• News Stories from 2010-2011 School Year

    Advanced Placement Scores Released

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2010-2011 Advanced Placement Score Reports.  The Advanced Placement program provides students with rigorous coursework which aligns with college-level standards. Students participate in a nation-wide assessment to determine mastery of college-level course work.  Students achieving a score of three or higher are eligible to receive college credit for the course.

    Monroe County High Schools, in response to state expectations for increased rigor at the high school level, increase the level of participation with an impressive 442 more AP tests administered in 2011 than 2010.  This represents a 48% increase from 2010. 

    Click here to view the district's press release.  Also available is a graph showing the breakdown of scores by subject test.

    Monroe County Is "A" District!
    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2010-2011 school grades as reported by the Florida Department of Education. This year’s school grades reflect the change and transition to the newly revised and rigorous FCAT 2.0 which assesses Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS).

    For the sixth year in a row, the Monroe County School District has been recognized by the Florida Department of Education as an “A” rated school district with outstanding achievement throughout the Florida Keys. The performance of our schools remains strong in specifically in the areas of mathematics.

    The students of Monroe County have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap. Nine out of fifteen schools showed an increase in performance with a more rigorous assessment. School grades represent the culmination of an entire year’s academic progress and we congratulate the entire district’s efforts to reflect “Continuous Improvement”. The Monroe County School District applauds the dedication and hard work of our students and staff. Dr. Jesus Jara, Interim Superintendent said, “I would like to recognize our students, parents, teachers, and administrators for their commitment to improve academic performance as we look forward to building on our successful results.”

    Additional information is available at the Florida Department of Education website at www.fldoe.org. High School grades are expected to be released later in the fall.

    MCSD Tech Plan Approved by DOE

    From Nicholas Osterhoudt, Director of Instructional Technology:

    Wanted to extend many thanks and recognition to the District Technology Committee members for the dedication and extra effort in producing the 2011 Technology Plan for Monroe County School District. This committee performed these duties with the Children and Educators of Monroe County School District in mind. Each and every member should be proud of the accomplishment and extending a special appreciation to Barbara Cavanah for her extended hours of editing and reviewing of the Technology Plan. These are the members of the 2010-11 Technology Committee: 

    Jeff Arnott, Adult Ed
    Kay MacKenzie, Teacher, CSHS
    Debbie Arencibia, Technician, GRA
    Janet Meinke, Director, Accountability & Assessment
    Theresa Axford, Principal, KWHS
    Kerri Modzelewski, Teacher, SSE
    Barbara Cavanah, Supervisor/Coord. Instruct. Tech.
    Nicholas Osterhoudt, Director, Instructional Technology
    Sharon Day, Assistive Tech. Specialist, ESE
    David Richardson, Director, Information Technology
    Linda Diaz, Title I & PD
    Michael Robinson, Supervisor/Coord. Reading/LA
    Carol Eisenman, Supervisor/Coord. Drop-Out Preven.
    Robin Smith-Martin, School Board Member
    Tiffany Freeman, Office Manager, POI
    Brett Unke, Assistant Principal, HOB
    Susan Holtzworth, Media Specialist, PKS
    Kevin Walden, Teacher, SLS
    Jesus Jara, Chief Operating Officer

    Florida Department of Education Letter regarding Monroe County School District Technology Plan

    Algebra I End-of-Course Assessment Results
    The Commissioner of Education and Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke would like to commend Monroe County's outstanding Algebra I teachers for their work this year to help students be successful in this critical course, considered as an important gatekeeper course for a pathway to college or a career certification program.  Monroe County students average score on the recently released End-of-Course (EOC) assessment placed students above the state average.: 

    FCAT Results for 2010-11 School Year

    FCAT  Scores have been posted on the Florida DOE Website. An Executive Summary and year by year comparisons have been prepared by the Office of Accountability and Assessment and are linked on the Assessment website.

