Indian River School District
Although her classroom is at the end a long hallway, Marci Ginsberg’s art class does not exist in a vacuum. At John M. Clayton Elementary School, she uses art to build upon regular classroom lessons.
When fourth-graders learn about polygons, she’ll teach Picasso. When science classes learn about landforms, she’ll teach landscapes, pointing out the mountains and plateaus. She’s also inspired by current events, such as space shuttle or rocket launches.
That’s part of what made Ginsberg the JMC Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.
“I extend their learning or refine it into another way, and it’s really cool to see them make those connections,” Ginsberg said of the students.
She works closely with other teachers, building on their lessons. She also wrote module maps, so other specialist teachers can follow core classroom standards.
“She tries to align her classroom to what [teachers] are doing and the state standards,” said JMC Principal Charlynn “Char” Hopkins.
The Ocean View Historical Complex was buzzing with excitement last Friday, as all five fifth-grade classes from Lord Baltimore Elementary School were able to tour the facilities.
“It’s important, I think, for the kids to see physically what life was like in the past, what people had to deal with,” said Richard Nippes, president of the historical society.
Students were able to tour the Tunnell-West house, furnished with period furniture and artifacts; an 1800s outhouse; the town’s first post office, built in 1889; and an exact replica of Cecile Steele’s first chicken house.
While in the Tunnell-West house, students were given a tour and then sent on a scavenger hunt to find objects that they wouldn’t necessarily be familiar with today, such as a chamber pot.
They would also go outside to use a period water pump — to understand that indoor plumbing was not available when the house was built in the late 1800s.
Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.
The Indian River School District will begin using a new payment system in all cafeterias, starting June 1.
Currently, parents can prepay for their children’s meals online with the PayPAMS system. However, that payment system will be deactivated on May 27 and replaced later this summer.
Four local students are capping the school year with a June trip to Anaheim, Calif. After earning gold and silver medals at the state leadership conference, the Indian River High School students will represent Delaware at the national conference of HOSA: Future Health Professionals.
Formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, HOSA lets students learn and become leaders as they approach careers in the health field.
At state compeition in March, Meghan Paulus won first place for the Pathophysiology event; Taite Daisey won first for the Nutrition event; and Bridgette Blatzheim and Samantha Mushrush took second for the Health Career Display event. Coaches Shelly Robinson and Shirley Townsend led the team.
Paulus and Daisey demonstrated their expertise on paper at the state competition. Paulus won for pathophysiology, “the study of disease and functions in the body,” she said. That ranged from the stomach to the brain.
The Indian River School District will remain in the hands of incumbent school board members for another year. In the May 12 election, three candidates kept their seats on the Board of Education. The unofficial results were posted within an hour of the polls closing.
As she makes her way up the stairs of John M. Clayton School near Frankford — stopping every so often for an enthusiastic hug hello, careful not to miss one and unable to even if she might have — it doesn’t take long to tell that counselor Jan Bomhardt is... well, kind of “the bomb.”
That notion was made official on March 27, when Bomhardt was named the 2015 Elementary School Counselor of the Year for the state of Delaware and garnered some well-deserved recognition in the process.
“We knew she was going to be so excited,” said John M. Clayton Principal Charlynne Hopkins, who got the news a week before it was officially announced at a counselor’s luncheon in Dover. “So deserving. She’s part of our heartbeat every day. [We] couldn’t do it without her.”
While her colleagues were somehow able to keep the booming news a secret, Bomhardt still had her suspicions when both Hopkins and Vice Principal Allisa Booth accompanied her to the luncheon.
Business is the name of the game for Indian River High School’s BPA, which racked up another year of awards at the state competition this spring.
Business Professionals of America introduces students to the real world of business, and IRHS students emerged triumphant from the spring competition at Dover Downs, where hundreds of students showed their business prowess in research, administration, finance, communication, marketing and more.
With their months of hard work, IRHS students earned a chance to represent the First State at the BPA National Leadership Conference. On May 10, the finalists returned from the five-day event in Anaheim, Calif.
