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A recently-approved Literacy Americorps Palm Beach County Cooperative Agreement is expected to result in more students graduating from high school in Palm Beach County. The School Board-approved agreement provides for five (5) AmeriCorps members who will serve as graduation coaches at the following high schools.

• Boynton Beach Community High School
• Forest Hill Community High School
• John I. Leonard High School
• Lake Worth Community High School
• Village Academy

These coaches work directly with students, teachers, parents and counselors to monitor students’ grades and credits and connect them with tutors and other support that may be critical for their graduation.

“Many students have challenging circumstances that put them at risk of not graduating,” said Darlene Kostrub, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County CEO.   ”We know from research and our own experience with these coaches that the investment pays off. More students graduate.”

The grant also provides for seven full-time and two part-time AmeriCorps members to serve as reading tutors at the following schools:

• Barton Elementary
• Galaxy Elementary
• Forest Park Elementary
• Rolling Green Elementary

Elementary schools were chosen based on the number of students reading at level 1.

“The support of a caring tutor, coupled with this intensive literacy intervention, will provide the extra assistance needed to help our students reach the goal of reading on or above grade level.  Obtaining success in reading will have a lasting effect on all curriculum areas,” said Debbie Battles, Director of Federal & State Programs at the School District of Palm Beach County.

Funding for the graduation coaches is provided through a grant received by the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County from Bank of America.

AmeriCorps is a program of the U.S. federal government engaging adults in intensive community service work with the goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.”[1] Members commit to full or part-time positions offered by a network of non-profit community organizations and public agencies, to fulfill assignments in the fields of education, public safety, healthcare and environmental protection. The program is often compared to the Peace Corps as its domestic counterpart.

AmeriCorps is an initiative of the Corporation for National Community Service, which also oversees the Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. It was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, incorporating VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and the National Civilian Community Corps. A third division, AmeriCorps State and National, provides grants to hundreds of local community organizations throughout the U.S.

The Palm Beach County Education Foundation and district’s K-12 Research-Based Comprehensive Reading Plan completed the required funding for the programs.

For more information, contact Audrey McDonough, Literacy AmeriCorps Director at 561-243-9450.

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 Students from Northboro Elementary School, Western Pines Middle School, and Palm Springs Middle School earned the top prizes in the 2013 Fair Housing Student Poster and Essay Contest held in observation Fair Housing Month, observed each year in April.  Sponsored by the Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), the Realtos Association of the Palm Beaches (RAPB) and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County (LAS), the winners were honored at a reception held April 25 at the Realtors Association offices in West Palm Beach.  

The following students were winners in the county-wide competition. Coincidentally the top three places in each category attend the same schools. 

Third Grade Poster Contest School
1st Place - $100 gift card  Laci Kinder 2nd Place – $50 gift card   Walker Perez3rd Place – $ 25 gift card  Ja’mya Oliver  Northboro Elementary School
Seventh Grade Poster Contest  
1st Place – $100 gift card  Ana Mattos2nd Place – $50 gift card  Yanguie Lorenzo3rd Place – $25 gift card   Sallanda Sampson  Palm Springs Middle School
Seventh Grade Essay Contest  
1st Place – $100 gift card  Andre Soucy2nd Place – $50 gift card   Gabriel Bagnoli3rd Place – $25 gift card   Cody Roland Western Pines Middle School

 This year’s theme, “Fair Housing: Every Face Needs a Place” recognized the 45th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

 The goal of the competition is to raise public awareness of enactment of the federal Fair Housing Law, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, familial status, disability, national origin, and gender, and to encourage fair housing opportunities for all citizens. In addition, Palm Beach County’s Fair Housing Ordinance prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation, age, marital status and gender identity or expression.

  For more information, please visit





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On May 1, 2013, sixty-six public and private schools in Palm Beach and Martin Counties that have made the grade in “going green” during this school year will celebrate their efforts at the fifth annual Green Schools Awards Luncheon held in their honor at the West Palm Beach Marriott.  Sixteen of these outstanding schools will receive some “green” for going green in the form of cash awards.

The program recognizes schools for taking a holistic and innovative approach to going green that incorporates school ground enhancement, resource conservation, curriculum connections and community involvement with a school-wide commitment and focus on sustainability. The Green Schools Recognition Program is coordinated by the FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center in collaboration with the School District of Palm Beach County and with the support of a host of community partners including the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, Florida Power & Light, Florida Department of Transportation’s SchoolPool, Audubon Society of the Everglades, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program, Bee Authentic, Growums, and the South Florida Science Museum. The program is also supported by a grant from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties whose support also helped to launch the program in 2008.

“We could not be more proud of the way so many of our schools have taken on the challenge of greening their everyday practices both in the classroom and beyond,” says Christina Crespo-Davis, Recycling & Sustainability Coordinator for the School District of Palm Beach County.  In addition, she says, “as an added benefit, the District has experienced cost savings and improved efficiencies, which we can then share with individual schools.”

