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District News
Monroe County School District Strategic Plan Survey

The District Survey for the Strategic Plan is available to all stakeholder groups at the link below.  Please encourage everyone to participate.  Thank you.
Memorial Day Observance

Monroe County School District schools and offices will be closed on Monday, May 30th in observance of Memorial Day.

Community Meeting - Gerald Adams Elementary School Construction Project

Monroe County School District will hold its first community meeting for the Gerald Adams Elementary School construction project on Monday, June 6th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The meeting will be held at Gerald Adams, Cafeteria, 5855 College Road, Stock Island. 

The intent of the meeting is to seek public input on the design of the new facility, specifically how 21st century educational principles will be incorporated into the new school. 
Harvard Jolly Architects will lead the discussion presenting initial concepts on educational programming, building site options and challenges, and preliminary project schedules. The meeting will be conducted in an open house format and a question and answer session will follow the presentation.
All interested citizens are encouraged to attend this preliminary meeting and provide their valuable input into the process. School Board Members may be in attendance.
Notice of Labor Negotiations

The Monroe County School District and The United Teachers of Monroe, Florida will conduct Labor Negotiations at Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 beginning at 1:30 PM.
Notice of Meetings
A Regular Business Meeting of the Monroe County School Board will be held on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 5:00 P.M. at the Marathon High School Media Center, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon. A Public Hearing on the adoption of Policies and/or Job Descriptions may be held.
On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 3:00 P.M. the Board will hold a Workshop & Special Meeting at the A.J. Henriquez Administration Bldg., 241 Trumbo Road, Key West. A Public Hearing on the adoption of Policies and/or Job Descriptions may be held.
On Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 5:00 P.M. the Board will hold a Regular Business Meeting at the Coral Shores High School Media Center, 89901 Overseas Hwy., Tavernier. A Public Hearing on the adoption of Policies and/or Job Descriptions may be held.
If a person decides to appeal any decision made by the Board, with respect to any matter considered at a School Board meeting or hearing, that person may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made.  If signing, special seating or other accommodations are required, please call 293-1400 ext. 53323 72 hours prior to the meeting.
Middle School Academic Challenge
Congratulations to the Sugarloaf Middle School Academic Challenge Team for their repeat 1st Place win in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Wednesday, May 11th at Marathon High School.  Horace O'Bryant School received 2nd place and Treasure Village Montessori 3rd place.  Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition as well.

Green Commute Challenge
The Monroe County School District Administration Building employees participated in the City of Key West Green Commute Challenge from Monday, March 28th to Sunday, April 3rd.  They competed against other Key West employers and earned points determined by how green (based on carbon footprint) the mode of travel was to and from work.  At the May 3rd City of Key West Commission meeting, Mayor Cates recognized the participants in the Green Commute Challenge.

Photo courtesy of City of Key West
GEMS 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.
March 2016 GEMS
State Volunteer of the Year Anne O'Neil, Five Star Schools KLS and PKS, Jackie Patterson (PKS), and Kelley Steinmetz (KLS)
April 2016 GEMS
KWHS Ninth Grade Center, Five Star Schools Poinciana and Key West HS, PBIS Coaches, HOB student Divya Navani

Click Here to view the GEMS web page and see the latest MCSD GEMS for 2015-16!  

Key Largo School and Ocean Reef Community Foundation

The Ocean Reef Community Foundation (ORCF) has been very generous to Key Largo School. This is the second year in a row they will fund the KLS Summer Recreation program.  In addition to $50,000 for the Summer Rec program, they also funded a technology update for the media center for $19,000, AVID student trips and teacher professional development at the Summer Institute for $11,430, a grant for the KLS K-5 STEM program for $5244, along with $1000 for supplies for the elementary art program and $1000 for transportation for our 5th graders to see the 'Rock Odyssey' at the Arsht Center in Miami.  Key Largo School is very fortunate and grateful to have the community support and involvement from ORCF!

Photo courtesy of Laura Lietaert
Law Day Banner Contest
The 16th Judicial Circuit and Monroe County Bar Association is pleased to announce the winners of the Law Day Banner Contest that was held district wide kindergarten through 5th grade.  The theme this year was Miranda: More than Words.  Entries were judged on creativity, originality, and adherence to theme. 
Lower Keys Winners
K-2, First Place Sigsbee- Ms. Kane, Kindergarten 
3-5, First Place Gerald Adams - Ms. Madok, 3rd Grade 
Upper Keys Winners
K-2, First Place Treasure Village – Ms. Harris, Ms. Garcia, and Ms. Frick, 2nd Grade
3-5, First Place  Plantation Key - Ms. Crispino, 4th Grade
Management Employee of the Year
It is with great pleasure that Superintendent Porter announces that Ms. Deb Stecklein, Food Services Director, was selected as the 2015-2016 Management Employee of the Year for the Monroe County Schools.  Deb’s tireless effort managing the kitchens and cafeterias across the School District has truly transformed the quality of food that our students are served, and has made the Food Service Department more effective and efficient.  Her knowledge of the National School Lunch Program, her professionalism and her personal leadership style not only achieves results, but also make her an absolute pleasure to work with.  As one of her employee’s put it, “With her positive outlook and knowledge in this field Deb commands the lead and has everyone in support of the District’s goal of Charting the Course to Excellence!”

