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Future scientists and mathematicians are showered with praise while attending an awards breakfast with parents and community members at Poinciana Elementary.  A Career Showcase with over 150 presenters, including a number of parents, gives students an opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers at Suncoast High School.  These two Parent Involvement programs were submitted as Palm Beach County’s nominations for Florida Parent Involvement Awards.  The Florida Department of Education Parent Involvement Awards recognize projects that successfully engage parents in meaningful school-based programs.

At Poinciana Elementary School each month parents are invited to the school to acknowledge their children through the school’s Scientist and Mathematician of the Month program.  Parents, grandparents and other family members, along with business partners that are recognized for their donations, attend an awards breakfast.  Students who meet the programs criteria are selected by their teachers.  Each class has one Scientist and Mathematician chosen each month.  Over a hundred parents and family members attend each month with many becoming more involved in their child’s education and activities at the school.

Through the Career Showcase at Suncoast High School which is organized in part by parent volunteers, students are given the opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers over their four years at the school.  Students are also given the opportunity to establish mentor relationships and to secure internships from the representatives of the various careers represented at the Showcase.  Approximately 150 presenters, many being parents, of over 80 different careers are selected to present based on requests by students. Students visit the Showcase by grade level.  Prior to their visit which is held in the school gym, students review a packet with a list of career descriptions.  Each grade has an hour to circulate among the presenters and discuss career options.

The Parent Involvement Award is sponsored with the Florida PTA and supported through business partnerships. School-level parent involvement programs are evaluated on their:

  • impact on family involvement,
  • ability to be replicated,
  • relationship to the goals and objectives of the school,
  • participation of parents/families in the planning and implementation,
  • uniqueness and innovation,
  • impact on school improvement,
  • method of funding, and
  • partnerships

Program winners will have their program outlined in the SPARKPLUGS FOR FAMILY INVOLVEMENT and THE FAMILY RESOURCE DIRECTORY.  These are circulated throughout the state by volunteer coordinators, PTA leaders and other family involvement program coordinators.  The Commissioner of Education will recognize the parent representatives of these programs at the Florida PTA Leadership Conference in July 2013.

For more information please contact the School District Volunteer Coordinator Debi Elfen at 561-434-8789 or .

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Debbie Clement brings a patchwork quilt of experience to all of her performances. The Arts are Ms. Clement’s passion and she weaves her love of music and movement together with storytelling, humor, sign language, and vivid, visual props and costumes.

Ms. Clement will be reading to kindergarten and first grade students at Roosevelt Elementary School on Tuesday, March 19th from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM.

Ms. Clement received the Ella Lyman Cabot Award for her excellence in music programs for young children with special needs. Her experience serving a diverse population of children informs all of her presentations. Her first nationally award winning project is a music DVD entitled: “Kweezletown: Let’s Work Together”, an hour-long visual format of her first songs brought to life with puppets, props and animation.  This work has been awarded national recognition from the Dove Foundation with their “Family Approved” seal.

For more information please contact Roosevelt Elementary Assistant Principal Sharonda Alleyne at or 561-653-5108.

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The Department of Choice and Career Options is pleased to announce Lake Worth High School’s Culinary Arts Team took 5th Place overall in the 13th Annual ProStart Team Competitions, recently held in Orlando, FL. Participating for the first time in the two day event, Lake Worth’s Culinary Team competed with 64 other Culinary Arts High School teams from around Florida, bringing home 3 awards plus scholarship dollars for their efforts.

Troy Ferguson, Victoria Steckir, Chef Emmanuelle Suarez, Mayra Lopez and Tajai Bush

Troy Ferguson, senior, placed third in the Edible Center Piece category, receiving two medals, earning a $ 5,000 Scholarship from Keiser University, the Hospitality Excellence Award, as well as an interview for a paid Internship Program with The Everglades Country Club at Palm Beach Island, Florida.

Seniors Mayra Lopez and Tajai Bush, and junior Victoria Steckir earned 4th place in the Gourmet Meal category, each earning two medals plus an interview for a paid Internship Program with the Everglades Country Club at Palm Beach Island.