According to Susan Toth, Director of Education at Pine Jog, recognition will be given to “Green Schools of Promise,” “Green Schools of Quality” and “Green Schools of Excellence.”  “These levels illustrate that ‘going green’ is a journey, and that schools should be acknowledged for their efforts along the way,” Toth adds. 

The top Green Schools will be announced at the luncheon and will receive cash awards totaling $10,000 for demonstrating exceptional leadership as models for implementing green school programs and practices. All cash awards are intended to help these schools continue to grow their “green” projects.  These awards will be announced at the luncheon. 

In addition to the cash winners, all participating schools will receive a 2013 Green Schools banner, Green Schools logos, framed certificates and window decals.  Additionally, all schools will have their Green School profile on the program website

To learn more about the 2013 Green School awardees contact either Christina Crespo-Davis at the School District, 561-688-7602 or Susan Toth at Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, (561) 686-6600 ext. 404

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In a continued effort to provide educational tools needed for success, Palm Beach County School District students, parents and teachers have a powerful new online resource to help prepare for the upcoming Algebra 1 End-of-Course (EOC) assessment.  Created in partnership by The University of Florida and Study Edge, Algebra Nation is an Algebra 1 EOC preparation website that is FREE to all Palm Beach County students and teachers.

Inside the classroom, teachers and students have access to Algebra Nation through whole-group instruction, which includes instructional videos addressing all Algebra 1 EOC assessed benchmarks, study guides to accompany the videos, and extra practice problems for further EOC support.  Outside of school, students can access additional support resources, complete online assessments for additional practice, and receive individualized assistance.

One of the most unique features of the tool is the ability for students to leverage their time spent on social media networks to foster a one-of-a-kind learning experience. By visiting, students can connect with peers throughout the State of Florida that are preparing to take the same EOC assessment. Through this social environment, students are encouraged to post questions and assist fellow students with solving algebraic problems. For the tougher questions, Study Experts are available to chime in and help to clear things up.

“As testing standards continue to evolve to include more end-of-course exams and assessments geared towards the Common Core Standard, it is critical that we are providing our students with the resources they need to succeed,” said Palm Beach County School District Superintendent, Wayne Gent. “Algebra Nation is a great example of an innovative tool that helps students, parents and teachers work together to educate and inform.”

All content on Algebra Nation is aligned with the state benchmarks and is reflective of the content assessed on the Algebra 1 EOC.

For more information about this engaging, free resource, go to or contact Diana Snider, Department of K-12 Curriculum, 561.357.5943, or


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Suncoast High School, Boca Raton High School and the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts are ranked 16th, 23rd and 68th respectively in the recent Washington Post list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”

America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.

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For six years in a row, a talented group of about students and teachers from Ludoteca School in Quito, Ecuador have visited several schools in Palm Beach County to bring their message of culture, music and language. The group will be performing in various schools from Tuesday, April 30th to Thursday, May 2nd.  Some of the schools on the schedule are part of the Multicultural Education Department’s Dual Language Program—one of several ESOL program models utilized by Palm Beach County schools. 

The curriculum at Ludoteca School in Ecuador is taught in both Spanish and English and focuses on Science and Tourism. The visiting students will perform folkloric dances typical to Ecuador, and present the beauty of their country to our students through slide shows; music and dance. The purpose of the trip is to increase mutual understanding between students living in the United States and other regions of the world. 

 “The Department of Multicultural Education is pleased to extend a warm welcome to the students and teachers of Ludoteca IB World School.  It’s important for our students to maintain their customs and learn about the culture of others, and this is a great way to achieve that,” stated Sandra Arroyo, Program Planner. 

Below is the visiting group’s itinerary: 


Tuesday, April 30th

  • Berkshire Elementary School

1060 S. Kirk Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33406. Cultural Presentation at 9:00 a.m.

Thank you Berkshire Elementary for providing breakfast.        

  • C.O. Taylor/Kirklane Elementary

1060 S. Kirk Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33406. Cultural Presentation at 11:15 a.m.

  • Okeeheelee Middle School

2200 Pinehurst Dr., Greenacres, FL 33413. Soccer Game at 3:00 p.m.



Wednesday, May 1st

  • Forest Hill Elementary

5555 Purdy Ln., West Palm Beach, FL 33415. Cultural Presentation 9:00 a.m.

  • North Grade Elementary

824 N. “K” St., Lake Worth, FL 33460. Cultural Presentation at 11:15 a.m.

  • Liberty Park Elementary (afterschool)

6601 Constitution Way, Greenacres, FL 33413. Cultural Presentation at 2:30 p.m.

Thank you Liberty Park Elementary for providing snack.


Thursday, May 2nd

  • South Grade Elementary 

716 South “K” St., Lake Worth, FL 33460. Cultural Presentation at 8:45 a.m.

  • Greenacres Elementary

405 Jackson Ave., Greenacres, FL 33463. Cultural Presentation at 11:15 a.m.

  • Okeeheelee Middle School

2200 Pinehurst Dr., Greenacres, FL 33413. Cultural Presentation at 2:00 p.m.

Thank you Okeeheelee Middle for providing snack.

