• News Stories from 2012-2013 School Year


    Dion's and ExxonMobil Give Grants to Local Schools

    The ExxonMobil Education Alliance program is designed to provide ExxonMobil retailers such as Dion Oil Company with an opportunity to invest in the future of their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools.  The Exxon Mobil Educational Alliance Programs, and for the 8th year, Gilda Niles of Dion Oil Company, have once again worked together to award schools with $4,500 in grants, which include schools both from Monroe and Dade County.  Schools in Monroe County include Key West High School, Horace O’Bryant Middle School, Poinciana Elementary, Gerald Adams Elementary, and Plantation Key School.
    Pictured, left photo:  School Principals Mike Henriquez, Amber Archer Bosco and Steve Vinson with Dion Oil representatives Gilda Niles and Suzy Dion Banks.  Right photo:  School Principals Vanessa Strickland and Fran Herrin with Gilda Niles.  Photos courtesy of Gilda Niles.

    Coral Shores Students Participate in Mock Trial

    Coral Shores students recently participated in the 23rd Annual Florida High School Mock Trial Competition in Orlando.  Teams were represented from sixteen judicial circuits.  Team members pictured are:  (bottom row left to right) Jill Preihs, Ileana Garcia, Monica Camacho, Melissa Mirto, (top left to right) Jake Beaty, Azizur Aziz, Sean O’Neill, and Kyle Sol. The team is coached by Jonathan Raiche from the State Attorney’s office and teacher Mary Jo Fry.

    Photo courtesy of Mary Jo Fry

    KLS Student Learn About Government

    Back in the District this past week, State Representative Holly Raschein took time out of her busy schedule to guest teach a civics lesson to 5th graders at Key Largo School.  Students learned about the three branches of government and how a bill becomes a law.  They asked great questions and even proposed an idea for a new law of their own - a state holiday called “Kids Day.”

    (Photo courtesy of Julia Hoar)

    KWHS Students Celebrate Black History Month

    In recognition of Black History Month, Key West High School students in Mr. Murray’s AP Literature class read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, about the Nigerian Igbo clan and the influence of British colonialism in 1890.  The class celebrated the Feast of the New Yams, with guests from Ms. McLean’s Contemporary Literature class.

    (Photos courtesy of Cameron Murray)

    STEM Grant Awarded to Sugarloaf School

    Sugarloaf School has been awarded a $10,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) grant, along with their business partner match, which will allow the school to receive $20,000 of robotics and hydraulics along with STEM professional development for teachers. Sugarloaf is the third school in Florida to become a Youth Touch referral site. SLS Principal Harry Russell states, “It is very exciting for Sugarloaf School to have been awarded this grant to help build and develop a state of the art STEM program for our students.”

    For additional information regarding the grant award, click here.

    ADK Supports Marathon Schools

    The Delta Mu chapter (Marathon FL) of Alpha Delta Kappa (ADK), an international honorary organization for women educators, meets monthly to carry out altruistic projects to benefit the community and raise money for high school scholarships. This coming April, Delta Mu chapter will be celebrating their 30th anniversary. This month's project was collecting 'gently used books' for community outreach programs in Marathon. Pictured are ADK members affiliated with Switlik School and Marathon HS: Rita Cadwell, Barbara Wright, Marcie Ehrig, Robin Lynne, Riet Steinmetz, Arlene Keeney, and Sandi Bisceglia. 

    (Photo courtesy of Tami Wile)

    KWHS Students Win District Academic Challenge

    The Monroe County School 2013 District Academic Challenge Championship of the Islands was recently held 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.  Coral Shores HS came in second place with Marathon HS placing third.  The winner will now represent Monroe County in the State Commissioner’s Academic Challenge Competition in Orlando on April 18-20.  Congratulations to the three teams who competed for several hours today with intense competition!  

    Pictured:  KWHS students Kelly Rosch, Sherman Kaplitz, Trevor Helms, Lazaro Venta, Kiyoshi Casey, Kayley DeVoe with their coach, Ms. Elizabeth Ford, and MCSD Director of Teaching and Learning, Mrs. Theresa Axford.

    Poetry Out Loud at Coral Shores HS
    On Wednesday January 30, 2013, Coral Shores High School students took part in the fifth annual Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. The English teachers at Coral Shores (Mr. Ellsworth, Ms. Robin Fry, Ms. Dobson, Ms. Dickens, and Ms. Truesdale), along with the Media Center teacher, Ms. Foley, presented this recitation. Over 30 students competed for the chance to attend the National Poetry Competition in Tallahassee, Florida.  

