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District News
Delayed Release of Some State Test Scores Leads to Modification of EOC Results for new Florida State Assessments

The Florida Department of Education announced Monday that the delay caused by the required validation study of the new Florida Standards Assessments end-of-course tests (FSA EOCs) in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II effectively releases districts from the requirement that these scores constitute 30 percent of the course grade for students in these classes. This announcement grants Florida school districts, including the Monroe County Schools, to locally determine how the results of these state required EOC's will be used in calculating final grades for students.

For the 2014-2015 school year, in accordance with the directive of the FDOE, students in these FSA EOC classes will receive final grades based on their year-long evidence of learning in the course. The district will continue plans to analyze the results of the assessment and will allow students to benefit from the results if the use of their score results in their grade improving. Once the scores are received and analyzed, all students will have their score factored into their course grade as 30 percent.  If a student's grade improves they will be issued a new report card in the fall. If a student’s grade remains the same or drops the score will be ignored and their current grade will be allowed to stand. "This change reflects a common sense solution to a problem created by the implementation of the new assessments,” states Superintendent Mark T. Porter, “While students will be effectively held harmless by these non-field tested results, we will still take a close look at the results to determine our success or areas to improve upon in terms of teaching to the new more rigorous standards."


M.O.R.E. at Poinciana
The M.O.R.E. Program, Mentors Optimizing Reading Excellence, sponsored by Keys to Be the Change, concluded this school year with an awards celebration at Poinciana Elementary School on Wednesday, May 19th. Pictured are Key West High School Mentors, from left to right: Brunia Polynice, Raven Niekerk, Tony Vo, Melson Maxime, Julien Ohayon, and Paula Lundi with their mentees. 

Photo courtesy of Heidi Golightly

WWII Veteran Visits KWHS
On Friday, May 22nd, Jewish-American World War II Veteran Sgt. Carl Arfa (father of Dr. Bruce Boros), 90, addressed five hundred Key West High School students.  Sergeant Arfa told the students about his days as a bazooka gunner in the Battle of the Bulge and how he took part in the liberation of the Liepzig-Thekla concentration camp, He also shared his pictures and medals of honor from this critical time period in our history. Sgt. Arfa also spoke to the students about the meaning of democracy and left them with the message to be kind and love one another to make this world a better place for all of us. 
Pictured:  Greg Kremer, Social Studies Department Chair KWHS, Sgt. Carl Arfa, Jennifer Barrios, MCSD Social Studies Coordinator 
2014-15 Monroe County School District Employees of the Year

Congratulations to the following MCSD employees who were honored at the district's annual Recognition Banquet on Friday, May 15th at Key Colony Inn.  Superintendent Mark Porter shared that the event was "a great reminder of the passion and commitment that is required as educators as we shared tears of joy by some at being unexpectedly recognized by their colleagues and shared the words of a former student that truly impacted us all."
Principal of the Year
Lisa Taylor, Plantation Key School

Assistant Principal of the Year
Kristy Bedell, Coral Shores High School

Teacher of the Year
Todd Gideon, Coral Shores High School

Inclusion Teacher of the Year
Stephanie Williams, Sugarloaf School

School Counselor of the Year
Alex Sorrentino, Gerald Adams School

School Related Employee of the Year
​Kathleen Shriver, Middle Keys Transportation

Outstanding Instructional Employee of the Year
Barbara Cavanah, Instructional Technology

Management Employee of the Year
Debra Butler, Payroll Department
Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy to Honor Monroe County Teen Mentors

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy will honor two students in Monroe County with Teen TrendsettersTM Excellence Awards for their leadership and service. Students mentoring in the Foundation's program assist first through third graders with reading during weekly tutoring sessions. First-year mentor Lucero Donoso is a senior from Coral Shores High School, and has embraced her role in Teen Trendsetters. Her natural ability to lead, often behind-the-scenes, has made her one of the standouts in the program.

Her program advisor, Robin Fry, shared the following: "Lucero is a genuine role model for the younger students, and her involvement in Teen Trendsetters has really made reading a fun activity for her mentee." 

Elsie Webb, 8th grader from Horace O'Bryant Middle School, will also be recognized for her leadership and service. Her program advisor Dana Ring said, "Elsie is a dedicated Teen Trendsetters mentor, and always sets a good example for her mentors and mentees. Her positive attitude makes her a joy to be around, and I am excited to recognize her for her efforts to help fellow students."

“On average, participating first graders started the school year seven months behind their peers in reading, but more than half ended the year on grade level!” shared Liza McFadden, president and CEO of the Foundation. "We couldn’t be more proud of these teen leaders, who are positive role models to our next generation of learners."

Click here for the press release.
2014-2015 ESE Parent Survey

Survey Deadline: May 31st!
We need your help to make Florida's 2014-2015 ESE Parent Survey a record success

Each year, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) surveys parents of children with an individual educational plan (IEP) to determine how well your child's school is partnering with you and promoting your involvement in your child's education. All states must collect this data as part of their State Performance Plan, as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Make your voice heard!
You can complete the survey online at or request a paper survey from your child’s school.

Your feedback is important in helping the state and local school systems continue improving educational programs for children with special needs. Thank you!