Soccer Game at 4:00 p.m.



For more information contact Sandra Arroyo at (561) 434-8774 or via email





 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –

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During the past several weeks, the students and staff at Seminole Trails Elementary School have been involved in a number of Earth Day educational activities.  The school’s big Earth Day Celebration will take place Friday, April 26 beginning at 8:30 AM.  Special Earth Day t-shirts were designed conveying Seminole Trails’ commitment to going green and protecting the environment.

Loggerhead Marine Life Center will also be coming to educate students on Friday about the conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.  At the start of the Earth Day Celebration, students’ names will be drawn during the morning news to assist Earth Day Committee Members in sprucing up the school garden in the main courtyard.

Students and teachers had the chance to “Go Green” for $1 on April 5th and wear their favorite green shirts to show their support of keeping our Earth clean and protecting endangered local animals. The funding for the Earth Day Celebration was raised by the Earth Day Committee. 

On Monday, April 22, the school recycled in the cafeteria during lunch to show students how much waste is produced and can be recycled in just one day. On the morning news on Tuesday, April 23, students saw the amount of recycled materials collected.  All the materials were used to create “recycled artwork” and students participated in a school-wide art competition. The artwork represents something that can be saved by reducing, reusing, and recycling.  Only materials collected and recycled at the school were used for the project. All art competition projects will be displayed outside classrooms on the day of the April 26th celebration.  Classes will be able to walk around and admire these unique and environmentally-responsible creations.  A winning class will be selected from each grade level. The winning classes will be announced on Monday, April 29, 2013, during the morning news.

For more information please contact Jaclyn Trotta at Seminole Trails Elementary at or 561-598-7000.

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 After beating stiff competition in a group of 25 contenders who started out in the 2013 Battle of the Bands, Don Estridge Middle School and Park Vista High School hold bragging rights as the top winners following a final show down among the final four bands.  On April 12, the Spanish River Performing Arts Center was the site of joyous big band music as the middle school band finalists, Christa McAuliffe and Don Estridge; and the high school band finalists, Olympic Heights and Park Vista; gave their best performances, vying for the top award–to the delight of the audience.

Sponsored for the second year by the Swing and Jazz Preservation Society, the performance ended with a presentation of checks to the participants by Society President Rene Zerah, with Superintendent Wayne Gent and Board Member Karen Brill in attendance.  Each winning school was awarded $250; all four finalists had received $500 each. 

Don Estridge High Tech Middle School Music Director Michael Fraley said his band put their hearts and souls into the competition. “These students were simply awesome! But understand that they love what they do with a passion and it was much more about the performing  than it was winning the top prize,” he stated.  Park Vista High’s Aaron Snipes III isaid his band was excited about the opportunity to participate in such a great event for the preservation of jazz in our society. “For us, it’s not about the money won or getting 1st place; it was about see how jazz can bring joy to so many people across age, racial, and socioeconomic boundaries,” he stateded.

Twenty-five bands began the competition in February and the Society awarded each competing band $350. The 10 bands who reached the semi-finals and competed at Olympic Heights in late February were awarded $150 each. The four finalist schools came together in April for the top honors.  For information about the Don Estridge Middle School Band, contact Mr. Fraley, 561.989.7800 or email To reach Mr. Snipes, call 561.491.8400 or email

 The Swing and Jazz Preservation Society is a 501 (c)3 non-profit dedicated to keeping American swing Jazz alive by offering six concerts per year  of the finest musical entertainment in the genre and then donating money and instruments to public school music programs. This year is the first Battle of the Bands Palm Beach County and a grand total of $14,900 has been awarded to various schools from Jupiter to Boca.  The contest was developed in conjunction with District 14 of the Florida Bandmasters’ Association which recruited the judges and created the rules. 

For ticket information or details about the Society call 561.499.9976.







From left to right, Mr. Rene Zerah, president. Swing & Jazz Preservation Society; KarenBrill,member, Palm Beach County School Board: Nick Pastis, music director, Christa McAuliffe Middle School; Wayne Gent, superintendent, of Palm Beach County Schools; Aaron Snipes III, music firector, Park Vista High School; Michael Fraley, music director, Don Estridge High Tech Middle School.; Kris Ferrante, music director, Atlantic Community High School, (event emcee); and Jackie Parsons, music director, Olympic Heights High School at the final showdown of the 2013 Battle of the Bands.



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Some District students are among the first group of approximately 1,000 distinguished high school seniors who have won corporate sponsored scholarships in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. 



Gina Carlene CassuloProbable career field: Environmental engineering    National Merit Nextera Energy, Inc, Scholarship Jupiter resident;                      Jupiter Community High School
Hanna B. Rubin               Probable career field: Undecided National Merit Nextera Energy, Inc. Scholarship Jupiter resident;                        Suncoast Community High School
Moira E. Fennell              Probable career field: Journalism National Merit Nextera Energy, Inc. Scholarship Palm Beach Gardens resident;                                     Suncoast Community High School
Victoria D. Otero             Probable career field: International Law National Merit Nextera Energy, Inc. Scholarship West Palm Beach resident;          Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts


Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors.  Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000.

