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District News
Presidents Day

Monroe County School District schools and district offices will be closed on Monday, February 15th in observance of Presidents Day.


Student Services Recognition

In recognition of Student Services Week, the MCSD Exceptional Student Education Department would like to spotlight Alex Sorrentino, guidance counselor from Gerald Adams School.  Ms. Sorrentino works tirelessly for students and provides counseling to those in need and social skill development for all classes.  She has been instrumental in implementing Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and taking the school to a gold award in year one.  GAE Principal Frannie Herrin says, “She is amazing and gets results."

National School Counseling Week

Monroe County School Counselors would like to thank our colleagues, supporters, and friends for recognizing our efforts to positively impact our schools and our district. Please take a few minutes to watch, listen, and learn more about school counselors, and while you do, try to spot some familiar faces of the Monroe County School District School Counselors.
Together, we will succeed in "Charting the Course to Excellence in the Monroe County Schools!"
Civil War Heritage Days
The roar of cannon fire and the sight of soldiers in Civil War uniforms greeted 5th grade students from across the district on Friday, February 5th at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park to celebrate Civil War Heritage Days.  

Re-enactors in period costume depicted military personnel, craftsmen, musicians and civilians of the era. Students were able watch staged military maneuvers, view period crafts demonstrations and learn what soldiers' lives were like in the 1860s.

Photo courtesy of Yvette Toledo 
Keys To Be the Change Celebrates Literacy Week

Keys to Be the Change, a project of the Monroe County School District, celebrated Literacy Week with youth leaders from both Key West High School and Marathon High School. They mentor "littles" with the M.O.R.E. (Mentors Optimizing Reading Excellence) Program each week during the school year.  Students meet weekly after school for 45 minutes with their mentees at Poinciana Elementary, Horace O'Bryant Elementary and Marathon Middle School. 
Brunia Polynice, junior at Key West HS, mentoring at Poinciana Elementary with Joseph Jardines

Malika Devilme, senior at Key West HS, meeting at HOB Elementary with Luna Moreno

Reynaldo Quintana, junior at Marathon HS, mentoring at Marathon Middle School with Nicodemus Scalla


Notice of Meetings

A Workshop and Special Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 3:00 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. A Closed Attorney Session will be held concerning the cases Jane Doe 123 v. the Monroe County School Board and Jane Doe 124 v. the Monroe County School Board. In attendance may be the Board Members, Superintendent Porter, attorneys Dirk Smits, Scott Black and Theron Simmons and a court reporter.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 3:00 P.M. the Board will hold a Regular Business 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.
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.
EPIC Meeting

The Monroe County School District Educational Performance Incentive Compensation (EPIC) Committee traditionally meets each 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Our next EPIC Committee meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2016, from 4 - 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held via at the following locations via teleconference.
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, Key Largo - Inquire at front office
The public is welcomed.

Safety Day at Sugarloaf School
Sugarloaf School hosted its second annual "Safety Day" on Friday, January 29, 2016. Safety Day allows for students to learn about the many careers such as Police and Fire Rescue that serves to protect the community and its people. The students at Sugarloaf had the honor of speaking with the Monroe County Fire Department and Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office brought with them the Bomb Squad, the S.W.A.T Team, the Dive Team (Search and Rescue), and the K-9 Unit. Farmer Jeanne from the Monroe County Sheriff Office Animal Farm, the Equestrian Unit from the Key West Police Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Trauma Star, and the Florida Highway Patrol were also in attendance. The students also had the privilege of watching the S.W.A.T Team and the K-9 Unit do a live demonstration. A great learning day was had by all.

Celebrate Literacy Week 2016
A few highlights from Celebrate Literacy Week:
Second Graders at Switlik Elementary School were read to by local firefighters.
Marathon Middle High School students experienced reading and writing with therapy dogs.
Primary students at Key Largo School dressed as their favorite book characters.
Plantation Key students explored their Ebook collection in the Media Center.
School-wide activities included "Stop Drop & Read," Celebrity Ready Day and an Oral Reading Bee.
Total minutes read on Tuesday = 449,960 (new MCSD record)
Total numbers of books in Learning Commons = 154.506

Tech News
As stated by Joy Nulisch, MCSD IT Director, "Santa might have headed back to the North Pole but he left some great technology for our students and staff." These pictures, from Gerald Adams Elementary, Horace O'Bryant School and Key Largo School show just some of the 641 Chromebooks being delivered and distributed to students. These devices are part of a student literacy effort and will be deployed in a manner that follows the successful pilot at Sugarloaf School with 1:1 opportunities for 5th grade students. In addition, Phase II of our staff refresh provided 675 new devices for middle school and elementary staff. Exciting times in the IT Department and for our students and staff!!

MCSD Teacher of the Year

Superintendent Mark T. Porter is pleased to announce HOB teacher Nicole Smith as Monroe County's Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Smith currently teaches 7th and 8th grade math at HOB School. She holds a Master's Degree in Special Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Nicole has been teaching at HOB since 2013. She also taught at Key Largo Elementary School. 

Click here for the Superintendent's press release.

Exxon Mobil Grant
Key West High School was one of five schools honored to receive a $500 grant from Exxon Mobil through our local Dion's Quik Marts.  Gilda Niles, from Dion's Oil, awarded the schools with their checks. The Educational Alliance, through Exxon Mobil, has a long history of supporting educational programs that focus on improvements  in education, fundamentally by encouraging the next generation to pursue studies and careers in fields involving math and science. The receiving schools appreciate Mrs. Niles, Dion's Quik Marts and Exxon Mobil for their efforts in promoting academic excellence for our students. 

Pictured, from left: Mike Henriquez (HOB), Amber Archer Bosco (KWHS), Leslie Holmes (Poinciana), Mrs. Gilda Niles of Dion’s and Fran Herrin (GAE)

Photo courtesy of Amber Archer Bosco

Monroe County School District Students Are Nationally Recognized for Talent
The Monroe County School District Division of Career and Adult congratulates Firdavs Yuldashev, T.J. Nitti, Chase Farris, Hannah Brown and Darren Thompson for their successful work this fall and proven talent and dedication to their respected crafts. Yuldashev became the National Champion in Literary Magazine Illustration at the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Nationals in November. The team of Nitti, Farris, Brown and Thompson earned 2nd place in the nation from the Student Television and Network Challenge for their PSA submission about Internet safety. The students are all enrolled in Ed Smith’s class at Key West High School. 
For more information, please contact the MCSD Division of Adult Education offices at (305) 293-1400 (ext. 54420) or email

Monroe County Academic Challenge
Congratulations to the Key West High School Academic Challenge Team, the 1st Place winners in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Tuesday, January 11 at Marathon HS.  Marathon High School was the 2nd place team and Coral Shores High School 3rd place.  Key West High School will represent Monroe County in the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge in Orlando on April 21-23, 2016.  Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition as well.

Pictured, from left:  Betsy Ford (KWHS team coach), Olivia Johnson, Eric Higbie, Brian Coward, Jessica O'Farrill, Jarod Barnhart, Jill Hutcheson, and MCSD Superintendent Mark Porter.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios
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)

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.

November 2015 GEMS
Poinciana Elementary Odyssey of the Mind Team

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

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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