Out2News Education News

SLPS Teachers Recognized as Microsoft Innovator Educator Experts for 2020-21 & First MIE Fellow Announced to Represent St. Lucie

20 Oct MIE Experts flyer

St. Lucie – Julia Hilburn and Laurie Boyer, St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) educators, have been selected as 2020-21 Microsoft Innovator Educator (MIE) Experts for the second year in a row. Joining them are three new MIE Experts for the 2020-21 school year, Dr. Allen Ruppert, STEAM Advocate & Computer Science teacher at WEST Prep Academy; Sally VanDereedt, Instructional Support Specialist in Talent Development; and Elizabeth Pruitt, Curriculum Coordinator in the Office of Teaching & Learning. Their strong curriculum, technology, and computer science backgrounds are a fantastic addition to the MIE Expert group in St. Lucie Public Schools.

As MIE Experts, they have the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other technology experts around the world, test new educational tools for Microsoft, and build capacity within SLPS. Microsoft describes recipients as “agents of change” tasked with “creating an environment of innovation in education using technology.”

Director of Talent Development Denise Rodriguez explained, “As schools around the country transitioned to remote learning due to COVID this spring, it became evident how helpful it is to have professionals dedicated to expanding their instructional technology knowledge to lead educators throughout the district. Our MIE Experts are amazing educators who are empowering students and teachers to grow their digital fingerprints in school like never before.”

In addition, Laurie Boyer was selected to be a Microsoft Fellow for the 2020-21 school year. She joins three additional digital trendsetters in the state to lead the Florida cohort of MIE Experts. She will collaborate with the passionate group of MIE Fellows to lead MIE Experts across the United States in learning opportunities and professional growth. She is the first St. Lucie Public Schools employee to be named a Microsoft Fellow. Jane Whitaker, Magnet Schools Coordinator stated, “Being recognized as an MIE Fellow is a tremendous honor. Laurie is one of only 34 Fellows across the country selected to join this prestigious team of Microsoft experts. The knowledge and skills she brings to our district are immeasurable. Her passion for moving our instructional technology efforts forward reflects in the successful implementation across the district and continues to ignite others to pursue MIE certification as well. It is exciting to know her reach now extends to others on a global platform.”

More information about the MIE Program can be found at https://education.microsoft.com/en-us/resource/1703c312.

Hobe Sound Early Learning Center Builds Capacity through Collaboration with the Hobe Sound Community Chest “Strong Start Initiative”

20 Oct HS Community Chess Logo

Article by: Louise Murtaugh, APR

Hobe Sound – Hobe Sound Early Learning Center Board President, Rob Kloska was honored to announce the expansion of the Hobe Sound Early Learning Center’s capacity to enroll more young children through the foresight and generosity of the Hobe Sound Community Chest’s “Strong Start Initiative”.

After determining a significant number of young children are not benefiting from early childhood education, the Hobe Sound Community Chest launched their “Strong Start Initiative” with the goal of providing children in need, birth to four, access to early learning opportunities. In partnership with the Hobe Sound Community Chest, the Hobe Sound Early Learning Center has undertaken a transformational phased strategic initiative to enroll more children through capacity building efforts.

“Children will be left behind if they not engaged in learning opportunities by the time they reach 1st grade,” stated Mary King, Executive Director of the Hobe Sound

Early Learning Center. “Early learning is the foundation for all children, so they become successful in school and in life”.

These classrooms are a gift from the Hobe Sound Community Chest and made possible by the bequest of Joan Dillon Hay Madeira. The new building was constructed to add two more spacious classrooms to educate more children. Additionally, the modular has space for the Small Group Instruction program, therapies and a workspace for the teachers. Hobe Sound Community Chest “Strong Start Initiative” will provide funding for scholarships for families who qualify and are 200% Florida Poverty Level so their children will be prepared for Kindergarten and academic success.

The Hobe Sound Community Chest philanthropy has helped the Hobe Sound Early Learning Center for many years and continues to provide the community with needed programs and services.

The modular classroom was recently “christened” by many happy youngsters who are thoroughly enjoying their new spacious rooms.

Hobe Sound Early Learning Center provides early education, nurturing and nutritious meals to children ages 1 -5 and is a Voluntary Pre-K provider. HSELC incorporates Small Group Instruction into its curriculum to provide children 3 - 5

years of age that are struggling in specific skills to gain additional educational time in these areas. This program is a key to our success in graduating Kindergarten ready students.

Founded in 1962, the Center now has the capacity to enroll up to 160 children. The center provides full-day programs in its child-friendly Center in Hobe Sound, FL. The Center provides families, regardless of income, an affordable early-education program incorporating nurturing, education, and recreation to stimulate their children’s healthy emotional and social development and help them excel in school and life. Our vision is for children to realize their full potential in an impactful high-quality, high yield early learning environment.

Outside new classroom 1 a

In Photo: Hobe Sound Early Learning Center students at the entrance to the new classroom, thanking Hobe Sound Community Chest

Photo Caption 2 - Children in Classoom a

In Photo: The Explorers in the new modular classroom, thanking Hobe Sound Community Chest.