“It’s a really neat experience. I’m excited for everyone to go,” Hannah Davis said beforehand, having attended in 2014. “Everyone’s arriving on the same day. You’re already kind of scouting your competition.”
That mirrors a real-world business conference, advisor Jeff Bunting said.
“Not only are they there to compete, they’re there to learn in numerous seminars, workshops, networking opportunities and general informal schmoozing.”
Although he had to take a break from athletics, Charles Wayne still wanted his Eagle Scout project to help Indian River High School. So the Eagle candidate built three portable equipment boxes for the IRHS Athletic Department.
To reach the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts plan their own community service project, and as an IR senior and equipment manager for football, Wayne knew the team “didn’t really have an equipment box.” With that in mind, he also approached the other sports teams: “Hey, would you like one, as well?’”
In the end, lacrosse, soccer and football said yes.
“This is your equipment box,” Wayne told soccer coach Steve Kilby on April 23. “The idea behind it is to outfit a whole player.”
The 4-by-1.5-foot wooden cart is 2 feet deep, with two compartments. The larger is wide open, while the smaller latches shut. With wheels at one end and a handle on the other, the cart only needs one person to tote it, like a wheelbarrow. Or it can stand up, like a closet.
Three candidates are vying for one seat on Indian River School District’s Board of Education in the May 12 election. Voters in District 4 will choose between incumbent Charles M. Bireley, and challengers Gregory Michael Goldman and Judith Ladd Teoli.
Each term on the board is now five years. The winner will represent District 4, which includes Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east.
East Millsboro Elementary School received a threat on Tuesday, May 5, which placed the entire Indian River School District in a low-level lockdown.
According to Delaware State Police, around 9:50 a.m. “an unknown person called the main office of East Millsboro Elementary School, located at 29346 Iron Branch Road, Millsboro, and threatened to harm the children at that school.”
For 14 years, Jennifer Cordrey has inspired students, delighted parents and earned praise from her administrators at Indian River High School. Now the agri-science teacher has been named IR School District’s Teacher of the year.
The surprise announcement was made April 30 at the annual Teacher of the Year celebration, held near Long Neck. She was chosen as the district’s overall winner from a pool of 16 candidates — one from each school.
The audience watched video presentations about each candidate. They chuckled to see Cordrey handling a dog in her classroom. A voiceover described Cordrey’s dedication to education, as written by her coworkers, students and their parents.
“Mrs. Cordrey’s encouragement shaped me into the person I have always wanted to be, and her faith in me unlocked the potential I never thought I had,” one student said.
As of 12:20 p.m., the lockdown was lifted at Indian River School District. Delaware State Police determined that the threat at East Millsboro Elementary was not credible. School and afternoon activities will continue as usual.
School board candidates got to face their electorate directly last week, answering questions in a District 4 debate on April 21. The League of Women Voters in Sussex County hosted the non-partisan debate among candidates for the Indian River School District’s Board of Education
The Indian River School District’s school board is looking on the sunny side, having voted April 28 to take the first step toward solar power.
Sussex Central High School was one of five Delaware locations chosen for a Solar Resiliency Pilot Program.
Not only would the school “go green,” but the solar array saves money and is installed at no cost to the school district.
More than 20 years have passed since the county chorus concert, as they can recall. But a group of Sussex County teachers decided to start up the music again, forming the 2015 Sussex County Junior Honor Choir, which performed for one grand night, on April 1.
The project began last summer, with a group of teachers lamenting the lack of a choral equivalent to the county band.
“Do you want to just do it? Who says we can’t do it?” Laura Day, Georgetown Middle School choral and band teacher, recalled the group asking.
According to anecdote, the last junior concert was in 1986. A current chorus teacher remembers senior chorus in 1993.
