Indian River School District

SMS student flies high (virtually) at National Flight camp

Coastal Point photos • Submitted: Drew Szlasa grins during a break at summer camp, where students flew aircraft and sailed massive ships (virtually, of course).Coastal Point photos • Submitted: Drew Szlasa grins during a break at summer camp, where students flew aircraft and sailed massive ships (virtually, of course).For one week this summer, Drew Szlasa was flying airplanes, or controlling them from an aircraft carrier ship.

But this Selbyville Middle School eighth-grader wasn’t really up the air or at sea. She was in an immersive National Flight Academy summer camp, with hints of virtual reality, at Pensacola, Fla.

The whole building was designed to look and feel like a ship. Even the dorms were laid out like an aircraft carrier.

There were two teams — those flying the aircraft, plus the mission control team helping the aircraft navigate.

“They had these flight simulators where they taught you how to fly it,” said Szlasa. “There was this place called the JIC [Joint Intelligence Center] where you told the planes where to go.”

When flying, the plane started on the actual boat, “and then you take off from there,” she said. “The aircraft was really fun. … It was laid out like an actual airplane. It would be just you and a co-pilot.”

Every day at the flight simulator, campers sat in front of screens, maps and diagrams to complete the mission.

Audit nearly complete as IRSD plans Nov. 22 referendum

The Indian River School District’s budget is not keeping up with their students’ needs, so the local Board of Education has decided to host a current-expense referendum on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

How much will they request? The board hasn’t decided.

Governor, IRSD team up for college-prep talks

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Usually behind the camera, these Indian River High School yearbook students paused from their work to be in the photo with Gov. Jack Markell. Pictured, from left, are: Kevon Harmon, Samantha Mushrush, Katelyn Wells, Angelina Roca, Markell, Fabrea McCray and Trayona Nock.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Usually behind the camera, these Indian River High School yearbook students paused from their work to be in the photo with Gov. Jack Markell. Pictured, from left, are: Kevon Harmon, Samantha Mushrush, Katelyn Wells, Angelina Roca, Markell, Fabrea McCray and Trayona Nock.Life has changed since Gov. Jack Markell graduated from Newark High School in 1978. Back then, he said, people could get a decent job immediately after high school.

Nowadays, to find a job “that’s going to allow you to pay the kind of life you probably want to lead, you’re going to have to pursue additional training after high school,” Markell told Indian River High School seniors this week. “That doesn’t mean you have to start immediately after high school. But in order to advance, you’re really going to have to continue to invest in your education.”

Markell isn’t saying everyone needs a two- or four-year degree.

But the State of Delaware has invested in post-secondary training, and students should, too, Markell told the IRHS senior class on Sept. 20.

His visit was part of Delaware Department of Education’s third annual senior class tour, which supports students in transitioning from high school to college and career.

IRSD para-educator charged with sexual assault of student

An Indian River School District para-educator was arrested Sept. 20 on allegations that she had engaged in sexual acts with a 17-year-old male student who was enrolled at her assigned school.

The Georgetown Police Department arrested Nicole M. DeGirolano, 23, of Millsboro, on four counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, authority or supervision.

DSP Explorers program to hold open house Sept. 27 at Central

The Delaware State Police Explorers program consists of young men and women who have an interest in law enforcement.

IRSD: Bracelets at high school just a joke in ‘poor taste’

Parents told they shouldn’t be concerned

Indian River School District officials said this week that the blue bracelets making their way around Indian River High School on Sept. 19 were nothing more than a bad joke.

Several students were distributing blue rubber bracelets printed with the words “Kill yourself” and a swastika, according to district officials.

IRHS celebrates AP test scores, award winners for 2015-2016

This past spring, Indian River High School students collectively took 152 Advanced Placement exams. They blew those exams out of the water, earning “qualifying scores” on 76 percent of those exams, far exceeding the national average of 57 percent. They also won about two dozen scholar awards.

District teachers get training in preventing sexual abuse

Patricia Dailey-Lewis, who heads the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, recalls the moment the foundation was born.

Time to hit the books

Indian River School District will welcome more than 10,000 students back to school when the 2016-2017 school year begins on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Preschool programs, including Project Village and TOTS, will begin on Monday, Sept. 12. The last day of school for students is Friday, June 16, 2017. The last day for preschool is Friday, June 9, 2017.

Budget cuts in IRSD amidst talk of two possible referendums

Indian River School District officials have been telling people for years now that the student population is growing much faster than once anticipated. This month, the school board slashed the district’s budget by about 13 percent, amidst plans to potentially build three new buildings and renovate three more in the near future.

