Out2News Education 

St. Lucie Public Schools Names Outstanding Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

21 OCt Felicia Nixon

Felicia Nixon
Principal of the Year
Lawnwood Elementary School

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St. Lucie County – Cheers, hive-fives, and applause were shared by the school teams at Lawnwood Elementary and Oak Hammock K8, as their leaders, Principal Felicia Nixon and Assistant Principal Jaclyn Veldhuis were surprised with the news that they are, respectively, the 2022 Outstanding Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year for St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS).

Superintendent E. Wayne Gent was joined by Board Vice Chairman Dr. Donna Mills, Board Member Jack Kelly, Education Foundation Director Thom Jones, and others to make the surprise announcements at their schools.

Nixon and Veldhuis are both veteran educators in SLPS and were selected to represent SLPS for the academic gains achieved and the positive teaching-learning environments at their schools last year. Felicia Nixon has been a principal in St. Lucie Public Schools for 18 years while Jaclyn Veldhuis has been an Assistant Principal for 9 years in the District. Both leaders are highly respected by their colleagues and loved by their students and staff.

“These outstanding school leaders are changing the lives of boys and girls every day. Both administrators have a proven track record of establishing and maintaining a collaborative and positive school culture,” said Superintendent E. Wayne Gent. “Great leaders demonstrate resiliency, and both navigated the dynamic COVID-19 landscape at their schools. Their tenacity enables them to quickly pivot to ensure that rigorous, engaging instruction continues during the pandemic.”

Both nominations from SLPS will be shared with the Florida Department of Education’s statewide pool of nominees. State winners will be announced later this year. The Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership was established in 1988 to recognize Florida principals for contributions to their schools and their communities. The Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award was established in 1997 to honor assistant principals who have utilized teamwork and leadership to increase student achievement and greatly improve school environments.

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21 OCt Jaclyn Veldhuis

Jaclyn Veldhuis
Assistant Principal of the Year
Oak Hammock K8

21 OCt St Lucie Princ 2

You Can Help Select the Next Martin County Teacher of the Year

21 Oct MC Teacher of the Year b

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photo by: Education Foundation of Martin County

This is one ballot everyone loves to cast: selecting the Martin County Teacher of the Year!

The Education Foundation of Martin County has announced the honorees for the 2021-22 school year.

• Cynthia Ganther - Bessey Creek Elementary School
• Tammy Reinhart - Citrus Grove Elementary School
• Kelly DiGrazia - Crystal Lake Elementary School
• Tonya Belvin - Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School
• Jessica Urbay - Felix A. Williams Elementary School
• Laura Bianco - Hidden Oaks Middle School
• Rachel Hoilman - Hobe Sound Elementary School
• Diane Connelly - The Hope Center for Autism
• Sandra Racette - Indiantown Middle School
• LaShawnda McNair - J.D. Parker School of Science, Math & Technology
• Donna Vojcsik - Jensen Beach Elementary School
• Nicole Lavelle - Jensen Beach Elementary School
• Kelloryn Kalwa - Martin County High School
• Nicole Hammond - Murray Middle School
• Crystal Hallee - Palm City Elementary School
• Jennifer Arey - Pinewood Elementary School
• Amy Jackson- Port Salerno Elementary School
• Damaris Mendez - Riverbend Academy
• Lauren Favors - SeaWind Elementary School
• Jeanine Bushman - South Fork High School
• Kirsten Pendleton - Treasure Coast Classical Academy
• Elliott Harris - Warfield Elementary School
• Lani Bartsch - Willoughby Learning Center

One teacher from each school is nominated by his or her colleagues and must submit a comprehensive written portfolio and participate in an intensive interview process.
Here’s where you come in. Members of the community also vote, sharing how a favorite teacher has made a difference to their students and the community.

Voting is now open. Visit www.educationfoundationmc.org to place yours and share your heartwarming story.

On Friday, December 10, three of the 23 nominees from elementary, middle and high school levels will be recognized at the Education Foundation of Martin County's Teacher of the Year Awards Celebration, a gala and fun-filled event which will take place at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center in Port St. Lucie. There will be one winner in each category.

The overall Martin County Teacher of the Year will be chosen from this trio and go on to represent Martin County in the Florida Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year competition.

Sponsors include Audi Stuart, Infiniti Stuart, Alfa Romeo Stuart, Keiser University, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union and EFMC.

For sponsorship information, contact Lisa Rhodes, Executive Director, EFMC at (772) 600-8062 or LRhodes@EducationFoundationMC.org.

