It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2016-2017 school year! It was rewarding to see our students heading back to classes on September 6. I want to thank parents for their patience and cooperation during what was a smooth and efficient opening to the school year. I had the pleasure of visiting numerous classrooms during the first week of school and, as always, was impressed at the quality of instruction our students are receiving. As parents, you should feel fortunate to have some of the best educators in the State of Delaware overseeing your children’s education.
The weeks prior to the opening of school were also filled with exciting activities. District teachers, paraprofessionals and other staff were welcomed back on August 30 with a special pep rally at Sussex Central High School. Our staff members showed tremendous pride with an array of banners, signs and T-shirts championing their schools. The cheering was definitely boisterous! Two of our school mascots – the Ennis Eagle and the Phillip C. Showell Bee – were also in attendance. I especially want to commend students Will Kenney, Wyatt Bratten, Jared Arlett, John Henry and Adamari Rodriguez for their wonderful speeches. Check out the district Facebook page for photos from the pep rally.
The district welcomed 99 new teachers into the fold on August 22 with the start of New Teacher Week. Five days of orientation activities were held at Southern Delaware School of the Arts. One of the week’s featured events was Stewards of Children training offered by the Beau Biden Foundation. The training taught adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The evidence-based program offered practical prevention training with a conversational, real-world approach. District administrators received this training in July. I wish all of our new teachers luck as they begin their careers in education!
This is a time of transition in the Indian River School District as enrollment continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. As of mid-September, we have about 380 additional students this year, raising our total enrollment to more than 10,500. This has created a series of budget challenges for the new school year. In 2016-2017, we have reduced discretionary budgets by about $3 million. To alleviate these “growing pains,” the district will likely host a current expense referendum this fall. District residents are encouraged to monitor the district website, Facebook and the local media in the coming weeks and months for information about the referendum. We hope we can once again rely on the public to support of our efforts to build a world-class system of public schools.
Thank you for your unwavering support of our schools and for being a partner in your children’s education. Have a wonderful school year!
Susan S. Bunting, Ed.D.