It is with distinct pleasure and pride that Northport K-8 School commemorate Veterans Day with a flourish. The morning of November 10 started with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Kids at Hope Pledge. Students then recited the “Northport American Children’s Pledge.” The media center filled up quickly with at least fifteen local veterans from all different branches of the military and students from the 6, 7 and 8 grade Northstars and the grades 7 and 8 Stingrays teams. Students from the Northport Choir under the direction of Thomas Conner sang the National Anthem with thrilling tones that had the entire audience humming and singing too. Second graders from Mrs. Ploeckelman, Mrs. Calo, Ms. Schrader and Mrs. Lamm’s classes wrote moving tributes to our veterans and read their essays directly to the vets. The children were inspiring and the older students were moved by the clear display of Americanism. A brief history of Veterans Day was given by Media Specialist Lynne Gruszka and students were given a wonderful welcome by Northport Principal Glenn Rustay. Veterans introduced themselves and gave a brief synopsis of their branch and career. Students then, using Northport Leadership Summit format, directed a Question and Answer session. Students stood, introduced themselves, loudly and clearly asked their question and then remained standing until their question was answered. Also, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Americorp, each veteran was pinned with a special “Partnership” pin from AmeriCorps and Northport K-8 School. The program was all encompassing and praiseworthy as students learned all about World War I, Armistice Day and why we commemorate the 11th minute, the 11th hour, the 11th day on the 11th month as Veterans Day. Special thanks to local Veteran Partners in Education who helped educate well over 200 students about the importance of education, civic responsibility and Americanism.
Northport VPK-8 School media specialist, Lynne Gruszka, seventh grade instructor and brand new teacher, Kendal Jo Hamblin and Maryanne Warren, student support specialist from New Horizons who is stationed at the school, collaborated recently to present a program for seventh grade Stingray students. The program was a culmination of the school’s Leadership Summit programs for middle school students that have been ongoing all year. Students have been building a list of leadership skills for the entire school year that include integrity, flexibility, passion, looking at the “big picture” and many other skills to be a great leader. Past guests have included Fl. State Representative, Gayle Harrell, Deputy City Manager of Ft. Pierce, Nick Mimms, a group of military veterans, school board member Debbie Hawley, Port Saint Lucie mayor, Greg Oravec and Ashley Mock, communications coordinator of Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County.
The most recent program held in the media center included a group of officers from the Port Saint Lucie Police Department including, Officer Toppin, Officer Brown, Officer Lushbaugh and Officer Garcia, nurse, Alicia Lange, Saint Lucie County Fire and EMT specialist, Karen Kozac, Publix store manager, Marc Waldbauer, Civil Engineer, Amanda Hanks and Children’s Services Manager of New Horizon’s of the Treasure Coast, Heather Roberts. The program was a phenomenal experience for the seventh graders who learned that the most important accomplishment is an education. To experience all that life has to offer, education is vital. Students learned that its important to find your passion but that passion can come through a variety of career experiences. Students learned about the word “integrity” and how very important that that word is for a rich and vital life well lived. Special thanks to all who have assisted in bringing these very memorable experiences to our students. Pictured are the students from Miss Hamblin’s homeroom class and the very special community leaders and guests as well as Miss Hamblin, Mr. Rustay, Northport principal and Mrs. Gruszka.
Northport K-8 School, several years ago, was designated a “Wildlife Sanctuary” after the diligent work of the school administration and several teachers. The school staff, known for its care and kindness towards local wildlife and their natural habitats, have developed a club that can be called on when wildlife emergencies occur or a rescue is needed on campus. The club, known as the “Northport Paws and Claws Kindness Club” is spearheaded by longtime Northport instructor, Mary Toto. The club including, Mrs. Toto, who has been a lifelong supporter of the care of animals, both in school and personally, Melanie Polascak, Judy Fowler, Mirta Cepeda, Kara McNair, Jim Burgoon, Marilyn Rodriguez and Barbara Wiggans have rescued a plethora of creatures including turtles, cats and kittens, birds, possums and squirrels. The club went into action recently when teacher, Melanie Polascak heard the cries of several baby squirrels who had fallen our of their nest. Teacher, James Burgoon rescued one baby hanging from the top of a wall as well as two babies on the ground. Animal Control was called immediately and the babies were then transported to All Creatures Wild Life Sanctuary to be cared for and eventually released. Northport also is the home to a wonderful and colorfully protected Butterfly Sanctuary that is cared for by instructor, Jennifer Carey and many other instructors and students. Northport K-8 School community understands that learning about kindness and actually following through, making sure that each animal is safe helps children become better, more well rounded students and better human beings. It is wonderful to witness teachers and students caring for all creatures, great and small. Special thanks to the Paws and Claws Kindness club at Northport! Pictured from left are Northport staff, Jim Burgoon, Mirta Cepeda, Melanie Polascak, Judy Fowler, Marilin Rodriguez and Barbara Wiggins.