The Education Foundation of Martin County (EFMC) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), community investment organization comprised of business leaders, community volunteers, and school officials with the common goal of enriching and enhancing the quality of education for students and educators in Martin County's public schools. For more information, visit www.educationfoundationmc.org.

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District Set to Honor Students Who Earned a Perfect Score On one or more Statewid Assessments in the 2020-2021 School Year

19 Dec MC School Board Logo

On November 18, 2021, the Martin County School District will host its annual perfect score recognition ceremonies for elementary, middle and high school students. One hundred seventeen (117) students earned a perfect score on one or more statewide assessments during the 2020-2021 school year and will be honored during the ceremonies, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. for students currently enrolled in an elementary school and 6:15 p.m. for students currently enrolled in a middle or high school.

"On behalf of our School Board and entire faculty and staff, I want to congratulate our students for their tremendous accomplishments," Superintendent John D. Millay said. "Their perfect mastery of content in each of the assessed subject areas is to be commended. Moreover, achieving these results during a year that presented many pandemic-related challenges is nothing short of remarkable. It is our collective hope that they will continue to build upon this success as they progress as learners in the Martin County School District."

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Port Salerno Elementary School Teacher Named Literacy Teacher of the Year

Tradition Prep High School, Run for the Treasure Pirate 5K

21 Sept Tradition Prep High a

In Photo: Nicole Vitale, Steve Epstein and Amanda Wilson

Article & Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Greeted with a generous serving of Pirate speak, Tradition Prep High School supporters took to the pavement running and walking through the picturesque neighborhoods of Tradition in Port St. Lucie for the inaugural Run for the Treasure Pirate 5K.

The timed event began and finished in the Tradition Square with race proceeds benefiting the high school’s extra-curricular programs, including athletics and the arts. Mattamy Homes, Running Charities of the Treasure Coast, Fleet Feet, Tradition, and Dragonfly Graphics helped sponsor the fundraiser.

Silly pirate jokes, a pirate costume contest, and a ‘Lil’ Pirate’ run for kids under 8-years-old added to the festivities and excitement.

Finishers each received pirate-themed medals, souvenir t-shirts, and pirate booty goodie bags.

Special award groups included Overall Male and Female, Masters, and the 5-year age group.

“We appreciate the community support. It helps provide the extra-curricular programs needed to give our students the most opportunities to succeed,” said Jill Todd, head of Marketing, Social Media, Fundraising, and Events for the school.

Tradition Prep, a tuition-free charter school, recently opened its doors, and it provides a balanced approach to education. The school utilizes the WISH model with a focus on Wellness, Innovation, Science, and Health. It offers the opportunity to earn college credits and participate in various sports programs such as football, volleyball, basketball, and more. The arts program encompasses areas such as band, chorus, musical theater, and many other options.

Currently enrolling Treasure Coast students in the 9th and 10th grades, Tradition Prep High School is a 9-12th grade school.

For more information, please visit, TraditionPrep.org

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In Photo: Jaime Segui crosses the finish line!

21 Sept Tradition Prep High 3a

In Photo: Alicia Postma in the final stretch

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In Photo: Michelle Leckenbusch of Team Chaos

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In Photo: Young Pirate Hunter Myers

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In Photo: Thais Gyson finishes strong

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In Photo: Anthony Nieves and Kay Trager, top female finisher

21 Sept Tradition Prep High 9a

In Photo: Kyle Dickerson with the Aloha Gang

21 Sept Tradition Prep High 10a

In Photo: Runners Kahmi Hanna and Principal Teresa Brown

education foundation
education foundation

One Sweet Science Lesson

21 Sept One Sweet Science Lesson

The 7th-grade Raptors students in Mr. Richard’s Science class at Oak Hammock K-8, utilized a marshmallow science lab to explore Big Idea 1: The Practice of Science. Students were challenged to create a structure to support their marshmallow. They learned science is not only based on observation and inferences but requires creativity and the ability to question and explain one’s methods and processes. The lesson incorporated SEL skills, critical thinking, and engineering skills, as students competed in each class, to create and claim the bragging rights to the tallest structure to support the marshmallow on top.

SGAET STEM Challenge

21 Sept Sgaet Stem

Fourth graders at Samuel S. Gaines Academy of Emerging Technologies worked individually while talking each other through a recently timed STEM challenge. Given a few resources, a limited amount of time, their own knowledge about science and chocolate, and a partner close enough to exchange their thinking with, they were able to design and engineer an insulator that would protect a Hershey’s kiss from melting in the hot sun! Each design uniquely demonstrated our students’ talent and success. After one hour in the hot August sun, very little melting took place!

