Thursday, October 11, 2012
What is your grade in education?
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
About two years ago I wrote an article on parent report cards. I recently read an article in an issue of the Seaford Star about a meeting that Seaford School Superintendent Joseph had with parents. As part of that meeting he was looking for input about the direction in which Seaford Schools should go. What caught my eye was the fact that there were 50 parents in attendance. I know that there are a lot more than 50 students in the school district. It makes one wonder what was more important than their child's education that kept the rest of the parents from attending. I felt it was time to dig out the old article and republish it since there is still a need for input. At this point in time as a group the parents of the students in the Seaford Schools have a collective grade of F in supporting their children's education. There are many ways to support your child's education. The first subject is "Homework." This is clearly an important role for parents. There are several different aspects. A grade of A should be given if homework is a joint assignment with the parent involved. A grade of C should be given if homework is done by the student and checked by the parent. (Remember that C is average and therefore a good grade). A grade of F should be given if parents do not pay any attention to homework. The second subject is "Parent-Teacher Conference." Interacting with your child's teacher is important for several reasons. It keeps the lines of communication open. It lets you know what is going on and gives you the chance to discuss concerns with the teacher. A grade of A should be given if you attend all those that are scheduled and contact the teacher in between as necessary. A grade of C should be given if you keep those that are scheduled but have no other contact. A grade of F should be given if you do not attend the conferences. This is what is driving the current collective grade of F for the local parents. The third subject is "Setting the Example." Children learn more by seeing what you do than by listening. Parents need to show children that school and school activities are important. A grade of A should be given if you are active in the Parent-Teacher Organization, attend your child's school activities and attend other school activities. A grade of C should be given if you do at least two of the three. A grade of F should be given if you do not attend any of the activities. The fourth subject is "Out of School Learning During the School Year." This is related to teaching your child over and above what is done in the classroom. It involves things like giving your child an allowance to learn about money. It involves reading to your child at night. It involves having your child read to you, teaching your child a hobby, enrolling your child in a sport and in enrichment classes of other types. It also involves visits to educational events. Almost any event can be made an educational experience. A visit to the Salisbury Zoo or Ross Mansion for an event are examples. A grade of A should be given if you do these kinds of things on a daily basis. A grade of C should be given if you do these kinds of things on a weekly basis. A grade of F should be given if you do not do these kinds of things. The fifth subject is "Out of School Learning During the Summer." While there is no formal class during the summer, there are multiple learning opportunities. These are the same kinds of things that are useful during the school year. However, during the summer they become more important because there are no additional learning opportunities going on in school which make it more of a challenge to parents. A grade of A should be given if these things happen several times a week during the summer. A grade of C should be given if they happen several times a month. A grade of F should be given if they do not happen at all during the summer. The sixth subject is "Screen Time." It is a known fact that time spent with TV, video games and Internet does not improve learning. A grade of A should be given if there is less than two hours of screen time only on non-school days. A grade of C should be given if there is 1-2 hours of screen time every day. A grade of F should be given if there is more than 2 hours of screen time per day or more than 14 hours per week. Once you give yourself a full report card, it will give you the chance to decide where you can improve your efforts in educating your children. Many of these subjects are not related directly to the school so the school is not involved in that form of education. The burden lies solely on the parents to provide the complete education that their children need.

Blades Elementary turns pink Blades Elementary School has traded in the blue and gold on for the color pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Two staff members, Lori Dalton, 3rd grade teacher, and Wendy Reale, school secretary, recently walked 60 miles for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. The whole school was invited to wear pink one day. Also welcomed was the Drive to Inspire Car. Preston Automotive Group not only donated money to the 3-Day team but also created a pink car that was signed by the community including over 500 students from Blades Elementary.