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Deb Stecklein as the MCSD Management Employee of the Year!
EIL Leadership Institute

Congratulations to Gavin Willis who has received a Scholarship to the Experiment in International Living Leadership Institute for the Summer of 2016. Gavin spoke to the Board about the schedule for the summer and expressed his delight at having been selected. He is pictured at the Board Meeting in Key West on April 26th with Superintendent Mark Porter.

FCSS Teacher of the Year for Monroe County

Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the Florida Council for the Social Studies (FCSS) Teacher of the Year for Monroe County is Marianne Nelson from Sugarloaf School. Mrs. Nelson was selected because of her ability to foster the development of democratic beliefs and values, and the skills needed to for citizenship appropriate to her students, her student teacher relationships, her professionalism, and her outstanding teaching methods.
Mrs. Nelson teaches 6th grade World History and 8th grade U.S. History at Sugarloaf School. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Sociology. Mrs. Nelson, "utilizes many teaching strategies; such as, integrated technology, learning centers, and cooperative learning to help engage the many different learning styles of the students," as described by her principal, Mr. Harry Russell. Mrs. Nelson participated and led two Teaching American History grants, she has coordinated school trips to Fort Zachary Taylor to celebrate Civil War Days and a lecture series put on by the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. She is a member of the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Council for History Education and Florida Council for the Social Studies. Mrs. Nelson is a leader, mentor, and an outstanding social studies educator.

Marianne will be honored at the Monroe County School District’s Employee Recognition Banquet on May 20 and at an awards dinner in October at the FCSS Conference in Orlando.  

Baby Grand Donated to Switlik Music Program
Thanks to the generous donation by Mr. and Mrs. Watts of Cudjoe Key, this Young Chang baby grand piano happily resides with the music program at Stanley Switlik Elementary School. The Switlik Singers, under the direction of music teacher Jack Louden, will perform an appreciation concert on Thursday, May 19th at 6:00 PM in the school’s cafeteria. Pictured with Mr. Louden are SSE students Fisher and Cullen. Both boys enjoy music and take private lessons on piano and guitar.

Photo courtesy of Brett Unke
State Science and Engineering Fair
The Monroe County School District was represented at the 61st Annual State Science and Engineering Fair held on March 29th through the 31st in Lakeland, FL.  Monroe County walked away with three finalists out of 850 student entries from across the state. Grace Matthews (TVM) earned a 3rd place overall finish in the Engineering Category, Jesse Ferrante (TVM) earned a 3rd place overall in the Chemistry Category, and Logan Kirchner (Sigsbee) earned a Special Award including a $50 prize for creativity in the Engineering Category.  Job well done by all students who participated!  
Pictured above, from left to right:  Logan Kirchner (Sigsbee), Jesse Ferrante (Treasure Village Montessori), Grace Matthews (Treasure Village Montessori), Windley Haygood (Treasure Village Montessori), Niomi Garcia (Treasure Village Montessori), Samantha Gutierrez (Coral Shores High School), Briana Wilson (Coral Shores High School), Damian Jones (Key West Collegiate Academy), and Alex Appel (Key West Collegiate Academy)

Photo courtesy of Courtney Oliver
Professional Development Opportunities for RE-Certification via FDLRS - PDA (SWD-Students With Disabilities points)
Teachers, as you renew your teaching certificates, keep in mind the online self paced SWD  ESE PD class through FDLRS. FDLRS offers several facilitated and self paced Professional Development Classes. The choice is yours.

For convenience and ease, once on the FDLRS-PDA site look for two particular independent study courses that are self paced and qualify for 20 SWD PD points.
  1. Teaching Students with Disabilities – This course enables educators to increase and demonstrate knowledge and skills for providing effective instruction for SWDs.  An emphasis is on how to develop universally designed and differentiated environment by identifying models of support for assisting SWDs accessing the general education curricula while meeting their individual needs.
  2. Effective Teaching Practices for Students with Disabilities: This course enables educators to develop and increase appropriate instructional practices for SWDs. The goal is to provide an instructional environment that acknowledges student variance and eliminates barriers to learning so that SWDs can achieve rigorous academic standards. Application examples are provided in areas of English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Please follow the link below.  Be sure to work with your school based PD contact for points in MLP.
Special Ed Connection
Parents of Students with Disabilities:

Special Ed Connection® is an online resource provided free of charge by the Florida Department of Education. Answer these questions and more:
  • What is special education?
  • How does special education work?
  • How does special education change as my child progresses through school and exits to adulthood?
  • What are my child’s legal rights?
  • What are specific procedures and real-world strategies that can support success?
To find out more about gaining access to this exciting resource, contact Cecilia Nieto with FDLRS-South at or 305-274-3501. (English and Spanish)

Memorial Day

In observance of Memorial Day, all schools and district offices are closed on Monday, May 30.

CareerSource South Florida Work Readiness Course
Congratulations to the students in Mr. Brian Flannigan's class at Key West High School for successfully completing the 8-week Work Readiness Course! Students were instructed by Jessica Gomez of CareerSource South Florida and Jennifer Wilsnack, KWHS ESE Job Coach, in areas of resume and cover letter writing, workplace behaviors, self-determination, and interview skills. The course concluded with individual mock interviews in which students utilized the skills learned during the course.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wilsnack

"Like" MCSD on Facebook!
Monroe County School District

The "official" Monroe County School District Facebook page is now available.  Information posted on the MCSD website will be available through Facebook.  Click on the image to "Like" our page!

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