Sarasota County Schools News

Lamarque Elementary hosts STEM Fair for school families

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Lamarque science event May 2016

FAMILY PHYSICS: At a science-themed event held in May at Lamarque Elementary, students and family members make lung-powered “straw rockets” to demonstrate principles of force, motion, distance and speed. Pictured from left are Joshua Figueroa, Olga Marchena, Yohan Marchena, Patty Young, Scarlett Beasley, Meaghan Beasley and Grayson Beasley. On Dec. 8, the school will host similar activities at a STEM Fair.

NORTH PORT, Nov. 30, 2016 – Lamarque Elementary School will celebrate science, technology, engineering and math with a STEM Fair, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8. The goal is to provide Lamarque families with engaging, science-based family fun. This event will welcome the entire school community: students, parents and other family members, and school staff.

The fourth and fifth-grade student science fair boards will be on display that evening, as well as boards from an advanced third-grade class. The event will begin with a school science fair awards ceremony, and will include hands-on interactive exhibits and projects. Mote Mobile Laboratory will offer a touch tank and other activities. The Orlando Science Center also will be represented, as will other attractions and organizations.

“The event is designed to be fun and educational for all ages,” said Principal Ryan Bruck. “We hope it will create treasured family memories and learning experiences for everyone.”

Lamarque Elementary is located at 3415 Lamarque Ave., North Port.

Bay Haven Elementary students to participate in ‘Hour of Code’ Dec. 5-12

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Bay Haven Hour of Code kids 2015-16

CRACKING THE CODE: Bay Haven students Charles Mills, at left, and McKinley Parisi participate in the Hour of Code in 2015.

SARASOTA, Nov. 29, 2016 – All 600 students at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus are joining one of the world’s largest learning events, the “Hour of Code,” throughout Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5-9, and on Monday, Dec. 12. Last year Bay Haven students wrote over 30,000 lines of computer programming code with the help of parent volunteers, New College of Florida faculty and students, and a local entrepreneur. This year, in addition to teaming up with New College, Bay Haven is also partnering with the Microsoft Store at University Town Center.

Hour of Code is sponsored by, a nonprofit organization supported by the technology industry, including Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Launched in 2013, nearly 300 million students in over 180 countries have participated in the Hour of Code. The initiative seeks to encourage people of all ages, including elementary school students, to study computer science. Hour of Code also strives for increased participation by women and by minorities that are underrepresented in the field.

Bay Haven is at the forefront of this movement in Sarasota County, offering teacher training to help more district schools be a part of the project. Among the other district schools participating in the Hour of Code this year are Englewood, Gulf Gate and Lamarque elementary schools. Pine View School, which also hosted a training session for teachers, will participate as well.

“Nine out of 10 parents want their kids to learn computer science, yet only one in four schools across the country is teaching it,” said Bay Haven Principal Chad Erickson. “Our school and our partners are helping to meet this need in Sarasota County.”

Bay Haven will host a kick-off assembly at 2:30 and 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, in the school cafeteria. The following week, Dec. 5-9, and on Monday, Dec. 12, students in all Bay Haven classes will participate in code-writing activities. Bay Haven is in session from 9:30 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

Bay Haven School of Basics Plus is located at 2901 W. Tamiami Circle, Sarasota.


Adult and Community Enrichment program to hold art sale at STC Dec. 7

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ACE Art Sale December 2015

ARTFUL SALE: The Adult and Community Enrichment program will hold its third annual ACE Arts Sale Dec. 7. Pictured are items in last year's sale.

SARASOTA, Nov. 28, 2016 – The Sarasota County School District’s Adult and Community Enrichment program will host its third annual ACE Art Sale from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Suncoast Technical College. 

The sale will feature original art and fine crafts. While ACE offers a wide variety of enrichment classes, about 40 percent of them are arts-oriented. With approximately 3,000 registrants in art classes, the sale will include a large selection of reasonably priced items. Teachers, many of whom are professional artists, and ACE students will offer ceramics, beaded jewelry, photography, watercolors, paintings, drawings, pottery, mosaics, stained glass, baskets, knitted items and more for sale, just in time for the holidays. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will help fund future ACE arts classes.