    Centennial Bank Most Improved Math Award
    Centennial Bank Recognizes one student from each grade level that improved their math grade for the 4th Quarter.  They each received a certificate and a cash award with an incentive to bank their money to double the award and watch it grow more.  This is a very good math lesson in itself and PKS thanks Centennial Bank and their representatives for taking time to recognize our “Most Improved Math Students!”  Pictured are bank representatives Stephanie Scuderi and Jennifer Miller along with Principal Strickland and PKS students left to right: Nicholas B. (1st grade), Krista B. (2nd grade), Cody G. (5th grade) Kaylee J. (3rd grade), Natalie D. (4th grade), Aliyah A. Y. (7th grade), Kirk S. (8th grade).  Not pictured was Matthew Z. (6th grade).
    (Photo courtesy of Teresa Regelmann)

    Monroe County students are out-performing the statewide average for third grade students in FCAT Reading and Mathematics.  The release of third grade reading and mathematics FCAT 2.0 scores highlights a very important transition to more demanding tests.  Six Monroe schools showed an increase over last year's results in the number of students showing a proficiency in reading, while four schools showed an increase in math.  Sugarloaf, Stanley Switlik, Plantation Key, Montessori Elementary Charter, Treasure Village Montessori and Big Pine Academy all earned proficiency levels at or above the district average in both reading and math.  Hats off to Big Pine Academy for having 100% of third grade students demonstrate proficiency in both reading and math!

    More info......

    Switlik Students Research "Who Is Sue M. Moore?"
    Recently the second graders in Ms. Sandi Bisceglia’s class at Switlik Elementary School made a presentation to the School Board called “Who Is Sue M. Moore?”  The presentation summarized their year-long research and writing project to learn about the first teacher related to Switlik School’s history, Sue M. Moore.  They learned that she rode a ferry from Big Pine to Marathon daily, and taught 11 students Grades 1 to 8 when Marathon was a Flagler railroad town.  The class is submitting a book/binder of their work to the school media center, and students were recently recognized by the School Board and Superintendent for putting their curiosity into action incorporating writing, reading, and social studies into their real-life learning experience. (Photo courtesy of Sandi Bisceglia)

    HOB Students Win Middle School Academic Challenge

    The Horace O'Bryant Middle School Academic Challenge team won the district championship on May 17.  This is the second year in a row that HOB has won this competition.   The 2011 team members are Nena Guzman, Anthony Ohayon, Michael Stern, Cameron James and Alex Lichtl.  Coaches are Joelle DeRoche and Melissa Alsobrooks. (Photo courtesy of Joelle DeRoche)

    KWHS Students Complete Work Readiness Program

    Key West High School students recently completed an eight week work readiness course.  The course was coordinated by KWHS Employment Specialist Lisa Morris and South Florida Workforce and actively engages students in real world learning activities to help prepare them for applying and maintaining successful employment in the community.  Upon completion, each student was presented with a certificate to add to their own Professional Portfolio. Pictured with the students are KWHS teachers Mrs. Simpson and Mrs. Thomas. (Photo courtesy of Marty Jacquette)

    Montessori Elementary Charter School News
    The students of Montessori Elementary Charter School organized a lemonade stand to raise money for the Key West Mounted Patrol on May 10 & 11. Lt. Torres expressed his gratitude by bringing the mounted patrol and their three horses by the school for all the students to visit and feed them carrots. The students from Ms. Sonia's Goliath Groupers' class who raised $160 are pictured here with the officers and horses.
    Kneeling, left to right: Kingston Y., Becca M., Angel S. Standing, left to right: Francesca C., Isabell B., George B.
    (Photo courtesy of Margaret Dimonte)

    Key Largo Students Win Dance Competition

    Key Largo School's fifth grade Dancing Classroom students recently traveled to Marathon High School for the Colors of the Rainbow district dance competition. The KLS team received the Gold Award for their performances, along with Stanley Switlik students. In the final dance off, KLS won the Overall Championship trophy. (Photo courtesy of Darren Pais)

