Indian River School District

It’s official: Steele permanently at the helm of IRSD

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Mark Steele is now the full-time superintendent of the Indian River School District.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Mark Steele is now the full-time superintendent of the Indian River School District.It was a unanimous vote this week as Mark Steele was officially hired as the superintendent of the Indian River School District.

At their March 27 meeting, the IRSD Board of Education promoted former assistant superintendent Steele from interim superintendent, effective immediately, with a two-year contract beginning July 1.

A lifelong Dagsboro resident and 36-year educator, Steel said, “It feels good to know that people support you and people trust you. It feels really good.”

Now that the IRSD officially has a new leader, it removes a level of uncertainty, and the administration can stride forward with a better sense of direction.

“This gives me a chance to look at the long-term things we need,” said Steele, who suggested creating a long-term district plan and a community financial review group.

Families urge IRSD not to cut extracurricular pay

Indian River School District officials have said from the beginning of recent financial concerns that budget cuts are needed. The recently-passed current-expense referendum, which will bring in an additional $7.35 million annually in local property taxes, simply prevented the inevitable budget cuts from being more severe.

Millsboro student saves sister's life with school training

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Lindsey Espinoza, center, was recently honored by local and state fire associations for using first-aid skills to save her little sister’s life during a choking incident.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Lindsey Espinoza, center, was recently honored by local and state fire associations for using first-aid skills to save her little sister’s life during a choking incident.When 14-year-old Lindsey Espinoza signed up for the fire-cadet class at Millsboro Middle School, who would have guessed she’d be saving her little sister just a few months later?

The Roxana Volunteer Fire Company started the fire-cadet class in autumn to introduce students to lifesaving skills and community service.

“Towards the beginning of the school year, we taught basic first-aid, puncture wounds, choking and hands-only CPR,” said RVFC Fire Chief Chris Uibel. “Little did we know that within two months, Lindsey would save her sister from choking.”

“She was at home, watching her 4-year-old sister. Her sister began to choke on a toy. Lindsey was able to quickly react, knowing everything that she had learned from our program. Through her lifesaving measure, she was able to help her sister from choking.”

IRHS students design elementary-school playground

Three Indian River High School seniors have taken the lead on designing a new playground at Georgetown Elementary School.

When the elementary school’s occupational therapist, Sara Heinicke, wanted to add more accessible playground equipment, she enlisted IRHS students to create one piece. When the budget blossomed with several local donors, the project expanded to a full remodel.

IRHS students named to honor roll for second period

Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the second marking period of the 2016-2017 school year. Students receiving High Honors were:

Three district teams qualify for Odyssey of the Mind Worlds

Three teams of Indian River School District students qualified for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals with second-place finishes at the state competition on March 25 at Alfred G. Waters Middle School in Middletown.

IRSD considers cuts to teacher raises, club advisors, more

Budget cuts are coming to the Indian River School District. Even with an additional $7.5 million annual income in local property taxes, thanks to the recently passed current-expense referendum, IRSD staff expect to trim at least $5 million from next year’s budget. And that’s in addition to expected state budget cuts.

IR Live! presents a musical of the decades

Live music is a hallmark of Indian River High School productions, and the students are ready to impress once again.

This year’s musical revue is IR Live! presents “The Corner Club on Baker Street,” featuring an original script by music director Nathan Mohler and student T.J. Oxbrough.

Performances are Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 per person.

‘Oh, the places they’ll go’

Inclusion key to student success for special-needs education ‘Dream Team’ at IR

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Xiomara Weaver, Jackie Johnson and the River Café crew are ready to start the day.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Xiomara Weaver, Jackie Johnson and the River Café crew are ready to start the day.It’s 8 a.m. at Indian River High School. The bells have rung. The morning announcements have been made. And the River Café is officially open for business.

Today, on the menu: coffee, tea and complimentary homemade cupcakes with green icing, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Senior Josh Timmons makes his way down the school’s history-lined hallways in his official green-and-gold River Café apron, pushing his cart, without paying much attention to the cart’s one stubborn wheel, wielding the day’s orders and approaching his first stop.

This is the final task for the River Café each Tuesday and Thursday morning — and Josh’s favorite. He greets each customer with their own personalized order, makes the sale, stamps frequent-customer cards and, of course, tops it all off with his signature Timmons’ touch — whether it be in the form of inside joke, friendly pat on the shoulder or well-timed smile.

Speaker tells the students: Share your blessings and have hope

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Inspirational speaker ‘Principal El’ joked around with Indian River High School students while encouraging them to be their best selves now.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Inspirational speaker ‘Principal El’ joked around with Indian River High School students while encouraging them to be their best selves now.There is something to live and aspire for, said the man from Philadelphia. You just have to be ready when that opportunity comes.

He calls himself “Principal El,” and his mission is to motivate, invigorate and inspire students and teachers across the country. The teacher, principal and motivational speaker Salome Thomas-El brought words of wisdom (and a few laughs) to Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School on March 2.

“You get a blessing and use it to help others. ... It comes back to you,” he said. Doing good in one area might tip the scales toward another good opportunity, such as a job interview or scholarship.

Similarly, “The way you treat people, that will come back to you,” said Thomas-El. “You can say what you want, you can do what you want, but the way you make people feel is what they’ll remember about you.”

IRSD referendum passes with record turnout

Overwhelmed LB turned to paper ballots

Voters were waiting in line before the polls even opened March 2 at six schools in the Indian River School District. But despite the long lines and a last-minute switch to paper votes, and with a lot of public debate, 57 percent of the public voted to approve IRSD’s current-expense referendum.

Special-education staff gets the spotlight

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For their devotion to Indian River School District’s most vulnerable populations, these staff members were voted leaders in IRSD special education.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For their devotion to Indian River School District’s most vulnerable populations, these staff members were voted leaders in IRSD special education.“Above and beyond” were the words most frequently used to describe 17 individuals who were named Special Education Ambassadors this week.

The Indian River School District honored educators who serve as role models for their colleagues while promoting a positive message of inclusiveness for students with disabilities.

“Ambassadors will be those who clearly support a mission to allow students identified with disabilities to become emotionally, socially and academically successful learners ready to fulfill their lifelong goals,” according to IRSD officials.

“[These are] folks in our schools who really make it possible for our students to achieve their goals,” said IRSD Board Member Heather Statler.

State auditor: IRSD heading in the right direction now

About three months after the Delaware Auditor of Accounts released a biting financial report on Indian River School District, the AOA this week commended the district for improving its financial policies.

IRSD officials have been working to correct the alleged misuse of funds, poor oversight, nepotism and other faults the AOA perceived within IRSD’s finances.

School district referendum scheduled for Thursday, March 2

Indian River School District was set to host a current-expense referendum on Thursday, March 2, (after Coastal Point press time), with polls closing at 8 p.m. Coastal Point will post results from the referendum on Thursday night, at www.CoastalPoint.com and www.facebook.com/CoastalPoint.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: IRSD polls open for referendum again March 2

Local polls will open on Thursday, March 2, for the Indian River School District’s current-expense referendum.

Comparing it to the November 2016 referendum, which failed by 20 votes, IRSD Acting Superintendent Mark Steele said, “We’re still asking you for the same 49 cents,” but the expenses have been restructured.

LB PTO holds Penny Wars to kick off sign fundraising

Coastal Point • Submitted: Lord Baltimore Elementary School Assistant Principal Matthew Keller was duct taped to the wall by the first-grade classes, which won the fundraising event.Coastal Point • Submitted: Lord Baltimore Elementary School Assistant Principal Matthew Keller was duct taped to the wall by the first-grade classes, which won the fundraising event.Lord Baltimore Elementary School students were able to do something a little unorthodox last week, as students were able to duct tape Assistant Principal Matthew Keller to a wall.

The students had participated in “Penny Wars” for two weeks to help raise funds for a new school sign.

“We had the grade levels compete against each other to bring in change — pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. Some students even brought in bills,” said Jennifer Lovellette, president of the school’s PTO. “Each cent was worth one point... The grade level that brought in the most money won the Penny Wars.”

The students raised a little more than $2,800, which Lovellette said was likely driven by the prize the winning grade would receive.

“They were able to duct tape the assistant principal, Mr. Keller, to the wall, which was fantastic.”

