March is nationally recognized as Music in Our Schools Month. St. Lucie Public Schools appreciates and values the the role of music in education and recognizes that it can play a multifaceted part in the life of a student and has the power to inspire and transform. Likewise, music education has a positive impact on student development and academic achievement.
Southport Middle School students performed at the February School Board Meeting.
March is designated as Music in Our Schools Month. At the school board meeting on March 10th, Dr. Kevin Perry recognized the following students for their achievements:
Austin Routten, LPA, Music Performance at Carnegie Hall, and All State Jazz Band
Angelica Flores, LPA, All State Middle School Treble Choir
Tiffani Kinnaman, LPA, All State Middle School Treble Choir
Rebecca Napier, LPA, All State Middle School Treble Choir
Bianca Palermo, LPA, All State MIddle School Treble Choir
Lillian Boettcher, LPA, 7th/8th Grade All State Orchestra
Karissa Brunelle, SLWCH, All State HIgh School Women’s Chorus
Jared Willis, SPM, FBA Small Schools Honor Band
Aimee Pezzino, SOM, 7th/8th Grade All State Honor Band
Diego Teran, WGK-8, MIddle School Honors Band
Pictured in the front row are, Bianca Palermo, Rebecca Napier, Tiffani Kinnaman, and in the back row are, Dr. Donna Mills, Austin Routten, Diego Teran, Aimee Pezzino, Jared Willis, Lillian Boettcher, Dr. Kevin Perry, Angelica Flores, and Genelle Yost.
Dr. Donna Devlin from FAU spoke to Nardi Routten’s fourth grade class at F.K. Sweet Elementaryabout Bio-Diversity. Dr. Devlin is heading a mangrove restoration project where different genotypes of mangroves are planted, and testing whether or not different genotypes grow better in a mixed group or in a similar group. Mangrove restoration is taking place in several areas as they are vital to the ecosystem. The fourth graders will meet Dr. Devlin at Blind Creek Park this week to assist with this project.
Manatee K-8 Academy showed up with a spirited team to support Autism Awareness during April’s Charity Flag Football event. Go team!
Principal Lilly Beauchamp, students, and staff welcomed members of business and community organizations to Manatee Academy as they gathered for the Chamber of Commerce’s Education & Business Breakfast. This event, sponsored by the Education Foundation, provided opportunities for participants to experience first-hand SLPS’s middle school Vet Tech Program, z-space (an interactive virtual reality learning experience), and other elements of digital literacy integrated into students’ academic routines.
Manatee Academy held our 2nd annual Geography Bee last month. After a sudden death tie-breaker, Gabriel Mustaciuolo was crowned Manatee Academy’s Geography bee winner for 2015 narrowly edging out runner-up Steven Forgoress! All participants did an outstanding job. Gabriel will now take the state qualifying exam next month. Many thanks to Dawn Montoya and Amy Mason for keeping this Geo Bee coordinator’s nerves in check and for serving as timekeeper and scorers. More thanks to Mrs. Beauchamp and Mrs. Chase for cheering on our competitors.
Update: Gabriel did take the exam and has qualified for the state test in Jacksonville at the end of this month! Go get ’em Gabe!
Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition’s first grade students recently enjoyed a presentation by the Ft. Pierce Manatee Observation and Education Center. Students heard
information on “Habitats, Who Lives Where?” After the discussion, students were able to see and touch a turtle, snake and lizard. This was a fun, interactive learning experience for everyone.
SLPS is proud to announce that Manatee Academy’s team project entitled “Keep Port St. Lucie Afloat” is advancing to the Project Citizen National Competition in Los Angeles.
Prior to receiving this honor, St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) had a weighted and impressive showing at the state competition which boasted a total of six middle school projects. Of these six projects that advanced to the state level, three were from SLPS. Those three were teams from Southern Oaks Middle School, West Gate K-8 (recognized as a top finisher in the local competition), and Manatee Academy.