    Poinciana School Wins Green Living Award

    Florida Keys GLEE’s 4th Annual Green Living Awards were presented in a ceremony Saturday, May 7, at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Gardens. Among the winners were the Poinciana Elementary School Recycling Rangers.  In one school year, the Recycling Rangers program taught 650 students, their teachers and administrators how to recycle, creating a process for recycling in every classroom, office and in the cafeteria. Their efforts diverted 40 dumpsters of recyclable waste, reducing solid waste at the school by about 40 percent. Savings exceeded expectations with trash pickups decreasing from five to three times per week, saving approximately $600 per month in disposal fees.  Congratulations to Poinciana School and the Recycling Rangers!!

    Jon Landau Visits Plantation Key School

    Plantation Key School was recently honored with a visit from Mr. Jon Landau, known for producing the movies Avatar and Titanic.  Mr. Landau took time to speak with PKS students and staff about his career in the movie making business and emphasized to the students to follow their dreams and not to be afraid of fear or failure because we all learn from these things. His passion for his work was evident through his presentation, explaining the long and tedious procedures he takes to the very end of each production.  

    KWHS Biodiesel Program News

    With the help of the Key West High School Biodiesel program, the Key West-based Yankee Freedom II ferry has been named the National Park Sevice's official Key West ferry to the Dry Tortugas. Because of the KWHS Biodiesel program's help and support, the company is donating $20,000 to the school program. Josh Clearman, KWHS biodiesel teacher, said, "The class was pleased to help them without any reward, but we are so grateful for their generous donation!"

    More info.....

    Twenty-one Monroe Students to Study Abroad this Summer

    Twenty-one students from Monroe County High Schools are preparing for their adventures overseas in July.  These students are participating in the Experiment In International living cross cultural experience.  Fourteen of these high school students are in the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) program and will travel abroad in a cultural immersion program within three hemispheres and 13 nations.   
    Take Stock In Children students from Key West, Marathon and Coral Shores high schools were notified this week that they have been awarded grants from Experiment in International Living (EIL) to pursue cross-cultural education in 13 countries.   This unique opportunity for high school students in Monroe County is the result of EIL’s local partnership with the Monroe County Education Foundation (MCEF), lead agency for TSIC in Monroe County.  

    More info......

    School Start Times for 2011-12 School Year

    School start times are changing for the 2011-2012 school year.  Effective August 22, 2011, school sessions will be as follows:

    Lower Keys
    Key West High School 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    Horace O'Bryant Middle School 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
    Glynn Archer Elementary School 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
    Poinciana Elementary School 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
    Gerald Adams Elementary School 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
    Sugarloaf Elementary School 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
    Sugarloaf Middle School 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
    Middle Keys
    Stanley Switlik Elementary School 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
    Marathon Middle School 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    Marathon High School 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    Upper Keys
    Coral Shores High School 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    Plantation Key School 8:00 AM - 2:45 PM
    Key Largo School 8:30 AM - 3:15 PM

    Big Pine Academy Student Wins National Handwriting Contest

    Madeline Launstein, a fifth grade student at Big Pine Academy, is one of 16 students from across the country that have displayed excellent handwriting skills to become national winners in its 20th annual Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. This year, more than 220,000 students participated in the annual contest. Zaner-Bloser estimates that more than 2.5 million students have participated in the contest during its 20-year history.  Madeline is the daughter of Jodie and David Launstein of Ramrod Key.
    Big Pine Academy was proud to submit Madeline’s entry into the contest. She represented the best handwriting from our school. Her entry was judged according to the Zaner-Bloser Keys to Legibility: Size, Shape, Spacing and Slant.

    More info......
    Pictured:  Madeline with her teacher, Mrs. Kim Thompson.  (Photo courtesy of Cathy Hoffman)

    Thanks from TIES!
    On May 5, 2011, the TIES students expressed their gratitude to their community partners. When they held their first annual event in 2005, they never dreamed they would be honoring so many businesses and partners six years later!  As part of this year's program, each student picked a community partner who made a difference in their lives this school year and created a video documentary for them. Click here to access student videos. 

