Out2News Education 

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.

IRSC Hosts Campus Preview Days for Students

20 Dec IRSC New Resized

Indian River State College (IRSC) is delighted to welcome incoming students and applicants to the College Campus Preview Days, taking place on each branch campus at the beginning of August. Campus Preview days are designed to familiarize students with their campus and its resources, and provide them with an opportunity to meet their Campus President.

“Our main objective for Campus Preview Days is to ensure that students are comfortable and familiar with their specific campus prior to beginning classes,” stated Emily Mass, Administrative Director of Recruitment & Admissions at IRSC. “This is an innovative way for students to preview and learn about their ‘home base’ as well as the amenities and resources their campus offers. These sessions are supplements to our New Student Orientation, taking place July 29 at the Massey Campus, which we encourage all new students and applicants to attend.”

Campus Preview Days schedule:

Chastain Campus: August 3, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
2400 S.E. Salerno Road
Stuart, Florida 34997
772-419-5600

Pruitt Campus: August 4, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
500 N.W. California Boulevard
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34986
772-336-6200

Dixon Hendry Campus: August 5, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
2229 NW 9th Ave
Okeechobee, Florida 34972
863-824-6000

Mueller Campus: August 9, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
6155 College Lane
Vero Beach, Florida 32966
772-226-2500

For more information on Campus Preview Days, contact the Student Communications Center by emailing info@irsc.edu or calling 1-866-792-4772.

Indian River State College Awarded Three Prestigious Blackboard Catalyst Awards

20 Dec IRSC New Resized

Fort Pierce — Three teams from Indian River State College (IRSC) are recipients of 2021 Blackboard Catalyst Awards recognizing their work to deliver innovative programs through technology to IRSC students. The annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice—where educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology.

“We are pleased to honor this year's Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to improving the educational experience for all learners through EdTech and sharing these insights with the broader community,” said Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer and President, Global Markets at Blackboard. “We are proud to partner with institutions who are innovating to advance student success.”

IRSC teams were recognized with Catalyst Awards in the following three categories:

Teaching and Learning:
IRSC National Preparedness Institute staff members Dr. Brenda Rante, NPI Director; Sara Peterson, NPI Program Specialist; and Virginia Keating, adjunct instructor, collaborated with IRSC Global Instructional Designer Katie Profeta to develop, design, and launch a blended version of the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Course to allow the NPI to continue to offer this essential training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 2020, more than 600 individuals—including current and future IRSC students and public citizens—have completed the training, resulting in new or renewed CPR certifications.

Inclusive Education:
IRSC Global instructional designers Lucimara Mello and Katie Profeta partnered with IRSC Counselor/Assistant Professor Sherise Hobson to improve the accessibility of online courses. To facilitate this goal, the team formed an Accessibility Workgroup to provide recommendations for an accessible and ADA-compliant learning environment, resulting in a series of accessibility training webinars, a compilation of templates and resources available to faculty, and the installation of an alternative format software to assist instructors and all online learners. The team introduced these resources to the College as part of IRSC's inaugural participation in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in 2020.

Optimizing Student Experience:
Dr. Patti Corey-Souza and Jennifer Owens of the IRSC Health and Wellness Center (HWC) partnered with IRSC Global student learning coordinators Dr. Leigh Clay and Veronica Martabano to ensure Health and Wellness resources were available during the COVID-19 pandemic. IRSC Global collaborated with the HWC team to create a Blackboard Organization to provide students with anytime access to vital resources on mindfulness, sexual violence, substance abuse, suicide awareness, the Pioneer Pantry, and more. To date, more than 3,100 students have accessed these items or activities, and HWC has plans to continue its use and further raise awareness of this valuable resource.

“Remote learning quickly became the ‘norm’ for everyone in 2020—demanding new, innovative approaches to meet the needs of our students,” states Kendall St. Hilaire, Campus President for IRSC Global. She adds, “The exemplary effort and commitment to student success demonstrated by each of these teams are worthy of the regard and recognition demonstrated by these three Blackboard Catalyst Awards.”

The IRSC team will also be announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2021, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held virtually over two weeks, July 13-15 and July 20-22.

For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, please visit https://community.blackboard.com/catalystawards.

For more information on BLS-CPR training offered through the IRSC National Preparedness Institute, visit www.tcpublicsafetytraining.com or contact Sara Peterson, NPI Program Specialist, at speterso@irsc.edu.

