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District News
Public Input Notice

The Monroe County School District will host three School Start Time Public Input Sessions. Interested parties have the opportunity to speak at any of the three Public Input Sessions.
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm, Marathon High School Media Center, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon, FL
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm, A. J Henriquez Administrative Complex, 241 Trumbo Road, Key West, FL
  • Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 4:30 to 5:00 pm, Coral Shores High School Media Center, 89901 Overseas Highway, Tavernier, FL
A Citizen Input/Request opportunity will also be hosted during the Regular Meeting (time approximately 5:00 pm). 
National Merit Scholar at Key West HS
B. Coward
Key West High School is proud to announce that Brian Coward has been named a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, an elite honor that was earned by demonstrating, through distinguished performance, high potential for future academic accomplishments. Brian is an exceptional student beyond his brilliant educational record, numerous achievements and aspirations to pursue engineering at an elite school. He is involved in many activities in the school and community, has taken on various leadership roles and has participated in many extraordinary opportunities such a traveling to different parts of the world to help struggling communities and participating in the U.S. Naval Academy Summer STEM Program.

In addition to his scholarly achievements, Brian is an accomplished athlete as a four year varsity soccer player, a dedicated volunteer, and a natural leader who has earned the respect of peers and faculty alike, earning him recognition by his senior class as the Best All-Around student as well as school-level Conch Pride Awards, and nomination and participation in the National Youth Leadership Seminar in 2013 and the University of Florida Youth Leadership Conference in 2015. In the Fall of 2015, Brian was selected as KWHS’s Sunshine State Scholar for his academic accomplishments and career potential in the STEM field. Later that academic year, Brian was selected as MCSD’s Sunshine State Scholar and traveled to the state capital to be recognized for this distinction amongst other outstanding scholars in Florida. Brian is polite, respectful and has an unassuming confidence that has grown throughout the years as he has taken on and accomplished challenges and goals. KWHS is proud of Brian’s deserving status as a National Merit Finalist and join in celebrating this high honor with his parents, Tom and Nancy Coward.  

Artist Andy Thurber Visits HOB
Key West artist Andy Thurber
Key West Artist Andy Thurber recently visited Horace O'Bryant School to share his talent and words of wisdom with Ms. Holtkamp's and Ms. Hood’s middle grades art students. He did a watercolor demonstration showing students his unique techniques and shared with them what it takes to become a professional artist.

Photo courtesy of Katie Holtkamp
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson Motivates Students to Take Stock in their Future
Eugene Robinson with TSIC students
Take Stock in Children logo
Take Stock in Children, Monroe County, held its Take Stock in Children rally on March 6 at 11:00 a.m. in front of 275 students at Key West High School. Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson spoke to scholars from the Lower Keys participating in the TSIC program about how he achieved certain goals by way of higher education.
Photo courtesy of Lynsey Saunders

GEMS logoGEMS stands for Great Educational Moments for Monroe County Students. It is an effort to shine a light on the great things happening in the District Schools.  This is an initiative from the Curriculum Department led by Mrs. Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching & Learning, which recognizes the GEMS in Monroe County. 
In order to create a GEM, it takes the leadership of a great principal, the expertise of wonderful teachers and the commitment of outstanding students.

February 2017
Sophie Williams
Coral Shores HS
Daniel Walker
Coral Shores HS

Edie Killpack, Annika Needham, Robert Aleman, Connor Dixon
Key Largo School

Click Here to view the GEMS web page and see the latest MCSD GEMS for 2016-17!  

‘Symphony in the Schools' Offers Keys Students a Unique Experience
Collage of pictures from Symphony visit
The South Florida Symphony performed for more than 1,500 students in the Monroe County School District on Friday, March 3rd at Marathon High School. Fourth through seventh grade students from Stanley Switlik Elementary, Plantation Key School, and Marathon Middle High School were able to experience one or the other of two unique orchestra performances.  The orchestra put on one performance with music from Sergei Prokofiev’s, “Peter and the Wolf” and another with an original composition about the oceans’ coral reefs as part of the culmination of learning about the music and the arts via curriculum created in collaboration with the School District, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and the Musical Director of The South Florida Symphony, Sebrina Maria Alfonso. “I feel that if it becomes a part of their life as a school program, that they will never be intimidated to get involved in the arts in the future. These musicians, they’ve mastered their instrument, and it gives kids the opportunity as if you took them to the Olympics,” said Alfonso, also a native of Key West, who has been doing these concerts for the children since the organization’s inception in Key West, as the Key West Symphony.  

