• News from 2011-12 School Year

    Advanced Placement Scores Released

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2011-2012 Advanced Placement Scores. The Advanced Placement program provides students with rigorous coursework which aligns with college-level standards. Students participate in an international 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.

    Click here for the district's press release.

    Monroe County Is an "A" District!

    For the seventh year in a row, the Monroe County School District has been recognized as an “A” rated school district with outstanding achievement throughout the Florida Keys. Monroe County is ranked 9th out of 67 counties in the state.

    Click here for the district's press release.

    School Grades 2011-2012

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2011-2012 school grades as reported by the Florida Department of Education. This year’s school grades include the transition to the FCAT 2.0 and changes with rigorous cut score implementation. The outstanding performance of our schools remains strong in elementary and combination grades.

    Click here to view press release and school grades information.

    FCAT Results for the 2011-12 School Year
    FCAT  Scores have been posted on the Florida DOE Website. Year by year comparisons have been prepared by the Office of Accountability and Assessment and are linked below.

    Math Comparison of Grade Levels- Data and Graphs  
     *** School Year - 2008 - 2012
    Comparison of Grade Levels- Data and Graphs  
     *** School Year - 2008 - 2012
    Comparison of Grade Levels- Data and Graphs 
     *** School Year - 2008 - 2012
    Comparison of Grade Levels- Data and Graphs 
     *** School Year - 2008 - 2012

    MCSD Principal of the Year

    To honor the selection of their principal as Monroe County Principal of the Year, Plantation Key School recently presented Principal Vanessa Strickland with a painting.  Her painting will be placed on the wall of the PKS media center, along with those of past principals. 

    (Photo courtesy of Lucy Given)

    Most Improved Math Students at KLS

    Centennial Bank again partnered with Key Largo School math teachers to identify one student in each grade as Most Improved in Math from third to fourth grading period. Students were awarded cash prizes and encouraged to save.

    In photo (L to R) Back row: KLS Principal Julia Hoar, Anthony C., Lily T., Christopher O., Jennifer M., KLS Assistant Principal Laura Lietaert;  Front row: Eric Y., Rault M., Dominick M., Frank V.

    (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Scuderi)

    Take Stock in Children News

    The 2012 FCAT 2.0 results are in, and Take Stock in Children shows why it continues to be a great investment in our students.
    Click here to see the TSIC results.
    Take Stock in Children’s students continue to improve their scores each year. It shows that the mentoring and pushing for true college readiness is working for them.  College is getting more expensive and more competitive for students. It is important to set a path to achieve high test scores, high GPA, community service hours, and outside of school activities to ensure students get scholarships and grants such as Bright Futures. Take Stock in Children has developed a Pathway to help guide the students that qualify for the program. Through mentoring and student advocacy, the students of Take Stock in Children are succeeding above others.

    Key West Fringe visits Key Largo School
    The Key West Fringe, a theatre group from Key West, recently traveled north to teach Key Largo School seventh grade students about William Shakespeare. The group presented a two-day workshop, where they taught students about Shakespeare, some of his plays, theatre in the 1600’s, and the tricks to a realistic theatre performance.  The group then performed four scenes from three of Shakespeare's plays:  The Taming of the Shrew, The Twelfth Night, and Othello.

    (Photo courtesy of Darren Pais)

    Middle School Academic Challenge

    Six teams competed in the Monroe County School District Middle School Academic Challenge, held at the Marathon High School auditorium on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.  Congratulations to Sugarloaf School and Mr. Kevin Walden's first place team, including eighth graders Stephen Blain, Thomas “TJ” Carbone, Timothy “Timmy” Fricke, Kaitlin Giffin, Sydney Graft, Lillian Kelly, and seventh grader Stephanie Zou.

    Second place honors went to the student team from Horace O'Bryant Middle School, and Marathon Middle School took home the third place award.  Also competing in this year's competition were teams from Key Largo School, Plantation Key School, and, for the first time, Treasure Village Montessori.

    Mr. Walden said, "We are very excited to bring the championship back to Sugarloaf School. The team worked very hard this year preparing for the competition, but also had lots of fun working together. We were in last place last year so all the hard work definitely paid off. I am very proud of Team Sugarloaf. Go Sharks."

    (Photo courtesy of Hank Kokenzie)

    Monroe County School District Releases 3rd Grade Reading Scores

    The Florida Department of Education released the 3rd Grade FCAT Reading scores and Biology and Geometry End of Course exam scores. Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson stated, "Today's results help us determine how and where we should focus our resources so students who are struggling with reading get the extra help they need to succeed. Whether we're preparing a child for college, career training or the workplace, they must have the fundamentals of reading to be successful."

