Floresta Elementary students encourage their peers

Floresta Elementary students encourage their peers

Kindergarten through fifth grade students at Floresta Elementary School supported one another with a school-wide “Tunnel of Encouragement” Rally the Friday before FCAT testing began. Kindergarten through second grade students and teachers lined the hallways armed with posters and pompoms, chanting heartfelt words of encouragement as third through fifth grade students made their way to the cafeteria for some motivational activities and words of wisdom. Each third through fifth grade student was provided a t-shirt with the slogan “Floresta Dolphins Destroy the FCAT” across the front. Thank you to Mary McCartney, Gerri Wills, Elish Mancuso, Ken York, Kathy Capas, Sharon Price, Melvonia Wheeler, Norma Greene, Miriam Negron, and Lynette Marraffa, all students and teachers for making this such a special event.

Floresta Elementary students create and use recipe books to cook up sweet treats

Floresta Elementary students create and use recipe books to cook up sweet treats

In order to teach the students how to write in a variety of informational forms related to real world situations, the fourth grade students at Floresta Elementary created “How-to” manuals and recipe books. The recipe books included student made recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. As a culminating project, several classes used the recipes to make different items including French toast, pizza, and vanilla Oreo parfaits! Pictured, from left, are Kendra Basiliere, Hailey Shad, Cindy Reynolds (pouring the milk), Valerie Chaparro, Hannah Amaral, and Katelyn Thompson.

Floresta Elementary students attend Rotary Club holiday party

Floresta Elementary students attend Rotary Club holiday party

Nine Floresta Elementary School students recently participated in the Rotary Club Children’s Christmas Party.  This is the Port St Lucie Rotary Club’s most important annual charitable event.  Contributors to this worthwhile event include Big Apple Pizza, Wal-Mart, PSL Police Department, PSL Athletic League, PSL Parks and Recreation Department, and the Blue Angels. Students enjoyed a delicious lunch of baked ziti, salad, and breadsticks, provided by Olive Garden. Desserts and beverages were provided by Publix.  After the meal, each student received a lovely gift provided by public donations, as well as from the above supporters.  Each toy was individually wrapped by student members of the Treasure Coast High School Interact Club.  Children look forward to this worthwhile event each year, and this year was no different.  For the last 21 years, the Rotary Club has played an important and supportive role in providing for children in need in our area.  Toys that were left over from this event were donated to CASTLE, another organization which advocates for children.  While the needs are most obvious at this time of year, many families struggle throughout the year.  Anyone wishing to learn more about the Rotary Club or how you can help can contact Gary Robinson, Past President, or Dr. Jeanne Evans, Past President and Coordinator of the Children’s Christmas Party at P.O. Box 7474, Port St Lucie, FL   34985.  

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.

Floresta Elementary student sets up charitable web site

Floresta Elementary student sets up charitable web site

Floresta Elementary School second grade student Jaime Rosenberg took to heart the spirit of giving this holiday season. As she wrote her yearly letter to Santa, she included some of her own money with a request for it to be sent to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. But her efforts didn’t stop there. With the help of her mom, she created a website to invite her family and friends to contribute to the American Red Cross directly. Her website has reached over $500 in online donations to date!  In an effort to assist her with her idea, Floresta Elementary students and staff collected donations at school as well. As a result of this collection, a donation of $102.85 was submitted to the American Red Cross on behalf of Jaime Rosenberg and Floresta Elementary. 

Floresta Elementary student gets special birthday wish at school

Floresta Elementary student gets special birthday wish at school

Luke Sutherland was recently called to the office at Floresta Elementary School to receive a very special birthday surprise. Luke’s mother, Megan Sutherland currently serves in the military, and is stationed in Afghanistan. In spite of the miles, and numerous procedural and technological barriers, she managed to telephone the school to personally wish her son a very special “Happy Birthday!” After the initial shock and excitement, Luke assured her that he was getting over his recent cold, and that she need not worry. It was a heart-warming moment for everyone.

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.

Floresta Elementary School students participate in PBS activity

Floresta Elementary School students participate in PBS activity

On the last day of school prior to winter break, Floresta Elementary School students participated in the Positive Behavior Support Chance Opportunities to Win.  Students used their Dolphin Dollars to purchase opportunities to win a variety of great prizes to reinforce and reward students for making good choices. Floresta t-shirts, class pizza parties, lunch with a friend on stage, and tickets to Lion Country Safari, Chuck E. Cheese, and Super-Play, were just a sampling of the items that were donated and awarded to the following student winners: Mallory Sweitzer, Alon Batista, Ella Nunnaly, Tyler Parchment, Austin Fowler, Dylan Shaver, Anthony Martins, Keeshawn Robinson, Lena Shingeldecker, Abigail Coker, Jonathan Nunez, Celine Leger, Angie Denvall, Xavier Long, Taylor Lovejoy, Shellby Garron, Yaisa Valencia-Argueta, Bella Gadio, and Javon Perkins. From our Floresta family to yours, “Have a wonderful, safe, and restful Holiday Season!”