Achievements of 3 Alumni Martin Youth LEADERship

Cole Darrow for MYL

In Photo: Cole Darrow

Martin Youth LEADERship is pleased to announce the formation of Vigorem Advising, a college advising service by students for students. Vigorem was founded by Cole Darrow, a Jensen Beach High School graduate and alumnus of Martin Youth LEADERship Class 21, along with Zander Bush, a Martin County High School graduate. Both young men are currently undergraduates at Duke University. The inspiration behind Vigorem is aptly described by Mr. Darrow:

“When I was applying to college, I found myself confused and overwhelmed by the process. I had to go through this process blind while some of my peers had access to expensive resources like advising and tutoring. With the company that I have created, I want to “level the playing field” of the college application process. We are making resources available to all students at the same quality as other advising/tutoring companies but for a fraction of the cost. We are able to give specific advising to our students on both their applications and the student life of our respective schools. In a time where it is difficult to visit schools, talking with a current college student can give high schoolers a much better idea of which colleges to which they want to apply and attend. Every one of our advisors has gone through an application process as well as training in order to give our clients the best possible product.

Mr. Darrow has recruited both Kaeli Ladwig, a fellow alumnus of Martin Youth LEADERship Class 21 and graduate of JBHS, as well as Morgan Rader, MYL Class 22 and JBHS class 2018. They attend the University of Florida’s Honors Program and Notre Dame University, respectively. As Ms. Rader sees it, “Being a part of this team enables us to give back to our community as well as a much broader group nation-wide. Rather than people spending thousands of dollars on advising, they can come to us and get a much more personal and inexpensive experience. Hearing from students who have had success with the college application system is the best way to learn how it works and how you can be successful.”

Ms. Ladwig echoes those sentiments: “I am so excited to be part of the Vigorem advising team, because this program is exactly what I was looking for when I was in high school! I want to help other students as they apply to college and support them as they achieve their greatest potential! We know that many students are at the caliber of attending a top tier school, but they do not have the resources that many other students have. We are trying to give everyone a chance at those opportunities.”

Diana Bruton, chair of Martin Youth LEADERship, has been pleased with their success so far. “In addition to providing a needed service at an attainable cost, Vigorem donates 20% of their profits into the educational system through charitable organizations that are on the front lines of making real and measurable changes. These are some of the many ideals that are presented to the students of Martin Youth LEADERship during its 24 year history. MYL is an exciting program designed for sophomores and juniors from local high schools to learn all about their community and to develop leadership skills. This is accomplished through participation in a nine-month, structured, experiential program that meets one day a month. The mission of Martin Youth LEADERship is to inform, challenge and stimulate students to develop the qualities necessary to become the next generation of leaders.”

Vigorem Advising has recruited advisors both in the Treasure Coast and around the country, and represents approximately 25 of the Top Tier 1 universities in the nation. For more information about their services, their pricing and their commitment to the needs affecting the youth of today, please go to vigoremadvising.com or contact Cole Darrow at cole.darrow@duke.edu.

Kaeli Ladwig for MYL

In Photo: Kaeli Ladwig

Morgan Rader for MYL

In Photo: Morgan Rader

Should You Pay Off Student Loans Early or Save More for Retirement?

20 Oct Students Loan

For adults with student debt and extra money on hand, deciding whether to pay off student loans early or put those funds toward retirement can be tricky. It's a financial tug-of-war between digging out from debt today and saving for the future, both of which are very important goals. This decision is relevant today considering that roughly 65% of college graduates in the class of 2018 had student debt, with an average debt of $29,200.1 This amount equates to a monthly payment of $295, based on a 4% interest rate and standard 10-year repayment term.

Let's assume you have a $300 monthly student loan obligation. You have to pay it each month — that's non-negotiable. But if you have extra money available, what's the better course: pay more toward your student loans each month to pay them off faster or contribute extra funds to your retirement? The answer comes down to optimizing how those dollars can be put to work for you.

The first question to consider is whether you are taking full advantage of any 401(k) match offered by your employer. For example, let's say your employer matches one dollar for every dollar you save in your 401(k), up to 6% of your pay. If you make $50,000 a year, 6% of your pay is $3,000. So by contributing $3,000 per year to your 401(k), or $250 per month, you will get the full employer match of $3,000. That's a 100% return on your investment.

If you are already contributing enough to get the full match, next compare the interest rate on your debt to the rate of return you could be earning on any extra funds you invest. When you make extra payments on a specific debt, you are essentially earning a rate of return equal to the interest rate on that debt. In the student loan example, the interest rate is 4%, so by applying extra money toward that debt you are "earning" a 4% return. If you think you can earn a higher rate of return by investing extra money in your retirement account, then those funds might best be put to work for you there.

Of course, no one can predict their expected rate of return with certainty. But generally speaking, if the interest rate on your debt is relatively low, the potential long-term returns you might earn in your retirement account could outweigh the benefits of shaving a year or two off your student loans. If you have time on your side when saving for retirement, the long-term growth potential of even small amounts can make contributing to your retirement account a smart financial move.Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal professional.

LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Out2News. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

20 Oct Landerwiek Logo

St. Lucie Public Schools Awarded the STOP School Violence Grant for $496,311

St Lucie Public Schools Logo

St. Lucie County – St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) was just awarded the STOP School Violence grant in the full amount requested, $496,311. This coveted Grant Award, follows other recently obtained, large dollar federal grants. This time, the grant award will fund the Helping Every Adolescent Recover from Trauma Project (The H.E.A.R.T. Project). This project is a unique approach to providing a trauma-responsive environment in two alternative education settings serving students who have experienced trauma as a result of either witnessing or being a victim of violence, requiring an alternative school setting.

The program will be fully funded through a grant from the United States Department of Justice in the amount of $496,311 over a three-year period. The H.E.A.R.T. Project will provide intensive support to students through six cognitive behavioral techniques to regulate emotions, react to trauma in a healthy manner, and learn social problem-solving skills to prevent future acts of violence against themselves and others.

Separately, students identified as having witnessed or been a victim of sexual violence will have an opportunity to engage in an intensive 16-week therapeutic program to help them move beyond the specific effects of sexual trauma. Additionally, parents will receive training to ensure they are able to support their children outside of the school environment.

