Indian River School District
Four seats up for grabs in May 12 election — filing deadline nears
Election season is approaching for the Indian River School District’s Board of Education.
Four seats are up for election this year: two seats in District 1 (northern Georgetown), one seat in District 2 (north Millsboro to south Georgetown) and one seat in District 4 (Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east).
Each term is for five years, ending June of 2020.
Four seats on the Indian River School District’s Board of Education’s will be up for grabs during a May 12 election, and the deadline to file for one of those seats is right around the corner on March 6.
Editor's Note: The Quarter Auction is rescheduled again for Friday, March 13. The inclement weather date will be March 27.
The mission continues to plan a more affordable prom. The junior class of Indian River High School will host a Quarter Auction on Friday, Feb. 20, to raise funds for the prom.
It’s science fair season, and Phillip C. Showell Elementary School recently hosted a Science Night to get students in the mood. Second-graders and their parents attended a special presentation at Selbyville Public Library, where they learned how to create an experiment.
“We’re exactly one month out from the Science Fair,” said Corey Dietrich, a second-grade teacher.
So it’s time to start brainstorming.
Dietrich’s class had created a homemade car, powered by a mousetrap (don’t worry, parents — he adjusted the safety snapping mechanism). He explained the entire process, from the first hypothesis to building a car, as well as collecting and organizing data.
There will be live judging for the first time at the March Science Fair. So kids will present their projects and answer questions, rather than leaving their project in an empty gym for judges to see.
For months, Indian River School District officials have plodded through the divisive topic of how to teach Human Sexuality to 600 ninth-graders each year. This week, the Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a new sex-ed curriculum for high school. (The middle school curriculum process has yet to begin.)
The people speak
Every year, public school students take a comprehensive state test. And, as the Indian River School District prepares to use the newest version of that test, parents and guardians can learn more, at a pair of public forums set for this week.
Whether the students earned stellar grades or just gave their best in the classroom, Indian River High School wants to celebrate its Students of the Month.
Although the Indian River School District has finished the first leg of the sex-education marathon by drafting a new high school curriculum, the next hurdle looms, with a public forum. Fulfilling a promise made to the public by district officials, the forum is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Millsboro Middle School.
The public is welcome to attend.
The Indian River School District, in partnership with Academic Partnerships LLC, will host a teacher recruitment fair on Feb. 21 at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, Md.
For students in the National Junior Honor Society, even the most special celebration is an opportunity to help others. After wrapping up a successful canned food drive, the Southern Delaware School of the Arts Honor Society held a fancy holiday dinner — and wrapped gifts for homeless teens.
“I just feel helping out people who don’t have what the average human should have [is important],” said Zachary Ables, an eighth-grader. “It’s such a great thing to be helping out those children.”
The dinner at One Coastal was meant to celebrate the hard work the Honor Society had already done in the fall. The group consists of 16 eighth-graders. Besides dressing up and enjoying a buffet with their families, they giftwrapped the hats and gloves they had purchased for 75 teenagers at the Hope & Life Outreach (HALO) homeless shelter in Salisbury, Md.
“I was really proud of them,” said Amy Hughes, teacher and Honor Society advisor. “They’re just so into it.”
Ables said the students were impressed with their guest speaker, who fundraises to donate items for HALO.
Student council members are helping their classmates give back this holiday season. Indian River High School recently finished its second annual food collection for Home of the Brave, a Milford nonprofit helping homeless veterans transition to more stable homes and jobs.
“It feels like you’re doing something,” said senior and Council President Clayton Hardy. “This is meant to feed a veteran’s home.”
“They serve our country, so we have to give back on some level,” senior Alison Jennings said.
Regarding the most basic of human needs, junior Sami Mumford expressed the root of the problem: “I don’t like to be hungry,” she said simply.
Staff advisor Frank Shockley helped the students organize the food drive. Last year, he said, it was “really nice” to deliver the food in person and meet the facility director and some vets.
“They actually helped us unload. They were very thankful, a very nice group of individuals,” Shockley said.