IRSC Helps Students Find Money for College with Financial Aid Workshops

20 Dec IRSC New Resized

Indian River State College (IRSC) is helping students find money for college through Financial Aid Workshops, taking place throughout the month of July on all five of the IRSC campuses. IRSC Financial Aid staff will answer questions and help students apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students and parents are asked to bring their completed 2019 tax return (if required to file) and W-2 forms, and parents should accompany their dependent students to the workshop.

“Indian River State College is proud that 91% of our students graduate debt-free, and our goal is to increase that to 100% of students,” stated Emily Mass, IRSC Administrative Director of Recruitment and Admissions. “Our dedication to removing financial barriers is critical in helping students stay the course to achieve their higher educational goals.”

The College’s Financial Aid office wants recent high school graduates and parents to know that starting this Fall, the Florida Bright Futures Medallion Scholarship covers 100% of tuition and applicable fees at IRSC. Besides Bright Futures, IRSC offers a variety of scholarships to fit each student’s individual needs through the IRSC Foundation, and financial aid staff will touch on these and other forms of aid at the workshops.

Follows are the dates and times for workshops at each campus:

Massey Campus (Fort Pierce), Student Success Center (W-BLDG)

Wednesday, July 7, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
Monday, July 12, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
Monday, July 19, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
Monday, July 26, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28, 4:00–7:00 p.m.

Chastain Campus (Stuart), Room A-110

Wednesday, July 14, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 20, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Dixon Hendry Campus (Okeechobee), Room B-112

Tuesday, July 13, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 22, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 27, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Mueller Campus (Vero Beach), Room D-142

Wednesday, July 7, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

Pruitt Campus (Port St. Lucie), Room J-134

Tuesday, July 13, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 20, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 27, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

In addition to these Financial Aid Workshops, IRSC is hosting a New Student Orientation on July 29 from 4:00–6:00 p.m. at the Massey Campus in Fort Pierce. Attendees will meet with their designated Student Success Coaches and fellow students, learn about life at IRSC and review financial aid updates and student success tips.

For more information email info@irsc.edu or call 1-866-792-4772.

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.”

Preparing for the Future - High Schools Offering Summer Counseling to Ensure Students

19 Dec MC School Board Logo

Stuart - As part of its mission to educate all students for success, the Martin County School District is using a portion of its CARES grant funding to implement a summer instructional continuity plan that will provide academic counseling and support to high school students and their families.

"We recognize that academic and career counseling support is necessary to help students make the best decisions for success in high school and beyond," Chief Academic Officer Tracey Miller said. "Our summer instructional continuity plan supports the work of our high schools in ensuring all students are prepared for the upcoming school year with class schedules that provide opportunities to participate in rigorous coursework while also allowing for the exploration of interests and talents."

The purpose of the grant is to encourage high school students to explore accelerated programs, such as Cambridge AICE, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and Career & Technical Education. School counselors, graduation coaches and teachers who support these programs will offer summer counseling hours to help students and families chart a course to success.

High School counselors and teachers will be available to provide guidance and information according to the following schedules:

Jensen Beach High School (Advanced Placement Capstone Academy, Exceptional Student Education, general academic counseling, assistance with graduation pathways, Career & Technical Education)

• Monday - Thursday through July 1 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (or until 5:30 p.m. by request). Please visit the school, call (772) 232-3500 ext. 37127 or email gutierd@martinschools.org for assistance.

Martin County High School (Cambridge AICE Academy, general academic counseling, assistance with graduation pathways, Career & Technical Education)

Academic Advising (academic counseling, graduation pathways assistance, and CTE) -
• Walk-in Hours– Monday - Thursday through July 1 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

• By Appointment- Monday - Thursday through July 1 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

• Call (772) 219-1800 ext. 32231 or email MCHSGuidance@martinschools.org to schedule an appointment (in-person or via Zoom).

Cambridge AICE (academic counseling and AICE diploma)
• Walk-in Hours – Monday, June 7 - Thursday, June 11 and Monday, June 21 - Friday, July 1 from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

• By Appointment- Monday - Thursday through July 1 from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

• Call (772) 219-1800 ext. 32231 or email MCHSCambridge@martinschools.org to schedule an appointment (in-person or via Zoom).

South Fork High School (International Baccalaureate Program, Exceptional Student Education, general academic counseling, assistance with graduation pathways, Career & Technical Education)

Monday - Thursday through July 1. Call (772)219-1840 ext. 35103 to request an appointment. Staff will be present at Indiantown and Murray middle schools to assist families as well.

