Sarasota County Schools News

SPARCC Issues Apology for Use of Non-approved Materials in Class

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SCS News

The Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) has issued an apology to the students, staff and administration at Pine View School for the use of inappropriate materials to seniors last Wednesday. SPARCC has conducted classes on healthy relationships in the school district, and until now, has always used pre-approved materials that conform to curriculum guidelines and School Board policy.

 On November 7, an unsuitable video was shown to Pine View students that was not approved by the school district. After observing the video in class, a teacher notified school administration of their concern about the contents of the video, and an investigation was conducted. Previously, SPARCC had used an approved video to teach this coursework. After an initial investigation, it was discovered that a SPARCC counselor took it upon herself to show this video, knowing it had not been previously vetted, and broke curriculum protocol. In addition, school staff at Pine View did not follow the correct process for guest speakers by admitting this counselor in the school in advance of their appointment and showing materials that had not been approved. 

 In a statement from SPARCC, President and CEO, Jessica Hays wrote, “We sincerely apologize for the incident last Wednesday at Pine View. The staff member did not follow established protocol regarding the programming presented, and the organization has acted to ensure that this does not happen again. SPARCC has had a positive relationship with Sarasota County Schools that has spanned more than 15 years and we take the trust placed in our organization very seriously. Preventing domestic/dating violence and sexual assault is central to our mission and SPARCC aims to be a trusted resource for our community.”

 “We appreciate SPARCC’s shared concerns regarding this incident,” noted Dr. Stephen Covert, principal at Pine View School. “I am thankful for their swift review of the events and apology to our students, staff, school leaders and families. Until now, SPARCC has been a trusted resource for our students and school community, however, I am disappointed that the action of one resulted in an unacceptable situation for our students. I want to assure our school community that we will follow district guidelines and will take extra precautions in the future to ensure only pre-approved materials are used in the classroom.”

 Until a complete review is conducted, the school district has suspended SPARCC from presenting programming in Sarasota County schools. The district has also reinforced guest speaker protocols with school leaders and staff to ensure anyone presenting to students has a pre-approved set of curricula that is reviewed and accepted by the school principal.


North Port Schools to Host ESOL Family Night November 15

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Universal Families

Please join North Port schools on Thursday, November 15, 2018 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. for an ESOL Family Night at the Suncoast Technical College in North Port. Many of our local schools will be participating in this fun-filled family event, including:

-          Cranberry Elementary

-          Glenallen Elementary

-          Lamarque Elementary

-          Toledo Blade Elementary

-          Heron Creek Middle School

-          Woodland Middle School and

-          North Port High School

The evening’s festivities will include resources for parents about iReady, assessments, English classes for adults and more. School supplies will be available for students and there will be food and door prizes. Interpreters will be in attendance and available for families.

Custom invitations in multiple languages, including Haitian Creole, Spanish, Russian and English are available online: Registration forms are due to your student’s school on Monday, November 12.

We hope you can join us to celebrate the uniqueness of our students and North Port families and look forward to seeing you on November 15!

Sarasota County Schools Celebrates Professional Development and Leadership

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SCS Logo 2018

SARASOTA COUNTY, November 8, 2018 – Sarasota County Schools’ Leadership Academy recently held its Leadership Legacy event. The event’s theme, “Sowing the Seed of Success”, not only honored the accomplished tenure of former superintendent Wilma Hamilton Delp, it also served as a celebratory fundraiser to further expand the leadership opportunities of aspiring leaders in the school district. Co-chaired by Lori Butters and Shannon Fleming, the festive evening also highlighted the district’s collaborative projects and recent professional development milestones.

“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to give back to a program that has offered us so much,” said Lori Butters, state reports analyst for Sarasota County Schools. “The Leadership Academy allows participants to interface with a group of like-minded leaders that otherwise might not have met. In a district so large, it is rare to see such a detailed and encompassing training program that spans all departments within the organization. We are grateful to have the support of our community partners and leaders, and are pleased to continue the legacy of growth for future participants.”

