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Cooper Kennedy, a fourth grader at Poinciana Elementary, knows how important it is to “Just say no to drugs.”  In fact he decorated his door at home with a big poster depicting children playing and practicing sports with a message stating “The best me is drug free.”

Kennedy’s door decoration won him the Region 4 Red Ribbon Week national photo contest award. He is one among ten winners nationwide who participated in the contest and received the most votes for their photos in an online competition.

The Red Ribbon initiative message is, ‘Just say no to drugs’.  For winning the contest, Cooper will get an ipad, and the school will receive $1,000.00 to use on drug prevention and incentives for students. Representatives from and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will present the check to Poinciana Elementary at a general assembly on December 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM at the school cafeteria.

“I’m really excited to see the Red Ribbon Campaign extended to our families’ homes. The school campaign is impactful alone, but when combined with support from families in the community, we can really see change,” said Poinciana Elementary Principal Lisa Lee.

The National Family Partnership (NFP) organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign. NFP provides drug awareness by sponsoring the annual National Red Ribbon celebration. Since its beginning in 1985, the Red Ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction by drugs in America.

To learn more about the contest and winners, please visit

For more information, contact Lisa Lee at (561) 739.5700 or email

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The Wellness Promotion Task Force will be hosting a “Wellness Celebration” to thank and recognize individuals, staff members and community organizations for their contributions to the District’s wellness efforts. 

When? Thursday, December 6, 2012

            3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Meet & Greet

            4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Recognitions and Awards 

Where? Fulton Holland Educational Services Center – Board Room – 3300 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33406. 

Keynote Speaker, Brian Sheen Ph.D., has a passion for integrated and healthy living, combined with 42 years of research and creativity. He has authored six books and recorded over 50 CD’s of his research. He is a dynamic, practical and empowering coach, alternative health practitioner, and a trainer for personal growth that expands into corporate success.  The United State Jaycees honored him with a National Award for his work.

Dr. Sheen combines a unique blend of science, psychology, business management and spirituality that empowers individuals to reach heightened levels of fulfillment and satisfaction in their mental emotional, physical, spiritual, financial and interpersonal lives.  He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, in USA Today and on hundreds of radio, TV and media outlets throughout the United States. 

He has founded The Quantum Empowerment Center, The Florida Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (FICAM), and iFlourish Corporate Training. 

Dr. Sheen also serves as a current Board Member for the Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental ChangE (ACHIEVE) Initiative in Palm Beach County.

Employees, teachers and community partners will be recognized for their support in areas such as exceptional service, nutrition, prevention, better health among others. Special student presentations will feature A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Springs Middle School and Indian Pines Elementary. 

The purpose of the Wellness Promotion Task Force is to create a forum to educate the District and community partners to successfully collaborate in promoting healthier lives. The direction of the task force is to encourage a proactive approach to promote health and wellness among all children, staff, parents and community members. 

Members of the media are welcomed to attend. 

For more information contact Paula Triana, R.D, L.D./N., District’s Co-Chair of the Wellness Promotion Task Force at (561) 383-2026 or via email at  







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

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Under his guidance, Todd LaVogue’s students created a TV show about ancient Egypt to gain a deeper understanding of life during that time. The Roosevelt Middle School students used Word, Internet Explorer and video editing software to research and create a “TODAY”- style news program with news, weather, sports, cooking, lifestyle, history and music segments. The students compared and contrasted ancient Egypt with today’s society and in the end they had a better understanding of what it would have been like to have lived during that time.

Mr. LaVogue’s work was so innovative, it has won an Educator’s Choice Award at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague, Czech Republic.  As one of the five winners from the United States, Mr. LaVogue took third place in the Educator’s Choice category for the project titled “What’s Up Egypt?” 

500 of the most innovative teachers, school leaders, education leaders and government officials from 80 countries gathered for the Global Forum.  Teachers who attend the Forum are regional finalists selected from more than 250,000 teachers registered across national and regional forums throughout the year.  Microsoft honors 21 global educators as winners of the Innovative Educator Awards in six categories.

 Lee Kolbert, School District Manager, Department of Educational Technology said, “Todd is one of those teachers who makes you wish you had teachers just like him when you were a kid. When you hear him describe his students, it’s as if he’s describing his own children. His passion for sharing is only superseded by his love for learning. I’m so proud of Todd and all that he has accomplished.”

Mr. LaVogue will be recognized by the School Board for his creative use of technology in the classroom to enhance student success, at the December 12th School Board meeting. 