    This competition is sponsored by the National Endowments of the Arts.   The top three students were Chelsea Penne, Kyle Estrada-Clark and Emily Christian.  Chelsea Penne will be attending an all expense paid trip to Tallahassee.
    The school competition has two rounds. Those students performing well will have the opportunity to recite a second poem. Judges determined the winners based on criteria including voice, articulation and dramatic appropriateness. Local community members who volunteered to help again this year included: Patty Murphy, Rob Stober, Lois Stormont and Sharon Wampler.

    Breakthrough Coach

    The Schools are buzzing with interest regarding the Breakthrough Coach Training that was recently held for Principals and Office Managers.  The intent of the training was to provide Principals and Office Managers with time/space management strategies to free principals from extensive office hours and enable them to spend time in the building in classrooms at least two days a week.  The premise of the program is that the real work of the school occurs in the classroom, not in the office.  Based on this idea, the program focused on the importance of the principal as an instructional coach for classroom teachers.  It also looked at other positive aspects of the principals' presence in  classrooms two days a week, such as increased student achievement, availability to staff and a reduction of discipline referrals.  The Breakthrough Coach Model is supported by the Florida Department of Education and recommended by the FLDOE to provide a documented successful method of increasing principals’ time in classrooms to facilitate the implementation of the new Teacher Evaluation System.  We look forward to seeing the impact of this program in our schools.  For more information and interesting stories about the way schools have been transformed by the training go to   www.the-breakthrough-coach.com.

    MCTFCU "Sponsor a Classroom" Awardees



    Special thanks to the Silver Liners and the Conch Flyer restaurant for helping to provide another successful North Pole Event for over 500 pre-kindergarten students in Monroe County. Students were dazzled by musicians, puppeteers, magicians, story-tellers, and many other local features to ring in the holiday spirit at the Key West Airport. Thank you to Mr. Porter and all of the schools for your support in this magical annual event.

    Pictured:  Left - students participating in the North Pole Event. 
    Right - Mr. and Mrs. Porter join in the fun!
    Photos courtesy of Kaylin Moser

    Plantation Key School Spreads Holiday Cheer!

    Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union (MCTFCU) has announced the names of twelve Monroe County teachers who were each awarded $250 in the credit union’s second annual “Sponsor A Classroom” initiative. The funds will help the teachers buy much-needed supplies and equipment to enhance their students’ learning experiences. MCTFCU CEO Jerry Bolduc received numerous requests, and the credit union’s Board selected the winners based on the merits and need. “We just want to help in any way we can,” stated Bolduc. MCTFCU is celebrating its 62nd anniversary of serving the educational community of the Florida Keys.
    The awardees are: Tami Dannacker and Kerri McLean at Key West HS, Mary Jo Fry at Coral Shores HS, Katrina Madok and Lisa Morris at Gerald Adams Elementary, Jalynn Frazier at Glynn Archer Elementary, Stephanie Manaher at HOB Middle School, Kimberly Albury at Poinciana Elementary, Wendy Houser at Stanley Switlik School, Janet Vazquez at Sugarloaf School, Cinda Bonanno at Key Largo School and Marion Dell, who provides Exceptional Student Education support services throughout the Keys. 

    Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Take the Lead and Read!

    The third graders in Mrs. Garr’s class  at Poinciana enjoyed a special reading guest during Celebrate Literacy Week - MCSD Superintendent of Schools Mark Porter.  As students and teachers celebrated Literacy Week, they were focused on the fact that LEADERS are READERS.  Following his "guest reading," Mr. Porter answered a variety of questions about being a leader of a large organization and what it takes to be a great leader.  The students all learned that there is a great amount of reading that keeps the superintendent up to date with everything in education. 

    MCSD Volunteers of the Year

    Superintendent Mark T. Porter is pleased to announce the Monroe County School District Volunteers of the Year. They are: in the Senior Category, Barbara Lytton from Sugarloaf School; in the Adult Category, Fleasher Hall from Key West High Schoo;l and in the Student Category, Chris Bujak from Key West High School.
    Barbara Lytton is a retired elementary teacher who has given over 1000 volunteer hours in the past year. Her work with teacher Kathleen Borden, who was recovering from a serious illness, supported the Kindergarten classroom and helped to insure that students learned to read.

