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District News
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.  

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!  

EPIC Subcommittee Meeting

The Monroe County School District EPIC Subcommittee’s next meeting has been scheduled as follows:
Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Interested participants may enjoin either by:
  1. contacting the Monroe County School District’s Department of Human Resources at 305.293.1400 (ext. 53328) for details
  2. or by visiting the site(s) below at the meeting time specified above:
Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon – All visitors are asked to inquire/sign-in at front office
The public is welcomed.
Keys Community Concert Band Mentors Students in Upper Keys Schools
Keys Community Concert Band will host talented young musicians from Plantation Key School, Coral Shores HS and Key Largo Middle School for this month’s Pops in the Park concert. Under the baton of Hulber Gagliardini, students are playing instruments alongside adults. They are learning faster technique, better intonation, and musical expression but even more important, they are learning that music can be a lifelong journey! Each will receive a tuner/metronome and a small sum of money to spend on “anything musical." One high school senior will receive the Gershwin Award which honors commitment and dedication to music, and one senior will receive the John Phillip Sousa College Scholarship Award as they continue with music education in college. The concert is Saturday, April 30 from 4:00 - 5:00 PM at Founders Park in Islamorada.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of Susan Bazin
Supplement Subcommittee Meetings

The Monroe County School District Supplement Subcommittee meetings have been scheduled for the following days:
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 4 - 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 4 - 6:00 p.m.
The meetings will be held in a virtual environment.
Interested participants may enjoin either by:
  1. contacting the Monroe County School District’s Department of Human Resources at 305.293.1400 (ext. 53328) for details
  2. or by visiting one of the sites below at the meeting time specified above. 
MCSD Administrative Building, 241 Trumbo Road Key West - Department of Human Resources
Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon – Inquire/Sign-in at front office
Plantation Key K-8 School, 100 Lake Road, Tavernier – Inquire/Sign-in at front office
Key Largo K-8 School, 104801 Overseas Highway, Ley Largo – Inquire/Sign-in at front office
The public is welcomed.
School Library Month
This April, by the Governor’s proclamation, we celebrate and recognize the programs, services, and resources school libraries provide.  Students have access to beautiful facilities, a wealth of resources, and dedicated library media professionals.  School librarians make a significant contribution to student achievement by; providing access to a variety of media, assisting students and teachers with the use of new and emerging technologies, collaborating with other educators, and promoting literacy and the enjoyment of reading.  School libraries are at the center of literacy, technology, and learning initiatives.  Please take this opportunity to visit your school library.  For more information about school libraries please visit the Library Learning Commons page.
Strategies for Addressing Language and Communication

Parents and professionals are invited to participate in this training from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). Dr. Diane Adreon will share Strategies for Addressing Language and Communication highlighting practical ideas that will help parents and teachers communicate effectively with students with autism. Join us at Poinciana Elementary School in the media center at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, May 11th.

Charting the Course to Excellence: Thank You for Your Support

Twice in the past 18 months the electorate of Monroe County has approved the renewal of financial resources for the Monroe County Schools.  In November 2014, 64% of the voters approved a ten year extension of a ½ cent sales tax for capital projects, technology and school security, and more recently on March 15th nearly 72% of the voters approved a four year renewal of a ½ mill to be used for operating expenses.  Both of these initiatives provide essential resources for the Monroe County Schools and our continued efforts to "Chart the Course to Excellence."  I am truly grateful to the public and the communities of Monroe County for their continued trust in and support of the Monroe County Schools.  On behalf of myself, the School Board and most importantly the employees, students and families of the Monroe County Schools I say THANK YOU!
The flip side of trust is accountability and that is what we, the Monroe County Schools, owe to you for your continued expression of trust and support.  I encourage and expect you to hold us accountable for the use of the resources you have provided.  I can promise you that we will invest these resources wisely.  We will invest the capital resources provided in buildings you can be proud of that operate efficiently and support 21st century learning, in technology that leads to improved student achievement, and in necessary measures to assure student and staff safety.  The operating resources of the .5 mill will allow us to continue to provide reasonable compensation to our employees, to maintain the breadth and quality of programs that our communities expect and to introduce new initiatives that will keep our students competitive in an increasingly global economy.  These are promises made that are promises to be kept.
In 2014-2015 we advanced our ranking among the 67 school districts in the State of Florida from #23 to #14.  In 2015-2016 we hope to continue this pattern of growth and improvement.  None of this would be possible without the continued trust and support of our communities.  Again, thank you.
Mark T. Porter
Superintendent of Schools

Youth Leaders Attend PeaceJam Leadership Conference at FSU

Keys to Be the Change Youth Leaders from Key West High School and Marathon Middle/High School recently attended the annual PeaceJam Leadership Conference at Florida State University. They met Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum from Guatemala.
Pictured from Key West (from left): Kelsey Morris, Dayana Flores, Tony Vo, Gabriela Sonzogni, Keylin Castro, Bertrand Noel, Brunia Polynice, Raven Niekerk, Paula Lundi, Marie Altidor,Angena Pierre, Dahana Polynice, Frank Moreno, and Lachele Hassen
Pictured from Marathon HS: Gardine Raymond, Delma Vega, Gwen Rohe, Milly Cruz, Takara McNight, Aron Prieto, Jordy Mejia, John Sheagren, Reynaldo Quintana, Abby Franck, Yennifer Alpizar, Chase Taylor, Drew Baker, Yanay Ferral, Devyn Wenger, Taquoia Walker, Samantha Maqueira, Delaina Ross, Vivian Maqueira, and Jasmine Fernandez

Photos courtesy of Heidi Golightly
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
Sugarloaf Student Council
Congratulations to Sugarloaf School's Middle School Student Council!  Ten delegates from Sugarloaf School attended the State Conference this year held in Pompano Beach, Florida, with our council being one of the recipients of a Gold Medallion Award!  The Medallion Award is an overall picture of a school’s student government/student council. It is a complete look at a council's activity including their constitution, agendas and minutes from meetings and compilation of a number of completed projects.  In order to receive a Gold Award, Student Council members had to complete at least one project in each of the ten (10) FASC project categories. Council members completed the following projects to receive the award: Mail Call (letters to veterans), Sole Hope (service project which including making denim shoes for children in Uganda), anti-litter schoolwide campaign, faculty/staff rewards, numerous fundraising projects, presentation from Daliana Goins, spokesperson for Lauren's Walk, membership recruitment booth, participation at fun run/walk in honor of Mr. Smoot, and along with our elementary Student Council purchased a plane ticket for one veteran to fly to Washington, D.C. (Honor Flight of South Florida).  Delegates attending the State Conference were: Sophia Block, Sarah Centonze, Mercedes DaSilva, Eileen Ellington, Stryder Graft, Stefen Serra, Carli Sweeney, James Valkipour, Linsey Wilkins, Zoe Winemiller, Advisor Janet Vazquez and Co-Advisor Kevin Walden.  Way to go Middle School Student Council!!

Photo courtesy of Janet Vasquez
MCSD Students are Earning Industry Certifications

The Monroe County School District Division of Career and Adult Education congratulates Patricia, William, Christian, Hunter, Kiersten, Nicholas, and Ariadna for passing their IC3 Key Applications exam and earning their first industry certification.  With the support of their teacher, Phillip Baucom, these 7th graders have worked countless hours to ensure student success and understanding. The IC3 Digital Literacy program ensure that students are prepared to succeed in a technology-based world. IC3 Global Standard 4 (GS4) exam objectives are aligned with today's most current technologies and relevant digital literacy requirements, including social media, collaboration, and cloud computing concepts. The GS4 certification is comprised of three individual exams and is designed to validate competency in three key areas: Computing Fundamentals, Living Online, and Key Applications. This is the first year this opportunity has been provided to middle schoolers and there are currently 10 students districtwide who have earned this certification.  We expect to have more 6th and 7th grade students certify before the end of the school year.  

Key West Sunrise Rotary Supports Project ACCESS
Key West Sunrise Rotary President Jim Scholl presents a $1000 donation to Monroe County Special Education Director Dr. Lesley Thompson and Transition Specialist Linda Diaz for Project ACCESS, a partnership between the school district and Florida Keys Community College that assists intellectually-challenged young adults seeking academic, career and technical education. Also pictured are Sunrise Rotarians Chris DeLisle (FKCC resident life coordinator), Mark Porter (MCSD superintendent) and Hal Barrett (sponsor).

Flying with the Blue Angels

Superintendent Mark Porter and Key West High School Principal Amber Archer Bosco got the ride of a lifetime when they had a VIP flight with Blue Angel Lt. Tyler Davies. The Blue Angels are in town for their weekend air show and the ride along provided a glimpse of what it’s like to be in the plane as they do their maneuvers. Principal Bosco said, "It was an amazing experience and we are grateful to the Navy and the Blue Angels for the opportunity."

Pictured with Superintendet Porter:  Jerry Burgess (Sr. KWHS), Morgan McPherson (5th Grade Poinciana) and Tommy Highsmith (5th grade Poinciana).

Photos courtesy of Amber Archer Bosco and Mark Porter
John Padget, Vice Chair of the State Board of Education, came to speak to Raymond Archer's Computing for College and Careers classes to reiterate the importance of studying coding and computer science based on job trends. He brought Shawn Verne and Steve Wainstead, guest speakers from the IT industry, to help students gather a better understanding of what technology careers entail. During the visit, Mr. Padget awarded checks to 13 students who successfully passed certification exams to become Microsoft Office 2013 Specialists in Excel, PowerPoint and Word. The money awarded to the students comes from the COMPUTE$ grant that seeks to help our students compete globally in computer science. In addition to providing critical employment skills, three college credits at a Florida college or university may be awarded to the students who earn these three certifications. Once students pass all three exams, they will begin to train to become Microsoft Office Master Specialists. There are currently 396 students enrolled in this course work districtwide. As of this week, 439 certifications have been earned district wide and we expect that number to continue to increase before the end of the academic year.

Pictured, left to right:  (front row) Shawn Verne, Megan Atwell, Jakob Dekker, Jared Hensley, Jake Steely, Maelyn Maratita, Anna Swiecicka, Nick Pirainio, Sydney Hamilton, Antonio Fernandez Cardenas, John Padget, Mark Porter, (back row) Tommy Morales, Dale Michaud, Steve Wainstead, Tyler Gerich, Don Ellington, Raymond Archer, Nikola Pavlicek , Bobby Highsmith
Photo courtesy of Anne Murphy

Horace O'Bryant Students Visit Sea Camp

Ten of HOB’s 4th grade students enjoyed an incredible learning experience at Sea Camp this week.  Superintendent Mark Porter stopped by to see them off on their three-day adventure. Students learned about shark biology, data analysis, mangrove research, squid dissection, and so much more!

KWHS at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl
Key West High School students recently participated in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl competition in Fort Pierce, Florida at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. This was KWHS's first ever competition team, and  the students won two competitions at the event. Their teacher Pedro Laza said, "Our team showed true conch spirit while competing. This was a great opportunity for students to meet some of the top researchers in the marine science field. Furthermore, the students learned a lot from this experience and even made friends from other competing teams. I am really proud on how they did overall and I feel that next year, KWHS will be one of the top teams in the competition! Go Conchs!"
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.
Mock Trial Team
Coral Shores High School will be representing the 16th Judicial Circuit at the state mock trial competition on March 17th.  Team members are  (left to right)  Morgan Besterman,  Sam Kraus, Cody Dickerson, Daniel Walker, Sacha Franks, Jakob Pooley and Carlos Martinez.  The team is coached by Assistant State Attorney Johnathon Raiche.

Photo courtesy of Mary Jo Fry

Monroe County Students Participate in the Florida House of Representatives Page and Messenger Program

Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) was visited by students from the Keys as part of the Florida House of Representatives Page and Messenger Program. The students pictured above - clockwise, from upper left: Julie Powers (KLS), Tessa Eggers (KWHS), Emilia Havlicek (Basilica School), and Blake Shillinger (KWHS) - had opportunities to experience the goings-on in the Capital.  According to Representative Raschein they had, "a once in a lifetime experience to get an up close view of state government in action."

Click here to read Representative Raschein's press release.

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)

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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