Principal’s Letter July-August 2011

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Dr. John DembyHello Sussex Tech Family and Friends,

Opening day for the 2011-12 school year is just around the corner. Much activity has been occurring in this building as we prepare for the new year. Chief of Maintenance Brad Parker and his team have the halls sparkling and the rooms shining as we prepare to welcome back our students. Mr. Parker’s team has also been working with Facilities Manager Terry Little to accomplish three construction projects that will enhance our students’ learning.

First, we have fully renovated one of our larger classrooms in the 300 wing into an on-site dental lab with three dental chair settings and all the necessary modern technology to support our new Dental Services and Technologies curriculum. The program will prepare students for employment as a dental assistant and various other dental health care opportunities. This technical area will allow students to obtain advanced knowledge and skills used in dentistry career fields. We are very excited to offer this curriculum to our students.

The second construction project is a new building for our Landscape Management and Environmental Technologies program. The old building was demolished last spring and classes were moved into a different classroom. Unfortunately, the new building will not be completed by the first day of school, but completion will be as soon as possible.

Finally, a classroom near the west end of the 400 wing is being renovated to create rehearsal space for our performing arts program. In the past, students have had to rehearse for plays and musicals wherever they could find an empty space after school. This new room will give them their own location to keep their supplies and materials and allow them to release their inner creativity.

A new item you will see this year at Sussex Tech will be a Raven wind tunnel through which our football athletes will run onto the field before every home game. Thanks to the commitment of several parents of senior players, the funds were raised to purchase this promotional entity. It has been donated to Sussex Tech to be used in future years.

Also new in 2011-12 will be a different student time schedule for classes. The morning schedule has been modified slightly and the lunch times will be shortened by a few minutes. The class schedule will be as follows:

8:15-8:40 a.m. — Breakfast
8:45-10:10 a.m. — Period 1 or 2
10:15-11:35 a.m. — Period 3 or 4
11:40-1:40 p.m. — Period 5 or 6
1:45-3:10 p.m. — Period 7 or 8
3:20 p.m. — Bus Departure/Teacher Dismissal
3:20-5:50 p.m. — Techademic Coaching/Extra Time
5:55 p.m. — Activity Bus Departure

The lunch schedules are as follows: A Lunch — 11:35-12:05 p.m.; B Lunch — 12:07-12:37 p.m.; C Lunch — 12:38-1:08 p.m.; and D Lunch — 1:10-1:40 p.m.

An important new restriction this year to help ensure the safety of your children will be that NO PARKING, STOPPING, OR STANDING will be allowed on Route 9 in front of the school. This will be enforced by the Delaware State Police and DelDOT. This restriction will go into effect on Monday, August 22. Parking on either side of Rt. 9 to drop off or pick up your child is a dangerous practice. It leads to traffic congestion and hampers visibility. When dropping off or picking up your child, please enter the front parking lot and meet them in the front of the building. We are complying with the Delaware State Police and DelDOT in an effort to keep you and your children safe.

A few new faces will be seen in the classrooms this fall. I would like to welcome Jill Lord, the new dental services teacher; Jeffrey Haycraft, Rachel Cannuli and Eden Hade, English teachers; and Daniel Zakrociemski, student activities coordinator. Other staff changes include former shared approach teacher Ed Dougherty as a full-time English teacher, and former shared approach teacher Kris Helms as the personal finance teacher, a new course offered this year.

Fifteen Sussex Tech teachers will train for Blackboard.com, an interactive course website that allows teachers to expand the walls of their classroom to update course material, interact with students, promote collaboration, as well as assess and improve performance. These 15 teachers will then train our other teachers so that they too can extend the availability of their classrooms.

Several teachers attended the annual High Schools That Work conference this summer sponsored by the Southern Regional Education Board. Key practices of HSTW are aimed at raising student achievement and graduation rates by integrating career-technical and academic education. We were very proud of Sussex Tech when Assistant Principal Dr. Loriann White accepted the Outstanding High Schools That Work School Award presented to us for implementing the HSTW school improvement design and demonstrating outstanding commitment to improving student achievement, graduation rates, and student college and career-readiness. We are one of only 13 schools nationwide to receive this award. Sussex Tech also received the HSTW Gold Achievement Award for having 50 percent or more students earn the HSTW Award of Educational Achievement. Great things are happening at Sussex Tech!

