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District Announcements
District Survey on School Start Times is ready for responses from Monroe County School District Parents

In answer to parents’ concerns School Board members have proposed that the district conduct a survey to get input on school start times.  The survey response period begins today; it is available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.  It is very important that parents complete the survey at the link below to express their thoughts on this important topic. You need to fill out only one survey even if you have children in more than one school. The survey will direct you to questions regarding both schools. The preferred method is to take the survey online; however, paper and pencil versions of the survey will be available at your child’s school as well. As a convenience, if you are unable to complete the survey at home, you may go to the Parent Education Center at each school to complete the survey on a computer or you can complete a paper and pencil version as stated above. School staff will advise you how to complete the paper and pencil version. We would like to get as many parents to participate in the survey as possible, so that we will have the best information to use for planning any changes which may be in order. You will assist us in responding to your needs by completing the survey today. The survey link is below. The deadline for completing the survey is Dec. 22nd. Thank you.
District News
Notice of Meeting - School Board

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016 beginning at 3:00 pm, the School Board will hold a Head Start Training, Workshop and Regular Meeting at the Coral Shores High School Media Center, 89901 Overseas Highway, 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.
Meeting Notice - Audit and Finance Committee Meeting

The Monroe County School District's Audit and Finance Committee will hold a public meeting via video conferencing technology on Monday, December 12, 2016 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. The meeting host site will be at the School District Administration Building, 241 Trumbo Road, Key West.

Members of the Monroe County School Board may be in attendance.


EPIC Committee Meeting

The Monroe County School District Educational Performance Incentive Compensation (EPIC) Committee traditionally meets each 1st Thursday of the month. Our next EPIC Committee meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, January 12, 2017 from 4 – 6:00 p.m.
The meeting will be held at the following locations via videoconference:
MCSD Administrative Building, 241 Trumbo Road Key West - “Executive Conference Room”
Sugarloaf School, 255 Crane Blvd. Sugarloaf - “ESE Director’s Office”
Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon– “Room 6209”
Plantation Key K-8 School, 100 Lake Road, Tavernier – Inquire at front office
Key Largo K-8 School, 104801 Overseas Highway, Ley Largo – Inquire at front office
The public is welcomed.
FOCUS Parent Portal Registration is now available!
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 during the December 1 - 31 open enrollment period, 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.

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 after January 9, 2017.

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).

MCSD Students and the Symphony

Donna Wissinger from Artz Out Loud poses with the characters from Peter and the Wolf. Donna visited all Keys schools to teach them about the Symphony Orchestra and its instruments. She also shared the story of Peter and the Wolf from the symphony of the same name by Sergei Prokofiev. Donna is a symphonic flutist and played all the melodies of the different instruments in the symphony on her flute as she instructed the students in preparation for the Big Symphony Concert.
Glynn Archer Auditorium at Key West High School was filled with 2000 students in two performances at 9:30 and 10:45 AM on Wednesday, November 16th. Many thanks to the MCSD Transportation Department under the direction of Randy Fabal who got all the students transported for the performances. It was a gargantuan task.

Pictured:  Students at the South Florida Symphony presentation,Donna with the Peter & the Wolf characters
Photos courtesy of Jacqueline Lorber


District Announces Community of Experts
Community of Experts logo

In an effort to promote the sharing of best practices throughout the district, the Teaching and Learning Team, along with principals and teachers have identified teachers who are experts in the programs that are available for use in The Monroe County School District. These teachers have been organized into a Community of Experts. They are willing to provide support to any teacher who needs it when it comes to using the products that are connected to their brief biographies. The permanent location for the Community of Experts is on the District Website under the Curriculum Tab on the left. You will find a brief biography and other pertinent information there.  Congratulations to all those in the Community and a special thank you for being willing to share information with teachers about using the programs we support.
Lindsay Poetz
Lindsay Poetz
Plantation Key School
Alesa Rehmann
Alesa Rehmann
Coral Shores HS
Kevin Walden
Kevin Walden
Sugarloaf School