“Last year’s sale was a great chance for the public to explore the wonderful opportunities available in Adult and Community Enrichment art classes,” said Liz Cannon, an ACE clay student and artist. “Shoppers could also see and purchase the creations of ACE teachers and students. The art was of a high quality, and everyone had a wonderful time.”

Suncoast Technical College is located at 4748 Beneva Road, Sarasota. The art sale will be in the two-story ACE building that faces Proctor Road on the west side of the STC campus; the west entrance on Proctor Road is closest to the building and parking.

School Board members Robinson and Zucker sworn in, new chair elected

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Eric Robinson swear-in 11-22-16Caroline Zucker swear-in 11-22-16

SCHOOL BOARD CEREMONY: In top photo, Eric Robinson, pictured at right, is sworn in as the newest member of the School Board of Sarasota County. From left are Judge Erika Quartermaine and Robinson’s family members, son Johnny, wife Christine, daughter Madison and son E.J. In bottom photo, longtime School Board member Caroline Zucker, pictured at right, is sworn in for another four-year term; Zucker also was elected chairwoman by her fellow Board members. Pictured from left are Judge Lee Haworth and Zucker’s family members, grandson Colin Leonard and daughter Liza Leonard.

SARASOTA, Nov. 22, 2016 – Eric Robinson was sworn in by Sarasota County Judge Erika Quartermaine Tuesday, Nov. 22, as the newest member of the School Board of Sarasota County. Robinson was elected in August without opposition; he begins a four-year term in the District 3 seat vacated by Frank Kovach. Longtime Board member Caroline Zucker, who was re-elected to the District 2 seat in August, was sworn in by retired Judge Lee Haworth for another four-year term.

The occasion was the annual reorganization meeting of the School Board. Members of the Board elected Zucker as chairwoman and Bridget Ziegler as vice chairwoman. They will serve in those roles until the board’s next annual election of the chair and vice chair in November 2017. 

Zucker said her goal as chairwoman is for School Board members to continue to work together well as a team. “We sometimes have different opinions and perspectives on the issues we face, but we are all committed to doing what’s best for the students of Sarasota County,” she said. 

New School Board member Robinson owns and works at the CPA firm of Robinson, Hanks, Young and Roberts. He has been appointed by various Florida governors to many boards, including the statewide organization Workforce Florida as the finance chairman, and the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Authority as the chairman. He currently serves on the Florida Board of Accountancy and the board of trustees of the State College of Florida. He was previously appointed by the School Board of Sarasota County as a member of the Board’s Financial Advisory Committee.  

During his senior year in college, Robinson, already serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve, was activated and served in the first Gulf War a Seabee. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in business administration from Florida International University. He is married to former Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson; they have three children: E.J., Johnny and Madison.

The next meeting of the School Board will be at 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6, in School Board Chambers at The Landings, 1980 Landings Boulevard in Sarasota. 

Negotiators for School Board and union reach contract agreement

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Nov. 21, 2016 – The negotiating teams for the School Board of Sarasota County and the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association reached an agreement Friday, Nov. 18, on a new contract. The agreement provides that bargaining unit employees, including teachers and support staff such as classroom aides, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, will receive a 4-percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2016, the start of the school district’s fiscal year. The new annual starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree will be $42,000.

In addition to the financial aspects of the agreement, the parties have agreed that all School Board property, including buildings, grounds and vehicles on properties, will be tobacco-free. Previously some schools had designated smoking areas outside the view of students.

District negotiator Art Hardy said the parties were pleased to have reached an agreement. The final agreement must be ratified by the employees and approved by the School Board before it can take effect. Bargaining unit employees are scheduled to vote on ratification of the contract Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 13 and 14. If ratified, the agreement will be on the agenda for School Board approval at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Although the agreement covers bargaining unit employees only, the School Board has traditionally extended pay raises to school-based and district-level administrators.