    Special thanks to Ed Smith at Key West HS and his Video Production students for presenting the students work to our partners, to KWHS Culinary teacher Holly Brozi for providing lunch, to KWHS Principal Mrs. Axford and Key West High School for your commitment to the career goals of the TIES students.

    KWHS students who have an IEP, are age 18 and/or completed all KWHS credits can apply for the TIES program. An application for the TIES program can be obtained from Marty Jacquette or Megan Faust

    For info on becoming a community partner please contact Ruth Holland or call 305-292-7178..
    Pictured:  Jesus Jara, Catherine Kanagey, Dr. Leslie Salinaro and Andy Griffiths accepting an award of appreciation from the TIES students, Briana Galvan, TJ Ham and Greta Viera
    (Photo Courtesy of Tom Oosterhoudt)

    Students Working Against Tobacco Month
    Dianne Wischmeier, advisor to the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) chapter at Coral Shores High School, and CSHS seniors Taylor Smith and Anamaria Penagos receive a proclamation declaring May as SWAT Month during the Islamorada Village Council meeting on April 28 in Islamorada. Vice Mayor Ken Philipson presented the proclamation, which also encourages tobacco vendors in the village to suspend voluntarily the sales of candy-flavored tobacco products. SWAT activists at Marathon Middle/High School and Key West High School are working on similar proclamations and resolutions for local governments to approve in the coming weeks. According to the Tobacco Free Florida Keys partnership, approximately 20 percent of high school students and 6 percent of middle school students across the Florida Keys use tobacco products. Youth tobacco prevention advocates argue that the sweet flavorings and colorful packaging that tobacco companies use to market their products mimic candy, making cigarettes, cigars and chew more attractive to children and young adults. (Photo courtesy of Dianne Wischmeier)

    2011 FCAT Writing Results
    Monroe County's 2011 FCAT Writes results indicate significant student achievement increases. The latest release of Monroe County’s writing results for students scoring at/or above a 4 on the six-point grading scale indicate significant gains in percentage points. Comparing 2010 to 2011 results; 4th graders increased from 63% to78%, 8th graders increased from 74% to 82%, and 10th graders from 68% to 77%.

    FKAA Presents Art Award

    Congratulations to Key West High School freshman, Desirae Laguna!  Desirae’s Water Conservation artwork has won both the local Monroe County “Drop Savers” contest division, as well as first place in the Statewide “Drop Savers” contest divison.  This contest was in partnership with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority.  (Pictured: FKAA board members:  J. Robert Dean, Rose M. Dell, Antoinette M. Appell, Elena Z. George, James Reynolds, & David C. Ritz, KWHS Student Desirae Laguna, KWHS Art Teacher Anika Wong.  Photo courtesy of Anika Wong)

    Monroe County Teacher of the Year

    Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke is pleased to announce that Seana Cameron has been selected as the 2010-2011 Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Cameron is a fifth grade teacher at Poinciana Elementary with 23 years of teaching experience.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher with a Masters Degree in Elementary Childhood and was selected for her outstanding academic success, excellent instructional methods, and her contributions to the profession.  She is also a published author and has worked on several education projects both in Key West and New York during her career.


    Outstanding Principal and Assistant Principal
    Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph Burke, has announced that Amber Bosco (pictured left) has been selected as Principal of the Year and Christina McPherson (pictured right) has been selected as Assistant Principal of the Year.  The Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Assistant Principal Award recognizes exemplary principals and assistant principals for their contributions to their schools and communities.   

    More info.....