“The only thing chorus has is All-State Chorus, but it’s very selective,” said Eric Tsavdar, Selbyville Middle School chorus director. “It gives the opportunity for students who maybe aren’t All-State level singers yet to kind of break out of their school choir and sing with a more [advanced] group.”
High schools will be invited to participate next year, and auditions will be added in future.
About 40 high school juniors filled the Sussex County Council chambers last Thursday, April 16. They were not in chambers to request a grant or make public comment on a proposed ordinance, but rather as representatives of Girls and Boys State.
Boys and Girls State are programs through the American Legion, offering high school juniors the opportunity to become part of the operation of local, county and state government.
“The national organization requires them to be a member of the junior class, becoming seniors in the fall,” explained Lyman Brenner, chairman of Delaware Boys State. “The state of Delaware has added, too, that they must be in the upper third of their class academically.”
Boys State has existed in Delaware since 1946, and those who wish to participate may be recommended from their school, previous Boys and Girls State participants, American Legion posts or military service academy nominees.
As a young father, wants to be involved in his children’s education and give a voice to other parents. That’s part of his reasoning for entering the Indian River School Board’s 2015 election.
Goldman is one of three candidates for a single District 4 seat, representing Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east. (Two candidates have already withdrawn from the race.)
“I noticed, on the school board itself, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of representation from people with families, with the children in the school district,” he said.
Goldman expects to spend the next 20 years as an IRSD parent. The Ocean View resident has 4-year-old twins and a 1-year-old baby.
“The girls will be enrolling in kindergarten a year from this fall. I wanted to start getting involved,” said Goldman, who moved to the area in 2008.
“I think that there needs to be more involvement from parents,” he said. “I think the future of the school district needs to have a voice from parents.”
Although he’ll be a new district parent, “Experience is not necessarily the most important thing. It might be time for a new voice, since it seems a lot of people on the board have been on the board a long time,” Goldman said.
Smoke was pouring from its engine just before a school bus caught flames near Millsboro on Monday, April 13.
East Millsboro Elementary School’s bus No. 64 had already picked up two students at 6:45 a.m. when it turned onto Careys Camp Road (located off Route 24, west of Route 113).
According to the 41-year-old female driver, the engine suddenly cut out, so she pulled off the roadway.
When she smelled smoke and saw flames coming from the engine, she hustled the students off the bus to a nearby house, where the authorities were called.
There were no injuries to her or the two children, ages 9 and 11.
“The bus driver did a great job getting the students off the bus and to safety,” said David Maull, Indian River School District spokesman. “She did exactly as she was trained to do and took the kids out of the back exit.”
“The courtroom is a stage,” a judge once told a local mock-trial team. If that’s the case, then Sussex Central High School is putting on a show. SCHS was the top-ranking public school at the 2015 Delaware State Mock Trial Competition, earning sixth place behind five Wilmington-area private schools and among 24 teams total.
Annually, teams are judged at the New Castle County Court House by a panel of attorneys and other legal professionals. Actual justices preside over the mock-trial courtroom.
A relatively young team, SCHS worked hard for four months, as well as the previous four years.
“Five years ago, we were ranked 25th in the state,” noted coach Helen Elliott.
On average, the school has improved by five spots every year, including taking 11th place in 2014.
Each school has two teams: plaintiff and defense. Both halves compete against other schools in the courtroom, arguing a pre-written case.
The Indian River High School Alumni Association’s third annual “FUN-raiser” on Saturday, April 18, will allow alumni and their supporters to celebrate green-and-gold with a night of all-you-can-eat food, music, prizes, cornhole games and a return of the IRHS Alumni license plates, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Frankford Fire Hall, the use of which has been donated by the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company.
Attendees will be able to fill up on homemade pit beef, hot sausages, mac’n’cheese, the Tribbitt Family’s Famous Clam Chowder and desserts. Drinks are free, including beer, wine and soda.
Guests will be able to bid for “Chinese” and live auction items. They can bring up to three canned goods for the local food pantry or animal shelter and receive up to 3 “Chinese auction” tickets.
