Sarasota County Schools News

High school seniors urged to get no-cost vaccines for college now

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College students-stock photo from DOH Sarasota

FREE VACCINES: High school seniors are urged to get vaccines before they graduate and turn 19, while the vaccines are free.

This news release is from the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County:

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 30. 2016 - Local public health and school officials urge high school seniors to get their immunizations updated before they graduate and turn 19. The vaccines are available at no cost at the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County’s (DOH-Sarasota) clinics in Sarasota and North Port.  

Many colleges and universities, including Florida public universities and colleges, require proof of updated vaccinations for enrollment and/or dormitory-living. Vaccines are only available at no charge through the federally-funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program while the student is enrolled in high school or younger than age 19. The cost of vaccines for those who are no longer eligible for the VFC program can exceed $600. By acting now, families can save money, meet college requirements, and avoid the last minute rush in the summer. 

The recommended vaccines offer safe and effective protection against the most common and serious forms of bacterial meningitis, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (whooping cough) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Health officials also encourage college-bound students get the Hepatitis A vaccine, and the second dose of the Varicella  vaccine which protects against chickenpox. The protection offered through some vaccines wanes over time, so certain vaccines need to be repeated to maintain an adequate level of immunity. 

“When young people are current on their vaccines, it reduces the likelihood that they will acquire vaccine-preventable diseases throughout their lifetime. From a public health standpoint, the entire community benefits when there is greater vaccine coverage,” says DOH-Sarasota School Health Supervisor Linda Glover. “In addition, you’ll save hundreds of dollars by getting vaccines now instead of waiting.” 

No-cost vaccines are available at the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County’s (DOH-Sarasota) in Sarasota and North Port to children still in school or under age 19 and whose health insurance plan does not cover vaccines. Families who have insurance covering vaccines are requested to bring their insurance card. 

Health officials say early morning hours are usually best for walk-in immunizations and appointments are also available. Parents must accompany those under age 18. Please bring previous shot record if available. Immunizations are available at these locations (Monday-Friday):

William L. Little Health & Human Services Center
2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota

Walk-in services begin at 7:30 a.m.
Call for hours or to request an appointment

North Port Health Center
6950 Outreach Way, North Port

Call for hours or to request an appointment

For additional details, please call the School Health Office at 941-927-9000, ext. 32101. Parents can also visit

About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit 






Six schools compete in Odyssey of the Mind State Finals

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Bay Haven OM team 2015-16SSAS Stack Attack OM team 2015-16Sarasota High OM team 2015-16Tatum Ridge OM team 2015-16Lakeview OM team 2015-16Brentwood OM team 2015-16

ODYSSEY CHAMPS: Pictured above in photos starting at top, teams from Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences, Sarasota High, Tatum Ridge Elementary, Lakeview Elementary and Brentwood Elementary will compete in the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals April 9 in Orlando.

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 29, 2016 – Teams from Six Sarasota County public schools — Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Brentwood, Lakeview and Tatum Ridge elementary schools, Sarasota High School and Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences — will compete in the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals, Saturday, April 9, at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

The teams are headed to the state competition after competing successfully at the Odyssey of the Mind Sun Region competition held at Riverdale High School in Fort Myers March 5. Depending on their performance in the State Finals, the teams may compete in the World Finals, May 25-28, at Iowa State University in Ames.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program for students in grades K-12 and college. The goal is to learn teamwork, brainstorming, self-reliance and respect for the individual strengths of team members. Teams of five to seven students develop solutions to one of six long-term problems over several months, while practicing for a spontaneous problem that is presented at the competition.

Teams, problems and competitions are organized into five divisions by age groups. Division I is elementary school, Division II is middle school and Division III is high school. 

In a problem called “Stack Attack,” teams from Sarasota County Schools took first place in all three divisions: Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Division I, Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences in Division II and Sarasota High School in Division III. The problem required teams to design, build and test a structure made only of balsa wood and glue that would balance and support as much weight as possible — twice! During weight placement, teams could “attack the stack” and remove all the weights except for the bottom one and the “crusher board.” Teams also received a score for removing weights. After attacking the stack, the weight-placement process could be repeated to add to the total weight held. Teams incorporated weight placement, repetition and “stack attacking” into the theme of the performance.