District’s newest teachers head to class

The cafeteria at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts resembled a giant classroom on the morning of Monday, Aug. 22, with fresh faces seated at rows of tables, surrounded by shiny, colorful new school supplies — except that many of those at the desks had brought their own cups of coffee and all were at least in their early to mid-20s.

IR JROTC students take on cyber-security at summer camp

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: IR junior Pedro Zarate and sophomore Thomas Hernandez recently attended   CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: IR junior Pedro Zarate and sophomore Thomas Hernandez recently attended CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va.Readers who think young people today spend too much time on computers might want to stop right here. On second thought, keep reading… and be impressed.

Two students in Indian River High School’s Junior ROTC program spent a week in August at CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va. The camp is part of a cybersecurity education program in which teams from all over the country learn cybersecurity tactics and compete against each other to identify threats and defuse them.

The program was started in 2009 by the U.S. Air Force Association and funded by the Department of Defense.

The AFA has been increasingly concerned with cybersecurity — keeping the nation safe from threats against computer systems. Disruption of computer systems can cause major damage to the country’s banking, commerce, manufacturing, defense and other industries — and the CyberPatriot program has several goals that address those threats.

Asking the right questions: IRSD parents learn together in special-ed group

This year, hundreds of Indian River School District parents will begin navigating a new pathway they didn’t expect: special education services for their kids.

It’s a tricky road to follow. Families try advocate for their children, sometimes not even fully understanding the educational process and their rights.

The good, the bad and the ‘room for improvement’

Special education is “an ever-evolving specialty,” said Heather Statler, who has dedicated her career to the subject. Now, this Indian River School District board member is chairing the new Special Education Task Force, which will review the district’s entire special-ed program.

Clarification

In our Aug. 12 article “IR educator: Teachers undermined as parents demand special treatment,” we referenced the IRSD board’s decision-making on additional admissions to the East Millsboro Elementary School Spanish Immersion program. The four students who were recommended did go through the lottery process with all applicants.

LB students get help from women’s group

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Women from the Bishop’s Landing development used donations they collected to fill 40 backpacks for students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Women from the Bishop’s Landing development used donations they collected to fill 40 backpacks for students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.More than four dozen students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School will receive backpacks filled with school supplies to start their school year, thanks to the efforts of a group of local women.

The idea for the backpack project came about as a group of women who live in the Bishop’s Landing development collected their usual money for local charities during their monthly luncheon. The women decided that they wanted to contribute backpacks and came up with filling 50 packs as their goal.

First, the backpacks themselves were purchased, and into each one was placed a supplies list for one of the grades at Lord Baltimore, which encompasses kindergarten through fifth grade. The individual backpacks were then taken by households in Bishop’s Landing and filled with everything from dry erase markers to earbuds.

Indian River School District schools holding open houses

Schools in the Indian River District will host a series of open houses in the coming weeks.

Open houses are designed to allow students and parents to meet teachers and staff, view class lists and tour school buildings. A number of schools will host multiple sessions during a three-day period, with each session catering to a different grade level.

New administrators welcomed at IR school district

Every school year brings new faces to the classroom, and the Indian River School District has a handful of new administrators leading local education for the 2016-2017 school year.

Indian River High School is welcoming two new assistant principals, Chad Moletress and Laretha Payton, who filled vacancies left by Corey Heacock and Justin Miller.

IR educator: Teachers undermined as parents demand special treatment

Teachers are trusted to manage classrooms, from grades to discipline. But when parents are unhappy with a teacher’s decision, they’re sometimes taking advantage of the system, according one local teacher.

At Indian River High School, students aren’t getting equal treatment when parents demand that the administration intervene, said physical education teacher Wendy Megee.

IR students and alumni win $10,000 in alumni scholarships

Coastal Point • Submitted: The community’s generosity helped the Indian River High School Alumni Association award 10 scholarships to alumni of all ages, including, from left: Abigail Buchler, Kayla Warrington, Brandon Williams, Caroline Lingenfelter, Madison McCabe, Cameron Goff and Emma Engel. (Not pictured are Taite Daisey, Sarah King and Gunnar Moldrik.)Coastal Point • Submitted: The community’s generosity helped the Indian River High School Alumni Association award 10 scholarships to alumni of all ages, including, from left: Abigail Buchler, Kayla Warrington, Brandon Williams, Caroline Lingenfelter, Madison McCabe, Cameron Goff and Emma Engel. (Not pictured are Taite Daisey, Sarah King and Gunnar Moldrik.)

This year, 10 students of all ages won college scholarships from the Indian River High School Alumni Association.

The group far surpassed their original goal of awarding four IR Pride Scholarships, which were presented to college students and to recent high school graduates at their Aug. 1 meeting.