The Symphony also performed for Lower Keys students in grades 4, 5, and 7 at the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center on Thursday, March 2nd.  

Top photo above, left to right: Elizabeth S. Young, Executive Director, Florida Keys Council of the Arts; Joy Meyers, piano and percussion, Teaching Artist, South Florida Symphony; Dr. David Vaughan, Executive Director, Mote Marine Laboratory; Donna Wissinger, Flutist, Teaching Artist, SFS; Sebrina Maria Alfonso, Maestra/Music Director, SFS; Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Monroe County School District; Mark Porter, Superintendent, MCSD

Photos courtesy of Lynsey Saunders

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FOCUS Parent Portal Registration
FOCUS logo

The FOCUS Parent Portal is a tool designed to enhance communication and involvement for you in your child's education.  This portal will allow you to monitor your child's progress in school by providing timely access to both assignments and grades that are entered by the teacher throughout the grading period. This communication tool will improve your ability to assist your child and to communicate with the teacher if necessary.
In order to create a Parent Portal Account, you will need these three things:
1.  Your child's 10-digit ID number - this information is available from your child, from their portal page, or on their report card.
2.  The last 4 digits of your child's Social Security Number.  The SSN must be on file with the school in order for online registration to be completed.
3.  Your child's date of birth.

Once you create your FOCUS Parent account, you will need to contact the school to complete the verification process.  If you do not have the information listed above, or your child's SSN and/or date of birth are not in the FOCUS system, you will need to register in person at your child's school.

Once you have created your FOCUS Parent Portal account, you will be able to view your child's grades and attendance information by visiting the FOCUS login page (also linked under the Parents drop-down menu above).

Monroe County Mock Trial Championship
Mock trial championship team
Congratulations to the Marathon High School Mock Trial Team, the winners in the Monroe County District Championship held on Thursday, February 16 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Marathon. The Marathon team will represent Monroe County in the Florida Mock Trial Competition in Orlando on March 23-25, 2017. 

Thank you to the Honorable Ruth Becker for presiding in her courtroom. 
Pictured, left to right: Anthony Proudnik, Hannah Lowe, Brittany Smollett, Karli Roberts, Milly Cruz (Team Captain), Benjamin Ryder, Alexandra Pabon, John Sheagren, Elizabeth Bayerl (Faculty Sponsor)

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios

Florida Department of Education Parent Survey - Exceptional Student Education
Florida Department of Education Logo
Florida’s 2016-17 ESE Parent Survey: Make Your Voice Heard!
Who? All Parents of Students with an IEP (PK-22)
When? February 13th - May 31st , 2017
Let the Florida Department of Education know about how your school partners with you, the parent, to promote parent involvement in your child’s education.  A paper survey will be sent home to parents of children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) within the next two weeks. If you prefer to complete the survey electronically, click here. Please take the time to complete this brief survey to help us continue to meet your family’s needs.

Programmer Analyst selected as Monroe County School District’s 2016-17 School Related Personnel Employee of the Year
IT Department congratulates Tariel Moran
Superintendent Mark T. Porter is pleased to announce Information Technology Programmer Analyst, Tariel Moran as the Monroe County School District’s School Related Personnel Employee of the Year. Mr. Moran’s role in the successful implementation of a new student information system, Focus School Software, was vital to the district reaching one of its most significant milestones of the year.

Tariel has served the School District for over twenty-one (21) years. He spent eight years at Sigsbee School as an Office Manager and Data Entry Clerk before moving to the IT department as an Information Specialist in 2003. Tariel was promoted to Programmer Analyst in the spring of 2016.

Tariel’s responsibilities include the maintenance and modification of the student information system (SIS) as well as the submission of required State and Federal reports which directly impacts student services and district funding. Tariel’s reach is district-wide, he provides data services to schools, Curriculum and Instruction, Food Services, Exceptional Student Education along with Assessment and Accountability to ensure student information is entered accurately, accessed securely and used effectively.

