Teachers’ children bumped up in SDSA admittance priority

The Indian River School Board voted April 17 to amend the School Choice Program regarding Southern Delaware School of the Arts (policy JECC-A).

The school regularly has high numbers of would-be students on waiting lists, especially for younger students, and admittance is based on a priority system.

First priority is for returning students who continue to meet the requirements for the school. Second priority is siblings of students already enrolled, providing they meet the requirements.

The school board this week approved a new third priority: IR district students who are children of employees.

Employees’ children are followed by district students who currently attend a district school, who do not currently enrolled in district schools.

District employees with non-district students are priority number six.

There are currently nine levels of priority for SDSA. Last year’s first-grade class was filled with 19 students remaining on the waiting list. Other guidelines include a lottery system for elementary students and auditions for older students.

The policy passed with a majority vote (7-1) in a combined first and second reading, with Randall Hughes voting against, Donald Hattier absent and one empty seat on the board.

In accordance with changes to state law, the board also deleted part of the policy, in which certain schools or families receive compensation for providing school-choice transportation where none is regularly offered.

In other Indian River School District news:

• The board unanimously approved changes to policy JG-Student Discipline, which gives the school board the option of officially ending a student’s expulsion if the student is granted early release from an alternate school.

• The Policy Committee has also been considering a code of ethics for school board members; a social networking policy for staff and volunteers; and an acceptable-use policy for students and staff regarding electronic resources.

• Howard T. Ennis School faculty received an “Above and Beyond” award for surpassing their regular duties during two recent bomb threats to the school. They effectively evacuated the special-needs facility and continued meeting the students’ needs in a temporary setting.

• The board also recognized the accomplishments of students and coaches at Georgetown Middle School, Sussex Central High School and Odyssey of the Mind.

• The board issued a proclamation naming May 7 to 11 National Teacher Appreciation Week, honoring teachers as mentors, explorers and role models in opening students’ minds to ideas, knowledge and dreams.

• School Nutrition Employee Week will be May 7 to 11, honoring staffs’ daily efforts to provide healthful meals that nurture children.

• School Nurses’ Day will be May 9, honoring school nurses for “understanding the link between good health and learning” and enhancing the well-being and educational success.

• The school district recently installed new e-mail and data service for staff. The system, which might have cost at least $18,000, was given to all Delaware schools by Microsoft.

• New lighting should be installed at Indian River High School football stadium in May.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, at 7 p.m. at Indian River High School.