    Monroe County School District 3rd Grade Reading and Math results show higher achievement levels in 3rd grade reading as compared to the state.  Forty-three percent of the MCSD Biology students scored in the top third as compared to 35% statewide.  Forty-two percent of the MCSD Geometry students scored in the top third as compared to 34% statewide.

    "In a year of assessment transition, we continue to recognize the students and teachers who have worked tirelessly throughout this year to increase achievement in reading and math.  The high student performance in the top third of the state End of Course exams is representative of the outstanding commitment to shifting state requirements," stated Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara.

    Click here to read the MCSD Press Release

    Climate Surveys

    The District wants your input!  Surveys have been activated and are ready for participation by students, parents, faculty and staff.

    PARENTS:  If you have two or more children in the same school, you may either submit one survey for each child in that school or you may submit just one survey for that school.

    Students, faculty/staff, and parents/guardians are encouraged to complete the on-line survey by May 29, 2012. Results of this survey will help in planning for next year.  Thank you.
    Parent Survey Student Survey Faculty and Staff Survey

    Spelling Success!

    Anise has only been using her iPad for several months and is already doing some amazing things. Anise loves to spell and recently participated in the Glynn Archer school wide spelling bee using her iPad.  After practicing at home and at school, it was an incredible moment when Anise won the 4th grade spelling bee.  Her iPad also allows her to answer questions posed to her during the reading block and has provided her with an exciting way to participate during class discussions.

    Pictured:  Anise M., winner of Glynn Archer 4th Grade Spelling Bee, with her teacher Regan Godsell  (Photo courtesy of Marty Jacquette)

    21st Century Community Learning Centers

    Each weekday afternoon in America as the ringing of the school bell signifies the end of the school day, over a million school-age children continue to learn by afterschool participation in academic enrichment programs and other youth development and support activities designed to enhance their academic well-being. These activities and services are being offered by 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. The Monroe County School District would like to inform the parents and the community that MCSD is again applying for the 21st CCLC grant for the years 2012-2017.

    Monroe County 2012 FCAT Writing Results Reflect Transition to Higher Standards

    Two days after an emergency State Department of Education meeting to discuss the FCAT Writing scores, Commissioner Gerard Robinson officially released the state’s FCAT Writing results late Thursday evening.
    "Florida's higher standards help ensure students are learning what they are expected to know so that they are prepared for college, career, and life. As Florida transitions to higher standards and higher expectations, we can expect our assessment results to reflect those changes," stated Commissioner Gerard Robinson.
    The Monroe County School District students scored one percent below the state average at the assessed grades 4, 8, and 10 for writing. In addition, the average district writing score was consistent with the state average score.

    KLS Safety Patrol Visits Washington, D.C.
    The Key Largo School Safety Patrol recently visited Washington, D.C..  Thanks to everyone who supported their fundraising efforts to make this trip possible!

    Key West High School Chorus Superior Rating
    For the second consecutive year, the Key West High School Chorus earned the highest possible rating for their performance at the State Music Performance assessment. Their SUPERIOR rating is a reflection of the great things our students and teachers accomplish at the high school. The program is considered one of the elite music ensembles in the state, and represents the highest performance standards possible.

    Thank You, Silverliners!
    The Monroe County School District ESE Department and Assistive Technology is thrilled to have received an iPad, cases, and iTunes cards from the Silverliners group in Key West. This donation will allow students who do not have a voice the ability to communicate.  Through use of the iPad and a special communication program called Prologue2go, nonverbal student have had a whole new world opened up to them.

    The Silverliners have been partners with the Monroe County School District for over 20 years. They have been instrumental in orchestrating the annual Flight to the North Pole for our Preschoolers from Big Pine to Key West. Thank you to the Silverliners for their continued dedication and generosity!

    (Photo submitted by Catherine Kanagy)

    Stanley Switlik School to Host Governor's Office Cabinet Meeting

    The Governor's office has released the location of the May 8th Cabinet Meeting. The meeting will be held at Stanley Switlik Elementary School in Marathon.  Dr. Salinero and the faculty at Stanley Switlik are thrilled to have this honor; “We are doing everything we can to make this a great day for the Monroe County School District and the Governor. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with The Governor's office.”   This will be the first time that a Florida Governor has held a Cabinet Meeting at a Monroe County School. “We are very excited to welcome Governor Scott and his cabinet to Stanley Switlik!  We have planned several classroom visits and student speakers to participate in the Cabinet Meeting.”  The Governor’s meeting begins at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 in the Ruth Alice Campbell Cafeteria at Stanley Switlik School and will conclude by 11:00 AM.  Parents and community members are welcome to attend this historic event.
    Dr. Jesus Jara, Superintendent of Monroe County Schools said, “It is a great honor to welcome the Governor to our A school district and to Stanley Switlik School in particular, and we hope he will enjoy his visit.”