The district expects the project to decrease the rate of student violence both in the school environment and in the surrounding community since students with the highest needs, and who are at the greatest risk for being a victim or perpetrator of violence, will receive the support they need and deserve.

Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Helen Wild noted, “We are so pleased to receive this recognition and funding for the HEART Project to provide these much needed services to our students and families in crisis. It is a true collaboration between District Departments and an endorsement of their quality work on behalf of the community.”


19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Time to celebrate! Fifteen Martin County School District-operated schools have been recognized for their work in implementing a school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) framework. PBIS is a set of strategies based in behavioral and biomedical science that enhance students' quality of life while also reducing problem behaviors. National research shows that full implementation of this framework leads to improved student outcomes.

By establishing this framework, schools are developing student skills, making changes to the learning environment, acknowledging appropriate student behavior, and using data to identify needed supports for students.

As a result of this work, the following schools have been recognized by the Florida Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (FLPBIS) Project for achieving PBIS Model School status for the 2019- 2020 school year:

Citrus Grove Elementary School - Gold
Crystal Lake Elementary School - Gold
Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School - Gold
Jensen Beach High School - Gold
Palm City Elementary School - Gold
Port Salerno Elementary School - Gold
Riverbend Academy - Gold
Stuart Middle School - Gold
Bessey Creek Elementary School - Bronze
Hidden Oaks Middle School - Bronze
Indiantown Middle School - Bronze
J.D. Parker Elementary School - Bronze
Martin County High School - Bronze
Pinewood Elementary School - Bronze
Warfield Elementary School - Bronze


20 Oct Port Salerno Logo

Port Salerno Elementary School has been selected by the Florida Department of Education to decorate ornaments for the 2020 America Celebrates tree display at President's Park in Washington, D.C.

First Lady Melania Trump, in partnership with the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, has invited students across the nation to decorate an ornament representing their state or territory. During the 2020 holiday season, the decorated ornaments will be featured on the America Celebrates trees that surround the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse at President’s Park, and will also have the opportunity to be displayed inside the White House.

In bringing their designs to life, Port Salerno students will depict what makes Florida beautiful, showing the people, places and things that capture the spirit of the Sunshine State.

"We are thrilled to have been presented with the opportunity to represent Port Salerno Elementary, Martin County and the state of Florida," Principal Allysa Eberst said. "Our students and teachers are excited about the opportunity to have their talents and creativity showcased in our nation's capitol."

"I could not be more proud of Port Salerno Elementary School for being selected as Florida's representation in this national celebration," Superintendent Laurie J. Gaylord shared. "I have no doubt students will capture the spirit of Florida in beautiful, creative and festive fashion. The holiday season and the chance to view our students' creations cannot come soon enough!"


19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Established in 1964, the United States Presidential Scholars Program was established for the purpose of recognizing and honoring our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 161 American students receive this prestigious honor for their academic achievements, talents in the visual, creative or performing arts, or abilities and accomplishments in career and technical education (CTE) fields.

The Martin County School District’s selection committee received many outstanding recommendations this year, making the task of narrowing down nominees to just two exemplary students quite difficult. After careful deliberation, Gigi Copeland of Jensen Beach High School (JBHS) and Spencer Hackler of South Fork High School (SFHS) were selected to represent Martin County in this year’s competition. Both students excel inside and outside of the classroom, serving as leaders in their schools and in our community.

Gigi Copeland (Academic Award Nominee)

“Gigi’s best attribute is her tenacity and positive spirit,” Jennifer Ali, JBHS guidance counselor, wrote in her letter of recommendation. “If she is interested in something or sets a goal, she will do her research and try to fulfill that quest or goal.”

Gigi has a genuine love for learning that extends beyond academic subjects into the world around her. She has attained a weighted GPA of 6.05 and has never scored lower than a 4 on the eight Advanced Placement (AP) exams she has taken thus far. The founder of Jensen Beach High School’s chapter of TASSEL (Teaching and Sharing Skills to Enrich Lives), Gigi has spent countless hours teaching English to elementary school students in rural Cambodia via video calls. While many students use the summer months to relax and unwind after the school year, Gigi spends her summers honing her skills. Prior to her sophomore year, she attended the Startalk Language Camp for Chinese at Arizona State University, where she participated in immersive Chinese language classes, cultural activities and presentations. Before beginning her junior year, she attended the AMP Global Scholar Camp, where she visited embassies and cultural centers in her quest to learn more about international relations and social justice. She is an active member of Jensen Beach High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society, Chinese Club/Chinese Honor Society, Debate Club and Art Club/Art Honor Society. She has earned the Florida Gold Seal of Biliteracy and also volunteers through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

“Gigi was one of my rare students to reach out during the summer before her freshman year to discuss if she was making the right decisions about her courses,” Ms. Ali said. “She wanted to make sure they were appropriate for the trajectory she had in mind, but she also wanted to make sure she would enjoy them. She has maintained that same level of intrigue every year.”

Spencer Hackler (CTE Award Nominee)

Spencer has been a student in South Fork High School’s Academy of Landscape & Turfgrass Management for four years. “In that time, he has learned to correctly identify more than 250 plants, become a Florida Certified Horticulture Professional and competed in a collegiate-level sports turf quiz bowl,” Academy instructor Wendy Schepman wrote in her letter of recommendation.