Floresta Elementary School participated in Martin Luther King parade

Floresta Elementary School participated in Martin Luther King parade

Floresta Elementary School participated in the annual Martin Luther King Parade.  Thanks go to committee chairman Danielle Eugene, advisor Cemera Clancy, members Raina Ingrum, Sandy Pagliughi, Sharon Koen, and volunteer Jinny Holler, for their contributions in designing the float.  Huge thanks also go to  Betty Carling, Sylvia Johnson, Sandy Pagliughi, Elish Mancuso and Linda Menikheim for their support of this event by marching alongside the float, to Doug Abbuhl, Celeste Hartsfield and Grace Duvelsdorf for support and guidance in the preparation of this event, and all the teachers and students who made or provided posters for our float.  Parent volunteer Carlos Fundora not only offered his trailer, but pulled it in the parade. Everyone’s generosity is greatly appreciated.

Floresta Elementary School Chorus Performs a Spectacular Winter Concert

Floresta Elementary School Chorus Performs a Spectacular Winter Concert

The Floresta Elementary choral performance held recently was a glorious night of engaged students, parents, families and staff enjoying the annual “Winter Concert!” The event was kicked off by the 4th and 5th grade students singing a stirring rendition of “A Hard Knock Life” from Annie. The students, led by Music Director Ms. Kraus, then performed a variety of mixed arrangements, traditional Holiday carols and ended with a beautiful rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” sang by all faculty and students.

Holiday concert

The 4th and 5th grade Chorus members.

Floresta Elementary hosts first vocabulary parade

Floresta Elementary hosts first vocabulary parade

Students at Floresta Elementary participated in the school’s inaugural Vocabulary Parade recently. The Vocabulary Parade is part of Floresta Elementary’s ongoing effort to increase word recognition among students. Prior to the parade, teachers read Debra Frasier’s book, Miss Alaineus, A Vocabulary Disaster, to their students. The school’s Literacy Council, k-5 classroom and resource teachers, and all support staff worked together to make the Vocabulary Parade an enormous success. Students learned a plethora of new words and enjoyed sharing original and creative representations of some extremely challenging words. A special thank you goes to administration, faculty, and staff who modeled for students how to select a word and provided suggestions and assistance in portraying words, especially for those who might not have participated otherwise. Prizes were awarded for the most original, creative, and challenging words among the grade levels. Pictured are Bradley Lessard, left, and Anthony Dipanni as they proudly pose for the camera showcasing their artful creations.

Floresta Elementary hosts first CSI Night

Floresta Elementary hosts first CSI Night

Floresta Elementary School recently hosted its first CSI night to help solve the riddle of who removed the ice cream freezer from the cafeteria. Throughout the week prior to the event, students were informed of the curious incident, and were given information each day on the morning announcements. This information allowed them to formulate a hypothesis regarding who would do such a thing, and why. The suspects were coach Adam Schwimer, music teacher Jaclyn Kraus, media specialist Gerri Wills, media clerk Cemera Clancy, and custodial services’ Doug Abbhul. Pictured, from left, are Jaclyn Kraus, Adam Schwimer, Doug Abbuhl, Cemera Clancy, and Gerri Wills. Each suspect had been observed in the area about the time the freezer went missing. Furthermore, each had the opportunity, and a possible motive for conducting this act. At the CSI event, hands on investigation stations were set up for parents and students to conduct scientific experiments that would eliminate one suspect at a time, until the true culprit was discovered. After all investigations were complete, it was finally discovered that Coach Schwimer was guilty of removing the ice cream freezer from the cafeteria. During further questioning, Coach admitted he did it to help students remain physically fit for their upcoming mile run. He was very apologetic for creating such a stir, but happy that students did well on their running challenge. Because Coach Schwimer did it for the good of the students, he faced no charges. The event was well attended, and a great time was had by all. Written by Suzanne Diaz, submitted by Viviana Gross.

Floresta Elementary hosts family night

Floresta Elementary hosts family night

Floresta Elementary hosted its Title I Family Night “Bingo for Books” recently in the school’s cafeteria. Parents and students who arrived early were awarded two free bingo cards and a free snack ticket, and additional bingo cards were available for purchase throughout the evening, and Floresta’s very supportive PTO provided snacks for a small fee. Distinguished guest and official caller was Superintendent Michael Lannon. Winners were awarded prizes of books and a variety of other educational materials. For a portion of the evening, fourth grade teachers Elish Mancuso and Sandy Pagliughi presented important information to families about the upcoming FCAT Writes writing assessment and offered suggestions about what families can do at home to better prepare and support their child’s success on this statewide test. Thank you to all who came out and participated in this well attended evening of fun and learning. 