For more information please contact Roosevelt Middle School Principal Jo Anne Rogers at 561-822-0200 or .

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While many are unfamiliar with the term, “Prism Concert”, the Literary and Fine Arts Academy (LFAA) at Watson B. Duncan Middle will introduce many to the concept this Wednesday, December 5th. The prism concert concept is derived from the prism which reveals the varied colors of light. A prism concert presents the many facets of performance art in as pure a form as possible without applause, gaps between performances and visual distraction.

The cafeteria at Duncan Middle will be transformed into total darkness, using a single spotlight to illuminate the talent of each of the academy’s strands. The prism effect will be achieved by the Theatrical Academy performing “A Christmas Carol”, Vocal Academy solos and duets projecting beautifully from the sides of the stage-on ground level, Instrumental Academy solos and ensemble pieces floating in from the sides of the audience, dramatic readings written and read by the Literary Academy students, and Visual Academy students’ work displayed toward the back of the area.

The prism concert will highlight the varied talents of the Literary and Fine Arts Academy students with an artful arrangement of performance and exhibited art. The show will begin at 7:00pm in Watson B. Duncan Middle’s Cafeteria; tickets are $5 and are available at the door. “The students and faculty of the Literary and Fine Arts Academy sincerely hope that you will join us for this annual display of student talent,” said Kate Wynn, Literary and Fine Arts Academy Coordinator.

For more information please contact Ms. Wynn at 561-776-3596 or .

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 Forest Hill High School Assistant Principal, David J. Reilly, received one of two 21st Century Awards given each year for pioneering work in the field of continuing education at the recent Annual LERN Conference held in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Reilly, a 40-year educator, received the honor for pioneering work in the organization’s  International Learning Units (Outcome based measurements) and LERN’s Standards  Certificate during the conference which was held November 16-18.  

 The District veteran has served as LERN’s chairman of the Board during 2010 and 2011. He also received the Robert A Smith Award for Excellence in Community Education from the Palm Beach County Assistant Principals for Community Education last year.

LERN, or the Learning Resources Network, is an international organization of lifelong learning programming, offering information and resources to providers of lifelong learning programs.


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Fifty-six 4 and 5 year olds to travel to Dreyfoos School of the Arts for a day filled with fun, food and gifts!

The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts A.R.T.S. Club has once again teamed up with the National Honor Society (NHS) students to host the annual Holiday Outreach Party for pre-school students from Canal Point, Pioneer Park and Pahokee Elementary on December 5th beginning at 10 AM in the school’s media center.  The A.R.T.S. Club is an all school club filled with talented and enthusiastic 9th – 12th grade students who want to use their talents to enrich our community.  They focus their efforts on offering outreach to needy young students, homeless families and to the elderly.  With many of those students also in the National Honor Society it is a natural that the two clubs join together to make this event happen each year!

 It all starts when A.R.T.S. Club sponsor Lea Jefferson and West Area Title I Social Services facilitator Carolyn Vickers make contact in early September to set a date and make plans to bring the children on buses into the downtown West Palm Beach arts school.   The children then wait with excitement for the day to arrive when they can sample Dreyfoos holiday cheer and teenage mentoring that includes performances and sing-a-longs, holiday craft making, pizza eating and cookie decorating – and of course, a visit from Santa for each child!  Dreyfoos A.R.T.S. Club seniors Carl Amritt, Mikeshia Lewin, Ariana Karpinia and Valentina Botero lead up the organization of the event and National Honor Society club sponsor, Richard Gallo and students organize the toy drive.   

 At the conclusion of the day – each child receives a new book donated by a community reading advocate to take back to their home to share and read with their family.  The party is made possible because of a generous donation from Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep of West Palm Beach and from Dreyfoos students who collect new toys and clothes to make each child’s wish list come true!

A.R.T.S. Club members gather to wrap gifts.

Back row; left to right: Cris Carianna, Gabriella Romano, Rachel Randolph, Juan Granados, Charlie Krumholz, Carl Amritt

Second row – left to right: Mikeshia Lewin, Ariana Karpinia, Casey Tarenella, Lauren Stein

Front row – left to right: Chloe Farmer, Valentina Botero



The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts was founded in 1989 as the premier arts high school in the School District of Palm Beach County, the nation’s eleventh largest school district which serves a county geographically larger than Rhode Island or Delaware.  This Choice Program school accepts students based upon a competitive audition process from all public and private middle and high schools in the county.  With a current enrollment of 1,300 students, the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts offers its students intensive study within their art area and a rigorous college preparatory academic curriculum.  The innovative program has led to the school receiving a multitude of awards and recognitions on all levels, local to international, including a 2007 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School Award, a rank of 37 in Newsweek’s ranking of America’s best high schools (2012), and the 2008 Palm Beach County Cultural Council Muse Award for Arts or Cultural Organization / Budget over $500,000.