• ESE- June 15, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Indiantown Middle School

• ESE - June 24, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Murray Middle School

• International Baccalaureate (I.B.) - June 15, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Murray Middle School

• International Baccalaureate (I.B.) - June 29, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Indiantown Middle School

• Career & Technical Education - June 15, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Indiantown Middle School

• Career & Technical Education - June 22, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Murray Middle School

• Career & Technical Education - June 17, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. - South Fork High School

• I.B., ESE, academic counseling, graduation pathways assistance, Career & Technical Education - June 10, June 14, June 17, June 21, June 22, June 23 and June 29 at South Fork High School. Appointments are available until 5:00 p.m.

COVID Vaccine Flyer Updated 6.4.21

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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IRSC Names Dr. Raimundo Socorro Dean of Public Service Education

21 jUNE sOCORRO

Fort Pierce — Indian River State College (IRSC) has hired Dr. Raimundo Socorro as Dean of Public Service Education. A former Commander with the Miami Police Department and former Dean of the School of Justice, Public Safety and Law Studies at Miami Dade College, Socorro comes to IRSC with an unparalleled mix of practical and academic experiences. At IRSC, he is responsible for Bachelor- and Associate-level programs in criminal justice, emergency administration and management, fire science, public administration, social and human services; certificate programs; law enforcement and fire academies; and testing and training in various areas of public safety, including fire, police, corrections and private security. He will also grow IRSC’s portfolio of advanced and specialized training for veteran officers and agency personnel.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Socorro on the IRSC Team,” shares Indian River State College President Dr. Timothy Moore. “Ray brings real-world experience, leadership, and academics that are unmatched. He will propel IRSC public service education academic programs and our law enforcement and fire science academies forward while furthering our commitment to helping local and regional first responder agencies serve our communities better.”

Socorro has a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership & Education from Barry University; a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Graduate Certificate in Police Executive Leadership from the University of Louisville; a Master of Science in Management, Graduate Certificate in Public Management, and Bachelor in Arts in Organizational Management from St. Thomas University; and Associate in Arts Degree from Miami Dade Community College. He retired from the Miami Police Department in 2013 and Miami Dade College in 2020.

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Indian River State College Introduces Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Biomedical Sciences

21 jUNE bIOMEDICAL A

New Professional Preparation Certification Clears Hurdles for Aspiring Doctors,
Dentists, Pharmacists and Veterinarians

Fort Pierce — This fall, Indian River State College (IRSC) makes it easier for students preparing for acceptance into graduate-level medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, or another health-related professional school. The College’s new 15-credit post-baccalaureate certificate in upper-level biology courses prepares students for graduate school curriculum and entrance exams. IRSC is the first and only College in the Florida College System to offer this particular Certificate of Professional Preparation (CPP).

“At IRSC, immunology and biotechnology are part of our baccalaureate biology curriculum, but for many colleges and universities, biology degrees don’t require biochemistry or other biomedical upper-division electives,” states Dr. Heather Belmont IRSC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer. “We’ve established the CPP in Biomedical Sciences to help bridge the gap for students who need required coursework as admission requirements for health-related graduate school.”

The Florida Division of Colleges approved the one-year program earlier this year. IRSC is accepting students to begin in classes this fall. Transfer credit may be given to students who have successfully completed equivalent courses as indicated on the student’s official transcript.

For more information about the Biomedical Sciences Certificate of Professional Preparation, contact Lynne O’Dell, Mathematics and Science Student Success Coordinator, at lodell@irsc.edu or 772-462-7785.

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Renaissance Charter School of St. Lucie, Showcase of the Arts

21 May Renaissance Charter 1

In Photo: Jayden Bishop with his art work

Article & Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Renaissance Charter K-8 of St. Lucie recently hosted a Showcase of the Arts, open not just to families but also community members.

The upheaval of the COVID pandemic caused the cancellation of many school-related events both this year and last. Although the students still participated in the programs, audiences, most notably the parents, missed out on band concerts, choral performances, art exhibitions, dance recitals, and more.

Thanks to the easing of the COVID restrictions and the dedication and passion of the school's teachers and administration, the time to celebrate the arts finally arrived!

Walking through the school's halls, audience members found themselves immersed in the arts of painting, drawing, clay work, papier-mache, and other 3-D mediums. Each wall, covered from floor to ceiling, represented the artists' different experience levels and ages. Tables chock full of displays and a ceiling that dangled with projects added to the museum-like ambiance.