For more information contact Emmanuelle Suarez at (561) 533-6300 or via email at







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

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Starlight Cove Elementary is holding a Title I Spring Workshop on Monday, March 18 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM in the cafeteria. Principal Susan Saint John will be teaching parents about the “Magic of Numbers” and how to make “Reading Rock”.

The Title I Parent Liaison, Gladys Duenas, will be sharing important information about student attendance and PTA. Take home books will be given to parents along with school supplies and Chick-fil-A coupons in a bag donated by The Fresh Market. Over 120 families have already registered for the workshop.

For more information please contact Assistant Principal Matthew Payner at or 561-804-3600.

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Harvey Oyer III, a fifth generation Floridian and a descendant of one of the earliest pioneer families in South Florida, has been selected as the Florida Distinguished Author for 2013.  Mr. Oyer has written or contributed to numerous books and articles about Florida history and has won numerous awards for his Adventures of Charlie Pierce children’s book series.

Students in fourth grade classrooms throughout Palm Beach County read the Adventures of Charlie Pierce series as part of the fourth grade Florida history curriculum.  Mr. Oyer is the great-grand nephew of Charlie Pierce, the subject of the book series. “Harvey Oyer’s contributions to our school district curriculum are both profound and perpetual in nature,” said former School Board Chairman Bill Graham. “As a graduate of the Palm Beach County public school system Harvey is a classic example of what we strive to achieve and state succinctly in our motto “Reach for Excellence”.  Harvey Oyer did this and our entire school district is a beneficiary of his efforts.”

Mr. Oyer attended Forest Park Elementary, Congress Middle and graduated from Atlantic High.  He is an attorney in West Palm Beach and served for many years as Chairman of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County.

According to Liz Perlman, Director K-12 Curriculum, “Harvey Oyer’s books enhanced our students’ understanding of South Florida in the late 1800s. In addition to the curricular benefits of literacy and historical instruction that come from reading the books, students also gained an understanding of conservation and the protection of our wildlife and natural resources.”

Each year, the Board of Trustees of Florida House recognizes one Florida author and one Florida artist.   A ceremony will be held on May 15 in Washington D.C., hosted by the Board of Florida House and the Florida congressional delegation.  Also recognized will be the 2013 Florida Distinguished Artist, Guy Harvey.  Past recipients of these prestigious awards include Clyde Butcher, Beanie Backus, the Highwaymen, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Gary Mormino, Carlton Ward, and Christopher Still. 

For more information please contact Public Affairs Specialist Vickie Middlebrooks at or561-357-7661.

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The School District is in the process of developing the Fiscal Year 2014 operating and capital budgets.  Achieving greater efficiency of operations, to redirect more funding to further benefit classroom instruction, is a top goal for the District.  

The capital budget faces a significant budget shortfall next year, due to the reduction in allowable capital millage rates and lowered property values during the recent recession.  

The capital budget funds new and replacement schools, maintenance of facilities, fire, life and safety requirements, computers, and vehicles for transportation, police and maintenance.

The input of parents, teachers, students, employees and members of the community is being sought by the district. 

To submit ideas on how the district can operate more efficiently and reduce costs, go to:


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As a member of a School Advisory Council (SAC), you and your fellow council members are entrusted with the improvement of your public school. Together, you will help your school and its children become more successful.

You may view SAC meeting dates at

(Dates & times are subject to change. Please contact your school to confirm.)

School Directory:

Interested in becoming a SAC member?


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Kristen Taylor has taught and coached forensics since 1981.  Her former students include a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley Law School, a writer for the television show Castle, numerous educators, and many many attorneys.  At the recent Florida State Championship Speech and Debate Tournament held in Tampa, the Jupiter Community High School speech and debate teacher and coach was awarded the honor of Florida Forensic League’s Florida State Forensics Coach of the Year. Ms. Taylor, who has taught and coached at Jupiter since 2006, was selected among six regional Coaches of the Year for this distinction.  Regional winners were nominated by the coaches in their area and then the Executive Board of the Florida Forensic League, Florida’s state speech and debate organization, voted on the nominees to select the state honoree.
Some of her students’ successes include the 1993 NCFL National runner-up in Student Congress, 2006 Impromptu champion at the University of Florida Blue Key Tournament, 2008 Florida State Oral Interpretation Champion, the 2009 Florida Novice State Oral Interpretation Champion and 7th place Dramatic Interp winner at Harvard, the 2010 8th place winner in Storytelling at the National Forensic League’s National Final Tournament, the 2011 2nd place Duo at George Mason University’s Patriot Games, and most recently, qualifying 6 students to the NCFL’s Grand National Tournament to be held in Philadelphia.
Other honors bestowed upon Ms. Taylor include the George Mason University Mason Mentor Award, the University School’s Jenny Cook Mentorship Award, Teacher of the Year four times, and a 2012 Dwyer Excellence in Education Award Finalist. When asked to explain why she dedicates so much of her time to the activity of forensics, Ms. Taylor responded, “I dedicate myself, not just my time and energy, to this amazing activity, because I have seen how it can change a student, a family, a school, a community, and a country for the better.”
For more information please contact Public Affairs Specialist Vickie Middlebrooks at or 561-357-7661.