He described the donations building, which serves the homeless:
“When they finally find a home for them,” the veterans “go shopping” to fill their homes with furniture and food.
“It’s the nice thing to do,” said junior Sofia DiGirolamo of the effort.
Selbyville Middle School has taken leadership to the next level, as local students fill four of five positions on the state student council (Delaware Student Council Association).
“We have had a great run of leadership at the state level in the student council,” Superintendent Susan Bunting has said. That’s due to help and encouragement of SMS advisor Patricia Jennings.
This year SMS students swept the entire council, aside from the presidency, held by Jordan Ide of Smyrna Middle School.
SMS councilmembers include Vice President Dominic Patille, grade 8, Secretary Gabrielle “Gabby” Tierney, 7th, Treasurer Chloe McCabe, 7th, and Historian Maddie Weber, 8th.
Half the battle was showing up, the students said. Statewide, only a few middle school delegations could break away from regular classwork to participate in elections.
The young leaders heard speeches by Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell, plus Carrie Hart of Volunteer Delaware.
One controversial novel will remain on bookshelves at a local high school after students and adults spoke in favor of retaining access to “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and against censorship.
Sussex Central High School had suddenly removed the novel from library bookshelves, student Bryce Molnar had reported at the November meeting of Indian River School Board.
Indian River High School this week announced its honor roll students for the most recent marking period in the 2014-2015 school year. Among the students receiving high honors were:
When her coworker hit the ground during the Nov. 12 lunch hour, Wendy Webb’s training and quick thinking may have saved a life.
It was lunchtime at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts when chief custodian Glen Timmons collapsed in the cafeteria.
His heart had stopped.
“Everyone heard a loud bang, and he was down on the ground,” said Principal Neil Beahan. “Wendy Webb was there very quickly.”
She and other staff members had trained for situations like this. The SDSA response team assembled immediately.
“Glen was not responsive, so we shocked him and did some compressions,” Beahan said. “Slowly and surely, Mr. Glen came back to us, and by the time the paramedics arrived, he was a lot more coherent.”
“We do AED drills every year for a purpose, and it’s to make these kind of situations reactive,” Beahan said. “And it worked perfectly.”
Students interested in applying for several special programs in the Indian River School District for the 2015-2016 school year are required to submit state school choice applications and district supplemental forms, officials reminded students and their parents this week.
For more than eight years, members of the Cripple Creek Bridge Club have raised money in order to donate Christmas gifts to local needy children. Judie Davis said they work with Phillip C. Showell Elementary School to find local children in need.
“Every year they have a huge list of families who are needy,” said Davis, noting that the families are screened by social services.
The club raises money in November, through donations from club members, and later purchases gifts.
“For each child there is a list of wants and needs,” said Davis. “We do the ‘needs’ first, and then a few of the ‘wants.’”
Club member Carolyn Corrigan praised Davis and Aimee Marvel for their involvement in organizing the effort each year.
“They collect all the coupons they can find in order to get the most for our money and make the children happy with both fun and useful gifts. Then, they organize each child’s gifts on a table and pair things together so each child will have the same number of packages,” she said. “Judie and Aimee go above and beyond.”
When families arrive at the new Indian River School District’s Food Pantry, they don’t have to bring tax statements or financial papers.
“If they’re here, they’re hungry,” said Michele Murphy. “They do have to complete Food Bank paperwork, but there’s no proof that’s required.”
As IRSD Parent Center coordinator, Murphy helps many families with anything from college planning to free clothing.
Located within the G.W. Carver Educational Center in Frankford, people can select 30 free pounds of food items and 5 pounds of personal products.
Students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View collected 2,300 non-perishable items during a recent food drive to assist needy families in the area.
Organized by school counselor Theresa O’Shields, the food drive asked students to collect cans and other non-perishable items during a five-day period in November. Students and staff then sorted the items and prepared boxes for needy families.
Lord Baltimore school safety monitor Barry Dean sponsored a pizza party for the classroom that collected the most items. The honor went to Kayla Bollinger’s fourth-grade class, which collected 262 items.