For details about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, contact Eileen Artemakis, 847.866.5100 or email

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Fawn Tenenbaum has been selected to participate in the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program/American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.  Approximately 30 teachers are selected each year to participate in this summer program.  The aim is to educate teachers about the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance, but to also take the lessons of this part of history and apply it to today’s world and current lessons in the classroom.  

This year’s trip will begin in Washington, D.C at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and then continue to Germany, Prague, and Poland with stops in Frankfurt, Berlin, Lodz, and Warsaw. Ms. Tenenbaum’s longtime interest in Holocaust studies comes from a teacher who taught her early in life about man’s inhumanity to man.  She strives to teach the lessons of kindness, empathy, and respect for others to her students through literature, writing, and life lessons.  

Currently, she is a teacher at Crestwood Middle and has taken part in many seminars given by the District and the FAU Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. In addition she is the National Junior Honor Society sponsor for her school. She has been an educator for 20 years, teaching 15 years at Palm Beach Lakes High School and serving as its Debate coach, Editor of Ramblings (the school newsletter), and Title I Coordinator.  

The School District of Palm Beach County focuses on teaching the History of the Holocaust in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person. 

For more information contact Maureen Carter at (561) 434-8933 or via email at







 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –



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Debating current issues, representing their points of views and formulating action plans are some of the skills that twelve 6th grade students from S.D. Spady Elementary (PreK – 6) will develop at the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference.  These brilliant students along with their teachers Eric Gonzalez, Linda Schuman, and Laurie Bindell compose the delegation representing Palm Beach County in New York City from April 24-28th, 2013. 

Last year, nearly 1,200 students from nine different countries participated in the event researching issues and discussing topics such as peace, security, human rights, child labor, the environment among others. The students have been working all year on the presentations their assigned country, Switzerland. The sixth graders have learned the culture, traditions, and different aspects of what it is like to live in Switzerland.  

They will be judged on their entry and will make speeches to create resolutions to our world’s most pressing problems. When they arrive at the MMUN Conference students transform themselves into UN Ambassadors and assume the rights and responsibilities of world leaders, especially when they sit in the United Nations Chambers and speak for their assigned country. 

The conference not only offers the opportunity for students to increase their research and debating skills but teachers are able to attend a workshop to learn the strategies necessary for successful preparation of their students to the MMUN. Click here for more information. 

For more information contact Maureen Carter at (561) 434-8933 or via email at







 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –


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Isabelle Tersio, an eleven grade student at Boca Raton Community High School in Boca Raton, is one of ten high school students across the nation to receive the Annenberg Scholarship.

The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship, Fellowship and School Funds announced the 2013 recipients of $3.9 million in grants at an event at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, April 17. The Funds provide early-career support for five performing and visual artists of exceptional promise, technology and other educational resources for ten underserved public elementary schools, and the entire cost of college for the high school students who have faced serious challenges and continued to excel.

Isabelle has passed six Advanced Placement exams and is currently enrolled in seven AP courses. She is a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Math Honor Society and the Science Olympiad Team. She would like to become a pediatric surgeon and build a hospital in Haiti, where she was born, as a participant in the organization Doctors Without Borders.

“All who know Isabelle know that she is one in a million. It is great that the Annenberg scholarship judges recognized Isabelle’s star quality,” said Boca High Principal Geoff Mckee.

“I was privileged to work with Isabelle on this scholarship and thrilled when she won it!  She is an amazing young lady with her heart always in the right place. Not only is she an excellent student who challenges herself with rigorous coursework, but she is also a kind and caring person who hopes to make a difference in the world.  I am completely confident that she will be able to achieve this,” said Helene Kessler, the College and Career Advisor at Boca High.

Assistant Principal Ellen Birkman stated, “Isabelle Tersio is an extraordinarily talented young lady with a positive outlook and a mature attitude.  She is truly a reflection of superb parenting and I love her parents.  She is a credit to our school community.  It was exciting because the staff and the student body were thrilled for her.  She is honest and straight forward, determined and independent, fun loving and considerate.  What a joy it was to have her as a student!”.

The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship and School Funds is a three-part, 10-year philanthropic initiative that offers grants and scholarships to students, artists and schools across the nation. Now in its sixth year, the Funds have awarded $12.2 million in grants. The Funds are administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

The high school juniors will receive full tuition, room and board, a living expense stipend, and a book allowance.

About the Leonore Annenberg Scholarship, Fellowship and School Funds: This ten-year program has donated $12.2 million in grants since 2008. The grants are named in honor of the late Leonore Annenberg, Chief of Protocol for President Ronald Reagan and wife of the late Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg. Mrs. Annenberg established the grants to support her lifelong commitment to public service, education, and the arts. The awards come from three endowments: the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund, the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund in the Performing and Visual Arts, and the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children. All grants are made on an invitation-only basis, in consultation with a partner organization. The Funds are a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Visit for more information.