Outside, under the large carport, talented dancers performed, theatre students belted out tunes, and the band students showed off their newly acquired instrumental skills. An appreciative crowd of spectators clapped enthusiastically for these presentations that they waited so long to experience!

"Renaissance Charter St. Lucie has the largest arts department in St. Lucie County," said Marketing Director Jill Todd. "Our students missed being able to show off their talents last year and most of the year. We were so excited to come up with a creative way and the ability to safely showcase these students and their hard work. We are so proud of them!"

Educating the whole child is crucial to the mission of Renaissance Charter School. The arts play a vital role in the mission's success- To provide learning experiences that inspire and empower students to be great by choice.

Renaissance Charter School of St. Lucie is tuition-free. To enroll, please visit StLucieCharter.org

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21 May Renaissance Charter 2

In Photo: Xiomora Brasden and Quenecia Dean

21 May Renaissance Charter 3

In Photo: Nykko Slaughter

21 May Renaissance Charter 4

In Photo: Gracie Scannapieco shows her 7th grade artwork

21 May Renaissance Charter 5

In Photo: Middle School Band Director Christopher Ketcham

21 May Renaissance Charter 7

In Photo: MS Art Teacher Thanya Guevara

Renaissance Charter School, Town Hall

Photo 1A

In Photo: Teresa Brown, Amanda Wilson, CEO Jon Hage, Christiana Coburn and Dr. Patrick Galatowitsch

Article & Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham

In celebration of National Charter Schools Week and the upcoming August 2021 opening of Tradition Prep High School, Jon Hage, CEO, and Founder of the parent organization Charter Schools USA, recently spoke to parents and staff at a town hall-style forum at the school's K-8 in Tradition. Several students set to enter the new high school facility also attended the informational session.

All three principals, Christiana Coburn of Renaissance Charter St. Lucie k-8, Amanda Wilson of Renaissance Charter at Tradition K-8, and Teresa Brown, who will serve as principal of the high school, shared their enthusiasm for the high school.

Brown spoke of the new opportunities for students to build a sense of community and family through their extended educational journey since they can now remain with Renaissance beyond the 8th grade through high school completion.

By utilizing the Wellness, Innovation, Science & Health (WISH) model, the focus will be preparing students for college, career, and life through rigorous academic programs, learning the importance of teamwork, compromise, and lasting values. In addition, the school offers a wide range of extracurricular activities such as sports, arts, and much more!

"All kids deserve an equal opportunity," said CEO Jon Hage. "Every child is an individual and not someone on a conveyor line. They deserve success in life and the same excellent education as anyone, no matter where they are born."

"But, academics alone will not make our children successful. They need to know how to apply that and have the emotional intelligence to do so."

The WISH program supports academics, but, as importantly, it strengthens each student's mental and physical well-being.

Limited seats remain available for the fall 2021 session.

Please join the Tradition Prep Pirates their Golf Tournament on July 16th at Gator Trace Country Club in Fort Pierce at 7:30 am. Funds will help support the new football team.

To enroll, please visit TraditionPrep.org

Photo 2A

In Photo: Jon Hage, CEO Charter Schools USA

Photo 3A

In Photo: Sara Barton, Amanda Andres and Jennifer Calderon

Photo 4A

In Photo: CEO Jon Hage speaks with Michelle Rubinstein

Photo 5A

In Photo: Amanda Wilson, Principal at St. Lucie K-8 Renaissance; Teresa Brown, Principal at Tradition Prep High School; and, Christiana Coburn, Renaissance K-8 St. Lucie

Photo 6A

In Photo: Tradition Prep HS Principal Teresa Brown

Photo 7A

In Photo: Kim and Scott Laird

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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Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

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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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Renaissance Charter School of St. Lucie- The Little Mermaid

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In Photo: Emma Ortiz, Ariana Finley and Gabriella Abaunza in the dressing room

Article & Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham
It may have taken two long years for the Renaissance Charter School of St. Lucie to finally launch their full-scale Broadway production of Disney's The Little Mermaid due to the COVID 19 pandemic, but it was well worth the wait!

The journey to produce the show may have taken place here on land. Still, the resulting 'Under the Sea' performances were astounding, considering what was once a cast of 105 dwindled to a cast of 65 due to graduations, recasts, and changes in rehearsal schedules. Director Scott Laird and his fearless team never considered throwing in the towel.

