School board member joins state board, district seeks replacement
The Indian River School Board is now seeking two new candidates to fill vacant seats representing District 1 (Georgetown) and District 3 (Millsboro) for one-year terms, until July of 2013.
On Monday, May 21, the school district announced the District 3 opening, which was created when the seat was vacated by Board Vice President Randall Hughes.
Hughes was recently named as a member of the Delaware State Board of Education, having been appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. People cannot serve on two boards simultaneously, so he automatically left his seat on the IRSB.
“It’s a great honor for him to be able to do that and represent us,” said Charles Bireley, IRSB president, who noted that Gregory Hastings had made a similar move to the state board. “For all the 19 school districts in this state, it’s a pretty good honor for them to look to us. So I think it’s great.”
The state board comprises seven members, and Bireley said the State tries to spread out members so the whole state is represented.
“He’s done a great job for Indian River since he’s been here,” Bireley said of Hughes. “He’s done a lot of work [as] chairman of different committees, especially right now [with school safety]. Randy’s done a great job.”
The IRSB can only appoint new members for one year maximum, so the two seats would again be up for election in 2013.
Anyone interested in filling the temporary seat can contact Bireley at (302) 539-9043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the regular school board meeting May 22, the board briefly reviewed Race to the Top progress. Delaware was awarded the federal education grant in 2010, and IRSD’s plans under the grant program were approved in 2011.
Indian River is ahead of the rest of the state in terms of implementing Common Core education standards, and PD 360, an educational video Web site, chose to film Indian River’s progress and implementation of the national standards.
The district has also conducted Learning Walks, in which teachers or administrators visit other schools to observe learning in other classrooms.
“When you see the school through others’ eyes, it really is very, very rewarding to see exactly what’s going on and how powerful it is, the conversations that teachers have,” said Sandy Smith, district director of instruction. “I think it makes it more understandable for them what they’ve been able to accomplish.”
Plus, more than 150 district teachers are certified as SMART technology trainers, and the district has seen success in reaching out to parents and the community.
The district’s graduation rate has increased to 86 percent, compared to the state average of 82 percent. The district also aims to continue raising test scores on Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS), Advanced Placement (AP) exam and SAT college entrance exam.
With at least two more years of Race to the Top goals and programs, the school board will further discuss next year’s plans in July, which includes teacher leadership, world language, Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), International Baccalaureate (IB) and more.
Superintendent Susan Bunting thanked all of the teachers and administrators for their hard work and dedication to Race to the Top initiatives, from extra hours to leadership training.
In other school district news:
• The school district is considering two new policies: GBCB.6-Social Networking and BBF- School Board Member Ethics.
Discussion will continue at the Policy Committee meeting, open to the public, on Monday, June 11, at 4 p.m. at Indian River Education Center on Hosier Street in Selbyville. The school board may vote on the policies at the next board meeting, on Tuesday, June 19.
• The board honored IR School District retirees for their many years of service: Susan Boving, social studies teacher, 37 years; Helen Capodanno, kindergarten teacher, 23 years; Marilyn Chapman, school psychologist, five years (plus 24 years in another district); Gayle Downing, elementary teacher, 36 years; John Downing, custodian, 26 years; Anne Gallite, elementary teacher, 20 years; David Grundman, English teacher, 31 years; Phillip Hartman, science teacher, 30 years; Steven Heder, paraprofessional, 18 years; Denise Leyh, elementary teacher, 29 years; Evelyn Morris, physical education teacher, 33 years; Carolyn Nelson, art teacher, 33 years; Theresa Orhelein, elementary teacher, 30 years; April Powell, paraprofessional, 29 years; Sara Russell, special education teacher, 34 years; Diane Shockley, paraprofessional, 18 years; Linda Spiezio, paraprofessional, 13 years; Libby Stevenson, special education teacher, 32 years; Lorraine Tyler, speech/hearing therapist, 17 years; Preston Vickers, chief custodian, 26 years; and Nancy Ward, guidance counselor, 28 years.
• A Spanish-language immersion program begins in the fall at John M. Clayton Elementary School, in which kindergartners will learn for half the day in English and half in Spanish. According to Nina Lou Bunting of the Curriculum Committee, school choice applications have been reviewed; a curriculum is being established; an English teacher was chosen from J.M.C. staff; and a Spanish teacher was hired from Madrid, Spain.
• Repairs to lighting at the Indian River High School football stadium should be complete this month, according to Rodney Layfield of the Buildings & Grounds Committee.
• During public comments, citizen George Wilson offered prayer and thanked the school board for their hard work, extra efforts and dedication to the district:
“You probably don’t always get favorable comments, but I know this: you have a demanding job… and in my judgment, you’re doing a wonderful job.”
• The school board recognized IRHS teacher Jennifer Cordrey for winning the 2012 Outstanding Agriculture Teacher Award; Lord Baltimore Elementary School student and teacher, Morgan Bomhardt and Mary Kreger, for the winning Delaware Department of Education Teacher Appreciation Essay; Sussex Central High School Assistant Principal Rick Evans, for the Delaware Secretary of Education Merit Award and Delaware State Board of Education Order of Excellence; SPEAK Program and Carl Freeman Foundation; TSA Competition winners Ryan Boucher and Alex Robb; and Business Professionals of America awardees Zachary Varrato, Charles Megginson, Carly Precht, Briar Gibbs, Clayton Boucher and Charles Megginson.
The next IR School Board meeting will be Tuesday, June 19, at Sussex Central High School.