For more information, contact Geoff Mckee at 561-338-1402, or email

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Tears of a Tiger, Forged by Fire, Darkness before Dawn, Copper Sun, Out of My Mind are some of the books written by Sharon M. Draper.  Palm Beach Lakes Community High School is thrilled to welcome the award winning and renowned author to its campus on Thursday, April 25th, 2013 starting at 7:30 a.m. in celebration of School Library Month as well as the Palm Beach County “April is for Authors” reading event.  

In preparation for this auspicious occasion, the Rams (individuals, book clubs, and classes) spent the last four months reading every Draper novel they could get their hands on.

Mrs. Draper is not only an accomplished writer and public speaker, but she is also an inspiring teacher. She was selected as National Teacher of the Year, NY Times Best Selling Author, and Five Time Coretta Scott King Award Winner, will present to 1600 PBLHS students in two large group sessions,” added Ms. Saracino, Media Specialist.   

The popular author spends a lot of her time going around the world motivating teachers and students, and her visit with the school is no exception:   Mrs. Draper will hold a one hour writer’s workshop with a small group of students who were selected after entering a writing contest.  This workshop is intended to encourage and support our writers of the future.

In addition to the large and small group presentations, the Ram students and teachers will have the opportunity to meet the author of more than 25 books as she signs copies of their favorite Draper novels—Romiette and Julio, Battle of Jericho, Double Dutch, Just Another Hero, Fire from the Rock.

For more information contact Jill Saracino, Media Specialist at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School at 561-640-5070 or via email at







 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –



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The School District of Palm Beach County invites all job seekers and members of the community to attend the Transportation Job Fair. 

When? Monday, April 29, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

Where? South Olive Park – 345 Summa Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33405 

Attendees will have the opportunity to apply for jobs available in the Transportation Department and obtain details about the hiring process. In addition to exceptional retirement benefits, competitive pay, health insurance and flexible schedule the School District offers the Commercial Driving License (CDL) training for free to those who qualify. 


  1. Safe licensed driver for 5 years
  2. Excellent driving record
  3. Pass the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination
  4. Pass the bus driver training course
  5. Communicate effectively in English
  6. Enjoy working with students 

Follow this link to apply online or call (561) 242-6500 

For more information contact Sue Gorby at (561) 242-6512 or via email at








 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –


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District Wins Green Ribbon Award

The School District of Palm Beach County today announced that it has taken home the National Green Ribbon award recognizing sustainability efforts. The announcement that correlates with Earth Week was awarded to the District by officials from the U.S. Department of Education.

The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.

“Preparing students for future success begins in the classroom,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. “I want to thank teachers in these schools for taking the time and initiative to teach our children about not only the importance of excelling in academics, but also about the responsibility each person has in creating a sustainable way of living. Two Florida schools were also honored with this award.

In addition to this national competition, Florida has been recognizing students, classes, teachers, schools and districts through the Florida Green School Awards Program since 2008.

The application for the new 2012-2013 Florida Green School Awards is now open HERE.  Students, teachers and classes are encouraged to apply now through June 7, 2013. Schools and school districts are encouraged to apply now through July 12, 2013.

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High school students from four Palm Beach County Title I schools recently explored the marvelous aspects of the brain through hands-on activities with bio-medical research scientists at “Neuroscience Saturday.” The all-day event, sponsored through a grant by Quantum Foundation, was hosted by Scripps Florida, the Jupiter campus of The Scripps Research Institute, and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

Groups of students and teachers from Glades Central High School, Royal Palm Beach High School, Palm Beach Gardens High School and Palm Beach Lakes High School recently traveled to the Jupiter institutes to participate in this unique educational event. They spent the day investigating the intricacies of neuroscience through various engaging and interactive activities, including a brain dissection, a speed competition where students “role played” different parts of a neuron to discover how signals travel through the brain, and a neurophysiological activity, where students recorded the electrical activity from the nerve impulses in an insect’s leg.

Neuroscience Saturday is based partly upon the success of Scripps Florida’s “Science Saturday” outreach program, which most of these students and teachers attended on November 2012.  Science Saturday has reached thousands of students from Title I high schools since its inception in 2006.

Neuroscience Saturday was also inspired by “Neuroscience Discovery Day,” the public event hosted by the Max Planck Florida Institute on December 2012 as part of its grand opening celebration. Driven by a desire to reach students from underserved communities and leverage shared strengths in neuroscience research, the two institutes jointly developed the Neuroscience Saturday program and presented it to Quantum Foundation as a means of making a positive impact.

“We were attracted to this new program because it is designed to not only educate, but to inspire,” said Kerry Diaz, president of Quantum Foundation, a grant-making organization in Palm Beach County. “We’re confident that the Neuroscience Saturday experience will spark a passion for discovery in students and perhaps even steer their interest towards pursuing a science-based career.”