    District Inclusion Teacher of the Year
    Congratulations to the
    Monroe County School District Inclusion Teacher of the Year 2011

    Kristen Condella
    (Horace O'Bryant Middle School) 

    Principal, Mr. Henriquez is quoted as saying: “I cannot put into words how integral she is to the success of our students and our school.”  Ms. Condella holds all her students accountable and believes: “The inclusion method allows ESE students to work with general education students and learn from them as well.  Students are exposed and held accountable to the same standards as general education students which give them the confidence to work with their disability to achieve success.”

    Instructional/Management Employees of the Year

    The following staff have been recognized by district employees as the Instructional/ Management Employees of the Year.  Congratulations!!
    Instructional –Catherine Kanagy
    Management – Kayleen Watts

    PKS Cheerleaders Win Spirit Award
    The Plantation Key School cheerleaders brought home the spirit award at the recent FCDA Cheer competition in Ft. Lauderdale. The Tiny's-White squad was awarded 1st place, The Mini's-Blue Squad earned 2nd place honors and the Elementary Squad-Gold placed 6th.  The squads are coached by Mrs. Dionne and Miss Lauren Ashmore.

    Key Largo Band Performs at Kennedy Space Center
    The Key Largo Middle School band, under the direction of Ms.Susan Bazin, recently performed at Kennedy Space Center (NASA).  The performing band featured music they had learned for Florida Bandmaster Association Festival, the jazz band rocked the planet with pop tunes and the beginning/intermediate band performed patriotic and sing-along music.  Upcoming KLS Band concerts include: 
    • May 5 - Arts Festival at KLS
    • May 6 - Relay for Life parade at CSHS
    • May 30 - Memorial Day Community Concert at TIB Bank
    • June 4 - Marlins Baseball Game at SunLife stadium 
    Choruses from Key West High School Rated as State's Best
    At the State Music Performance Assessment at Florida International University on April 26, Key West High School was awarded the highest rating of Superior for the Chamber Choir (mixed) and the Misty’s (women). The VIP’s were rated as Excellent, missing the top level by only one grade. This is the first time this has happened in the school or county history, and we can be very proud of our kids. They sang phenomenally well, and have been recognized as one of the finest programs in the state. The Conch Singers were up against much bigger schools and several arts and music academies, but still came out on top!  Congratulations!!

    Keys Children's Foundation
    Terry Ferrarone, a representative of The Keys Children's Foundation presented grant funds to Key Largo School for its Intensive Reading Program, ESE program, Jump Start program and Needy Trust Fund. Key Largo School thanks the Key's Children's Foundation from the bottom of its heart for the generosity bestowed year after year! Pictured from left to right are Sandra Prew, Intensive Reading Teacher, Tina Cash, ESE teacher, Terry Ferrarone, Keys Children's Foundation representative and Julia Hoar, KLS Principal.

    Dancing Classrooms Event

    The Educational Coalition for Monroe County (ECMC) in partnership with the American Ballroom Theater and Monroe County School District has offered research-based Dancing Classrooms for three years.  Dancing Classrooms is currently at eight school sites.  Fifth grade students will participate in the Colors of the Rainbow Team Match, Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 3pm at the Marathon High School Auditorium.  A showcase will be provided by ACE/KCA students and eighth grade PKS students.  For more information call 305-743-6215 or visit www.educationalcoalitionmc.org.

    Donation to CSHS Media Center
    Thanks to the Florida Keys Masonic Lodge for their recent $500 donation to the Coral Shores HS Media Center.  Pictured, from left to right: Lodge member Billy Salyer, Lodge Master Jim Ouellette, CSHS Media Specialist Jodie Delgado and Lodge Senior Deacon Alex Holoman.  (Photo credit: Lodge Chaplain Harry Teaford)

    KWH Academic Challenge Team Places 2nd at State
    Key West High School's Academic Challenge Team earned a second place finish Saturday in the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge at Disney World, repeating their standing from last year with the highest score any Monroe County team has achieved. “I’ve never had a stronger team than this one. We always take the top students to the state competition, but often they aren’t as aggressive buzzing in with the answers. This team was not only well-rounded in their knowledge but confident in their skills. That’s how to win,” McLean said.