    Key Largo School Readers Vote
    Key Largo School students celebrated another year of great success as participants in the Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Celebration.  Students in grades 3 through 8 worked hard all year to read the books on the state selected list and to have the opportunity to vote on their favorite.  Fifty-one fifth graders joined over 100 students in the voting process, with 100% of Mrs. Anne Dunn’s fifth grade class participating.  The Office of the Supervisor of Elections was gracious enough to volunteer their time to help at KLS and give the students a true voting experience, with real voting booths, real ballots and giving them the opportunity to submit their own ballots to be counted. 

    (Photo courtesy of Elena Delgado)

    State Champs!!
    The Key West High School Academic Challenge team, representing Monroe County, came in first place at the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge Tournament in Orlando April 21, 2012. The state championship team, composed of senior Dylan Higbie, senior Gwen Pearson, senior Justin Poon, senior Jason Correa, junior Kelly Rosch, and sophomore Sherman Kaplitz, is coached by teacher Kerri McLean. In addition to a team trophy, each team member receives a gold medal, championship ring, and $500 scholarship from the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge.

    This is the first championship win for any Monroe County Academic team. For the past five years, the KWHS team has been a state finalist, coming in second place last year.  Dylan Higbie, competing in the state finals all four years, earned a spot on Team Florida. One of only six students receiving such statewide recognition, he receives an additional $1,000 scholarship.

    “None of this would’ve been possible without the incredible outpouring of support from this generous community. What a better way to say thank you than winning the state championship for those who supported and believed in our students. It has been a humbling and awe-inspiring experience,” said Coach McLean.

    Twenty-two Monroe Students to Study Abroad This Summer
    It is not too late to join the twenty-two students from Monroe County High Schools to become Ambassadors from the Florida Keys to the Experiment in International Living (EIL) cross- cultural experience. These adventurous students will visit 15 different countries this July and August.  

    “There are still openings for this summer in the groups being formed going to 29 different countries around the world,” Chris Frantz, Deputy Director of EIL, announced today from the EIL headquarters in Vermont. “Interested students should call 1-800-345-2929, or go to: www.experimentinternational.org

    Click here to view the press release for more information about the program.

    PKS Glee Club
    The Plantation Key School (PKS) Glee Club has recently received a generous grant of $350 from the Keys Children's Foundation in Ocean Reef.  The funds will be used by the Glee Club to purchase music, equipment, and uniforms for the 40 boys and girls in this year’s group. The PKS Glee Club practices after school and presents music programs for the school and community. This past year they have performed for the Voices for Florida’s Children fundraiser luncheon at Hawk’s Cay, a 9/11 Memorial Service, a Veteran’s Day Celebration and a concert at Founder’s Park with the Upper Keys Community Band.  The group will present their spring program on Tuesday, May 8, in the Plantation Key School cafeteria.  Admission is free and the public is invited.

    (Photo courtesy of Teresa Regelmann)

    GRA Dancing Classrooms
    Glynn Archer School’s 5th grade students completed their Dancing Classrooms residency with a culminating event on Friday, April 13, 2012.  Dancing Classrooms is made possible by the Educational Coalition for Monroe County in collaboration with Monroe County School District, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and the American Ballroom Theatre.  This residency was also sponsored by Key West Sunrise Rotary. The students of Montessori Elementary Charter School will hold their culminating event on Monday, April 30.  The Colors of the Rainbow Countywide Team Match will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at 3:00 pm at Marathon High School.  For more information about Dancing Classrooms or any of these events call 305-743-6215 or visit www.educationalcoalitionmc.org
    Pictured: Glynn Archer 5th grade students Lamont W. and Teqila W. participate in the culminating event.  (Photo courtesy of Christina Belotti)

    From Eggs to Chicks at KLS

    Students in Mrs. Bernal's class at Key Largo School had the opportunity to study the development and hatching of chicks by following their incubation period for 21 days.  Pictured are students with the hatched chicks. (Photo courtesy of Darren Pais)

    Sigsbee Charter School Hosts a Community for the Birds

    Sigsbee Charter School is the proud temporary home of the Least Tern, a threatened species that winters in Central and South America and returns every spring to a nesting ground, above the Sigsbee Media Center. It is estimated that there are less than 10,000 least terns that come to nest in Florida each year.

    Sigsbee Charter School happens to have one of the few gravel roofs in Key West coveted by the Least Terns. Preferably, Least Terns nest on sandy beaches but now more than 80% nest on roofs due to a loss of habitat. Sigsbee is able to retain an annual population of least terns by providing a safe rooftop environment on which the least terns are able to nest.