Alta Vista Elementary serves up Chemical Change Café

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Nov. 18, 2016 – Fifth-grade students at Alta Vista Elementary School will cook up science experiments using everyday objects and ingredients at the Chemical Change Café. The hands-on science investigation experience will take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 21, in the school’s Eagle Wing classrooms.

Students will rotate through six stations that demonstrate physical and chemical changes. The concept is inspired by the experiments described in the Picture-Perfect Science Lessons books by Karen Ansberry.

The six experiment stations are:

1. A chemical change occurs as pancakes are cooked on a griddle and heat is applied to the ingredients.

2. In the balloon pop, students will show that a physical change occurs when a thumbtack is pushed into a balloon.  

3. A physical change occurs as students mold Play-Doh into various shapes.

4. A chemical change occurs when milk spoils. Students will observe the difference in smell and texture of spoiled milk. They also will observe the chemical change that occurs when milk and vinegar are mixed together.

5. Students will observe the chemical change that occurs between vinegar and baking soda. They also will observe the chemical change that has occurred to rusted steel wool.

6. In the “Sunset in a Bag” station, students will experience a chemical change when materials are heated and cooled in a matter of seconds.

“The Chemical Change Cafe is an exciting experience for all five senses,” said teacher Janelle Lopez. “Students will leave with their brains full of knowledge, their faces full of smiles and their stomachs full of pancakes!”

Alta Vista Elementary School is located at 1050 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. 

Expert on NASA ‘space veggies’ speaks to Pine View students

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Pine View garden 4th graders-Nov 2016Pine View garden-high schoolers-Nov 2016

GREAT GARDEN: In top photo, Pine View fourth-graders students Gryffin Tizes and Rocco Rell work in the school garden. Lower photo: Pine View anatomy and physiology teacher Flo Ames uses the school garden as a teaching tool for her high school students.

OSPREY, Nov. 15, 2016 – A local expert on growing vegetables in space will speak at Pine View School at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16. Ed Rosenthal, the chairman of Sarasota-based Florikan and a certified space technology educator, will make a presentation to students about NASA’s Veggies in Space program to students in grades four and five. A “garden summit” will follow outdoors around noon. Chef Paul Mattison of Mattison’s Restaurants and Catering will prepare lunch, using produce from the school garden as ingredients. 

After years of rigorous research, Florikan’s controlled-release fertilizer Nutricote was certified by NASA as a space technology product and is being used to grow vegetables in space to feed astronauts. As a local company, Florikan is proud to collaborate with NASA for its Veggies in Space program, as well as partnering with Pine View on the school’s eco-garden.

Rosenthal’s presentation will include a NASA video detailing the scientific challenges of growing vegetables in space, including the lack of gravity, natural light and soil; and how NASA scientists overcame the challenges.

NASA has successfully grown two crops of red romaine lettuce in space; Florikan fertilizer played a big role in that success. The technology also has important benefits for growing vegetables in vertical hydroponics on Earth. Rosenthal’s presentation details several examples of this success locally, nationally and internationally — including the Pine View garden. The school serves students in grades two through 12; students of all ages, teachers, and parent and community volunteers work in the garden.

Pine View School is located at 1 Python Path, Osprey.

District teachers honored by statewide education organizations

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Sandy Waite and Justine Jackson, FRA TOYs Oct 2016Debra Piner, FCTE TOY Oct 2016

TOP TEACHERS: In photo at top, Sandy Waite of Southside Elementary School, at left, and Justine Jackson of Sarasota Middle School were named Teachers of the Year by the Florida Reading Association. Bottom photo: Riverview High School teacher Debra Piner was named Teacher of the Year by the Florida Council of Teachers of English.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Nov. 14, 2016 – Three Sarasota County teachers were named Teachers of the Year by statewide education organizations and a fourth teacher was honored with a scholarship. At the annual conference of the Florida Reading Association, held in Orlando in late October, Sandy Waite of Southside Elementary School was named the Elementary Reading Teacher of the Year and Justine Jackson of Sarasota Middle School was selected as the Middle School Reading Teacher of the Year.