In “Aesop Gone Viral,” Tatum Ridge Elementary placed first in Division I. A team from Lakeview Elementary took fourth place. Teams created and presented an original performance about a fable “gone viral.” The problem included a list of fables attributed to Aesop. Teams selected one of the fables and portrayed it and its moral as going viral (being shared throughout the community and beyond). The performance was set in a past era and included a narrator character, an artistic representation of the fable's moral, and a character that made a wrong conclusion about the moral and was corrected.

In “Something Fishy,” Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences took first place in Division I. The team was charged with designing and operating a technical solution to simulate multiple styles of fishing. A “Fisher Character” worked from a designated area to “catch” three different objects outside the area. The “catch” was on the move and included something expected, something unexpected and a new discovery. The performance also included a “change of weather” and a humorous character.

In a problem called “Fins, Fur, Feathers & Friends,” Brentwood Elementary took second place in Division IA. The team had to create and present a humorous performance depicting problem-solving from the perspective of three different animals. The animals helped a stranger, helped each other, and solved a problem that threatened the survival of all animals. During the performance, the animals sang and danced, and expressed curiosity, sympathy, frustration and joy.

Bay Haven School of Basics Plus also fielded a team in the Primary (non-competitive elementary) division. The team participated in the “Stir the Pot” problem at the Sun Region competition and was selected to participate in the State Finals.

In addition to the team victories, McIntosh Middle School student Devin Rubinstein was selected to receive an OMER’s Award by judges of the “Something Fishy” problem. Rubinstein focused on solutions instead of the problem, keeping his team and the audience entertained with his humor while the McIntosh team was facing challenges with its vehicle. Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences Odyssey of the Mind coach Trevor Bliss won an OMER’s Award for being a role model and teaching good sportsmanship. The OMER’s Award is given to teams or individuals for showing “Odyssey spirit.” Winners can be recognized for showing artistic talent, good sportsmanship, teamwork or going beyond expectations to help others. 

The schools are holding fundraising activities to help cover the cost of sending teams to the state competition, and will need to raise additional funds if their performance at the State Finals qualifies them to compete in the World Finals. Community members who would like to learn more about each school’s fundraising efforts may visit for the schools’ phone numbers or call the district at 941-927-9000 to be connected to a particular school. 

Science for Every Student day set for Booker Middle School

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College For Every Student logo

SCIENCE FOR EVERY STUDENT: The organization known as College For Every Student is bringing college and career professionals to Booker Middle on Science For Every Student day March 31.

This news release is from College for Every Student:

SARASOTA, March 28, 2016 - In an effort to build student interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math), College For Every Student is bringing a “Science For Every Student” day to Booker Middle School on Thursday, March 31 beginning at 7:30 a.m.

“The day is going to begin with an experiment,” said CFES Program Director Chelsie Hinckley, referring to a liquid nitrogen cloud that, “if all goes well should fill the entire gym – it’s going to be a great visual for the students to see how science works.”  

College and career professionals from the Tampa Bay area will spend the day at Booker Middle School to engage 900 students, who are all part of the College For Every Student (CFES) program, in activities and experiments.

“Our Tampa partners have helped us provide incredible opportunities for our CFES Scholars over the last three years,” said CFES CEO Rick Dalton. “They are generous with their time and their resources. For instance, USF is donating materials for the opening lesson.”  

In addition to the University of South Florida, Suncoast Technical College, MOTE Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, Florida Polytechnic University, New College of Florida, Booker Robotics and Booker 3D Printing will show CFES Scholars how STEM principles and concepts are used in everyday work and play. 

"Not only are we inspiring these students to pursue a STEM education, but we’re giving them a college experience through one-on-one student/mentor interaction,” said Dallas Dennison, a senior at USF and SFES coordinator.  

During their science periods, students will go to the gymnasium to participate in Science For Every Student experiments. Each student will use a passport to collect stamps to complete each of ten activity stations.

“Any Harvard graduate will tell you the secret to life is learn by doing,” said Karen Rose, executive director of middle schools for the Sarasota County School District. “In our 21st Century STEMSmart classrooms, Booker Middle School students engage with technological tools as if they are a scientist, mathematician, historian and professional communicator. In addition, The Science For Every Student Program is bringing college and career professionals to serve as mentors to students in our district’s TechActive Classrooms of Tomorrow.”    

