School Improvement is Everybody’s Business

School Improvement is Everybody’s Business

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — From accelerated academic achievement to enhancements of school facilities, St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) team members and partner in education The Morganti Group, Inc., roll up their sleeves and become part of the solution. Such was the case at the recent Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts (FPMSA) Improvement Day. SLPS team members from the school, custodial services, grounds and maintenance, and district office joined efforts with volunteers from Morganti to support the school’s need for fresh paint, new landscaping, and pressure cleaning.

Superintendent E. Wayne Gent led the charge to solicit volunteers saying, “We all have a responsibility to ensure that our teaching and learning environments are welcoming to our students, staff, and community.” FPMSA Principal Jackie Lynch was most appreciative of the support. “On behalf of my staff and students, I thank all of the volunteers who gave of their time for our sake. This campus is a beautiful historic landmark in our community, and we appreciate the extra TLC,” said Lynch.

Gent indicated that more improvement days are planned as a way to accelerate refreshing campuses across the district in spite of lean budgets.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit, www.stlucieschools.org or contact Kerry Padrick at kerry.padrick@stlucieschools.org.

fpmsa clean4

SLPS Superintendent E. Wayne Gent paints during Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts Campus Improvement Day.

###

School Improvement Day at FPMSA

School Improvement Day at FPMSA

Ft. Pierce Magnet School of the Arts received many helping hands for a campus clean-up project on Friday (3/19) and Monday (3/21).  Superintendent E. Wayne Gent led the volunteers along with teams from Custodial Services, Grounds, Maintenance, and District Office.  Everyone rolled up their sleeves to pressure clean, paint, and landscape the historic school building and grounds.

School Grown Vegetables at Weatherbee

School Grown Vegetables at Weatherbee

Ms. Whitney Lerman and her kindergarten students are teaming up with Mrs. Andrea Pierson, Cafeteria Manager, to grow and serve ‘school grown’ vegetables on the cafeteria line at Weatherbee.  The veggies shown will be transformed into coleslaw and salad and served in our cafeteria for lunch!

 

School Grades Spike and the District Grade Increases

School Grades Spike and the District Grade Increases

ST. LUCIE COUNTY – Twenty-one schools, more than half of St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS), saw an increase in school grades and the District grade jumped to a B — the second highest District on the Treasure Coast in total points earned according to reports released by the Florida Department of Education.   “The data continues telling a positive story about the academic growth taking place in our classrooms across the District,” said Superintendent E. Wayne Gent.  “Our teachers, our administrators, our support staff, our bus drivers — everyone, absolutely everyone is putting forth the effort to support our children to make a positive difference in their lives.”

The school grades reflect the upward state assessment trends, student learning gains, and climbing graduation rates for SLPS.  C.A. Moore Elementary and Mariposa Elementary both shot up two letter grades, and no school is rated as a failing school.  Fairlawn Elementary, Lincoln Park Academy, West Gate K-8, and Mosaic Upper School received an A with seventeen schools identified in the report as B-rated. Area high schools continue their climb as well with three high schools growing from C’s to B’s (Port St. Lucie High School, St. Lucie West Centennial High School, and Treasure Coast High School).

“We celebrate these successes, but by no means have we plateaued.  We have high expectations for all students, and we will continue supporting them to be their very best.”  Gent added that principals are working with their school teams to provide for the individual needs of students and maximize collaborative planning opportunities for teachers.”

For more information about school grades, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit, www.stlucieschools.org  or contact Kerry Padrick at kerry.padrick@stlucieschools.org.

School Grades Spike and the District Grade Increases

School Grades Spike and the District Grade Increases

Twenty-one schools, more than half of St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS), saw an increase in school grades and the District grade jumped to a B — the second highest District on the Treasure Coast in total points earned according to reports released by the Florida Department of Education.  “The data continues telling a positive story about the academic growth taking place in our classrooms across the District,” said Superintendent E. Wayne Gent.  “Our teachers, our administrators, our support staff, our bus drivers — everyone, absolutely everyone is putting forth the effort to support our children to make a positive difference in their lives.”

The school grades reflect the upward state assessment trends, student learning gains, and climbing graduation rates for SLPS.  C.A. Moore Elementary and Mariposa Elementary both shot up two letter grades, and no school is rated as a failing school.  Fairlawn Elementary, Lincoln Park Academy, West Gate K-8, and Mosaic Upper School received an A with seventeen schools identified in the report as B-rated. Area high schools continue their climb as well with three high schools growing from C’s to B’s (Port St. Lucie High School, St. Lucie West Centennial High School, and Treasure Coast High School).