Northport K-8 School and Big Brothers, Big sisters of Saint Lucie County have formed an excellent working partnership to bring the very best services to the students. Not only are targeted students the recipient of a terrific mentoring program under the direction of Lauren Fowler, but the AmeriCorps tutoring branch of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of SLC supports our Kindergarten through second grade targeted learners with in depth and strategically intensive lesson plans. The plans are designed in collaboration with the classroom teacher to bring each student to grade level and beyond. The tutors plan and then meet with individual children to bring the most powerful instruction to each child. AmeriCorps Director, Jenna Stinnett assists tutors in lesson planning, scheduling students, collaborating with specific instructors and keeps the program moving along at a lively pace. Many thanks to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters programs for their part in increasing the Northport K-8 school grade for 2013-2014 and purposefully helping students meet their highest potential. Pictured are the tutors this year who will service 30 targeted students this year from grades K-2 from left, Azzam Abdur-Rahman, Barbara Heller, Tameka Walker and Jenna Stinnett.
Northport K-8 School and our community partners, GiveBack2Kids, Inc., are pleased to present our GiveBack2Kids Student of the Month for October. Students are selected for leadership, perseverance and citizenship. Our community is so pleased to present these highly coveted awards to Daniel Robinson and Lucky Pierre Louis. Great job, young men!
The month of October has been designated “Bullying Prevention Month” and is recognized by Northport K-8 School as well as Saint Lucie Public Schools. Northport is thrilled to take part in such an important and vital issue. Bullying can become pervasive if left unchecked. The Saint Lucie Public Schools and the Northport community are taking the bull by the horns and working in conjunction with parents, community members, bullying specialists, deans, teachers, school staff and administration to fight against the scourge of bullying in schools. Every October at Northport, students make posters, listen to guest speakers, consult with school deans and teachers and work in clubs such as “Boys to Men” and “Girls to Women” to help get a firm grasp on bullying in the school and to stop it in its tracks. Northport recently hosted “Joe the Biker” to discuss bullying and especially cyber bullying in the middle grades area.
In recognition of Bullying Prevention Month, an anti- bullying assembly will be held Friday, October 9th for grades K-5 in the gymnasium. The presenter will be the enthusiastic, Joe Wojcik, better known as “Joe the Biker” who visited recently with middle school. Joe is a wonderful presenter and we are looking forward to his visit! Times are grades 3-5 9:45-10:30 and grades K-2 10:45-11:15.
On Wednesday, October 28, all students will participate in the school’s 5th Annual Unity Day Walk Against Bullying. Students walk with physical education instructors, resource instructors, classroom teachers, administration, community members, parents and support staff on a marked path around the school perimeter. Students make signs to carry that depict messages to stamp out bullying and chant anti-bullying messages as they participate in the Walk. Students wear orange or blue shirts to present a unified team against bullying. All are welcome to participate in the Northport Unity Day Walk.
It is the pleasure of Northport, in partnership with Giveback2kids, Inc. to invite our students to a special banquet at the Port Saint Lucie Community Center at 2195 Airoso Blvd. on Monday evening May 7 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. These students were selected throughout the year to represent kindness, good citizenship, leadership, growth and maturity and perhaps for being an overcomer!
We thank our community partners, David Gornitzky and James Monds who make up the Giveback2kids, Inc. partnership for hosting this special evening.
Our Northport Giveback2kids for the 2017-18 school year are:
These are wonderful children who have given their best to Northport this year!
Northport community is so very proud of our essay contest winners for the recent writing opportunity for our sixth graders. The American Security Council Foundation offers a program that teaches good citizenship called “Step Up America.” Northport has made the program an integral piece of educating students about the many aspects of being a great citizen and how to become aware of their surroundings. We have dubbed that program “Step Up Northport.”