The FRA elementary and middle school Teacher of the Year awards are given to educators who have made significant contributions in the teaching of elementary reading, have applied innovative reading techniques in a classroom setting, have promoted reading outside the school, and have published articles or made presentations.

The FRA also honored Paige Driza of McIntosh Middle, who received the Joye Coy Shaffer Past Presidents Scholarship. That award celebrates educators who have taught for less than three years. Winners receive $200 toward expenses to attend the FRA annual conference.

 “We are proud to celebrate these excellent teachers from our district,” said Laurel Hinds, a Tuttle Elementary School teacher who serves as secretary of the Sarasota Reading Council, an organization affiliated with the Florida Reading Association.

Another organization, the Florida Council of Teachers of English, named Riverview High School College and Career Advisor Debra Piner as the Teacher of the Year at its Professional Development Institute in Cocoa Beach in mid-October. Piner formerly taught language arts at Booker Middle School.

“Debra is known for going above and beyond when it comes to reaching her students, and for making and maintaining connections with them,” said Donna Heath, a language arts teacher at Booker Middle who is active with the Council. “Students always knew she would attend their events and be in the audience for their performances. In her new position at Riverview High, her former Booker Middle students have already visited her new office looking for guidance and encouragement in planning for college.”




North Port High School featured as 10 News School of the Week

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Allison Kropff 10 News anchor with Boncat mug 11-11-16

BOBCAT BREW: Channel 10 morning news anchor Allison Kropff savors her coffee in a North Port High Bobcats mug. NPHS was the station's School of the Week Nov. 7-11, 2016.

Click here to see video features about North Port High as the 10 News School of the Week.

From 10 News website, Nov. 11, 2016: We’re happy to announce that our school this week is North Port High School in Sarasota County.Congratulations Bobcats! The 2,300 students and 130 faculty members have a lot of programs to be proud of. The Engineering program is home to robotics, 3-D modeling and 3-D printing.

Students in these classes learn the fundamentals of engineering while also gaining hands-on training in the classroom. Robotics students participate in competitions and it’s not just “best robot wins”.

Local businesses have forged a relationship with the engineering program and will bring their ideas to students who then will design a prototype to test. It’s one more example of real world applications being taught in the classroom.

The North Port Performing Arts Center is also located on the campus. With 1,025 seats it is the second-largest theater in Sarasota County, just behind the Van Wezel. Students in the Visual Performing Arts program use the space throughout the school year, but the theater is also open to outside groups that bring performances to the area. 

North Port’s visual performing arts includes photography, ceramics, painting, dance, music, drama and chorus, to name a few. With all the great opportunities students have at North Port High School, it’s easy to see why they are 10 News School of the Week powered by Duke Energy Florida.

Cranberry Elementary identified as ‘Exceeding Expectations’ academically

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District administrators at Cranberry-Exceeding Expectations Oct 2016Cranberry staff celebrate Exceeding Expectations

EXCEEDINGLY EXCITED: In top photo, district administrators visit Cranberry Elementary School to announce that the school has been recognized for “Exceeding Expectations.” Pictured from left are Laura Kingsley, executive director of elementary education; Lori White, superintendent of schools; Jane Mahler, supervisor of state and federal programs; Cranberry Elementary Principal Linda Daniels; Assistant Principal John Carey; and Tami Taylor, data coach and resource teacher. In bottom photo, Cranberry Elementary staff celebrate being recognized for “Exceeding Expectations."

NORTH PORT, Nov. 9, 2016 – Cranberry Elementary School is “exceeding expectations” academically, according to a network of 43 school districts across Florida. The organization, known as the East Coast Technical Assistance Center (ECTAC), runs the Exceeding Expectations Project to identify Florida Title I schools that show progress in improving student achievement.