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T.E.N. Haitian Creole Community Show ‘Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè’ Broadcasting Schedule For March 2013

This month ‘Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè’ TV show topic is:  ESOL Coordinator:  

Roles & Responsibilities.

Our guest is:  Guy Tabuteau, ESOL Coordinator

The broadcasting schedule is:

DAYS:             Sunday, March 17 through Saturday, December 23

TIMES:            12:30 PM and 8:30 PM

CHANNEL:     Channel 234 – T.E.N. Comcast Digital Cable  -  Uverse Channel 99


You can also watch the show online at:

For more information, contact Bito David at or call (561) 963-3820.


Orè Difizyon Cho Kreyòl ‘Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè’ Sou T.E.N  Pou Mwa Mas 2013 la

Sijè cho “Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè” pou mwa mas 2013 la se:  Wòl ak Reskonsablite yon Kowòdinatè ESOL.

Envite:  Guy Tabuteau, Kowòdinatè ESOL

Men orè difizyon an:


JOU:          Dimanch, 17 desanm pou rive samdi 23 desanm

LÈ:            12:30 PM ak 8:30 PM

KANAL:   Kanal 234 – T.E.N. Comcast Digital Cable oswa Uverse kanal 99


Nou kapab gade cho a tou sou entènèt, sou lenk sa a:


Pou plis enfòmasyon, kontakte Bito David nan oswa rele (561) 963-3820.

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The Forest Hill Elementary School team in teh 2013 Autism Speaks! Walk and Run

The students, their families, and staff at Forest Hill Elementary School are celebrating the success of their efforts to raise money for the 2013 Autism Speaks! Campaign this year.  Their commitment and diligence resulted in a total contribution of $3700.  They planned and implemented a series of activities to raise awareness about autism and funds for autism research. Teachers supported the cause through voluntary donations for breakfast items such as coffee, muffins, Danish and pancakes on Manic Mondayswhich they extended to Wednesdays.  They also hosted a Sweetheart Dance that generated lots of fun and over $800.

They culminated their efforts by having a team in the Autism Speaks! Walk and Run along Flagler Drive March 3. Forest Hill Elementary ASD Chair Ginae Fields said individual teacher and staff sponsors of participants in the Walk were instrumental in the fundraising success.” Teachers like Brianna Koch and paraprofessionals like Kimberly Reid are examples of the outstanding leadership we had which resulted in Forest Hill Elementary being one of the County’s top  fundraising schools for Autism Speaks.”

For details, contact Principal Ana Arce-Gonzalez , 561.432.2300 or email

Students at Forest Hill Elementary School hold a large check for $3436.40 to donate to Autism Speaks! research.

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Third-graders at Village Academy are given a backpack with nutritious food for the weekend as part of a program called “Blessings in a Backpack”.

This is a program is coordinated by Delray Beach-based Sound Tree Entertainment and is sponsored in part by Disney teen-star Jake Short, who visited the school last year. The “Blessings in a Backpack” is also funded by a $24,000 in-kind food donation from a local resident.

The backpack includes easy-to-prepare, ready-to-eat foods, like granola bars, juice boxes, mac and cheese, and oatmeal.

 “By taking this meal home, they won’t be as hungry, worried and anxious about food for the weekend,” said Guarn Sims, principal of Village Academy. “Hopefully, now that the students are eating well over the weekends, we will see a difference in their readiness to learn on Mondays.”

