Indian River School District

Students bring civil rights concerns to school board

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Cole Haden was one of many Sussex Central High School students who encouraged the school district to teach about homosexuality and offer comprehensive sex education.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Cole Haden was one of many Sussex Central High School students who encouraged the school district to teach about homosexuality and offer comprehensive sex education.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.

School to honor wounded warriors at Veterans Day program

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.

John M. Clayton beats the odds, wins national award

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.

IR pride shines in new school sign

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : With community funding, Indian River High School’s new sign came about nine years early and nine years too late, but it’s here to stay. Above, members of the Indian River High School Alumni Association and Principal Bennett Murray pose with the sign.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : With community funding, Indian River High School’s new sign came about nine years early and nine years too late, but it’s here to stay. Above, members of the Indian River High School Alumni Association and Principal Bennett Murray pose with the sign.For nearly a decade in Dagsboro, Indian River High School has made a name for itself in sports, service, academics— in all ways, but one: literally.

IRHS has never had a school sign, until now.

A rainy Saturday couldn’t stop the new 10-by-14-foot electronic sign from proudly glowing on its dedication day. Funded by the IRHS Alumni Association, with support from the community and local legislators, the new sign was dedicated on Oct. 11.

When the new school building opened in the fall of 2005, former principal Mark Steele began socking away extra funds to eventually buy a sign. Principal Bennett Murray continued the tradition and brought that request to the IRHSAA, which began fundraising for it one year ago.

The dedication this week might not have happened for another decade without significant contributions from local lawmakers. State Reps. John Atkins and Ron Gray and state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. all donated thousands of dollars, footing the majority of a $40,000 bill.

Art program building bridge between local and Nepalese fourth-graders

Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver : Lord Baltimore will become a sister school with a school in Nepal that has an art program sponsored by the Shauna Kaufman Foundation. Pictured here are, from left, Amy Kaufman, Durga Sir (on screen), Melissa Kelly and Holly Kaufman in a Namaste pose.Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver : Lord Baltimore will become a sister school with a school in Nepal that has an art program sponsored by the Shauna Kaufman Foundation. Pictured here are, from left, Amy Kaufman, Durga Sir (on screen), Melissa Kelly and Holly Kaufman in a Namaste pose.There is excitement amongst the fourth-graders at Lord Baltimore School in Ocean View. Their school is becoming a sister school with Samata Shiksha Niketan, near Kathmandu, in Nepal. The special focus will be an exchange of art and culture.

Each of the five fourth-grade classes taught by art teacher Melissa Kelly has been visited by Holly Kaufman and her mom, Amy Kaufman, to present the program and answer questions. Holly was herself a student of Kelly’s at Lord Baltimore about 10 years ago, and she has also taught at Samata.

Holly started her presentation with the typical Nepali greeting “Namaste,” her hands prayerfully together and with a little bow. She then proceeded to talk to the students in fluent Nepali, just to give them an idea of how the language sounds. They were impressed. Then Holly used slides to tell the children about Nepal and the differences between their schools and daily lives.

The children at first had difficulty understanding where to find Nepal on a map. Then one remembered that Nepal is where Mount Everest is located and another realized it must be in Asia, and another guessed it was sandwiched between China and India. Nepal is approximately the size of Tennessee. Holly told the students that, because of the high altitude, the Nepalese think their country is at the top of the world.

IRHS student attends HOSA Washington Leadership Academy

Coastal Point • Submitted : Delaware Health Occupations Students of America officers attend the Washington Leadership Academy in September. Pictured, from left, are: Jasmine Jones (Polytech), Nolwenn Daniels (Hodgson), Yulianna Briceno (Hodgson), Taite Daisey (Indian River) and Thomas Pinto (Sussex Tech).Coastal Point • Submitted : Delaware Health Occupations Students of America officers attend the Washington Leadership Academy in September. Pictured, from left, are: Jasmine Jones (Polytech), Nolwenn Daniels (Hodgson), Yulianna Briceno (Hodgson), Taite Daisey (Indian River) and Thomas Pinto (Sussex Tech).Indian River High School senior Taite Daisey recently attended the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. Held Sept. 20-23, the event was attended by HOSA student leaders from across the United States. Daisey is vice president of Delaware’s HOSA chapter and plans to pursue a career as a physician after graduation.

