Lorewood Grove Elementary located north of Middletown in Whitehall community

The Appoquinimink School District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Delaware’s newest elementary school Thursday, Aug. 29 at Lorewood Grove Elementary, 801 Mapleton Ave., Middletown in the Town of Whitehall north of Boyd’s Corner Road.

Festivities will include a bounce house, magician, balloon animals and face painting. The community can meet Lorewood Grove teachers and staff, and be among the first to tour the school’s STEAM-focused learning center for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

A time capsule will be compiled so people attending can write a message with their name for the capsule. The event will also feature a selfie station and the chance to connect with other young families and the district’s supportive neighbors in the community of Whitehall.

Here is the schedule:

4 p.m. – Family fun;

5 p.m. – Ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the building, an opportunity to meet teachers, educational leaders and school board members;

6 p.m. – Time to play on the new playground and socialize with families.

Meet the principal

Lorewood Grove Elementary Principal Melisa Stilwell previously served as principal at Cedar Lane Elementary for seven years.

While leaving Cedar Lane was difficult, she said the excitement of being part of a brand new school was quite a draw.

“Knowing the school would have a dedicated maker space and such a high level of technology was very enticing,” Stilwell said.

Maker spaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they engage in science and engineering.

“I am so excited to have a maker space in which our students can get creative with high level problem solving while getting their hands dirty,” Stilwell said.

Another plus is that every student will be provided with an iPad.

“The instructional abilities that will give staff are countless – not to mention the increased engagement of students,” she said.

In addition to the maker space and iPads, Stilwell said students will benefit from having classrooms that open up to one another to enhance learning, and “pods” with flexible seating options.

Assistant Principal Kari Redding said the classrooms are organized into groups of four, with a pod or group room in the center of the four classrooms. The pod can be used for a small group of students to get more individualized attention in a subject or where one class can work with another class.

“All students will work on iPads with wireless capability so they can bring their iPads from the classroom to the pod for small group lessons and collaboration with other classrooms,” said Redding who has worked in the district for eight years, previously at Olive B. Loss Elementary and Townsend Elementary.

While learning is the main focus, kids still need to play.

“I would say they will also be very excited about the playground,” Stilwell said.

District officials are expecting about 600 students at the school which has an instructional staff of 42, with six custodians and eight cafeteria staff members.

“We are so excited to be part of the Whitehall community,” Stilwell said. “The relationships we have already built are amazing! We are proud to have started some wonderful business partnerships and welcome more.”