Floresta Elementary hosts family learning night

Floresta Elementary hosts family learning night

Floresta Elementary recently hosted a Family Learning Night, “100 Book Challenge Evening.” The school’s literacy council worked together to plan this very worthwhile family event. Several teachers performed in a skit, modeling the importance of 100 Book Challenge, highlighting how fun and easy it is to incorporate this routine into one’s daily schedule. Each grade group of teachers created a booth promoting the love of reading, through providing useful facts about reading, and engaging students and families in interactive activities connecting reading, writing, and drawing. Third grade teachers designed a beach theme for their booth, complete with buckets, shovels, blankets, and lawn chairs. Children happily lay on a beach blanket, or lounged in a lawn chair, enjoying selections about the beach, and the ocean. They also made available, publications of interest to families about the latest research on reading. The fourth grade team provided an interactive read along of A Bad Case of Stripes and then provided colored paper, pencils, and crayons so children could draw their own favorite vegetable and illustrate themselves with their own “bad case,” just like the main character. Fifth grade teachers facilitated a “Musical Book Walk.” Students walked in a circle and when the music stopped, children who happened to be standing on prize markers were able to select a book from the many titles available at the prize table. Throughout the evening’s activities, families were able to visit the Book Fair in the school’s media center, to browse the many book selections offered for sale. Food and drinks were provided by our very active PTO. This was a wonderful opportunity for families to share an evening together experiencing a wide variety of activities associated with reading. Pictured is second grade student Ashley Birmingham, selecting her prize for winning the “Musical Book Walk” with principal Deborah Iseman.

Floresta Elementary hosts annual Boo Bash for students

Floresta Elementary hosts annual Boo Bash for students

Floresta Elementary School hosted its Annual BOO Bash recently. This event was sponsored by the school’s very supportive PTO. TRAXX Entertainment provided the music and great entertainment, and even brought along a very special guest visitor just for this spooky occasion. Students in each grade level were awarded prizes and other recognition for the best costume. All proceeds benefit the school and students.

Floresta Elementary hosts a successful Family Learning Night

Floresta Elementary hosts a successful Family Learning Night

Floresta Elementary School recently hosted its monthly Title I Family Learning Night. November’s focus was on FCAT testing, and how families can help support their child’s success on this important test. While parents spent time in the school’s Media Center, children were given opportunities to read and discuss literature, and answer a variety of questions relating to reading, math, and science. For each correct response, students earned a token, which they could use to compete against others in a friendly game of cards. Dealers at each card table kept track of the winnings, and provided each winner a gift bag containing learning supplies and tools for all subject areas. Students and families had a wonderful time challenging one another in a learning atmosphere, enjoying popcorn and other snacks provided by the school’s PTO. The event was so well received, that there is consideration being made to repeating it after the New Year. Thank you to Vickie Pease and Grace Duvelsdorf, all members of the school’s Title I Committee, and PTO for helping organize and facilitate this engaging family event.

Floresta Elementary family event features reading under the stars

Floresta Elementary family event features reading under the stars

What could possibly be more fun than reading under the stars? Gazing into them! Floresta’s March Title I Family Learning Event offered both of these opportunities, and much, much more. Families brought their blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows so they could stretch out and enjoy a good book together under the twinkling stars. Members of The Treasure Coast Astronomical Society were on location manning their reflector telescopes, allowing visitors a close up look at the moon, the stars, and the planets Jupiter, Venus, and Mars. Charlie Alonso, from Mrs. Browning’s class was one of the first to get a glimpse of the moon. On display was a real meteorite, one of the oldest items in the universe, with an estimated age of 4.6 billion years. At the energy center, families were encouraged to take the Energy Star Pledge, promising to make energy conscious product changes in their homes and in their everyday behaviors, such as turning out lights when leaving a room. Each child in attendance received their very own book, and a stellar time was had by all. Pictured is Charlie Alonso and his mother looking into a telescope.

Floresta Elementary families enjoy Math Night

Floresta Elementary families enjoy Math Night

Floresta Elementary School recently hosted Family Math Nights. Kindergarten through second grade and third grade through fifth grade students and parents attended two special presentations explaining the new Common Core State Standards along with an overview of what students are expected to become fluent in with regards to mathematics.

Parents and students participated in math tutorials that included double-digit multiplication using partial product and long division using partial quotient. Parents learned math games to use at home with their students as well as tricks and tips on how to talk with their children about math.

Family Math Night at Floresta was a huge success with parents, teachers, and students. The evenings were hosted by math coach Victoria Pease, and refreshments were provided by the Floresta PTO.  Students were given a math goodie bag with dice, playing cards, beads, and index cards to use at home.

Written by Sandy Pagliughi