St. Lucie Public Schools proudly represented in MLK Grand Parade

St. Lucie Public Schools proudly represented in MLK Grand Parade

The 30th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemmorative Committee Grand Parade streamed down 25th Street, or Martin Luther King., Jr., Boulevard, in Fort Pierce on Monday, January 20. The event culminated 10 days of community events, beginning with the Opening Ceremony January 10, 2014 and ending with the parade and festival in the park adjacent to Lawnwood Stadium. The St. Lucie School District was proudly represented by numerous floats and vehicles, bands, and student group performances. Pictured, from left, are Fort Pierce Central High School ROTC Cadet Honey Cardona-Franco, Cadet Ruben Ramirez, Cadet Chris Green, and the Cadet Stephanie Castillo exhibiting their physical fitness for the judges.

Local student honored by state arts group, school board

Local student honored by state arts group, school board

Dale Cassen Educational Complex (DCEC) student Jesus Dominguez was recognized by the St. Lucie County School Board at its January 14, 2014, business meeting for being honored as the Very Special Arts Florida (VSAFL) November Student of the Month. The VSAFL program is designed to increase public awareness and recognize the impact arts make on students with disabilities statewide. Students who participate in the arts develop creativity, have increased self-confidence, understand teamwork, have increased language and math skills and are generally more engaged. DCEC art teacher Dan Galloway, who recognized Jesus’ talent and vivid imagination, and his utilization of art to achieve success in both his art and behavioral accomplishments, nominated Jesus for the award. Galloway noted that through continuous recognition and positive feedback for his new-found skill, “Jesus has discovered his enormous talent, and is well on his way to becoming a wonderful artist.” Pictured, from left, are St. Lucie County School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, Abigail, with her handler art teacher Dan Galloway, Jesus, St. Lucie Schools Superintendent Genelle Yost, Jesus’ parents Mr. and Mrs. Dominguez, DCEC principal Ellen Harden, and VSA Arts Of Florida representative Marcy Purdy.

Power Squadron and local school team up for boating safety

Power Squadron and local school team up for boating safety

Southport Middle School students, their siblings and parents have the opportunity to receive a lifetime boating license at the school. The basic aspects and skills of boating, including boat handling, fire safety, rules of the water, radio use, water rescue and much more are being taught by a licensed captain in the school’s media center. Those who pass the exam will receive a Florida lifetime boating license which is required to operate a boat in Florida waters. The course is free and lasts for eight weeks. Pictured, from left, are Jamil Abram, Captain Dana Kaiser, Summer Muscanera, Brandon Wayne, John Shaw and Captain George Hehner discussing the importance of wearing safety vests while on a vessel.

Floresta Elementary student wins cabbage growing contest

Floresta Elementary student wins cabbage growing contest

Congratulations to Floresta Elementary fourth grade student Dominic Kelly in Suzanne Diaz’s class, who was selected as the state of Florida winner in Bonnie’s Plants’ cabbage growing contest program. In a surprise assembly to recognize Dominic for his mammoth 38 lb cabbage, Erica Der, the Education Liaison from the Department of Agriculture presented Dominic with a certificate from the State of Florida. Jonathan Shepherd, representative for Bonnie’s Plants, presented Dominic with a $1,000 savings bond, which could double by maturity to be worth nearly $2,000. Bonnie’s Plants has sponsored the contest for the last 15 years for any third grade teacher who wishes to participate. The program began in Alabama and has grown to include 48 states. Dominic planted the cabbage at his grandmother’s house so he could water it each day when he visits. He claims he didn’t use any special fertilizer or soil, and didn’t do any thing other than plant it in the ground and water it at least once daily. The family is still discussing what they will do with the colossal cabbage. Pictured are Shepherd, Dominic, and Der.

Lakewood Park ESE teachers focus on individual student goals

Lakewood Park ESE teachers focus on individual student goals

ESE teachers at Lakewood Park Elementary, along with ESE School-based specialist Rachel Smith, have begun a book study on Quality I.E.P.s to enhance their planning and goal setting for students. As a part of this study, teachers are able to apply their learning and discuss strategies designed to meet the rigorous requirements of instruction as they seek to serve and support their students daily. Pictured, from left, are Peggy Blount, Virginia Cirillo, and Jodi Hargreaves. Taking the picture is Rachel Smith.

Bayshore Elementary celebrates literacy week

Bayshore Elementary celebrates literacy week

Bayshore Elementary students and staff participated in Celebrate Literacy Week. Students and staff members learned about vocabulary words and story book characters, then demonstrated their knowledge by participating in a literacy parade. First grade teachers provided students with visual representations of vocabulary words starting with the prefix mis. Pictured, from left, are Abby Mollet (mismatched), Stacy Baldino (misbehaved), Debbie Gonzalez (misunderstood), Marge Cuellar (misfortune), Vanessa Piekara (mistaken), and Natasha Alexander (misspelled).