“Sarasota County Schools emphasizes “home grown” leadership, and it shows,” commented Shannon Fleming, high school math program specialist for Sarasota County Schools. “Nationally there is a high level of teacher and administrator turnover. The turnover rate is much lower in Sarasota County, with the average principal serves for 8 to 9 years. A district that cultivates talent from within, at various levels and within many departments, will ultimately have stronger morale and retain personnel. Our students and school communities deserve the very best, and the Leadership Academy provides unparalleled training.”

Founded in 2003, the Leadership Academy is an intensive, two-year program primarily comprised of teachers and other district employees who express a desire to become administrators and achieve growth in their respective school communities and departments. The program explores various career pathways and delivers on the district’s commitment to offer professional development opportunities to its employees. Please join us in congratulating the latest participants, Leadership Academy Cohort 8:

  • Bethanie Adams, Lamarque Elementary School
  • Danielle Ard , Fruitville Elementary School
  • Laura Busenburg, Alta Vista Elementary School
  • Lori Butters, Information Technology
  • Mary Cantillo, Phillippi Shores Elementary School
  • Alicia Charbonneau, Elementary Math Program Facilitator
  • Holly Chesnoff, ELA Elementary Program Specialist
  • Gina Cirillo, Glenallen Elementary School
  • Matthew Delaney, Laurel Nokomis School
  • Jade Ellis, Wilkinson Elementary School
  • Shannon Fleming, High School Math Program Specialist
  • Valerie Fletcher, Venice High School
  • George Goodfellow , Data Analyst - Research, Assessment, Eval.
  • Carly Gordon, Program Evaluation and Assessment
  • Ryan Lee, Sarasota Military Academy
  • Jessica Lucas, Venice High School
  • Katie Martin, Sarasota Military Academy
  • Kellyann McWilliams, Alta Vista Elementary School
  • Nicole Meo, Oak Park School
  • Georgia Plath, Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences
  • Tracy Prince, Middle School S.S. Program Specialist
  • Maria Schaedler-Luera, Arts Integration Specialist
  • Scott Schafer, Venice Middle School
  • Betsy Summerlee, Riverview High School
  • Brooks Tracey, Sarasota Middle School
  • Stephanie Vlahakis, Wilkinson Elementary School
  • Beth Walters, Venice Middle School
  • Emilie Webb, Garden Elementary School


About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 53 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,000 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit


PUBLIC NOTICE: Proposed School Year Calendars Now Available for Public Comment

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On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, the Sarasota County School Board voted to make the proposed 2019-20 and 2020-21 school year calendars available for public comment before they are finalized and adopted. Parents, students, staff and members of our community are encouraged to visit the school district’s website: to view the calendars, which take into consideration various breaks and student testing. 

A committee composed of parents, administrators and teachers developed the recommended calendars. For each school year, school would begin the second Monday in August and conclude after Memorial Day. In addition, the proposed calendars would provide a full week off for Thanksgiving instead of the three-day holiday break currently observed by students.

Comments and feedback can be sent to the school district via email to:

The deadline for the public to convey thoughts and feedback regarding the proposed calendars is noon on Monday December 10.


Workshops for Parents of ESE Students Planned November 12

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ESE Student Learning

Please join Sarasota County Schools and FDLRS on November 12 for a morning or evening workshop designed for parents of ESE students to obtain tips and ideas to access and understand assessment data. The workshop will provide an in-depth review and allow for questions with guest panelists.

Speakers include:

-       Robert Lees, School Psychologist

-       Krista Nelson, School Psychologist

-       Charlene Meyer, Program Specialist 

-       Brittany Shurley, Program Specialist

 Locations & Times:

Monday, November 12:  9 a.m. – 11 a.m. 

The Landings – Blue Bldg. #221 

1960 Landings Blvd.

Sarasota, FL  34231


Monday, November 12:  6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Laurel Nokomis School

1900 East Laurel Blvd.

Nokomis, FL  34275

Child care will be provided during the evening session.


To register for the morning session, please visit:

To register for the evening session, please visit:

Please contact Kim Seth, FDLRS Parent Services Specialist for questions or assistance with registration:  941.927.9000 ext. 32234 or



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