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The 38th Annual University of South Florida Festival of Winds last weekend included five students from Santaluces High School. Over three hundred students from around the state participated in this year’s festival.  The intent of the four-day event is to provide participants with an experience that will help them develop their musicianship at both the individual and ensemble level.  From November 28th-December 2nd, students visited different areas of the campus, enjoyed choral and musical performances by university students, and attended master classes in addition to auditioning and performing in concerts themselves.

Jimmy Eshbach, a junior clarinet player, and Kevin Allian, a junior tuba player, earned top honors by making the festival’s top honor band, known as the Wind Ensemble. Connor Stage, Geoffrey Leach, and Charlie Basantes also attended the Festival and were placed in the Symphonic Bands.

For more details, contact Santaluces Band Director Manuel Camacho, 561.642.6200, or email


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South Intensive Transition School is the winner of the Wellness Program Event “Apple a Day” spearheaded by the Department of Risk & Benefits Management at the School District of Palm Beach County. The goal of the Wellness Program is to establish a workplace that encourages and supports a healthy lifestyle by integrating health promotion and resources that help to enhance health and well-being.

“It’s been a week since the competition ended and we are missing all of the apples – or maybe it’s just seeing all your beautiful faces and fun apple photos. We hope that you had as much fun with the competition as we did! Ideally, it sparked something in your core to continue pursuing ways to improve your health,” said the Apple a Day team.

South Intensive Transition School has emphasized the importance of keeping faculty, staff, students and families healthy. It has also focused on diminishing the risk factors among at-risk members and improving the health of those who already have chronic conditions by encouraging them to make lifestyle changes.

“It is important that everyone has access to resources to make informed decisions about their health,” commented Assistant Principal Terrence Narinesingh, “we have the responsibility of ensuring that our students perform at their best both mentally and physically.”

“The Apple-A-Day Experience was wonderful!”  said Principal Dr. Voncia Haywood. “Our entire school family became more mindful of the need for healthy living and well-being through class instruction, science projects, reading literature and daily announcements.  Our staff and students encouraged each other, creating a terrific school-wide team spirit!”

Congratulations to Jacques Nicholas and Joan Clarke-Green for making it to the Apple a Day Honor Roll.

For more information, please visit the Apple a Day website or contact Terrence Narinesingh at 561-202-0600 or email


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Gove Elementary Wellness Student Council participated in the pre-game and half time celebration during the recent Dolphin vs. Seahawks game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. 

Students during pregame. Kevin Taylor, local hero, receiving an award.

“We would like to thank the Dairy Council of Florida, Mr. Randy Burnham and Allison Ducey, plus the NFL Play 60 for the unforgettable memories for our 20 students,” said Mr. Darren Edgecomb, Principal.

The Student Wellness Council earned this experience by completing challenges in the NFL Play 60 grant. They did a community walk to school in October, provided a pep rally for the whole school to commit to the NFL Play 60 pledge of exercising 60 minutes a day, promoted eating healthy and being of good character for the community. 

Mr. Darren Edgecomb and students during halftime excercising.

The Council also did a Quaker Oats Oatmeal Breakfast Challenge at one of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings and planned several other projects for the New Year. Some of those wellness initiatives include a health fair, community walk, 3rd grade family fitness night with the Lakeside Medical Center and many more. 

“We would also like to thank our awesome Gove staff: Michelle Kalsbeck, Coach Carril, Sheila Houston, Sheila Bynes, Rick Beth, Jerry Smith and Principal Mr. Edgecomb who chaperoned this event,” added Ms. Ellen Smith, Wellness Teacher.  

Students "powering up" with granola bars and chocolate milk before the game.

For more information contact Ellen Smith at (561) 993-8700 or via email at






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

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First graders and high school students will come together to present a Holiday Show to benefit a local organization that supports the homeless.  Debbi Delgado-Coccia’s First Grade class from Lighthouse Elementary and Michelle Barows’ American Sign Language students from William T. Dwyer High School will present the Annual American Sign Language Program beginning at6:00 PM, Thursday, December 13 in the Lighthouse Elementary Cafetorium. 