    Our Adult Volunteer, Fleasher Hall has become the voice of Key West High School as she answers telephones and greets visitors to the school. She also attends school events, supports students in many ways, and is known for her efficiency in answering questions and procuring help for anyone in need.

    Lastly, Chris Bujak, our Student Volunteer through his service as a lifeguard at the FKCC Pool, has enabled numerous children to enjoy swimming throughout the Lower Keys. He still maintains his 4.3 GPA.

    Congratulations to all of our Volunteers. They will be recognized at the January 22nd School Board Meeting in Key West.

    2011-2012 High School Grades Released

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2011-2012 high school grades as reported by the Florida Department of Education. This year’s school grades are impacted by the transition to FCAT 2.0 and its more rigorous standards. 
    In Monroe County, two out of three high schools received a “B” rating and one received an “A.” Key West High School increased one letter grade and achieved an “A” distinction, while Coral Shores and Marathon High School were rated a “B.” The Monroe County School District continues to recognize the dedication and hard work of its students, educators, administrators, and staff.
    Additional information is available at the Florida Department of Education website at www.fldoe.org

    Click here to read the press release.

    GAE Students Visit LKMC

    Fifth Grade Challenge Program students from Gerald Adams Elementary School, along with their teacher, Ms. Madok, recently went on a field trip  to visit neighboring Lower Keys Medical Center (LKMC) . Mr. Randy Detrick at LKMC showed students new and upcoming medical technology that is used on site. They met medical specialists, were shown technology demonstrations, and learned about the new additions that would soon be available at the hospital. 

    Photo courtesy of Katrina Madok

    SLS Students Rewarded for Good Behavior

    Many Sugarloaf Elementary School students (K-5) participated in a variety of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) sponsored activities during the week of December 17th.  The events included making Christmas ornaments and holiday art projects, and watching a movie for the younger children. The older youth enjoyed a festive social which included listening to music, refreshments and holiday-themed competitions. 
    All participating students paid for the activities with  PBS tickets earned for being on time, following directions and exhibiting positive pro-social behavior through the month of December.

    Photos courtesy of Lori Smyth

    "The Night Before Christmas" at KWHS

    Key West High School teacher Christelle Orr’s classes, with students representing ten different nationalities and seven languages, participated in a puppet show with KWHS media specialist Mrs. Phyllis Pope. Students performed “The Night Before Christmas” using puppets and props. Prior to the performance, students read the book as part of their cultural immersion experience, and compared and contrasted traditions between their native countries and the United States.

    Photo courtesy of Christelle Orr

    Safer, Smarter Kids at Sugarloaf School
    Mrs. Rebecca Palamino, Sugarloaf School counselor, recently facilitated the Safer, Smarter Kids program at SLS.  Safer, Smarter Kids is an abuse prevention education program for kindergarteners.  The program was developed by Lauren’s Kids in consultation with child psychologist Tara Zuckerman, PsyD, and sent to every public kindergarten classroom and guidance office in Florida, thanks to the 2011 Florida Legislature.

    Sugarloaf Middle Schoolers See BULLY
    “This year, more than 13 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in US experience.”  With the help of DonorsChoose.org, The Bully Project: 1 Million Kids recently provided $2400 for Sugarloaf middle school students to be able to view the recently filmed documentary BULLY at Regal Cinemas in Key West.  Through the power of five stories presented in the film, “BULLY aims to be a catalyst for change and to turn the tides on an epidemic of violence that has touched every community in the Unites States – and far beyond.”  1 Million Kids is providing an opportunity for school communities to experience BULLY together in theaters, within an educational framework developed by Facing History and Ourselves.  Sugarloaf students showed their anti-bullying support by wearing red, yellow or black shirts, bracelets that read “One School, One Goal – Bully & Drug Free,” as well as signed a banner pledging not to bully or use drugs.  For more information on the movement and the film visit www.TheBullyProject.com and www.FacingHistory.org
    VIP Soccer at Key Largo School
    The American Youth Soccer Organization has brought VIP Soccer back to Key Largo School.   One of the AYSO philosophies is “Everyone Plays.” The Very Important Player (VIP) program gives students with disabilities an opportunity to participate on a soccer team.  Players work on skill development, sportsmanship and of course, scoring goals!  The program kicked off on November 6th at KLS.  A huge thank you goes out to local AYSO Region 864 for sponsoring this program.  The region has covered all expenses to reinstate this program, including uniforms and equipment.   The kids had a wonderful first training session with the help of their teachers, assistants and physical education teacher.  Many goals were scored, accompanied by cheers and smiles.  Most importantly, everyone got to play and everyone had fun!