New Math Contacts Begin Services to Schools

Yvette Toledo-Baste  will serve HOB, Switlik, and Sugarloaf School
Yvette is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership. This is Yvette’s 19th year in education, serving children both in the classroom and out as a curriculum support specialist and school administrator. Yvette was born and raised in Miami and spent most of her childhood summers enjoying camping and fishing in the Florida Keys. Her love for the Keys and dreams of making it her permanent home finally became a reality in 2010. Of all the school districts she has had the privilege of working at, Yvette says that working for the Monroe County School District and serving its students has been the most rewarding experience of her career thus far. “I am very excited to be serving our MCSD students and teachers in this new capacity and can already envision the fruition of our district’s math initiatives.”

Randi Malone will serve Poinciana, Gerald Adams and Key Largo School
Randi is 28 years old and has two small children, Gunner (2) and Ryli Emma (4) with my husband, Kyle. She has been teaching in the Monroe County School District for 6 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida, her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University and she is currently working on her PhD in K-12 Studies. Her ultimate goal has always been to teach at the college level at an online university. She is extremely excited to take on this new role as math contact for Poinciana, Key Largo School, and Gerald Adams. She is looking forward to the learning that will occur in this position and the wonderful changes to come.

Tiffany Absten-Murphy will service all schools 6-12 and PKS 
Tiffany has been teaching mathematics in Monroe County for 26 years. She was a district math teacher leader, has served on the board of directors for the Florida Council for Teachers of Mathematics, and has presented at the FCTM state conference. She was also a founding officer of the Keys Council for Math and Science Educators. Tiffany established chapters of Chi Alpha Mu (the feeder organization for Mu Alpha Theta) in the upper keys and started math competition teams in the middle schools. She has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Florida State University, and currently works as a Math Coach/Resource Teacher at Plantation Key School, where she is known as “The Math Fairy.”

Marianne Nelson Receives FCSS Teacher of the Year for Monroe County
Marianne Nelson receives FCSS award
Florida Council for the Social Studies awarded Sugarloaf teacher Marianne Nelson as the Florida Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year for Monroe County.  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. 

Pictured, from left:  Cherie Arnette, FCSS President and Marianne Nelson, SLS teacher
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios
Executive Director of Finance and Performance James Drake Receives FASBO Award
James Drake, Mark Porter, and Andy Griffiths
The Florida Association of School Business Officials (FASBO) awarded its eighth annual Outstanding Business Official award to Jim Drake, Executive Director of Finance and Performance of Monroe County Schools at the 50th Annual conference held at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. The award recognizes an outstanding FASBO member who exemplifies professionalism, leadership and innovation in the field of school business management. In addition, the winner will be recognized by the Southeastern Association of School Business Officials (SASBO) at their annual conference in April 2017. A team of past Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) Eagle Award recipients from SASBO will assist the winner in preparing an application for the ASBO International Eagle or Pinnacle awards.
Pictured:  James Drake, Superintendent Mark Porter, and Mr. Andy Griffiths, School Board Chairman.  Mr. Drake was recognized for the award by Superintendent  Porter and Chairman Griffiths at the Oct. 25th Board Meeting.

Photo courtesy of Theresa Axford

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.
October 2016

PKS GEMS awardee
Remorna Ochoa
 Plantation Key School

KLS GEMS Awardee
Paul Mosczynski
Key Largo School
Click Here to view the GEMS web page and see the latest MCSD GEMS for 2016-17!  

Monroe Computes Offers Laptops
Brand new laptop computers are available to all Monroe County students enrolling in Advanced Placement Computer Science (AP CS) at the Florida Virtual School (FLVS).  

“This is a new initiative from COMPUTE$,” according to John Padget, representing the sponsoring foundation. “Some students are ready to acquire additional computing skills and we want to help.”

For detailed information about this new initiative from Monroe/ COMPUTE$, please read this press release.

CareerSource South Florida Work Readiness Course
Students receiving course certificates
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

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