Indian River district wins two Superstars in Education Awards

16 Superstars in Education full

SUSSEX COUNTY – Indian River School District has received two prestigious Superstars in Education Awards from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

Sussex Central High School’s Teacher Professional Learning Program and the district’s Accelerating Pre-Literate English Language Learners (APELL) program were among the 2016 Superstars winners announced on March 8.

The chamber selected six winners statewide from a pool of 42 nominees.

“It is an honor to have two Superstars award winners chosen from such a deserving group of candidates,” IRSD Superintendent Dr. Susan Bunting said. “Whether it is Sussex Central High School utilizing technology to promote professional development or the APELL program assisting students with limited English proficiency, our district is once again at the forefront of innovative educational programs in the State of Delaware. I congratulate everyone involved with the creation and implementation of these groundbreaking programs.”

All of the 2016 Superstars winners will be honored at a special ceremony on May 9 at Wilmington University’s Doberstein Admissions Center Auditorium.

Sussex Central High School

Sussex Central High School was honored for its efforts in providing professional development through Schoology, an online system that allows for better collaboration among teachers. Utilizing Schoology, teachers can complete professional development assignments and use discussion boards to collaborate with other teachers.

Since the system was implemented, the teacher participation rate for professional development activities has soared. It has also freed up additional time for teachers to collaborate face-to-face on instructional strategies.

School officials credited Reading Specialist John Orlando and Instructional Technology Specialist Mike League with promoting the use of Schoology for professional development among Sussex Central’s teachers.


Founded in 2014, the Accelerating Pre-Literate English Language Learners program at the G.W. Carver Center in Frankford currently serves approximately 80 students ranging in age from 14 to 18.

This voluntary program accommodates English Language Learners (ELL) who require a more intensive form of instruction than the traditional ELL programs at the district’s two high schools can provide. Most APELL students are from Guatemala, although a few hail from Honduras, Turkey, Haiti and Mexico.

Many APELL students have had only a limited education in their home countries and therefore have literacy challenges in their native languages. In many cases, Spanish is a second language for students. The goal of APELL is to improve language and literacy skills so that students can eventually return to their home high schools. The APELL curriculum places a heavy emphasis on learning the English language, but students also receive instruction in mathematics, physical education, health and Spanish.

IRSD’s previous Superstar winners

This year’s honors are the Indian River School District’s 20th and 21st Superstars in Education awards.

Previous district winners were Frankford Elementary School (1992 and 2010), East Millsboro Elementary School (1993), the district’s childcare providers’ workshop (1994), Lord Baltimore Elementary School (1998), Howard T. Ennis School (2000 and 2011), Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. (2000), the Outdoor Education Center at Ingram Pond (2001), the middle school “Meet the Challenge” program (2005), the district’s “Leadership Institute: The 2% Solution” program (2006), Southern Delaware School of the Arts (2008), Long Neck Elementary School (2008 and 2011), the district’s “Home Grown by Indian River: An Administrative Development Model” program (2009), Phillip C. Showell Elementary School (2010), Georgetown Middle School (2014) and the district’s “BRINC: Linking to the Future” program (2014). The district’s “Walk the Talk” program also received the Superstars Sustainability Award in 2010.

About Superstars in Education

Funded by the local business community, Superstars in Education is a statewide awards program that seeks to promote and share programs and best practices in education that show measurable results and raise student achievement. Since its inception in 1989, the program has honored more than 260 educational programs in the State of Delaware.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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