Volunteers from the community pack the backpacks on Fridays for the teachers who give them to their students. Organizers are searching for a grocery partner to buy the food at a reduced price.

“This is a life-changing program,” Mr. Sims said. “For some of the students, this is the first time they’ve ever had a real backpack, let alone one with food so desperately needed. With 98 percent of our students on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program, the backpack program is definitely needed at the school.”

The School District of Palm Beach County is committed to teach all students healthy eating habits. The Nutrition and Wellness Promotion Team of the School District Food Service Department is committed to the promotion of nutrition education for students and parents and work with community agencies to promote optimal health for students and staff.


For more information call Guarn Sims 561-243-6100 or email

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The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida (EFOF) and the School District have partnered to support “Purple Day,” a day set aside for global epilepsy awareness.  Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to wear the color purple on Friday, March 22, 2013. Global Epilepsy Awareness Day is March 26, 2013, but due to Spring Break for Palm Beach County Schools, our schools are honoring the day on Friday, March 22.   Purple is the recognized color of epilepsy awareness. By wearing purple, EFOF and the schools hope to get students, staff, and parents talking about epilepsy and the need to support those with epilepsy.

More than 375,000 Floridians suffer from epilepsy and seizure disorders, and about 42,000 people die every year nationally due to seizures and other related causes.  Epilepsy is quite prevalent, with an expected one in 26 people to be diagnosed with epilepsy over the course of their lifetime.

“There are many misperceptions and misunderstandings associated with epilepsy and still a strong stigma surrounding the condition,” according to Colleen Wilcox, Director of Community Engagement for The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.   “The Epilepsy Foundation works to raise epilepsy awareness since understanding is critical to allowing those with epilepsy to live full lives.”  

The School Board of Palm Beach County will recognize the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida and the Wear Purple to Support Epilepsy Awareness day at the March 13th School Board meeting.

For more information about epilepsy please visit or contact Michael Barton at 561-478-6515 or .


The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida (EFOF) was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) and  serves as the lead advocate for rights and needs of people with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.  The family of epilepsy disorders is the third-most prevalent neurological condition in the United States, striking approximately 3 million people nationally and 375,000 people in Florida.  About 42,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to seizures from epilepsy and related causes.  The EFOF — with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Pensacola — provides numerous services to individuals and families, such as advocacy and counseling, education and prevention, direct medical and neuropsychological services, as well as research and other programs regardless of financial situation or socioeconomic status.  For more information, visit

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WHAT:          Boca Raton Elementary third All Pro Dads event.

WHO:             Boca Raton Elementary PTA, Students

WHEN:         Tuesday, March 12, 2013 – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:      Boca Raton Elementary   –  103 SW 1st Avenue, Boca Raton, FL

WHY:   Boca Raton Elementary is showcasing the engaged father with over 100 fathers in attendance and giving them the forum to demonstrate their devotion and attention to their

HOW:  All Pro Dads is a program started by the former NFL coach, Tony Dungy.  Boca Raton Elementary has played a special role in making this become a special event and we as a school are proud to endorse something that strengthens the bonds between child and an engaged parent. 


CONTACT:    Jordan Barenburg at (561)544-1705 or email

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 Royal Palm Beach High School extends a warm invitation to the community to come celebrate and support the present and future Wildcat artists.  

When?  Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. 

Where?  Royal Palm Beach High School cafeteria – 10600 Okeechobee Blvd., Royal Palm Beach, FL 

The 3rd Annual Royal Palm Beach High School Feeder Pattern Art Showcase will feature selected artwork from the high school and from the community of elementary and middle schools that feed to the high school. 

The Royal Palm Beach High School Band and Chorus members will provide musical entertainment, while students from the National Art Honor Society and Student Council will assist in hosting the event.  Artists will be recognized during a reception where refreshments will be served. 

Honored invited guests include District 2 School Board Chairman Mr. Chuck Shaw, District 6 School Board Member Ms. Marcia Andrews, and Area 5 Superintendent Dr. Ian Saltzman. 

For more information, contact Cyndie Wolf, H.L. Johnson AP, at 561-904-9300 or via email at







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

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The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in 45 states across our country. The purpose of this initiative is to create a level playing field between states and to ensure that students throughout the United States receive the same meaningful instruction. These standards will help teachers, students and parents know what is needed for students to succeed in college and careers, and will enable states, school districts and teachers to more effectively collaborate to accelerate learning and close achievement gaps nationwide.

