F. K. Sweet kindergartners sort shapes

F. K. Sweet kindergartners sort shapes

Frances K. Sweet Elementary School students Ruben Medina, left, and Olivia Gomez, pictured, in Michelle O’Keefe’s kindergarten class enjoy sorting two-dimensional flat shapes and three-dimensional solid shapes. After sorting, students ate their shapes! Ruben enjoyed the cheeseball sphere and Olivia enjoyed eating the Hershe’s Kiss cone.

Assistant principal Sanabria recognized by education commissioner

Assistant principal Sanabria recognized by education commissioner

Treasure Coast High School Assistant Principal Henry Sanabria was recognized at the Florida Department of Education Commissioner’s Leadership Award luncheon recently as St. Lucie County’s nominee for 2014 Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year. Pictured are Sanabria, left, and Commissioner Pam Stewart. Congratulations for this outstanding achievement.

Local principal Wright honored by state education commissioner

Local principal Wright honored by state education commissioner

Frances K. Sweet Elementary School principal Juanita Wright was honored at the Florida Department of Education Commissioner’s Leadership Award Luncheon recently held at Disney World. Pictured is Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart congratulating Mrs. Wright as St. Lucie County’s 2014 Principal of the Year and nominee for the state award.

Jaguars place second in marksmanship match

Jaguars place second in marksmanship match

The Port St. Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion hosted this year’s Treasure Coast Air Rifle Match sponsored by American Legion Post 318. This competition was made possible by the continuous support of the American Legion Post 318, which provided the competition’s trophies and medals.

Competing against four other schools in St. Lucie County, Port St. Lucie placed second overall. This was a standard shoulder-to-shoulder match, shooting the three standard shooting positions: standing, kneeling and prone.

Cadet Captain Michael Hutchinson was the “Top Shot” from Port Saint Lucie scoring 222 points. Each cadet preformed to the best of his or her ability. The Jaguar Battalion gives a special thanks to The American Legion Post 318 for their continued support. Photo by Clay Lesniak.

Northport K8 teachers, students collaborate on presentations

Northport K8 teachers, students collaborate on presentations

Northport K-8 seventh grade students are busily preparing their Project Citizen presentations. After a semester of research, phone calls, letters and policy studies, students in Mary Ellsworth, Christopher Prusa and Angel Bracero’s civics classes are fine tuning and refining their presentations. Students selected topics of interest to help raise awareness about hot button issues and learned how to become change agents to help make what seems to be impossible become the possible. Some of the topics selected by students are sidewalks in Port St. Lucie, school dress code, school budgets and textbooks, animal shelters and the issue of stray animals, dirty bathrooms and bullying. Students in Christopher Prusa and Mary Ellsworth’s classes met in the school media center to work with media specialist Lynne Gruszka to fine tune presentation skills and to learn how to present to a group. Pictured are students from Mary Ellsworth’s civics classes presenting their Project Citizen project. From left are Mackenzie Hunsicker, Michael Gorbach, Gabriel Pedraza and Melissa Royo. District wide Project Citizen presentations will be displayed and judged on Saturday, February 15, at Samuel Gaines K-8 School beginning at 9:30 AM. One display, per teacher, per school will be presented.

Northport K8 students delve into Egyptian studies

Northport K8 students delve into Egyptian studies

Northport K-8 sixth grade students in Georgia Stone’s World History classes took learning about Egyptian studies to the next level recently as students learned how the Nile River shaped Egypt. Students marveled at the fact that the ancient Egyptians valued the afterlife so highly and that every aspect of their lives on Earth was a road map for their afterlife. Students learned that burial tombs were placed on the west side of the Nile River, which was called the “Land of the Dead.” Following in-depth studies and intensive research about Egyptian culture, students created a burial chamber or tomb of what each considered an authentic Egyptian with an Egyptian name. The tomb had to include at least six items that would be buried with the dead, and three important facts about their lives. Also, included in the tomb was the Book of the Dead, which was the instruction booklet to survival in the afterlife. After collaborative assessment and judging, three students were chosen as having the most authentic burial chambers. Pictured are the winners of that judging, from left, Kiara Badalo, Edo Cabrera and Cole Rigsby. Each student received a certificate for showcasing in depth critical thinking and a cash award.

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.

Southern Oaks students walk like Egyptians

Southern Oaks students walk like Egyptians

Students Carlie Frizzle, left, and Elizabeth Stone in Todd Hibbard’s Advanced World History Class at Southern Oaks Middle School, sang the lyrics to the song “Walk Like an Egyptian” during a unit on Egyptian culture. The students found that the lyrics from the song use several of the key terms and phrases from their unit of study. The song allowed the students to infuse Social Studies with the musical arts, as well as language arts. Though not required to have a costume, these students “walked like an Egyptian,” going the extra mile to make the presentation even more special!