Spencer achieves his goals while diligently working to develop and display positive character. A member of the Boy Scouts of America’s local Troop 774 since the first grade, he earned the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout in September of this year. He has earned the rank of Cadet First Sergeant as a member of South Fork’s JROTC program, where he enjoys participating in physical activities that require him to exhibit exemplary teamwork and leadership skills. Academically, Spencer maintains a 3.02 GPA and is dual-enrolled at Indian River State College, where he eagerly takes advantage of all of the turfgrass management courses available to him. In his free time, he continues to prepare for his future as an intern at Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach.

“My current position requires me to pursue a career in turfgrass science and to have basic experience in golf course maintenance,” Spencer shares. “By successfully completing this internship, I will have the skills and knowledge to transition into a management position either at my current place of employment or at a different course.”

Gigi and Spencer’s names have been provided to the Florida Department of Education for consideration as state-level nominees for the award. If chosen to move forward in the competition, their applications will be sent to the national program in January 2021. Presidential Scholars will be announced at the beginning of May 2021. For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, please click here.

Winter Sports-Upcoming Tryout Dates/Information

19 July MC High School Logo

The Winter Sports Season is about to officially begin. Please see below for try-out dates and times.
Student-Athletes must have had a 2.0 Grade Point Average at the start of the school year and must also have a fully completed Athletic Packet (links in this post) on file with The Athletic Office to participate.
Head Coach Contact Information is also included for additional questions. Please contact the head coaches for any off-season conditioning questions.

Boys Soccer:
Monday, October 19th after school
Head Coach James Francke

Girls Soccer:
Monday, October 19th after school
Head Coach Josh Moberg

Girls Basketball:
Monday, October 26th after school
Head Coach Jeremy Williams

Girls Weightlifting:
Monday, October 26th after school
Head Coach Jeff Padgett

Boys Basketball:
Monday, November 2nd after school
Head Coach John Leon

Monday, November 9th after school
Head Coach Doug Fanelli

20 Aug Homes Treasure Coast August 2020 a

Spring Sports Off-Season Conditioning Information

19 July MC High School Logo

Tuesday through Thursday at The Baseball Field from 5 pm to 7 pm; Saturdays from 10 am to noon now through November 20th.
Head Coach Brett Hawkins - hawkinb@martinschools.org

Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 pm to 8 pm beginning November 2nd.
More information available in upcoming ZOOM Meeting on Monday, October 19th at 7 pm.
Please contact Head Coach Ken MacMullen for Meeting ID and Passcode

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays from 3:15 pm to 4 pm beginning October 26th
Head Coach Chenae Jackson
Student-athletes must have a minimum 2.0 Grade Point Average and fully completed and updated Athletic Packet on file with The Athletic Office (links below) to participate.

20 Aug Skin Serenity Spa Logo LG

Girls Golf Qualifies For 2020 FHSAA Regional Tournament

20 Oct MC Girls Golf 1

Martin County High School 3 vs South Fork High School 3
The Girls Golf Team finished 3rd in The 2020 FHSAA District Tournament and qualified for the 2020 FHSAA Regional Tournament next week.
Samantha Shann-81
Shannon Fitzpatrick-86
Madison Montgomery-88
Sarah Gill-96
Gillian Stickles-105

The Boys Golf Team Competed in the 2020 FHSAA District Tournament

20 Oct D'Amato Golf 2

Martin County High School Placed 4th Points 4
Patrick D’ Amato shot a 78 and qualified for the 2020 FHSAA Regional Tournament to be played October 19th.

Other scores:
Trevor Tarashuk (78)
Dylan De Windt (80)
Connor McGlynn (92)
Kameron Povio (96)

Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation Supports JA High School Heros Program

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast

We are grateful to The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation for supporting the JA High School Heroes program!

This past school year, 337 high school students transformed into JA High School Heroes. They taught Junior Achievement curriculum to elementary students. Jensen Beach High, Jupiter High, Lake Worth Community High, Palm Beach Central High, Palm Beach Gardens High, Palm Beach Lakes Community High, and South Fork High Schools all took part in JA High School Heroes.

JA High School Heroes serve as powerful role models for younger children in their communities.
These dedicated students
• exemplify the importance of staying in school, civic involvement, and community engagement
• develop and strengthen personal leadership, communication, presentation, and team-building skills
• increase their self-confidence levels and feel valued and empowered to make a difference in the lives of others
JA High School Heroes also earn community service credit to meet graduation requirements.

We are seeking 360 JA High School Heroes this coming school year!

Contact Katie KSpitzig@juniorachievement.com
561-373-3058 cell
to find out more information.

Let’s Wash Our Hands!

20 Oct Wash Your Hands a

Article by: LaKeitha Jackson

Singing Happy Birthday two times or counting to 100, either way, the students at Dale Cassens: PRIDE Academy know how to properly wash their hands for more than 20 seconds. Mrs. Jorda, RN from Florida Community Health along with Mrs. Holmes – Health Para, taught the students in grades K-5 lessons on preventing the spread of Covid-19. Students learned how to properly wear masks, how to stay 6ft or more apart from others when in the hallways, at the bus stop and other school settings. The students ended the lesson by demonstrating the proper way to wash and/or sanitize their hands.

Become a Substitute Teacher!

20 Oct Become a Subs teacher

Article by: Lydia Martin

St. Lucie Public Schools has opportunities for qualified candidates to join our substitute teaching team. Interested candidates will hold a minimum of an Associate’s Degree or 60 college credits and must agree to work at least two days per month.

· Substitute teachers in Long Term Assignments (21 days or more) earn $100.00 per day.

· Substitute teachers in our Critical Needs sites earn $90.00 per day for day to day substituting.

· Our substitute teachers earn a base rate of $71.00 per day and receive a rate increase to $90.00 per day after meeting our frequency requirements.

We value our substitute teachers and provide free tutorials and guidance to those individuals who wish to pursue teaching as a career.