About College For Every Student:

College for Every Student (CFES) is a global leader in helping low-income students become college and career ready. The non-profit, CFES currently supports 25,000 students through partnerships with 200 rural and urban K-12 schools and districts in 30 states and Ireland.

New principal named for Garden Elementary School in Venice

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Amy Archer 2016

GLENALLEN TO GARDEN: Principal Amy Archer will move from Glenallen Elementary in North Port to Garden Elementary in Venice in June.

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 25, 2016 — Superintendent Lori White has appointed Amy Archer as the next principal of Garden Elementary School in Venice, effective June 8. Archer has served as principal of Glenallen Elementary School in North Port since 2007.

Longtime Garden Elementary principal John McQueen retired in February. Sandra Russell, former principal of Tatum Ridge Elementary, is serving as acting principal at Garden through the end of this school year.

 “It has been a privilege and honor to serve as the proud principal of North Port’s ‘first and finest,’ Glenallen Elementary,” said Archer. “The staff at Glenallen are exceptional educators who put their whole heart into providing high quality service to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of the students they serve. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my career at Garden Elementary, another wonderful school. I am excited to lead and serve in the community I hold near and dear to my heart.”

Laura Kingsley, the district’s executive director of elementary education, said, “I am delighted that Amy was selected to lead Garden Elementary. She has lived in Venice for 26 years. Becoming the principal at Garden allows her to bring her passion for educating children closer to her home. Amy is a great advocate for her teachers, students and families, and a talented instructional leader who is held in high esteem by her colleagues. She is a tremendous asset to our school district. I look forward to watching Garden continue to bloom under her leadership!”

Archer has been an administrator at Glenallen Elementary since 2004; she was named principal in 2007. She has been with the district since 1999. Before becoming principal at Glenallen she served as curriculum coordinator at Garden Elementary (2003-04) and was a fourth-grade teacher at Venice Elementary (1999-2003), where she was the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2002-03. She taught fourth grade at Chickasaw Elementary in Orlando in 1998-99.

Archer has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

Amy has been married to Venice CPA Bryan Archer since 2007. They are both graduates of Venice High School and have a great sense of pride in the community of Venice.

Garden Elementary School is located at 700 Center Road, Venice.


Tuttle Elementary to host ribbon cutting for Reading Recovery classroom

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Reading Recovery observation room Tuttle 2015-16Reading Recovery Tuttle student-teacher 2015-16

READING ROOM: Top photo: As her colleagues observe from behind the glass, teacher Tunde Olson (at left) demonstrates lessons to help first-grade student Alexander De La Cruz improve his reading in the new Reading Recovery classroom at Tuttle Elementary School. Bottom photo: Pictured at left, Tuttle Elementary first-grade student Melanie Sandoval-Almarez works on a reading lesson with teacher Tunde Olson, using Reading Recovery program techniques.

SARASOTA, March 21, 2016 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a specially equipped training classroom to help struggling readers will be held at 8:30 a.m., Monday, March 28, at Tuttle Elementary School. Teachers and students will demonstrate strategies of a program called Reading Recovery. A demonstration will show how a training window with a one-way mirror lets teachers observe techniques their colleagues are using to help students improve their reading skills.

Reading Recovery was launched this school year at three elementary schools: Tuttle in Sarasota, and Atwater and Cranberry in North Port. It is a school-based, short-term intervention designed for students in first grade who have great difficulty reading and writing. The intervention involves intensive one-to-one lessons with a trained literacy teacher 30 minutes a day for 12 to 20 weeks.

The lessons are customized for each child and are designed to complement classroom teaching, helping students engage in regular academic work with their classmates. When a student in the program is reading and writing at the level of their peers, the series of lessons is discontinued.

Reading Recovery training and ongoing professional development for teachers includes behind-the-glass observations of teaching. During these sessions, observers watch a highly trained teacher leader working with a student. The training window is 4 feet high by 8 feet wide. Tempered panes of glass are surrounded by reinforced soundproof walls. Classroom sound is heard in the viewing room but the student and teacher can’t hear or see observers on the other side.         

