic, members of our staff achieved their Child Development Associate (CDA) certification, an internationally recognized credential soon to be the baseline in Delaware. Presently, we have 10 staff in that pipeline.  We also have two trained and certified CDA coaches on staff to guide and support the process. I am very proud of all that our staff have accomplished over the last few years. The pandemic challenged us in historic fashion, but we consistently answered those challenges with the practice of holding the highest standards of best practice for our profession.    We have welcomed the addition of Head Start and other state-funded programs. These programs commit us to a significant increase in the supports and guidance we offer our families.

Building a foundation for learning requires many things—safety, trust, and a mutual feeling of hope for the futures of these children and families. I cannot stress enough the importance of your support of this campaign to continue building this foundation.  Your investment will help us finish the renovations, sustain high quality early care and education for the next generation and expand supports for our families and the city we have served for over a century.

Thank you for your trust and support. Come visit us for a tour to see the latest construction. It really is all starting to come together!

Wishing you and yours a happy, warm, and healthy holiday season.


Lucinda Ross, M.Ed.
Executive Director