Southport Middle School announces essay winners

Southport Middle School announces essay winners

This year, students in grades 5-8 at Southport Middle School were challenged to imagine themselves living during the American Revolution for the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution) essay contest. How would they feel? What would they do? How would their lives be different during the time of war instead of a time of peace? After months of waiting, the winners of the sixth grade have been announced and are members of the school’s Marlins team. Pictured, from left, are Kassidy Allen, third place; Maya Cook, second place; and Shania Delano, first place. Congratulations to the students for their achievements in historical research and writing.

Northport K8 students master science fair

Northport K8 students master science fair

Northport K-8 middle grades students made great strides in research techniques and effectively followed the scientific method as the school-based Science Fair came to a conclusion. Sixty-two students whose projects were evaluated as “highly effective” were selected to display their projects in the Northport Media Center. A wide array of projects were on display covering multiple categories such as botany, earth science, chemistry, physics and astronomy and medicine and health. First and second place winners in each category will represent Northport K-8 School as delegates to the Regional Science Fair to be held on February 13, 2014 at the Kight Center at Indian River State College. The Northport projects are authentic assessments using the scientific method and information to solve real world problems. Long range planning and implementation are vital components to completing the project. Dr. Laura Woodworth, who serves as the school’s science fair coordinator, is pictured with the science fair participants earning awards.

St. Lucie School Board proclaims January mentoring month

St. Lucie School Board proclaims January mentoring month

The St. Lucie County School Board adopted a measure at its January 14, 2014, meeting proclaiming January, 2014, as National Mentoring Month in St. Lucie County public schools. Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) Vice President of Programs Jenni Palm, pictured at left, and Caitlin Elbrecht, BBBS Lead Site-based Match Support Specialist, center, presented the proclamation to School Board Chairman Debbie Hawley, right.

Palm Pointe students tackle legal topic for civics project

Palm Pointe students tackle legal topic for civics project

Students in Hillary Cruz’s seventh grade Civics classes at Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition have selected the problem of puppy mills and current breeder legislation to focus on for this years’ Project Citizen project. To assist in comparing how state and federal agencies enforce animal welfare legislation, students contacted Dr. Gaj with the United States Department of Agriculture, who visited the classroom with a PowerPoint presentation on the subject, as well as answered students’ questions.  Pictured are Luke Bentley, left, and Zachary Barsuglia with animals they received after answering questions for Dr Gaj during the presentation.

Port St. Lucie High cadet wins F.I.T. scholarship

Port St. Lucie High cadet wins F.I.T. scholarship

Port Saint Lucie High School Jaguar cadet First Lieutenant James Williams was recently awarded the “Cadet of The Year” honor from the Florida Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) Army ROTC, earning him a full scholarship to F.I.T. This was a very tough competition — the difference between first and second place was a mere five points. Williams will receive a three year Army ROTC scholarship, as well as an F.I.T. ROTC incentive program for tuition — all told, a $160,000 scholarship award. Congratulations to James for all his hard work and dedication! Pictured presenting James the award are First Sergeant George Fiske from F.I.T., left, and Lieutenant Colonel Troy Glassman, right, F.I.T. professor of Military Science. Photo by Richard Thompson.

Port St. Lucie High cadet earns West Point appointment

Port St. Lucie High cadet earns West Point appointment

Port Saint Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion Cadet Lieutenant Colonel William Benagh IV has been accepted into the United State Military Academy at West Point. William Benagh will be a second generation West Point cadet. The United States Military Academy’s mission is to train and inspire the Corps of Cadets, so each graduate is a commissioned leader committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of excellence as an officer in the United States Army. The Academy provides a four-year education, focused on the leader development of cadets in the academic, military, and physical domains, all underwritten by adherence to a code of honor. Congratulations William Benagh!
Photo by Jaffrey Murankus.

Floresta Elementary School teachers train for enhancing student achievment

Floresta Elementary School teachers train for enhancing student achievment

Floresta Elementary School teachers kicked off the New Year by participating in a full day of Professional Development. Teachers worked together in grade group teams to develop and map out engaging and focused plans designed to further support student achievement on upcoming assessments. Fourth grade teachers created a specific plan to individualize their writing instruction, targeting specific student needs with creative activities and real world writing opportunities. All grade levels, K-5, worked together in the core subject areas of reading, writing, math, and science. As we enter the second half of the school year with renewed enthusiasm and collaborative spirit, we are turning up the heat at Floresta. As steam rises, so does student achievement. Picture are fifth grade teachers Fred Lehman, left, and Jessica Serra. Written by Suzanne Diaz.