Cast members performed multiple roles, endured constant costume changes, and worked double-time to bring the show back to the stage at the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce for the recent weekend of delightful performances. Due to COVID restrictions, however, the theater operated at half-capacity, causing a loss of revenue.

To help bring in additional funding, show organizers launched a virtual stream of the production viewable one week after the live shows. This unique opportunity allowed out-of-state friends, family, and Little Mermaid fans to experience the show from the comfort of home. Local fans tuned in as well!

"It was so great to be able to give our students the opportunity to perform, for a live audience, on such an amazing stage," said Director Scott Laird. "Two years of hard work came together in a magical mix of flying, skating, and incredible student performances."

The Little Mermaid is the 6th production put forth by the school. From the humble beginnings of "Junior" productions on church stages, the magnitude of the shows has indeed rocketed to great heights. This growth will continue with the Fall 2021 opening of the Renaissance Tradition Prep High School's Black Box Theater.

Top sponsors of The Little Mermaid include Bilingual Key Therapy, Dr. Shamsher Singh, Harbor Retirement, Ohle & Ohle Attorneys at Law, and Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa Attorneys at Law.

In addition to the arts, the school offers 21st-century learning, a middle school sports program, a state-of-the-art Maker Space focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.), and much more in a family-oriented atmosphere.

"At R.C.S.S.L., we strive to provide well-rounded opportunities for students to explore their interests. This year's play exceeded all expectations! I am so proud of the opportunity our students had to bring back the performing arts to our community." said Principal Christiana Coburn.

Applications for the 2021/2022 school year are available at StLucieCharter.org

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In Photo: Avery Cordero as Prince Eric and Lucia Gomez as Ariel

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In Photo: Uriah Williams as Sebastian backstage

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In Photo: Isabelle Wampler as Ursula

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In Photo: Jayden Bishop as Grimsby and Shawn Gerheart as a sailor

Martin County Joe Kordick Youth Charactor Awards

21 Apr 1

In Photo: Shelly Sexton and Kaitlyn Berger

Stuart - There’s light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but many time-honored events still have not returned to normal. Last year to adapt to this challenging time, United Way of Martin County found creative ways to recognize students who were honored for their outstanding character through the CHARACTER COUNTS! Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards.

Instead of honoring students during a ceremony, United Way of Martin County CHARACTER COUNTS! advisory board members continued the pandemic-friendly recognition they started last year by placing signs at students’ homes that read “A Joe Kordick Youth Character Award Winner Lives Here.” Seniors were also presented with a $1,000 cash award and middle school recipients were presented with a plaque.

Presented by United Way of Martin County’s CHARACTER COUNTS! program and sponsored by Phyllis Kordick, the awards are presented annually to middle school students and high school seniors in the Martin County School District.

“It’s been a difficult year, especially where character is concerned, which is what makes it even more important to recognize the exceptional character demonstrated by our Joe Kordick Youth Character Award winners,” said CHARACTER COUNTS! Advisory Board Committee Chair Rob Tweeddale.

The Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards are named in honor of the late Joe Kordick, founding chairman and the driving force of CHARACTER COUNTS! in Martin County. He believed that character development starts at home, but also felt strongly that by bringing parents, teachers, community leaders, and businesses together, everyone could share the task of teaching young people to be responsible and to live with integrity.

This year, numerous nominations were received from schools and the community. Nominations of the students are based solely on their character; those students whose lives and achievements demonstrate an enduring commitment to the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring and citizenship. A panel of judges from the community made the final selection based upon the students’ essays, their community involvement, leadership qualities, how they have dealt with and overcome obstacles in their lives, and personal interviews with the high school finalists.

Middle School Award Recipients
• Bianca Morales-Soto, Indiantown Middle School
• Marissa Brodie, Murray Middle School
• Lily Rice, Murray Middle School
• Lilian Dietrich, Murray Middle School
• Noa Vignone, Stuart Middle School

High School Recipients
• Shelby E. Sexton, Jensen Beach High School
• Kaitlyn Berger, Clark Advanced Learning Center
• Quincy Clark, Clark Advanced Learning Center
• Emily Osborn, Clark Advanced Learning Center
• Raymond Martucci, South Fork High School
• Luke Edwards, Martin County High School
• Colin Fogarty, Martin County High School
• Rose Kores, Martin County High School
• Erika Van Vliet, Martin County High School

United Way of Martin County’s CHARACTER COUNTS! program is focused on building a community of good character. Although highly identified with schools, CHARACTER COUNTS! is an initiative for people of all ages and walks of life and is embraced by government, law enforcement and businesses in Martin County. CHARACTER COUNTS! encourages everyone to uphold the Six Pillars of Character as they go on with their daily lives. For more information about CHARACTER COUNTS!, visit www.UnitedWayMartin.org.