The teachers gain skill in the minute-to-minute decision making that makes for high-quality teaching. They learn to analyze overt behaviors that signify the student’s internal processing and to recognize evidence of shifts in learning. The teachers also develop their own understanding about the teaching and learning processes they are observing.

“Early data from the Reading Recovery program in our district indicates that our first-graders are learning to read with exceptional speed,” said Laura Kingsley, executive director of elementary education for Sarasota County Schools. “Our parents express deep gratitude that their children are benefiting from the program. One mother shared that her high school daughter still struggles with reading and said that, with the success of her first-grader in Reading Recovery, ‘the cycle will now be broken.’ In addition, teachers are appreciating the instructional tips that our teacher leaders have provided. The behind-the-glass lesson is a powerful tool to help teachers learn the best ways to support the model of literacy that is the basis of Reading Recovery.”

The Sarasota County School District received funding from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, philanthropists Keith and Linda Monda, and Gulf Coast Community Foundation for Reading Recovery. The program is fully funded at the participating schools for 2015-16, and plans are being made to expand the program to all the other Title I schools in the district in 2016-17 (Alta Vista, Brentwood, Emma E. Booker, Gocio and Wilkinson in Sarasota; and Glenallen and Lamarque in North Port).

The Barancik Foundation contributed $100,000 for the first year of the program. Keith and Linda Monda, who helped support the national implementation of the program, contributed $100,000 for the first year of its implementation in the district through their charitable fund at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Gulf Coast also serves as the fiscal agent and additional funding partner for the project.     

Tuttle Elementary School is located at 2863 8th Street, Sarasota.

About Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery helps struggling beginning readers and writers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The intervention requires ongoing data collection for each and every child who has lessons. In the U.S., evaluation is conducted by the International Data Evaluation Center located at The Ohio State University. Results are consistent across 25 years and include more than 2 million Reading Recovery students. Achievement gaps are greatly reduced or closed across varying racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic groups, and for English language learners. More than 100 research studies have documented Reading Recovery’s benefits for students and schools. More information is at

About the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation was founded in 2014 to promote meaningful change in the areas of humanities and the arts, education and science, humanitarian causes, the environment and medical research. Although it funds national and international efforts, the Barancik Foundation has a special focus on the Sarasota community. The Barancik Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding. For further information, please contact Teri A Hansen at

About Keith and Linda Monda

Keith Monda spent his distinguished career in many senior financial positions at Pfizer, J. Crew, Timberland Company, and, prior to retirement, as the president and chief operating officer of Coach. With a full-time focus on giving back, Keith now serves on The Ohio State University Foundation board, the national Feeding America board, the All Faiths Food Bank board, and as chairman of the New College of Florida board of trustees. Linda graduated from Iona College with a degree in accounting. In addition to coordinating much of the couple’s philanthropic efforts, she volunteers her time with Children First and provides oversight to the scholarship program at Forty Carrots Family Center.

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
Together with its donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, it has become the philanthropic home of more than 600 families who have established charitable funds there, and has invested more than $203 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture and the environment. Learn more at


Booker High educator named Sarasota County Teacher of the Year

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TOY Khea Davis and Rachel Shelley 3-22-16

ECSTATIC EDUCATORS: Booker High School language arts teacher Khea Davis, left, and BHS Principal Rachel Shelley react to the news that Davis is the 2016-17 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year. Photo by Rod Millington.

SARASOTA, March 22, 2016 – Superintendent Lori White announced that Booker High School language arts teacher Khea Davis is the Sarasota County Teacher of the Year for 2016-17. Davis was selected from among three finalists at the annual awards ceremony honoring educators, held March 22 at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. The individual Teachers of the Year for each school also were honored at the luncheon.

Click here for a list of all Teachers of the Year by school.

A partnership of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County School District produces the event. The three finalists — Davis; Woodland Middle School teacher Kristina Beecher; and Bay Haven School of Basics Plus science teacher Rolf Hanson, the elementary school finalist — were surprised at their schools in early February.

When White announced that Davis is the overall Teacher of the Year, Davis said, “Thank you, Sarasota County! Thank you, Lori White! I’d also like to thank my principal, my mentor, Dr. Rachel Shelley. I want to be like her when I grow up.”