Five recent grads won the $1,000 IR Pride Scholarship; four alumni won the $500 IR Pride Scholarships for Current Alumni; and one grad won a special memorial scholarship of $3,150.

The award celebrates school spirit, beyond the usual academics or athletics.

IRSD adult education program offers slate of fall courses

The Indian River School District recently announced its adult education course offerings for the fall of 2016. They can now be viewed online at irsd.net.

Fall 2016 courses for youth include:

• Babysitting Course by Delaware Safety Council (ages 11-16): Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 17-18, 5-7 p.m., $50, Southern Delaware School of the Arts library. Advance registration required.

District producing new episodes of ‘IRSD Spotlight’ podcast

The Indian River School District is continuing to produce new episodes of its “IRSD Spotlight” podcast. The episodes can be accessed free of charge through iTunes, soundcloud.com, the district website at irsd.net and several mobile podcast apps.

IRSD dress code policy gets some updates

The Indian River School District’s new dress code policy is using broader terms and leaving some wiggle room for the beach’s favorite footwear: flip-flops.

IRSD hires new finance head, audit continues

After helping the Indian River School District with financial tasks during the past few months, Jeannette “Jan” Steele will now officially take the helm as the IRSD’s new director of business. She’ll finish an eight-year tenure as chief operating officer at Delmar School District before taking on the new role in the IRSD.

‘She made us feel happy when we came to school’

Miller wins LB Teacher of the Year

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Amanda Miller teaches reading, writing — and respect — as Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Amanda Miller teaches reading, writing — and respect — as Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year.Surrounded by small desks and chairs, Amanda Miller lights up when she talks about teaching.

Her joy and professionalism combined to make her Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.

“You only need to spend a short time with Mrs. Miller to learn that she cares very deeply about being an educator and strives to give her very best to her students each and every day,” according to Principal Pam Webb.

“Teaching isn’t just reading, writing and arithmetic anymore. We teach respect and socialization and how to get along with others … so time can be a challenge, fitting all those things in,” Miller said.

From Houston to Michigan: IR Hall of Fame inductees ask grads to serve others

Coastal Point submitted • Vincent E. MumfordCoastal Point submitted • Vincent E. MumfordWhen students graduate from high school, they have decades of life still ahead of them. Indian River High School is again honoring alumni who have made the IRHS family proud with the 2016 Hall of Fame inductions.

Usually, there is just one inductee each year, but this year, two alumni were honored for their service to the community: Vincent E. Mumford (1983) in sports leadership and V. Graig Temple (1993) in emergency services.

“We are looking for high standards and representation up there, so to see two this year is incredible,” Principal Bennett Murray said at the May 25 graduating senior awards night. “There’s so many great Indian River High School alumni — not only in our area, but throughout the nation and world — giving back in [many] ways,” Murray said.

The Indian River High School Alumni Association re-started the Hall of Fame in 2013, honoring grads who have made significant achievements their professional lives and noteworthy contributions to society. They hope that will help inspire the next generation of students.

Hats off to the Class of 2016

Hundreds of smiles, and a few tears, filled the football stadium at Indian River High School’s 47th commencement on May 30.

Principal Bennett Murray congratulated the 193 graduates of the Class of 2016. In that diverse group, everyone is going somewhere different: 86 percent to post-secondary schools, 2 percent into the military and 11 percent into the workforce.

IRSD CFO to retire amidst school district audit

Audit began around time of Miller’s administrative leave

After being placed on administrative leave, Indian River School District’s longtime chief financial officer has announced his retirement from the district. That announcement came amidst the news that the IRSD is undergoing a financial audit by the Delaware State Auditor of Accounts, R. Thomas Wagner Jr.

Save those Box Tops. It’s easy money for schools

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Box Tops like these are an easy way to get money to your favorite local school.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Box Tops like these are an easy way to get money to your favorite local school.Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it’s often found on cereal boxes.

Local schools are making easy money through Box Tops for Education and Labels for Education. People just need to clip the labels from specially-marked grocery products and drop them off at their favorite school. The box tops are redeemable for money or gift vouchers.

“You’d be surprised how much those little box tops help,” said teacher Jennifer Hitchens, who keeps a collection jar on her desk at Selbyville Middle School.

“It’s what we use for everything,” Hitchens said, such as field trips, learning supplies or holiday gift-giving for students in need.

Fenwick Lions award $12,000 in scholarships to IRHS seniors

Each year, the Fenwick Island Lions Club sets aside a significant percentage of its annual budget in order to recognize the achievements of outstanding seniors at Indian River High School. But, this year, the Lions had a particularly difficult time deciding the recipients, they said, as a result of tight funds and an extraordinary group of applicants.

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