The program is now in its fifth year; 27 Title I schools were identified for this year’s project, out of a total of 1,819 Title I schools in the state. Title I schools have a high percentage of students living in poverty; 63 percent of Cranberry students receive free or reduced-cost meals.

Over the next few months an ECTAC team will visit Cranberry and the other 26 identified schools to observe the practices that are contributing to their success. After the visits are completed and each school’s data is further analyzed, a selection team will make the final determination of the schools which will receive the Exceeding Expectations Award. These schools will be asked to participate in a statewide conference in September to be recognized for their accomplishments and to share their strategies with other schools from around the state. Last year, 18 of the 20 originally identified finalist schools received the award.

Cranberry’s positive academic indicators on the Florida Standards Assessments included maintaining or increasing English Language Arts (ELA) and math achievement, gains among the lowest-performing 25 percent of students, gains in ELA and math among Black and Hispanic students, science achievement and the overall school grade from the Florida Department of Education. The school has maintained an “A” grade for the past three years. Since Cranberry opened in 2003, it has received an “A” in all years except 2005-06 and 2012-13 when the school grade was a “B.”

“Cranberry students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff and our supporters throughout the community have all contributed to our success,” said Principal Linda Daniels. “We have a culture that encourages all of us to exceed expectations every day! We’re thrilled to be recognized for the hard work we do to ensure that every child is making learning gains as we strive to achieve academic excellence every day.”

Cranberry Elementary is located at 2775 Shalimar Terrace in North Port.

Sarasota County schools to honor veterans on campus, in community

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Veterans Day-Remember All Who Served

SARASOTA COUNTY, Nov. 7, 2016 – Students and staff at Sarasota County schools will honor military veterans and active members of the armed forces with special activities and projects the week of Veterans Day. Several veterans have been invited to schools to participate in many of the events. High school bands, color guards and other school groups will participate in various community ceremonies on Veterans Day.

Selected events scheduled as of Nov. 7 are as follows:

Tuesday, Nov. 8:

Throughout the day and beyond: Wilkinson Elementary School is celebrating veterans in many ways. A Veterans Wall is posted in the cafeteria through Nov. 11. Students are invited to bring or draw photos of veterans they know; the items will be posted on the wall. Fifth-grade students will visit Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. Students are invited to collect “Treats for Troops” (extra Halloween candy) to send to those serving from the Florida National Guard in Djibouti, Africa. Activities will culminate in a Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 11. 3400 Wilkinson Road, Sarasota.

Wednesday, Nov. 9:

9:30-10:30 a.m.: McIntosh Middle School will hold its annual Salute to Veterans in the gym. The school’s drum corps, band and chorus will perform and selected students will read thank-you letters to veterans. A special color guard of Sarasota High School JROTC students will carry the flag. All veterans and any current service members are welcome to attend. Veterans are asked to arrive by 9:15 a.m., park in the north parking lot and report to the Veterans Lounge in the gym. 701 S. McIntosh Road, Sarasota.

7 p.m.: The Sarasota High School Singing Sailors along with guest choirs from McIntosh Middle and Sarasota Middle will present their Annual Veterans Salute Concert in the school auditorium. There will be a Salute to the Armed Forces to recognize members of the five branches of the military.  The concert is free and open to the public. 1000 S. School Avenue, Sarasota.

Thursday, Nov. 10:

9 and 9:45 a.m.:Gocio Elementary School will hold its fifth annual Veterans Day Celebration in the cafeteria. The event will include a parade of flags, a performance by the Gocio Performing Arts Company, a salute to servicemen and women, a presentation of veterans in the audience, and a medley of the armed forces anthems. 3450 Gocio Road, Sarasota.

5 p.m.: At the completion of their weekly after-school drill, the Imagine School at North Port Young Marines will participate in an activity to celebrate the 241st birthday of the U.S Marine Corps. The parents of Young Marine students are providing a special cake commemorating this event. Master Gunnery Sergeant Russ Barber, a retired U.S. Marine Senior NCO will serve as master of ceremonies. 2757 Sycamore St., North Port.

