Learning Points

Public comments being accepted on anti-discrimination school regs

Delaware is working protect students who typically face discrimination. But proposed regulations have to get past some people who don’t believe there is a problem.

Casting a spell: Clever kids clean up in spelling bee

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: About 27 entrants smile before the competition begins, alongside Southern Sussex Rotarians and other special guests.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: About 27 entrants smile before the competition begins, alongside Southern Sussex Rotarians and other special guests.“Confidence” might be the word of the night, as 27 Indian River School District third-graders competed in the third annual Spelling Bee.

Southern Sussex Rotary hosted the event for southern district students on Nov. 1 at John M. Clayton Elementary.

This year, top prizes went to (first place) Alana Chew of Lord Baltimore Elementary School; (second place) Lauren Myers, Southern Delaware School of the Arts; (third place) Yoselyn Patraca-Carmona, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School; and (fourth place) Catherine Bunting, Lord Baltimore.

Seated on stage, some students swung their feet, not quite reaching the floor, as they watched their peers. Pausing from her duties as moderator, or “pronouncer,” Becky Burton told the audience how the students were encouraging each other.

“They’re up here going, ‘You can do it!’”

Honoring Our Veterans

Lighthouse Christian Students to thank veterans

For years, Lighthouse Christian School has felt the importance of educating youth on the meaning of Veterans Day.

“Our school is very, very concerned about giving time to the veterans, and recognizing our veterans for the sacrifices that both them and their families have made,” said Pat Viguie, a teacher at the school.

TOTS preschoolers make a musical night

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Preschoolers are movin’ and groovin’ at a music night at Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) in Frankford.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Preschoolers are movin’ and groovin’ at a music night at Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) in Frankford.These preschoolers were ready to boogie. Live music filled the gym this month at Indian River School District’s Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) program.

Armed with an acoustic guitar, Nancy Curry of Makin’ Music Delaware led the children in singing and dancing. She will give three TOTS nighttime shows, plus several classroom visits, this school year, made possible by a $2,500 grant from the Freeman Foundation.

TOTS serves kids ages 3 and 4 who have developmental disabilities or delays.

Kids sing throughout the day, such as the clean-up song. But on their music night, they used listening skills to dance and follow motions.

“This was something that I thought was just little bit different. … This was just pure entertainment,” said Loretta Ewell, TOTS coordinator.

Therapy in a paintbrush

Carver Academy unveils new murals

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Every fish, shrimp and whale has special meaning and a positive message on this mural painted by students with help from John Donato.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Every fish, shrimp and whale has special meaning and a positive message on this mural painted by students with help from John Donato.For some kids, it was an excuse to leave class. For others, it was a chance to paint past a bad day and inspire others having a tough time.

George Washington Carver Academy unveiled five murals this month that are truly meant to make the school a better place.

“Over the course of the 2016-17 school year, our students worked with local artist John Donato to create murals to display throughout school focusing on their work and positive actions … as well as utilizing art as a medium to represent themselves in a positive way,” said Principal Melissa Kansak.

The Carver Academy is an alternative school in Frankford focusing on individual K-12 students’ academic, behavioral and personal needs in Indian River School District. It’s a transient population as students arrive or transition back to their home schools. About 65 students participated in the murals.

East Millsboro Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School

East Millsboro Elementary School was one of three schools in Delaware and 342 nationwide to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017.

This is the second time that East Millsboro Elementary has received this national honor. It also won the award in 2008. Overall, it is the Indian River School District’s ninth National Blue Ribbon Award since 2001.

A journey in the pages of a book

Selbyville Middle School student wins state essay contest

This summer, a basic picture book inspired sixth-grader Molly Amerling to write about refugee families. Now, she’s the first Sussex Countian to represent Delaware in the “A Book That Shaped Me” essay contest.

Sponsored by the Library of Congress and National Book Festival, the idea behind the contest is simple: fifth- and sixth-graders write about a book that has impacted their life.

What's the word?

Scrabble fundraiser to help Literacy Delaware adult education

What wonderful words can you weave?

People who love letters can team up in a Scrabble tournament to raise money for a nonprofit helping teach adults to read.

Scrabble at the Beach is a happy-hour fundraiser for Literacy Delaware, which is based locally in Frankford, but operates statewide.