    The team qualified for the semi-final round of competition with a second place win on Thursday, April 7th  followed by a second place finish in the semi-final round on Friday on their way to the six district final round of the competition. Pictured (from left to right): Coach Kerri McLean, senior Erick Lowe, junior Dylan Higbie, senior Kieran Campbell, senior Adam Diaz, sophomore Kelly Rosch and senior Huan Nguyen.  (Photo courtesy of Josh Clearman)

    School Board Recognition - March 22, 2011

    Students and Staff from Marathon High School were recognized for accomplishments at the March 22, 2011 Monroe County School Board Meeting.  Pictured is MHS teacher Katie Balazs, who was recognized as the American Legion Post 154 Teacher of the Year.  Click on More Info to see photos of students who were also recognized at the meeting.

    More info...... 

    HOB Odyssey of the Mind Team Wins Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award
    Horace O’Bryant Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team was presented with the prestigious Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award at this month’s district competition. Representing the essence of the Odyssey of the Mind, this award is presented to teams or individuals who exhibit exceptional creativity, either through some aspect of their problem solution, or an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution. A successful problem solution is not a criterion for winning the award; rather, the award is a way to acknowledge and encourage creative thinking and risk-taking. According to Dan Powers, Odyssey of the Mind Official, the award has not been given out in at least seven years.

    The HOB team also won an automatic bid to the Odyssey of the Mind statewide competition to be held in Orlando on April 9th. Anyone wishing to donate to their travel fund can contact their team sponsor, Sibba Zuelch at 305-296-5628. (Photo credit:  Sibba Zuelch)

    CSHS Students Visit Nation's Capital
    On February 20-25th, a group of ten Coral Shores High School students and one teacher traveled to Washington, D.C, to meet with politicians and discuss key issues the United States faces today.  In Washington, the group successfully completed the demanding "Close Up Academy" student program.  This included spending over 80 hours with students from schools nationwide using the nation's capital as a living classroom. The week culminated with a day on Capital Hill, where students spent time discussing foreign and domestic issues with the staff of South Florida Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as well as hearing oral arguments at the Supreme Court. CSHS Language Arts teacher Nancy Truesdale and students Emily Albury, Sara Blackwell, Katie Fry, Baye Haddad, Savannah Koval, Shannon Postrion, Bree Prince, Caitlyn Ross, Kasie Schue, and Amber Valdez took part in this week long educational experience.
    For more information, contact Nancy Truesdale at 305-853-3222 X 56397. (Photo credit: Nancy Truesdale)

    Thank You, Dr. Maurer!
    A big thank you to Dr. Paul Maurer; Key West ophthalmologist, for donating his time to conduct vision testing for Monroe County students with vision needs. For the second year in a row, he and his staff have provided hours of their time to Monroe County students in order to carefully assess their vision needs. His assistance helps the district in needs and accomodations planning and in determining the students' technology needs. Thanks to Dr. Maurer for sharing your expertise, caring, and generosity with Monroe County students! (Photo credit: Sharon Day)

    Centennial Bank Recognizes Students' Math Improvement
    Centennial Bank has again teamed up with the Monroe County School District to recognize and reward improvements in math from students throughout the county.  “At Centennial Bank, we are big believers in recognizing achievement,” said Stephanie Scuderi, Vice President/Director of Sales.  “Given the importance of math skills for success throughout life, Centennial Bank has partnered with the Upper Keys math teachers to recognize one student in each grade, first through 12th, for marked improvement in math performance from the first to the second grading period of this school year.”  The Monroe County School Board recognized both the students and Centennial Bank at the February 22, 2011 School Board meeting. "This is another example of Centennial Bank’s demonstrated commitment not only to our community, but to our students and the future of our community,” said Superintendent Joseph Burke.