The essay topic was titled “What Freedom Means to Me and What Protects Our Freedoms in this Country.” The prizes for the essay contest were awarded to John O’Rourke, third place, who received a gift card for $50; Lahela Cornett, second place, who received a $100 gift card; and our first place grand writing champion is Jayden Diago who will visit Washington, D.C. with a parent or guardian. Expenses are paid for this trip which includes a tour of the city to visit important monuments and places and to attend the National Wreath Laying held on December 16, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Jayden closed her essay by saying, “When I become an adult, I will do my best to become a good, productive and law abiding citizen, pay taxes, pay kindness forward, support law enforcement and military, exercise my rights, especially to vote so I can have a voice and help the government continue to uphold the Constitution. We must work together to retain freedom and acquire peace.”
We are extremely proud of our partnership with the American Security Council Foundation and with Step Up America. The students who participated in the essay contest were a spectacular representation of the wonderful teaching and learning that goes on at Northport every single day.
Northport VPK-8 students in seventh and eighth grades were treated to a visit in the media center by community partners (Port Saint Lucie Police Department) recently for a program initiative called StopLifting. The program led by Stacy Paton, Crime Prevention Specialist for the PSLPD, and Officers Jack White and Rod Dobler updated students on the hazards of shoplifting. Students learned about the technical camera systems that are now in retail stores, and they also learned that 89% of students know someone who has recently shoplifted. Students learned that the excuses given for shoplifting range from boredom, anxiety, depression, excitement and most importantly, peer pressure. One in eleven people have stolen from a retail store at some point in their lives. Students also learned that if you shoplift when you are young, you are 46% more likely to commit more crime in the future. Not a very encouraging statistic for the children.
Ms. Paton and the officers also spent plenty of time discussing the consequences of shoplifting such as: arrest and transport to a juvenile facility, restitution beginning at $200, probation, trespass from the store, and labeling by family and friends. Students saw concrete examples of questions on college applications, military applications, job applications, and the reality of background checks. The children learned that once you have a record, that record is forever, especially for deep checks for the military, college, and certain jobs.
Northport is deeply indebted to our community partners, the Port Saint Lucie Police Department, who visit frequently and always have the best interest of the children at heart. We, as teachers, administrators, deans, and parents depend on that partnership because we care about our whole community. We realize that we are not a closed building, we need the assistance of all invested partners to help make our community healthy and to bring the very best education to our students. Pictured are Officer Dobler, Stacy Paton, and Officer White as well as Instructor Elissa Garcia and her seventh grade students.
It is with notable pleasure that Northport VPK-8 School participated in the Superintendent’s Learning Lunch held on Tuesday, October 13 from 11:30 am- 12:30 pm at the SLC School Board District Offices. Northport Assessment Specialist, Josie Bailey and Northport 8th grade student, Rosette Garcia enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere provided by new Superintendent, E. Wayne Gent. Mr. Gent, students and teachers focused the casual lunch conversations on great things happening in SLC schools, praises and how student education and satisfaction could be improved. The conversation included Northport’s multipronged approach to communication and messaging including the Northport K-8 School Face Book Page, Twitter Feeds and website as well as the school’s multi-tiered approach to minimizing and eradicating bullying.
Mrs. Bailey and Rosette outlined for Superintendent Gent and the invited guests, Northport’s efforts to establish an open line of communication between instructors, teachers, administration, students and community. Northport realizes that the education of the students must take a powerful collaborative approach and monitors communications frequently throughout the school day. The Northport message and brand is that of an All-American school filled with successful students, invaluable instructors and staff, happy and informed parents, invested community members, veterans and a “thumbs up” pride.