IRSD announces more new administrators, fills staff

With the new school year having begun on Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Indian River School District is putting the finishing touches on its administration lineup. Although most of the transition was completed before July, a few new opportunities recently opened up for IR staff. Last-minute changes were made at several schools:

IRHS student crowned Miss Hispanic Delaware

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Ana Calles’ crown holds dozens of glittering rhinestones that represent the beauty, poise, intelligence and quick thinking she displayed at the 2017 Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Ana Calles’ crown holds dozens of glittering rhinestones that represent the beauty, poise, intelligence and quick thinking she displayed at the 2017 Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.Selbyville is home to a new pageant winner and community leader: 17-year-old Ana Calles was crowned Miss Hispanic Delaware this week.

“It’s still very surreal to me, because it’s just something that I’ve been wanting for a long time, and that it’s actually manifested into reality — it’s very surreal,” Calles said.

She has just begun 11th grade at Indian River High School. As the pageant’s only downstate contestant, Calles said she was happy to stand out geographically, despite the necessity of the two-hour drive to the Baby Grand theater in Wilmington’s Grand Opera House for rehearsals and the competition.

Calles represented Mexico in the Aug. 26 program, which celebrates Hispanic culture and is designed to help young ladies develop poise and communication skills. Calles has lived in Selbyville all her life, except for a few years in Mexico when she was younger.

“I was nervous throughout the whole day, but after our opening-number dance, I felt more confident and comfortable on stage,” she said of her very first pageant.

Calles had dreamed of competing for years, but her family had just suffered the painful impact of losing her mother in April.

“I just wanted to make her proud her proud, overall, even though I know just competing made her proud,” Calles said. “I know she was with me that night. I could feel her.”

IRSD talks budget, school numbers, FFA

With some of its schools completely over their enrollment capacity, the Indian River School District is trying to nail down a system for school choice.

On Aug. 28, for the first time in months, the Board of Education approved a number of school-choice recommendations, after only a few minutes of discussion.

Selbyville teen to compete in Miss Hispanic pageant

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For her pageant platform, Ana Calles encourages people to volunteer for the causes they love.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For her pageant platform, Ana Calles encourages people to volunteer for the causes they love.Ana Calles doesn’t mind driving two hours to Wilmington every week this summer. Hailing from Selbyville, she’s the only downstate contestant in the Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.

“Honestly, it’s a big honor, and I feel very fortunate and blessed,” said Calles, 17. “I see how I’m the only one from lower Delaware. I don’t see that as an inconvenience to go all the way up there. I see it was an opportunity or a blessing. I think it’s special because it makes me stand out.”

She will represent Mexico in the Aug. 26 program, which celebrates Hispanic culture and is also designed to help young ladies develop poise and communication skills.

As a rising junior at Indian River High School, Calles said she has wanted to join the pageant for several years now. Calles has lived in Selbyville all her life, except for a few years in Mexico when she was younger.

She has the drive to compete, even hiring Uber rides to Wilmington, until teacher Lori Hudson put an end to that. Then, Hudson personally drove Calles to rehearsals and helped her with program sponsorships.

“She helps me with my schooling and everything. She’s really awesome, to be honest,” Calles said of Hudson. “She definitely goes out of her way, and she’s really there for me — almost in a way a mother would.”

The pageant began in 1972 and is celebrated with the Wilmington Hispanic Festival.

Community helping local kids with school supply drives

Nowadays, “school supplies” are more than just pencils and paper. And some families have trouble affording all the crayons, scissors, binders, index cards and more needed for a successful school year — not to mention a quality backpack to carry everything.

This month, people can donate to local school supply drives, which directly help local children and teens.

Ahoy, robots!

LB brings bots to the beach

Coastal Point • Laura Walter:  Branden Lathbury, left, and Logan Shoobridge display their Lego VEX robot at the Bethany Beach banCoastal Point • Laura Walter: Branden Lathbury, left, and Logan Shoobridge display their Lego VEX robot at the Bethany Beach banThese kids didn’t mind going to school in summer, as Lord Baltimore Elementary School hosted a robotics summer camp for 10 students in which they designed, built and programed their own robots.

“It was hard, but it was really fun to work with each other,” said rising fifth-grader Jay Lockard.

The 10 children from the upper grades at the school split into three teams, and each team built their own Lego VEX robot. Starting with a box of plastic pieces, they learned team-building, strategizing, construction, programing and some coding.

“I was surprised about how we took all these tiny, tiny pieces and put this together,” said Whitney McMillon, technology teacher.

Nature center offers free programs to help families explore Delaware

In order to spread education and awareness about the Inland Bays and wetlands in the Delaware area so that the public is compelled to explore, appreciate and preserve their surroundings, the Bethany Beach Nature Center offers interactive and hands-on programs for locals and visitors of all ages.