7 p.m.: The Sarasota High School Singing Sailors along with guest choirs from Booker Middle and Brookside Middle will present their Annual Veterans Salute Concert in the school auditorium. There will be a Salute to the Armed Forces to recognize members of the five branches of the military. The concert is free and open to the public. 1000 S. School Ave., Sarasota.

Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11:

8 a.m.-2:45 p.m.:Ashton Elementary will honor our nation’s veterans by encouraging all students to wear red, white, and blue; engage in discussions about the significance of service; conduct a flag-raising ceremony led by local scout troops; singing patriotic songs and presenting thank-you cards to veterans and other local heroes. 5110 Ashton Road, Sarasota.

8:30-10a.m.: Lakeview Elementary will have its first Veterans Day Celebration, starting with a breakfast for invited veterans from 8:30-9 a.m. At breakfast Lakeview student council representatives will interview veterans about their service backgrounds. At 9 a.m., the veterans will parade through campus for kindergarten, first- and second-grade students. After the parade veterans will go to the cafeteria to be recognized and honored in a ceremony. Student council representatives will introduce each veteran and speak about his or her service history. The guest speaker will be veteran Michael Andreas, director of Safety and Security for Sarasota County Schools. Principal Lisa Wheatley will also speak and the Lakeview Elementary Chorus will sing patriotic songs. 7299 Proctor Road, Sarasota.

8:30.-9:45 a.m.:Pine View School’s Elementary Student Council will host a Veterans Day celebration and parade. The event will start with a breakfast in the student union, followed by a parade and ceremony in the gym. Student council representatives will honor approximately 60 veterans for their service to our country. In addition to recognizing each veteran, student council representatives will chorally recite “Freedom’s Call.” Student council representatives will also promote the Mayor’s Feed the Hungry Food Drive. The ceremony will be enhanced with patriotic music from the Pine View High School Band and Elementary Chorus. 1 Python Path, Osprey.

8:30-9:30 a.m.: Imagine School at North Port (grades K-5) will celebrate Veterans Day by encouraging students to invite a veteran or active member of the military to a continental breakfast provided by the school. The cafeteria will be decorated with student work honoring veterans; the chorus will perform. 1000 Innovation Ave., North Port.

8:45 a.m.:Phillippi Shores Elementary outside courtyard. Students will march in procession and the flag will be raised, followed by the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance. The PYP Sticks and the Phillippi Chorus will perform. The guest speaker with be veteran Lt. Col. Tony Mediavilla, U.S. Marines (Ret.). Other veterans will be acknowledged, students will recite speeches and poems, and the school chorus will sing patriotic songs. 4747 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

8:45 a.m.: Second-grade students at Taylor Ranch Elementary will perform patriotic songs; a veteran will speak to the entire student body. 2500 Taylor Ranch Trail, Venice.

8:45 a.m.:Toledo Blade Elementary School will host a school-wide Veterans Day celebration. School families and staff have been encouraged to share the names of family members who have served or are serving in the armed forces. They will be recognized in a display created by art teacher Josh Reid. Classroom teachers have been invited to decorate their classroom doors as a tribute to veterans. Toledo Blade staff have raised funds for Wreaths Across America and the Sarasota National Cemetery. Retired veterans will talk about their experiences. Speakers will include Sarasota County Schools Deputy Superintendent Scott Lempe, U.S. Air Force (ret.); Chief Petty Officer Jamie Granillo, now a school guidance counselor; and Sgt. April Panepinto, now a teacher. 1201 Geranium Ave., North Port.

9 a.m.: Tatum Ridge Elementary will present a Veterans Day program. Students will wear red, white and blue. Veterans with a connection to the school are invited to attend. They will be recognized at the ceremony and will greet students as they leave the ceremony. The school’s music teacher has been working with students on several songs. Second-grade students will speak about each branch of the military and the history of Veterans Day. The school has organized a Veterans’ Wall of Fame with pictures and information about veterans from students’ families. 4100 Tatum Road, Sarasota.