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21 Apr 2

In Photo: Quincy Clark and Emily Osborn

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In Photo: Raymond Martucci and Luke Edwards

21 Apr 4

In Photo: Rose Kores and Colin Fogarty

21 Apr 5

In Photo: Erika Van Vliet and Bianca Morales-Soto

21 Apr 6

In Photo: Marissa Brodie and Lily Rice

21 Apr 7

In Photo: Lilian Dietrich and Noa Vignone

Pre-apprenticeship Career Opportunities Soar in St Lucie Public Schools

21 Apr St Lucie Apprentice

Article by: Dana Caputo

St. Lucie Public Schools has five pre-apprenticeship programs preparing students for careers. The pre-apprenticeship Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school programs are located across the District:

Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering at Treasure Coast High

Building Construction Technologies at Port St Lucie High

Outboard Marine Service Technology at St Lucie West Centennial High

Pharmacy Technician at Fort Pierce Westwood Academy – The W.E.S.T. Prep Magnet

Technical Design at Port St Lucie High

The pre-apprenticeships offered in CTE at St. Lucie Public Schools lead into registered apprenticeship trades of Carpenter, Industrial Manufacturing Technician, Truss Design Technician, Pharmacy Technician, and Yacht Service Technician.

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New Scholarship Program Identifies MC Students with Potential

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Article by: Jackie Holfelder
Photo by: Liz McKinley

Nina Haven Scholarship, Inc. was established in 1953 to remove the financial barriers for any Martin County high school seniors who have their sights set on a college education. Over the decades, many recipients have been the first in their families to continue past high school and nearly 1000 have graduated college or university. The all-volunteer “hand on” board of Nina Haven has provided financial guidance, emotional support and networking to help the students stay the course and graduate.

Tracey Etelson, Executive Director of the non-profit Nina Haven Scholarships, Inc., recently announced that the 501(c)(3) has partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, House of Hope and the Community Foundation Martin-St.Lucie to create the “Copper Key Promise Program.”

The four nonprofits collaborate to identify qualified students – who have been under-represented in the past – in the sixth and seventh grades and wrap them and their families in a blanket of services offered by the organizations.

Recipients are guaranteed a four-year scholarship to a Florida University if they maintain the grades, good citizenship and other criteria established by the Program to help them make choices that change their trajectory.

Each year, at least 20 outstanding Martin County Seniors are selected to become Nina Haven Scholars, having demonstrated a commitment to their education and the character and leadership to succeed. Now, through the Copper Key Promise Program, knowing a full tuition scholarship awaits them, more young people with need will access opportunity.

Since the groundwork for the Copper Key Promise Program was laid out two years ago, five promising students have been selected. Each student’s family participates in the interview process and is advised of the role they will be playing in supporting the child.

The collaborative partners of the Copper Key Promise Program are enthused and optimistic about embracing the challenge of equity and inclusion through this innovative and holistic scholarship approach.

To find out how you can contribute or more about the program, visit www.ninahaven.org.

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Jensen Beach High School Junior Named Student of the Year by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of South Florida

21 Mar Grace Bauer Cancer

Congratulations to Grace Bauer of Jensen Beach High School for being named a winner of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of South Florida's Students of the Year campaign! Grace and her teammate, Cade Crook, raised an astonishing $213,000 for cancer research. Each has earned a college scholarship valued at $2,500.

“This campaign has been such an amazing experience and we are thrilled to be this year’s Students of the Year winners!" Grace shared. "My teammate, Cade, and I are so grateful for the opportunity we were given to help this fantastic cause. This campaign instilled many values in me that I will utilize as I go on in life. The opportunity to benefit the blood cancer community has been incredible, and we are immensely grateful to be named the LLS Students of the Year!”

The Lincoln Park Academy Wrestling Team

21 Mar Wrestling Champs

Article & Photo by: Candace Stone
The Lincoln Park Academy Wrestling Team, in only its 3rd year of competition, crowned its first Regional Champion this past weekend, when Kyle Grey finished in first place in his weight class to advance to the FHSAA State Finals in Kissimmee. He will be joined at States by his teammate Deusner Joseph who also qualified for States by coming in 4th place at Regionals.