FPC Hosts Student Involvement Fair!

21 Sept Key Club

Fort Pierce Central Gets Students Involved! Central means family! Whether it is welcoming new 9th grades or transfer students, Cobra nation welcomes all students and invites everyone to join a club, student organization, seek an athletic opportunity, and ultimately explore what it means to be part of the Cobra family! From Embry-Riddle to Creative Writing Club, Gay-Straight Alliance to Anime Club, Central’s diverse student opportunities offer something for everyone! Thank you to Asst. Principal Mr. Jamie Siminski, SGA advisors Mr. Luis Perez and Mrs. Jamie Becht, and Student Government Association volunteers for organizing this important event!

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Hobe Sound Community Chest Awards $45,000 to Tykes & Teens

20 Oct HS Community Chess Logo

Funding to support Hobe Sound school-based and outpatient services, Project Graduation and Project TEACH

Palm City – Hobe Sound Community Chest has awarded $45,000 to Tykes & Teens, a leading provider of the highest quality, evidence-based mental health services and programs for children and adolescents for 25 years. The funding will support children’s mental health services in Hobe Sound, including Tykes & Teens’ school-based services and outpatient services, as well as Project Graduation and Project TEACH (Training and Educating All Child Healers) program.

“Thank you Scott Berry and Hobe Sound Community Chest!” says Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW. “Your generosity matters, because mental health matters every day for every child and family. Because of you, we are able to provide the critical mental health services for children and families that are needed now more than ever, including Hobe Sound and all of the Treasure Coast.”

“For over 20 years, the Chest has supported the work of Tykes & Teens,” said Hobe Sound Community Chest Executive Director Scott Berry. “Tykes & Teens has helped countless children, youth and families in our community. They are a critical resource in our continuum of care.”

21 Sept Tykes and Teens Community Chest

School-Based Services

Tykes & Teens’ School-Based Services allow teachers and guidance counselors to be a part of the team in helping children and adolescents with mental health issues that impact their school performance and behavior. Providing these services at schools enables the agency to meet students where they are during the day, eliminating transportation barriers. Last school year, Tykes & Teens provided services at four Hobe Sound-area schools, including Sea-wind Elementary, Hobe Sound Elementary, Murray Middle School and South Fork High School.

Outpatient Services

Tykes & Teens provides a variety of outpatient services from its Hobe Sound office and virtually, including: General Mental Health, Family Abuse Treatment, Youth Enrichment Services (YES), S.T.A.R.S. – Strengthening Teens in Acquiring Resiliency for Success, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and an LGBTQ Support Group.

Project TEACH

The objective of Tykes & Teens’ Project TEACH – Training and Educating All Child Healers – is to provide training for Dunbar Early Learning Center direct service staff to qualify for the Florida Association of Infant Mental Health – Infant Family Associate (IFA) Endorsement®. Tykes & Teens is uniquely qualified to provide this training and support that includes Trauma Informed Care, to help participants recognize and respond to the effects of trauma in children, and Reflective Supervision, a key step in strengthening a relationship-based resilience-promoting culture.

Project Graduation

Project Graduation is a highly successful and vital annual program that prevents tragedy due to alcohol and drug-related incidents on graduation night. It is a supervised all-night event for the graduating class on graduation night, complete with food, entertainment and prizes, allowing students the opportunity to celebrate graduation in a safe, alcohol and drug-free environment. Statistically, there is an increase in teen deaths from alcohol-related accidents during prom and graduation weekend parties around the country. Project Graduation has helped buffer our community from alcohol and drug-related deaths, car accidents and significant police stops involving graduates.

For more information on Tykes & Teens’ programs and services focused on prioritizing children’s mental health, visit www.tykesandteens.org or call 772-220-3439.

To learn more about how you can support children’s mental health in our community, visit www.tykesandteens.org/give-help/ or donate now.

