Indian River School District

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:

IRHS student crowned Miss Hispanic Delaware

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Ana Calles’ crown holds dozens of glittering rhinestones that represent the beauty, poise, intelligence and quick thinking she displayed at the 2017 Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Ana Calles’ crown holds dozens of glittering rhinestones that represent the beauty, poise, intelligence and quick thinking she displayed at the 2017 Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.Selbyville is home to a new pageant winner and community leader: 17-year-old Ana Calles was crowned Miss Hispanic Delaware this week.

“It’s still very surreal to me, because it’s just something that I’ve been wanting for a long time, and that it’s actually manifested into reality — it’s very surreal,” Calles said.

She has just begun 11th grade at Indian River High School. As the pageant’s only downstate contestant, Calles said she was happy to stand out geographically, despite the necessity of the two-hour drive to the Baby Grand theater in Wilmington’s Grand Opera House for rehearsals and the competition.

Calles represented Mexico in the Aug. 26 program, which celebrates Hispanic culture and is designed to help young ladies develop poise and communication skills. Calles has lived in Selbyville all her life, except for a few years in Mexico when she was younger.

“I was nervous throughout the whole day, but after our opening-number dance, I felt more confident and comfortable on stage,” she said of her very first pageant.

Calles had dreamed of competing for years, but her family had just suffered the painful impact of losing her mother in April.

“I just wanted to make her proud her proud, overall, even though I know just competing made her proud,” Calles said. “I know she was with me that night. I could feel her.”

IRSD talks budget, school numbers, FFA

With some of its schools completely over their enrollment capacity, the Indian River School District is trying to nail down a system for school choice.

On Aug. 28, for the first time in months, the Board of Education approved a number of school-choice recommendations, after only a few minutes of discussion.

IRSD citizens group debates the issues, reviews new budget

The Indian River School District has found some new eyes to look at the budget, and they’ve got some ideas. The Citizens Budget Oversight Committee convened on Aug. 21 for their first look at the IRSD’s proposed $151 million preliminary budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Selbyville teen to compete in Miss Hispanic pageant

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For her pageant platform, Ana Calles encourages people to volunteer for the causes they love.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For her pageant platform, Ana Calles encourages people to volunteer for the causes they love.Ana Calles doesn’t mind driving two hours to Wilmington every week this summer. Hailing from Selbyville, she’s the only downstate contestant in the Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.

“Honestly, it’s a big honor, and I feel very fortunate and blessed,” said Calles, 17. “I see how I’m the only one from lower Delaware. I don’t see that as an inconvenience to go all the way up there. I see it was an opportunity or a blessing. I think it’s special because it makes me stand out.”

She will represent Mexico in the Aug. 26 program, which celebrates Hispanic culture and is also designed to help young ladies develop poise and communication skills.

As a rising junior at Indian River High School, Calles said she has wanted to join the pageant for several years now. Calles has lived in Selbyville all her life, except for a few years in Mexico when she was younger.

She has the drive to compete, even hiring Uber rides to Wilmington, until teacher Lori Hudson put an end to that. Then, Hudson personally drove Calles to rehearsals and helped her with program sponsorships.

“She helps me with my schooling and everything. She’s really awesome, to be honest,” Calles said of Hudson. “She definitely goes out of her way, and she’s really there for me — almost in a way a mother would.”

The pageant began in 1972 and is celebrated with the Wilmington Hispanic Festival.

Ahoy, robots!

LB brings bots to the beach

Coastal Point • Laura Walter:  Branden Lathbury, left, and Logan Shoobridge display their Lego VEX robot at the Bethany Beach banCoastal Point • Laura Walter: Branden Lathbury, left, and Logan Shoobridge display their Lego VEX robot at the Bethany Beach banThese kids didn’t mind going to school in summer, as Lord Baltimore Elementary School hosted a robotics summer camp for 10 students in which they designed, built and programed their own robots.

“It was hard, but it was really fun to work with each other,” said rising fifth-grader Jay Lockard.

The 10 children from the upper grades at the school split into three teams, and each team built their own Lego VEX robot. Starting with a box of plastic pieces, they learned team-building, strategizing, construction, programing and some coding.

“I was surprised about how we took all these tiny, tiny pieces and put this together,” said Whitney McMillon, technology teacher.

School board wants consistent rules for school choice

Kevin Patterson’s third-grade daughter has found success in the Indian River School District, and he looked forward to sending his son to kindergarten this fall. But, living outside the district, the boy isn’t guaranteed a spot, and the school has recommended that the school board reject his school choice application.

Dagsboro offer for school resource officer rejected by IRSD

At the monthly town council meeting on July 17, Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey reported to the council on his presentation to the Indian River School District regarding the role of school resource officer.

Top 10: Local OM team makes a big splash at world finals

It was a worldwide honor for some of Indian River School District’s most creative students recently, as a middle-school team placed in the Top 10 at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

IRSD scrutinizing school-choice enrollment procedures

The Indian River School District has been juggling school choice for the past few months. Between space constraints and the now-resolved question of next year’s kindergarten program, school board members have spent more time each month combing through their rules on and goals for school choice.

IRSD sets new property tax rate with 52-cent increase

The Indian River School District this week approved the tax rate for this autumn.

For the 2018 fiscal year, the property tax rate will increase from $2.578 to $3.097 per $100 assessed value (which, in Sussex County, is much less than actual appraised real estate value).

IRSD shakes up school administrators for 2017-2018

As students finished their last few days at school, the Indian River School District has been lining up administrators for the 2017-2018 school year.

Hats off to the Class of 2017

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The Indian River High School Class of 2017 tossed their mortarboards into the air following their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 31.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The Indian River High School Class of 2017 tossed their mortarboards into the air following their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 31.

Rainy days rolled away to allow Indian River High School to celebrate its 48th commencement exercises in a sunny football stadium on May 31.

This year, about 84 percent of the graduates will enter post-secondary school, including 122 students planning to attend Delaware or Delmarva schools.

IRHS graduates honor classmate who lost battle with cancer

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Among those celebrating Trevor Kramer’s legacy at the IRHS graduation were, from left, Tyler Kramer, Samantha Mayfield, student artist Liliana Guido, Gerald Brinson, MaryJo Brinson, Tori Mayfield and Michael Kramer.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Among those celebrating Trevor Kramer’s legacy at the IRHS graduation were, from left, Tyler Kramer, Samantha Mayfield, student artist Liliana Guido, Gerald Brinson, MaryJo Brinson, Tori Mayfield and Michael Kramer.Last week, Trevor Kramer would have graduated with his friends at Indian River High School. Instead, he was lovingly remembered as a kind and outgoing young man who succumbed to cancer in his junior year of high school.

His classmates gave tribute during the May 31 commencement, both in their speeches and in a hand-painted portrait that freshman Liliana Guido presented to Trevor’s family.

Trevor passed away at 16 in March of 2016 at A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, after battling brain cancer. The 11th-grader lived in Frankford and was born in Pennsylvania to MaryJo Brinson and Michael James Kramer. He loved baseball, both cheering the Phillies and playing Little League.

“He was always a joker,” said his stepfather, Gerald Brinson. “If you were down, he’d make sure people would smile.”

A real mother of a teacher

Science and support with Indian River’s Alison Walt

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School’s Teacher of the Year recipient, Alison Walt, teaches science at IR.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School’s Teacher of the Year recipient, Alison Walt, teaches science at IR.What are two top traits in a teacher? “A caring personality and rock-solid knowledge of science.” That’s how science teacher Alison Walt was described in her Teacher of the Year nomination at Indian River High School.

“Mrs. Walt has the ability to build relationships with all students, but especially those struggling to find their place in the world,” according to one colleague. “Her caring demeanor, respect for all students and willingness to help students with personal issues, resulted in students regarding her as a mother figure, in addition to as a teacher.”

“As an administrator, I could never ask for more than what Mrs. Walt gives every day,” said Principal Bennett Murray.

“I want them to understand there’s somebody that cares about them,” said Walt, who teaches chemistry and physical science to grades 9, 11 and 12. “I want this class to be a place that they know that no one’s going to ridicule them. I just love them all, even when they get on my nerves,” she joked.

The motherly atmosphere is likely an extension of her own children and their friends visiting her classroom over the years as they completed their educations at IRHS. The classroom just became a safe haven for those who sought it.

State likes proposed location for new Ennis school

Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: A new Howard T. Ennis School for students with special needs could be located north of Millsboro, as shown in this Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) application.Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: A new Howard T. Ennis School for students with special needs could be located north of Millsboro, as shown in this Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) application.The wheels are rolling for a new Howard T. Ennis School building. The State of Delaware appears to like the idea of building a new facility for the special-needs school.

Indian River School District officials said they are encouraged by state-level discussions to transfer a piece of Stockley Center land to build a replacement Ennis School in Georgetown.

Although Ennis is managed by the IRSD, the school serves all Sussex Countians who have significant cognitive delays, up to age 21.

Currently, it’s a tight squeeze for Ennis’s 140 students, plus special staff and medical equipment. Sometimes they can barely fit in the narrow hallways of the old building.

The district needs to rebuild the 47-year-old school completely, without disrupting the students’ education.

LB fourth-graders learn about local history

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Lord Baltimore Elementary fourth graders learn about old telephones at the Ocean View Historical Society.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Lord Baltimore Elementary fourth graders learn about old telephones at the Ocean View Historical Society.Last week, Lord Baltimore Elementary School fourth-graders took a field trip just around the corner from their school to the Ocean View Historical Society’s complex. The kids were able to tour the Tunnell-West House, the Town’s first free-standing post office (built in 1889), an outhouse and a replica of Cecile Steele’s chicken house, and view artifacts up close.

“Several of us were lifelong educators, so we are familiar with the age group, with classrooms and schedules,” said OVHS member Carol Psaros. “Barbara Slavin, our current president, is very knowledgeable, because she has a business that still operates in schools.

“We’ve tested it a couple times, and we change it after each time. We had far too much stuff in the first go-around a few years ago. We’re refining it. We want them to have fun.”

Gano receives rank of Eagle

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Trip Jorss, Robert Gano, Grant Gano, Lord Baltimore Principal Pam Webb and Assistant Principal Matthew Keller pose for a photo at Gano’s Eagle Scout project at LB.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Trip Jorss, Robert Gano, Grant Gano, Lord Baltimore Principal Pam Webb and Assistant Principal Matthew Keller pose for a photo at Gano’s Eagle Scout project at LB.Although he left Lord Baltimore Elementary school nearly 10 years ago, Indian River High School senior Grant Gano wanted to give back to his earliest alma mater.

For his Eagle Scout project through Ocean View Boy Scout Troop 281, Gano rehabilitated part of the presentation area of the school’s Environmental Learning Center.

“I went here for elementary school — this was my school growing up, and this area was never used,” said Gano. “I got the idea from that. I felt the need for the deck here.”

Gano reached out to LB Principal Pam Webb and asked her if she would like the area updated and what the school’s needs would be.

Spanish Immersion safe for now

Some local elementary school parents rejoiced this week to learn that the Indian River School District isn’t canceling Spanish Immersion classes.

'Gatsby' gets green light for IR premiere this weekend

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The cast of Indian River High School’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ takes time from rehearsal to mug for the camera. They will perform both Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The cast of Indian River High School’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ takes time from rehearsal to mug for the camera. They will perform both Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27.Whether they’re coming in from East Egg, West Egg or across any other egg-less province, the local community is getting the “green light” to head out to Indian River High School this Friday and Saturday night for the IR drama club’s production of “The Great Gatsby.”

The Simon Levy adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story will “borne back ceaselessly into the past” to feature everything 1920s — from snazzy suits and flapper dresses to the jazz stylings of the Indian River High School band during intermissions and throughout the show.

Coming off the success of their production of “Romeo & Juliet” this past winter — in what was the first-year drama club’s first-ever show — hopes were even higher for “Gatsby,” with everything coming together just in time for curtain call.

“We have a lot to pull together in the last week — as is the nature of theater — but we’re all really excited,” said Sadie Andros, director and first-year English teacher at IR. “We’ve gone a little bigger for this show. We’ve got a great set that we’ve been designing and painting. We have a car, live music — it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

LB Artisans Fair adds farmers’ market in its 10th year

Coastal Point • Submitted : Some of the painted rock creations from Carol Gentes on display at this year's Artisans Fair. title=Coastal Point • Submitted : Some of the painted rock creations from Carol Gentes on display at this year's Artisans Fair.The Artisans Fair at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View will celebrate its 10th anniversary when the fair gets under way this Memorial Day weekend, adding on a farmers’ market this year, in addition to its array of artisans new and returning.

“For our 10th anniversary, we were talking about what we could do,” said Artisans Fair spokesperson Ida Crist. “We wanted to expand a little bit, so we decided to have the market outside.”

Local vendors scheduled to set up shop at LB for the first-year farmers’ market on Saturday, May 27, include fresh lettuces, herbs, wheatgrass, microgreens, essential oils and colloidal silver products from Bill Jordan and Fresh Harvest Hydroponics in Millsboro; honey, bees-wax products, jams and jellies, soaps, hand creams, lip balm and lip gloss from Carol Hudson of Backyard Jams & Jellies in Frankford; garden items from the Inland Bays Garden Center in Frankford; and season-fresh produce from Paul Parsons and Parsons Farms Produce in Frankford and Ellen Magee of Magee Farms in Selbyville; as well as soups and sandwiches from Delaware Provisions South in Millville.

IR’s Clark takes first at BPA nationals in presentation management

Coastal Point • Submitted: IR senior David Clark took first place for presentation management at the BPA National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla. from May 10 to May 14.Coastal Point • Submitted: IR senior David Clark took first place for presentation management at the BPA National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla. from May 10 to May 14.David Clark knows a thing or two about management.

The soon-to-be graduate of Indian River High School has spent the past four years managing his time while juggling a laundry list of extracurricular commitments, ranging from the student council and his responsibilities as the senior class president, to his involvement with the Leo Club and National Honor Society, to running for the varsity cross-country team and helping lead the varsity boys’ tennis team to a Henlopen South division championship this past spring, just to name a few.

With his wide array of leadership roles and as a four-year member in the school’s Business Professionals of America (BPA) organization, Clark also knows a thing or two about presentations, often finding himself being called upon to give a speech during school-wide pep rallies or a senior scholarship awards ceremony.

So when he was called upon to deliver his most important speech to date earlier this month — this time with the focus on the very subject of presentation management, at the BPA National Leadership Conference on Orlando, Fla. — David Clark knew a thing or two about not being nervous, as he went on to take first place in the country and bring home the school’s first BPA national title since 2007.

SMS reading teacher gives it her all

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Meredith Wallace was recently named Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Meredith Wallace was recently named Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year.Meredith Wallace would rather do headstands in front of a classroom than give a newspaper interview.

Then again, she would do anything for her students.

That attitude helped make her Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018. Wallace teaches seventh-grade English language arts.

“I try to have fun. … I think that I’m silly. You have to be able to laugh at yourself for them to be able to laugh at themselves,” Wallace said. “Because when you struggle, that’s when you learn, so you have to show it’s OK to make mistakes and learning is fun.”

And the students notice. Student James Livingston gave her a solid review: “Mrs. Wallace is a good teacher. She helped me learn what I didn’t learn before. She makes learning fun.”

For Wallace, teaching was a destiny she welcomed, especially with other educators in the family.

“From the time I was in first grade, I can remember wanting to be a teacher,” she said.

She taught for 13 years in her home state of Maryland, then a year in Millsboro. After teaching social studies, special education and elementary education, she’s loved her four years at SMS.