    (Photo credit:  Sally Smith, Stephanie Scuderi)

    Hearts for Japan

    The Key Largo School National Junior Honor society, Student Council and Drama classes sponsored a fundraiser for the children of Japan.  They raised a total of $738 for the Happy Hearts Fund, which assists children affected by natural disasters.  Pictured are some of the sponsoring students with Mrs. Bernal’s second grade class, who raised $129. 

    Jon Landau speaks to CSHS Video Students
    Jon Landau, the producer of Avatar and Titanic, recently spoke to Coral Shores High School video students about the film process and the behind-the-scenes of both movies.  A screening of the movie, Slayer, created by students Davis Zekthi, Steven Nekhaila and Daniel Michael, was shown (available online at the Black Light Digital channel on YouTube).  Mr. Landau presented his Oscar to the boys for their excellent work.  He also allowed all students to handle the Oscar and take pictures.  After the presentation, twenty students selected from an essay contest ate lunch with Mr. Landau and were able to converse about the film industry.  It was an incredible experience for all. (Photo credit: Michele Thiery)

    Computer-Based Testing
    Florida will be utilizing computer-based testing (CBT) beginning this year for the FCAT Grade 10 Mathematics test and FCAT Mathematics and Reading Retakes. While this is the first year Florida will administer statewide computer-based assessments, the specific software being used has been successfully proven through more than five million tests in seven other states over the past four years. Additionally, students have an opportunity to participate in a practice test to become familiar with the software, item types, and online tools they will encounter and use during testing.
    To review the practice test at home, download instructions and a practice test (called an “ePAT”) at www.FLAssessments.com/ePAT. You will also find a “Script for Administering the ePAT” that is read aloud to students during scheduled practice tests. The script includes a thorough walk-through of the software interface and instructions for using each of the online tools. Students may practice as often as is necessary prior to testing.
    Additional information regarding computer-based testing is available online at the Florida Department of Education’s website at http://fcat.fldoe.org/fcat2/cbt.asp.

    Montessori Students Visit KWHS Alternative Energy Center
    Students from Montessori Elementary Charter School recently visited the Alternative Energy Center (AEC) at Key West High School.  AEC teacher Josh Clearman and his students showed the MECS students the wind turbine and biodiesel car, and explained their carbon footprint reduction project. 

    (Photo credit: Sonia Rdissi)

    Switlik Students Treated to Classical Music Concert
    The entire student body at Stanley Switlik Elementary was treated to a performance of classical music on Tuesday, February 15. Four members of A Far Cry, a Boston, MA, based chamber orchestra, performed as a string quartet. The group began by teaching the students about the components of the quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello) and how the instruments were played. They performed a selection of classical pieces from various composers including Tchaikovsky, and concluded by taking questions from an exuberant crowd of nearly 500 students. The performance was made possible through a grant from the Middle Keys Concert Association and the hard work of music teacher Stephen Whitfield.

    Thank You, Sunrise Rotary!

    Sunrise Rotary of Key West has once again provided Monroe County School District third grade students with new dictionaries.  

    Pictured are students from Plantation Key School saying thanks to Sunrise Rotary of Key West!

    Cast of Les Misérables Travels to See Full Production

    When the cast and crew of The Kid’s Theater’s upcoming production of Les Misérables hit the road last Saturday it took eighteen vehicles to get the eighty five members of the entourage to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Director Michele Zofchak coordinated the trip to inspire and motivate the young cast in the most ambitious show that the theater group has yet to produce.

    For more information about the group's upcoming production of Les Misérables, including performance times and locations,
    click here.

    Plantation Key School Cheerleaders Rocked at Competition

    PKS Blue Squad and Gold Squad took first place in the elementary age group at the recent UCA cheer competition "Miami Meltdown" in Ft. Lauderdale. Both squads earned the "Most Spirited School" award as well. They are coached by Bernice Dionne, Lauren Ashmore-Solis and Michelle Solis.