About Tykes & Teens

Tykes & Teens has been a leading mental health provider for children and adolescent evidence-based programs and services for 25 years. Our mission is prioritizing children’s mental health in our families, schools and communities through a wide range of prevention, education, and treatment programs and services. Our passion and commitment are to empowering children and strengthening families by ensuring that all children have access to high quality counseling and mental health services, regardless of financial status. We also advocate for increased awareness of mental health to remove the stigma and shame often associated with seeking mental health treatment. We provide affordable quality mental health services for children in need across the Treasure Coast from more than 50 service locations, including outpatient offices in Palm City, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Vero Beach, on-site services in all Martin County schools, and in schools in Okeechobee and Indian River counties, as well as collboration with numerous community partners, in addition to virtual telehealth services. We have continued to offer our services and programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including virtual telehealth care. We accept most insurance, private payments, and we are a Medicaid-approved provider. We have successfully administered a sliding fee scale for those in need when necessary for more than 20 years. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, we also provide $750,000 in unreimbursed services to the communities we serve each year. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Fielden Institute for Lifelong Learning Reveals Expanded Program, Schedules Fall Open Houses

21 Sept Fielding Institute Logo
21 Sept Fielding Multi

In Photo: Daniel Green, Dr. Barry Erlick,Gary Ritter, Kate Bradford, Steve Swanson

The Fielden Institute for Lifelong Learning at Indian River State College (IRSC) is now accepting registration and membership for its 2021–2022 season. Fielden Institute courses, offered across all five IRSC campuses and at select community sites, are designed for men and women age 50 and better who are interested in exploring shared topics of interest in a college atmosphere. There are no pre-requisites, no long semesters, no grades, no tests—learning occurs simply for the joy of learning.

This season’s expanded catalog features more than 100 different sessions. Topics such as art, technology, photography, finance, writing, gardening, health, creativity, local history, and more are delivered in a variety of settings, including as hands-on activities, discussion groups, lectures, field trips, book and film groups, and lectures. Courses are non-credit and do not apply to any IRSC degree program. The catalog and online registration is available at www.irscfoundation.org.

This year, the Fielden Institute for Lifelong Learning presents the 16th season of its Distinguished Lecture Series on Current Issues in Fort Pierce [link to DLS release]. The series brings nationally recognized experts and seasoned educators to the podium on current events and features subjects in foreign policy, the environment, education, health, and the economy. Registration for the five-part lecture series is $150 per person for nonmembers; $100 per person for members and peer leaders. Lecture details and registration is available online.

The public is invited to attend free Fielden Institute open houses at IRSC campuses in Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties to learn more about program offerings, meet members and peer leaders, register for courses, and enjoy conversation, coffee and light refreshments.

Each open house runs from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Formal presentations begin at 10 a.m.

Friday, September 24, 2021, Vero Beach, in the Richardson Center Auditorium at the IRSC Mueller Campus located at 6155 College Lane.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021, Okeechobee, in the Williamson Conference Center Auditorium at the IRSC Dixon Hendry Campus located at 2229 N.W. Ninth Avenue.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021, Fort Pierce, in the Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the IRSC Main Campus located at 3209 Virginia Avenue.

Friday, October 1, 2021, Stuart, in the Wolf High-Technology Center Auditorium at the IRSC Chastain Campus located at 2400 S.E. Salerno Road.

To RSVP for one of the upcoming open houses or for more information about The Fielden Institute for Lifelong Learning at IRSC call 772-462-7880 or visit www.irscfoundation.org.

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Steps for School Success Benefits Martin County Students

Volunteers from Stuart PD, GWCCCm United Way of MC, Cleveland Clinic,.... a

In Photo: Volunteers from Gertrude Walden Child Care Center, Stuart Police Department, United Way of Martin County, and other nonprofits, organizations and businesses

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photos by: Gertrude Walden Child Care Center

More than 250 students and their families visited the Stuart Police Department on August 7 to get backpacks, underwear, panties, uniform shirts, car seats, bike helmets, shoe vouchers, and at-home school supplies.

Steps for School Success saw several businesses, nonprofits and organizations collaborating to ensure the day was a triumph.

Lunch was provided by the Stuart Police Department and the Salvation Army was on hand with popcorn and show cones.

The Florida Department of Health offered a choice of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines and 54 of the attendees got vaccinated, including 22 between ages 12-18 years.

Sponsors included Stuart Police Department, Stuart Police Officers Association, Gertrude Walden Child Care Center (GWCCC), City of Stuart Fire Rescue, Caring Children Clothing Children, NAACP, St. Paul AME Church, The Law Firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson & Gary, PLLC, Attorney Phyllis Gillespie, Esq., Joyce Ferguson, Trequiela Carter, Jerry and Brenda Matheny, Jimmy and Thelma Washington, Dr. Claire Nash, Stanley Campbell, Dr. Charmayne Davis, Vision of Enlightenment, AACES and Deas Worldwide, Inc.