Lincoln Park Academy Athletics Continues to Shine at FHSAA State Tournaments

21 Mar Wrestling Champs 2

Article & Photo by: Candace Stone
Lincoln Park Academy won three gold medals at State Championships in the Fall and their Winter teams are seeing similar success.

The Girls Basketball Team won their 7th District Championship in a row and their first Regional Championship in school history to advance to the State Final Four. The Lady Greyhounds beat American Heritage in their semifinal appearance and fell short in the Championship game to the #1 team in the nation. Congratulations to Coach Adams, his staff, and his team for finishing as the Class 4A State Runner-Up.

21 Mar Lady Greyhounds

Northport Celebrates Dr. Seuss

21 Mar Dr Seuss

Article & Photos by: Lynne Gruszka
Happy Birthday to our dear Dr. Seuss! Northport celebrated across the campus and virtually. The children in the library read The Lorax and learned all about environmentalism. It has been a GREAT DAY school. Children celebrated by reading Dr. Seuss books and dressing for the day.

Mariposa Elementary Celebrates Music and Arts in our Schools Month

21 Mar Mariposa

Article & Photo by: Wendy Munao
Mariposa Elementary is acknowledging student success in Mr. Evans’ class by celebrating Music in our Schools Month. Students are passionately demonstrating their musical skill sets for their teachers, classmates, and families by sharing songs and activities they learned in music class. Students in upper grades share how their younger siblings are singing catchy songs nonstop at home. Meanwhile, some K-2 students are gaining a head-start in the music curriculum through older siblings sharing their wealth of musical knowledge. Overall, music at Mariposa is bringing students and staff closer together to further maintain a positive learning community. Pictured: Justus Owens, Malia Johnson, Ryu Gomez, Kylee Nguyen, Alexandra Torres, E’va Lewis, Kendyl Hernandez, Paetynn Brayboy, Daniel Rivas, Justin Malcolm, Luna Rivera, Justin Rogalewski, Maria Rosero Perea, Daniella Post, Adrianna Pyle, and Kristia Lovelock.

Career and Technical Education Programs Connect with St. Lucie Sheriff’s Office Drone Team

21 Mar Criminal Drone 1

Article & Photos by: Leinitia Robinson
Fort Pierce Westwood students from Ms. Mildred Brown’s Criminal Justice program, Mrs. Ursula Johnson’s Digital Media program, and Mrs. M.E. Musgrave’s Medical program joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team for a live presentation. Students learned about the significance of the drone team to our law enforcement agencies and community, sUAS Part 107 industry certification, and career opportunities after high school. Sergeant Wes Harbrin organized this event for SLPS students enrolled in these various programs. Additionally, students preparing for their 911 Telecommunications industry certification exam were able to connect with our local law enforcement business and community partners!

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Kansas Corn Stem Visits Northport!

21 Mar Northport

Article & Photo by: Lynne Gruszka
Talk about a corny guest speaker! Sixth-grade students in Mr. Fess’ Northstars STEM class received a virtual visit from Bill Johnston of “Kansas Corn STEM.” The students learned all about how Ethanol is made from corn and explored the benefits of using Ethanol when compared to traditional fossil fuels. These students are in the middle of their green-energy unit on Biomass. They are also working on designing and building their own Biomass demonstration projects.

Exiting the Atmosphere While Still on Campus

21 Mar Riddle 1

Article & Photo by: Katherine Avra
Students in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University program are spacing out in unexpected ways! Fort Pierce Central is one of 12 high schools across Florida chosen to participate in the initiative. The students’ objectives are to fully check out the drone operating program and make necessary adjustments before launch. Students are seen assembling drones in support of ERAU’s new Flight Test Engineering Program. In addition, students shared a zoom call briefing on space flight with Dr. Jose Nunez, Chief of Research and Technology at NASA.

Exiting the Atmosphere While Still on Campus

21 Mar Drone

Article & Photo by: Katherine Avra
Students in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University program are spacing out in unexpected ways! Fort Pierce Central is one of 12 high schools across Florida chosen to participate in the initiative. The students’ objectives are to fully check out the drone operating program and make necessary adjustments before launch. Students are seen assembling drones in support of ERAU’s new Flight Test Engineering Program. In addition, students shared a zoom call briefing on space flight with Dr. Jose Nunez, Chief of Research and Technology at NASA.