    Key West High Wins District Academic Championship

    Key West High School’s Academic Challenge team won the district championship on Thursday, January 27 at Marathon High School. The Conchs, who have won the tournament  11 out of the past  16 years, advance to the state competition, representing Monroe County, at Disney World in April. Last year’s team placed 2nd in the state competition after placing 3rd the year before. Coach Kerri McLean likes the winning momentum and heads into this year’s tournament with an equally strong team composed of seniors Kieran Campbell, Adam Diaz, Huan Nguyen, Erick Lowe; junior Dylan Higbie; and sophomore Kelly Rosch. (Photo courtesy of Diana Walker)

    Coral Shores High School Announces Winners of Poetry Out Loud Contest

    Coral Shores High School announces the winners of the school contest for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The student winners are David Tetour, first place, with Emily Christian in second place and AnaMaria Penagos in third.

    Click here for information about this competition, which is held in partnership with the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

    Coral Shores Student Shares the Stage with Alonzo Mourning

    Students, mentors, staff, and Monroe County Education Foundation (MCEF) board members recently attended the Florida Keys Children’s Foundation luncheon at the Ocean Reef Town Hall.  Anamaria Penagos, a senior Take Stock in Children scholar at Coral Shores High School, had the privilege of addressing the over five-hundred attendees.  Anamaria spoke about her dreams and aspirations as she completes the Take Stock program, graduates from high school, and begins her post-secondary education.  Ms. Penagos shared the podium with Featured Speaker, Alonzo Mourning, noted basketball star of the Miami Heat and South Florida philanthropist.  Anamaria expressed her thanks to the Take Stock Program, Margie Smith (her mentor) and the members of the Florida Keys Children’s Foundation for their support in making her future possible. Ms. Penagos hopes to study genetics and pursue a future in medicine.  Anamaria is a strong representative of the Take Stock mission to support academic success, high personal goals and college achievements.

    TSIC Crossroads Adventure
    Take Stock In Children and the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches participated in the fifth annual Crossroads Adventure Camp experience.
    From December 12th through December 17th all newly signed seventh and eighth grade Take Stock In Children scholars from Monroe County Schools traveled to the Sheriff’s Youth Camp in Inglis, Florida.  Mrs. Katrina Wiatt, Assistant Project Coordinator for Take Stock In Children accompanied the group on their weeklong journey.
    The Crossroads Adventure Camp is completely inclusive and offered at no charge to our students. The camp provides transportation, lodging, all meals, and seminars. Activities are designed to give students the encouragement needed to decide which paths to follow in life and to prepare for their post-secondary education. The curriculum offers a blueprint for planning the future.  Several sessions focus on choices to help students become more prepared to make important life decisions concerning friendships, money, and leadership. In addition to the camp and all of these activities, students also enjoyed guided tours to Santa Fe College and the University of Florida in Gainesville.
    The Monroe County Education Foundation, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and many supporters of Take Stock sponsor this trip because they believe in preparing our youth for success and the future.
    Contact Jim Hall, Program Coordinator at 293-1546 or at jim.hall@keysschools for additional information.

    Monroe County High School Grades Improve

    The Florida DOE has released school grades for high schools.  Monroe County high schools show an increase in both school grades and performance.
    2008-2009 Final Grade
    2009-2010 Final Grade
       Coral Shores High School
       Marathon High School
       Key West High School
      Dr. Joseph Burke, Superintendent of Schools, is proud of the students, faculty and administrators in our high schools for meeting the demands
    of the new accountability standards for student and school performance.

    Monroe County School District Graduation Rate Increased

    Dr. Joseph Burke, Superintendent of Schools, announced Monroe County’s graduation rate increased again this year. According to results released by the Florida Department of Education, the county’s graduation rate increased 3.8% from last year to 85.4% while the state graduation rate increased 2.7% to 79%. Over the last three years, Monroe County’s NGA Graduation rate has increased 6.9%. Dr. Burke said, “I applaud our students, teachers, school leaders and parents for their hard work to make this happen.”