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John Russo to Remain on Administrative Leave

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SCS News

January 17, 2019 – John Russo, a social studies teacher and coach at Brookside Middle School, will remain on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the school district’s investigation into his behavior involving a student.

On February 15, 2018, Mr. Russo was involved in a physical altercation with a middle school student on campus at Brookside Middle School. Mr. Russo was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Last spring, the school district’s internal investigation was placed on hold pending a criminal investigation conducted by the Sarasota Police Department and the State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO).

On December 19, 2018, the SAO dismissed the criminal case after receiving confirmation Mr. Russo underwent a 6-hour Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training and performed 24 hours of community service. On January 11, 2019, the school district was notified by the SAO that the criminal case was officially closed. As part of that notification, the SAO submitted a memo that concluded Mr. Russo’s physical contact with the student victim was “unnecessary and inappropriate.” The memo also detailed prior acts of violence against students. The memo went on to further state “While our criminal case is constrained by legal precedent, administrative proceedings by the school and school board are not constrained.” Because of this memo and additional evidence presented to the school district, the investigation involving Mr. Russo will continue.

“As Superintendent, it is my responsibility to make certain our students receive the best education possible in a safe environment that assures their well-being,” noted Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “We must put our students first, and after reviewing the State’s Attorney’s Office memo and additional evidence received by the school district, we will continue our investigation regarding Mr. Russo. Until the investigation is concluded, Mr. Russo will remain on administrative leave and will not be allowed to interact with students in the school district.

During the initial phase of the school district’s investigation, inconsistencies related to prior disciplinary actions taken by the school district regarding Mr. Russo were discovered. In addition to continuing an investigation about the incident involving Mr. Russo, the school district will also be reviewing protocols for employee discipline to ensure all employees are held accountable for their actions at all times and live up to the standards of being a Sarasota County Schools employee. Sarasota County Schools has retained employment law specialist, Jennifer Compton, with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, to continue the investigation of Mr. Russo and school district discipline protocols. Ms. Compton is the attorney who represented the City of Sarasota in the investigation of the City Clerk and served as a former attorney for Superintendent Todd Bowden. Ms. Compton no longer represents Dr. Bowden. Jeff Maultsby, chief operations officer and assistant superintendent with Sarasota County Schools, will serve as lead on the continued investigation and work with Ms. Compton, who will have full access to the school district to discover the facts and make recommendations regarding these incidents.

The State’s Attorney’s Office memo is attached to this statement in its entirety. 

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District Announces Second Annual School Showcase

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2019 School Showcase

January 17, 2019 – The week of January 20 is National School Choice Week, and the second annual School Showcase is an excellent way for the community to learn more about Sarasota County Schools! Primarily geared toward parents and guardians that have a student in Sarasota County, the School Showcase is a once-a-year opportunity to learn more about middle and high schools in Sarasota County from the experts: current students and staff. Schools will showcase their academic programs and extracurricular activities and answer your questions.

Locations & Times:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 – 5:30 PM to 7 PM

Suncoast Technical College

4748 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, Florida 34233

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – 5:30 PM to 7 PM

Suncoast Technical College

4445 Career Lane, North Port, Florida 34289

Participating traditional public schools, by day:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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Second-Quarter Report Cards Now Available on Family Access Portal

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2nd Quarter Report Cards

January 16, 2019 – Second-quarter report cards are now available on the Family Access Portal.

Families can use a phone, tablet or computer to access their student’s grades. First go to the district website at www.sarasotacountyschools.net, click on the “Students and Parents” section, and click again on the “Family Access Portal Login”.

If you do not already have an account, you can follow the easy instructions on the page to create one. Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to create a portal account, since the Family Access Portal can also be used to keep you up-to-date with student attendance, assignment grades and other important information.

If you don’t have an account, a paper copy of the report card will be sent home on January 25th.  Any families with questions are encouraged to contact their student’s school for further assistance. 

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District Announces 2019 Sarasota County Schools Agency Fair

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SCS Logo 2018

January 15, 2019 – Please join the Pupil Support Services team of Sarasota County Schools on March 28 to learn more about the many agencies and organizations providing resources, support and assistance for students with disabilities.

Location & Time:

Thursday, March 28:  5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Suncoast Technical College, Atrium

4748 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL 34231

Registration/Cost:

This is a FREE event! No registration process or cost for families.

Contact Information:

Please contact Kim Seth, FDLRS Parent Services Specialist for questions:  941.927.9000 ext. 32234 or Kim.Seth@SarasotaCountySchools.net

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District Announces Sarasota County STEM Fair EXPO

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SCS 2018 logo

January 15, 2019 – Annually, students in grades 3-12 eagerly investigate their curiosities in the form of a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Fair project. Each school selects their top projects to compete at the Sarasota County STEM Fair. The STEM Fair EXPO is a celebration of those students that have achieved top placement throughout Sarasota County. All student projects will be on display and community and business partners will host interactive tables for families and students.

Location & Time:

Thursday, January 31:  5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Robarts Arena -- 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, Florida 34237

Registration/Cost:

This is a FREE event! No registration process or cost to the community.

Contact Information:

Please contact Cheri Dame, Program Specialist in Curriculum & Instruction for Elementary Schools, for questions:  941-927-9000 ext. 32109 or Cheri.Dame@saraostacountyschools.net

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Communications and Community Relations
Tracey Beeker, Director
tracey.beeker@sarasotacountyschools.net

Kelsey Whealy, Media Relations Specialist
kelsey.whealy@sarasotacountyschools.net

Caroline Lee, Administrative Assistant;
Public Records Custodian, Peachjar eflyers    
caroline.lee@sarasotacountyschools.net 

Digital Communications
Mina Ajrab, Manager
mina.ajrab@sarasotacountyschools.net

Torie Ewald, Social Media Strategist
torie.ewald@sarasotacountyschools.net

Katy Ellis, Social Media Producer
kathryn.ellis@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: 941-927-4009 or
941-927-9000 ext. 74009
Fax: 941-927-2539
1960 Landings Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34231
Green 3rd Floor

Education Channel 20/33
John Flowerree, Manager
john.flowerree@sarasotacountyschools.net

TBA, Engineer

Phone: 941-361-6355
Fax: 941-361-6358
4748 Beneva Road
Sarasota, Florida 34233

Community Involvement
Lyndsey Cantees, Coordinator  
lyndsey.cantees@sarasotacountyschools.net

Jennifer Anderson, Administrative Assistant
CommunityInvolvement@sarasotacountyschools.net
Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 31500
Fax: 941-361-6539
Green 1st Floor

Staff Listing