Learning Points

IR schools carrying overdose-reversing meds

There are no documented reports of a drug overdose occurring in Indian River School District. And with a free donation of emergency response medicine, the district’s high schools aim to keep it that way.

The Delaware Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) received a massive donation of 2,000 naloxone units from drug manufacturer Kaléo, based in Richmond, Va.

Being a good sport: SCHS earns sportsmanship award

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Sussex Central High School had a banner moment with its second DIAA Sportsmanship Award.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Sussex Central High School had a banner moment with its second DIAA Sportsmanship Award.When a referee makes a questionable call, or the other team makes a snide remark, what does the athlete do? Just walk away? Or throw down their hockey stick and pounce?

When it comes to good sportsmanship, Sussex Central High School tries to walk the walk. That’s a step in the right direction, according to the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA), which just awarded SCHS with its second consecutive DIAA Sportsmanship Award.

The school received its new banner from DIAA Executive Director Kevin Charles at the Aug. 24 Indian River School District school board meeting.

From a four-page application, SCHS’s submission was a portfolio 3 inches thick.

“It’s a competition against … a rigorous set of standards,” Charles said, which asks about school policy, heated rivalry games, investigations, athletic handbooks, monthly sportsmanship meetings and more.

“This program … is intended to establish a school culture where sportsmanship is the culture … so when the chips are down …we automatically respond in the Sussex Central way,” Charles said.

Hudson takes the reins as school board president

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: James ‘Jim’ Hudson is the new Indian River School District Board of Education president.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: James ‘Jim’ Hudson is the new Indian River School District Board of Education president.After 10 years with the same leadership, the Indian River School Board recently elected a new member to serve as president, as Georgetown’s James “Jim” Hudson leads the board into a new school year.

Hudson inherited the board presidency from Charles Bireley, who stepped down from that role after holding it for 15 years, including the last 10, consecutively. (Bireley, a 38-year board member, continues to represent his district on the board, having also won re-election this year.)

This June, Hudson said, he was asked to consider leading the board. The board elects its leadership positions from its own members, and Hudson was unanimously elected. Rodney Layfield remains vice president.

“I think the major goal is to address in our population growth. I think that’s going to be a major thing,” Hudson said. “We’re really growing — especially in the Georgetown, Millsboro areas. We’ve really got to tackle that; hopefully, come up with some solutions.”

First time at IRHS? New student orientation scheduled for Aug. 27

Students attending Indian River High School for the first time are being invited to New Student Orientation on Thursday, Aug. 27. Parents and students meet in the auditorium at 6 p.m.

“For the next two hours, I have all the parents, and all the kids are with the assistant principals, staff members, and students,” said Principal Bennett Murray of plans for that night. “They do a scavenger hunt, learning all the different places of the school and some secrets to being successful in high school.”

The students will not only become familiar with the layout of the high school — they’ll get a chance to meet other incoming freshmen. Through team-building activities, they’ll get ready to see a few familiar faces on the first day of school.

IRSD announces new principals for 2015-2016


Several schools getting new leadership

Indian River School District is getting a little shake-up in the administrations of several schools. Here are the most recent changes:

• Char Hopkins is moving from principal of John M. Clayton Elementary to become the district’s director of Leadership Development.

• Heather Cramer is moving from assistant principal at Georgetown Elementary to become principal at John M. Clayton. (The Georgetown assistant principal position is open for applications.)

• Judi Brittingham is moving from assistant principal at Sussex Central High to principal at the G.W. Carver Academy.

• Karen Oliphant is moving from assistant principal at Sussex Central High to assistant principal at the G.W. Carver Academy.

Civil War Profiles: Shipbuilding in Delaware during the Civil War

When Quaker merchants migrated from Philadelphia to Delaware in the early 18th century, they attracted shipwrights and ship carpenters to the fledgling community that evolved into the city of Wilmington. In 1740, William Shipley, Joshua Way and David Ferris contracted to have the first vessel built in Delaware for the foreign trade at the foot of Market Street on the Christina River.