    Recently, with the help of the Key West Wildlife Center, Sigsbee Charter School staff, Pedro Falcon Electrical Contractors, and JIATF South, a permanent fence was installed on the roof to prevent chicks from tumbling off the roof. The MCSD IT Department worked with Sigsbee Charter School to borrow and install a webcam on the roof so that students and community members could monitor the nesting period (Click here to view). This community effort for the birds was completed before the birds arrived, ensuring that their nesting habitat would not be disrupted.

    For additional information about the Least Tern, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission website.

    Tibetan Monks Visit Coral Shores High School

    On March 26th through 30th, Tibetan Monks visited Coral Shores HS and created a sand Mandala in the media center.  The monks also helped the Geometry classes create giant chalk mandalas in the courtyard of the school.  In addition, to be prepared for the monks' visit, the art classes made their own personal mandalas that decorated the media center.  Language Arts teachers had students create sun shadow mandalas for characters in the literature they were studying. The visit culminated on Friday, March 30th when Social Studies classes came through the media center to walk through a timeline of modern Tibetan history, observe the monks creating the sand Mandala, and then participated in small group discussions with Geshe Sindu, the senior monk from the Drepung Gomang monastery’s North American tour group.  (Photo courtesy of Nancy Truesdale)

    Monroe County School District Announces the 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year

    Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara is pleased to announce the Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year, Ms. Holli Roberts. Ms. Roberts is a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Glynn Archer Elementary School who has worked in the school district for over 20 years. She started her career as a paraprofessional during which time she earned her teaching credentials and became a classroom teacher where she has distinguished herself as an innovative instructor and educational leader.

    Dr. Jara states, “Ms. Roberts stands out as one of our best!  Her classroom is full of energy and love for her children. Holli is an exceptional educator who is committed to meet the needs of ALL of her students. While tutoring students before and after school, she clearly communicates that her priority and love are her children. I am very proud of her outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence. We look forward to Ms. Roberts representing Monroe County in the state competition.”

    Click here for press release
    Students from Key Largo Middle School participated in the worldwide BGCI Olympic Wreath Program.  The program required students to study South Florida's native plant population and implement three or more plants into a Olympic-style wreath. Along with the wreath, competitors were required to write a 500 word essay explaining each plant. Program developers hope it will help raise awareness among young people about the threats facing biodiversity. Pictured are students from the top 5 entries along with Rick Hederstrom of Kona Kai Botanic Gardens and three participating KLS teachers, Bobbi Burson, Sandra Prew and Elena Delgado. The first place wreath/essay from the Kona Kai judging was done by Bridget Welsh and Emily O'Connor. A picture of the wreath can be seen in the background. The Top 5 KLS team entries have been sent to London for international judging. Additional information is available online at:  

    (Photo courtesy of Bobbi Burson)

    KLS Middle School Students Make Native Plant Wreaths

    Marathon Middle School NJHS Food Drive
    The Marathon Middle School National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) recently held a peanut butter, jelly, and cereal drive.  These items were in need to replenish the Keys Area Interdenominational Resources (KAIR) food pantry.  All items collected will be donated to KAIR.  This is just one of the service projects that the NJHS has participated in this year. 

    Pictured: Christina Belotti (NJHS sponsor) and the NJHS members with some of the collected items. (Photo courtesy of Christina Belotti)

    American Legion Post 28 Donates Flag to Sugarloaf School
    Sugarloaf School Principal Harry Russell would like to thank Commander Tom Frost of American Legion Post 28 in Key West, Florida, for donating a new flag to Sugarloaf School. Principal Russell stated, “It is always an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to work closely with our local Veterans. Receiving this flag from the American Legion really adds a special sense of pride as it flies daily over our school.” Commander Tom Frost said, “We are always willing to help support the schools and our community.” 
    (Pictured:  Assistant Principal Linda Diaz, Principal Harry Russell and Commander Tom Frost)
    Click here for press release

    MKMA Donates to CSHS and MHS
    On February 23, 2012, the Middle Keys Marine Association (MKMA) presented Chris Catlett and Glenn Naklicki each with a check for $500.  Mr. Catlett and Mr. Naklicki teach Marine Service Technology classes at Coral Shores High School and Marathon High School (respectively).  The donated funds will be used in their classrooms to help defray some of the costs of their programs (parts, books, and manuals).  The Marine Service Technology classes are essential to the Florida Keys marine industry, as they prepare high school students for work in the marine trades.  The Middle Keys Marine Association is comprised of members involved in the marine industry.  It is their mission to support all marine associations, trades, and marine education.

    Pictured:  Eric Myrmel (MKMA Vice President), Tom Cooke (MKMA Director), Chris Catlett (CSHS teacher).  Photo courtesy of Paula Foley.