Process for Becoming a Substitute
To apply as a Substitute, click the here: https://business.stlucie.k12.fl.us/scripts/wsisa.dll/WService=wsFin/rapplmnu03.w
Once you have submitted your completed application, it will be processed by the Human Resources Department.
Once you have been hired, you will receive an email with instructions to schedule and pay for your photo ID badge, fingerprint and drug screen appointments. A link will be included for you to schedule your appointment to complete your on-boarding packet in the Human Resources Department.
Upon completion of the steps above, you will be contacted by the department of which you applied, and they will assign you accordingly.

Homes Cover

Oak Hammock K-8 Students Train the Mind and Body While Focusing on Students’ Well-Being

20 Oct Lucie link 1

Oak Hammock K-8 Kindergarten Class

Article by: Danita McClendon-Morgan
Students in Coach Branim’s physical education classes are learning about the importance of having a physically fit mind and body. All students, on campus and MySchool, start each class with warm-up exercises. Coach Branim reminds students, when your body is active, you feel better physically and mentally. Students are learning warm-ups activities that allow the blood in their body to flow, this provides for better movement and brain function. Simple exercise movements are incorporated with each lesson to help students feel comfortable and relaxed. The picture shows the Kindergarten class learning different exercises with the Little Sports website. Coach Branim’s third-grade virtual students were being shown how to do jumping jacks. Students are training their mind and body by learning how to reduce stress and improve their physical and mental well-being in their physical education class.

20 Oct Coach Brianna

Coach Branim warms up with 3rd Grade MySchool students

Northport Richly Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

20 Oct Northport

Article by: Lynne Gruszka

Northport is pleased to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. Students are learning facts, participating in Governor DeSantis’ writing and art contest, learning about which countries are part of the Hispanic culture and studying about Hispanic people who have contributed richly to our country. What a pleasure to salute our Hispanic American population and tip our hat to their rich culture that enhances our American experience.

SLPS Comprehensive Mental Health Plan Receives DOE Approval

St Lucie Public Schools Logo

The 2020-2021 Comprehensive Mental Health Plan submitted by SLPS recently obtained approval from the Florida Department of Education.

This plan provides a comprehensive overview of an established infrastructure designed to address the mental, social and emotional, and behavioral needs of all children.

Included in the plan is a synopsis of the many existing programs and services currently available in SLPS, as well as plans for the district’s expansion of services

utilizing the Mental Health Services Allocation and the dollars generated through the passage of the voter referendum in St. Lucie County which provides additional dollars to support mental health.

20 Oct 2 St Lucie

Establishing these guiding principles allows SLPS to maintain a systematic process to meet the many needs of our students through access to mental health services and to provide timely feedback to our families and community partners. Based in a multi-tiered system of supports, our infrastructure includes a continuum of services that meets the needs of all students.

The Mental Health Services Allocation and the dollars from the district voter referendum have allowed SLPS to expand the services we provide. This expansion of services allows us to offer a more immediate response to the students and families we serve. An intentional focus on the social and emotional well-being of all children will result in increased student achievement, increased attendance and engagement in school, and a reduction in negative outcomes for students such as poor attendance, out-of-school suspension and office discipline referrals.

Congratulations to Bill Tomlinson, Executive Director of the Exceptional Student Education and Student Services Department and his entire team for a job well done!

For questions about the Comprehensive Mental Health Plan, please contact Heather Clark, Director of Student Services at 429-4521 or Dr. Michelle Gillard, Coordinator of Mental Health at 429-4559.

20 Sept Kane Ctr Logo New

Kane Center Basic Italian

(3 Classes)—Inst: Maria Rosa Iside Zaniboni
Tuesdays: October 20, 27 | 2:30-4:30 p.m. | $36 Kane Members
$40 Non-Members
Basic Italian is back in a new accelerated format that focuses on the fundamentals of learning the Italian language. Walk away with knowledge and understanding of simple words and phrases and a solid foundation for understanding Italian. Space is limited! You must register ahead of time to participate. No walk-ins will be accepted. Register online or call 772.223.7800.

Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program

20 Sept TC Food Bank
20 Sept Food Bank Classes

A student hones her knife skills as part of Treasure Coast Food Bank's Culinary Training Program

Photo Credit: Jacqueline Kenny - Treasure Coast Food Bank

Fort Pierce - With the coronavirus pandemic causing unemployment on the Treasure Coast to climb to more than 10 percent, it’s more important than ever that people have every chance for sustainable employment.

That’s the goal of Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Culinary Training program, which will introduce participants to careers in food service and hospitality – some of the most in-demand job opportunities on the Treasure Coast. Enrollment is open now for the fall course, which begins Oct. 12, 2020.

“Our goal is for 100 percent of the students to graduate with the knowledge and credentials they need for promising careers in a rapidly growing culinary field,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “This is just one part of our Workforce Development program that supports the long-term goal of ending hunger in our community.”

The comprehensive course covers a range of topics. In addition to learning principles of cooking and how to prepare stocks, soups and sauces, students learn how to work the front and back of the house, and meet customer needs. There’s also a hands-on learning component where students work in a real-world kitchen setting and learn how to plan, design, and execute a menu.

In addition, the course includes essential employment skills such as writing a resume, mock interviews, teamwork, and time management.

The 12-week course takes place at Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Food Production Kitchen in Fort Pierce. Classes are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Students must be 18 years or older and authorized to work in the United States. They must have experienced financial hardship during the previous 12 months. A limited number of scholarships are available.

For full requirements and to apply for admission, visit stophunger.org/culinary-training-academy/

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19 Dec MC School Board Logo
20 Sept MC Kids Eat Free

Northport Art Students Create the Emblem of America!