As Richard Urban points out in “The City That Launched a Thousand Ships,” over the period ending in 1775, shipyards in Delaware built more than 300 vessels for coastal and foreign trade. One story holds that the ship named the Nancy, built in Wilmington and at the time anchored in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, was the first to raise a quickly-sewn-together American flag when it learned the colonies declared their independence from the British in 1776.

In the 1850s, two firms — Harlan & Hollingsworth and Pusey & Jones — located along the Wilmington waterfront began to perform ship repair and engine installation work. Pusey & Jones also contracted to build its first iron steamship, the Flora McDonald. Harlan & Hollingsworth soon followed with construction of the steamers the Ashland and the Ocean. The shipyards fostered numerous supporting industries in the Wilmington area.

IRSD announces changes for new school year

The Indian River School District has made a series of adjustments to its daily school schedules for the 2015-2016 school year. IRSD officials said the minor modifications are the result of the school day being extended by four minutes to compensate for possible weather-related cancellations. The daily starting and ending times for each school have changed slightly from last year.

The district will continue to utilize a tiered transportation system under which schools will be divided into “First Start” and “Second Start” categories, with different starting and ending times for each group.

The school day for “First Start” schools will run from 7:40 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. Buses will arrive at the school between 7:20 and 7:30 a.m. and depart about 2:50 p.m. Schools in that group are Sussex Central High School, Indian River High School, Georgetown Middle School, Millsboro Middle School, Selbyville Middle School, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, North Georgetown Elementary School and East Millsboro Elementary School.

The school day for “Second Start” schools will run from 8:30 a.m. until 3:35 p.m. Buses will arrive between 8:10 and 8:20 a.m. and depart about 3:41 p.m. Schools in that group are Georgetown Elementary School, Georgetown Kindergarten Center, Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Long Neck Elementary School and John M. Clayton Elementary School.

LB teacher Lambert is ‘a natural in the classroom’

Coastal Point • Laura Walter:  It’s all about the kids. Dana Lambert, center, was named Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016. She smiles with local students, pictured, from left: Merrill Smith, Quinn Micciche, Kendall CathellCoastal Point • Laura Walter: It’s all about the kids. Dana Lambert, center, was named Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016. She smiles with local students, pictured, from left: Merrill Smith, Quinn Micciche, Kendall Cathell
Dana Lambert is so dedicated to teaching that she was truly stumped by the question “What would you do if you weren’t a teacher?” But this fifth-grade teacher is happy where she is, having just been named Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.
With 22 years in education, Lambert has spent three years at this grade, where classes are departmentalized. That means students rotate to different teachers, like they do at the middle school level. Lambert teaches writing daily, plus science or social studies.
“When I began teaching in ’94, I feel like you’d stand in front of them all day. … Now, it’s different,” Lambert said. “My approach to teaching is: I have to give the students the background that they need, but I have to give them the opportunity to explore for themselves.”

IRSD board member earns spot on state Board of Education

Nina Lou Bunting is taking her lifetime of educational experience to the Delaware State Board of Education. She recently resigned her seat on Indian River School District’s Board of Education to take a spot on the state board.

“This is a prestigious honor for Nina Lou, who served on the Indian River board for 13 years,” wrote David Maull, IRSD spokesperson.

H.T. Ennis School closes early due to propane leak

The Howard T. Ennis School was evacuated on Wednesday, July 1, due to a propane leak behind the building, the Indian River School District reported in an automated phone call.

SAT printing error not deemed tragic

Despite canceling scoring sections of the June 6 SAT test, the College Board reported that students would still get fairly accurate scores. As if the aptitude test weren’t stressful enough, a printing error may have affected around 1,300 Delaware students who registered for the standard SAT offered on June 6.

New grading scale coming to high schools this fall

Student grade-point averages (GPAs) will get a bit perkier next year, but the change will actually keep them on a level playing field, according to Indian River School District officials.

Beginning this fall, grading scales will be a bit more generous at Sussex Central and Indian River high schools, after a unanimous vote June 22 by the IRSD Board of Education.