The National Minority Health Association donated $50 Visa gift cards to all vaccinated persons and $10 gift cards for vaccinated 12-18-year-olds were donated by the Law Firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson, and Gary, PLLC.

Ethan DeVriend a

In Photo: Ethan DeVriend

Melanie Escobar a

In Photo: Volunteer Melanie Escobar

Phyllis Gillespie a

In Photo: Phyllis Gillespie, GWCCC Board Member

Taunya Bryant and Eula Clarke a

In Photo: Taunya Bryant and Stuart City Commissioner Eula Clarke

Tradition Prep High School, Ribbon Cutting and Lab Dedication

13 Teresa Brown, Principal at Traditon Prep HS a

In Photo: Teresa Brown - Principal Tradition Prep High School

Article & Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Amid the fanfare of the recent grand opening of Tradition Prep High School, managed by Charter School USA, the packed crowd of community leaders, educators, and future students witnessed two ceremonial ribbon cuttings and the dedication of the innovated science lab, made possible by a generous donation from Mattamy Homes.

Musical performances by students and former students added to the festive atmosphere and set the stage for the featured speakers.

Ken Haiko, Chair of the Renaissance Board, espoused the value of adding a high school to the Renaissance family of schools, including feeder schools Renaissance at Tradition and Renaissance St. Lucie.

“The future success of Tradition Prep will be in large part because of the educational foundation the students received at these K-8 schools.”

Teresa Brown, Principal of Tradition Prep, told the enthusiastic crowd, “We want to be great community partners with local businesses and the City.”

“One of our goals is to produce the workforce for tomorrow for this community!”

Other speakers included Interim Mayor of Port St. Lucie Shannon Martin, who, in addition to expressing heartfelt congratulations, added that “Quality Education for All” is a goal within the City of Port St. Lucie’s Strategic Plan.

“I know your students will benefit from the innovative, forward-thinking programs they will experience within these walls. I was intrigued to learn about the collaborative and technology-related experiences that await the students!”

St. Lucie and Palm City Chambers of Commerce welcomed the school’s beginnings with separate ribbon-cutting observances. Following this, attendees headed indoors to witness the ‘big reveal’ of the Mattamy Innovation Lab. And, on the count of three, critical figures in the school’s construction yanked down the curtains that hid the state-of-the-art science lab.

Attendees also enjoyed tours of the building.

The 2021-2022 school year welcomes 9th and 10th graders, offers AICE and AP courses and diplomas, follows the WISH (Wellness, Innovation, Science, and Health) methodology, and provides an abundance of extra-curricular activities and athletics.

For more information, please visit TraditionPrep.org

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2 Matt Berkis and Lauren Slater, Mattamy Homes a

In Photo: Matt Berkis & Lauren Slater - Mattamy Homes

3 Jim Lonergan, Dan Grosswald, Ken Haiko, Jon Hage and Scott Woodrey a

In Photo: Jim Lonergan, Dan Grosswald, Ken Haiko, Jon Hage and Scott Woodrey

5 The Mattamy Innovation Lab a

In Photo: The Mattamy Innovation Lab

21 Aug Mayor

In Photo: Interim PSL Mayor Shannon Martin

16 Jill Todd and Dr. Shamsher Singh a

In Photo: Jill Todd and Dr. Shamsher Singh

9 Catherine Thomson for State Rep Trabulsey and Angel Robertson for Congressman Brian Mast a

In Photo: Catherine Thomson for State Rep. Trabulsey & Angel Robertson for Congressman Brian Mast

17 Linda Bartz and Mark Trembley a

In Photo: Linda Bartz & Mark Trembley

19 Dr. David Christiansen and Jennifer Simmons a

In Photo: Dr. David Christiansen & Jennifer Simmons

Construction to Begin for Jensen Beach Elementary

21 July JB Elementary b

Jensen Beach - On Wednesday, July 28, 2021 the Martin County Board of Education held a groundbreaking for the new Jensen Beach Elementary School renovations. Even with rain threatening they able to break ground for the $61 million dollar project. The project is a Capital project funded by the voter-approved half-cent sales tax increase in November 2018.