“We celebrate these successes, but by no means have we plateaued.  We have high expectations for all students, and we will continue supporting them to be their very best.”  Gent added that principals are working with their school teams to provide for the individual needs of students and maximize collaborative planning opportunities for teachers.”

For more information about school grades, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/.

 

School district supports tobacco free activities

School district supports tobacco free activities

Employees of the St. Lucie County School District joined over 1,400 sites nationwide March 19, 2014, to recognize Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. Teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organized events around the country and the world to raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use, encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free, and urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco. Kick Butts Day is organized nationally by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation. The school district wellness department organized the activities in school district. Activities were planned at several school sites, and pictured are some of the staff at the district offices displaying their tee shirts, which were donated by the county health department to help promote the school district officially going “tobacco free” last year.

School District Staff Invited to Present at National Math Expo

ST. LUCIE COUNTY – The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference will boast a slate of St. Lucie Public School teachers as speakers.  Instructional support specialists Liz Pruitt, Jason Bragg, and Chris Worley have been invited to present at the 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco, California.  Superintendent E. Wayne Gent commented on the fact that this is yet another testament to the rich talent we have in our school district to support quality instruction for our students.

The team will present to teachers from across the United States on “Leveraging the Standards of Mathematical Practices (SMPs) through Reciprocal Teaching.”   According to Liz Pruitt, mathematics curriculum lead teacher for the District and lead speaker, “This is an exciting topic. Reading strategies in math are not uncommon, but we are going to dive deep into reciprocal teaching methods that will serve as additional supports to increase student thinking in the math classroom. We will focus on how instructors can create student-led discussion groups that seamlessly embed the SMPs into the four strategies common to reciprocal teaching.”  She explained that the strategies include summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting.

Mathematics professional educators flock to this conference annually.  This year’s event anticipates a capacity crowd of 9,000.  In addition to the quality breakout sessions, professional educators have the important opportunity to collaborate, extend their network of colleagues, and stay abreast of high impact instructional practices.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit St. Lucie Public Schools’ website www.stlucieschools.org ; Facebook www.facebook.com/stlucieschools; Twitter@StLucieSchools; or contact Kerry Padrick at kerry.padrick@stlucieschools.org.

###

School district reinforces no tolerance policy on bullying and harassment

The St. Lucie County School District does not tolerate acts of bullying or harassment, including bullying or harassment based on disability. The following descriptions describe those behaviors:

BULLYING means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. 

HARASSMENT means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, written or oral statement, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that:

(i)         Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to person or property,

(ii)        Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits, or

(iii)       Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.

A single act may constitute prohibited harassment if sufficiently severe.

Prohibited conduct includes acts of bullying or harassment based on protected characteristics such as sex, religion, race/ethnicity, or disability. 

For more information, please refer to School Board Policy 3.43, Bullying and Harassment, and the District’s Bullying and Harassment web page, available at:  http://www.stlucie.k12.fl.us/seasonal/bullying.aspx

 

School District Recognized as Energy Efficiency Leader

School District Recognized as Energy Efficiency Leader

At the May 13th School Board Meeting, Trane presented the St. Lucie County School Board with the “Energy Efficiency Leader Award” in recognition of the District’s commitment to energy and operational efficiency and sustainability.

The District has been aggressive in reducing energy costs; electric utility cost has been reduced by almost 40 % in 4 years. Previously ranked 60th out of the 67 Florida school districts for electrical expenses per student, the District has reduced its ranking to 18th in the 2012-2013 school year.

The District reduced annual utility costs from over $12 million to less than $7 million.

Pictured from left to right are, Genelle Yost (Superintendent), Fernando Lagomasino (District Manager over Florida for Trane), Marty Sanders (Executive Director SLCSB), Sean Murray (Energy Manager SLCSB), Chris Cowling (Trane), James DeSousa (Trane), Mark Johnson (Calmac), Amir Kazeminia (OCI Engineering), Vera Stoller (Trane Marketing Florida), John Gillette (Senior Project Manager SLCSB), Debbie Hawley (School Board Chairman).

School District Recognized as Energy Efficiency Leader

School District Recognized as Energy Efficiency Leader

At the May 13th School Board Meeting, Trane presented the St. Lucie County School Board with the “Energy Efficiency Leader Award” in recognition of the District’s commitment to energy and operational efficiency and sustainability.