Local libraries jam-packed with reading and science programs

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Children planted and will maintain the Selbyville Children’s Garden at the public library. Digging in the dirt were second-graders, from left, Troy Ye, Torrence Brickman and April Rosas, with help from Phillip C. Showell Elementary teacher, Corey Dietrich.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Children planted and will maintain the Selbyville Children’s Garden at the public library. Digging in the dirt were second-graders, from left, Troy Ye, Torrence Brickman and April Rosas, with help from Phillip C. Showell Elementary teacher, Corey Dietrich.It’s just not summer until the summer reading programs begin at local libraries. This year’s theme is “Every Hero Has a Story” at public libraries statewide.

Weekly programs usually feature a performance and occasional craft.

“Traditionally, when the schools are out, we’re mobbed,” said Rachel Wackett of the Frankford Public Library.

Library programs this summer will feature some obvious superheroes. But they’ll also feature local heroes, including firefighters and police officers, plus heroes on the railroad, with the Marshall Steam Museum.

“I’m also going to show them how they can be heroes in their own community and home … [to] think of others, help people on a regular basis.” said Beverly LaFazia of the Millsboro Public Library.

Popular programs include the Mike Rose magic show, ventriloquist Tom Crowl, Rehoboth Children’s Theatre, Sciencetellers, the Delmarva Shorebirds and their Sherman mascot.

Libraries serving children free meals all summer

This summer, all local children are being invited to eat free meals at the Selbyville and Frankford public libraries, no questions asked.

“It will help to fill the gap with food insecurity throughout the summer,” said Frankford Public Library Director Rachel Wackett.

Seashore State Park to host ‘1-Day’ Day Camp

While many of the state parks in Delaware have been offering weekly summer camps for many years, Delaware Seashore State Park is offering its first camp this summer. Each Wednesday, from June 17 through Aug. 12, park staff will be hosting a “1-Day” day camp.

Nguyen wins Cresson scholarship award

Tuyet-Kha Nguyen, a recent graduate of Seaford Senior High School, is the 2015 recipient of the Jim Cresson Scholarship, named for the late Cape Gazette reporter.

Nguyen has been a member of the National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America, Technology Student Association and the Yearbook Club. She was the valedictorian of her class and a 2015 Secretary of Education scholar.

Phillip C. Showell student wins Carson Scholars Fund Award

This spring, outgoing fifth-grader Brynn McCabe was named a 2015 Carson Scholar, capping her experience at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.

The Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to students in grades 4 to 11.

Thompson builds outdoor learning facility en route to Eagle Scout

Special to the Coastal Point • Sam Ellis: Gunnar Thompson, inset, built an outdoor learning center at Ingram’s Pond in Millsboro. Thompson earned his Eagle Scout status with this project.Special to the Coastal Point • Sam Ellis: Gunnar Thompson, inset, built an outdoor learning center at Ingram’s Pond in Millsboro. Thompson earned his Eagle Scout status with this project.To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America, Indian River High School senior Gunner Thompson knew that he had to select a service project that would make an impact.

He also knew that the school district’s designated outdoor learning center at Ingram’s Pond in Millsboro had plenty of potential projects that they needed help with. So when he called up to inquire about some of them, it was well-received, and he eventually decided to construct an easily accessible learning area for local students and teachers.

“I knew that they had projects that they needed,” Thompson explained. “I brought that up with them, and they seemed to love the idea, so we went forward with it.”

Timed appropriately with the installation of a new wetlands area, Thompson said that the location of the project was planned accordingly.

“We wanted to put it there — that way, instead of taking a half-mile hike into the woods, they could just take the kids five minutes from the actual facility,” he explained.

However, selecting the perfect project and perfect location was only half the battle, as Thompson took on a new role as senior patrol leader, though which he helped impart his already budding carpentry skills onto four other scouts who assisted with the project.

“You’re in charge of everything,” Thompson said of the position. “It teaches you a lot of leadership skills.”

Millsboro book sale set for July 17 at the Hut, next to library

Millsboro is preparing for its unique annual book sale. Already, many have contributed books to the sale, and supporters are working to organize non-fiction books by subject, such as cookbooks or biographies. For fiction readers, popular (and not-so-popular) authors are sorted and displayed in alphabetical order. Books for children and young adults are sorted by approximate age level.