In his thirteen years with the IT department Tariel has trained data entry staff, district level clerks as well as administrators on the proper use and entry of data elements. His experience at both the school level and district headquarters prepared Tariel for what would be the most trying year of his career. The challenge came in the form of a new student information system, significant staffing changes within the IT department and a promotion. Tariel rose to meet each challenge with success.

Director of Information Technology, Joy Nulisch, said “I am very proud that Tariel Moran has been recognized as Employee of the Year. Tariel represents himself, the department and our organization with high professional standards and dedication. His work this year, launching the SIS side of Focus has charted the course to accessible, accurate, secure and meaningful data for many years to come. Tariel is a valuable asset to Monroe County School District and is very deserving of this award and recognition.”

Pictured Left to Right:Sherri Boyer (Specialist, Computer Systems Admin), Tom Matangos (Operations Manager), Brian Doe (Specialist, Computer Network Admin), Andrew Hish (Specialist, Computer Systems Admin), Mark Porter (Superintendent), Tariel Moran (Programmer Analyst), Joy Nulisch (Director, IT), Patrick Lefere (Executive Director, Operations)
Teachers Honored by KW Chamber
Key West Teachers honored by local chamber of commerce
The Key West Chamber of Commerce honored seven area teachers during the organization’s January 25th luncheon.
Pictured left to right, Social Studies Coordinator for Monroe County School District Jennifer Barrios; honored teacher Samantha Batty, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Theresa Axford, honored teacher Kaitlin O’Connell, Education Committee Co-Chair Suzanne Moore, honored teachers Betty Shapiro, Kym Momaly, Key West Chamber of Commerce President Greg Sullivan, honored teacher Rebecca Provost, Education Committee Co-Chair Billy Spottswood and honored teacher Sarah Smith. (Not pictured: Honored teacher Kimberly “Dawn” Albury)

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios

Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year
MCSD Teacher of the Year Samantha Hopper with Superintendent Porter and students
Samantha Hopper, 4th grade teacher at Key Largo School has been chosen as the Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year for 2016-17. Superintendent Mark Porter visited Ms. Hopper’s classroom today to give her the news.

Ms. Hopper has a Master’s Degree from the University of Florida with a Math/Science Specialization and has been teaching at Key Largo School since August 2013. She has been a recipient of the Florida Best and Brightest Scholarship for the past two years. Ms. Hopper’s passion for teaching comes through in her high expectations for students and through her innovative teaching style which incorporates research based programs, project based learning and collaboration for students. As an AVID trained educator, she thrives on utilizing current student data to prepare for instruction. She is known for the Socratic Seminars that occur in her room which engage all students in reading and discussion. Samantha is also Ms. Hopper with her studentsbusy with other school activities. She has been a VIEW (Visiting Innovative Educators’ Workplace) program host, a grade level team leader and performs numerous coaching jobs for both volleyball and basketball. She is also a mentor to new and beginning teachers. Samantha participated in the development of the District’s new writing sequence. She is an Elementary Site Team Member for AVID and uses AVID best practices like Costa’s Levels for Questions, two column notes and reading and writing strategies daily.

KLS Principal, Laura Lietaert describes Samantha as a person who, "makes teaching look easy" and further states that "it is a pleasure to walk into her classroom and become absorbed in the learning - it’s a place that kids want to be." Superintendent Mark Porter said "Samantha is an outstanding example of the fine teachers that we have in the Monroe County School System. She clearly demonstrates the importance of strong relationships with students as a vehicle for success and she is a truly deserving recipient of this recognition."
Monroe County Academic Challenge
Coral Shores High School Academic Challenge Team
Congratulations to the Coral Shores High School Academic Challenge Team, the 1st Place winners in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Wednesday, January 18th at Marathon HS.  Marathon High School was the 2nd place team and Key West High School 3rd place.  The Coral Shores team will represent Monroe County in the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge in Orlando on April 27-29, 2017.  Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition.

Pictured, from left:Dave Murphy (Director of Assessment and Accountability), Daniel Walker, Preston Holt, Keeley Catarineau, Alan Thomson, Chris Harris (Coach),Lauren Rabe, James Britton

Photo courtesy of Barbara Cavanah


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