Hospice offers 'Grief 101' workshop Anyone coping with loss will benefit from a workshop, "Grief 101," which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. This workshop will help you learn about how to cope with your grief or that of a family member. The discussion will include, "What to Expect While Grieving," and "Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Feelings of Grief." "Grief 101" is free and open to the public as a community outreach of Delaware Hospice. However, registration is required as space is limited. Contact Midge DiNatale, GC-C, at 416-0581 or

'Home For The Holidays' program The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for families coping with Alzheimer's but it is also vitally important for these families to spend time with their loved ones during the holiday season. That's why the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Kent and Sussex County has partnered with Delaware Hospice on a groundbreaking program called Home for Holidays. Presented by Home Instead Senior Care's Community Liaison, Heather Steuer, Home for the Holidays is designed to help families engage their loved one with Alzheimer's and manage challenging behaviors through techniques pioneered in Home Instead's Alzheimer's CARE program. Home for the Holidays will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Delaware Hospice, 100 Patriot's Way in Milford. Light fare will be provided. Space is limited so RSVP by Oct. 15 by calling Heather Steuer at 302-697-6435, ext. 804.

Potassium Iodide tablets distributed The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and Delaware Division of Public Health will distribute potassium iodide (KI) tablets to Delaware residents living within a 10 mile radius of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations. The free tablets will be distributed on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Townsend Fire Station. Potassium Iodide will be available to residents who received it previously and whose tablets have reached their expiration date, as well as those who never received the tablets before. Individuals with a home or business addressed within the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) are eligible to receive the KI tablets. Potassium iodide does not protect against external radiation, but can help protect the thyroid gland from ingested or inhaled radioactive iodine that might be released in a radiation emergency. The primary method of protecting residents is evacuation of the EPZ. Potassium iodide offers additional protection. In the event of a radiation emergency, state and local officials will inform the public through messages on Emergency Action System (EAS) radio stations. For additional information regarding the potassium iodide distribution program in Delaware, call the Delaware Emergency Management Agency Radiological Emergency Planning section at 302-659-3362.

Contaminated product alert The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Delawareans that potentially contaminated epidural steroid injections may have been used in surrounding states and linked to fungal meningitis. At this time, there are no known cases of fungal meningitis in Delaware nor is Delaware one of the states that received the potentially contaminated steroid injection from the manufacturer. However, the product was shipped to Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. DPH is recommending that Delawareans who received steroid injections in those states be alert for the following and contact their doctor should they appear: infected patients have presented approximately 1 to 4 weeks following their injection with a variety of symptoms, including fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and new neurological deficit (consistent with deep brain stroke). Some of these patients' symptoms could be very mild in nature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are coordinating a multi-state investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who received an epidural steroid injection. Several of these patients also suffered strokes that are believed to have resulted from their infection. Fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person.

Nanticoke welcomes Dr. Palavecino Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Sandra Palavecino, MD to the Nanticoke Physician Network. Dr. Palavecino joins Nanticoke Health Services as an internal medicine physician and joins the Nanticoke Medical Center in Bridgeville, located at 9111 Antique Alley, Unit 1, Bridgeville. Dr. Palavecino completed her primary care internal medicine residency at University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn.

She is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association. Dr. Palavecino is board certified in internal medicine and is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Palavecino who is accepting new patients, call 337-9320.

Parkinson's support group meeting The Nanticoke Parkinson's Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on the third Monday, Oct. 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m in the ballroom at the Nanticoke Senior Center. The main agenda for the meeting will be a presentation by the Nanticoke Hospital pharmacist, George Schwobel, about the potential for interaction between medicines for a person with Parkinson's. Schwobel will review with each individual the medicines they are taking to determine if there is any risk involved. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and stay for lunch and a social time after the meeting.

Women's Center plans open house Bayhealth Kent General will host an open house of the Center for Women and Infants on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. The two-story Center for Women and Infants opened in 2005 and provides state-of-the-art women's services as well as critical care to neonatal infants. Come for a tour of the facility where you can talk with nurses, lactation consultants and physicians and enjoy light refreshments. The tour will include Bayhealth Kent General's 10 labor/delivery rooms in the birth center, the 15-bed special care nursery, and the 26-bed women's services floor. The Center for Women and Infants is located on the 5th Floor at Kent General. Learn more by visiting

Nanticoke welcomes Dr. Sargent Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Keith Sargent, DO to the Nanticoke Physician Network. Dr. Sargent joins Nanticoke Health Services as a family practice physician and joins the Nanticoke Family Practice Center, located at 1320 Middleford Rd., Ste. 202, Seaford. He is accepting new patients. Dr. Sargent earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania. He completed his Family Medicine residency at St. Luke's Hospital in Allentown, Pa. His professional memberships include the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the Medical Society of Delaware. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sargent, call 629-4240.