    PKS Jumps for Heart
    Plantation Key School students in kindergarten through fourth grade recently participated in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope For Heart during their physical education classes. Jump Rope For Heart is a national fundraising program that promotes physical activity, heart-healthy living, and community service to children. PKS raised over $2,056.92 during the event.  Pictured are the top four fundraisers: Ali (3rd grade), Seth (4th grade), Ms. Rembisz (Physical Education Teacher), RJ (4th grade), and Zachary (Kindergarten). Everybody had a great time jumping to the music and getting heart-healthy too! (Photo courtesy of Terri Regelmann)

    Mock Trial District Competition
    Mock trial students from Marathon High School and Coral Shores recently competed in a district competition at Plantation Key Court House, with Judge Reagan Ptomey presiding. This is the first year that a school other than CSHS has competed in this competition.  CSHS’s team emerged victorious and will advance to the state finals March 8-10th in Orlando. Mock trial sponsor for CSHS is Mary Jo Fry and Marathon sponsor is Elizabeth Bayerl. CSHS team members (standing left-right): Jennifer Pincus, John  Humelsine, Melissa Mirto, Attorney Coach Carla Matinata, Monica Camacho, Breeana Prince, Azizur Aziz, David Tetour, Joe Wear.

    Volunteer attorneys served as team coaches for each school and as the scorers for the competition. Patrick Stevens served as Marathon High School’s coach and Carla Matinata served as the coach for Coral Shores High School. Attorneys serving as scoring judges were: Matthew Matteliano, Vincent Tubiana, Dereck Wischmeyer.

    PKS Goes All Out for Student A+ Celebration

    Plantation Key School (PKS) celebrated PRIDE Week February 6-10.  There were all kinds of kindness-spreading activities throughout the week at PKS, but the A+ Student Celebration sponsored by the PKS SAC and PKS PTA was the biggest hit.  K-5 students celebrated on Thursday and Middle School students celebrated on Friday.  PKS Cheerleaders, PKS Band, PKS GLEE Club, and all PKS sports teams and school clubs were recognized or performed.  PKS wants everyone to know that they are very proud of their students' achievements!

    KWHS Team Wins District Academic Challenge
    The Monroe County School District Academic Challenge Championship of the Islands was held today at Marathon High School.   Key West High School won first place in the annual competition which pits teams together from the county’s three public high schools.  Marathon High School came in second place with Coral Shores placing third.  The winner will now represent Monroe County in the State Commissioner’s Academic Challenge Competition in Orlando on April 19-21st.  Congratulations to the three teams who competed for several hours today with intense competition!   (Photos courtesy of Christina McPherson)

    Poetry Out Loud at Coral Shores HS
    On Wednesday January 25, 2012, twenty-two students from Coral Shores High School competed for the chance to attend a state-wide Poetry Out Loud competition in Tallahassee, with the possibility of attending the national competition in Washington, D.C.. The competition was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the Coral Shores High School English Department and Media Center.

    Certificates of Excellence were presented to Emily Christian, Nyan Feder and David Tetour (pictured, photo courtesy of Paula Foley).  Nyan won first place and will compete in the state championship.  The Poetry Out Loud final championship includes a cash reward of over $20,000 in addition to $20,000 in scholarship money.

    Florida School Districts Ranked by Student Achievement

    Parents and taxpayers now have a new way to view the performance of school districts in Florida.  The Florida Department of Education has released a numerical ranking of the state's 67 school districts, one of the first such in the country.

    Monroe County School District was ranked 8th out of Florida's 67 districts.  "School grades represent the culmination of an entire year's academic progress, and we congratulate the entire district's efforts to reflect Constant Improvement.  I applaud the dedication and hard work of our students and staff for their commitment to improve academic performance as we look forward to building on our successful results," said Superintendent Jesus Jara.

    Click here for press release.
    Monroe County School District 2010-2011 High School Grades Released

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2010-2011 high school grades as reported by the Florida Department of Education. For the sixth year in a row, the Monroe County School District has again been recognized as an “A” rated school district.

    The district recognizes an outstanding accomplishment and congratulates Marathon High School achieving the highest recognition as an “A” rated school. Marathon High School attained the highest number of points in the district with 1,163 points, specifically achieving increase in the at risk graduation rate, acceleration participation, and reading readiness components. In addition, both Coral Shores High School and Key West High School obtained a “B” rating for the 2010-2011 school year.

    Click here for press release.
    Vote Yields Positive Result for Monroe County

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the passing of the Half Mill Referendum vote. The referendum passed on Tuesday with 75% percent support throughout the Florida Keys. The Monroe County voters provided incredible support for the school district and the 8,415 students who attend our schools. 

    Click here to read the press release.