20 Sept Northport

Article by: Lynne Gruszka
Northport Art students created an American Bald Eagle to adorn the main hallway outside the media center. The eagle was created by students to promote patriotic education as the school honored 9/11. The bald eagle is the emblem created by the Founding Fathers to represent our nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence symbolize the strength of our country. Students decorated and added messages to each feather. Many thanks to Northport art teacher, Stephanie Ramirez for her leadership and instruction.

College Virtual Visits Showcase

20 Sept St Lucie Link

Juniors, Seniors and families in St. Lucie County are invited to participate in our College Virtual Visits Showcase.

From Sept 29th to Nov 20th, colleges and universities from around the country will host individual LIVE sessions created just for our St. Lucie students.

Please check the calendar list on the site below. There will be multiple offerings each day after school. Every showcase has a college-hosted link that will go live at the scheduled time posted. You will also find the college admissions representative contact information listed.

Check often for updates, as there are still colleges submitting their chosen dates and times.

The schedule is staggered so that you may attend as many sessions as possible. We’d like to encourage you to do so, as you never know what campuses could ignite your interest.

On the site, you can scroll through the dates or use the search tool to find a college of choice.


Please note, some colleges require you to pre-register, so make sure to check the calendar details ahead of time.

This is a unique opportunity and we sincerely hope to see everyone in the sessions!


19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Concluding a year-long search process, the Martin County School Board selected Dr. John D. Millay as the Martin County School District’s next Superintendent of Schools during its Special Meeting on September 22, 2020.

“We look forward to welcoming Dr. Millay to Martin County,” School Board Chair Marsha Powers shared. “We feel confident that he will continue working with our students, staff and community to move our district forward with our mission to educate all students for success.”

In November 2018, Martin County voters passed a referendum granting the Martin County School Board the authority to appoint the Superintendent of Schools. Superintendent Laurie J. Gaylord announced in May that she planned to retire when her second term as the elected Superintendent expired in November 2020. The School Board began working with the Florida School Boards Association in October 2019 to conduct a search for an appointed Superintendent of Schools.

Earlier this year, the School Board held community forums to allow citizens to provide feedback about qualities they felt the appointed Superintendent should possess, as well as what his/her leadership priorities should be. Members of the community and District employees were also invited to provide their feedback via two input surveys. The School Board used results from the community forums and input surveys to develop the job description and list of qualities for the appointed Superintendent. The Board continued to promote civic engagement by selecting members of the community to serve on a Citizens Advisory Committee as part of the search process. Four finalists interviewed with the School Board September 16- 17, 2020, leading up to the selection of Dr. Millay as the appointed Superintendent on September 22.

“I want to thank the Martin County Board of Education for their trust, their faith and their belief in me to successfully lead the school district to the next level,” Dr. Millay shared. “I want to reassure everyone that I take this responsibility extremely seriously, and I vow to humbly serve the students, staff and the families that you represent.” Dr. Millay also thanked Superintendent Gaylord for her leadership, stating that he looked forward to building upon her record of success.

Dr. Millay recently retired after a 27-year career serving children and public schools in Kentucky. He spent the last seven years as the Superintendent of the Meade County School District, and has also served as an adjunct professor for both the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University. In 2019, he was presented with the “Best Practice Award” by the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Learning and Continuous Improvement for his work in implementing models for special education and professional development. He has served as a superintendent mentor for the Kentucky Department of Education, and was selected to present to the National School Boards Association this year on the development of student pathways and community/college partnerships. He holds undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K-12), a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration (K-12).

The School Board authorized Board Chair Powers to begin contract negotiations with Dr. Millay, who will be sworn into office on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

Learn more about Dr. Millay by watching his interview with the School Board, answers to questions submitted by members of the community and introductory video for the citizens of Martin County.

20 Sept Fall Sports St Lucie
St Lucie Public Schools Logo

Continue Practicing Healthy Hygiene Habits

20 Sept Corona Virus Flyer
St Lucie Public Schools Logo

Palm Pointe Recognizes Project Citizen Winners

20 Sept Palm Pointe

The Project Citizen National Showcase was recently held, where students from Massachusetts to Arizona tackled problems in their community.

Students from Mrs. Wright’s 3rd period Civics class from last school year earned an Exceptional rating on their project, “Water We Waiting For?” Last January, Hannah Dorval, Devin Habyan, Alexia Morgan, and Caleb Chuquillanqui represented their class at the district showcase, where they presented the class project, seeking to combat the high rate of child drownings in the state of Florida by proposing changes to public policy. They were interviewed by multiple judges and answered questions about their proposed policy, which helped the project advance to the state competition. Then, over the summer, Alexia Morgan and Hannah Raymond presented the project at the state level, where they were interviewed once again and their efforts advanced the project to the National competition, earning an Exceptional rating.

Congratulations to all, they worked so hard on all parts of this project. We are so proud of our rockets!

St Lucie Public Schools Logo

West Gate Teacher Uses Meditation to Ease Into Learning

20 Sept Westgate 1

Port St. Lucie - West Gate’s Third Grade teacher, Kristin Bowman, uses ten minutes of mindful meditation to help students break into the day. She says that it’s “very effective in grounding the kids and making them present for the day ahead.”

20 Sept Westgate 2

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

SCARED FOR SCHOOL: 4 In 5 Parents Considering Homeschooling Kids This Fall

Father helps his daughter do some homework at the kitchen table

Article by: I Care Magazine

New survey shows that 82% of parents are more worried about sending kids back to school than ever before. A quarter say they absolutely will not allow their children in a classroom.