“Our holiday show is the result of a cooperative program between Dwyer High School and Lighthouse Elementary School,” said Ms. Delgado-Coccia. “The high school students work throughout the year teaching American Sign Language to the first graders and the festive Holiday program is filled music, dancing, cheers and tears.”

Once again the show is a benefit for the Lord’s Place, a nonprofit, non-sectarian, 501(c)3 organization that has been changing the lives of homeless families and individuals in Palm Beach County for over 30-years. The agency is committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness.

The students are asking for everyone who comes to the show to support the organization by bringing a donation of a nonperishable food or bag of diapers to the program.  They will have a table set up to accept these donations as well as any monetary donations that come in.

For more information please contact Lighthouse Elementary Principal Leslie Bolte at 561-741-9400 or .

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Twenty years ago, then-Palm Beach County School District Area Superintendent Dr. Marshall Jenkins arrived in the school system from New York and immediately became  immersed in the work to integrate and improve public education here.

His work was also responsible for bringing the “school within a school” concept to Palm Beach County.  Twenty years later, he has published a book about his work: Intellectually Persecuted.

“It is the story of some of the challenges I experienced in integrating the school systems in the north and the south,” said Dr. Jenkins. “It is about my fight for equal education for our children, along with similar challenges that I had in performing duties of my job descriptions and in following the law of the land. Many obstacles were thrown in my path.”

While the formal publication date is December 11, 2012, Dr. Jenkins is scheduled for two book signings:

Saturday December 8, 2012, from 2:00 p.m.  to 4:45 p.m. at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach (formerly West Palm Beach Library),  411 Clematis St.,  West Palm Beach, FL    33401.  
Friday, December 14, 2012, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Sunset Lounge,  609 – 8th Street, West Palm Beach, FL  33401.
Dr. Jenkins has dedicated the book to Black Colleges throughout the country. “It is my desire to put a copy of this book in the home of all our children, as it describes achievement in spite of….., ” he said.

For more information, contact Dr. Marshall Jenkins at 561-683-0965.

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Max Planck Florida Institute is celebrating the opening of its new research facility in Jupiter, FL by hosting a Neuroscience Discovery Day on Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  This event is FREE and open to the public. 

There will be activities for all ages which include: 

  • Lectures by Max Planck Scientists
  • Tours of the 100,000 sq. ft. Research Facility
  • Careers in Science Panel Discussion
  • Scientific Experiments and Interactive
  • Images of Science Exhibit
  • Neuron Face Painting and Balloon Art 

High school students in Palm Beach County are already hard at work preparing for two different competitions that will take place on Neuroscience Discovery Day: 

  1. Neuroscience Inspires Art – Students in grades 9-12 will be submitting neuroscience–inspired art projects.  Each project will revolve around the theme of how we use our brains to process sensory information.  All submitted projects will be on display. 
  2. Battle of the Brains – Students in grades 9-12 will be submitting informational posters.  Each student will be judged on a 5 minute oral presentation which will be aided by their poster.  To prepare for this competition, students must do extensive research on one of ten approved topics.  Topics include how stress affects the brain and why certain drugs are addictive.  Informational posters on all approved topics will be on display. 

For more information about this event and to register, please visit   

For specific questions about the Neuroscience Inspires Art competition please contact Rebekah Corlew at   

For specific questions about the Battle of the Brains competition, contact Dr. Ana Fiallos at or Gregory Goebel, District’s Secondary Science Program Planner, at (561) 357-1128 or by email 


About the Max Planck Florida Institute

The Max Planck Florida Institute is the first Institute the German-based Max Planck Society has established in the United States. In July 2008, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the allocation of $86.9 million to build and operate the Max Planck Florida Institute. The total amount of the investment by the county and its partners in the deal, which includes Florida Atlantic University (FAU), is $94 million. This amount matches the agreement signed in March, 2008 by the Florida Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development to allocate $94 million from the state’s Innovation Incentive Fund to bring the research institute to Florida.

Research at the Max Planck Florida Institute will focus on brain function and neural circuits, using the most advanced techniques to visualize microscopic molecular processes. Understanding the functional organization of the nervous system, its capacity to produce perception, thought, language, memory, emotion, and action, remains the ultimate challenge for biology. Neural circuits, the complex synaptic networks of the brain, hold the key to understanding who we are, why we behave the way we do, and how the debilitating effects of neurological and psychiatric disorders can be ameliorated. Meeting this challenge requires forging links between different levels of analysis—genetic, molecular, cellular, circuit, and behavioral—and developing new technologies that make cutting edge scientific discoveries possible. The Max Planck Florida Institute brings together outstanding scientists with a broad range of expertise in a cohesive, collaborative environment designed to stimulate the development of novel approaches to understanding the structure, function, and development of neural circuits.








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

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The Toomai String Quintet, formed at The Juilliard School, will be returning for the second time, to the Bak Middle School of the Arts for a two day Arts Residency on December 7 and 8, 2012.  The musicians in this phenomenal quintet will be performing, coaching and teaching a technique class to all of the students in the entire String Department.  In addition, the middle school students will have the opportunity to observe student master classes and student chamber groups throughout this two day event.  

The students are looking forward to the return of this amazing ensemble of musicians and would like to thank Principal Elizabeth Kennedy, the Middle School of the Arts Foundation and string parents for their generous support.

For more information please contact Jody Dragon, Executive Director, Middle School of the Arts Foundation at 561-882-3828 or .

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The 2012-2013 Palm Beach County Outstanding Student, Adult and Senior School Volunteers are: Student Volunteer of the Year Samantha Kerker, senior at Atlantic High School; Adult Volunteer of the Year Jennifer Martinez from Hidden Oaks Elementary; Senior Volunteer of the Year Wayne Anderson from Lighthouse Elementary.  Over 39,000 volunteers work with our students and teachers supporting our goal of academic excellence.  These three outstanding volunteers directly impact student achievement and are shining examples of the thousands of dedicated volunteers working with our students each and every day.


Samantha Kerker not only created Students for the Poor, a non-profit student-run club that raises awareness of poverty, but she has incited a desire and commitment in her fellow students.  There are now 28 clubs in 28 local Palm Beach County schools that have more than 1,500 students who are involved and teens across the nation are contacting her to see how they can make a difference in other people’s lives, as well.   Last year she was chosen as one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of the year at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.   She has over 1530 community service hours on her transcript, while still maintaining a 4.45 HPA as an International Baccalaureate student. 


Jennifer Martinez has volunteered in excess of 2,000 hours yearly in the three schools (Hidden Oaks Elementary, Don Estridge High Tech Middle, and Park Vista High School) that her children attend and has started many programs and events.  As a mother of four, including an autistic son, she has been a volunteer in Palm Beach County schools for 13 years.  Further, she serves as President of the Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSAs and does committee work on the Florida PTA. Under her leadership there has been a significant increase in attendance and her administration has received praise for its communication efforts, such as email newsletters – “The PTA Press” and “Weekly Word”.  She works on numerous committees at the local, state, and national levels.


Wayne Anderson has volunteered thousands of hours and served in nine Palm Beach County schools over the last 20 years.  His services include: working with students to improve academics, behavior and attendance; serving on eight SAC committees; assisting staff in many capacities; providing recognition to deserving students.  He has also served as debate team and chess club coaches and has served as a judge for many contests and projects.  Even with all of this large scale involvement, Mr. Anderson is the “jack of all trades” and “go to” guy at Lighthouse Elementary. He works in many capacities to improve the school for the benefit of students, as well as staff.  He does everything from taking photographs at school events to helping teachers set up computers. 


‘Every school in the county needs volunteers like Samantha, Jennifer and Wayne,” said Debi Elfen, Volunteer Coordinator for the School District.  “We value the time and special talents of all our volunteers. We invite you to come volunteer in our schools and help make a difference in a child’s life today.”

For more information on the 2012-13 Outstanding School Volunteers please contact Ms. Elfen at 561-434 8789 and  or Judee Cabrera at 561-434-8771  and  or if you are interested in volunteering please click



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The new business partnership between S.D. Spady Elementary School and the owner of XF Martial Arts Sensei Vince Cohen gives him an opportunity to commit his talents and create a program for 4th and 5th grade students that are in need of self-esteem empowerment.

Each Wednesday at 11:30 AM, a selected group of students from S.D. Spady Elementary meet with Sensei Cohen for a 45-minute class that incorporates physical fitness, self-defense and good old fashioned conversation and caring.

Presently eight students, identified by their teachers are participating in the program for the next eight weeks. The goal is to help students recognize the value of self-empowerment.  It is the wish of S.D. Spady Elementary and XF Martial Arts that the program will expand to other schools in the county.

For more information, call Rona Tata at 561-434-7800 or email

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While getting into college and competing for scholarship dollars has never been more difficult, Palm Beach County students are closer to continuing their advantage when applying to college and seeking college scholarships.  That’s because the school district will soon be hosting a review team that will decide  whether the district retains the valuable  “accredited” status it has held since 2008. “The district is in the quality assurance review portion of the self-assessment required as part of the continuing preparation for the External Review Committee’s visit,” said Cheryl Baker, manager of School Improvement and a lead coordinator of the district’s re-accreditation process. “This means we’re documenting strengths in each of the specified areas, as well as highlighting opportunities for improvement in each area and taking steps to make those improvements.”

 There are five distinct standards set forth by The Southern Association of Colleges and School Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) of AdvancED: Purpose and Direction; Governance and Leadership; Teaching and Assessing for Learning; Resources and Support Systems; and Using Results for Continuous Improvement. Pat Wentz, AdvancED Florida director, has verified that the School District of Palm Beach County is the third largest accredited school district within AdvancED’s associations. “There are only a handful of large school districts which have earned this distinction in the world,” she stated. “Accreditation means the district has qualified teachers who continually work to improve their teaching and students have access to rich, diverse and sound curriculum as well as opportunities to participate in a wide range of student activities and support services.”

What does district accreditation mean for parents?  Parents can be confident that the district’s top priorities are increasing student achievement; providing a safe and enriching learning environment; and running an efficient operation. Additionally, students can be assured that their teachers are qualified and are always working to improve their methods and that students see better transition from grade to grade where they experience rigorous, diverse, and sound curriculum based on quality standards. At the end of their public school journey, the students enjoy an advantage related to college admission and competing for and acquiring college scholarships and grants.

How does district accreditation impact the larger community? Kelly Smallridge, president & CEO of the Business Development Board (BDB) of Palm Beach County serves on the district’s Accreditation Marketing Committee. “The Palm Beach County School District being one of only a few large, accredited urban school districts in the nation helps give BDB a competitive advantage in courting business relocations from outside Florida,” she stated. “A strong public education system is definitely a key factor when companies are considering sites for their corporate homes.”

The district and schools are looking at their practices with the focus on continuous improvement while also preparing logistical details for the external review committee’s visit in about 60 days. The committee of approximately 46 people, will visit Palm Beach County for its review January 27-30, 2013 and will fan out across the district for a comprehensive assessment of its performance in each standard.

About AdvancED

AdvancED is the world’s largest education community, serving more than 30,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 70 countries that educate over 16 million students.

As the global leader in advancing education excellence through accreditation and school improvement, AdvancED brings together more than 100 years of experience and the expertise of the three largest US-based accreditation agencies — the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).

For more details about the district’s process for continued accreditation, visit or contact re-accreditation process coordinators Dianna Weinbaum, 561.357.7667,  or Cheryl Baker, 561.434.8792,








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Santaluces High School proudly represented Palm Beach County this year in the Florida Marching Band Coalition’s (FMBC) State Marching Band Competition. The FMBC Finals Olympic Retreat was held November 17- with over 10,000 Florida students participating in Semi-Finals and Finals at four locations in Tampa and St. Petersberg. The Santaluces Marching Chiefs earned the “Best in Class Visual”Award in the 2A class and the title of 1st Runner Up out of twenty bands in this year’s state Finals. Alyssa Polny, four- year alto saxophone senior, was also announced as a Jon Kersten Memorial Scholarship Recipient and was honored in the Finals Olympic Retreat in front of a huge crowd of spectators in the Tropicana Dome in St. Petersburg.

For more information, contact Director Manuel Camacho, 561.642.6200 or email



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Spanish River High Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), staff, students, guests and parents made a donation of $ 1,050.84 to Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, New Jersey, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

After the storm, the PTSA jumped quickly into action searching for a high school in need to support.

“We put out the word to our PTSA Board members that we were looking for a high school to support,” says PTSA President Sharyn Schneiderman. “The PTSA board members with the help of social media and email reached out to friends in the northeast and within a week Spanish River had the answer, Shore Regional High School through Shore Regional Relief Fund.”

“We just couldn’t sit by and watch others suffer,” continues Ms. Schneiderman. “Shore Regional was the school for us. It is just like Spanish River High School, except we’re the Sharks and they are the Devils. Same school colors too! We chose Shore Regional randomly, but soon found out that one of our parents went to school there.  It made the whole situation much more real to people.”

Once the school was chosen the PTSA sent out information and asked for cash donations that would be mailed to the Shore Regional Relief Fund.

Shore Regional High School is a public high school for grades 9-12. The student population is about 700.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established the first-ever National Urban Physical Education Leadership Coalition and has selected Eric Stern, K-12 Curriculum Administrator for the School District of Palm Beach county, as one of the twelve leading experts from across the United States. 

The purpose of the coalition is to develop a national research, professional development, and best practice agenda for urban physical education. The partner organizations include CDC, AAHPERD/NASPE, Action for Healthy Kids, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the New York City Department of Education’s Office of School Wellness Programs (OSWP). These organizations support the development of the coalition and have selected a dozen of the most pro-active and influential urban physical education professionals in the United States to guide the work that will shape urban physical education for our nation. Mr. Stern said “This is truly an honor and I am thrilled to represent the School District of Palm Beach County and all of the District’s physical education teachers.”

Mr. Stern and the eleven other coalition members will:

* identify effective practices for improving physical education in urban settings;

* advance urban physical education in the U.S.;

* communicate to decision makers, the school and broader community about the impact of high quality physical education on student learning and overall well-being;

* convey the value of effective physical education programs that address health and education disparities among urban youth; and

* collaborate in the development of ideas for improving the evaluation of urban physical education programs and practices.

Mr. Stern is currently serving his last year of a four-year commitment to the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sports.  He served as the state president from October 2010 through October 2012.

The first coalition meeting will be held December 6-7, 2012 in Atlanta, GA.

For more information please contact Vickie Middlebrooks, Public Affairs, at 561-357-7661 or .

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The Teacher Academy at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School celebrated 20 years of excellence in education in a big and unique way.  The students in this academy work diligently to learn the art of teaching and history of education in our country.  On Monday, November 26 in the Palm Beach Lakes Gymnasium, for the first time ever, the academy hosted a Teacher Academy Education Affair. 

Teacher Academy students, from grades nine to twelve, displayed their class and individual research in education.  They reported on relevant, interesting, and even controversial topics educators face every day.  Some of the topics included the following: Learning Styles, Standardized Testing, Professionalism in Education, Technology in Education, Sex Education in Schools, etc.  Senior, Eeliyah Miller, not only won over her peers with her eye catching yet informative College Readiness research and presentation, but she also won a ticket to see rap star and TV sensation TI in concert, courtesy of radio celebrity Poet and 102.3. 

“We thank the many participants who made the event a success,” said the school’s Choice Coordinator Tera Hands.  “Nova Southeastern University, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, MedVance, as well as Junior Achievement were in attendance, sharing with the students the opportunities in education.”  

Dr. Sylvia Tricarico, Department of Choice and Career Options Specialist, had this to say about the Education Affair, “The event was wonderful.  The students were knowledgeable regarding their presentations, acted in a professional manner, and were quite enthusiastic about their topics.  So many times we hear what we are ‘doing wrong’ with our students, in this case you all hit a ‘home run’ — you truly have a group of budding professional teachers in your midst.”  

The Teacher Academy achieved its twofold purpose—to bring awareness to the academy and the field of education and to celebrate a milestone…20 Years of Excellence in Education at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School.

For more information please contact Ms. Hands at 561-640-5014 or .





















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Palm Beach County is a great place to live and work and the School District wants people to know just how effective and high quality the schools are as well. An eight minute DVD titled “Palm Beach County Schools: We Mean Business” is being distributed to area businesses, community organizations and local municipalities.  The video produced by The Education Network (T.E.N.) is intended to be used as a promotional “expression of pride” in what the School District and business community have accomplished together.

In a letter to community partners included with the DVD, Superintendent Wayne Gent wrote, “As the 11th largest school district in the nation, we share great pride in our academic excellence and in being an Accredited district.  We are also an A-rated District for the past eight years.  Beyond the dedication of our employees, it is the community-driven support of our volunteers and business partners, which have contributed to this success.”

Businesses and community organizations are being encouraged to use the video to foster growth in the business community, to post on their websites or to assist in recruiting potential new businesses to our beautiful area.

The video can be viewed at

For more information please contact Nat Harrington, Public Affairs, at 561-434-8227 or

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Yinjie Qian Recognized as Top Chinese Language Teacher in the State of Florida by the Florida Foreign Language Association

Yinjie Qian, a Chinese language teacher at Olympic Heights Community High School in Boca Raton, has been named the 2012 “Teacher of the Year” by the Florida Foreign Language Association—Florida Chinese Teachers Association.