    Sugarloaf School Partners with Centennial Bank with Card-Based Points Program

    Sugarloaf School recently celebrated the next phase in its journey to be a model PBS (Positive Behavior Support) school. With the help of Centennial Bank, Sugarloaf’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade students and teachers began migrating the paper ticket reward program to an electronically enabled card-based reward and redemption program.   SLS Principal Harry Russell states, “The PBS program began to get a little stale with our middle school students and this idea presented by teacher Tracy McDonald really gave the program a much needed shot in the arm. This brings our PBS program in the 21st century and very much into the electronic age. Like I told the kids, ‘You all are making history with this program, nobody else in the country is doing what we’re doing!'”

    For more information about the rewards program, click here.

    Congratulations to Ernie Bernal!

    The Monroe County School District congratulates Key Largo School Senior Volunteer Mr. Ernie Bernal for his selection as the State winner for Region V. Mr. Bernal will be recognized at an upcoming school board meeting.  Each year, the district selects Outstanding School Volunteers who have shown outstanding dedication and commitment to quality education in our schools. Volunteers are selected based on the number of hours of service, years of service, unusual type of contribution, and/or characteristic of services rendered. 

    Dancing Classrooms at Big Pine Academy

    Big Pine Academy middle school students completed their Dancing Classrooms residency with a culminating event on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.  Teaching artists for this site were Nina Locardi and Sondra Esquinaldo.  Dancing Classrooms is made possible by the Educational Coalition for Monroe County (ECMC) in collaboration with Monroe County School District, and the American Ballroom Theatre.  Glynn Archer, the Montessori Elementary Charter School, and Marathon Middle School will begin their residencies this month.
    Pictured: Big Pine Academy students with one of their teaching artists, Sondra Esquinaldo do the Heel Toe Polka during their culminating event. Photo by: Theresa Raven, ECMC Treasurer

    Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union Donates $3,000 to Sponsor 12 Teacher Classrooms

    Sugarloaf School Teacher Charity King and her kindergarten class were one of twelve Monroe County teachers awarded a $250 Sponsor A Classroom check by the Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union (MCTFCU) as part of an initiative to help the teachers buy much-needed supplies during these tough economic times. CEO Jerry Bolduc received numerous requests to a credit union initiative started last month and convinced the credit union’s Board to expand the program from 4 to 12 awards to help the struggling teachers meet their student needs. We’re all about people helping people, and as the requests started coming in it was clear that the need is there. “We just want to help in any way we can,” stated Bolduc. 

    MCTFCU is celebrating its 60th anniversary of serving the educational community of the Florida Keys. Chartered on December 20, 1950, the Credit Union is a full service financial institution serving over 1400 members. Membership is open to all employees, students and retirees of the Monroe County School District and the Florida Keys Community College and their and immediate family members as well as members of the credit union’s Stand Up For Education Association. For more information visit their website at http://www.monroecountyteachersfcu.org.

    PKS Trip to LEGOLAND®

    Plantation Key School's ALPHA and IE program recently went on a great adventure to LEGOLAND® in Winter Haven.  Accompanied by parents and teachers Barbara Mesa and Tisa Lall, the students in grades K-6 were dazzled with the park and attractions, all made of Legos. The students were also able to program Mind Storm robots and build roller coasters in the Educational Center utilizing levers, pulleys and gears. The classes have been studying the use of the Lego brick in education as well as entering a nationwide competition. Their entry is available on the YouTube website under "Plantation Key School Alpha, Oil vs. the Coral Reef."

    KLS "Takes Over" Local Restaurant

    Key Largo School recently partnered with local restaurant D-Hooker for a School "Take-Over" night. Fifteen percent of all orders between 5:00 and 9:00 PM, excluding alcoholic beverages and happy hour food items, was donated to the school's playground fund. Pictured is D-Hooker Restaurant owner Betsy Duran presenting close to $300.00 to KLS Principal Julia Hoar and Assistant Principal Laura Lietaert, the proceeds from the first "Take Over" night on October 27th. KLS would like to say, "Thank you to everyone at the restaurant for a great evening." There will be a second event on November 16, 2011 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. Flyers for the event will be sent home with students and can be picked up at the KLS front desk on November 15th and 16th by anyone in the community wishing to help the cause.

    DoDEA Educational Partnership Awards $540,000 Grant to Sigsbee Charter School

    The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership awarded a $540,000 grant to Monroe County Public School's Sigsbee Charter School through the FY 11 Grant Program.  The School District serves students whose parents are assigned to Naval Air Station Key West.

    Click here for the Department of Defense press release.

    Monroe County School District Announces Sunshine State Scholar Winners

    Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jesus Jara, has announced that Michael Vaughan from Coral Shores High School will represent the Monroe County School District at the Sunshine State Scholars Program in February 2012.  Each year every high school nominates a junior who is distinguished in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to be their representative for the District Sunshine State Scholar. This year's MCSD nominees were Erin Czerwinski from Key West High School, Taylor Konrath from Marathon High School, and Michael Vaughan from Coral Shores High School.  