School board wants consistent rules for school choice

Kevin Patterson’s third-grade daughter has found success in the Indian River School District, and he looked forward to sending his son to kindergarten this fall. But, living outside the district, the boy isn’t guaranteed a spot, and the school has recommended that the school board reject his school choice application.

Millsboro book sale extends to a second weekend

The Millsboro Public Library’s used book sale will continue for its second weekend on Friday, July 28, from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Friday, books will be sold individually; paperback books sell for $1 and hardback books sell for $2. The sale will also feature CDs, DVDs and more.

Science and salt air: Sun Otter Tours show off science tours beyond the beach

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, seines the bay.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, seines the bay.Seaweed tastes a little different when pulled straight from the ocean. Visitors laughed as they tentatively nibbled a bite of sea lettuce in the Delaware Bay. They were on the final leg of the marine ecology tour in Lewes with the new Sun Otter Tours.

The new tour company is taking people on “science-based learning adventures for the naturally curious.” Jody and Steve Dengler created the program to encourage more visitors to visit cool places in coastal Delaware.

“We are a family of travelers. We are a family of science nerds,” Dengler said.

Steve Dengler was selling windows, while Jody Dengler taught at Wilmington University, until the school’s Rehoboth Beach location closed in 2016. But she wanted to keep teaching people about their community.

Dagsboro offer for school resource officer rejected by IRSD

At the monthly town council meeting on July 17, Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey reported to the council on his presentation to the Indian River School District regarding the role of school resource officer.

Tours offer glimpse into marine research at UD Lewes campus

A multicolored display of the Earth is shown across nine contiguous television screens and, with the click of a mouse, a University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean & Environment (CEOE) graduate student zooms in on North America, the United States, Delaware and, eventually, Lewes.

SDSA has openings for eighth-grade students

Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville has several openings for students in Grade 8 for the 2017-2018 school year, Indian River School District officials announced this week.

Kraushaar named to the Albright College dean’s list

Sarah Kraushaar, a freshman from Ocean View, was named to the Albright College dean’s list for the 2017 spring semester. Albright students had to attain at least a 3.75 term grade-point average to be named to the list.

Dinelli makes the Dean’s List at RIT

Jason Dinelli of Frankford, who is studying photographic sciences, made the Dean’s List for the 2017 spring semester at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Hrebik receives degree from Georgia Tech

Ashley Hrebik of Selbyville recently earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Hrebik was among approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees during Georgia Tech’s 253rd Commencement exercises on May 5-6 at the McCamish Pavilion.

Beachboard named to Dean’s List at Georgia Tech

Trevor Beachboard of Bethany Beach was recently named to the Dean’s List for the Spring 2017 semester at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The designation is awarded to undergraduate students who have a 3.0 or higher academic average for the semester.

‘Vietnam Mailbag’ author, veteran to appear at CHEER

Journalist Nancy E. Lynch, author of the award-winning social history “Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War: 1968-1972,” and Vietnam veteran Rick Lovekin will join forces for a program at 6 p.m. on July 25 at the CHEER Coastal Leisure Center. Their presentation, designed as a salute to all Vietnam veterans, is sponsored by the CHEER Center, at 30637 Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.

Nearly 100 classes planned for fall at Osher institute

More than 95 classes on a wide range of topics will kick off the fall semester at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Delaware in Lewes and Ocean View. Fall classes begin on Sept. 5 at both the Lewes location at the Fred Thomas Building, 520 Dupont Avenue, and the Ocean View location at Ocean View Town Hall at 32 West Avenue.

FOMPL to host their largest book sale ever

The Friends of the Millsboro Public Library are presenting their largest book sale ever on Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22; and again on Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29, from noon to 7 p.m. on the two Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Saturday sale dates.

Oral history project renewed at Selbyville Public Library

In a quiet area of the Selbyville Public Library’s Delaware Room, there exists the oral histories of 22 people with many, sometimes little-known, memories of the town of Selbyville (first known as Sandy Branch as early as 1778).

Wings & Wheels 2017 planning is officially under way

This year’s Wings & Wheels event is set to take place the weekend of Oct. 6-7.

Things will kick off that Friday, with Aviation Education Day, during which 125 high school students will spend the day at the Delaware Coastal Airport, learning from aviation experts. The 2017 featured speaker for Education Day is Joe Edwards, NASA shuttle commander.

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