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Pie in the Face Virtual Fundraising was a Success for Oak Hammock K-8

21 Mar Oak Hammock 1

Article & Photo by: Danita McClendon-Morgan

The Kids Heart Challenge is an annual event the students participate in at Oak Hammock K-8. Students in Coach Branim’s K-5 physical education resource classes learned about heart health while hosting a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. The virtual fundraiser event had a total of 130 elementary student participants who raised $7,430.00 this school year. The students were incentivized by having the opportunity to smash, Coach Branim with a “Pie in the Face” if they raised $100 or more. The “Pie in the Face” was a success! There were a total of 27 students who met or exceeded the $100 individual goal. The students enjoyed learning about the importance of heart health, drinking water, and contributing to those in need.

Gaines Student to Compete at State Level

Article by: Nancy Spooner
Join us in congratulating Janessa Diaz for being one of the District Science Fair Finalist. Her prototype for a wind turbine will be moving on to the Middle School Engineering division of the state competition. She created a way to measure the efficiency of the turbine by using a pulley system and measured the results of the efficiency of the wind turbine daily to keep records of how the turbine performed.

As part of the Science Fair, the students were to create a short video presentation in lieu of being interviewed by the judges. Janessa created a creative animation video of herself explaining the project. Her Middle School science teacher, Jon Breedlove, and all of SGAET are so proud of her work and her creativity with her video piece as well!

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Northport SEL Night a SUCCESS!

Article by: Lynne Gruszka
Northport K-8 held its first SEL Virtual Parent Night. It was a Night of Family Learning (NFL) where students, teachers, and families experienced some of the engaging SEL activities that the children get to do each day! With 64 participants, the School-Home Connection was strengthened and fun was had by all! The event was sponsored by Chik-Fil-A and Sal’s Italian Ristorante, who provided door prizes. Northport K-8 provided a free book to all student participants! With virtual high fives and a virtual “wave” to end the session, everyone left with a smile. We are grateful to all of our participants and everyone who contributed to the event. Thank you to Blondeen Campbell, Cassey Chang, and Traci Wilke of the district SEL department for their support of the event.

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Oak Hammock K-8 Osprey Reward Program

Article by: Danita McClendon-Morgan
Oak Hammock K-8 participates in PBIS program as a schoolwide reward system. Students in the self-contained classroom in grades 4th- 8th operate the Osprey Cart Reward Program. This program allows the self-contained students many opportunities to practice functional skills by utilizing the task analysis approach for learning. The classroom teachers, Ms. Savanello and Ms. Haley support the students by providing the online order form and assist the students in breaking down the task into manageable parts to ensure the orders are completed successfully. The program is linked to ELA and Math, where the students practice counting, adding, and sorting. Students also have the opportunity to implement SEL skills such as collaboration, responsible decision making, leadership and reinforce positive behavior.

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Third Grade STEM in Action at Morningside Elementary

Article by: Lauren Monroe
Mornings are fun when they begin with STEM learning! In our literature text that we have been reading, Wonder, the main character turned in a project based on pyramids. Today, we identified the different parts of a pyramid and then began constructing different types of pyramids. We tested our pyramids for strength and identified the patterns in the shapes, faces, edges and vertices.

A Memory, A Moment, An Inspiration: One Teacher Inspires FPC through Photography

Article by: Katherine Avra
Steven Shotola may be a science teacher, but he has an eye for photography and the heart for inspiration. Each week he carefully selects an uplifting image to share with his Cobra Family at Fort Pierce Central High School. “I have been very grateful that our Principal Ms. Miller-Buchanan allows me to post an email “Photo of the Week” to the staff. I have realized over the years that maintaining a positive attitude towards teaching, no matter what the challenges are, is the key to building positive relationships and the key to constant school improvement” Mr. Shotola remarks. Both avid photographer and reader of nonfiction literature, Mr. Shotola creates dynamic and powerful combinations of nature or school-based photographs with powerful quotes. Each snapshot more unique than the next, Mr. Shotola draws from memorable moments, both visually and through text that share statements brightening the Friday morning of many staff members. Perhaps it gives them the extra boost needed to finish the week in a positive
and energized way. The ripple effect continues as staff members contribute photos to a contest in which donated t-shirts and coffee cups are awarded to the winners. “It has an enjoyable challenge to match a quote and photo each week and the positive feedback I receive is what continues to drive me to do it” Mr. Shotola pledges. His Cobra Family hopes he continues this tradition as well. Feel inspired? Start your own Photo of the Week at your school site!

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