21 July JB Groundbreaking
St Lucie Public Schools Logo

St. Lucie Public Schools 2021 - 2022 School Year Calendar

21 July St Lucie Public Schools Calendar 22 A
21 July St Lucie Public Schools Calendar 22 B

Martin County School District 2021 - 2022 School Calendar

21 July MC School Calendar Eng
21 July MC School Calendar Spanish

Indian River State College Collaborates with Adobe to Build Student Brands on Day One

20 Dec IRSC New Resized

Creative Cloud Tools Now Available Freely to All Students, Faculty and Staff

Fort Pierce — Indian River State College (IRSC) has furthered its commitment to advancing digital literacy skills by becoming the first community college in the nation to comprehensively offer Adobe Creative Cloud applications, without cost, to students, faculty, and staff on all IRSC campuses. Beginning in August, students in all disciplines can access Adobe Creative Cloud, providing new opportunities to transform their classroom learning, creatively build personal brands, and gain an edge in the modern, competitive workplace. The College is among a select group of colleges and universities working with Adobe to shape the future of digital literacy within global higher education.

“Students at Indian River State College now have the opportunity to become fully trained on one of the most-used creative platforms in the world while they are still in college,” states IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “When an IRSC student completes their studies, they will leave the College with an unmatched education coupled with ready-for-workforce digital literacy skills, little or no debt, and a personal brand conveyed through compelling storytelling—with words, imagery, sound and movement.”

Indian River State College serves a diverse population of approximately 26,000 students each year. Students come from both urban and rural areas, more than one-third are the first in their families to attend college, and 42% are Pell Grant recipients. IRSC is deeply committed to enhancing and growing wrap-around services that are essential for student success. As an Adobe Creative Campus, IRSC can provide all students, regardless of background, with cutting-edge creative tools that enrich their educational experience and give them a competitive workforce advantage.

“Everywhere we look—whether it's entertainment, education, or enterprise—creativity and content are fueling the global economy,” said Mala Sharma, V.P. & G.M. of Creative Cloud Product Marketing & Community at Adobe. “Regardless of the career someone may choose, digital literacy and creative storytelling will continue to not only be necessary but expected. This is why creative skills are of immense importance for the future workforce. As the students at Indian River State College have access to Adobe programs and are taught essential creativity and digital literacy skills, doors will open to a brighter future and prepare them to thrive in a changing world.”

The Adobe Creative Campus supports the transformation of learning and assessment. Faculty can use the tools to help teach creative and persuasive digital communication skills throughout their curricula. IRSC Faculty Developers are already integrating Creative Cloud tools into academic lesson plans and assignments to encourage students to find new ways to present ideas, scholarship and research. IRSC will collaborate with other Adobe Creative Campuses, sharing ideas and innovations to expand digital literacy and help ensure student success.

“A personal brand is the business card of the 21st century,” explains Michael Hageloh, IRSC Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. “From cosmetology to nursing, from business to the sciences, building a personal brand is essential in today’s working world. Pairing Adobe's Creative Campus offering with our existing Microsoft licensing gives IRSC students the ultimate brand-building career toolkit. And, IRSC is the first college anywhere to deploy such a comprehensive toolkit across the entire institution to all programs, students, and employees, with no cost or fees.”

To learn more, visit irsc.edu/creativecampus, or if you are interested in learning more about the Adobe Creative Campus program, visit adobecreativecampus.com.

District Selects Award-Winning Digital Resource to Support Teaching and Learning in Upcoming School Year

19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Stuart - Through a new partnership with Discovery Education, the Martin County School District (MCSD) has taken steps to ensure students and teachers will have access to a flexible, dynamic digital resource in the coming school year.

In support of its mission of educating all students for success, MCSD has selected Discovery Education's award-winning learning platform to assist educators in facilitating engaging instruction in any learning environment. Discovery Education's recently enhanced learning framework connects teachers to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources. This K-12 learning platform has been designed to work with the District's existing infrastructure, providing simple and secure access methods for teachers and students.

“One of the biggest lessons for educators from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the importance of high-quality digital materials that deeply engage students while also providing flexibility for various learning scenarios,” said George Vogeley, MCSD's Coordinator of Digital Learning. “Discovery Education’s platform checks both of those boxes. We are very excited to begin implementing this resource in the coming school year.”

While the District will make a full return to on-campus learning in August, there may be situations where students will need to access lessons and course content from home, particularly if they have been directed to quarantine or isolate by the Florida Department of Health.

"As this resource can be used either in school or in the remote environment with equal success, it provides opportunities for students to continue learning anywhere," Mr. Vogeley shared.