As autumn nears and the coronavirus outbreak wears on, the next school year is becoming more uncertain for many parents. A new survey finds four in five parents are thinking about homeschooling their school-age children this fall. Of those parents, nearly half say they’re seriously considering keeping their kids home in 2020 and 2021.

The poll, commissioned by Crispy Green and conducted by OnePoll, spoke with 2,000 parents to see how families are adjusting to the “new normal” created by COVID-19. Researchers reveal, if given the choice to open or close all schools this fall, one in four parents would not allow children back into the classroom.

Health is the biggest concern for most parents

The vast majority of respondents say the risk of infection is the biggest driving force in considering homeschooling. Among the parents thinking about a virtual education, 81 percent point to increasing health concerns. Eighty-two percent admit they’re more scared to send their kids into a school than ever before. Parents also worry that once children are back in class, hygiene issues will quickly put schools at risk. About 60 percent of respondents don’t believe their children will properly wash their hands in school. Nearly half the respondents say they’re trying to teach their kids about proper hygiene during the pandemic. Researchers say a majority of parents are also taking this time in isolation to talk to their children more about safety and the importance of social distancing.

An expensive and time-consuming school year

One of the big takeaways from the poll is how costly COVID-19 will be for parents preparing children for school. Three in four respondents are expecting to spend an extra $147 per child to get them the proper supplies. Those same parents add that getting their kids ready for class will take much longer. They believe prepping to go to school during the pandemic will take an extra 40 minutes each morning.

Despite all the preparations families are making, 77 percent say they won’t be fully prepared for schools to reopen. Many parents have a long list of demands for education officials before they begin to feel comfortable with the idea of going back to school. Over half, 55 percent, want increased COVID-19 testing and regular temperature checks on school premises. Nearly the same number of parents want smaller class sizes in the fall. Fifty percent want plenty of hand sanitizer available for children, while four in ten parents want schools to use more digital textbooks too. “Whether kids will be virtually learning from home or going back to their physical school, parents will be hyper-focused on kids’ immune system to ward off ANY potential illnesses … including COVID,” a spokesperson for Crispy Green says in a statement. The digital generation is coping better with COVID-19 Despite all the uncertainty tied to the next school year, parents know their children are doing a better job of coping with all the

changes than they are. Seventy-one percent admit they wouldn’t have handled a pandemic as well when they were children. The representative from Crispy Green believes today’s tech-savvysociety is better equipped to deal with such a disruption to inperson learning. “If this happened 25 years ago, there would be substantially fewer options to successfully manage these challenges.”

Save the Date!

20 Sept Nov 6 Nighttime Golf

You don't want to miss this first-time event!
It's a glow in the dark party on the greens!

Registration and cocktails will begin at 4:30 PM.
A shotgun start with a scramble format will follow.

Social distancing will be in play.

Reserve your foursome as a Premium Team Sponsor
or become an event sponsor today.
Sponsorship opportunities range from $250 - $5,000.

It's a great time for a great cause!

For more event details or questions about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Lisa Rhodes at LRhodes@EducationFoundationMC.org or via phone at 772.600.8062.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Samuel S. Gaines Academy of Emerging Technologies Selected to Join the 2020- 2021 Incubator Path of the Microsoft Showcase School Program

20 Sept Samuel Gaines Academy logo

St. Lucie County - Samuel S. Gaines Academy of Emerging Technologies was selected by Microsoft to join the 2020–2021 Incubator Path of the Microsoft Showcase School program for their commitment to education transformation to drive student learning outcomes. Led effectively by Principal Keith W. Davis Sr., Samuel S. Gaines Academy of Emerging Technologies provides both inspiration and motivation to all schools to see and experience the future of digital transformation in education.

Samuel S. Gaines Academy of Emerging Technologies joins an exclusive community from around the world, recognized and celebrated for their educational transformation which includes vision and innovation in teaching, learning and assessment, focus on future-ready skills such as computational and critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, using data to support decision-making, and promotion of growth mindset among staff, educators, and students.
“Three years ago, we started our transformation journey by getting all of our teachers trained in Microsoft and STEM content integration. Part of our vision has always been to become a Microsoft Showcase School. The work of transformation is always challenging, however, due to the passion for improvement and dedication of our teachers and staff to a growth mindset, we can embark on the next part of the journey as a Microsoft Incubator School with the same confidence that helped us make history when we became a B school in 2019,” said Principal Davis.
As a school in the Incubator Path of the Showcase School program, Samuel S. Gaines Academy of Emerging Technologies will work closely with Microsoft on a journey to lead innovation in education transformation and communicate an education transformation vision, enabled by technology, to help students excel and develop the skills needed for the future. The journey culminates with the opportunity to earn Microsoft Showcase School status.

“Microsoft Showcase Schools are shining examples of those applying purpose-driven innovation in a variety of ways to build connections, motivate students and to create community in and out of school,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice president, Worldwide Education, Microsoft. “These schools are truly transforming learning and providing more personalized education to students, empowering them to achieve more.”

The global Microsoft Showcase School community comes together as a group to tackle challenges, celebrate successes, share learnings, and try new solutions in a vibrant online community through Microsoft Teams. As schools in the program continue their education transformation journey, they are supported by Microsoft, their partners, and each other through capacity building, transformation guidance, peer learning, amplification opportunities, and early access to research and solutions.

#ALLINMartin for Education, Health and Success!

19 Dec MC School Board Logo

The health and safety of students and staff are the top priorities of the Martin County School District. Please continue reading to learn how your family can partner with us to help prevent the spread of illness.

