Indian River School District
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kids at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School can now go outside the classroom to learn, thanks to the help of Eagle Scout Michael Thompson.
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.
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.
District adds 16 minutes to school day
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.
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.
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.
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:
During a long school day, any physical activity can be a welcome break. That’s why Robert “Bob” Hahn makes physical education a positive thing at G.W. Carver Academy, where he was named Teacher of the Year this year.
“I’m here to teach them to try to keep themselves physically fit, find things that they like to do to keep them active and try to keep them out of trouble,” he said.
The Indian River School Board of Education this week discussed, and ultimately rejected, a free meals program. Funded by the U.S. government, students could get free breakfast and lunch though Community Eligibility Provision, regardless of economic necessity. The CEP aims to feed children in high-poverty areas.
Jamie Moore’s day begins at 4 a.m., when she takes time to write nine different art lessons for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. But that’s OK. She’ll get to watch those 450 students blossom over time at Southern Delaware School of the Arts.
“That’s the advantage of having such an age range. The little ones see what big kids do,” Moore said. “I get to grow them. And not many people get to do that.”
Even with decades of experience, Moore’s enthusiasm and new ideas earned her recognition as SDSA’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year.
“I teach creative thinking and problem-solving,” she said. “SDSA affords me the chance to be a risk-taker.”
Moore gets more class time than typical art teachers. But she also lets kids do great things.
“I think if kids are given an opportunity and a place to feel free … they’re just being themselves, and themselves are pretty interesting.”
Kayla Bollinger may only be in her 20s, but kids have long looked up to this Teacher of the Year.
“When I was younger, everyone referred to me as ‘Mom.’ I would go to different events with my parents, and the kids were just drawn to me,” said Bollinger, labeling herself calm and soft-spoken.
Now teaching fourth grade at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Bollinger has transferred that motherliness to her own new family and that calm to the classroom.
“What I like about her classroom atmosphere is there’s always a sense of calm in her room. You always walk in and just go ‘Ahh,’” said fellow teacher Donna Smith. “Not too over the top and out of control … and the kids seem so happy.”
But don’t let the tranquility fool you. Bollinger stays sharp, always thinking ahead.
This year’s Indian River High School Hall of Fame inductee is a doctor, mother, fundraiser and cancer survivor. She was also voted “Most Likely to Study on a Thursday Night” in college.
Consistency and community are the most important things to 2014 inductee Devi Enerio-Ellant, Class of ’87.
Children are less likely these days to lose important paperwork in their backpacks, since the Indian River School District is offering a new paperless information system. Parents will now receive promotional literature in the form of emails, instead of the traditional paper fliers.
Dark clouds may have pushed Indian River High School’s graduation indoors, but that couldn’t stop the joy of 230 graduates, along with their families, friends, teachers and administrators, on May 27.
“You really made this school and community proud,” said former principal Mark Steele, attending his first graduation as assistant superintendent of the Indian River School District.
Many of today’s K-12 students are preparing for jobs that don’t even exist yet. As technology catapults forward, Indian River High School is pulling the lever with a pre-engineering pathway for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
Only two years old, the four-year STEM pathway is aimed at preparing students for a new level of technology and design in their college and careers.
“I like creating things,” said freshman Joseph Ciriello, who joined STEM after being inspired by a family friend who works in mechanical engineering. In the design-heavy course Introduction to Engineering Design, he’s ready to start building, but the students are first learning the computer programs that will propel them to the next step.
When Principal Bennett Murray tried to congratulate Diane Comolli for winning Teacher of the Year at Indian River High School, he couldn’t actually reach her. Students were eagerly swarming the English teacher’s classroom.
“I went down there to congratulate her after I had made the announcement via the PA system. I couldn’t get to her because her students were congratulating her and giving her hugs. Her kids were just as proud of her as we were,” Murray said. “I thought that spoke volumes that the students took time out of their schedules to congratulate her.”
“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “There are such fabulous teachers in this building. Just to be considered … is an honor. I guess, if you’re a teacher, that’s an Oscar!”
“I was so glad and honored to represent what is good about this building,” she said. “Indian River demonstrates each day what’s good about public schools.”
Teaching 10th-grade English, she sees students of all abilities, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I have a passion for all kids. They all deserve to learn. They all can learn, no matter what circumstances they come from,” said Comolli, adding that she feels she can approach multiple needs and learning styles.
“I got that from advertising. I talk to my audience in a way they’ll listen. … In high school, that’s especially important,” she said.