Northport K8 celebrates national mentors month

Northport K8 celebrates national mentors month

Northport K-8 School is celebrating right along with schools, clubs and businesses across the nation this month in honoring January as National Mentors Month. The motto for this special month nationwide is “Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters!” At Northport K-8 School, a St. Lucie County “Kids At Hope” school, there is plenty to be thankful for during National Mentors Month. Several teachers have taken on the role of reading mentor, holding reading groups around the school on a regular basis, and the community organization Big Brothers, Big Sisters of St. Lucie County has taken a firm foothold within the school. Not only does Northport host community Big Brother, Big Sister mentors work with targeted students on citizenship skills through the organization, but also the AmeriCorps Intensive reading tutors work with dozens of children to promote reading skills, daily attendance and assistance in building a positive relationship with a supportive adult. Mentorships means the world to our students and a committed, caring and positive adult can mean a world of difference to a child. The relationships built can serve as very important steps on the child’s ladder to reaching his or her fullest potential. A special thank you to all Northport K-8 School’s mentor teachers and to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. Pictured, from left, are Northport AmeriCorps tutors and their students, Alex Neelan and Izaiah Pearson, Renee Simpson and Jenilyn Key and Jacqueline McKnight with Jazlyn Simpson. Help celebrate National Mentors Month on January 16 which is “Thank You Mentors Day” nationwide!

Floresta Elementary thespians delight audience with holiday musical

Floresta Elementary thespians delight audience with holiday musical

“Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus!” proclaimed the students at Floresta Elementary School during their winter musical. The cast of “Yes Virginia” put on a spectacular performance for parents, teachers, and community members before the winter break. The cast, comprised of fourth, fifth and one first grade students were hard at work since early September preparing for vocal and speaking auditions and learn their lines, songs and dances to put on the show.  It was clear that Floresta Elementary has some very talented singers and actors. Thanks to a very generous gift of $1,000.00 from Macy’s, school staff was able to purchase and create several unique costumes, and sets and props especially for the show. Though the show took months of hard work and practice, it was deemed a success. Despite this musical being more challenging and demanding than any previous shows involving singing solos and difficult dance numbers, the cast showed they were up for the challenge. The dress rehearsal was performed during the school day for Kindergarten through second grade students and was recorded by the Education Channel to air on television later this year. Floresta Elementary students, families and staff will certainly be looking forward to seeing more great performances in the future! Pictured are some of the “Yes, Virginia” cast members. Written Floresta Elementary music teacher Jaclyn Kraus and edited by Suzanne Diaz.

Students shine in F.K. Sweet patriotic art contest

Students shine in F.K. Sweet patriotic art contest

F. K. Sweet Elementary School students Shadalou Fernandez, pictured from left, Danielle Murray, Kate Bachmeyer, and Lani’ Chambers were announced as winners in a recent patriotic art contest at the school. Participating students learned the history of many American symbols as they completed their patriotic drawings. Kindergarten, first, and second grade students studied the Liberty Bell, third and fourth grade students learned about the nation’s first flag, and fifth grade students learned about the iconic Rosie The Riveter character from World War II, and also included an essay with their art.

Northport K8 fifth graders appreciate hard Colonial reality

Northport K8 fifth graders appreciate hard Colonial reality

Northport K-8 students in Tracey Healy’s fifth grade class went back into time to enjoy a breakfast that would be relished during the American Revolution. Students mixed fresh popcorn with a drizzle of honey and some dried fruit served with milk to experience a touch of realism from the time period. The class participated in a DBQ, or Document Based Question, session that revolved around Colonial America and the Revolutionary War. Students participated in an in-depth study of Valley Forge and interpreted diary entries and excerpts from Thomas Payne’s book, “Common Sense!” Pictured, from left, are Adam Kirschenhofer, Sebastian Palomino, Jarred McNair and ESE Inclusion teacher Janice Kahn. Pictured is Ms. Healy leading a lesson on Valley Forge.

Northport K8 mentors promote achievement

Northport K8 mentors promote achievement

Northport K-8 School is extremely proud and honored to assist Big Brothers, Big Sisters of St. Lucie County begin the celebration of National Mentoring Month. Northport has an extensive and strong partnership with the organization and encourages the strong bonds and connections that can lift students to a higher level in both literacy and citizenship. Northport currently welcomes six Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentors along with case manager, Lauren Fowler, into the school to assist and support students with behavior skills and strategies. The school also has three AmeriCorps tutors who fall under the Big Brothers, Big Sisters umbrella, including program director, Jenna Stinnett, who service thirty three children in grades K-3 with literacy skills development. Northport has six students waiting for a special mentor, especially male role models for young boys. Anyone interested in volunteering for one hour per week to help change a child’s life for the better, forever, please contact Big Brothers, Big Sisters at 772-466-8535. Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, under the direction of CEO Judi Miller help the Northport community improve reading skills, increase attendance, promote self-esteem and promotion rates as well as boost academic performance. Pictured, back row from left, are Barbara Phenes, Kathy Cazabon, Denise Lubas and Lauren Fowler. Students in the front are Katelyn Knoch, from left, Jada Gunn and Maleah Brogan.

Nutcrackers help Lawnwood Elementary writing students learn character development

Nutcrackers help Lawnwood Elementary writing students learn character development

The students in Carolyn Bates’s first grade class at Lawnwood Elementary School are writing about literary characters using their collection of nutcrackers. Students recently took a field trip to The Sunrise Theatre in downtown Fort Pierce to see a production of The Nutcracker Ballet, and then wrote about their favorite moments adding illustrations and captions. The students then presented their writing to the rest of the class. Pictured are Ms. Bates and students in the class’ Writer’s Club.