The District has been aggressive in reducing energy costs; electric utility cost has been reduced by almost 40% in 4 years. Previously ranked 60th out of the 67 Florida school districts for electrical expenses per student, the District has reduced its ranking to 18th in the 2012-2013 school year.

The District reduced annual utility costs from over $12 million to less than $7 million.

Pictured from left to right are, Genelle Yost (Superintendent), Fernando Lagomasino (District Manager over Florida for Trane), Marty Sanders (Executive Director SLCSB), Sean Murray (Energy Manager SLCSB), Chris Cowling (Trane), James DeSousa (Trane), Mark Johnson (Calmac), Amir Kazeminia (OCI Engineering), Vera Stoller (Trane Marketing Florida), John Gillette (Senior Project Manager SLCSB), Debbie Hawley (School Board Chairman).

School District Receives $300,000.00 Grant

ST. LUCIE COUNTY – Superintendent E. Wayne Gent of St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) announced the District was awarded a Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Grant from the State of Florida for over $300,000. The goal of this grant is to improve content knowledge tied directly to the Florida Standards for the purpose of creating quality educators and increasing student achievement.

Through the funding of the grant, 27 SLPS 4th-8th grade teachers will be enrolled in the         U-FUTuRES Certificate Program with the University of Florida. This program consists of five, 8-week courses that will be offered sequentially online using state-of-the-art instructional design. The program is intended to deepen participants’ disciplinary content knowledge, develop science-specific pedagogical practices, and nurture leadership skills.

“With a core focus on talent development and a commitment to honor our teachers with growth opportunities, I fully appreciate this grant and the potential it has to positively impact instruction for our students,” stated Gent. He added that the partnership established with the University of Florida through coursework and collegial studies will also be an asset to the overall organization.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit St. Lucie Public Schools’ website www.stlucieschools.org ; Facebook www.facebook.com/stlucieschools; Twitter@StLucieSchools; or contact Kerry Padrick at kerry.padrick@stlucieschools.org.

School district nutrition department seeks state award

School district nutrition department seeks state award

St. Lucie Public Schools’ school nutrition services department’s Anita Alli, president of the St. Lucie County Florida School Nutrition Association, enlisted the support of Superintendent Michael Lannon in the local group’s application for a President’s Award through the state association. The award, “Living Today for a Better Tomorrow,” recognizes school districts which actively work together districtwide to promote education and nutrition. Pictured is Ms. Alli with Superintendent Lannon.

School District Grade Increases in St. Lucie County

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The district grade awarded to St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) increased from a C to a B this year. This is a significant accomplishment despite the fact that learning gains were not included in the calculations. It is important to note that two SLPS realized multi-grade increases: Rivers Edge Elementary moved from a D to an A and Morningside Elementary advanced from a C to an A. An additional six schools also increased their school grade rating. Individual school ratings throughout the county did not change drastically with the majority of schools remaining the same as last year.

“While we celebrate the increases, one must be reminded that these results are based upon a flawed and incomplete state accountability system. We will continue to focus on what is important – quality instruction for each child every day. As a District, we have been proactively analyzing multiple data points in order to gather clear and accurate measures of our students’ progress. Our leadership and instructional teams meet regularly to review and discuss data, create action plans, and implement these plans to support our students and teachers,” said Superintendent E. Wayne Gent. “The fact that our graduation rates continue to increase year after year is evidence that what we are doing is having a positive impact on our students’ success,” he added.

Superintendents and school advocates across the state questioned the validity of the results based upon the fact that the first year of the new Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) only measured proficiency and did not recognize students’ learning gains – an important measure for economically disadvantaged students. Therefore, it is an incomplete measure of student performance that does not reflect annual student growth.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit, www.stlucieschools.org or contact Kerry Padrick at kerry.padrick@stlucieschools.org.

###

School district employees show support for heart disease research

School district employees show support for heart disease research

The American Heart Association proclaimed February as National Heart Month. And Friday, February 7, was celebrated as National Wear Red Day. For the last decade, the American Heart Association has promoted Women Going Red for heart disease, which kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Pictured are 26 of the many school district offices employees — including one gentleman seated in the middle, Eddie Reed — all of whom wore red for the day to show support for research on women’s heart health issues. The event was sponsored by Wellness Department Director Carlye Fabrikant, seated first row, second from right, with support from School Health Services Coordinator Kim Pennington, seated first row, second from left.