McWilliams, McCormick attend leadership seminar

Hayden McWilliams and Griffin McCormick, students at Indian River High School, recently attended the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar held at Wesley College in Dover. They joined more than 70 other young high school leaders from the region June 5-7.

Local students named to Del Tech President’s List

Local students were among those named to the President’s List at Delaware Technical Community College’s Owens Campus for the 2015 spring semester. To be eligible for the President’s List, a student must earn 12 or more credit hours in courses at the 100 level or above in one term, have a term GPA of at least 3.8 and have no “I” grades (an incomplete).

Local students named to Del Tech Dean’s List

A number of local students were named to the Dean’s List at Delaware Technical Community College’s Owens Campus for the 2015 spring semester. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must earn 12 or more credit hours in courses at the 100 level or above in one term, have a term GPA of at least 3.25 and have no “I” grades (an incomplete).

Adkins finds harmony teaching at Southern Delaware School of the Arts

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Denise Adkins was recently named as SDSA’s Teacher of the Year. Adkins is a music teacher at the school.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Denise Adkins was recently named as SDSA’s Teacher of the Year. Adkins is a music teacher at the school.Denise Adkins is sometimes blown away by her eldest vocal students at Southern Delaware School of the Arts.

“They have a great ear,” Adkins said of the students in grades 7 and 8. “You can sing a melody, and they just make up harmonies to go with it.”

Whether working with elementary students once weekly or the music majors three times weekly, SDSA’s Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 loves when the students’ music comes together: “When the kids get really, really excited about something, and they’re surprised that they do it,” Adkins said, “and they get that great sound.”

Now in her 11th year of teaching at SDSA, Adkins spent the last decade as the vocal music teacher. Although she trained and spent 15 years in special education, her passion blossomed in music education.

Hopkins named Delaware’s Elementary Principal of the Year

Charlynne Hopkins of John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford has been named Delaware’s Elementary School Principal of the Year for 2015.

The announcement was made during a special assembly at the school on Friday, May 29. Hopkins was presented the award by Indian River School District officials and representatives from the Delaware Association of School Administrators (DASA).

IRHS announces honor roll for third marking period

Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the third marking period in the 2014-2015 school year.

Students receiving High Honors (grades 93 to 100) were:

DelTech Owens Campus offering more than 100 kids camps this summer

Delaware Tech’s Kids on Campus program is returning for nine weeks of summer camps. The Owens Campus in Georgetown will start summer camp season on June 15 and run through Aug. 14.

Local students receive awards from Academic Challenge Program

The Academic Challenge Program at Delaware Technical Community College’s Owens Campus recently held its annual awards ceremony for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Fink resigns from IRSD school board

The Indian River School District’s school board is down one member after Shaun Fink resigned last week. Fink submitted a letter of resignation to the superintendent and the board president on Wednesday, June 27, the day after Sussex Central High School’s graduation.

IRHS casts graduates to the wind

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Michelle Freeman, president and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, delivers the commencement address.­Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Michelle Freeman, president and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, delivers the commencement address.­Graduation caps were flying before the graduation ceremony even ended at Indian River High School on May 27. The Class of 2015 held frantically onto their mortarboards as the wind gusted on an otherwise beautiful evening in the school’s football stadium.

“If somebody asked me ‘rain or wind,’ I’ll take wind any day,” Principal Bennett Murray said, beginning the 46th commencement at IRHS.

“What a group of young adults we have this evening, and we are proud of each and every one of them,” he said of the 199 grads.

Murray estimated that about 82 percent of the class will continue their education at colleges in Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, California and more. Another 5 percent are going into the military, and 15 percent will directly enter the workforce.

School board honors IRHS engineering success

Indian River High School has shown its technical prowess this year, earning official Project Lead the Way Certification for its pre-engineering pathway.

“This is quite an accomplishment, because it is first high school in the state achieving this important milestone,” said Superintendent Susan Bunting at the May 18 meeting of the Indian River School District Board of Education.

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