In our elementary schools, the Common Core State Standards have been fully implemented in kindergarten and 1st Grade. Next year, these standards will be implemented in 2nd Grade, and a blend of the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Sunshine State Standards will be taught in 3rd – 5th Grades.

In middle and high schools, science and social studies teachers have been trained to instruct students on the literacy standards that are now part of the instructional standards for these content areas. Next year, 6th – 12th Grades will implement a blend of Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.

To learn more, parents can go to

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For the second consecutive year, Wellington Debate traveled to the Liberty Bell Classic Debate Invitational on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania and brought home a championship trophy. This is Wellington High’s third championship at a major national tournament since Paul Gaba became coach in 2002. The previous one was also earned at UPenn in 2012, when Ruan won Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate.

In Public Forum Debate, the team of Rachel Ganon and Vinnie Gasso went 10-1 and took home first place honors from the UPenn tournament, scoring a 3-2 judges decision against Millburn in the finals. In addition, the team of Ali Sina Booeshaghi and Yourui Ruan advanced to the octo-final round before being knocked out of the tournament. “Rachel and Vinnie were amazing,” said Wellington Debate Coach Paul Gaba. 

Rachel Ganon and Vinnie Gasso

By advancing to at least the quarterfinal round, both Ganon and Gasso earned a bid to the 2013 Tournament of Champions national invitational in Kentucky at the end of April. 

“They won the Round Robin on Friday, and when they went back for the regular tournament on Saturday, all of the other teams knew their arguments and their cases. And they still won the whole thing. Once the train started downhill, it just wasn’t going to stop. I’ve never seen anything like it before,” added Mr. Gaba. 

The team of Ganon and Gasso actually scored a double championship over the weekend by winning the second annual LBC Public Forum Debate Round Robin Invitational, a pre-tournament competition where 10 teams squared off against each other as a precursor to the full tournament. In the Round Robin, Ganon and Gasso took six of their ten preliminary round ballots, then swept teams from Timber Creek and Union Catholic in two 3-0 decisions to take home the top prize. 

Mr. Gaba and Wellington High's Debate Team Members

For more information about the nationally recognized Wellington High Debate Team, contact Paul Gaba at 561-795-4911 or via email at







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

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Nine students from the Family, Career and Community, Leaders of America (FCCLA) club at Omni Middle School brought home the Gold for their projects presented at the FCCLA competition in Orlando.

From March 2nd to March 5th, the FCCLA club members at Omni Middle School participated in the 2013 State FCCLA Competition. The students worked throughout this school year to complete research and develop a career project in relation to their topic.  This included development of a proposition, planning and implementing their project, providing community service, and developing a presentation to demonstrate their achievements.  At the state competition students had to present their career based project to a panel of judges.  Overall, Omni’s FCCLA organization outperformed other middle schools in their categories across the state. They competed in a variety of areas including, Focus on Children, Teach and Train, Chapter Service Manual, Chapter Showcase Display, Chapter Showcase Manual, Food Innovations, Illustrated Talk, No Kid Hungry Online Event, Life Event Planning, Promote and Publicize, Recycle and Redesign, and Entrepreneurship.

Omni Middle recognizes and congratulates the following students who received a “Gold Medal Award” at the 2013 FCCLA State Competition:  Annie Coen, Isabella Ellingsworth, Jessica Giang, Valerie Kwong, William Metlach, Liv Myrhe, Kevin Patlis, Skylar Sanchez, and Joseph Wallace.  Additionally, ten of Omni’s new state champions will now compete at the National Competition this summer in Nashville, Tennessee.

Winning Silver Medals from Omni at the state competition were, Alana Bruckenstein, Donja Dewberry, Victoria Gonzalez, Sheina Koolik, Alexandra Lopez, Olivia Lopez, Maya Portal, Molly Schiller, Abigail Taylor, and Rebecca Tesmond.

In addition, Omni had three students awarded bronze medals.  They are Alexina Chasin, Daniella Scott and Brianna Texidor.

FCCLA is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for students in grades 6-12.  Additionally, they are the only national career and technical student organization with family as its central focus.