Davis said she’s taught for 15 years — the last two years at Booker High School. “Booker is a special place,” she said. “You walk on the campus and you feel love.”

Although she teaches high school students, she still calls them her “babies.” She tells parents, “When I see your babies, I see my babies (her two sons, Kaleb, 15 and Jaylen, 10). “I want to be the kind of teacher I want my sons to have.”

She added that “Sarasota County feels like heaven. It’s the best place to teach; I don’t want to go anywhere else.”

Davis has taught reading, writing and literature at Booker High School since she joined the Sarasota County School District in August 2014. She is the faculty sponsor of the Black History Club, serves as a mentor to new teachers and is a member of the school’s Literacy Leaders Team.

She taught at Carlos E. Haile Middle School in Bradenton from 2012 to 2014 and at City of Pembroke Pines Charter High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., from 2001 to 2012. She was a teacher trainer for the Broward Teachers Union and Broward County Schools for five years. 

Davis has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Florida State University and a master’s degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix (Plantation, Fla.)

About the Sarasota County Teacher of the Year program

The Sarasota County Schools Teacher of the Year Program, presented by Publix Super Markets Charities, is co-produced by the Sarasota County School District and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and is made possible through the funding and support of community partners. 

Khea Davis, the district Teacher of the Year, will receive a $2,500 cash award from Sunset Automotive Group. The two runners-up, Kristina Beecher and Rolf Hanson, will each receive $1,250 from the dealership. Davis also will represent Sarasota County Schools at the Florida Department of Education-Macy's Teacher of the Year program and will serve as a spokesperson for and representative of the teaching profession at events throughout the 2016-17 school year.

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, founded in 1988 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, serves more than 42,600 students in 52 elementary, middle and high schools. The Education Foundation is the leading advocate for an exceptional public education for all students in Sarasota County. With strong support from donors and the community, the Education Foundation undertakes significant, high-impact projects and initiatives. The Education Foundation encourages donors with a passion for education to express their imagination in finding solutions, to make an investment in providing new opportunities for student learning, and to share the inspiration their generosity sparks in young people whose lives are forever changed. For more information, visit or call 941-927-0965.

Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse honors ‘Shining Stars’

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Pine View student Jonah Mundy-SCoSA Shining Star 2016Booker Middle student Jayla King-SCoSA Shining Star 2016Judge Lee Haworth-SCoSA Citizen of Year 2016

SHINING STARS: Pictured from top are SCoSA 2016 Shining Star students Jonah Mundy and Jayla King; bottom photo is SCoSA Citizen of the Year, Judge Lee Haworth.

This news release is from the Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse.

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 11, 2016 - The Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse (SCoSA) will honor the 2016 award winners at the 11th Annual Sarasota Shining Stars Recognition and Awards Luncheon.  The event will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 24, at Michael’s On East, 1212 East Ave., Sarasota.

Scott Dennis, senior news anchor at WWSB/ABC 7, will serve as the emcee. Les McCurdy of McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute will be the keynote speaker.

Individual tickets are $70 and table sponsorship is available for $800. Tickets are available online at or by calling SCoSA at 941-928-4435.

The award winners are: 

Citizen of the Year: Judge Lee Haworth

Judge Haworth served for 26 years in Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit, which includes Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties. Haworth presided over every division of the court and served as the chief circuit judge. He was honored by the Florida Supreme Court for improving foster care and foreclosure courts. Haworth is a community leader and many of his efforts have focused on children and families. He served on the task force that led to creation of the Family Safety Alliance. His efforts have changed and protected lives in our community. Haworth was born and raised in Sarasota. In addition to his judicial service, he served as a prosecutor for the 12th Judicial Circuit, and as lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. The Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse is proud to recognize Judge Lee Haworth as the Shining Star Citizen of the Year. 