    District Teacher Leaders Selected

    Theresa Axford, MCSD Director of Teaching and Learning, has announced the following selections for district-level teacher leaders:
    Media Specialist District Teacher Leader - Christine Paul (Switlik Elementary School)
    Christine Paul has been a teacher in the Monroe County School District for the past 15 years.  A graduate of Marathon High School, Ms. Paul earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Florida International University and a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Florida State University, as well as National Board Certification in Library Media.  

    Guidance District Teacher Leader - Daliana Goins (Poinciana Elementary School)
    Named Monroe County School District’s 2011-2012 Guidance Counselor of the Year, Daliana Goins is in her sixteenth year with the school district.  Mrs. Goins graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with Honors, and earned a Master of Arts Degree in School Counseling from Argosy University. She has been working as a school counselor since 2007 and has experience working in both elementary and middle schools in our district. 

    Math K-8 District Teacher Leader - Kristen Condella (Horace O'Bryant Middle School)
    Kristen Condella currently teaches 7th grade Mathematics and Algebra 1 /Algebra 1 Honors at Horace O'Bryant Middle School.  Ms. Condella has earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and has recently begun her journey towards obtaining her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.  She is an active member of the HOB AVID Site team and grading committee.  

    Math 9-12 District Teacher Leader - Marjorie Rodriguez (Key West High School)
    With teaching experience from 7th grade math through College Algebra and Dual Enrollment Trig, Marjorie Rodriguez is currently a math teacher and mathematics department program manager at Key West High School as well as an adjunct math instructor at Florida Keys Community College.  Ms. Rodriguez is a graduate of University of Florida with a BAE in Elementary Education and has earned her Master's Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision.

    61 To Be Inducted Into Take Stock in Children

    The week of November 13 students in grades 7-10 will be signing their contracts with Take Stock In Children.  Ceremonies for each student are being held at schools in Sugarloaf, Marathon, Key West, Coral Shores, and Key Largo.
    These 61  handpicked students are being given the "chance of a lifetime" to further develop their skills and graduate from college.  All the students with the desire, motivation, and potential to go to college, from low-income families in Monroe County, are awarded scholarships. 

    Click here to read the press release.

    PKS Micro Society Candidate Speeches

    On November 5, 2012, Plantation Key School Pantherville candidates gathered during lunch to deliver speeches for the following offices:  Mayor, Vice Mayor, Commissioner of Civil Services, Commissioner of Laws & Human Affairs, Commissioner of Economic Development.  Students will cast their ballots on Tuesday, November 6, as good citizens of their new MicroSociety!

    Pictured:  PKS student Natalie at the candidate event.  Photo courtesy of Teresa Regelmann

    Wyland Visits Key Largo School
    Students at Key Largo School helped the famous Wyland kick off the migration of Stella the right whale. Stella's migration tour started in Key Largo and will visit 25 other schools up through Jacksonville Florida. Wyland talked with the students about the dangers of extinction of the right whale and the importance of conserving the ocean's ecosystem. It was a great honor to be the first school on Stella's route!

    Wendy's High School Heisman State Winner!

    Congratulations to Marathon High School student athlete Taylor Konrath, selected as the female athlete Wendy's® High School Heisman state winner for the state of Florida.

    For more information about the Wendy's High School Heisman, click here.


    Sunshine State Scholars

    Superintendent of Schools, Mark Porter, has announced Brock Guzman from Key West High School will represent the Monroe County School District at the Sunshine State Scholars Program in February 2013. Each year the local high schools nominate a junior who is distinguished in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to be their representative for the District Sunshine State Scholar. One outstanding student represents each high school and the three nominees were Isabella Garcia from Coral Shores High School, Brock Guzman from Key West High School, and Jonathan Rios from Marathon High School.
    The District scholar, parents, and a teacher who has had a significant influence will be invited to travel to Orlando for a two-day program. 
    Congratulations to all three students who also will be recognized for their outstanding achievement at a School Board Meeting held in their area.