Mentoring program at Gaines Academy  helps students develop leadership and life skills

Mentoring program at Gaines Academy helps students develop leadership and life skills

The students and staff at Samuel S. Gaines Academy are very appreciative to the mentors from the Calvary Compassion Church, who act as mentors for students in the Butterfly Tea mentoring group. Mentors assist student mentees with leadership strengths, and build on improving challenges, and expose mentees to best-practice in leadership and life skills. Pictured are members of the group with mentors.

Northport eighth graders host JROTC cadets

Northport eighth graders host JROTC cadets

Northport K-8 eighth grade students received special guests in classrooms recently as two cadets from the Port St. Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion under the direction of Major U.S. (Retired) Richard Thompson, visited and imparted great information about available JROTC programs. Cadets Auger and Ryun talked about building leadership skills and the camaraderie that is attained when joining a JROTC Unit. Cadets spoke about after school teams including, drill, orienteering, raiders training and marksmanship teams and told the students that the after school and weekend activities are the best part of the program. The cadets encouraged the eighth graders to find out more information about available JROTC programs at the high schools and to consider becoming a part of one of the district’s JROTC programs available. Students were thrilled to see and listen to high school students who appeared to professional, courteous and knowledgeable and were very impressed with the programs. Pictured are Cadets Ryun, left, and Auger, who attended Northport K-8 School from fourth to eighth grade.

Superintendent Yost visits Dan McCarty and encourages students

Superintendent Yost visits Dan McCarty and encourages students

St. Lucie County Schools Superintendent Genelle Yost was special guest at Dan McCarty Schools’ January Student of the Month ceremony. Superintendent Yost delivered a very compelling message to the C.O.T.M. recipients, ecnouraging students to remain focused in their learning, set goals and work hard to accomplish them. In addition, Superintendent Yost challenged the students to go to college and earn doctoral degrees in any area of their choosing and perhaps even in education. Pictured are Superintendent Yost, left, and Assistant Principal Bennie Montenegro.

Mariposa Elementary families learn hands-on math

Mariposa Elementary families learn hands-on math

More than 70 students and their parents braved inclement weather to attend Mariposa Elementary’s Math Night. Students were engaged in meaningful, real world problem-solving as they walked grocery store aisles. Pictured, from left to right, students Joshua Locklar, Tyshon Crawford, Paul Lesser, and Shane Lesser, observe as parent Don Lesser shows the students about the stacking of oranges (spheres). The families enjoyed the problem solving activities. It was a great evening enjoyed by all who attended.

Two Fort Pierce Central staff, volunteer named S.T.A.R.S

Two Fort Pierce Central staff, volunteer named S.T.A.R.S

Two Fort Pierce Central High School (FPCHS) staff members, and a volunteer, were honored as S.T.A.R.S (Special Thanks and Recognition), the district’s employee recognition program, at the St. Lucie County School Board meeting on February 11, 2014, for their quick thinking that potentially saved the life of a FPCHS student athlete. The focus of the STAR program is to RECOGNIZE employees for their behavior, skills and actions that correlate with the district vision, to REWARD employees on the results of their behavior and outcomes by clarifying what we value most as an organization, and to RECLAIM passive employees by rewarding those that exemplify our core values. Football coaches and teachers Josh Shaffer and Evan Muldoon, plus volunteer Tom Estep, all of whom fortunately had been trained to use an AED defibrillator, recently responded to a medical emergency involving the student athlete during a recent practice, using the defibrillator. The defibrillator at FPCHS is one of the dozens throughout St. Lucie Public Schools funded and donated through the Jessica Clinton Foundation, sponsored by Ray and Cheryl Lalloo. Pictured, from left, are Superintendent Genelle Yost, Estep, School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, Shaffer, Muldoon and Student Assignment Director Michelle Jerger, who made the presentation.

Fairlawn’s Helton recognized for national honor

Fairlawn’s Helton recognized for national honor

Fairlawn Elementary School fifth grade teacher Shirley Helton was recognized at the February 11, 2014, St. Lucie County School Board meeting for being named the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national 2014 Citizenship Teacher of the Year. Pictured, from left, at the meeting are Superintendent Genelle Yost, Fairlawn Elementary principal Jennifer Hedeen, Helton, local VFW representatives Alyceson Smith, Barbara Laidlaw, and Soo Keller, School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, VFW member Nell Moyers, who nominated Helton for the award, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell.

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.