Drug-Free Workplace: The Salvation Army, Sarasota Area Command

The Salvation Army, Sarasota Area Command is being recognized for its commitment to the cause of substance abuse prevention and treatment, demonstrated by programs like VIP-ER (voluntary interim placement – enhanced recovery), CRP (Community Recovery Program) and the Sarasota County Jail Recovery Pod programs. These programs are offered at no cost to the participants and have helped individuals, including homeless and indigent, to achieve and maintain sobriety. By gaining sobriety the participants can reduce behaviors that in many cases led to them being in jail. VIP-ER and CRP have a success rate of over 70 percent (graduates maintain sobriety a year after graduation). The Salvation Army and its numerous community partners helped more than 1,000 individuals achieve sobriety, counseled prisoners to reduce the chances they will return to substance abuse or jail after their release. The Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse is proud to recognize the Salvation Army, Sarasota Area Command.

Student Shining Stars:

High School: Jonah Mundy, Pine View School

Jonah Mundy is a junior at Pine View School. He is active in SWAT (Student Working Against Tobacco) at the school, county and state levels. Mundy has been recognized nationally; in 2014 during the Kick Butts Campaign for his first-place video public service announcement, “The Science Behind a Cigarette,” and in 2015 for his second-place video PSA, “Push Back Against Big Tobacco.” He has been active in numerous community service initiatives, including Sarasota County Teen Court.    

Middle School: Jayla King, Booker Middle School

Jayla King is an eighth-grade student at Booker Middle School. She wrote in her essay about looking out her window and seeing drug dealers, no older than herself, selling drugs. King has been a witness to the negative impacts of substance abuse on individuals, families and the community. She and her friends have chosen a different path.

About the Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse

SCoSA promotes substance-abuse-free environments through increased community awareness and advocacy. 



North Port High student’s ‘global change’ project gets national recognition

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NPHS sophomore Jason Gill 2015-16

WORLD CHANGER: North Port High School sophomore Jason Gill was recognized for a project designed to promote cultural understanding among Muslims and others in France.

NORTH PORT, March 11, 2016 – A North Port High School sophomore’s vision for making the world a better place has been recognized by AFS Project: Change. Jason Gill was named third runner-up in the competition sponsored by AFS-USA, which offers international student exchange programs in more than 40 countries.

AFS Project: Change invites high school students to share their visions for positive, tangible global change. This year there were more than 800 entrants from across the United States, the voting period was more competitive than ever before. Nearly 12,000 people across the country read the project ideas, with more than 34,000 votes cast. A panel of judges then reviewed the final 200 project ideas with the most votes and selected a grand prize winner, Saighuhan Senthilkumar of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and an additional 10 students to work with him on his project in India.

If any of the winners should decline their scholarship to work in India to explore its quickly-changing nutritional landscape and help address the distinct challenges of hunger and obesity, the first through third runners-up will be given the opportunity to fill any student spots, in that order.

Gill’s own proposed project was titled “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.” The issue area was Human Rights & Cultural Understanding. Here are excerpts from Gill’s description of his project:

"One of the more significant social issues in modern society is segregation, especially between native populations and immigrants. In fear of being persecuted by others, ethnic groups tend to accumulate together in their own independent neighborhoods. A prime example of this can be seen in the banlieues of France. Banlieues are poor, secluded communities located on the outskirts of French cities that are home to nearly four million Muslim migrants. The Muslims living in the banlieues are extremely isolated and cut off from the rest of French society, preventing them from interacting with French natives and becoming familiar with the native culture. 

"Despite the current situation, there is still a way to end social segregation in France and integrate the long-isolated Muslims into popular society. I propose a newsletter which could be used to inform the French general public of the current conditions of the Muslims living in the banlieues.  

"A team of amateur reporters would talk to the residents of one banlieue, preferably in Paris, and compile these immigrants’ concerns, challenges, issues, questions, as well as cultural background information into a simple newsletter pamphlet that could then be passed out to the public in Paris proper. Along with that, another newsletter would be used to educate the Muslims in the banlieues on French society. With both of these newsletters, both the French public and the secluded Muslims could be educated about one another and actually understand each other’s issues and concerns.

"I believe that this idea is simple enough to be put into action relatively quickly and cheaply. This project idea can also be applied to not just France but any country with social segregation. Overall, this project has the potential to open new opportunities for isolated minorities and promote greater cultural cooperation through knowledge and awareness."    

North Port High School is located at 6400 W. Price Blvd., North Port.