“Whenever students have an opportunity to experience scientific discovery outside of the classroom setting, it can have a big impact,” said Greg Goebel, 6-12 Science Program Planner with the School District of Palm Beach County, who attended the event. “When that experience involves one of the most exciting and current topics in science and takes place at a state-of-the-art research facility, that potential is even greater. The students who attended Neuroscience Saturday were very excited and engaged in the day’s activities and we’re confident the experience inspired more than a few of them to think differently about science as they begin to consider college and beyond.”

For more information, contact Gregory Goebel, 6-12 Science Program Planner, at 561-357-1128 or







Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –


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Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts is proud to announce that senior, Nikolette LaBonte of Palm Beach Gardens, has been selected to perform with this summer’s National Youth Orchestra (NYO) tour. Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together 120 of the brightest young players from across the country to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). Having completed a comprehensive audition process and then subsequently, a two-week training residency with leading professional orchestra musicians, these remarkable teenagers embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world to serve as dynamic musical ambassadors for the United States of America.

Nikolette is a student in the Dreyfoos band department and a member of the Dreyfoos Philharmonic Orchestra where she plays the French horn. Dreyfoos Band Director Evan Rogovin said he’s not surprised that Nikolette was selected,“I have always been impressed with Nikolette – her work ethic, her professionalism, her leadership and her mentoring ability,” he stated.

This summer the ensemble travels to Washington, DC, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London for performances with famed maestro Valery Gergiev and renowned violinist Joshua Bell. When asked about her selection, Nikolette said, “It is truly an incredible opportunity for me.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that this opportunity would come along and that I would be selected.  I am extremely honored.”

Wendell Simmons, the director of the Dreyfoos orchestra is also impressed with Nikolette, “Nikki is a wonderful musician and is most deserving of this honor.”   Nikolette is currently ranked number seven in her class of 318 with a 4.8 HPA.  She learned recently that she has been accepted to the prestigious Eastman School of Music in affiliation with the University of Rochester, the New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music.  Nikolette plans to major in music performance.

For more information, contact Jane Grandusky, 561.805.6203 or email

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Don Estridge High Tech Middle School’s lego robotics team called “Taz Bot RENEGADES” combined teamwork, research and creative thinking to surpass 47 other teams in winning the Champions Award at the FIRST® LEGO League (FLL) Florida State Tournament that was held  on March 3rd at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. The Don Estridge team also earned the opportunity to participate in the FLL World Festival, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship, April 24-27, 2013 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO.  FIRST® LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9 to 16 year-old’s to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable employment and life skills.  Over 500 teams participated in Florida this year–our team of Ethan Jayne, Julian Lichtenfeld, Ian Palo, Roberto Macharro, Liam Sanchez and Kurt Wilson came out on top.

This year’s theme “Senior Solutions” challenged students to research problems that Seniors struggle with.The team participates in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a playing field (Robot Game) within a set time (2 1⁄2 minutes) and developing an innovative solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FLL Core Values. In order to win the Champions Award and proceed to the National level, a team must present and perform well in all parts of the FLL Challenge. Team members worked with a Senior Partner, a retired Palm Beach County Art Teacher, to develop their research project on Spinal Stenosis.  Their innovative solution to help ease the side effects of stenosis was to develop a cost effective, pneumatic powered artist easel.

Coach Gloria Gibson says:  “It’s been amazing to watch these six boys learn to communicate, listen and work together as a team, letting everyone’s voice be heard. Their selfless attitude and determination to complete every task just shows what these kids are capable of when given the opportunity.  It has been amazing to see what has been created by the hard work of these students over the last few months.”

If you would like to make a donation to help fund the team’s trip to St. Louis, checks can be made out to Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, 1798 NW Spanish River Blvd, Boca Raton, Florida 33431….memo FLL Robotics team.

For additional information

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South Intensive Transition School discovered a creative way to motivate and inspire students to succeed on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0 and End-of-Course (EOC) exams. Students, teachers, administrators and behavioral intervention associates (BIA) presented a motivational student assembly on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. to boost student confidence and share tips for conquering the FCAT 2.0 and EOC.

Students who performed in the assembly earned a stamp towards the Treasure Island Student Passport Incentive program, which culminates in an on-campus event for students who:

  • attended one afterschool and two Saturday FCAT 2.0/EOC tutorials in Reading, Mathematics, Algebra 1 and Geometry.
  • had their parents/guardians attend two “coffee and conversation” 30-minute training sessions with the Principal and Assistant Principal to share information regarding the FCAT 2.0 and EOC requirements and tips for helping students succeeding at home.
  • arrived to school on time, in dress code and adhering to the School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SwPBS) universal guidelines of Following directions, Avoiding aggression and Being respectful (FAB) for three consecutive FCAT 2.0/EOC testing days.