This outstanding winning FCCLA Team is sponsored by Omni teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Zaremba.  Mrs. Zaremba has been sponsoring FCCLA at Omni and has brought home gold medal winners for the past nine years!  Her assistant the past two years is another teacher from Omni Middle, Ms. Phyllis Fimiani.  Congratulations to both for a job well done in preparing the students and for bringing home a team of winners.

For more information, contact Gerald Riopelle at (561) 989-2805 or email

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Kids Are Safe Here


That is the name of the newest member of the School Police Department that will help find missing and endangered children in Palm Beach County. The dog was donated by the Jimmy Ryce Center that donates bloodhounds to law enforcement departments across the nation.

Mrs. Pilotti along with ther 3rd grade students meeting Kash and Officer Riddick with Mr. Kindel, Teacher; Dr. Cheryl McKeever, Crosspointe Elementary Principal; Lawrence Leon, Chief of School Police.

Elementary schools were asked to help find a name for this furry officer and Ms. Pilotti’s 3rd grade class at Crosspointe Elementary was selected as the winner. They liked the name KASH but weren’t sure how it would fit in with a police dog.  “While the students were in their next class with Mr. Kindel, they discussed the puppy’s job of keeping kids safe and came up with the acronym,” said Mrs. Pilotti.  

Officer Curtis Riddick and Kash will be stationed at Atlantic High School but after the canine completes all the necessary training to perform his job, they will be working across Palm Beach County.

The announcement about the name was personally made by Kash and Officer Riddick and when Dr. McKeever told the kids they had a special guest and they walked in the door with the puppy, their faces lit up and they were so excited to meet and play with KASH. “With a pooch as cute as KASH, what child wouldn’t feel safe?”  He’s absolutely adorable, we all wanted to take him home” added Mrs. Pilotti. 

“We are delighted with the positive feedback and support that the community has shown. The reaction on the students’ faces when they found out that the name they came up with was the chosen was priceless” said Lawrence Leon, Chief of School Police.

Bloodhounds are a type of hound that hunts by scent rather than sight and they are often referred at having some of the most sensitive noses among canines. “Their long ears help collect air and keep it near the face and nose and can discern human odors even days later, over great distances or across water,” said Officer Riddick, Kash’s handler.

Kash, Mr. Kindel, Dr. McKeever, Officer Riddick, Chief Leon and Mrs. Pilotti.


For more information, contact Lawrence Leon, Chief of School Police, at 561-434-8435 or via email at


About the Jimmy Ryce Center

On September 11, 1995, 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce was kidnapped at gunpoint from his school bus stop, sodomized, and shot as he was trying to escape.  To free more children from the clutches of sexual predators, The Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction was established in June of 1996, in honor of Jimmy’s capacity to love unconditionally and his unquenched spirit in trying to get home even after hours of pain and humiliation.  Jimmy’s legacy is reflected in the words from Isaiah carved on his tombstone:  “a little child shall lead them.” For more information visit








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

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Poinciana Elementary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Magnet School students’ innovative creation wins First Place Research Award at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Championships held in Orlando, Florida on March 3, 2013.

Forty-eight FIRST LEGO League teams brought their robots, inventions and innovations to the FIRST LEGO League Florida State Championships held in Orlando, Florida. “Senior Solutions”, this year’s challenge, asked teams of 9-14 year-old students to develop ways to help senior citizens maintain their independence and quality of life. The competition was divided into three parts: The first part is “Core Values”, which includes how well teams demonstrated and understood concepts such as teamwork, gracious professionalism and sharing with the community. The second part of the FIRST competition included a robotics challenge. Students designed, programmed and tested a LEGO Mindstorms robot that is charged with completing, autonomously, as many themed tasks as possible in two and a half minutes on a 4’X8’ competition table.  The third part is researching an existing problem, interview experts and come up with an innovative solution for the problem.

Poinciana Elementary students’ project was on Herniated Cervical Disc and their solution was a motorized shampoo and soap dispenser.

“We are very proud of our students who represented Poinciana STEM Elementary at the tournament.  These students and their coach, Gloria Gibson, are dedicated to their research and the TAZ BOTS Team,” said Guidance Counselor Melinda Olsker.