Community celebrates 2016 Regional Science Fair award winners

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2016 Science Fair SHS students to state contest

ON TO STATE CONTEST: Education Foundation of Sarasota County Executive Director Jennifer Vigne, center, celebrates with Sarasota High students Skyler Haber, left, and Savannah Jordan, right. Their chemistry project, "Desalination of Water Using Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes," was selected to compete at the state level.

This news release is from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

SARASOTA, March 9, 2016 – Every year the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, in partnership with Sarasota County Schools and the Sarasota Agricultural Fair, produces the Sarasota Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair. On March 8 at Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota, an audience of over 300 family members, educators and donors honored the Fair’s most promising young scientists, engineers and inventors with monetary award and other prizes. 

Six high school students, representing the five top scoring projects, will have the opportunity to compete at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida. Upon completion of the state competition, two of the five projects will be selected to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, all expenses paid by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

School board members, district leaders and fair sponsors gathered at Suncoast Technical College to congratulate more than 50 students from grades 3-12 whose projects scored at the top in 21 research categories this year. Students took home more than $5,500 in cash gifts and additional special prizes for exceptional achievement. 

Click here for a list of 2016 Regional Science Fair winners.

The fair’s major sponsors presented four awards to three outstanding high school participants. The Dart Foundation Award for Medicine & Health and a check for $1,000 was presented to Aubrey Kilduff for her project “Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on the Visual System in Mice.”The Dart Foundation Inspiration Award of $1,000 went to Hailey Ballard for her project, “Using Zinc Sulfate and Planarian to Test Reaction Times to Light: A Model for Photosensitive Epilepsy.”

The two Faulhaber Foundation Prizes for the Scientific Exploration of Nature Awards of $1,000 went to Codi Elliot and Teerth Patel for their project “"The Regulation of the Expression of p21 and the Use of Metformin to Kill Small Cell Lung Cancer."

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.  

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, founded in 1988 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, serves more than 42,600 students in 52 elementary, middle and high schools.  The Education Foundation is the leading advocate for an exceptional public education for all students in Sarasota County. With strong support from donors and the community, the Education Foundation undertakes significant, high impact projects and initiatives. The Education Foundation encourages donors with a passion for education to express their imagination in finding solutions, to make an investment in providing new opportunities for student learning, and to share the inspiration their generosity sparks in young people whose lives are forever changed.  For more information, visit or call 941.927.0965.

Summer Learning Academies set for Alta Vista, Booker, Gocio, Tuttle

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SCS News

SARASOTA, March 9, 2016 – This summer, Sarasota County Schools is offering free academic and enrichment activities at four elementary schools. Students entering kindergarten at Alta Vista Elementary, Emma E. Booker Elementary, Gocio Elementary and Tuttle Elementary are eligible for this program. In addition to entering kindergartners, students entering first through third grades at Alta Vista also are eligible to attend. 

Summer Learning Academies will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday, June 13, through Thursday, Aug. 4, with the exception of the week of Monday, July 4-Friday, July 8. Subjects will include language arts, math, art, science, inquiry-based hands-on experiences, social and emotional skills, and investigation/exploration opportunities.

The Academies are based in part on the successful Eagle Academy that has been in place in the summer at Alta Vista since 2012. Parents are encouraged to participate in learning and growth opportunities along with their students in sessions known as Parent University. One Alta Vista parent said, “The two-generation approach changed our family dynamics.” Another said, “Our skills were enhanced by the sessions with caring and knowledgeable instructors in the Parent University.”

A parent or guardian must attend one meeting at the school hosting the Summer Learning Academy his or her child wishes to attend (meetings last approximately 30-60 minutes):


Alta Vista Elementary: 941-361-6400, 1050 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota

Monday, April 4: 10 a.m.

Monday, April 4: 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 6: 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 7: 10 a.m.

Thursday, April 7: 12:30 p.m.

Monday, April 11: 6 p.m.

 Friday, April 15: 8:45 a.m.


Emma E. Booker Elementary: 941-361-6480, 2350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota

Thursday, March 10: 6 p.m.

 Monday, April 4: 10 a.m.

Thursday, April 7: 3:45 p.m.

Thursday, April 14: 3:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 5: 6 p.m.


Gocio Elementary:  941-361-6405, 3450 Gocio Road, Sarasota

Friday, March 11: 7:30 a.m.

