Indian River School District

Robot Wars: Teams from IR schools advance to world championship

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Teamwork is essential to rack up points for, from left, John M. Clayton Elementary School’s Macy Kauffman and Chloe Allen of Team Run JMC 2, and Kai Kelley and Simon Schoenhaar of Lord Baltimore Elementary School Team A.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Teamwork is essential to rack up points for, from left, John M. Clayton Elementary School’s Macy Kauffman and Chloe Allen of Team Run JMC 2, and Kai Kelley and Simon Schoenhaar of Lord Baltimore Elementary School Team A.Students stepped up to the ring for the regional Vex IQ Challenge on Feb. 17 in Georgetown.

In all, 21 teams represented seven schools from the Indian River School District and Salisbury, Md. All year, the elementary and middle school teams have worked to design, program and build Vex IQ robots that complete various tasks.

After making a rockstar entrance to the gymnasium, teams lined up to either begin competition, two at a time, or troubleshoot their bots between rounds.

They scored points individually and by partnering with other teams in a 4-by-8-foot playing field, to test their skills in driving, teamwork and problem-solving. Points are awarded for lifting, stacking and pushing plastic rings into a scoring zone.

Field hockey coaches work to develop programs

Coastal Point • Bruce C. Walls: Indian River High School field hockey coach Molly Chamberlin is working with young field hockey players to try to pass along a love of the sport, and to build a strong feeder program for the high school.title=Coastal Point • Bruce C. Walls: Indian River High School field hockey coach Molly Chamberlin is working with young field hockey players to try to pass along a love of the sport, and to build a strong feeder program for the high school.Molly Chamberlin graduated from Indian River High School in 2007. Her time at IR included three years on the school’s highly respected varsity field hockey team, which went 10-5 her senior year.

That fall, Chamberlin enrolled in the University of Delaware, majoring in health and physical education. After graduating from U.D., Chamberlin returned to her Sussex County roots, and began teaching and coaching field hockey at Selbyville Middle School.

In addition to her work at Selbyville Middle School, she also worked as an assistant coach for IRHS field hockey coach Jodi Stone. But returning to her old team was disappointing. The 10-5 team she had left four years prior was now struggling to hold onto a 5-8-2 season.

After talking with Sussex Central High School field hockey coach Karen Irvin, Chamberlin discovered that both teams were struggling to keep players and the ones who did show up for practice were inexperienced.

Cathell appointed to Indian River School District board

Indian River Board of Education this week selected a Frankford man to fill a vacancy in their ranks. At a special meeting on Jan. 24, Derek Cathell was sworn in to represent IRSD District 5.

Cathell is a detective for the Major Crimes Unit of the Delaware State Police, working out of Troop 4 in Georgetown.

IRHS boys want volleyball

Volleyball for all! That’s what some students, parents and staff at Indian River High School are asking, as on Jan. 22, a group of boys and adults asked the Indian River School District’s Board of Education to allow creation of an IRHS boys’ volleyball team.

IRSD board decides to hire assistant superintendent

District preps for board member appointment and elections

Everyone in the Indian River School District was forced to make cuts this year due to state budget cuts, and even the administration has been working with a skeleton crew. But that’s about to change, as a position for district assistant superintendent will now be reopened.

Sussex Central ceiling collapses in water leak

Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: Sussex Central High School took a bit of a hit from the recent wintery conditions when a sprinkler and pipe burst, causing a partial ceiling collapse and flooding.Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: Sussex Central High School took a bit of a hit from the recent wintery conditions when a sprinkler and pipe burst, causing a partial ceiling collapse and flooding.Last weekend, after nearly a foot of snow and below-freezing temperatures outside, Sussex Central High School staff were displeased to find water inside the school, too. After a sprinkler and a pipe burst, the school suffered partial ceiling collapse and flooding. The roof itself did not collapse, officials emphasized.

The Millsboro Volunteer Fire Department received an automated alarm about the incident around 2 p.m. on Sunday, due to the change in water pressure.

First, “there was a problem with our fire pump and our pump house out by the stadium,” said Principal Bradley Layfield.

That malfunction somehow triggered two sprinklers in the HVAC room, located above the two-story D wing — a central spoke in the high school’s layout. Upstairs, the insulation and ceiling tiles were saturated with water and fell through.

IRSD to start talking growth again — ‘We’re behind the ball’

Even if Indian River School District were, right this moment, to successfully pass a referendum to build new schools, it would be years before the doors opened and the district found relief for the growing student population.

IRSD board opposes anti-discrimination regs

Board cites fear of litigation and possible construction costs

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Sheila Warrington and others this week encouraged the Indian River School Board to voice its opposition to proposed state Regulation 225, which is intended to expand anti-discrimination protections for students. However, Warrington argues that the proposed amendment would remove parents’ rights to be informed.
Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Sheila Warrington and others this week encouraged the Indian River School Board to voice its opposition to proposed state Regulation 225, which is intended to expand anti-discrimination protections for students. However, Warrington argues that the proposed amendment would remove parents’ rights to be informed.

The Indian River School District’s school board and superintendent are voicing their opposition to a proposed state regulation that was meant to protect at-risk students. They said they fear the anti-discrimination policy exposes the IRSD to heavy risk of litigation and possible construction expenses to accommodate changes.

Selbyville-area representative leaves IR school board

The Indian River School District has a vacancy on the board this week. Douglas Hudson bid farewell to the Board of Education as he prepares to move to a new home outside his representative district, District 5, in the Selbyville area..

Hudson sent the board a letter of resignation, which Board President Charles Bireley read at the Nov. 27 board meeting.