Manatee Academy Vet Prep eighth graders and several of their parents visited Fort Pierce Westwood High School’s Veterinary Assisting Academy to tour the available programs offered through the Career and Technical Education Department. Middle school students studying animal science learned about the many benefits the attractor program has to offer. Seniors in the program guided them through several hands-on experiences that they could expect as students, such as proper dog restraints, dog grooming and the many college/career opportunities available through FFA. Speakers included Mr. Brandon Perdue, program instructor, Mr. John Lynch, school principal and Ms. Kathie Schmidt, CTE Director. Everyone loved the authentic experiences offered while enjoying a complimentary lunch provided by the school.
On the morning of October 11, some 147 students and their families from Manatee Academy K8 School participated in the third annual International Walk to School Day sponsored and promoted regionally by the South Florida Commuter Services by walking from nearby McChesney park to the school. School staff promoted the activity through morning announcements, PE classes, posters put up at the school, flyers provided were sent home and a message went home to all parents. Participating students were given backpacks, reflectors and bags from the agency. The event is to promote health, wellness and physical activity with children and families throughot the country. Pictured is the crowd sporting one of the banners provided for the event.
Excited third graders at Manatee Academy show off their books at the first Skirmishes Over Stories (S.O.S.) for the 2013-14 school year. Students read from a list of ten books, come to the Media Center for lunch, get prizes for answering questions correctly about those books and enjoy Mrs. Remington’s World-Famous brownies! The Tournament of Champions will be on December 4th. S.O.S. is a precursor for 4th and 5th grades Battle of the Books.
Our third graders are so excited to participate in their first “Skirmishes Over Stories” (S.O.S.) luncheon. Students read a certain number of books prior to our meeting, then enjoy their lunch along with Mrs. Remington’s world-famous brownies, and a prize while answering questions about the books they’ve read. S.O. S. is a precursor for “Battle of the Books” which our 4th and 5th graders eagerly participate in every month using the SSYRA books.
Manatee Academy K8 newlyweds Caleb Bihari and Ashley Drum spent part of their honeymoon teaching impoverished children on the island of St. Lucia. Their experience was made possible by the Sandals Foundation and their “Reading Road Trip” excursion. Every Thursday a van leaves the comfort and luxury of the Sandals resort to go to Balata Primary school in Babonneau. Volunteers sign up in the resort lobby for the opportunity to interact with the faculty and students and see what schooling is like for children in St. Lucia.
“When I heard that this was a possibility I absolutely wanted to go,” Bihari said. “It isn’t often that I am out of the country and have a chance to visit a school.”
When the couple arrived after a forty-five minute van ride though winding mountainous roads, they were shocked at how different it was from a typical school in Saint Lucie County. Parts of the building were surrounded by a barbed wire fence to prevent thieves from stealing books and computers. There was a huge container behind the school that collected rain water from the gutters. This was their water supply. Classrooms were open-air. There were no doors or windows, just large openings in the concrete walls. Feral dogs and cats, along with chickens freely roamed the premises and “A chicken walked into class as I was teaching! It was crazy,” says Caleb. There was no cafeteria, but there was a kitchen where a cook came in and made lunch for the K-6 school of about two-hundred students. Students who choose to purchase a lunch may do so for 1 EC (Eastern Caribbean dollar).
Caleb, Ashley, and four other volunteers toured the school, met the staff, and were introduced to their classrooms for the morning. “We got to meet the faculty and principal and when they found out that we were teachers back in the states they were so excited. Instead of just reading or talking to the students, they told us we could teach any lesson we wanted,” said Drum, a fifth grade teacher. “I gave a quick lesson review on friendly letters and had the students write to my class at Manatee. I have the address of the school and plan for my class to start a pen pal relationship with those students for the rest of the year.”
Caleb, a first grade teacher, read and taught a mini-comprehension lesson to the second grade class he was visiting. “I was surprised at how well behaved the students were. They called me ‘sir’ and always raised their hands to be called on. Not one student shouted out the whole time I was there. I was also a little surprised at how smart the students were, they had excellent vocabulary and very fine tuned writing skills.”
At the end of their lessons, the Manatee teachers passed out books and school supplies that they had brought along to donate. “The kids went crazy,” Ashley said. “We brought a few packs of pencils and paper and about 50 books and everyone was so excited, like it was Christmas morning.” “That is when it really hit home the most that these students have a rough life,” Caleb added. “I got the sense of that when I first arrived at the school and saw just how different it was from what I am used to in Florida. But when I showed the class the books I had brought, you could tell it really made a difference for them. The simple things we don’t even think about meant the world to those kids. It was a really powerful experience.”