The school’s anti bullying message was shared when student, Rosette Garcia talked about the continuity of the message from VPK through 8. Rosette discussed the school’s “Joe the Biker” visits and the celebration of the “5th Annual Northport Unity Day Walk!” The Walk takes place all day through resource and elective classes on Wednesday, October 28. All students participate in the school’s empowering mile walk around the campus celebrating Unity by chanting rhymes against bullying, carrying hand made posters and banners and thoroughly enjoying each others company and the strong anti bullying message. All community members, district staff, parents, grandparents and veterans are invited to join the “Unity Day Walk.” We are so thrilled to have been a part of a wonderful discussions and the message that was relayed to the school by Mrs. Bailey and Rosette Garcia was thrillingly positive. Superintendent Gent spoke to Rosette about leadership and urged her to run for Student Council office. We are looking forward to sending our next delegates to the prestigious “Superintendent’s Learning
What an absolute pleasure to host the Speakers Bureau recently at Northport. Northport is part of a coalition of St. Lucie County schools, spearheaded by SLPS Vice Chairman Dr. Donna Mills to bring talented and inspiring guest speakers to directly impact students and their achievement.
The most recent guest was a talented, refreshingly authentic and fascinating young man named Samuel McDuffie. Samuel, originally from Washington, D.C., moved to Florida nearly three years ago. He gave the story of his hard scrapping youth that many students could relate to, including his father’s murder when he was six. He intrigued the children by blindfolding one of the students, taking a brand new pair of Nike sneakers and placing them in a location in the school’s media center. He then told the student audience to shout directions at the blindfolded boy. The room was filled with chaos and the boy had trouble following the directions through all the voices. Finally, Samuel told the students to stop and be silent and to stop shouting different directions. He gave the blindfolded boy precise directions to the sneakers. The boy had no trouble following the directions and went right to the shoes. The moral or lesson to the students was that too much noise in life leads to indecision and chaos. Samuel told the students, “Find a goal, listen to one clear voice, keep distractions away and focus. Then, you will realize your dream. Never give up!” The young boy was given the brand new Nike’s to keep. Students were thrilled with the lessons and teachers reported back that the discussions about life, negative distractions, keeping away from chaos and setting goals continued back in the classrooms.
Many thanks to Dr. Donna Mills for bringing the Speakers Bureau Coalition to Northport and for extending to Northport students the wonderful opportunity to help change our students’ lives for the better and to help students buy into their own successes and their own educational and life paths. The program was kicked off with a salute to the Arts as second graders in Kristin Schrader and Jennifer Lusardi’s classes sang “America” and Sandra Tyndale, Northport reading teacher, sang a beautiful rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone!” that was dedicated to Dr. Mills and her love and affirmation of all children. Bravo, everyone!
What a wonderful morning at Northport recently. So many dads, grandpas, big brothers and families participated in the SLPS districtwide event. Northport realizes that we need family participation to help us bring the very best learning environment to the children. Many thanks to all who participated. It was just wonderful to see and greet all the dads for a terrific breakfast in the media center. Many thanks to all who participated and special thanks to the Northport Culinary department and School Secretary Louise Robinson as well as Cafeteria Manager Bev Yates. Job well done to all who attended!
What a wonderful “Northport Dads Bring Your Child to School 2016” event. The kids were thrilled to have dads walk them to classes and to introduce them to their teachers and their friends. Everyone shared a great time eating donuts and having coffee, juice and water and meeting other dads. We care about our dads and all the positive males in our kids lives because the role they play is so powerful. Having a positive male role model can transform a child into a successful student and good citizen. Dads pledged to support their children’s education, to set high expectations, to stay informed about what happens at school and to encourage their child to do their very best.
Thank you everyone for coming out to Northport today! Pictured: Glenn McKinney(dad) and his five children
Northport VPK-8 School Community, along with Northport ESE instructor, Marie Solide is proud to invite our entire community to participate in a 5K Walk/Run to benefit “Tough Kookie Foundation, Inc.” Tough Kookie, was founded last year with lots of work by Mrs. Solide who lost her beloved daughter, Kookie to Sickle Cell Disease. Northport administrators, teachers, students and parents have been behind Marie in her healing process and her building of this wonderful community support group and sanctioned 501c. The 5K run is sponsored by Tough Kookie Inc. as well as the City of Port Saint Lucie and Healthy Saint Lucie. At Northport VPK-8 School, we realized that many of our families have been touched by this disease and we, as a community partner, want to help be a part of the solution. Please consider joining us at Tradition Square on Saturday, September 26 from 8:00am until 12 Noon.
