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Happy Holidays!

Monroe County School District schools and offices will be closed for Winter Break from Monday, December 22, 2014 through Friday, January 2, 2015.  Monday, January 5th is a Professional Day. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.


3rd Annual KeysSchools Technology Expo - 1/31/15

Lots of great things are happening with technology at schools in the Monroe County School District, and it's time to come and see what your colleagues are doing!  MCSD teachers and staff are invited to the 3rd Annual KeysSchools Technology Expo: Digital Learning in Monroe County beginning at 9:00 AM on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at Marathon High School. District teachers, along with some of our vendors and educational partners, will be presenting breakout sessions on a variety of topics including coding, STEM projects, Reflex, Edmodo, The Paperless Classroom, Animoto, and iPads in the classroom.    

Register on My Learning Plan for the Expo (keyword: expo) and join us on Saturday, January 31st!
MCSD Partners with Monroe COMPUTE$
The Monroe County School District participated in the Hour of Code which is a global movement to reach tens of millions of students in over 180 countries. The Hour of Code is a one hour introduction to computer science where the basic components of coding are introduced. In Monroe County, several schools participated including Poinciana Elementary School. Mrs. Albury’s fifth grade class partnered with Mrs. Sawyer’s class to teach other fifth grade students a lesson on coding. Mrs. Albury’s entire class completed a certification in the Hour of Code. The fifth grade students taught lessons throughout the week in many grades including first grade.
Mr. John Padget, the founder of the Monroe COMPUTE$ program which provides grants to all Monroe County students who successfully earn credentials in computer science during the 2014- 2015 school year was present to observe the coding lesson. "I was so happy to watch the coding being done by Mrs. Albury's 5th graders," John Padget, Vice-Chair of Florida's State Board of Education said. "Her students will be fully qualified for computer science courses offered under the Monroe COMPUTE$ banner as they progress into middle school next year." Mr. Padget and Mr. Dekker pledged $100,000 in financial support to create a “computing platform” of courses and certificates in Monroe County.
Superintendent Mark Porter stated, “The importance of coding is an initiative that is sweeping across the country. It is exciting to see efforts such as Mrs. Albury’s and her fifth grade students leading the way in Monroe County. This is yet another great example of Charting the Course to Excellence!”

Additional information is available at

Top Photo:  Mrs. Albury’s 5th grade class proudly displaying their coding certification  
Right Photo:  Mr. John Padget, Vice-Chair of Florida's State Board of Education intently looks on as this fifth grade student masterfully performs coding


Hour of Code

Students and teachers district-wide recently participated in the Hour of Code, a global movement for students to spend an hour learning how to write code, from kindergartners in Mrs. Caputo's class at Key Largo School to fifth graders in Mrs. Albury's class at Poinciana Elementary (Key West), and everyone in between!  If your class participated in the Hour of Code, please send your photos to Barbara Cavanah to be included in this slideshow!

(Flash player required for viewing)

2013-2014 High School Grades Released

The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the release of the 2013-2014 preliminary high school grades as reported by the Florida Department of Education. 

In 2013-2014, three out of four Monroe County high schools received a "B" rating and one high school received a "C." Coral Shores High School, Key West High School, and Marathon Middle-High School each achieved a "B" distinction, while Key West Collegiate High School was rated a "C."

Marathon Middle-High’s grade of "B" represents a one letter grade improvement from 2012-2013 while Coral Shores and Key West High remained a "B" in the state’s school grading system. Coral Shores High School attained a point total that would have qualified them for an "A" rating, but were reduced one letter grade based on one of the designated subgroup measures, at-risk student graduation rate.

The system for grading Florida’s high schools was altered for 2013-2014 resulting in 14% fewer high schools achieving "A" status. "As more schools earn grades of A and B, the grading scale is adjusted upward to encourage continued improvement," stated a release from the Commissioner of Education’s office.