For more information, contact Melinda Olsker at (561) 939-5700 or email

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2013 marks the fifth year of the School District’s Battle of the Books competition. Six teams recently competed to be crowned champions of the Grand Battle of the Books. Competitors in the grade 3-5 category were Team BOB from Palm Beach Public Elementary, sponsored by Cheryl May and the Ninja Wallabies from Limestone Creek Elementary, sponsored by Susan Briick. Battling in the 6-8 grade category were The Fellowship of the Books from Roosevelt Middle School, sponsored by Rebecca Smykla and Read ‘em and Weep from Bak Middle School of the Arts, sponsored by Jennifer Gardner. High school teams competing in the championship round were The Jaguars from A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, sponsored by Cookie Davis versus the Fellowship of the Wand from Boca Raton High School, sponsored by Nicole Boyle.

And the Grand Champions were:

Ninja Wallabies, Limestone Creek Elementary

The Fellowship of the Books, Roosevelt Middle School

The Jaguars, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts

This year 1,798 students on 447 teams contended for a spot in the Grand Battle of the Books competition held February 21, 2013.  After reading from a prescribed list of 15 books chosen by educators around the State, teams at 55 different schools raced the clock in the only completely online Battle of the Books competition in Florida. The object was to answer as many questions correctly as possible within the 20 minute time allowed. The two highest scoring teams at each level (elementary, middle and high) captured a seat at the Grand Battle of the Book competition taped before a live studio audience at The Education Network.

Each Grand Battle Team arrived at the TV studios with a creative team name and matching T-Shirts they had designed especially for the event. One team even arrived wearing “lucky socks”.  According to Hollyanne Ruffner with Library Media Services, “All the competing students showed tremendous sportsmanship, wishing each other good luck and congratulating the final winners with hearty handshakes.”

Battle of the Books is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Departments of Educational Technology, Library Media Services, Instructional Technology and The Education Network.

Limestone Creek Elementary









Roosevelt Middle School











Dreyfoos School of the Arts










For more information please contact Ms. Ruffner at 561-684-5227 or .

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Egret Lake Elementary School’s yearly Black History and Arts Integration Festival showcased the talent of both students and teachers and was standing room only with all the families that attended. The evening began with a fried chicken dinner followed by performances by the school’s chorus directed by Mrs. Terrion Nelson and classes showcasing arts integration strategies like Content Based Reader’s Theater.


The performances concluded with all the different grade levels dancing up a storm lead by the school’s dance teacher Ms. V. Allen. Throughout dinner, the families walked around the school’s cafeteria and viewed additional Arts Integration teaching strategies, which were on display. 

Kohl’s Department Store is one of the school’s business partners and through their Kohl’s Cares program, volunteers came out to lend a hand during the evening. “With their help and the help of the teachers and staff, the evening was a huge success,” added Mrs. Tylka. 

The School District of Palm Beach County through the African and African American History Curriculum enables students to learn about the beauty, wealth, and courage of Africans and African Americans from Ancient Africa to the modern Diaspora. In addition, we encourage the exploration of significant phases of the African and African American experiences. 

For more information, contact Linda Tylka or Terrion Nelson at 561-616-7900 or via email at







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

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The Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers.  Twenty-two teams representing 19 high schools competed in the 2013 Science Olympiad Regional Competition at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). 

Students compete as teams in 23 different events that range the spectrum of science subjects.  Events are inquiry-based and have been designed to correlate with the National Science Education Standards and the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS). 

The following Palm Beach County schools placed in the top ten and will be traveling to the State Science Olympiad on March 23 at the University of Central Florida (UCF): 

  • Boca Raton Community High School Team “1”
  • Boca Raton Community High School Team “A”
  • Suncoast Community High School
  • Spanish River Community High School Team “A” 

Boca Raton’s Team “1” finished in first place and the school’s Team “A” finished in second place.  Boca Raton Community High School will be making a run for a third consecutive State Championship.  

According to Boca Raton student RJ Antonello, “The competition was great, but we have to optimize our performance in each event to succeed at the state and national level.” 

The Science Olympiad was created in 1983 by Dr. Gerard J. Putz and Jack Cairns to increase interest in science and as an alternative to traditional science fairs and single-discipline tournaments. Science Olympiad has members in all 50 states, totaling more than 12,000 actively participating K-12 schools. 