For questions about the survey, please contact Aimee Mallini at FDOE Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, 850-245-0916 or via email at


School Board Meetings Announcement

A Workshop & Special Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm at Marathon High School Media Center, 350 Sombrero Road, Marathon.  A Public Hearing regarding the adoption of policies and/or job descriptions may be held
A Workshop & Regular Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the A.J. Henriquez Administrative Complex, 241 Trumbo Road, Key West. A Public Hearing regarding 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.
iPads for 4th Graders!

On May 4, 2015, 4th grade students and their teachers received iPads as part of the MCSD Digital Classroom Literacy initiative "Everybody Writes." Teachers have received initial training on the use of the iPad and will be participating in extensive training on June 9-11 to assist them in moving toward a paperless classroom for 2015-16. This combined effort of the district's IT Department and Curriculum Team is taking our 4th grade classrooms into the digital age with these devices and their many applications.

Superintendent Suspends District Developed Final Exams

With the support of the School Board and in alignment with the recommendations of the Student Assessment for Learning Taskforce, Superintendent Mark T. Porter is announcing that the Monroe County School District will temporarily suspend plans for the implementation of district created final exams at the middle and high school level and will expand plans to scale back formal testing at the elementary level as well. The statutory requirements for district created assessments eased with the passing of House Bill 7069 which was signed into law by Governor Scott on April 14. The change in the law removed language that required districts to create exams for any high school course that met a graduation requirement.

Click here for Superintendent Porter's press release.
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 the following dates:
  • Monday, May 4, 2015 - 1:00 to 6:00 - MHS (Rm. 2102)
  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015 -1:00 to 6:00 - MHS
  • Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 1:00 to 6:00 - MHS
  • Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 9:00 to 5:00 - MHS
  • Friday, June 19, 2015 - 9:00 to 1:00 - MHS
  • Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 9:00 to 1:00 - TBD​

Head Start Open Enrollment

The pdf version of this announcement is available in English and in Spanish.  
Youth Attend PeaceJam Leadership Conference

Keys to Be the Change, a project of the Monroe County School District, attended the PeaceJam Leadership Conference at Florida State University. All three high schools in the county were represented. The youth met and worked side by side Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980. Students learned that "Education is freedom" and that "no community is perfect but every community can be perfected." Pictured are the Keys to Be the Change Youth Leaders presenting their call to action to Adolfo Perez.

Photo courtesy of Heidi Golightly
State Chorus MPA
The Key West High School Chorus has continued their amazing streak. This is the fourth consecutive year that choruses from Key West High School have earned the highest possible rating at the State Music Performance Assessment (MPA). On Tuesday, April 21, in Plantation (FL),  the Conch Singers were awarded a Superior rating, garnering perfect scores from two of the adjudicators. 

Click here to listen to their performance of O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria).

Congratulations to the Conch Singers and their choral director, Jim Carter!!

Photo Courtesy of Jim Carter
PKS Second Graders "Make" the News!
Plantation Key School second grade students were chosen to participate in the Jr. Editor-in-Chief Program for News-O-Matic, a nationwide children's newspaper. News-O-Matic is an app from Press4Kids that publishes five current event news stories every weekday ranging in topic and containing interactive features such as maps, videos, photos, quizzes, and a read to me option. This daily newspaper reaches over 100,000 student readers around the world and is a way for children to understand the news and explore the world.
The second graders of Mrs. Milchman and Mrs. Harrelson used Skype to assist Russell Kahn, the Editor-in-Chief at Press4Kids in New York. They helped choose relevant stories, asked questions to be answered in various articles, and voted on wacky news. All of the stories were published the very next day in the April 3 edition of News-O-Matic.  The students loved this real life experience and enjoyed reading "their news" with News-O-Matic.     

MCSD Mobile App Now Available!

The Monroe County School District (MCSD) has announced the launch of MCSD Mobile, a free mobile district application that brings vital district and school information directly to smartphones and mobile devices.  MCSD Mobile keeps the MCSD community connected wherever they are.  Developed by Blackboard, Inc., the app offers  mobile access to district news, calendars,  and more. It even provides one-touch access to district/school phone lines, as well as third-party applications such as social media feeds.

Parents and students can download the application for free through Apple iTunes and Google Play app stores. Look for the app in Google Play by searching for MCSD Mobile and in iTunes using the keyword keysschools.  Be sure to select the app with the Monroe County School District's Charting the Course logo.  Once you have downloaded and installed the app, swipe to the right to view resources that include access to Gradebook, Facebook, Meal Pay, and the full website.  To follow a school, tap on My Profile, then Follow School.  Type in the school name, then select it from the list and tap “Finished.”  The news feed and calendar will now show items from both the district and all schools that you follow.

For additional information regarding the MCSD Mobile app, please contact the district webmaster.

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, Chief Academic Officer, 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.

December 2014 GEM was Jessica Koval. 
Click Here to view the GEMS web page and see the latest MCSD GEMS for 2014-15!  

Professional Growth Plan Development

The link below is a video prepared by Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, and Holly Hummel-Gorman, President of the United Teachers of Monroe. Holly and Terri collaborated on the video to help teachers and principals with understanding the development of Professional Growth Plans. They wanted to make sure that everyone in the district had the same information regarding the process for not only developing, but also implementing the plan to increase learning for both students and teachers. Also included are two supporting documents: the script and a step by step guide to create the PGP.
Professional Growth Plan Video
Video Script
Step-by-Step Guide to Create a PGP

"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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