"In light of the higher grading scale I am proud of our Monroe County High Schools for their performance in 2013-2014.  In particular, the efforts of Marathon Middle-High School, to move from a "C" to a "B" under such circumstances is commendable” states Superintendent Mark Porter, "These results are not a surprise to us as we track very closely the academic performance and progress of our students.  As always, we will continue to use these results to inform and guide our improvement efforts."

Additional information is available at the Florida Department of Education website at
Thank You, KWHS Culinary Students!
Key West High School Culinary Arts students along with their teacher visited the Administration Building to act as servers for the Staff Luncheon that was held at the school district.  Santa visited too and posed for a picture with the KWHS team. The luncheon was made so much better with these talented students assisting with serving the food. A great time was had by all and Santa assured us the “coal” would not be in these students stockings!
Notice of Meetings

A Workshop/Special Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the Marathon High School Media Center, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon. A Closed Attorney/Client Session will be held in the cases of Coastal v. MCSD, MCSD v. Coastal and Tetour v. MCSD. In attendance may be the Board, the Superintendent, and attorneys Dirk Smits, Scott Black and Theron Simmons in addition to a court reporter.
A Regular Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm at the A.J. Henriquez Adm. Complex, 241 Trumbo Road, Key West. A Public Hearing on the adoption of Policies and/or Job Descriptions will 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 will meet on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at 4:00 PM.  The meeting will take place at the A. J. Henriquez Administrative Building, 241 Trumbo Road, Key West, with videoconferencing available at Marathon High School and Key Largo School.

Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Monroe County School District will host its 2nd Annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, January 24, 2015, at Stanley Switlik Elementary. School-level science fairs were held earlier in the school year and outstanding science projects are advancing to the district level competition. Students in grades 6-12 from all regions of the Florida Keys will represent their schools in the Monroe Regional Science Fair. Grand winners in grades 6-12 will advance to the state competition in Lakeland, FL on March 31st, April 1st and 2nd, 2015.

Date:  Saturday, January 24, 2015
Location:  Stanley Switlik Elementary School Cafeteria
Time:  9:00 AM  Judging Begins
2:00 PM  Open to Public  
4:00 PM  Award Ceremony

Students will compete at the Junior and Senior levels,  awards will be provided for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and honorable mention in each category:

A huge thanks to Mr. Brett Unke, Switlik principal, for hosting the event and to all school science fair coordinators!

Contact Courtney Oliver, Science Supervisor/Coordinator for any additional information, , (305)293-1400 ext. 53365

Sugarloaf School Family Reading Night
Families joined together at Sugarloaf school on the evening of Friday, December 12th to celebrate the holidays with a Family Reading night.  They also participated in craft projects relating to reading.

Twelve "Sponsor a Classroom" Award Recipients Named

The Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union proudly announces the recipients of the 2014-2015 Sponsor A Classroom Initiative. Each of the 12 recipients was awarded $250 for use in their classrooms. A formal announcement will be made at the January 27th School Board meeting in Key West. All award recipients are encouraged to attend. The Monroe County School District is pleased to continue their community partnership with the Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union in endeavors which support our staff and ultimately our students.
Thank you, Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union! Congratulations to the award recipients!
The winners are:

ExxonMobil Grant Recipients
The ExxonMobil Education Alliance Program awarded $1,500 in grants to three Lower Keys schools. Gerald Adams Elementary, Key West High, and Poinciana Elementary each received a $500 grant from ExxonMobil. Dion Oil representatives Gilda Niles and Kristie Hernandez presented the grants to the recipients during a presentation at the Dion Oil Company Office on December 9, 2014.  The grants will be used to help support and enhance programs with emphasis on math and science in the schools.
ExxonMobil Education Alliance grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Gilda Niles of Dion Oil works with ExxonMobil to secure the Education Alliance Grants for schools through the company’s marketing area. This year ExxonMobil awarded four thousand $500 grants to schools throughout the country for a total of $2 million.
This program is designed to provide Exxon and Mobil Retailers, as well as distributors like Dion Oil Company, with an opportunity to invest in the future of their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools.  ExxonMobil believes that, as members of the community, local retailers and distributors are best qualified to work with local educators to help identify schools and programs most in need of support.  ExxonMobil is pleased to fund this very important program at a time when budgets for our schools do not always provide for some of the most critical needs.

Lower Keys Students at the South Florida Symphony Concert
Lower Keys elementary students enjoyed the South Florida Symphony Concert on December 4th at the Key West High School Auditorium. Before the concert began, musicians walked through the KWHS auditorium greeting students by playing their instruments and answering students' questions. In preparation for the concert, musicians Donna Wissinger and Joy Myers visited with over 3000 students in their schools to share with them the stories behind the music, the composers and the melodies that would be played during the concert. The students were thrilled with the wonderful music and showed their enthusiasm with much applause and great attention throughout the performance.

The Symphony program is sponsored through a partnership with the South Florida Symphony, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and Monroe County Schools. A warm thank you goes to Maestra Sebrina Maria Alphonso, Music Director of the South Florida Symphony and the Symphony musicians.  Special thanks also to Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Liz Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and Jacqueline Lorber, Executive Director of the South Florida Symphony who coordinated the event. And a standing ovation goes to Randy Fabal, Director of Transportation and all the bus drivers who brought the students to the concert.
KWHS Student Selected for Florida Youth Commission
Morgan Denhart, a senior at Key West High School, is currently serving on the Florida Youth Commission, a group of statewide youth leaders who work with the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet.  Morgan's distinguished selection was based on leadership and achievement.  She participates in monthly conference calls on topics related to youth and academic achievement of students.  Morgan is pictured with Zackary Gibson, Chief Child Advocate and Director with the Governor’s Office, and  KWHS Principal Amber Bosco.
District Sunshine State Scholar

Superintendent of Schools Mark T. Porter has announced that Seth Landry from Marathon High School will represent the Monroe County School District at the Sunshine State Scholars Program in February 2015. Each year the local high schools nominate a junior who is distinguished in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to be their representative as the District Sunshine State Scholar. One outstanding student represents each high school, and the three nominees were Natalia Gonzalez from Coral Shores High School, Kevin Coward from Key West High School, and Seth Landry from Marathon High School.
From the three outstanding students, this year’s committee has selected Seth Landry from Marathon High School as the 2014-2015 Monroe County Sunshine State Scholar.  Seth Landry currently has a 4.52 weighted GPA.  “Research is what I wish to pursue, because everything begins with research in order to find the problems and their solutions,” stated Landry. “There are so many unanswered mysteries, and as progress moves forward, even more appear. I want to be able to understand them, know where they are and what they do, and apply it all towards new discoveries so I can solve these problems.”
Superintendent Mark Porter commented, “Seth Landry is a truly exemplary representative of the Monroe County Schools in the Sunshine State Scholar program.  Seth’s accomplishments at Marathon High School and throughout his career are a tribute to his ability and work ethic, and a tribute to his supportive parents and teachers as well.  We are proud of Seth Landry and his accomplishments.  Congratulations!”
The District scholar, parents, and a teacher who has had a significant influence will be invited to travel to Orlando for a two-day program. (Click here for additional information)
Congratulations to all three students who also will be recognized for their outstanding achievement at a School Board Meeting held in their area.
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.

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

Everybody Writes!
District Teachers recently participated in a "train the trainer" session on the District's new writing initiative, "Everybody Writes."  The concept behind the program is to afford students opportunities to write in all subject areas prompted by questions that the teachers create to start and throughout the development of the lesson. Using this strategy, students are able to get thoughts together on the content being taught. Because the process requires students to put their thinking in writing, it prepares them for the new FSA Writing Assessment, which requires assimilation of materials to develop an essay based on the student’s interpretation of the materials. The strategy can be used across all content areas. Those being trained will share the information with teachers throughout the district.

"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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