    Marathon Speaker Talks about the Power of Giving

    Kevin Smith, retired executive and one of the first five African Americans to play football at FSU, recently spoke to Marathon High seniors and 6th grade AVID students about the importance of nurturing others. His message centered on the benefits--for all involved--of understanding, encouraging, and helping others. “My dad would like you,” 6th grade student Jonathon Leon told Smith after the presentation. “He has always told me to nurture people because good things come back to you.” Smith was the third in the MHS/MMS Media Center 2011-12 Speaker Series. For more information, contact Dr. Kathy Lancaster, 305-289-2480 x55364.

    Updated News from the PKS Career Expo
    On Oct. 24th, Plantation Key School was in full swing at the PKS Middle School Career Expo. PKS was proud to partner up with an array of local businesses which proved to be a big success. This Career Expo gave the PKS students opportunity to explore many career choices. Above is a picture of the men and women who volunteered their time for the good of our students. Thank you to the Islamorada community members for sharing about your career and caring about our students' future.

    Coast Guard Visits Switlik Elementary

    Dr. Lesley Salinero, principal at Stanley Switlik Elementary School, recently welcomed members from Coast Guard Station Marathon to Switlik School as part of a new volunteer partnership program.  Pictured with Dr. Salinero are the Coast Guard volunteers with some of the third grade students they will work with this year and teacher Michelle Hillyer.

    Kristina Gerbracht attends Florida Youth Leadership Forum in Tallahassee

    Kristina Gerbracht was one of 50 high school juniors and seniors from across the state who attended the 2011 Florida Youth Leadership Forum sponsored by the Able Trust. For four days, forum delegates learned the importance of education, advocacy, and leadership skills that will help prepare them for life beyond high school. Kristina recently shared her Leadership Forum experience through a PowerPoint presentation at the October Conch Connect Interagency Council. Kristina is a senior at Key West High School.

    Plantation Key School Kicks Off Middle School Career EXPO
    On Thursday, October 20, an Air Interdiction Agent and Marine Interdiction Agent from the US Customs and Border Protection services were the first to kick off the PKS Middle School Career Expo.  Students and staff were entertained by their fly in and their presentation held on the field at PKS.  These professionals shared encouraging thoughts about how, why, and what they should consider as they progress with their education about picking out a lifelong career.  On Monday, October 24, the full impact of the PKS Career Expo will take place with professionals from areas such as Medical, Law Enforcement, Arts & Hospitality, Banking, Legal, Nature, and FKEC Careers.  PKS and the community are showing the middle school students a taste of what professional occupations lie ahead for their future.

    Clearman Wins Award
    Congratulations to Key West High School teacher Josh Clearman, who was named the 2011 International Renewable Energy Innovator of the Year. He has been recognized by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) for his achievements in national and international prominence in promoting the practices and principles of energy, engineering and energy management. Clearman teaches Physics and Bio Diesel classes at Key West High School and has been instrumental in many innovative initiatives at the school including newly installed solar panels that will provide energy during a storm.   He and his wife, Lisa, traveled to Chicago recently for the awards ceremony.  Mrs. Clearman, a talented Social Studies teacher at KWHS, was recently a presenter at 54th Annual Conference of the Florida Council for the Social Studies.

    Sharing the Dream Grant

    Dr. Lesley Salinero, Principal of Stanley Switlik Elementary School, has received news that her school has been selected as one of the top 25 applicants, nation-wide, for the Sharing the Dream grant through the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).  Dr. Salinero wrote the grant application last August and was recently contacted personally by the program director, who was impressed with the application's “creativity and passion for the school & community that the writing showed."  
    With thousands of applications, it is a very big honor for Switlik Elementary and the Monroe County School District to be selected.  With the acquisition of grant funding more competitive than ever, Dr. Salinero is thrilled to be able to better provide for her school and community through this resource.
    Switlik Elementary and the Monroe County School District will be recognized nationally on both the Met Life website and on the National Association of Elementary School Principals website. For more information about the Sharing the Dream grant, go to http://www.naesp.org/naesp-foundation/sharing-dream-grant-program.

    Marathon Media Center Speaker Series

    Guidance Care Center discharge planner Cindy McKnight recently spoke with Marathon Middle School 7th graders about strategies for a successful life as part of the students' personal memoirs project. McKnight, a native of Marathon, was valedictorian at the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind and graduated from Gardner Webb University with a BS in Psychology. Her presentation was sponsored by the 2011-2012 Marathon Media Center Speaker Series. For more information contact Dr. Kathy Lancaster, 305-289-2480 x55364.