School district continues powerful energy rebate partnership with FPL

School district continues powerful energy rebate partnership with FPL

The St. Lucie County School Board was presented a rebate check in the amount of nearly $680,000 at the February 11, 2014, business meeting from Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) as a result of completion and verification of chiller plant replacement projects at Port St. Lucie High School, Mariposa Elementary and Southern Oaks Middle School. The school district has partnered with FPL over several years on school energy upgrades that both reduce energy consumption and reduce the need for FPL to upgrade their systems or build new power plants. The rebate program covers thermal energy storage, demand control ventilation and replacement of more efficient equipment. Pictured, front row from left, are from FPL Major Accounts Manager Jim Albury, School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, Superintendent Genelle Yost, Executive Director Marty Sanders, Senior Project Manager John Gillette, and Amir Kazeminia, OCI Associates Inc., chiller plant design engineer and member of district’s Energy Advisory Team. Back row, from left, are school board member Troy Ingersoll, vice-chairman Dr. Donna Mills, and members Carol Hilson and Kathryn Hensley.

School Community Draws Together

School Community Draws Together

A wonderful program was recently held in the Northport Media Center! The entire fourth grade came together with their teachers to learn about the autoimmune disease, Alopecia. Jeffery Woytovich, a representative from the “Children’s Alopecia Project,” came to raise awareness about alopecia. Students and teachers learned that there are three types of alopecia, or hair loss, Alopecia Areata, which is patchy hair loss, Alopecia Totalis which is majority or total loss of hair above the neck, and Alopecia Universalis which is total body hair loss.

The “Children’s Alopecia Project” has summer camps for children all across the globe. The program, a 501 (c) (3), was organized in 2004 to raise awareness and to help children with alopecia build self-esteem. The program at Northport was exceptional. The guest speaker from the program instilled in the students that each is unique and that everyone has something in their lives to contend with. Discussion about bullying and how to cope was incorporated into the interaction.

Special thanks to fourth grade instructor, Kathleen Lezynski who procured the speaker to support one of her beautiful students. Incredible and caring community at Northport! For more information like facebook.com/ChildrensAlopeciaProject. Telephone # is 610-468-1011.

School Board votes to extend superintendent search

The St. Lucie County School Board today decided to extend the search for a successor to retiring Superintendent Michael Lannon during a meeting with search consultant Jim Huge. Huge began the meeting by announcing that finalist Scott Bailey withdrew his candidacy due to personal health issues. Board members could come to no clear consensus in selecting a new superintendent, so they discussed several options suggested by Huge, from selecting one of the finalists, to beginning the process anew later in the year. Board members named their top three candidates — Agnella Perera, Mark Rendell and Darci Mohr — whom Huge will contact to determine their interest in continuing the process, and will also reach out to several other qualified candidates who were not available at the onset of the search process but have shown an interest in being considered. The meeting, which was open to the public, will be broadcast on the district’s educational channel on Comcast 13, 19 or Hometown 19 and posted on the district’s web site at http://www.stlucie.k12.fl.us/seasonal/superintendent-search.aspx. Deputy Superintendent Genelle Yost has been named interim superintendent as of July 1, 2013 and will serve in that capacity until a new superintendent is named.

School board recognizes special Kids at Hope day

School board recognizes special Kids at Hope day

The School Board of St. Lucie County has demonstrated support of Kids at Hope and the belief that “all children are capable of success – no exceptions.” The Kids at Hope organization has designated November 13, 2013 as “Kids at Hope Day – Day of a Million Treasures,” and the St. Lucie County School Board recognized and proclaimed the date during its November 12, 2013, meeting. This is an opportunity to recognize the amazing treasures that exist in all children. The goal of this day is to discover a MILLION treasures in children across the US and Canada. Pictured, from left, are Kids at Hope school district liaison Jarrett Stephens, School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, Superintendent Genelle Yost, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell.

School board members visit Northport K8 to help with student project

School board members visit Northport K8 to help with student project

Northport K-8 students welcomed two St. Lucie County School Board members
recently to discuss the school boards views on the issue of homelessness in
St. Lucie County.  The students heard much information about the issue for
their seventh grade required Project Citizen research class.  Pictured is school board vice chairman Debbie Hawley, who along with board member Troy Ingersoll visited Karen Nystrom’s class on separate occasions to discuss what the school board can do for homeless families with children attending the
school system.  The board can make arrangements to transport the children from
temporary housing to the home school, can assist with getting in touch with the
correct social services and can also provide after school meals to the homeless
families.  The school board policy on homelessness is available on the district
website.