This is the one night each year to get Indian River alumni license plates, with the Indian chief logo designed by IR students. With the winning bid, people can drive around with their lucky number, graduation year, wedding anniversary or other combination, or get a gift for a soon-to-be-graduate. The number list is online at www.IRHSalumni.com.
Tickets cost $30 in advance, available from many alumni members or at IndianRiverAlumni@gmail.com. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Education is simply “my background,” Judith “Judy” Ladd Teoli said. “It’s what I spent my life doing.”
She’s now turning that lifetime into momentum for her campaign for Indian River School Board’s 2015 election. Teoli is one of four candidates for a single District 4 seat, representing Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east.
On a typical day, a gray furball runs circles around Jennifer Cordrey’s classroom at Indian River High School.
Baloo the bunny is one of a menagerie of ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and a chinchilla that live in Cordrey’s room. Leopard geckos are coming soon.
“There’s always been some kind of animal running around,” Cordrey said of her agricultural-science classroom.
Bringing life to the class, Cordrey was named IRHS Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.
Cordrey has taught “agri-science” — an umbrella term for animal science, horticulture, pre-veterinary science, landscaping, turf management and more — at IRHS for 14 years.
“I’ve always had a knack for animals,” said the woman who once wanted to be a veterinarian. But a college professor planted the seed of teaching in her head, and it blossomed.
That, in turn, led to Indian River’s greenhouse of flowers, pond of fish and classrooms of animals. The diversity of life teaches students to handle unique creatures. They learn the responsibility, but also compassion, needed in raising animals.
Teens are running the show at Indian River High School’s Variety Show, for one weekend only, March 27 and 28.
“We hope to continue to maintain that high level” of performance that the community is used to “and provide nice entertainment for the public,” said IRHS Music Director Nathan Mohler.
The musicians are getting creative, with a drum line, sax quartet and rocking Bruno Mars finale. There’s even an acoustic cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”
The lineup ranges from music to stage routines, including a comedy game show. Musical renditions include a variety of genres: country (Aaron Lewis), R&B (Whitney Houston), pop rock (One Republic), Christian music and more.
Most of the acts have live accompaniment from a 27-piece pit band.
“We have a very good variety,” Mohler said.
The student performers also decided what they wanted to put on stage, choosing their own songs and acts.
“I’ve always felt, in the music world, a performer’s gonna get more out of it [based on] what they put in,” Mohler said. “If they’re doing what they want, they’re gonna care more about it… harbor that same passion and intensity.”
Kelsea Dell wouldn’t want to do anything else besides teach eighth-grade math at Selbyville Middle School.
“Even though it can be challenging, with the hormonal changes that goes on between sixth and eighth grade … they’re a super-cool group of kids. It’s fun,” Dell said.
After teaching her first year at SMS, she spent four at Millsboro Middle School and has come home to be named Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 at her own alma mater.
“I wouldn’t do anything else. I graduated from this district,” Dell said. “I loved Millsboro Middle, [but] this is where I came from. … I wanted to get back home.”
Now, her former teachers are her SMS colleagues.
“That’s the good thing about this area,” she said. “It’s so small — even when you come back, in education they still remember you.”
Editor's Note: After filing for the election, candidate Lloyd Evan Elling withdrew from the race after the Coastal Point deadline.
The Indian River School Board’s 2015 election looks like a very off-kilter game of musical chairs. Five candidates are running for one position in District 4 (Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east).
The future of medicine was on display at the A.I. DuPont Hospital in Wilmington last Friday, in an event organized by HOSA-Future Health Professionals (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America) that included Indian River High School seniors Krystal Gonzalez and Montanyah Hall, who presented their research on achondroplasia.
Do video games alter our awareness of time? Does your gender affect your memory? Which is stronger: bamboo or phragmites?
These are just a few of the questions students asked for the 2015 Sussex County Science Fair.
Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the second marking period in the 2014-2015 school year.
Students receiving high honors (grades 93 to 100) included: