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Library Services Specialist  Hollyanne Ruffner has been selected to serve on the National Council on Digital Citizenship (NCDC). The NCDC, now in its third year, is leading the effort to help K-12 school systems successfully address digital citizenship as a vital 21st century skill. Comprised of approximately 50 education thought leaders from across the country, the NCDC is supported by Microsoft in partnership with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Topics Education. “Today, students consume, create, and share digital content both in and out of the classroom,” said Ms. Ruffner. “Clearly, at a time when technology use is so pervasive, it is important for educators to help students understand the principles that should govern their behavior as digital citizens. I think the knowledge and skills that come with citizenship are vital.”

 With the help and leadership of the veteran District educator, the NCDC will assess attitudes and current practices among their education peers within their districts and beyond. Together, the NCDC will continue to encourage and inform conversation on digital citizenship within the education community, notably through webinars, conference presentations, and white papers.

 “ISTE is an organization built on collaboration and empowerment within the broad education community and smaller education communities around the world,” stated Don Knezek, ISTE’s CEO. “Our NETS Standards emphasize digital citizenship, so the NCDC is a crucial cog in our effort to help educators put the standards into practice.”

 In fact, ISTE and Microsoft began working together to tackle digital citizenship when ISTE awarded its Seal of Alignment to the Digital Citizenship & Creative Content curriculum (, a set of turnkey resources for middle school and high school teachers. Knezek and his team at ISTE will continue their long-standing collaboration with Topics Education and Microsoft to guide and inform the NCDC’s work in 2012.

 The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in advancing excellence in learning and teaching through the innovative and effective use of technology in PK–12 and teacher education. Home to ISTE’s annual conference and exposition and the widely adopted NETS, ISTE represents more than 100,000 professionals worldwide.

 For more details about the work of the NCDC, contact Jennifer Meier, project manager at

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The  PTA at Morikimai Elementary school is inviting the community to participate in the many activities they have scheduled for Earth Day Acts of Green, Tuesday, May 1, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Delray Beach School. The evening’s events include guest speakers, the Palm Beach Zoo, a Honda Hybrid Car Show, Composting with Farmer Jay, a school uniform exchange, and an appearance from Smokey the Bear. A butterfly release will occur at 6:00 p.m. followed by an exciting drawing for prizes at 6:30.

Admission for students and adults is $3.00, pre-school aged children and younger are free. For details, contact Morikami Principal Stacy Quinones, 561-894-7300 or email

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Free Bi-lingual Books and Native Language Information Sessions Planned

haiti flagBoynton Beach High School will be a hub of multicultural activity for the school year’s final English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Parent Night scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, from 5:50-8:30 p.m. The itinerary begins in the school’s cafeteria where families will gather for dinner and be treated to photographs of Haiti and authentic Haitian artifacts, as well as a performance of Haitian music by a live band.

Multicultural Education Department and Public Affairs staff will be on hand to speak about the importance of valuing native heritage and transmitting that pride to students who are now being educated in Palm Beach County public schools. District staff will speak briefly about their Haitian, Hispanic,  Guatemalan, and Brazilian  backgrounds and provide strategies for nurturing native heritage while becoming acculturated to education and culture in the United States. 

Director Margarita Pinkos said the family engagement sessions have played a vital role in building bridges between the District and diverse families and community members throughout the county.  “We hold several sessions like this each year to ensure that parents understand the academic opportunities available for their children and the resources available to assure student success,” she stated.  “Parents want to know how to help their children prepare for the future regardless of each family’s unique circumstances.”

Breakout session topics (which will be presented in native languages) include: Assisting Your Child at Home; Building Parent and School Partnerships; and Learning to Communicate Effectively with Your Child.  Childcare is provided by certified district teachers and student volunteers. Approximately 400 people are expected to attend. For details about ESOL Parent Night, contact Connie Berry, 561-434-7348 or email

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Catherine Bishop-TempleDr. Catherine Bishop-Temple has a broad background in education as well as in business and athletics.   As an undergrad, Catherine was a two-time USA All American Division 1 intercollegiate swim champion, a three time Eastern USA intercollegiate swim champion, and six-time All New England intercollegiate swim champion.  Catherine graduated Cum Laude from Springfield College (MA), and was named to the prestigious list of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. As a graduate and doctoral student here at FAU, Catherine was a member of the Phi Delta Phi National Honor Society earning a cumulative 4.0 GPA in both degrees. She was a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, was named Outstanding Graduate Student –  FAU College of Education, and her dissertation was named Dissertation of Distinction and was nominated for Dissertation of the Year in the College of Education.

Dr. Bishop-Temple has been in the field of education for eighteen years with the last eight plus years spent in literacy.  She has served as the Reading Coach at Carver Middle School launching Carver’s growth from a “C” to a “B” to an “A” rated school and spent four years as Palm Beach County School District’s, Secondary Literacy Administrator developing and implementing curriculum, writing proposals for grants, and designing and implementing district-wide staff development.

In her role as Literacy Resource Specialist at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Catherine established a high school Literacy Center which serves as a model classroom and provides ongoing Professional Development for teachers and administrators.  The center is the home to those students who fall into the lower quartile in reading and work with Catherine in small group settings on a weekly basis.  Catherine works one-on-one with staff to increase teacher capacity, has designed and implemented staff development programs for teachers and administrators, and developed a reading curriculum to be used with struggling readers in grades 9 and 10.  Additionally, she developed the curriculum to be used with the 11th and 12th grade intensive reading students preparing to take the ACT and works in pull-out/push-in sessions with those students using those materials. Through her hard work and efforts, Catherine was largely responsible for the increase in proficiency in reading at Atlantic High School netting Atlantic an “A” rating… now one of only eight “A” rated high schools in the district.

Dr. Bishop-Temple has presented nationally as well as state and district wide, and continues to run and operate the Literacy Center at Atlantic while serving as an Adjunct Professor here at FAU in the graduate college of Teaching and Learning.

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Sharon Draper, award winning author will be visiting John F. Kennedy Middle on Friday, April 27, 2012 from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. to address the importance of reading and encourage students to become active readers. 

As part of Dr. Draper’s assembly she will conduct a “closed corridors” session with 35 striving readers to motivate them to read.  In preparation for this visit JFK students have been reading her books and the school has conducted a session with parents, challenging them to read with their children one of her novels, Romiette and Julio. 

“Her visit will introduce our students to the art of writing and put a face to the author who has created characters and story lines that they have already fallen in love with,” said Dr. Shannon Grice, Assistant Principal at JFK. 

Dr. Sharon Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scot King Literary Award, and is a New York Times bestselling author. She has been honored at the White House six times, and was chosen as one of only four authors in the country to speak at the National Book Festival Gala in Washington, D.C, and to represent the United States in Moscow at their Book Festival. 

Her book Copper Sun has been selected by the US State Department and the International Reading Association as the United States novel for the international reading project called Reading Across Continents. Students in the US, Nigeria, and Ghana are reading the book and sharing ideas-a true intercontinental, cross-cultural experience. 

“We are looking forward to this visit because our students will be able to get a glimpse into the life of an author and possibly help future authors, in the audience, to understand the process of a becoming published author,” added Dr. Grice. 

For more information contact Dr. Shannon L. Grice at (561) 845-4504 or via e-mail at






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

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Ethics_logo-4-11-A-Big final[1]The countdown is on for The 8th Annual Ethics in Action Your Character Counts! Award celebration to recognize students of character from across the county. Forty-six students from elementary, middle, high, charter, and alternative schools will be recognized at the event set for Tuesday, May 1, at the Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach State College. Each school is encouraged to nominate one student  who embodies the six pillars of character:  trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, fairness, and citizenship.

 The Ethics Bowl Finals will also be held May 1 preceded by the initial rounds of the Ethics Bowl which are set for Saturday, April 28. The eight competing high schools are:  Atlantic, Boynton Beach, Dwyer, John I. Leonard, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach, and Santaluces.  There are 13 teams in all.  After Saturday’s elimination rounds, the two remaining teams will compete in the final Ethics Bowl Round at the Duncan Theatre at 3:00 p.m.

 The celebration begins immediately after at 5:00 p.m. with refreshments provided by the Culinary Academy at Santaluces High School under the direction of Chef Gary Swaye, along with the District’s School Food Service Department.

 The Awards Program will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the Lake Worth High School Color Guard under the direction of Chief Wise presenting the flag; Madison Mills, a senior at Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, will sing the National Anthem.

 Sponsors for the event include:  The Palm Beach County Bar Association (North County and Young Lawyers sections); John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Palm Beach State College Foundation; Sun Sentinel; Publix Supermarkets, Inc.; EDCO Awards and Specialities; Napleton Kia; Palm Beach Atlantic University; The Education Network; and the School District of Palm Beach County SchoolFood Service Department.

 For more details about the Ethics Bowl or the 8th Annual Ethics in ActionYour Character Counts! Awards, contact Susan Knight, 561-366-6945, or Judy Lamb, 561-366-6946,

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Over 37,000 volunteers and 1,100 business partners are donating their time and resources in public schools throughout Palm Beach County this year.  These dedicated volunteers and business partners help our students academically by supporting our teachers and schools.  The Office of Community Involvement will be holding a recognition event honoring the School District’s outstanding Volunteers and Business Partners, Wednesday, May 2 at 8:30 a.m.  Six hundred volunteers, business partners and community members are expected to attend the breakfast being held at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.

Schools winning the Golden and Silver School Awards will be honored along with the Palm Beach County Outstanding School Volunteer Award winners and the State and District Business Partnership Award winners.   This year’s School District Business Partner Hall of Fame inductee will also be announced.  Past Hall of Fame winners have included Washington Mutual, Columbia Hospital, Nutrition S’Mart, Wachovia, The Anne and Sam Klein Jewish Coalition for Literacy, City of Delray Beach and The Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund.

Sponsors for the event are Clear Channel Radio, FBC Mortgage, LLC, Molina Health Care, Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc., and Wells Fargo.  Clear Channel Radio personality Sally Sevareid with KOOL 105.5 will be the emcee for the annual recognition breakfast.

For more information please contact District Volunteer Coordinator Debi Elfen at 561-434-8789 and  or District Partnership Coordinator Jimmy Peterkin at 561-434-7323 and .

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Internationally known CJ Jones will be visiting students who are Deaf & Hard of Hearing at three local schools the week of May 14 – 18 to conduct drama workshops. While working mainly with the students of Indian Pines Elementary School, other schools included in the residency are Palm Springs Middle School and John I. Leonard High School. CJ will also speak at a meeting of the Palm Beach County School District’s Deaf & Hard of Hearing Family Support Group. The week’s activities will conclude with a performance at Indian Pines on May 18.

CJ has been delighting audiences, young and old, with his unique style of visual imagery and storytelling for over 25 years and is excited to return for another year. As a Deaf, black artist and role model, CJ promotes messages of self-esteem and is proud to promote increased awareness and sensitivity of Deaf culture to people of all races. CJ is featured in the award-winning documentary “See What I’m Saying” that follows a year in the lives of four Deaf entertainers. CJ was recently a consultant with Downtown Disney to host SIGNin’ in the Street, a 2-day celebration of creativity in the Deaf community, at Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, California.

CJ has worked at Deaf West Theatre, traveled with the National Theatre of the Deaf and co-starred in “Children of a Lesser God” on Broadway. Some of his television appearances include NBC’s “Frasier”, CBS’ “Cold Case”, PBS television shows “Sesame Street” and “Rainbow’s End”, and he was the host of “Happy Hands Kids Klub”.

The Drama Residency program is funded by the Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

Please contact Susan Fetner, Performing Arts Program Coordinator of VSA Florida – Palm Beach County at (561) 966-7024 to make arrangements to cover this incredible story. To learn more about CJ and the SIGNin’ in the Street celebration visit

VSA Florida – Palm Beach County was founded in 1985 and is an affiliate of VSA Florida and is sponsored in part by Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. The mission of VSA Florida – Palm Beach County is to create a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

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Each day, the excitement builds reaching an almost audible, even tangible, level as Lighthouse Elementary and Beacon Cove Intermediate prepare for their upcoming annual Fun Fair.  What is Fun Fair?  It is an extraordinary extravaganza made possible (and affordable) by generous business partners, Dr. Gilda Alonzo and Vargas Orthodontics.

From 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., on April 27, 2012, the Lighthouse Elementary School playground and fields will be converted to a carnival of rides, games, foods, and desserts.  While children climb the rock wall, jump in the bounce house and spin through the air, parents can bid on any of the many outstanding silent auction items (camps, golf, spas, restaurants) and purchase raffle tickets to win a free set of braces from Vargas Orthodontics.  All the while, supporting the schools and bonding with family, friends and teachers.

This event would not be possible without the generous donations and tremendous support of Dr. Gilda Alonzo and Vargas Orthodontics.  100% of the net proceeds go to the PTO to further enhance the schools and support teachers and staff.

For more information please contact Lighthouse Elementary Principal Leslie Bolte at 561-741-9404 or .

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The Johnson Scholarship Foundation and the School District of Palm Beach County will honor 44 deserving seniors with over $440,000 in scholarship money on Sunday, April 29th.  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 2015 will be $1.7 million dollars. 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 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Santaluces High School’s Lecture Hall 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, and community leaders.  The program will include words of encouragement from Malcolm Macleod, Johnson Scholarship Foundation President and CEO, and Keith Oswald, the School District of Palm Beach County’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Learning.

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

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Palm Beach Central High School has been selected as a site to host the AT&T vehicle simulator that demonstrates to drivers the dangers of texting and driving. This vehicle will be on campus on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 in the gymnasium. 

The initiative is part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign that creates awareness about the use of technology behind the wheel. The main goal is to educate all wireless users, but especially teen drivers, that there is a smart way to text. 

“Mr. Mondy and his staff are thrilled to be one of the only two high schools in Florida to have this vehicle on their campus. It is important to educate our students about this because the only way to help them become aware of the severity of this issue is by experiencing it,” said Mr. Eric Stern, District’s Drivers Ed. Program Planner. 

Students, teachers and staff members will have the opportunity to use the simulator, which gives a realistic experience to drivers as to what happens when you text and drive. It is equipped with a real car, a set of glasses and a computer. Drivers are asked to use their phones, as they normally would, to see that when their attention is set on the mobile device, and not the road, the consequences can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.   

For more information contact Eric Stern at (561) 434-7450 or via e-mail at







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

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The 2011-12 school year is quickly nearing its end, and parents will have an opportunity to choose the summer or educational program that best aligns with their family’s needs at the next Parent Info Expo.

When? Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.

Where? Joseph Littles Nguzu Saba Charter School. 1601 N. Tamarind Ave. West Palm Beach, FL.

The focus of the expo is avoiding the summer slide and it will cover all summer program choices available to Florida’s families. Parents will have the opportunity to learn about Florida’s school choice options and how to be a partner in your child’s education throughout the summer months.

Members of the local School Choice Parent Advisory Council in collaboration with School District representatives and staff from School Choice Parent Resource Centers will facilitate the meeting and will be available for individual assistance and questions.

Attendees will also have the chance to join their local Parent Advisory Council and be part of the statewide effort to reach all parents and advise them about school choice options.

“We need families to tell us what’s working, what’s not, and how we can help you. We encourage parents to join us and make the most important decision you can for your child – the educational program that will help him or her succeed in school and in life,” said Sophia De La Paz.

If you would like more information about your local School Choice Parent Advisory Council or future Parent Info Expo Meetings, please contact Sophia De La Paz at (561) 641-8803 or e-mail at


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

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The second annual April is for Authors festival will be held at Palm Beach Gardens High School on Saturday, April 28, from 9:00am to 3:00pm.  Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

24 children and young adult authors will make individual presentations, participate in panel discussions and autograph books, which will be sold at the event.  The event provides students, families and teachers an opportunity to meet the authors of some of their favorite books.

Author Mary Monroe, a National Board Certified Language Arts teacher at Park Vista High School was recently named the 2012 Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year. Ms. Monroe uses her teaching experiences to write for the reluctant and culturally-diverse reader.  Her popular trilogy includes, Miracle at Monty Middle School, (translated into Spanish as Milagro en la Escuela Monty) and Krazy White Girl, Nicole’s story about abuse and cutting. Ms. Monroe’s newest, just released third novel, Tagger, was written for teen boys interested in graffiti tagging.

American Library Association award winners Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind, Tears of the Tiger), Claudia Mills (How Oliver Olsen Changed the World), James Preller (Bystander, Jigsaw Jones Series) and Neal Shusterman (Florida Teen Read recognized author of over 30 books for teens) will also be in attendance with their latest books.

Also featured at this year’s event is 20-year old author Shayne Leighton, an Alexander W Dreyfoos graduate and author of her debut young adult novel, Of Light and Darkness, which is being made into a major motion picture.  Other Palm Beach County authors include Donna Gephart, Mary Monroe, Harvey Oyer III, and Michael Patrick O’Neil.

Helen Zientek and Sue Slone, retired Palm Beach County educators, are the event co-chairs.  Partners of the event include the School District of Palm Beach County, the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County Library System, Singer Island Sunrise Kiwanis, the Russ Courser Foundation and Northern Palm Beach County Branch of American Association of University Women.

Created by a group of dedicated Palm Beach County educators as a way for students to interact with their favorite authors, April is for Authors, will provide not only a valuable experience for the children, but also an opportunity for authors to connect with their audience as well as key decision makers in the local literacy programs.

For more information please go to the April is for Authors website at or contact Helen Zientek at .

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The Palm Beach County School District has joined other Palm Beach County employers in taking the challenge to promote clean air this May.  The Clean Air Challenge is an initiative of South Florida Commuter Services (SFCS), a program of the Florida Department of Transportation.  SFCS’ goal is to create awareness and facilitate positive action toward reducing our vehicles’ impact on the environment.

The challenge, which takes place throughout the month of May, asks south Florida commuters to pledge to use an alternative to driving alone during their commute to/from work at least once during the month.  This could include carpooling, vanpooling, taking the bus or train, biking or even walking.   

For doing your part to reduce our impact, participants that use an alternative will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 American Express card.  In addition, your participation could help the School District win a $1000 transportation credit which can be used on a variety of transportation related initiatives.   

More than 25 percent of our nation’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from transportation.  This being the case, the Palm Beach County School District encourages you to do your part by joining SFCS’ Clean Air Challenge this May.

To learn more about the Clean Air Challenge or make your pledge today, please visit:

Christina Crespo, Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator,  Palm Beach County School District at (561) 688-7602 or

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Pine Jog Elementary School continues to excel for their comprehensive approach to creating a “green” environment for their students, teachers and community. For this reason, it was selected as one of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. Pine Jog is the only elementary school in the State of Florida to obtain this recognition.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was joined by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair, Nancy Sutley; and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Lisa Jackson; to announce the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, a list including 78 schools that span 29 states and D.C.

“Science, environmental and outdoor education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.

“Schools that take a green approach cut costs on their utility bills, foster healthy and productive classrooms, and prepare students to thrive in the 21st century economy,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “These Green Ribbon School award winners are taking outstanding steps to educate tomorrow’s environmental leaders, and demonstrating how sustainability and environmental awareness make sense for the health of our students and our country.”

“These Green Ribbon Schools are giving students and educators what they need to maximize learning and minimize risks like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, ensuring that no child is burdened by pollution in or around their school,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The other schools that were recognized from the State of Florida included Learning Gate Community School in Hillsborough County and TERRA Environmental Research Institute in Miami.

For more information contact Fred Barch at (561) 656-5400 or via e-mail at


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

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Spanish RiverConcert To Raise Awareness Of Dangers Of Texting And Driving

What started as a local initiative by two students, Ross Brenner, President of the Sophomore Class, and Dalton Holody, Vice President, at Spanish River High in Boca Raton for a National Day of Awareness had gone global.

The Rock 2 Live Music Festival that will take place on April 28th at Florida Atlantic University’s brand new stadium is the talk in the nation and has gained a tremendous echo around the world.  Several types of media are announcing the events including News & Information Services, Newspapers, Portals, PR Newswires, Trade Publications, TV Stations all over the world in Canada, Europe and even in Singapore, Southeast Asia. Announcement for the event appeared on Time Square TV in New York City.

The Rock 2 Live Music Festival has attracted some prominent artists including: Artist, Flo Rida; Grammy Award winning artist Kelly Rowland, Grammy nominated One Republic; red hot country act BadHorse; Canadian alternative band Surface Rising; Pop Rock singer/songwriter Jessica Dawn; and others still to be announced.

The goal is to help the message of responsible texting reach a national audience.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving among teens, parents, and all drivers, as well as, offer a solution to help curb the habit. There is already enough danger in the world, we don’t have to go out of our way to create our own.” said Ross Brenner, Sophomore Class President and originator of the national event.

Brenner, with Spanish River and PhoneGuard, has been working with various companies, groups, communities, sports figures, politicians, musicians, and entertainers who have been anxious to lend their support and time to this important cause, and be on hand championing the event. Celebrity performers and attendees will offer messages on the importance of Texting Responsibly, and will sign autographs, take photographs, and visit subscribers interactively, enhanced by the latest state of the art technologies accessible to all devices, including iPad, via the Gotham Streaming System.

With the support of sponsors like PhoneGuard, Ocean Properties Hotels and Resorts, Porta Via, Global Maximus Records, and the performing artists involved, this student-inspired Spanish River event will be ground zero for the nationwide effort. Numerous celebrities will be doing shout-out PSA’s that will play during the event. Students, their parents, and everyone involved, will be asked to visit to join major recording artists, sports figures, politicians, and celebrities, in support of this cause, and be a part of the launching of the first ever PPV music festival, Rock for Life, a new national Student-Sponsored Music Festival, with the goal of supporting major life-changing causes.

 Channel One News, the leading television news network for teens, will support the effort by airing a public service announcement, produced by SRHS, on its daily broadcast in schools nationwide. Channel One News, a valued educational program viewed daily at SRHS, reaches nearly 5.5 million young people in thousands of middle schools and high schools across the country. The dynamic broadcast and supplementary educational resources inform, educate, and inspire teens, connecting them with important current events and the world around them.

Students will reach out to major talk shows, news publications, and other sources to achieve broad scale national awareness for the cause and the event, which seeks to save lives and make history by bringing together a first ever peer-to-peer nationwide message. Students expect any donations raised from this event will aid Jr. and High Schools, and will provide much needed funds to raise awareness, support recently cut programs, and help reduce financial shortfalls.

The leading solution to curbing the rising problem of texting and driving lies in the innovative product that PhoneGuard will offer free at the event, and to its viewers. Boca Raton-based PhoneGuard, who has partnered up with two-time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Justin Bieber, has developed a smart phone application which disables a phone’s texting functions whenever it detects the driver moving more than 10 miles per hour. Including the mobile application, PhoneGuard has a full suite of safety products that backs into a web-based portal for family peace of mind.

“16 kids died today, and 16 more will die tomorrow. That’s unacceptable and we are proud of Ross and Dalton, the student leaders, and student body of Spanish River High for leading the cause and launching this unique event. Thousands of schools, and millions of kids across the nation, will follow Spanish River’s lead, and hopefully create their own events on that day, and invite viewers to tune in to the cause, and watch the festival, streamed live by Gotham Networks”, added Scott Frohman, CEO of PhoneGuard.

“We are grateful to PhoneGuard and all our supporters for their incredible contribution and partnerships. We will use every available means at our disposal to send our shared message across the country, starting with Channel One News, along with our Facebook and Twitter. Justin Bieber is in full support of “no texting while driving” and continues to campaign with PhoneGuard and Remember Alex Brown Foundation ( via interviews with local and national media, and news outlets…” stated event founder, Ross Brenner.

The Festival and the cause has the full support of Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel and City Council, Boca Raton Police Department, U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch, State Representative Irv Slosberg, The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), The Alex Brown Foundation, and regional Anti-texting groups in various parts of the country, including STANDD, TADD, SADD, and others. Various national and international businesses support the cause and event, and will send out releases as they come on board.

The announcement of the Day of Awareness & the Rock For Life music festival will be adjoined by the announcement of the ‘New Cool’ Rewards program, which will reward PPV Viewers/pledge members with media downloads, VIP experiences, and special event opportunities, at no cost to the students and families, as a means to reward the commitment to Not Text and Drive.

A release of a formal agenda, the streaming event fundraiser, Award cards, Pledges, performers, celebrities, dignitaries and sponsors, will follow over the next few weeks.

For More Information on the event:

If you have any questions, or would like to contact Ross Brenner Please email at:

If you have any questions, or would like to contact Spanish River High School, please email or call: Mr. William Latson – Principal Office: 561-241-2200 or email

If you have any questions, or would like to contact PhoneGuard, email or call: Dylan Rossi - Vice President of Business Development  – Office: 561.314.3466 or email

If you have any questions, or would like to contact GMR, please email or call: David Carter – Global Maximus Productions – Tel: 615-268-1919 or email

Tickets are available 


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Mr. Culp and Joey Yannucci.

Mr. Culp and Joey Yannucci.

The unfortunate bus accident that occurred on Monday, March 26, 2012 critically injuring 11 year old Joey Yannucci in Port Saint Lucie left the students at Jupiter Middle with the need to help this family.   Joey’s dad, Anthony Yannucci was a Computer Science teacher at Jupiter Middle School last year and was known as “Mr. Y the computer guy.”   

In less than two weeks the students, faculty and parents at Jupiter Middle were able to raise $1600. They organized bake sales, lemonade stands and collected change in the cafeteria during lunch. Parents also showed their generosity after receiving an email asking for their support. A group of students accompanied Mr. Culp to St. Mary’s Hospital to deliver the check. 

“I am always impressed with my students for taking initiatives like this and it makes me very proud to be their principal. The students, teachers, staff members and families at Jupiter Middle never hesitate to respond when we are doing activities or events to help those in need,” added Mr. David Culp, Principal. 

Joey suffered a severe head injury and was put into a drug induced coma while the doctors tried to reduce the swelling in his brain. Joey is now out of his coma and shocking the doctors and nurses with his ability to speak, something they thought he would have to re-learn. “Joey has a way to go, but the students of Jupiter Middle School know he can do it!” said Mr. Culp. 

For more information contact David Culp at (561) 745-7200 or via e-mail at






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

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The Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA has awarded three scholarships to active PTA volunteers.  The County Council has selected  two graduating seniors and an adult volunteer to each receive $500 to help offset the cost of their future education endeavors.  Winners were chosen based on an original essay and letters of recommendation. Student  applicants  wrote essays responding  to the prompt “Being a PTA member means…” while adult applicants  wrote essays that shared their thoughts about PTA…Empowering Families!”

Larry Harris is an active PTSA volunteer as well as a teacher at Omni Middle School in Boca Raton.  His passion to inspire students to be educated and healthy generated an idea to train a group of kids for the Palm Beach Half Marathon.  The goal: “inspire the entire school to exercise and eat better”.  Together the PTSA and Mr. Harris developed a rigorous training schedule, running routes were varied with the help of a hunted down Garmin GPS watch; the students training was the subject of a local newspaper article, and PTSA parents provided breakfast on long run days.  As Ms. Kline, Omni PTSA President stated “He made sure they understood that determination and self- discipline were skills they needed not only for the race but for life.”  In his essay Larry said “the organization ensures that we teachers have the resources necessary to teach without inhibition and to get involved without worry of costs. “

Setutsi Dennis, a senior and active student volunteer at Spanish River High School stated “Being a PTSA member means being a part of something much larger than yourself!” Setutsi’s scholarship application shows that she has always been an active student and volunteer at her school from the Step Team to Student Government.  However, it wasn’t until a PTSA mom casually asked “Why haven’t you joined PTSA? You participate in all our events…” that she joined PTSA.  After two years Setutsi says that by being a member of PTSA “I’ve learned by example that doing for the greater good is better than doing for myself. The grandeur of our PTSA is quite humbling and being a part of it really means the world to me.  I am sure that the values I’ve seen, learned and have the opportunity to display will serve me as a positive influence in my life.”

Wallis Stormont O’Hagan, a PTSA vice- president and active senior at Suncoast High School shared that “being a PTSA means opportunity” and she embraced the opportunity to “create a learning community that is both constructive and beneficial.” As a student advocate, Wallis fully embraced the opportunity to properly represent the “S” in PTSA.  In her essay Wallis stated: “I truly have seen that the PTSA has instilled in me a sense of commitment towards potential – potential for partnership, respect, integrity, inclusivity and a commitment to growth of one’s self.  In short, “Through student government and class council, I was able to serve my fellow students and lobby for their interests; with PTSA, I was able to actually see that their requests could become reality.” 

 Palm Beach County Council PTA appreciates all the applicants that competed for the scholarship and looks forward to offering more scholarships next year.

 About PTA

 The Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA is a member of the largest advocacy group for children in the nation. PTA  is comprised of millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, contact Jennifer Martinez, president, 561.254.9513 or

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A Student Showcase of Films

vibe logo The Film, T.V. and Media Production Academy will host its showcase of films, the Vibe Awards, Thursday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Park Vista Community High School, 7900 Jog Road. The Vibe Awards are a 90-minute production that features the best projects produced by students in the academy including music videos, public service announcements, commercials, show openers, interviews, and much more.The public is invited to come  and show support for the academy students and have a fun night. Tickets are sold at the door for only $3.00

For more details, contact Sarah Peterson, Film, T.V. & Media Production Academy Head, 561-491-8400 or

 About Park Vista Community High School Vibe Awards

The Film, T.V. & Media Production Academy’s Vibe Awards showcase of films recognizes academy students for their hard work and provides a venue for students to enjoy watching projects from other students in the academy. The Vibe Awards showcase demonstrates what all students can accomplish by senior year. Proceeds from the awards go directly to the academy, and proceeds from previous years have allowed the academy to purchase new cameras, so all students have the opportunity to film projects and experience hands-on learning opportunities.


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The American Cancer Society’s 18-hour National Awareness Event is set for Saturday and Sunday, April 21–22

 Park Vista Community High School will host the internationally recognized Relay for Life, an overnight, relay-style event that takes place every year to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer. Over 2,000 visitors are expected at Park Vista to show their support for the 47 registered teams and approximately 1,000 team members, who will take turns walking laps for the entire 18-hour duration. The activities begin at 1:00 p.m. with the Army’s Honor Guard and a survivors’ lap, followed by the Luminaria at 9:00 p.m., and a closing ceremony at 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Event chair, Dawn Mason, said, “The funds raised at the Relay help support the American Cancer Society’s mission to help those in our own community. With the $30,000 we have raised so far, we are helping a 17-year-old Park Vista student battling Ewing Sarcoma and a mother of three who is battling brain and lung cancer.” Corporate sponsors include California Pizza Kitchen, Hair Cuttery, Home Depot, Keystone Insurance, Oasis Nursing Home, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach State College, Ritz Carlton, and Walgreens.

 Local youth, Connor Benson, raised funds by organizing a “crazy hat day” at his elementary school, and local Girl Scouts have raised money as well. The event is open to the public. Relay participants welcome the community’s participation and media coverage. 

About the Relay for Life

Relay for Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordon Klatt, an oncologist in Tacoma, Washington, wanted to make a difference in the lives of his cancer patients. Klatt ran laps around a track for 24 hours and raised $27,000, which he donated to the American Cancer Society. The following year, he recruited 19 teams who participated in the first Relay. Since then, Relay for Life has grown to become the American Cancer Society’s signature event. For more information, visit

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The Adult Education Center (AEC) recently held its 23rd Annual International Friendship Celebration with a variety of school-wide events. Approximately 1000 students, faculty, administrative staff, school board officials participated in the event that brings the students and community together. 

Mr. Rick Swearingen, Principal of the Adult Education Center, began the ceremony with a welcome address and students representing about 40 different countries paraded the grounds with flags and folkloric outfits representing their countries. 

“The Annual International Friendship Celebration is a very special event for everyone at the Adult Education Center. It is a day that exemplifies friendship, diversity and camaraderie among all groups in the school – faculty, staff and most importantly our students,” said Mr. Swearingen. 

The program also included the AEC song composed and interpreted by teacher Mariette Daniel, followed by a song dedicated to the multicultural aspects of the center composed and sung by former students, Stinson Pedro Valley. There were also line dancing, volleyball and soccer tournaments, as well as other indoor and outdoor games. 

One of the highlights of the celebration was an international bazaar featuring various products and handmade items from the students. 

Mr. Rick Swearingen welcoming the students.

Mr. Rick Swearingen welcoming the students.


Flag Parade

Flag Parade


Flag Parade

Flag Parade


International Bazaar

International Bazaar


Students line dancing

Students line dancing

Soccer Team

Soccer Team



For more information contact Mr. Rick Swearingen at (561) 616-7800 or via e-mail at






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

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Pahokee Middle Senior High School’s prom will be highlighted this year with a free DJ after being the winners of the X102.3 Prom Takeover contest. Pahokee received 85,941 votes after competing against other major schools in the area.

The popular radio station communicated with Principal, Mr. Ariel Alejo to enter the contest to win a free DJ for Prom night. Students were encouraged to go online to vote on a poll from the radio station.

“This is great news for our students because it creates an incentive to go to prom, especially if it’s their senior year. It also shows that we are a family and support each other. Go blue devils!” said Mr. Alejo.  

Pahokee’s High School Prom will take place on May 4, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel in West Palm Beach.

The X102.3 Prom Takeover Contest is sponsored by Madame Bridal located in the Boynton Beach Mall.

For more information contact Mr. Ariel Alejo at (561) 924-6400 or via e-mail at






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

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The 25th Palm Beach County Chess Tournament hosted by Elbridge Gale Elementary will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Opening ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the awards ceremony will be at 4:00 p.m. 

Trophies will be given to the top three players and the top three females in each division. All other participants will receive a medal or certificate of participation. A team championship trophy will go to the top team in each division on the three best scores in addition to the sportsmanship trophies that will be awarded upon student recommendations. 

This popular board game improves student’s critical thinking skills, and helps build their self-esteem and confidence. 

Elbridge Gale Elementary is located 1915 Royal Fern Dr., Wellington, FL 33414. 

For more information contact Antonis Loudaros at (561) 422-9300.






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

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MascotSunrise Park Elementary School is ready to “Tackle the FCAT!” During the week prior to the start of FCAT testing, students in primary grades classes adopted an intermediate grade class to show their support for the upcoming FCAT tests. The intermediate grade students received cards, posters, notes of motivation and had cheers sung to them by their adopted classes. Classrooms and hallways were decorated with signs and banners to inspire the students.           

The week culminated with a sports themed pep rally for the third through fifth grade students. Their buddy students kicked off the rallies with a song, cheer, or upbeat skit to show their support. Students and teachers wore their favorite team’s jerseys and sported bright orange wrist bands to declare that Sunrise Park students will tackle the FCAT! The true highlight of the event was a surprise visit from Big LU, Lynn University’s Fighting Knight mascot. Big LU rallied the students to cheer on their teachers in an athletic quiz bowl challenge, where teachers raced to be the first to answer a question related to using strategies on the FCAT exams. Sunrise Park’s “team managers,” Principal, Alicia Steiger and Assistant Principal Margaret Collier were also present to offer a pre-game pep talk. The energy at Sunrise Park was truly amazing!

Sunrise Park students definitely have what it takes to tackle the FCAT!  

For more information about this event, please contact Allison Lazarus, Fifth Grade Team Leader, at (561) 477-4300.

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FCAT Class Act 007Students, teachers and staff at South Intensive Transition School geared up for success on the 2012 Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) 2.0/End-of-Course (EOC) exams through a student assembly on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. Middle and high school students utilized classroom performance system (CPS) technology to judge the acts (teachers and staff) based on high complexity activities that were adapted from the FCAT 2.0 Reading test item specifications for grades 6-8 and 9-10. This included having students describe how the class act (e.g., content of the presentation, attire, attitude, performance) related to the FCAT 2.0/EOC, analyze the use of figurative language, determine the purpose and how it can be used to achieve success on FCAT 2.0/EOC, describe and illustrate how common themes are found among class acts, analyze the similarities and differences and evaluate the validity and reliability of information across all acts.

The class acts were Jazzy FCAT by Joan Clark, Ode to FCAT by Jacqueline Major, The FCAT Temptation by Mike Lawson, Cheaters Never Win by the office staff, Special Guest Appearance by Dr. Voncia Haywood, FCAT Morning by the BIA team, FCAT High School Dream Team by the high school team and FCAT Rap-Up by Mr. Martin. The student judges for middle school were Ben Garcon, James Cenatus, Marie Toussaint, Kevin Delgado, Sarah Duncan, Leanna Nimmons, Kenny Garey and Joseph Desina. The student judges for high school included Romansky Benoit, Edcel Fenelon, Derrick Joseph and O’Dean White.

Principal Dr. Voncia Haywood ensured that there was a focus on test taking strategies and use of high cognitive demand test item specifications to familiarize students with the rigor of FCAT 2.0/EOC. Dr. Haywood also shared FCAT Class Act Tips for success ranging from math and reading best practices to the importance of sleep and staying calm during the test. Staff had various comments on the impact of the student assembly on student and educator motivation.

Assistant Principal and Testing Coordinator Mrs. Gayle Droze says, “Educators change lives with just the right mix of patience and challenges.”

Terrence Narinesingh, Instructional Specialist in Alternative Education says, “The students were engaged and interactive while using the unique CPS learning platform that provides real time actionable feedback and performance data. They are guaranteed success through the strategic data-driven targeting of items to the highest level of complexity as appropriate to the assessed benchmark.”

Cori Ceci, a middle school math teacher says, “The assembly was a great way to reward students for all the hard work and dedication they put into preparing for the FCAT.”

Amy Rick, a high school social studies teacher says, “The assembly was a fun and entertaining was to blow off steam before the FCAT.”

Dominick Coppola, a middle school teacher says, “The CPS clickers connect students to content in a way that’s familiar and fun.”

Monique Lambrou, middle school social sciences teacher says, “The assembly left them excited, energized, and motivated.”

Mike Lawson, an ESE math and science teacher says, “I think the kids really enjoyed all of the talents that the teachers put on. They answered all the FCAT 2.0 questions.”

For more information please contact Terrence Narinesingh at 561-649-6032 or