I congratulate our public relations office for receiving a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association for exemplary public relations. The NSPRA recognized a collaborative marketing campaign produced by Ms. Carolyn O’Neal, PR coordinator, Mr. Steve Persolio, student services coordinator, and Mr. Gary Conaway, media communications teacher.
Congratulations also to the 34 students who attended the national SkillsUSA Championships in Kansas City. We had several finish in the top-20 nationally. For the fifth time, ST’s Broadcast News team brought home a national medal by placing third in this year’s competition. Bronze team members were senior Sarah Samaha, and juniors Katie Beitzel, Stephen Mervine and Rebecca Southmayd. Gary Conaway has done a tremendous job with this technical area. Junior Tara Windels also won a bronze medal in the Technical Computer Applications competition. Unfortunately, this was the last trip to Kansas City for student activities coordinator, Pattiva Cathell, who is leaving Sussex Tech this year for another career opportunity. We wish her the best in her new position. Mrs. Cathell has dedicated a great deal of time and effort into promoting SkillsUSA and coaching our students into becoming winners in this competition.

Congratulations to cosmetology teacher Shelly Dykes whose entire senior class passed the state licensure exam, and to health professions teacher Nancy Massaro whose entire senior class passed the state CNA (certified nursing assistant) exam. It takes a great deal of dedication to have their entire classes pass these difficult exams.

DCAS (Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System) results have been mailed to parents/guardians. These results are for tests taken last spring. I am proud to say that Sussex Tech’s results are again at the top of the list for Delaware public high schools. These results are a testament to the dedication and capabilities of our teachers and administrators for producing excellence from our students.

Sussex Tech is also proud to have four students named AP Scholars after completing the Advanced Placement tests last spring. These students demonstrated college-level achievement through AP courses and exams. Congratulations to juniors Madelyn Crimmins and Mahnoor Mahmood, sophomore Priyen Patel, and senior Conor Small.

Dozens of students have been showing up on campus lately and working out in the weight room or running on the track in an effort to prepare themselves for the upcoming fall sports season. However, before moving on to a new season, I would first like to congratulate all the spring athletes who were named to All-Conference teams. Congratulations to: Baseball – 1st Team: Eric Sharff (pitcher) and James Smith (outfield); Honorable Mention: Shane Marvel; Softball – 1st Team: Kim Smith (pitcher), Kelsey Doherty (2nd base), Logan Pavlik (shortstop) and Amber Callahan (at-large); 2nd Team: Devon Bitler (at-large); Honorable Mention: Julie Merritt; Girls Soccer – 1st Team: Leanne Rowe and Rebekah Warrington; 2nd Team: Haley Cherrix, Lindsey Rickards, Bethany Killmon and Maggie Lee; Honorable Mention: Melanie Hitchens; Coach of the Year: Carlos Villa; Boys Track – 1st Team: Darrin Beckett (110 hurdles); 2nd Team: Aquilla Cartwright, Darrin Beckett, Prince Collins, Desmond Sivels (4×100 relay), Beau Warrington (800 run), and Desmond Sivels (long jump); Girls Track – 1st Team: Briana Hall (100 hurdles) and Emily Ritter (3200 run); 2nd Team: Isabell Wharton, Bethany Killmon, Laura Zwiebel, Emily Ritter (4×800 relay), and Emily Ritter (1600 run); Boys Lacrosse – 1st Team: Jack Redefer (midfield); 2nd Team: John Powell (attack) and Drew Stewart (attack); Honorable Mention: Ryan Cannon (attack); and Girls Lacrosse – 1st Team: Maxine Fluharty; 2nd Team: Kellen Cannon.
Another congratulations for sports excellence goes to Izzie Delario for being selected to the United States Under-17 National Hockey Team. Izzie is a member of the WC Eagles.

The high school fall sports season begins August 15. I look forward to meeting our new Ravens in the Class of 2015 at Freshman Orientation on August 22 and 23. Then on August 25, everyone will be back to the books at Sussex Tech for another exciting year. See you then.

Dr. John Demby, Principal