Students were divided into 10-person teams during the four-day academy. They attended leadership courses, participated in team-building activities and toured Washington, D.C. Daisey’s team included students from Hawaii, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“It was a lot of fun to meet new friends from all over the country,” she said. “I think I learned a lot to bring back to the state.”

Shirley Townsend, an instructor in Indian River High School’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, said Daisey has played a major role in building the school’s HOSA chapter, which is only two years old. Daisey also serves as vice president of the IRHS chapter.

“Taite is in a class by herself,” Townsend said. “She’s very much a go-getter.”

IRSD Adult Education program offers up fall courses

The Indian River School District’s Adult Education course offerings for Fall 2014 can now be viewed online at irsd.net, officials announced this week.

IRSD population soars, teachers frustrated with requirements

Nearly 10,000 students attend schools in the Indian River School District, and school officials aren’t done counting, since state funding is based on student populations on Sept. 30. At this point, the IRSD has 9,872 students — a number that will likely increase in the next week.

That’s already 437 students more than last year’s 9,435 students.

“That’s the state’s indication of how much money we are going to receive,” said Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele at the school board’s most recent meeting.

Because the State of Delaware funds a certain number of staff based on unit count, IRSD is currently understaffed, until that additional funding arrives for about 30 more positions.

Sussex County sponsoring election contest

Sussex County students can earn a lesson in politics — and pocket a little cash for their education — this election season, as the County is once again is sponsoring its Election Year Scholarship Contest for local students. As in elections past, students will be asked to predict which candidates will win office in the 2014 general election, set for Nov. 4.

School official arrested for violating restraining order

After being ousted from his position as school principal in January, John Turssline of Ocean View is on administrative leave from Indian River School District after violating a personal restraining order. Turssline was the assistant head of school (similar to assistant principal) at G. W. Carver Academy, an alternative school in Frankford.

IRSD bus schedule causes daycare to lose business

School bus routes are affecting more than just parents. Sharon Moore and her coworker stood before the Indian River School District Board of Education on Aug. 25 to share how direly the new bus schedule could affect Guardian Angel Daycare.

New principal joins the team at Phillip Showell

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Heather Bethurum took over the job of principal at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School at the beginning of this school year.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Heather Bethurum took over the job of principal at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School at the beginning of this school year.Living just 15 minutes from Phillip C. Showell Elementary, the school’s new principal can’t wait to get involved in her school community, and Heather Bethurum’s short commute to Selbyville means she can really live in her school community.

“It’s so much easier to be involved in evening things,” she said, coming from Millsboro. “It’s important to go to the festivals or see kids at the grocery store sometimes, and I didn’t see that at Seaford. I loved my school, but it was just time to consolidate.”

Bethurum was principal of Blades Elementary in Seaford for two years. Before becoming assistant principal, she taught art and enrichment.

In the beginning of her PCS tenure, Bethurum is “just getting to know everybody. There are so many things that are working here so well. The challenge is not to change things that are working so well,” but step into the system and make changes together. “The staff here is very capable. I’d rather come in alongside them.

“What a fabulous school. The staff has been so friendly,” Bethurum said. “The community’s been wonderful.”

She’s worked with returning Assistant Principal Brandon Snyder on a revamped schedule and local emergency responders for drills.

Kilby, Indians kick off season at Prep Friday, look to defend state title

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell :  It isn't often that senior captain and First-Team All-State midfielder Luis Cruz doesn't capitalize on a scoring opportunity, but sophomore goalie Kevin Calles got the best of the Indians' star player on this shot in practice lasCoastal Point • Tripp Colonell : It isn't often that senior captain and First-Team All-State midfielder Luis Cruz doesn't capitalize on a scoring opportunity, but sophomore goalie Kevin Calles got the best of the Indians' star player on this shot in practice las

Head coach Steve Kilby and the Indian River High School soccer team will have a few streaks to defend this season, looking for not only their seventh consecutive conference championship, but another state championship, as well, after the team made history with their first ever DIAA title last season.

However, after graduating eight seniors from last year’s roster, the Indians will have to do so behind the leadership of a few key returners and a youth infusion from some talented incoming freshmen.

One of the most crucial roles that needed to be filled was in the goal, with All-State keeper Sam Cannon now playing at Lynchburg College. Kilby said this week that junior goalie Ian Walls was adjusting well to his new starting role.