9-11 a.m.: SKY Academy Venice student ambassadors will honor and celebrate all those who have served the country. Students will meet and great vets from all branches of the military providing them with student-created cards of thanks and a special treat. 705 Center Road, Venice.

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Glenallen Elementary will host a Veterans Day celebration. Local veterans are invited to enjoy a patriotic musical performance featuring Glenallen students as well as guest performers from the Venice Symphony. Light refreshments will be served, followed by the performance beginning at 9:30 a.m. 7050 Glenallen Blvd, North Port.

9:15-10:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.: The Woodland Middle School Wind Ensemble will perform at Lamarque Elementary throughout the day. Songs and Presentation to local heroes begins at 1:30 p.m. 2700 Panacea Blvd., North Port.

9:30-10:30 a.m.: A ceremony will be held in the Lamarque Elementary physical education area. The event will include performances by the Lamarque Elementary Chorus and the Woodland Middle School Wind Ensemble. Invited guests include Lamarque family veterans and active-duty personnel. All community members are welcome to attend. The school will have a virtual “Wall of Heroes” which will be broadcast throughout the day, with photos and mementoes representing Lamarque family veterans and those who are currently serving. Third-grade students will set a table in white colors to honor fallen, captured and missing troops. Passages from Margot Thies Raven’s book, “America’s White Table,” will be read as students perform the ceremony of preparing place settings, providing an emotional connection to the reason America honors veterans each year. 3415 Lamarque Ave., North Port.

9:30 a.m.: At Sarasota Middle School, the SMS Joyful Voices Chorus will perform the Star Spangled Banner. Staff members who are veterans will be recognized on the SMS News. The school will begin to collect donated items for care packages for veterans to be sent through Operation Gratitude. 4826 Ashton Road, Sarasota.

9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Woodland Middle School Social Studies Department is sponsoring a Veterans Day Freedom Walk & Care Package Drive to benefit troops overseas. Students will pledge to walk a mile in support of veterans and collect donated items to be sent in care packages to our troops through the organization Support Our Troops. The Care Package Drive is Nov. 1-11; the Freedom Walk is on Nov. 11 throughout the day during social studies classes. Participating students and teachers will wear red, white and blue the day of the walk. Best time for media coverage: 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:15-4 p.m. 2700 Panacea Blvd., North Port.

9:45 a.m.: Brookside Middle School is holding its Veterans Day Salute in the cafetorium. All veterans and their families are invited to join students and staff for musical selections presented by our band and chorus. As an International Baccalaureate World School, Brookside music students study the meaning of patriotism. One of the culminating activities is the Veterans Day Salute performance. Students applaud the sacrifices of the veterans who have touched their lives. 3636 S. Shade Ave., Sarasota.

10 a.m.: Downtown Sarasota Veterans Day Parade. Marching bands and cadets from various schools, including Riverview and Sarasota high schools, Venice Middle School, Sarasota Military Academy and Sarasota Academy of the Arts will march in the parade down Main Street. The closing ceremony will be held at approximately 10:45 a.m. at J.D. Hamel Park, Main Street and Gulfstream Ave.

10:45 a.m.: The Young Marines of Imagine School at North Port will travel to the Living Waters Lutheran Church in Port Charlotte. While there, they will be spending time with several World War II veterans. The veterans will receive a demonstration of the Manual of Arms from the Young Marines. The bulk of the visit will focus on spending time speaking and listening to the veterans, and will conclude with a luncheon attended by both the veterans and the Young Marines. The church is at 12475 Chancellor Blvd., Port Charlotte.

11 a.m.: The Imagine School at North Port Young Marines will provide color guard/flag raising for Veterans Day program at North Port Public Library. 13800 S. Tamiami Trail, North Port.