To help ensure resources are ready for use at the start of the new school year, Discovery Education will provide MCSD teachers with dedicated professional learning opportunities beginning in early August. Through these interactive professional development sessions, teachers will learn best practices for integrating technology and digital content into teaching and learning in ways that will maximize the District’s investment in digital resources, increase student engagement in instruction, and improve students’ academic achievement.

“Martin County Schools has created a compelling vision for the future of teaching and learning in the post-COVID-19 world,” said Dan Gammage, Discovery Education Senior Manager of Partner Success. “We are proud to be selected to support the teachers and administrators of this great school district, and we look forward to rolling our sleeves up and supporting the implementation of our platform districtwide.”

For more information about the Discovery Education platform, please click here.

Stuart Middle School,South Fork High School Selected to Participate in Phase In Phase Two of Florida's Civics & Debate Initiative

19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Stuart - Stuart Middle School and South Fork High School are among the 102 schools selected to participate in the second phase of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative. As part of the program, both schools will work to elevate civic knowledge, skills and disposition for students through speech and debate.

The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative was designed to create access and opportunities for all students to have the best civics education, including curriculum, debate programs, and high-quality teachers that are catalysts for students becoming great citizens who can preserve our constitutional republic for future generations. It introduces students to real-world issues and allows them to participate in the democratic process. Each participating school receives funding support to start their debate teams, including funds to offset educational resources, tournament transportation, coach stipends and membership in the National Speech and Debate Association.

"We are honored to have Stuart Middle School and South Fork High School representing the Martin County School District as part of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative," said Superintendent John D. Millay. "As our school district has been a trailblazer in civics education, we envision the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative will complement the many successful programs we have in place, including our flagship Youth in Government partnership with the YMCA of the Treasure Coast."

The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative also announced the dates for competitions and student opportunities available this year:

National Civics and Debate Championship, November 12 - 14, 2021

“The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative supports student academic success while building great citizens,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Research shows the many benefits that participating in debate has on critical thinking, test scores, graduation rates, and college acceptance. I am thrilled about the expansion and want to thank the incredible Florida educators who are working hard to help make this initiative available in so many Florida schools.”

Diverse Library Titles Coming to Warfield Elementary School

19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Stuart - Warfield Elementary School has been named one of just 205 schools across the country to receive a grant through the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Mrs. Laura Bush joined The Kelly Clarkson Show earlier this week to announce that the Foundation awarded more than $1 million in library grants this year, $5,000 of which will be allocated to Warfield.

The grant recipients’ library collections are outdated, averaging approximately 20 years old. Many of the libraries will use the funds to update their collections, offer more dual-language titles and provide books focused on diversity and inclusivity.

"At Warfield, we are proud of our culturally and linguistically diverse student population," Principal Cristina Smith shared. "Having a variety of books that are representative of all students helps children to see themselves in literature and is critical to increasing their sense of pride in who they are. This grant will allow us to purchase fiction and nonfiction books written in both English and Spanish, reflecting our students' cultural and linguistic heritages."

“There are many students who don’t have books at home, so having access to a library at school is essential,” Mrs. Bush said. “With the grants, school libraries across the nation can restock and update their collections providing opportunities for students for years to come.”

To learn more about Warfield Elementary, a Title I school serving more than 750 PK-4th grade students in the Village of Indiantown, please click here.

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Fugate, Glover Join with IRSC to Bolster Public Safety Education Programs

21 May Fugate IRSC

Fort Pierce — Two internationally recognized authorities in homeland security—former FEMA Administrator William “Craig” Fugate and explosives expert Rod Glover—have joined with Indian River State College (IRSC) to expand and enhance the College’s offerings in emergency management, planning, and threat assessment. These key additions to the IRSC Team come at a time when IRSC is shoring up its efforts to build a comprehensive emergency management and continuing operations program for students and emergency professionals across the nation.

As a Strategic Consultant in the area of emergency management, Fugate will assess IRSC’s current program offerings; suggest and/or enhance content for basic and advanced emergency management program offerings; support practical exercises; identify best practices and new curriculum models; provide support on grant development and community engagement and more. The uniquely qualified Fugate brings decades of experience, including posts as Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Fugate is a published author on risk mitigation and disaster response for extreme weather events and climate change and a sought-after guest lecturer on defense support and disaster response. He is also a Senior Instructor and Advisor with the U.S. Army Civilian Emergency Management Program on roles of emergency management in support of the U.S. Army’s mission. He recently served as a volunteer member of President Joe Biden’s Transition Agency Review Team to support transition efforts related to the Department of Homeland Security. In recognition of his expertise and leadership, Fugate has earned the National Hurricane Conference “Neil Frank” Award, the Florida National Guide Hall of Fame Award, and the National Emergency Management Association’s “Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award.”