Indians finish second in DIAA soccer championship

Special to the Coastal Point photos • Susan Walls: Jared Cordoba defends against a Caravel attacker. IR lost 0-2.Special to the Coastal Point photos • Susan Walls: Jared Cordoba defends against a Caravel attacker. IR lost 0-2.Strong, cold winds swirled through and around Charles V. Williams Stadium in Smyrna last Saturday night, Nov. 18, when third-seeded Indian River High School (12-3) faced fourth-seeded Carvel Academy (13-4-1) for the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) boys’ varsity soccer championship.

Carvel — the only school getting points against IR in tournament play — used that wind to its advantage in the first period to protect their lead, and when it was at their backs, they fought furiously against the Indians in the second period to clinch the championship, blanking IR 2-0.

Caravel’s Buccaneers controlled the ball most of the first half, with Austin Hamilton nailing a shot into the net at the 28-minute mark. Buccaneer Benji Schwartz kicked in an insurance goal at the 56-minute mark.

“We had three golden opportunities to tie it up in the second half. We didn’t make the right decision, probably, and that cost us,” explained IR head coach Steve Kilby. “Then we started pushing in the final 15 minutes and then gave up. It was a great season, and I’m proud of my boys.”

Leaving IRSD? Beware of FFA student’s conundrum

Future Farmers of America is an important program in Indian River School District. It produces student leaders and important skills in an agricultural county.

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!’”

Indians fall to Lake Forest in rainy battle

Special to the Coastal Point  photos• Bruce Walls: Indian River field hockey players fight for ball control vs. Lake Forest, before ultimately falling 0-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 7.Special to the Coastal Point photos• Bruce Walls: Indian River field hockey players fight for ball control vs. Lake Forest, before ultimately falling 0-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 7.In a steady rain, 12th-seeded Indian River High School’s girl’s field hockey team faced 5th-seeded Lake Forest on the Spartans astro-turfed football field on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for round one of the DIAA State Tournament.

Under harsh conditions both defenses battled fiercely to keep their opponents from scoring. Then, with just over five minutes remaining in the second half, the Spartan offense scored the game’s only goal, breaking the longstanding tie.

“The girls played well,” said IR Head Coach Jodi Stone. “This is the second time we’ve made the tournament — two consecutive years — so as a young team we have to be proud of our journey. We were at least able to get to the tournament. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and we’re going to keep our heads high.”

Indian River soccer team falls to Laurel in battle for South title

Laurel Star • Mike McClure: Indian River’s Oscar Cruz-Osorio looks to hold back Laurel’s Santos Rodas as he dribbles the ball. Cruz-Osorio had a pair of assists in his team’s 4-2 road loss.Laurel Star • Mike McClure: Indian River’s Oscar Cruz-Osorio looks to hold back Laurel’s Santos Rodas as he dribbles the ball. Cruz-Osorio had a pair of assists in his team’s 4-2 road loss.The stars aligned for the Laurel varsity soccer team last Wednesday night. The Bulldogs’ home matchup against Indian River had been pushed back due to weather, setting up a final divisional showdown with the Indians for all the marbles and the Laurel team didn’t disappoint its fans.

The Bulldogs scored a pair of unanswered goals in the second half to win the game and the Henlopen South with the 4-2 victory.

“I didn’t sleep last night, that’s how nervous I was,” Laurel’s sophomore goalie Jailon Gillespie said. “It feels so good to beat a team you’ve never beaten and to be on top.”

Indian River took advantage of Laurel’s nervousness at the start of the game as Erick Aguilera-Baruch scored on a feed from Oscar Cruz-Osorio for a 1-0 Indian lead with 38:21 left in the first half.

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.

IRSD official count tops 10,600 students

Every autumn, Delaware schools take a “snapshot” of the student population. On Sept. 30, Indian River School District officially counted 10,619 students.

“If we keep the same growth pattern, we’re going to eclipse 11,000 in the next five years, probably more like 11,500 to 12,000 students,” Superintendent Mark Steele told the IRSD Board of Education in October.

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.

IRSD high schools consider cell phones in the classroom

Is there any cell phone service in the science lab? How about the cafeteria?

If most high-schoolers are already carrying what are essentially mini-computers in their pockets each day, then Indian River School District might take advantage of that fact.

Indian River band boosters selling discount cards for 2017-2018

Band cards are back!

For the new school year, Indian River High School Band Boosters have printed a new batch of discount band cards, which are available for $10 each.

People can show their card for discounts at about 35 area businesses, for pizza, fine dining, movies, music, pet shops, flowers, towing, toys, bowling and more. The card is good until Sept. 30, 2018.

IR surprises CR in varsity volleyball, 3-2

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Siera Johnson blocks a shot.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Siera Johnson blocks a shot.A young Indian River High School girls’ volleyball team opened their 2017 season by surprising an older, more experienced Caesar Rodney team, 3-2, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, on their home court in Dagsboro.

IR took the first set 25-19. CR, who had beaten Concord High School the prior Friday night, responded with a 25-21 win in the second set. IR fought back, winning the third set 25-19. CR held on, winning the fourth set 25-18, but IR sealed the win in the final set, 15-13.

Leading the Indians’ charge was freshman Raychel Ehlers, who was 14-4-0-4-0 for the night.

“I’m proud of the way we played tonight,” Ehlers said. “It was our first game of the season, and we came out strong. I knew I did good and hit the ball hard, but it was a team effort.”

Some older residents surprised by new property tax rates

When opening their property tax bills this summer, many local residents expected their taxes to increase because of the March public-school referendum. But the Indian River School District’s successful referendum isn’t the only reason that taxes increased.

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: