Indian River School District

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:

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.