Public forum planned before adoption
The Indian River School District is having a pretty intimate conversation, under the watchful eyes of the community. Despite years of teaching health, IRSD is writing its first official health curriculum, where sex-education is the hot topic.
Lord Baltimore Elementary School parents got a now-familiar kind of phone call in late November. Their children would be getting a new principal — their third in less than two full school years.
Pamela Webb is coming from East Millsboro Elementary School to finish the school year in a spot vacated by Ann Marie Logullo.
The following students at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts were named to the school’s honor roll for the first marking period of the 2014-2015 school year.
Receiving Honors were:
Although not quite so packed as its meeting in October, the Indian River School Board still had a larger audience than usual on Nov. 24. Nearly every member of the public present wanted to discuss the proposed health curriculum and, more specifically, Board Member Shaun Fink’s comments in favor of abstinence-only sexual education and the exclusion of homosexuality from the curriculum.
Most students at Indian River High School aren’t old enough to join the armed forces. But that doesn’t mean the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) can’t celebrate the ideals and 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
“It’s honoring the Marines and the way they celebrate their founding. Without them, we wouldn’t have this,” said sophomore Kayla Emerson.
The U.S. Marine Corps was founded Nov. 10, 1775. Every year, JROTC cadets stand tall at the annual school dinner celebration, hosted with friends and family, this time on Nov. 13.
Those families are “integral to our success” — fundraising, driving students, cleaning uniforms and much more, said instructor Maj. Frank Ryman (Ret.).
“It’s fun giving them a taste of what we do every day at school and sharing fellowship with them,” Emerson said.
Now dressed in camouflage and taking a leadership class, she joined JROTC because she was impressed by a middle-school recruitment day. But she stayed because of “the support from everybody. And you get really close to Gunny and Major,” she said of instructors Lester “Gunny” James and Ryman.
For the second year, the Indian River Band Boosters are raffling off a “Wreath of Wealth,” full of gift cards, to raise money for the upcoming spring band trip.
An American military force that’s older than the United States, the Marine Corps was immensely proud to celebrate 238th birthday last week, and Indian River High School JROTC cadets stood just as tall as their military counterparts at the annual school dinner celebration on Nov. 7.
Founded in 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps now use the cake-serving ceremony as “a symbol of passing traditions, customs and courtesies from the old corps to the new corps,” said JROTC instructor Maj. Frank Ryman (Ret.).
After cutting the cake with a sword, the oldest cadet passes a slice of cake to the youngest cadet. Therefore, C/Pvt. Annel Calles Vildiva ceremoniously passed more than 200 years of history to C/PVT Jessie O’Neal in front of their classmates, families, guests from AMVETS, American Legion, Indian River School Board and more.
Special guest 1st Sgt. Jonathan Dixon told the story of his first experience driving tanks in a training exercise. Smashing through the wilderness was “the best thing in the world” for the 18-year-old, until he drove the tank into a ditch. That night, he was terrified of the flak he might receive from his comrades.
Suspected of swallowing heroin while at Selbyville Middle School, a 13-year-old student now faces drug charges.
During an after-school dance on Friday, Oct. 31, a male student allegedly went into the boys’ bathroom and ingested suspected heroin, said school district spokesman David Maull.
Story edited online Oct. 31, 2014.
On Oct. 27, for the first time in many years, students flooded the Indian River School District’s school board meeting, to denounce a board member’s recent comments about the place of homosexuality and abstinence in health education.
This is just another civil rights movement, said Sussex Central High School senior Matt Price.
Board Member Shaun Fink has made no secret of his desire to eliminate the discussion of homosexuality from the new health curriculum, based on his own religious beliefs. He prefers an abstinence-only course that excludes even the definitions of homosexuality and transgender and related terms.
For seven years, Lighthouse Christian School has been doing their part to honor the nation’s veterans. Each year, around Veterans Day, the school holds a program to honor veterans in the community.
Just three Delaware schools were named 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including Frankford’s own John M. Clayton Elementary School. JMC, Lake Forest North Elementary and the Academy of Dover charter school and are among the 337 schools that will be officially honored in November in Washington, D.C.