The first grade won the Penny Wars, and Keller, being a good sport, spent his afternoon taped to a wall.

“It was such a great event,” said Lovellette. “He was taped to a wall in the cafeteria. We had mats stacked up, so he was able to stand on the mats and then the PTO officers started by putting a couple of larger pieces of tape around him, just to start it, just to make sure he was secure to the wall. We had fun, different duct tapes — Gummie Bears, Minions — cut into pieces.

IRSD could sue former CFO, but won’t right now

Former Indian River School District chief financial officer Patrick Miller has been accused of nepotism, mismanagement of funds, authorizing payments to other nonprofit organizations he leads, improperly using the IRDS board president’s signature and potentially intimidating staff into sharing their financial software passwords to bypass financial safeguards.

IRSD health teacher arrested on one count of coercion

An Indian River High School health teacher was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 18, for allegedly trying to prevent a meeting between school administrators and another district employee. Delaware State Police arrested Paris D. Mitchell, 41, of Milton, on one count of coercion.

Steele tapped to fill superintendent role

With Indian River School District superintendent Susan Bunting having been confirmed this week as the new Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, the district was facing a vacancy in a vital post during a tense time at one of the fastest-growing districts in the state.

IR fire company willing to discuss IRSD reimbursement

The Indian River Volunteer Fire Company this week responded to the Indian River School District’s request for the reimbursement of $4,900 related to two items that were the subject of questions under a recent State audit of the district’s accounts.

Celebrating geography

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The annual National Geographic Spelling Bee was held at Lord Baltimore Elementary School drew some talented students and enthusiastic crowds. Below, from left, Ian Lewis (first place), Jackson Chandler (third) and Jack Cappo (second).Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The annual National Geographic Spelling Bee was held at Lord Baltimore Elementary School drew some talented students and enthusiastic crowds. Below, from left, Ian Lewis (first place), Jackson Chandler (third) and Jack Cappo (second).

What is the tallest mountain in Africa? Which country produces the most coffee beans? What is the capital of Iowa?

Not just tragic lovers: IRHS shows humor, flaws of 'Romeo and Juliet'

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Cast members of Indian River High School’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ prepare for performances on Feb. 3 and 4. In producing what may be the school’s first drama production in decades, they dropped some of the dialogue and put a modern spin on the classic.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Cast members of Indian River High School’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ prepare for performances on Feb. 3 and 4. In producing what may be the school’s first drama production in decades, they dropped some of the dialogue and put a modern spin on the classic.It’s either the most famous romance of all time, or the silliest. A love story between two teenagers, ages 14 and 17, “Romeo & Juliet” now has modern-day teenagers calling out their literary counterparts out for being a bit overdramatic. And Indian River High School’s new Drama Club is plunging in with its first full production, taking on William Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy.

To top it all off, “Romeo & Juliet,” coming at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4, may be the first drama production at IRHS in decades. Tickets cost $5 each. Guests can bring extra money for the concession stand at intermission. Indian River High School is located at 29772 Armory Road, Dagsboro.

It’s time for IR’s “hidden talent” to display their acting skills, said English teacher and director Sadie Andros.

No board seats up for election in Indian River School District

The Indian River School District will not have a school board election this spring. This time, it’s none because there aren’t enough candidates — it’s because none of the seats are even up for election.

IRSD's Bunting tapped to become state's top legislator

Dr. Susan BuntingDr. Susan BuntingThe Indian River School District may be sending another education leader to the state level. This time, it’s for the big chair.

IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting is to be nominated for Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. On Dec. 30, Gov.-elect John Carney announced his intent to nominate Bunting for his cabinet to lead Delaware for the next four years.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to be in this district for the length of time that I’ve been here. It’s a very tough decision to go, but I’m hoping to help more people,” Bunting said. Ultimately, the students have been “at the heart of everything” she has done.

Bunting has served as Indian River School District superintendent since 2006, currently responsible for more than 10,000 students and more than 1,300 employees — one of the state’s biggest and fastest-growing school districts.

BREAKING NEWS: Police investigating bomb threat at Long Neck Elementary

The Delaware State Police on Thursday afternoon were investigating a bomb threat that was called into the Long Neck Elementary School at 26064 School Lane this afternoon.