“Craig Fugate is the foremost expert on emergency management, and he brings an incredible opportunity to Indian River State College, our students, and our community partners,” says Joan Rivera, Assistant Professor, Emergency Administration and Management. “With his knowledge and expertise available here on our campus, there’s no limit to what we can do to prepare our students, our communities and our nation’s first responders.”

Rod Glover comes to IRSC with more than 34 years of experience in law enforcement, counter-terrorism and explosives. He has worked with numerous agencies, including the F.B.I., U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Domestic Preparedness and the U.S. State Department. Glover is Program Manager for law enforcement and explosive-related training programs of the Alabama Fire College where, among other initiatives, he developed advanced investigations programs to investigate suspicious fires and explosions and an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (A.S.H.E.R.) Training Program for first responders. Earlier this year, Glover presented sessions at IRSC on international IED trends to area law enforcement and fire personnel and leadership, IRSC students and IRSC Safety and Security officers. He will develop and lead the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Counter Threat Awareness Training Initiatives for IRSC.

“In today’s world, our fast and full response to disasters—manmade and natural—and their aftermath is critical,” says IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “The role of the emergency manager cannot be underestimated. For many corporations, it has evolved to a C-suite position. Bringing Craig and Rod on board to enhance IRSC’s programming is essential to achieve our goal to become the leading educational provider for this crucial and growing segment of the workforce.”

IRSC currently offers degree programs in emergency management: an Associate in Science in Emergency Administration and Management and a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration Emergency Planning and Management Concentration. Additionally, through its National Preparedness Institute, it delivers community-wide emergency response training to public and private partners in areas that include Incident Command System, Business Continuity, and Disaster Operations. Also, it designs and facilitates exercises that address partners’ specific needs. These programs are housed at IRSC’s Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex in Fort Pierce, one of the most comprehensive, technologically advanced public safety training facilities in the nation.

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Exceptional Academy for Differently-Abled Learners

21 Apr Baron Academy Logo

A Port St. Lucie based 501c3 non-profit private school that specializes in serving children with Autism and Related Disabilities, is expanding. The owners of Exceptional Academy, Kristine Erice and her husband Matt Saxton, are partnering with Jeremiah Baron, who is a Real Estate developer and is well known on the Treasure Coast for his Commercial and Residential Real Estate brokerages, to take the school to the next level. The school will be moving to a larger facility that will be able to serve up to 80 children with Autism and related disabilities in grades K-8. The new facility will be called Baron Academy and will be located in St. Lucie West at 8565 Commerce Centre Dr. Baron Academy is scheduled to open for the Fall 2021 school year.

There is a tremendous need on the Treasure Coast for more private schools that are specifically dedicated to teaching children with Autism in a way that they need to learn. Kristine Erice, Founder and Director of Exceptional Academy for Differently-Abled Learners, opened her specialized private school for kids with Autism in January 2020 out of frustration in the lack of choices in the area for her Autistic son. Exceptional Academy quickly had a waitlist as soon as they opened their doors after welcoming 15 enrolled students into their school. The school had plans for fundraising events last March to help fund an expansion, but COVID crushed their fundraising efforts until the unforeseeable future. Kristine’s chance meeting with Jeremiah Baron, a fellow parent of two Autistic children, turned into a partnership and will allow their current school to grow and be able to serve 4 times the amount of students than she currently has at her smaller location. The new school, Baron Academy, is currently enrolling for

grades K-8 for the 2021-2022 school year. The school is also planning a Benefit Concert with live music on Sunday, May 23rd from 1-4pm at the Baron Real Estate Ballroom located at 8555 Commerce Centre Dr. in Port St. Lucie. Tickets for the Benefit Concert are $20 per person and will be sold at the door the day of the event. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards the school’s outdoor playground project. Please visit the school’s website at www.exceptionalacademypsl.com for more information and contact Kristine Erice at kerice@exceptionalacademypsl.com to schedule a school tour

Contact: Kristine Erice, kerice@exceptionalacademypsl.com

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Our Dollars, Our District: Replacing Jensen Beach and Palm City Elementary Schools