Employee of the year finalists recognized

Employee of the year finalists recognized

Finalists for two of the four annual employee recognition groups for St. Lucie Public Schools were awarded plaques and presented during the February 11, 2014, school board meeting. The St. Lucie County Education Foundation recognized and presented plaques to Teacher of the Year (TOY) finalists Oak Hammock K-8 media specialist Heather Bolitho, Fort Pierce Central High School band and choral director Matthew Boswell, and Fairlawn Elementary School media specialist Kelly Ridle. School Related Employee of the Year (SREY) finalists recognized were Palm Pointe Educational Research School health paraprofessional Michelle DeGarmo, Allapattah Flats K-8 School office clerk Adela DellaCroce, and Parkway Elementary School nutrition manager Angelina Jean-Louis. Local winners in these two categories will go on to state competition. Pictured, from left, are Education Foundation Executive Board members Richard Kolleda and Carissa Zerga, TOY finalist Kelly Ridle, Education Foundation board member Robbi Giaccone, School Board vice chairman Dr. Donna Mills, TOY finalist Matthew Boswell, St. Lucie County Board of County Commission member Tod Mowery, TOY finalist Heather Bolitho, Education Foundation board member and CTA/CU president Vanessa Tillman, SREY finalist Michelle DeGarmo, School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, SREY finalist Angelina Jean-Louis, Superintendent Genelle Yost, Education Foundation Honorary Director Elizabeth Mallonee, SREY finalist Adela DellaCroce, Education Foundation board member and school district employee recognition coordinator Candace Stone, and Foundation Executive Director Jim McKenzie. Winners of these programs, as well as local recognitions for Outstanding First Year Teacher and Distinguished Minority Educator, will be announced February 22, 2014, during the annual Night of the Stars gala sponsored by the Education Foundation and the St. Lucie County School Board.

St. Lucie West K8 kindergartners visit aquatic center

St. Lucie West K8 kindergartners visit aquatic center

St. Lucie West K8 School kindergartners recently enjoyed visiting the Florida Oceanographic Center. Students enjoyed opportunites to learn about local ocean life, such as petting stingrays. Pictured, from left, are Abigail Wiley, Lilliana Boham, Sophia Rodriguez, Jahari Wiggan, Caden Ongel, Kiara Rodriguez, and Adrian Pardo-Canedo.

Fort Pierce Westwood High wrestler moves to state competition

Fort Pierce Westwood High wrestler moves to state competition

A member of the Fort Pierce High School wrestling team placed fourth in recent regional competition and is advancing to state competition. Pictured, from left, is Jarvis Gamble, district champion in the 195-pound weight class who is now preparing for the statewide meet, Coach Michael Torres, and Errol Pottinger, district champion in the 120-pound weight class.

Northport K-8 celebrates Black History Month

Northport K-8 celebrates Black History Month

Northport K-8 School recently celebrated Black History month with a wonderful program that included guest speaker Dr. Dwight Dawkins, who encouraged students to do their best and to have high aspirations. Port St. Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion led the program with an honor guard, and Northport choral students from all grade levels sang the “National Anthem,” “Elijah,” and “Tribute to Martin Luther King.” Students also listened to a Black History moment on the morning announcements showcasing contributions of Black Americans. The school cafeteria, along with culinary program students under the direction of instructor Rachel Ellsworth, offered a tempting Southern luncheon for all teachers and staff. As a conclusion to the programming, students and teachers were encouraged to dress in costumes and clothing from their own heritage. Northport K-8 School honors the heritage of the entire community and celebrates “Many Cultures, One Country!” Special thank you to guidance counselor Diane Reynolds for organizing the multicultural salute to Black history! Pictured is Northport Pre-K instructor Victoria Frazier and several of her students, who dressed for Northport Multicultural Day. Students pictured, from left, are Isabella Zuniga, William Hairston, Mikayla Rivera, Vanessa Hall, Tayshaun Byfield and Kucas Cardoso.

Special guests enjoy Lakewood Park Elementary student led conference event

Special guests enjoy Lakewood Park Elementary student led conference event

Lakewood Park Elementary School students and families recently enjoyed Student Led Conferences, where students can show, with examples, their learning to their parents who can then see and experience materials and activities that students engaged in during the school day. Awards are presented during the evening event, such as for perfect attendance, the Kids at Hope Award, and honor roll. Parents may also see PowerPoint presentations outlining their child’s future goals, while teachers enjoy observing the interaction among all active participants. Pictured is a group of students with Superintendent Genelle Yost in Lori Checchi’s kindergarten class, who have taken charge of their own learning, are reviewing their goals, and talk about what they are doing at the present. From left, are Michael Reynolds, Khloe Williams, Jose Ojeda, Superintendent Yost, and Piper Hambleton.