Friday, April 1 : 7:30 a.m.

Monday, April 4: 3:30 p.m.

Friday, April 8 : 7:30 a.m.


Tuttle Elementary: 941-361-6480,  2863 8th St., Sarasota

Monday, March 28, 5:30 p.m.

Monday, April 25: 5:30 p.m.

Lakeview Elementary students log more than 8,000 miles around track

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Lakeview Elem Mileage Club runner Alexis Chaulsett

FUN RUN: Lakeview Elementary fourth-grade student Alexis Chaulsett, center, runs with the school’s Mileage Club after school Tuesdays and Thursdays.

SARASOTA, March 7, 2016 – When the bell rings and school is out at Lakeview Elementary on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, more than 250 students in the school’s Mileage Club lace up their sneakers and race out to the running field to rack up the miles.

“While lots of other children are playing with their Gameboys, iPads, X-boxes, phones and tablets, Lakeview students in grades K-5 are getting exercise, learning about healthy lifestyles, connecting with each other and building self-esteem,” said fifth-grade teacher Khizran Usman, who coordinates the Mileage Club with science teacher Megan Wink and PTO member Jen Elliott.

The Mileage Club offers an opportunity for students to race toward the equivalent of a marathon (26 miles). On the journey, students earn tokens for reaching certain milestones until a marathon is achieved. This school year, 173 students have run enough laps to equal a marathon, and all participating students have racked up a combined 8,240 miles.

As students travel around the track, volunteers punch holes in their cards to keep track of their progress. Even after students achieve the marathon, there still is a reason to run: they can earn T-shirts with their names on the back; and boys and girls at each grade level earn gold, silver, and bronze medals.

“The generous sponsorship of our PTO and the Manasota Track Club allows us to provide these incentives to our student runners,” said Usman.

Lakeview Elementary School is located at 7299 Proctor Road in Sarasota.


Riverview High students headed to National History Bowl April 22-24

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RHS History Bowl team members 2015-16

HISTORY CHAMPS: Members of the Riverview High History Bowl teams are headed to the National History Bowl in Washington, D.C. in April. In front row from left are Kaitlin Viera, Jaime Velez, Coach/Teacher Don Baeszler, Talon DiPiazza, Fahim Chowdhury, Stephanie Peak, Cullen Bolkey, Paige Levanti and Mike Feltovic. In back row are Joseph Klens, Thomas Childers, Joseph Bratcher, Alessandro Gianinni, Jarek Maleszka, Trey Buckman, Brendan O'Donnell and Sanket Manjesh.

SARASOTA, March 2, 2016 – The Riverview High School History Bowl teams are headed to the National History Bee & Bowl in Washington, D.C., April 22-24.

In late January, RHS teams competed in the 2016 Central Florida Winter National History Bee at Largo High School in Largo, Florida, bringing home their third district title, bringing home their third district title and qualifying them to compete in the national contest. Riverview students competed against teams from private schools Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park and St. James Cathedral School in Orlando; charter school Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa; and traditional public schools with a strong record of competition, including Tampa’s Hillsborough High and Freedom High.

The Freshman Junior Varsity team, led by Trey Buckman, compiled a 3-2 record in the competition and went into the playoffs, losing to Riverview’s own Sophomore JV team. The Sophomore team of Captain Jaime Velez, Cullen Bolkey, Sanket Manjesh and Paul Steven Hutchinson Maltaghati went 4-1 and swept through the playoffs, winning their third consecutive District History Bowl title. The overall team coach is teacher Don Baeszler; the overall student captain is Paige Levanti.

Riverview High School is located at 1 Ram Way, Sarasota.

Suncoast Technical College hosts 15th Annual Car Show fundraiser

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SCS News

SARASOTA, March 2, 2016 – The main campus of Suncoast Technical College will host the 15th Annual Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, March 6. The event will feature car, bike and truck shows; vendors; food; door prizes and a silent auction. Proceeds will help send STC students to the state and national SkillsUSA Championships. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

Admission to the event is free and there is no registration fee for vehicle exhibitors. The school is now accepting donations of silent auction items. Box lunches, hot dogs, chips and soft drinks will be available for purchase.

Suncoast Technical College is located at 4748 Beneva Road, Sarasota. 

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