“Ian’s looking very solid. We’ve been fortunate to have a legacy of goalkeepers at Indian River, and I think Ian’s gonna fit that role,” Kilby said. “He got in some big minutes in the conference championship game, and he played in several games for us last year.”

In the field, the Indians will rely on three returning All-State seniors and captains: midfielder Luis Cruz, midfielder Danny Garza and defender Sean Whelen.

“Luis is healthy. We’re kind of looking for him to play a big role in the central midfield, get him forward when we need to,” Kilby explained.

New principal ready for action at Selbyville Middle

Coastal Point • Laura Walter  : Jason Macrides takes the helm as Selbyville Middle School’s new principal.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Jason Macrides takes the helm as Selbyville Middle School’s new principal.Selbyville Middle School has a new leader at the helm this year. Jason Macrides is excited to join SMS students, staff and parents.

“I come to the Indian River School District with a high level of excitement and enthusiasm, and they can count on getting my best every day,” he said.

Macrides (pronounced “mac-REED-ess”) was the principal at Delmar Middle School for two years and assistant principal there before that. He taught social studies at Stephen Decatur High School for 13 years prior to his administrative roles, also coaching lacrosse.

“Education allowed me to combine the things I loved as a younger person,” he said, pointing out that it has allowed him to share his love of history “and continuing my involvement in athletics via coaching.”

Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Macrides came to Salisbury University for its lacrosse team, but stayed for the teaching program. Now he loves working at a middle school.

“I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Middle-school kids — they’re still malleable, they’re receptive, they’re eager. They come to school excited,” Macrides said. “That just makes for a great atmosphere. I really do enjoy working with the middle-school kids [although] they have their quirks.”

As Macrides often tells parents, his outlook changed when he joined their ranks and became a parent himself four years ago.

IRSD adult education kicks off new year

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert : Instructor Gemez Norwood, right, and Walt Knapp practice drills that help them to react quickly in real-life situations.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert : Instructor Gemez Norwood, right, and Walt Knapp practice drills that help them to react quickly in real-life situations.The Indian River School District is teaching at all hours of the day, having announced its Adult Education offerings for the fall of 2014, which include everything from babysitting certification to aerobics.

This year, Self-Defense and Karate returns to the lineup on Tuesday nights, Sept. 9 to Dec. 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at John M. Clayton Elementary. People can join to get a few self-defense basics that might come in handy in a dark parking lot, or they can begin long-term training, so the person who dreams of a black belt can continue taking these sessions in winter or spring.

Classes are flexible, so people can skip a semester or work side-by-side with people at vastly different skill levels.

District to host school choice information session

The Indian River School District will host a special public information session regarding school choice on Monday, Aug. 25, at Sussex Central High School at 6 p.m. The session will take place prior to the regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting at 7 p.m.

Eagle Scout revitalizes outdoor classroom at Showell

Kids at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School can now go outside the classroom to learn, thanks to the help of Eagle Scout Michael Thompson.

High school to host new student orientation

Like it or not, September is coming, but Indian River High School officials want new students to feel at home immediately. IRHS is inviting all incoming ninth-graders and any transfer students to a New Student Orientation on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do” — prepare students for the next four years, said Principal Bennett Murray.

IRSD Adult Education program offers fall courses

The Indian River School District’s Adult Education course offerings for Fall 2014 can now be viewed online at irsd.net, officials announced this week.

Fall 2014 courses for youth include:

• Babysitting Course — Delaware Safety Council: Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 6-7, 4:30-7 p.m., $50, Lord Baltimore Elementary School library. Advance registration required.

Immigration a hot topic at IRSD school board meeting

The tribulations of the nation’s Southern boarders have reached up to pinch Delaware this week as the Indian River School District Board of Education discussed the impact of immigration on local schools.

Indian River warily steps toward new health curriculum

It took some persuading, but the Indian River School District will now begin planning a new health curriculum. The district’s school board unanimously OK’d the purchase of a six-book HealthSmart program and formation of a committee to write the district’s new health curriculum.

Indian River School District lowers property tax rate

Property owners will keep a few dollars in their pocket after the Indian River Board of Education voted recently to reduce the school district’s property tax rate by 5 cents. The tax rate for the 2015 fiscal year decreased from $2.743 to $2.693 per $100 of assessed value.

Students named to honor roll at Indian River High School

Indian River High School recently announced its final honor roll for the 2013-2014 school year. Receiving High Honors for grades between 93 and 100 were: