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District News
Congratulations to Kellie Niles!

Each year the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD) awards individuals who have made a significant contribution to making our community a better place for individuals with autism and related disabilities. This year, Monroe County School District ESE Staffing Specialist (formerly the District Transition Specialist) Kellie Niles is a recipient of UM-NSU CARD's Outstanding Educator's Award. Kellie has helped connect many families in the keys with CARD services and other community resources and has organized trainings for families and professionals. 

April is Library Media Month
April is School Library Media Month, and an opportunity for schools and the local community to celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student's education. School libraries provide many services such as supporting curriculum through related multimedia projects, research, and technology integration. They work with other educators to coordinate reading clubs, book fairs, book drives, and exchanges. They promote statewide reading initiatives such as Literacy Week, the Florida Reading Association Children's book Award, Sunshine State Young Readers, and Florida Teens Read. By far the most important of all of these activities is the crucial role school media personnel play in fostering a life-long love of reading and learning by providing children with access to relevant, quality literature in both print and digital formats.  Happy Library Media Month!  

Click here to read the Governor's Proclamation.


School Board Workshop & Meeting

A Workshop & Regular Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 beginning at 3:00 PM at the Marathon High School Media Center, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon. A Public Hearing regarding the adoption of policies and/or job descriptions may be held. A Closed Attorney/Client Session will be held in the case of A.B. v. MCSB case 15-CA-59K. In attendance may be the Board, the Superintendent, and school district attorneys Dirk Smits, Scott Black and Theron Simmons in addition to a court reporter.
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.
Conchette Capers

21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC)

Monroe County School District and community partners are submitting a proposal for the 21st CCLC grant opportunity. The purpose of the program is the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during after school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low performing schools. The program helps:
  • helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math;
  • offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and
  • offers literacy and other educational services to families of participating children.
Private school children are eligible to participate if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Nancy Romain
Grants Supervisor/Coordinator
305-293-1400 ext 53364
EPIC Meeting
The Monroe County School District Educational Performance Incentive Compensation (EPIC) Committee meets each 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. The upcoming meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 9 - 11:30a.m has been cancelled.
The EPIC Committee will reconvene at the next regularly scheduled meeting time (9 - 11:30a.m) on Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon, Florida in room 6209.
The public is welcomed.
Notice of School Board Meetings

A Workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the Coral Shores High School Media Center, 89901 Overseas Highway, Tavernier. A Public Hearing regarding the adoption of policies and/or job descriptions may be held. A Closed Attorney/Client Session will be held in the case of MCSD v. R. Smith, et al, 14-CA52AK, 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, April 28, 2015 at 5:00 pm at the Marathon High School Media Center, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon. 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.
60th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair 2015 Results

Monroe County School District entered seven students into the 60th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair held in Lakeland, FL on March 31 - April 2, 2015. All Monroe students met the rigorous requirements to qualify for participation in the state competition. Our students performed well for MCSD's second time appearance in the competition, with 3 of the 7 students receiving awards and recognitions in the competition. 
Senior Competition
Isaiah Green
Key West Collegiate Academy
Electricity:  Monitoring More with Less  
Kyris Matula
​Key West Collegiate Academy
Reef Shield  
Andie Devitt
Marathon High School
Junior Competition
Grade Matthews
Plantation Key School
Bubble Life  
Nathan Barroso
​Horace O'Bryant School
Swimming in Acid: The Effects of Ocean Acidification $25 Cash, Pasco Regional Science Fair
Recognition Award: Environmental Science
Atlantis Hofstetter
Treasure Village Montessori
Plastic Tides Third Place Finish: Environmental Science
Sophie Williams
Treasure Village Montessori
The Algal Bloom Advantage $100 Cash, Florida Museum of Natural History
Recognition Award:  Botany
Pictured, Front Row (from left):  Nathan Barroso, Atlantis Hoffstetter, Grace Matthews, Sophie Williams
Back Row:  Kyris Matula, Andie Devitt, Isaiah Green

Photo courtesy of Sarah Maschal

Audit & Finance Committee Meeting

The MCSD Audit and Finance Committee meeting originally scheduled for Monday, April 6, 2015, has been postponed until May 4, 2015.  The meeting will be held at Marathon High School Room 6209 at 9:30 AM - 11;30 AM.

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

Microsoft Office Certified!

Chase Alsobrooks-Floyd is the first student in the 2014-2015 school year to certify as a Microsoft Office Specialist in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Chase is a 7th grader in Jennifer Falconer's class at Horace O'Bryant School. Chase was determined to become a Microsoft Office Specialist and routinely asked Mrs. Falconer when he could test because he wanted to be the first.  His dedication had him coming to the Adult Education Center to test for his Word certification on a Saturday morning in January.  He completed his 50 minute Excel and PowerPoint certification exams with at least 15 minutes to spare! Chase is very knowledgeable with this IT content and willingly helps his classmates as they work through the Microsoft applications. Chase’s determination, dedication and drive are inspiring. Congratulations to Chase Alsobrooks-Floyd for attaining Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
Congratulations to KWHS Singers!
On Tuesday, March 3rd, the Key West High School Chorus participated in the District 16 Chorus MPA (Music Performance Assessment) at Dr. Michael Krop High School in Miami. The Conchs again swept the ratings as the Conch Singers (mixed). The VIP's (Men's) and the Mistys (women's) all were awarded straight superior ratings, garnering 35 "A's" and one "B+" out of the possible 36 scores. Key West High has averaged 3 Superior choruses for the past eight years, putting the  program in the top 1% of the State of Florida.
KLS Band Excels!

The Key Largo School Advanced Band students earned top honors with five superiors at Florida Bandmaster Association Music Performance Assessment last Saturday.  Three on-stage pieces (listening links below), sightreading and student conductor, Cara Erickson.  #amazinglytalentedstudents!
Reflex Contest Winners

News from Horace O'Bryant School
Breaking News: The Cat in the Hat, along with Thing 1 and Thing 2, entered the Horace O'Bryant School cafeteria on Monday, March 2nd. Fortunately, they were not there to cause any trouble! They assured Mr. Henriquez, HOB Principal, that they were simply stopping by to get the students excited for the Seuss Birthday Celebration. Many teachers and students wore shirts or accessories that honored Dr. Seuss. Students throughout the elementary building and Media Center enjoyed reading, doing Seuss-related activities and exploring For example, all kindergarten and first grade students designed hats and participated in writing activities. We even heard that the students in Ms. Anderson's class made some "Seuss Soup" complete with truffula seeds, "hop on pop"corn, and, of course, one fish, two fish.

Student Lifesavers
Key West High School is excited to share that there are now have 27 new lifesavers on campus! Members of Mr. Jimmy Forbus' Health Career classes have studied, practiced and prepared for the CPR test and thanks to Brynn Morey and Keith Harris of FL Keys AHEC, they had the opportunity to officially test for the certification. Twenty-seven students passed and are now officially CPR certified. "It was fantastic to watch these kids in action," said Mr. Forbus. "Hopefully, they will never have to use it but I’m confident in their ability to make a difference should the need arise."

Coral Shores HS Teacher Selected as Monroe County Schools' Teacher of the Year
Mr. Wellington "Todd" Gideon, Science Teacher at Coral Shores High School was chosen as Monroe County School District's 2015 Teacher of the Year for his immeasurable contributions to the lives of hundreds of students and families.  A former student wrote "...Simply put, once upon a time you (Mr. Gideon) took the effort to try to inspire a below average student, and it has made all the difference, for that I am eternally grateful."  Mr. Gideon inspired that student to successfully pursue and earn a Ph.D.
Mr. Gideon started his teaching career in 1993 as a Science and Mathematics teacher in Jackson, Michigan.  In 1995, he found his way to the Florida Keys and has been teaching at Coral Shores, where he has become a highly skilled and respected professional member of the Coral Shores team.  During his tenure at Coral Shores, Mr. Gideon has taught Physical Science, Principles of Technology, CPO Physics, Earth Space Science and Earth Space Science Honors, Physics Honors, Drafting, Mathematics and was also a Teacher for Peer Counselors. Mr. Gideon is dedicated to his profession and feels investigative laboratory experiments are an important part of science education.  His experience has taught him that science becomes much more interesting when students are engaged with the science and it is relevant to their lives. In addition to teaching, Mr. Gideon's commitment to students goes beyond the classroom. He has served as coach of the Coral Shores High School football team and coach and stats keeper for the Upper Keys Youth Baseball and Football leagues.
"Each year we have the opportunity to identify an outstanding educator as The District Teacher of the Year and each year I am tremendously impressed with the individual selected.  This year's selection for Teacher of the Year is another exemplary teacher – Mr. Todd Gideon.  Mr. Gideon engages his students and is a well-respected member of the Coral Shores High School faculty." stated Superintendent Mark Porter.
A “Teacher of the Year” exemplifies the best instruction in the District and the choice was a difficult one as all candidates excel in instruction, student engagement and community connections.  We congratulate each Teacher of the Year selected from each of our schools.
2015 Monroe County School District Teachers of the Year by School
Todd Gideon, Coral Shores High School
Maggie Jones, Gerald Adams Elementary
Kaitlyn Leeman, Horace O’Bryant School
Wendi Sullivan, Key Largo School
John Moeller, Key West High School
Martha Paulson, Marathon High School
Dana Beal, Plantation Key School
Julie Curry, Poinciana Elementary School
Nancy Lunsford, Stanley Switlik Elementary School
Blake Smoot, Sugarloaf School
Catherine Sembert, Adult Education
Monroe County School District Announces 2015 District School-Related Employee of the Year

Monroe County School District Superintendent Mark Porter is pleased to announce that Ms. Kathleen Shriver has been chosen as the 2014-2015 District School-Related Employee of the Year from a field of over thirty nominations.  Ms. Shriver has been an employee of the Monroe County School District since September 2006 and has faithfully served as a School Bus Aide since that time.

As a School Bus Aide, Ms. Shriver works in partnership with the School Bus Driver and assists with transporting students safely and comfortably to and from school.  Ms. Shriver is recognized by her coworkers for her professionalism, initiative and her patient and caring demeanor.  “Kathleen knows her students, can recognize when students are not having a good day, and often prevents problems from occurring.  She also goes the extra mile, taking the initiative to post all students pictures over their assigned seats.  This not only makes the students fell special, but helps substitute drivers and aides manage the bus.” says Mr. Randy Fabal, Director of Transportation.

In addition to the 2014-2015 District School Related Employee of the Year, Mr. Porter proudly announces the following 2014-2015 School Related Employees of the Year in the following five categories: Food Services Group, Maintenance Group, Office/Clerical Group, Teacher Support Group and the Transportation Group.  School-related employees enhance the educational experience for the children whose lives they touch, and they are essential to the successful operation of a school or school district office.

The nominees were chosen for the significant contributions they have made in their schools and community, and to the school district as a whole. Criteria for the award includes exemplary job performance, dedication on the job, interpersonal skills, leadership ability, in-service/training to upgrade skills and contributions to the school and school district environment. 

The 2014-2015 School Related Personnel of the Year by category are:
Food Service Group, Gloria Suarez, Cashier, Sugarloaf School
Maintenance Group, Jorge Hernandez, Maintenance Worker, Plantation Key School
Office/Clerical Group, Jocelyn Cabrera, Data Entry Clerk, Gerald Adams Elementary
Teacher Support Group, Jane Orr, Paraprofessional, Key Largo School
Transportation Group, Kathleen Shriver, Bus Aide, Middle Keys Transportation Department
These employees were selected by the School Related Employee of the Year committee which has an equal representation of District staff and United Teachers of Monroe members.  “I congratulate each of the selected employees and am proud of their commitment and dedication to the students of Monroe County” says Superintendent Mark Porter.
2014-2015 ESE Parent Survey

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!
The web-based survey will open February 1, 2015.
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


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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