The theme of the student assembly was “Destination: Treasure Island” and included performances such as a poem by sixth grader Michael Johnson, pirate skit written and directed by eighth grader Amanda Meares and FCAT 2.0/EOC tips for success by ninth grader Gerson Garcia. The Department Instructional Leaders for middle school, Cori Ceci, and high school, Amy McGregor-Rick, were the narrators for the skit that culminated with the FCAT 2.0/EOC sailors being triumphant over the Pirates of the South. Some helpful tips that were shared were:

  1. Make sure you understand all the directions given.
  2. Be sure you know what you are supposed to do before answering a question.
  3. Read each question several times, carefully, before answering.
  4. Read ALL of the answer choices before making a decision.
  5. If you are not sure of an answer, cross out the choices you are certain are wrong. Then choose your answer from the ones that are left.
  6. Check your answer sheet often to make sure you haven’t gotten off track and that you are filling in the answers correctly.
  7. If you finish before time is up, go back and check over your work.
  8. Relax on test day. Take several deep breaths and try to be calm.

“I felt great because it was so much fun and exciting!” exclaimed Michael Johnson.

“I feel that it was an exciting opportunity for me and a creative use of my spare time,” said Amanda Meares.

“I think that sharing the testing tips with my fellow students will help them be successful on the FCAT 2.0 and End-of-Course exams,” said Gerson Garcia.

For more information, contact Terrence Narinesingh at (561) 202-0600 or

About South Intensive Transition School:

South Intensive Transition School officially opened its doors in 2007 as an alternative school with high expectations for exemplary achievement, serving students in Grades 6-12. South Intensive is the first alternative school in the School District of Palm Beach County to offer the rigorous SpringBoard® curriculum in English Language Arts and Mathematics to ensure that students are equipped to achieve success on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and become college and career ready. South Intensive effectively implements the research-based School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SwPBS) strategies to promote safety, civility, and demonstrate increases in student respectfulness, responsibility and motivation.

Today, South Intensive has achieved the Green School of Promise recognition for taking a holistic approach to going green that incorporates school ground enhancement, resource conservation, curriculum connections, and community involvement with a school wide commitment and focus on sustainability. Through collegial partnerships with Lynn University and several community agencies, students benefit from additional services to ensure academic and behavioral intervention success. For more information, visit

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The School District is implementing a new software product called BoardDocs, to manage School Board meetings and agendas. According to BoardDocs, “Its paperless services allow organizations to significantly improve the way they create and manage board packets, access information and conduct meetings.”  Important information about BoardDocs includes:

  • The April 24th School Board workshop will be the first meeting where BoardDocs will be used to run the meeting.
  • Board meeting agendas can be found off the District home page at (in the School Board box) or off the Community Page (see School Board in the menu at the left).
  • All information currently available on the School Board agenda website will be moved to the new BoardDocs site (  Once the move is complete, the current School Board agenda site at will automatically route to the new site.
  • In addition to School Board meetings, the new software includes modules to manage Board policies and policy development and School Board Advisory Committees such as the Construction Oversight Review Committee (CORC), the Audit Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the Budget Committee, etc. (those modules will be implemented at a later date).

For more information please contact Kara Rubinson, General Manager–IT Solutions at 561-434-8951 or via email at









 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 –

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Throughout this school year a select group of students at Howell L. Watkins Middle School have had unprecedented access and exposure to healthcare careers and patient care. This year, the leadership of the Good Samaritan Medical Center, and Howell L. Watkins Middle School, Medical Science Academy continued an innovative and unique Externship Program for a group of Health Career Academy students. This program was created by Mark Nosacka, C.E.O. Good Samaritan Medical Center, Dr. Roger L. Duncan, III, Mentorship and Community Outreach Chair, T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society, and William Bourbeau, Wells Fargo Private Banking.

Throughout the school year, these 8th grade students had in-depth exposure to and visited many of the departments within Good Samaritan Medical Center. In the Human Resources Department, the students learned the importance of and underwent patient confidentiality training. In the Operating Room, they learned about sterile techniques; participated in the simulation of a patient being put to sleep and intubated; and performed robotic surgery on an artificial knee joint. In the Emergency Room and Cardiovascular Catheterization Lab, they learned about a variety of medical procedures from cardiac stress tests, to endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. On the Obstetrical Unit, the students had an in-depth review of the birth process; participated in mock deliveries (with full instrumentation) and newborn resuscitation; participated in in-depth discussions about maternal-fetal health and pathophysiology; and toured the newborn nursery. Through these experiences, the students gained perspectives to careers in medicine unrivaled to anywhere in our county.

Students, Dr. Nathan Ringel and Watkins Principal Dr. Don Hoffman will be present on May 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM in the Good Samaritan Medical Center Administrative Offices for the graduation ceremony.  Students will receive personalized stethoscopes and Certificates of Completion and display and explain the benefits of the Externship Program and what they have learned. From storyboards, letters and oral presentations, the students will voice their gratitude and appreciation for their experiences.

According to Watkins Magnet Coordinator Dr. Nathan Ringel, “For most, it was a pivotal event that has altered the trajectory of their career aspirations and scholarly pursuits.” 

For more information please contact Dr. Ringel at 561-776-3671  or

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The Johnson Scholarship Foundation and the School District of Palm Beach County will honor 43 deserving seniors with $430,000 in scholarship money on Sunday, May 5th.  The Johnson Scholarship Foundation partners with the District to provide a scholarship incentive program that helps first generation college students overcome barriers to reaching their college and career dreams.