    Click here to read the full press release.

    HOB Science Expo

    Science ruled at Horace O’Bryant Middle School Wednesday night as the school held its first Science Expo in recent years.  The HOB gym was transformed into a gallery of science projects created by its 6-8th graders.  School Science Department Head, Melissa Alsobrooks, said that every student at HOB was required to complete a science project for the expo.  The school’s science teachers worked diligently with the students to prepare for the event.  The expo was well received by the community, as hundreds of parents turned out to view the displays.
    Pictured:  6th grade student Jade W. with her science experiment presentation.  (Photo courtesy of Sibba Velasco)

    Sugarloaf Students Say Thanks!!
    The 5th graders at Sugarloaf School spent some time on September 11 remembering the local civil servants as well as the troops serving overseas.  Members of the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department accepted the thank you cards from Mrs. Fairbrother-Smith’s Social Studies and Writing classes.  The post cards will be shipped to the troops through Operation Hope.

    KLS Students Learn About Fire Prevention

    Key Largo School students recently enjoyed a fun-filled day learning about fire prevention. KLS would like to thank the members of the Key Largo Fire Department, and especially Mr. Paul Mosczynski, for visiting their school.

    Professional Development through PD 360

    Teachers, check your email!  The Monroe County School District will be using PD 360 from School Improvement Network this year as a professional development tool to help us reach our goals and increase student achievement.   
    The PD 360 video library has over 2,000 videos of best practices and real classroom examples featuring top education experts (including the Danielson Framework Alignment). Best of all, video training is convenient—where you want it, when you want it, and you can pause anytime. You can even access the PD 360 video library on your mobile device!

    Watch for the email from Jennifer Price at PD 360 for login information for teachers and administrators.

    Take Stock in Children and The Community Blood Center of Florida Partner for the students of Monroe County School District
    Thank you to Community Blood Centers of Florida for their partnership and donation of over $13,000. If you would like to help, for every unit of blood donated at any Monroe County School District hosted blood drive,  CBCF donates $20 to Take Stock in Children. For those who are already blood donors, please  donate when the Bloodmobile is at one of the MCSD  schools or District office.

    Click here to view the press release.

    Konrath Selected for FHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

    Congratulations to Marathon High School senior Taylor Konrath!  Taylor has been selected to be a member of the 2012-13 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.  She will be one of four students representing Section 4.
    The FHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory serves as a crucial link in identifying topics, issues, and concerns that face the student-athletes of Florida.  With the help of student representatives, the FHSAA hopes to become a more effective governing resource to its member schools.

    (Photo courtesy of Kathy Lancaster)

    On Friday, December 14th, Navy officers visited Key West High School, bringing gifts to brighten the day for ten selected students. Some of the students chose to wait until Christmas to open their presents, but they had a wonderful opportunity to learn more about one another and to thank the Navy “Santas”  for their generosity.

    Photo courtesy of Christelle Orr

    Students Visit the North Pole
    Each year, Plantation Key School first grade teachers Mrs. Dionne and Mrs. McKay pack up some holiday ornaments and supplies and line up their students for a march from PKS to the Tavernier Post Office on a mission. The students are there to spread cheer for all the people that frequent the Post Office during the Holiday Season. They set up the tree and decorate it with many special handmade ornaments. On their trek back, businesses along the way give "shout outs" to them, as well as candy canes and refreshments. 
    Happy Holidays from PKS First Grade Classrooms!

    MCTFCU Announces "Sponsor a Classroom" Winners!

    The Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union has announced the winners of the MCTFCU "Sponsor a Classroom" awards for 2012-13.  Congratulations to the following teachers who are recipients of $250 to be used in their classrooms.
    Tami Dannacker
    Key West HS
    Kerri McLean
    Key West HS
    Mary Jo Fry
    Coral Shores HS
    Katrina Madok
    Gerald Adams Elementary
    Lisa Morris
    Gerald Adams Elementary
    Jalynn Frazier
    Glynn Archer Elementary
    Stephanie Manaher
    Horace O'Bryant MS
    Kimberly Dawn Albury
    Poinciana Elementary
    Wendy Houser
    Switlik Elementary
    Janet Vazquez
    Sugarloaf School
    Cinda Bonanno
    Key Largo School
    Marion Dell