Northport K-8 School was so pleased to participate with hundreds of other schools across Saint Lucie County and the state of Florida in the annual “Celebrate Literacy, Florida” initiative. Northport students were able to participate in a wide array of events including, “Buddy Reading Day” where students partnered with younger or older children to read, “Reading Rocks, Crazy Socks Day”, “Drop Everything and Read Day”, “Buddy Bear Reading Day” and “Community Reading Day.” The school welcomed twelve local veterans from the “Northport Veterans Partners in Education Program”, Superintendent, Genelle Yost and school board member, Deborah Hawley to read to our elementary students. The week filled with literary activities highlighted the Northport mission of supporting literacy and reading with the partnership of community members and district personnel. Special thanks to our local veterans, Mrs. Yost and Mrs. Hawley for spending quality time with the students and to our student ambassadors from our eighth grade Mariners team for getting our guests to the correct classrooms.
Northport K-8 School gladly participates each year in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Saint Lucie County “Bowling For Kid’s Sake!” The school is so appreciative of the excellent work that the organization produces in the school to help raise the achievement level of selected students in kindergarten through third grade. The mentors and the AmeriCorps tutors visit the school on a daily basis to assist the teachers and students and help to raise the bar for student success. The “Bowling For Kid’s Sake” event this year was held at Superplay in Saint Lucie West recently. Northport administration and staff were so proud when the school’s name was announced as the business or school with the largest giving for the 3:00 pm time slot. The event was made memorable with lots of camaraderie and good sportsmanship among the school staff and students. Special thanks to principal, Glenn Rustay, assistant principal, Lorie Monroe, Media Specialist, Lynne Gruszka, ESE Department Chair,Sherri Yacovino, Maryanne Warren, Prevention Specialist, as well as teachers and staff, Georgia Stone, Josie Bailey, Michael Spivey, Tammy Boston, Juliette Thelusma, Mindi Slater, JB Stone and students Juliana Thelusma, Grayson Warren and Summer Moore. The school appreciates the great partnership with CEO, Dr. Judi Miller, AmeriCorps Program Director, Jenna Stinnett and Mentor Liason, Lauren Fowler.
Northport is so pleased to celebrate our Third Grade Perfect Attendance, B Honor Roll, A Honor Roll and Principal’s Honor Roll. Our teachers and students have worked very hard and have earned this award. Many thanks to our parents who make sure that the classwork and homework is complete, attend parent conferences and make sure that their student is following classroom and school norms. Mrs. Kemp, Mrs. Taylor, Ms. D’Argenio, Ms. Cirjaru, Ms. Claflin and Mrs. Wilson are to be commended for their diligence, patience and kindness working with our children. Many thanks to all who attended this wonderful celebration.
Northport VPK-8 School Northstar team offers middle grades students the opportunity to experience first hand the beauty of math, science, technology and engineering in a classroom designed specifically for learning about ingenious techniques in STEM. The STEM Center is centrally located in the school and offers students a wide range of hands on experiences with 21st century, cutting edge technological skills and a framework for delving deeper into STEM careers. Recently, students cohorted on the school patio to build laser security systems and promote laser demo’s outside. Students brainstormed, designed briefs, worked in teams, designed a matrix and built an engineering portfolio. Students used unique skills to make laser pointers made from mirrors and receivers to protect a made up security situation using models. Groups worked in assigned areas, including the engineers, the technicians and the sustainability officers. Working and studying in the STEM center on the Northport VPK-8 campus is an excellent opportunity to make discoveries, problem solve and engage in situations to find workable and innovative solutions. Under the direction of instructor, Christine Nurse, students are learning to find out their real capabilities in the STEM fields and to discover innovative ways to solve real world problems. Pictured are the sixth grade Northstar students, Hamza El-Azzami, Alec Cortez, Aniya Chandler, Brianne Yates, Alexander Hernandez and Matthew Pinto.
We’re using our brains at Northport! Seventh grade Northstars students in Mr. Fess’ STEM class dissected sheep brains as part of their “Medical Detectives” curriculum. In this unit, students learned the parts of the brain as well as their functions. Today, while dissecting the sheep brain, students identified the different parts of the brain and marked them with labels.
Students in Mr. Fess’ 8th grade Northstars STEM class are creating kites as part of their Flight & Space course. In addition to studying the history and predicted future of flight travel, students are learning the forces acting on flying objects and how aerodynamics can help improve the efficiency of flying objects.