 The Johnson Scholars Program identifies students during their freshman year for participation in cohorts throughout their four years of high school with the opportunity to compete for $10,000 scholarships. Each scholarship provided is worth $2,500 per year over four years of college. The overall impact for Palm Beach County students through 2016 will be $2.2 million dollars. Through the grant, the Johnson Scholars Program focuses services on the following five high schools: Lake Worth High School, Palm Beach Gardens High School, Palm Beach Lakes High School, Santaluces High School and William T. Dwyer High School.

 The objective of the Johnson Scholars Program is to make college accessible to all students through academic readiness by addressing and reducing the barriers to college, and providing support to students to make and fulfill a post-secondary goal. The program is supported by First Generation Mentors who provide small group lessons on various aspects of college readiness using Realizing the College Dream, a curriculum developed by the University of California, Berkeley in conjunction with the ECMC Foundation. The mentors also serve as role models and provide one-on-one mentoring sessions for participating students during their junior and senior years.

 The ceremony will be held from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Palm Beach Lakes Auditorium where scholarship recipients will receive their Johnson Scholars cords, pins and certificates.  Recipients will also enjoy this time of recognition and celebration with their families, school district personnel, Johnson Scholars Scholarship alumni, and 2014-2016 Johnson Scholars Cohort members with their families and community leaders.  The program will include words of encouragement from Johnson Scholarship Foundation President and CEO, Malcolm Macleod, and the District’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Learning Support, Keith Oswald.

Mr. Oswald said he’s proud and inspired by the achievements of the scholar recipients. “What this tells us is that students who face multiple challenges in achieving academic success can surely reach their dreams if educators, parents, and community members commit to removing barriers,” he stated. “This event celebrates not only the students’ achievements- but the fact that entire families will have brighter futures because of that success.”

For more information, contact Becky Youngman, manager, College Readiness, 561-982-0945, or email

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Palm Beach Gardens High School has partnered with The Princeton Review, the nation’s leader in college readiness, to host the first annual FREE Getting into College and New NCAA Requirements Fair.

Students are encouraged to attend and get information on the new NCAA requirements and meet special guest speaker, Robert Franek, author of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges” and learn how to choose the college that’s best for each student and how to pay for it.

The Fair takes place Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 from 6:00-8:00PM in the auditorium at Palm Beach Gardens High School.

For more information please contact Michelle Fleming, Assistant Principal Curriculum, at or561-694-7379.

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If there was ever a musical event that doubles as a call to action—The Weight of Words is it. The free musical was conceived, written, choreographed, designed, and produced by drama students from Broward’s Nova High School—all based on their personal experiences. 

This multi-disciplinary, anti-bullying musical performance has been seen by more than 30,000 Broward County students, parents, and school staff. Set for Palm Beach Lakes High School on Thursday, May 2, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. participants can register online at

The Palm Beach County performance is being co-sponsored by the Palm Beach County School District and the Palm Beach County Action Alliance for Mental Health. Palm Beach County School District Specialist for School Climate, Rick Lewis, said he hopes district students and staff will pack the audience. “This is an era where many have bought into the fallacy that it is ‘cool to be cruel’ and just about any difference can open the floodgates of mistreatment in all its painful forms.”  

In an effort to reverse this negative ethos, 19 Palm Beach County schools have established Safe School Ambassador programs.  This program, established in over 900 schools nationally, equips student opinion leaders to de-escalate conflict, support targets, and diplomatically challenge aggressors.  In addition, ten schools have qualified for certification by the Anti-Defamation League as No Place for Hate schools.

Mr. Lewis said he anticipates that more schools will elect to be part of these efforts next year. “We recognize that how we treat each other is as important as what we learn,” he added.

For more information about The Weight of Words, call 561.494.1569. For details about the Safe Schools Ambassador programs, contact Mr. Lewis at 561.982.0920 or email


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Four District seniors are among approximately 800 outstanding Black American high school seniors who have won Achievement Scholarship awards through the 49th annual National Achievement Scholarship Program. 

The program is a privately financed academic competition started in 1964 specifically to honor scholastically talented Black American youth and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding participants in each annual competition.

Breana McCoy,Lake Worth resident, Undecided career field$2500, National Merit Scholarship Corporation Alexander Dreyfoos School of Arts
Jamila K. Picart, West Palm Beach resident, Probable career field:  Biomedical Engineering$2500, National Merit Scholarship Corporation Suncoast Community High School
Roxsian F. Sharpe,West Palm Beach resident,Probable career field: Surgical Medicine $2500, Xerox Foundation Royal Palm Beach Community High School
Matthew A. Walters,Tequesta residentProbable career: Computer Science

$2500, National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Jupiter Community High School

 More than 160,000 students entered the 2013 National Achievement Scholarship Program by requesting consideration in the competition when they took the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as high school juniors.

For details about the program, contact the National Merit Scholarship Corporation Public Information Office’s Eileen Artemakis, 847.866.5100 or email