The award was bestowed on Qian last month at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Florida Foreign Language Association (FFLA) in Saint Augustine.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen as ‘Teacher of the Year,’” said Qian. “I appreciate the recognition and honor and will continue to do my best.”

Qian joined Olympic Heights in 2001 as a teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages. In 2006, she earned National Board Certification and then took on a leadership role to design and develop the school’s Chinese Language program. Since then, the program has grown from one level to multiple levels and now includes an Advanced Placement class in Chinese as well. Qian also founded the Chinese Club at Olympic Heights.

“We are thrilled that Yinjie has received this statewide honor,” said David Clark, Principal at Olympic Heights. “She is dedicated to her students and the teaching profession, and this recognition is well-deserved.”

The “Teacher of the Year” award is bestowed every year by the Florida Chinese Teachers Association, a member organization of the FFLA. FFLA is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the study and teaching of languages and cultures.

“Many teachers at our school are dedicated and hard-working,” said Qian. “To me, they are the unsung heroes and role models I often draw inspiration from. My students are also the source of my driving force. Their energy and enthusiasm for learning have always inspired me to better prepare them for their future.”

For more information contact Carla Blefary at 561-289-9726 or email

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Students and staff at Wellington Elementary know the importance of helping others.  Through their “Dollar for Denim Days”, students and staff paid $1 to wear jeans and the proceeds have benefited local charities.  Wellington Elementary School donated $397 to the Autism Speaks Foundation in October and $386 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy victims in November. 

Students also participated in the WPTV Food for Families Drive and collected 2, 378 non-perishable goods for families in need. 

“We have worked hard to instill those core character values, with kindness being a priority, and the students have shown true kindness” said Dr. Eugina Smith Feaman, Principal. 

The School District of Palm Beach County supports the strengthening of school programs, family practices and student learning through the integration of community members and business organizations. Schools actively participate in programs and community partners join schools in their efforts to provide resources and materials to students, teachers and families.

For more information contact Dr. Smith Feaman at (561) 651-0600 or via email at






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

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Benoist Farms Elementary School recently hosted a Thanksgiving food drive to assist families within their community.  The school was over whelmed with the support that was provided by students, staff and the community.  “Our original goal was to provide complete Thanksgiving meals to ten families.  With the out pour of assistance, we were able to feed TWENTY-FIVE families!” said Ms. Lauren Rogers, parent liaison and project sponsor. 

Each family received a large laundry basket that included a 14 lb. turkey, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams and countless other items.  On November 17, 2012 staff members and students of the KC (kindness & compassion club) delivered these meals to the families at their homes in the community.  The response from the families was not only of pure appreciation, but also provided our students with a valuable lesson on the importance of helping others and working as a team.  

“We are thankful for all the donations and especially grateful for setting an example to our students about the importance helping others. The KC Club within our school focuses on showing kindness and compassion to other students, as well as, the community by involvement in activities and events,” added Ms. Rogers.



For more information contact Lauren Rogers at (561) 383-9735 or via email at






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

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The Great Book Hunt features latest release of the Adventures of Charlie Pierce series

The Education Network’s newest production is a vodcast about The Great Book Hunt, set for Saturday, December 1, starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Arthur Marshall Loxahatchee National Refuge, and the John D. MacArthur Beach Park in Palm Beach County, and other state parks around Florida. The event is designed to promote The Last Calusa—the latest book released by area lawyer,  historian, and author, Harvey Oyer, III, who created The Adventures of Charlie Pierce series.

The District is one of several around the state that have partnered with state agencies to help launch the book in an intriguing, student-friendly manner. The first copies of The Last Calusa will not be available at bookstores. Instead, youngsters and their families are urged to visit State parks to look for clues that have been placed by the State Park Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.  Their goal: for students and their families to spend time in the “great outdoors”, finding clues that will lead to The Last Calusa books, as well as other prizes, and along the way– learn more about Florida’s unique natural resources.

This is a program that the governor’s office is supporting as it promotes reading, literacy, andFlorida history while also encouraging Florida families to use our State Parks.  Park entrance fees will be waived on the day of the Great Book Hunt. Mr. Oyer said he’s delighted the state selected his newest book, which is about the people who occupied Florida prior to the arrival of the Spanish almost 500 years ago.” This book fits perfectly with the State’s planned Quincentennial celebration, which the Governor and his wife are intimately involved with,” he stated.

To view the vodcast, click on the following link.

To see a list of participating parks, click here.List of Parks, Great Florida book Hunt[1]