    TSIC College Visits
    Take Stock in Children’s 9th – 12th grade scholars had two great college experiences while visiting Miami-Dade College and Florida International University. 
    Representing the 200 Monroe County students in the Take Stock In Children program, these scholars have been sharing with their mentors and peers about their college visits, dreams and expectations as high school students. Take Stock is proud of the 356 high school graduates already in college or have graduated, paving the way for current TSIC scholars in middle and high schools throughout the Keys.

    Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President of MDCC and Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, President  of FIU and their staff, rolled out the red carpet and welcomed our students and Take Stock staff with open arms during their visits. The students were provided with a wealth of information on curriculum, why they should consider either of the these schools among their selected choices of colleges, a tour of the campuses, and more.

    Pictured – Top: TSIC 9th-10th grade scholars at Miami-Dade College 
    Bottom: Dr. Mark Rosenberg, President of FIU talking with TSIC 10th-12th grade scholars about the key to success.
    Photos courtesy of Katrina Wiatt and Jeremy Wilkerson.

    Leadership, Excellence, Accelerating Potential (LEAP)

    Mercedes Cosby has been selected as LEAP Spokesperson in Monroe County. LEAP stands for Leadership, Excellence, Accelerating Potential.   LEAP helps high school students, college students, and recent graduates, get a LEAP on success. The organization hosts an annual week long leadership program at UCLA where the curriculum is based upon the experience of those who themselves have accomplished a great success. 

    Click here to read the press release and for additional information on LEAP.

    Pictured -  Front:  Mercedes Cosby (Take Stock 10th grade scholar at Key West High School & LEAP Spokesperson)    Back: Jeremy Wilkerson, Dr. Jesus Jara, and John Padget.  Photo courtesy of Dresdin Edwards.

    Pathways to Success

    The Florida Department of Education has published the brochure Pathways to Success:  College and Career Readiness, a Middle and High School planning guide for students and parents.  The 2+2 Pathways to Success program is a joint program that provides opportunities for students to pursue and complete their baccalaureate degrees at their local Florida College without having to relocate closer to their State University System institution.

    Click here to view the Pathways to Success:  College and Career Readiness brochure.

    Solar Panels at KWHS
    A 10kW solar array has been installed behind Key West High in the “back yard”. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Monday, August 22nd at 3:00 p.m. Dignitaries from Tallahassee and the U.S. Department of Energy will attend, and the public is welcome to join the celebration.

    The solar array, including installation, was paid for by ARRA stimulus money.

    Poinciana Principal Announcement

    Interim Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara is pleased to announce the last administrative appointment within the district. Mr. Steve Vinson will be the new principal of Poinciana Elementary School. Mr. Vinson has served as Poinciana’s Elementary assistant principal for the past seven years and has been a valuable team member of the Poinciana family. Mr. Vinson was the number one choice of the interview committee.

    Mr. Vinson graduated from the University of South Florida where he earned his BA in Geography. He also holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Florida State University. Mr. Vinson has been with Monroe County Public Schools since 1996 and has served in many roles from teacher, activities director and assistant principal. The vacated assistant principal position at Poinciana Elementary will not be filled.

    MCSD Administrative Appointments

    Interim Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara is pleased to announce several administrative appointments within the district. Ms. Amber Archer Bosco (pictured, left) will become the principal at Key West High School. Ms. Bosco has served as Poinciana’s Elementary principal for the past seven years and was just recently named the 2011 Principal of the Year by her peers. Under her leadership, Poinciana has consistently made a School Grade of A and achieved SACS Accreditation. Ms. Bosco was the number one choice of the interview committee. Joining her at Key West High School will be Assistant Principal Mr. Dave Perkins who returns to the position after one year as the Assistant Principal at Sugarloaf School.

    Ms. Linda Diaz will replace Mr. Perkins at Sugarloaf. Ms. Diaz will bring her knowledge and district level experience to school based leadership capacity. Dr. Jara is closing the position Diaz previously held at the district office in charge of Title 1 and Professional Development and redistributing those duties among current staff.
    Dr. Lesley Salinero will take the reins at Stanley Switlik Elementary, serving as the Principal and overseeing the district’s ESE Services. Dr. Salinero returns to the Marathon community bringing leadership and experience to her new position. Dr. Jara is confident that Dr. Salinero will bring stability to the Stanley Switlik family.

    MCSD Announces Executive Director of Operations and Coral Shores HS Principal

    Dr. Jesus Jara, Interim Superintendent for Monroe County Schools is pleased to announce
    Mrs. Theresa Axford (pictured, left) as the new Executive Director for Operations and Mr. Dave Murphy as Coral Shores High School Principal.

    Click here to view the district's press release.