“One of the highlights of our honeymoon was going to that school and having the opportunity to teach students who come from a whole different world than what I am used to,” says Ashley. “Both Caleb and I were touched by this experience and made us realize how lucky we are to be teachers.” Caleb adds, “I will never complain about lack of resources or funds again because we are lucky with what we do have. Those teachers have to come up with everything on their own and if they want something they either have to buy it or hope more donations will come the next Thursday they have visitors because their school just doesn’t have the funds. It was both eye-opening and rewarding and definitely something I will always take with me.”
Manatee Academy students in Ms. Shaver’s 1st period Civics class won first place in the state finals of the Project Citizen for their portfolio. Additionally, they won 2nd place for the oral competition which was scored on their presentation and question responses. Representatives from Ms. Shaver’s class participated in the state finals of Project Citizen on May 20th. Students presented their project to a panel of two different sets of judges comprised of Nova faculty, the League of Women Voters, and Florida Law Related Association staff. The competition had a total of 6 middle schools, three from St. Lucie Public Schools and three from Miami Dade. Because of this win, Manatee Academy’s board and binder will be traveling to Los Angeles for the Project Citizen national competition.
Manatee Academy 8th grade students enjoyed lunch at a park after viewing an emotional Anne Frank exhibit sponsored by Temple Beth Am in Jupiter this week. The exhibit is part of a national tour from the Anne Frank Center, New York. Our students participated in a scavenger hunt by answering questions after reading the giant informational murals, pictures, and quotes from Anne and her family. Docents showed a 22 minute film, “The Short Life of Anne Frank.” Students were visibly moved by this documentary and accompanying exhibit.
Naiah James and Cade Saenz, 8th grade, placed 2nd and 1st, respectively, at the St. Lucie Schools District History Fair on February 21, 2015 for Individual Websites. Since neither student had any prior experience creating a website, this was an outstanding accomplishment!
The History Fair Theme this year was Leadership and Legacy. The students could pick any person in history who, positively or negatively, reflected each of those qualities. Cade’s website was about John Dillinger, the notorious bank robber, who lead a gang to steal almost $300,00.00 (That’s $5.5 million in today’s money!). Naiah’s website was about Nelson Mandela, the amazing South African who led protests against the apartheid system, was imprisoned for 27 years, became President of South Africa, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
All of us at Manatee Academy are incredibly proud of Naiah and Cade and wish them luck at the Florida State History Fair May 3-5, 2015.
Manatee Academy’s monthly SUNDAY BRUNCH had a special guest for December. The Big Guy himself Ho-Ho-Ho’ed his way into the library and children were treated to something better than candy canes from Santa — free, brand new books TO KEEP!
Families also enjoyed Mrs. Remington’s world-famous chocolate-chip pancakes after snapping pictures with bigger-than-life holiday characters, singing Christmas carols, and checking out up to 10 books!
For the second year, Manatee Academy 7th grade students have partnered with the Indian River Oyster Reef Restoration Project and the 4 H Foundation in building an oyster reef off Harbor Point Park in Ft. Pierce. The students use the natural water filtration ability of the oysters to promote a better water quality in the lagoon system. They have been involved in enrichment lessons that promote real world application of how humans impact the Earth’s water. The unit includes a series of research labs in oyster anatomy along with dissection and water quality testing. The students will return to the area in the spring as permits have been issued to place the reef at that time.
Students and staff were “Feelin’ Groovy” at our Rockin’ Family Night. Parents learned about websites they can use with their children at home. We also had Deputy Lopez from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department talk to parents and students about Internet safety. Students were also able to shop for books with their families in our Scholastic Book Fair. Other highlights of the evening were performances by our administrators singing “Feelin’ Groovy” and Mrs. Remington and Mrs. Valinote performing as Sonny and Cher.
Manatee Academy is currently promoting family literacy by encouraging families to read together for 20 minutes per day for the next 20 days. Families have the opportunity to participate in a contest in which they send in a 20 second video reading together or talking about reading as a family. Reading counts at Manatee Academy!