2 p.m.: Wilkinson Elementary students will gather in the cafeteria to hear the chorus perform patriotic songs, celebrate the veterans in our community, hear speeches about Patriot Plaza and hear answers to their questions about the military via video stream from some soldiers currently stationed in Africa. 3400 Wilkinson Road, Sarasota.

School groups perform at InspireSarasota arts festival

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InspireSarasota logo 2016

This news release is from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County:

SARASOTA, Nov. 4, 2016 - The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County presents the 2016 InspireSarasota! Festival on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9:30 4:30 p.m. at Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota.

The event features five performance stages, 40 performances, dance, orchestra, opera, theater, literary arts, improv and more. Plus, the unique Cultural Court and free Book Giveaway for children ages 1 month to 18 years old. Click here for a schedule and map of performances and other activities. 

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota is proud of our partnership with the Sarasota County Schools and the educators’ commitment to arts education. We are delighted to welcome students from over 16 schools to the 2016 InspireSarasota! Festival. The arts are a critical component of every child’s education and we are excited for this opportunity to provide a platform for Sarasota County School students to demonstrate their hard work, talent and commitment to the arts. Sarasota is a community rich in arts and it is essential that we support our youth and show them we value their work. 

Also on hand will be four authors, Philippe Diederich, Sally Fernandez, Don Bruns, and Bill Harley. Diederich and Fernandez will discuss The Creative Process, Bruns will discuss Writing a Novel, and children's author Harley shares songs and stories about his book Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year.  There will also be an opportunity for you to purchase the books and have them signed by the author!

The Asolo/FSU Conservatory will present a 45-minute production, The Tragedy of Hamlet, in the Sarasota Opera House’s Peterson Room at 12:30 PM.

Anyone with questions may call Alliance Communications Manager Rachel Denton at (941) 365-5118, ext. 304, email, or visit

About the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County

The Arts and Cultural Alliance is a member-powered organization that serves as an advocate for arts and culture in Sarasota County.  Founded in 1986 by a group of committed citizens, the Alliance has administered more than $17 million in grants to area artists and arts organizations. The Alliance works to ensure arts and culture remain essential to the continuing development of a vibrant, creative community.  This is achieved through arts advocacy, education and community outreach. For more information about how you can join the Arts and Cultural Alliance, please visit our website at or call (941) 365-5118, extension 304.          


Phillippi Shores Elementary students raise funds for Haitian hurricane relief

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Phillippi Shores fundraiser for Haiti-2 kids Oct 2016Phillippi student Maddie Perrotta-Haiti fundraiser Oct 2016

CARING CLASSMATES: In top photo, Phillippi Shores Elementary student Aliyah Schmitz, at left, collects a donation from Caleb Barker for hurricane relief in Haiti. In bottom photo, Phillippi Shores first-grader Madeline Perrotta celebrates exceeding the goal of the school-wide fundraiser she inspired to help Haitian victims of Hurricane Matthew.

SARASOTA, Nov. 1, 2016 – Phillippi Shores Elementary School first-grader Madeline Perrotta wanted to do something to help the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. She told her teachers — Kerri Kreger, Casey Esper and Mary Rose Kelley — who all agreed to let Perrotta present the idea to their students.

After showing the children some photos of the storm damage and how it is affecting Haitians, her classmates said they would like to help.

The students spread the word about their project by making posters, decorating tissue packages as donation boxes and appearing on the school’s closed-circuit television news.

Soon the whole school was participating; the students reached their goal of $726 in only five school days, then exceeded the goal by almost $400 — reaching a total of $1,100. One student brought in a $100 bill from his grandfather. The money students raised will provide thousands of meals for Haitians.

“I’m so proud of Maddie and all our students,” said Kreger. “I got to watch a student inspire a class, which then inspired a whole school to help make a change in the world.”

The class donated the money to Agape Flights, which delivers supplies, mail and humanitarian aid to Caribbean nations.

Phillippi Shores Elementary School is located at 4747 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.




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