Protection from air pollution Attorney General Beau Biden and Governor Jack Markell has announced that Delaware, eight other states, and several major cities have challenged a federal appeals court decision striking down federal rules that would have significantly reduced air pollution in the First State. "The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule could reduce emissions from power plants in upwind states that contribute more than 90 percent of the air pollution that Delawareans breathe," said Governor Markell. On Aug. 21, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that required significant reductions in airborne pollutants emitted by 27 states. The EPA had determined that air pollution from these states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, contribute significantly to downwind states' inability to comply with federal air quality standards. The CSAPR, promulgated in 2011, required those states to undertake significant efforts to reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, precursor pollutants of ozone and other fine particulates beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Last year Kansas challenged the Rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Delaware intervened with other states in support of the air pollution standards. EPA filed an appeal of the August 12 decision and Delaware's subsequent petition supports that appeal, seeking a re-hearing of the case before the entire US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.

ATI Physical Therapy helps resident This past spring, Ryan Kardos, an ATI physical therapist and certified vestibular specialist, provided relief for Sussex County resident Bonny Kirby when she thought no relief was possible. Kirby, like many other Americans, suffered from vertigo, knocking both her body and her life off balance. However, unlike many other Americans, Kirby discovered that there was help through vestibular rehabilitation. Kardos brings his knowledge and expertise to Seaford as he assumes the role of clinic director at ATI's newest clinic, located at 22832 Sussex Hwy. In addition to vestibular rehabilitation, the Seaford clinic offers physical therapy and sports medicine services. To learn more, visit

Diabetes Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a free diabetes support group on Monday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the hospital. As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would you just like to share with others coping with diabetes? Come join our free support group for individuals with diabetes. The October 15th group will feature Dr. Bradley Lemon, podiatrist, speaking on the topic of "Nail and Foot Care." There will also be a question and answer period. Registration is required. To register and obtain additional information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

NMH offers first aid classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community first aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Nanticoke Training Center on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants ages 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing, and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 16, 1:30 p.m., at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For additional information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Nanticoke offers flu shots It's time to get your seasonal flu shot. Influenza is a serious disease that affects many people, including the elderly and those with serious, long-term health problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone get a seasonal flu vaccine every year. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will be offering seasonal flu shots to individuals 18 years of age and older at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mears Health Campus (300 Rawlins Dr., Seaford, Rehabilitation Services Building) on the following dates: Thursday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25 from 3 to 6 p.m. There is no charge but a donation of $10 per vaccination is requested. Pre-registration is not required. For more information regarding seasonal flu shots, call 629-6611, ext. 8948. For information on vaccinations for those under 18 years of age, contact Nanticoke Pediatrics at 629-6525.

Bike-A-Thon for St. Jude's On Sunday, Oct. 14, Seaford area residents will team up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the fight against childhood cancer. The 25th annual Bike-A-Thon is an event to give area residents the opportunity to help support the lifesaving mission of one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers. This event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 at West Seaford Elementary School. For information about this event and to pick up your fundraising packet, contact Ron Breeding, event coordinator, at or 396-0117.

Vitiligo Support Group The last meeting for 2012 of the Vitiligo Support and Awareness group will be held on Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in Bayhealth's Education Building, 208 W. Water St., Dover. For more information, call Bayhealth's Education Department toll-free at 1-877-453-7107.

Sussex County Heart Walk 2012 Join Delaware residents for the signature fundraising event of the American Heart Association. Walk to save lives at the 21st annual Sussex County Heart Walk (5K) on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Delaware Tech University, Georgetown campus. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk kicks off at 10. For more information or to register, call 302-286-5723, email or register online at