For more information, contact Kathy Roberts, 6-12 Science Resource Teacher, at 561-434-8923 or







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

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Taryn Browning tutors fellow students through her schools National Junior Honor Society, helps recycle at her school, andvolunteers most of the summer at a local church preschool as a Junior Camp Counselor helping chaperon field trips, educational activities, crafts, meals, and games.  For all her hard work and dedication this 8th grader from Independence Middle School has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The award, which recognized Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was presented by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.  Taryn participated in the Spirit of Community program this year as a representative of Independence Middle School in Jupiter, where she is a student, “I have accumulated approximately 236 hours so far and plan to continue helping to make a difference in the community as well as in the lives of others.”

Sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program recognizes young people across America for outstanding community service activities.  More than 370,000 young people across America have been considered for these awards since the program began in 1995.

“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial.  “In recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer service activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through community volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti.  “These Honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

Program applications were distributed last September through all public and private middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs, and affiliates of HandsOn Network.  After Local Honorees were named, state-level judges selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact, and personal growth.

NASSP, based in Reston, VA., is the preeminent organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. Prudential Financial, based in Newark, NJ., provides more than 50 million individual and institutional customers worldwide with life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services.

For further information contact Harold Banks, Prudential Financial, (973)-802-8974 or Independence Middle School Principal Lori Bonino at 561-799-7500 or .

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Having the capability of persuading an audience can be considered one of the most powerful skills a person can have. After all, the purpose of a political debate is to influence voters to make a decision and justify points of views. The students at Royal Palm Beach High School are mastering this art and recently one of them became the reigning champion in the most prestigious high school debate in the country. 

Anthony Nadeau, senior, took 1st place in Dramatic Interpretation, competing against over 400 students in this category, he made it to the final round of the top 6. Despite the snow and cold weather the 39th Annual Harvard University National Invitational Forensics Tournament brings together debaters from over 300 schools. Through their reasoning and clever wording these speech and debate students persuade their audiences.

Anthony Nadeau performing on Sanders Stage (a la "The Great Debaters" movie).

“To this day, Harvard is the pinnacle of Forensics achievement,” said Mr. Eric Jeraci, the Director of Forensics at Royal Palm Beach High School. “In the history of our school, we have never reached FINALS let alone had a champion. As his coach, I am beyond proud of our Wildcat representing us and definitely demonstrating what it means to live your Wildcat best!” 

As the largest and most prestigious high school debate tournament in the country, the Harvard Invitational provides opportunities for students to compete in Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Student Congress and a variety of individual and duo speech events. 

For more information, contact Eric Jeraci at 561-753-4021 or via email at

Attached is the picture of him performing on Sanders Stage (a la “The Great Debaters” movie).






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

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The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County has the tradition of recognizing the “best and the brightest” within the county’s Hispanic population. Each year the Hispanic Chamber recognizes the community’s rising stars in its annual Triunfo! Celebration.

Nominations are being accepted for the Triunfo Scholarships and may be submitted for any graduating high school student in Palm Beach County.  Students enrolled at School District of Palm Beach County high schools are eligible for nomination. Students enrolled at charter or private schools may be eligible for nominations only if the school is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County. 

HCC Scholars Application – Deadline Extended

2013 Triunfo Nomination – Extended Deadline

Nominations may be submitted in English or Spanish and must be received no later than MARCH 8, 2013. Mail or deliver your application to: Attention: Rocio Lopez – Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, Inc. 809 North Dixie Hwy, Second Floor, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

In the last seven years, the Hispanic Chamber has raised approximately $82,000 for students who have pursue their studies in universities such as Harvard, Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, and many other prestigious institutions.  The students selected have an outstanding Grade Point Average (GPA), dedicated many hours to community service and demonstrated excellent academic and leadership skills. 

“Not only does the future of our community depend on the quality of professionals we have, but also the ones we empower to become leaders, who will create a better future,” said André Varona, Chief Executive Officer. 

Recipients of the scholarship will be recognized at the Sixteenth Annual Triunfo! Awards banquet that will be held on April 6, 2013 at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. 

For more information contact André Varona or Rocio Lopez at (561) 832-1986 or via e-mail at     






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