Monitor your child's symptoms daily. Students must stay home from school when they are ill, or if anyone in the household is symptomatic, awaiting test results or has tested positive for COVID-19.

Please review our daily symptom screening tool with your child each day:  English Español

20 Aug MC School 3

Symptom screening tools and criteria for sending a student home from school due to illness were developed in partnership with the Florida Department in Health in Martin County (DOH Martin) using established CDC guidelines.

Health-related questions, including questions about students who have been sent home from school/told to quarantine due to symptoms, may be directed to DOH Martin at (772) 221-4000 option 9.

If anyone in your household is symptomatic, awaiting COVID-19 test results or has tested positive for COVID-19, do not send your children to school.

Students may transition from in-person to remote learning due to personal illness or illness in their household as described above. Please contact your child's school or click here for more information about remote learning.

Continue practicing healthy hygiene habits.

All students, employees and visitors must wear masks while on school district property when social distancing is not possible. Social distancing cannot be guaranteed and is dependent on the number of people present in a location at any given time.

Hand hygiene is key to preventing the spread of illness. Continue to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact. When possible, maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.

Monitor your health daily. If you develop symptoms of illness, do not report to school or work. Contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

St. Lucie Public Schools Releases Daily Home Screening Tool

St Lucie Public Schools Logo

St. Lucie County, FL – A vital and key component of reopening schools safely is ensuring that employees and students stay home when they are sick. The district has developed a Daily Home Screening for Students tool in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie, that will assist parents in assessing their child’s health before sending their student to school. Parents MUST complete the short check every morning, and if they answer “yes” to any of the criteria, then the child MUST stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Superintendent of Schools, E. Wayne Gent said, “We are ready to welcome our students back into our school centers. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students and employees. Parents MUST use the Daily Home Screening tool every morning, to keep our school environments healthy and safe."

A printable version in three languages can be found on the school district website at https://www.stlucie.k12.fl.us/pdf/DailyHomeScreening.pdf

20 Aug screening

Pandemic Perspectives Course Offered at No Cost to Community

20 Aug PB Atlantic Univ Logo

West Palm Beach – Palm Beach Atlantic University is launching a free, not-for-credit course: Pandemic Perspectives.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, dashboards and data are constantly changing, and interpretation of the most recent information is difficult at best. That’s partly due to an absence of context,” said Dr. Jeff Lewis, dean of the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy.

This course takes a step back from the daily numbers of the COVID-19 pandemic and presents a broader, more contextualized view of pandemics — their social, medical and economic impacts, history, management and the manner in which a society recovers.

“We’ve assembled a roster of experts from our incredible, award-winning faculty in hopes that we might serve our community well during these challenging days, putting this present crisis in perspective,” Lewis said.
The course launches Sept. 1, and is open to the public. No academic credit will be offered. Those who enroll to obtain professional development credit will pay $15, which includes documentation.
The course is free to everyone else. View the course outline and register here.

Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university offering undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees, with campuses in West Palm Beach, Orlando and online. The University is dedicated to the integration of Christian principles to prepare students for learning, leadership and service.

Grassam Spine
20 Aug Tykes & Teens Flyer
20 Mar Stuart Stamp

Tampa Couple Creates Franchising Challenge at Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Titus Center

20 Aug Kobel

It is the only fund of its kind to help students and graduates acquire franchise businesses.

West Palm Beach — The newly-established Kobel Franchise Challenge allows students and alumni of Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Titus Center for Franchising to compete for as much as $300,000 to buy their first franchise.

Ed and Becky Kobel, of Tampa, Florida, established the challenge with a $300,000 fund, the only one of its kind to help students and graduates acquire franchise businesses. Ed Kobel is president and chief operating officer of DeBartolo Development. His passion is mentoring young people in business – especially people who want to leverage their business to promote the kingdom of Jesus Christ. He was the University’s American Free Enterprise Medalist in 2010.

“The Kobel Franchise Challenge helps PBA students and graduates become franchisees,” said Titus Center Director Dr. John P. Hayes. “Moreover, they benefit from invaluable, ongoing mentoring by Mr. Kobel.”

Current franchising students and PBA graduates who earned the concentration in franchising are eligible to apply. Recipients are expected to operate their businesses full-time and pay back the money over the course of three years. Applications are due by Dec. 15, although those who are interested must file an intent to compete by Oct. 15.

The Kobel Challenge Selection Committee will name a winner or winners by the end of January. The committee will include Ed Kobel; Geoff Seiber, founder and CEO of FranFund and a Titus Center Advisory Board member; another member of the Titus Center Advisory Board and a member of PBA’s administration. Hayes serves as an adviser to the committee.

One of the University’s six Centers of Excellence, the Titus Center for Franchising is one of the few places in the world where students can prepare for a career in franchising. The program was endowed with a $1.5 million contribution by franchise entrepreneur Ray Titus, founder of United Franchise Group in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university offering undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in West Palm Beach, Orlando and online. The University is dedicated to the integration of Christian principles to prepare students for learning, leadership and service.

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19 Dec MC School Board Logo

The Martin County School District will officially receive the Florida Green School District Silver Award from the Florida Green School Network during a virtual ceremony this afternoon.

The Florida Green School Network supports districts' efforts to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff and provide effective environmental and sustainability education. District staff submitted a comprehensive application detailing various green initiatives and activities, scoring highly in the competitive process based on its success as a Green School District. The District’s innovative efforts include school grounds enhancement, resource conservation, environmental curriculum connections, community involvement, and a school-wide commitment to sustainability.

As an honoree, District staff will provide a short presentation about District highlights at the inaugural recognition webinar from 2-3 pm on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Those interested in viewing the presentation may register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/regist…/7283817439315963147