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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]

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Royal Palm Beach High School’s Choice Academy students have been working diligently to provide assistance to local charities and families in need during this holiday season. 

The Global Business Academy’s Interact Club, led by Darrell Schwartz,  in cooperation with the Royal Palm Beach PBSO and the Village of Royal Palm Beach, raised over 1000 pounds of non-perishable food items to help provide Thanksgiving Food Packages to families in need in Palm Beach County.                                                                                                    

Students and teachers throughout the school generously donated items to help reach this goal and ensure that needy families in our community will be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. “Our school came in first place in the county food drive with the Sheriff’s office raising over 2000 pounds of food!” added Mr. Armas, principal. 

The Medical Academy’s HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) chapter raised over $800 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk.  Over 80 students participated in the event, either as volunteers or walkers. This event brings help and hope to thousands of people battling blood cancers.  

Funds raised by teams and individual walkers provide:

  • Lifesaving blood cancer research
  • Free educational materials and events for patients and their families
  • Local programs such as Family Support Groups and First Connection, a peer-to-peer counseling program
  • Comprehensive, personalized assistance through our Information Resource Center 

In addition, the Medical Academy students, led by Janet Fabra and Michelle Ugalde, have adopted a family with eight children for Christmas.  Students will provide needed items along with items from the family’s wish list.  The children range in age from 13 years to 6 months.  Some of the needed items the students are supplying are shoes, clothes, school supplies, along with non-perishable food items, gift cards to local grocery stores so the family can purchase eggs, milk, meats, etc. Along with these items they are trying to fulfill the wish list of toys and books. 

Principal Jesus Armas is proud of the work the school has done. “Our students and staff are great examples of how Royal Palm Beach High School is the beacon of the community.” 

For additional information contact Jesus Armas, Principal at (561) 753-4002 or via e-mail to





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

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The School District of Palm Beach County’s Public Affairs Department launched a Facebook fan page and Twitter account earlier this year with the purpose to enhance the district’s educational presence and public engagement. Parents, students, employees and community members are now invited to participate in a Social Media Survey, which will provide us with the opportunity to obtain feedback from our stakeholders.

The following link will take you to the 17 item survey that takes less than five minutes to complete. It will be available until January 14, 2013. All responses will remain anonymous and the information will be used for statistical analysis only.

Social Media Survey

This social media survey is part of a pilot program as the initial step toward creating a district-wide social networking policy. The Department of Public Affairs in collaboration with the Division of Information Technology, Educational Technology Department and the Legal Department will be evaluating the results of this initiative to determine guidelines and procedures that will be implemented in the future by all schools and departments. Click here to read more about the Social Media Pilot Program.

Survey participants should keep in mind that the main purpose of this survey is to obtain the reactions and suggestions of our social media efforts and other means of communication. We believe in the importance of including our community in our communication efforts to determine the best way possible to disseminate information about the District’s efforts, events, programs and activities.

Obtain information about schools, events, activities, scholarships, graduation and much more by “Liking” our Facebook Page under the name The School District of Palm Beach County or by “Following” us on Twitter  @PBCSD.

For more information contact Natalia Arenas at (561) 357-7662 or via email at






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

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The School District of Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) have reached Tentative Agreement on contract negotiations that includes a salary increase for all 12,578 teachers.   The new and improved salary schedule provides an average increase of 3.41% for all teachers retroactive to July 1, 2012.  The two sides concluded bargaining late Monday evening (11/26/12).  That meeting marked the eleventh bargaining session between the parties since negotiations began last May.   

The tentative salary agreement for Palm Beach County School District teachers is believed to be one of the highest, if not the highest, in the State of Florida for the 2012-13 school year. 
“We are very pleased that we have been able to reach this important agreement,” said Superintendent Wayne Gent. “The School Board values our teachers, and this tentative agreement demonstrates our commitment to provide the best salary proposal financially possible at this time.  We look forward to an ongoing collaborative relationship with our teachers that will ultimately benefit the students,” he said.
Some highlights of the agreement include: 
  • Teachers will receive a salary increase on an improved salary schedule retroactive to the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
  • Under the agreement, all teachers will receive an equitable increase averaging 3.41% for the entire employee group.
  • By improving the salary schedule, teachers eligible for a step will receive an increase ranging from $1,500 to $4,300. The average increase will be $1,786.
  • The cost to the District will be approximately $22.5 million
  • The beginning salary for teachers with no prior experience was increased from $37,322 to $38,000.  So, even newly-hired teachers will realize an increase of $678.
    • Teachers currently earning the longevity salary of $71,745, will see their base salary increase by $1,500 to $73,245 for the 2012-13 school year.  The longevity salary will revert back to $72,500 on July 1, 2013 unless the parties agree otherwise in future negotiations that are already scheduled to reopen in April of 2013.
    • Teachers with children in District-operated after school child care programs will be eligible for a 25% discount.    
The tentative agreement must now be ratified by teachers through a vote and then approved by the School Board.

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Thousands of people, united by a single cause, will walk on Sunday, March 3, 2013, starting at the Meyer Amphitheatre in Downtown West Palm Beach. Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a fun-filled and family friendly event. The goal is to help collect funds for vital research to answer many questions about this condition.

Participating walkers will help raise funds by getting sponsors involved. Besides supporting a walker, sponsors can also volunteer or host an event. Proceeds of the initiative will contribute to the funding for research on autism.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the U.S. Every eleven minutes, a family receives the devastating news that its child has an autism spectrum disorder.

“We need more volunteers to join our fight. Whether this is your first walk or the 10th, take the first step and register today. You will not only raise funds, but you will also become a part of a fun and supportive family-focused community initiative.  Start fundraising today. Whether you strive to join the new “Grand Club” (walkers that raise $1,000 or more) or sell lemonade to boost your total or create your own unique event, you become a part of the solution! Don’t wait another minute! Start a corporate, school or family team today,’ said Will Gordillo, Director of the Department of Exceptional Student Education at the School District of Palm Beach County.

This initiative is in line with the School District of Palm Beach County commitment to providing exceptional students a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in accordance with federal, state, and local mandates.

To register, please visit the site link below:

For more information, contact Jacquie Nicholson at 561-465-0053 or email

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First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach is partnering with the South Olive Elementary School family to provide support for hundreds of children whose families are economically challenged. The church is once again presenting Project Christmas-A Night of Joy–a concert that’s being offered as a way to celebrate the season with friends and neighbors while also partnering to make a difference in the lives of families in the community.

One hundred percent of the proceeds of concert ticket sales will benefit South Olive Elementary School with some of their targeted projects including teacher appreciation, student tutoring, and special projects. Concert performances are scheduled for Friday, December 7, Saturday, December 8, and Sunday, December 9 –all starting at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets  cost $12.00 each and are available on line at or at the First Baptist Church Welcome Center on Wednesdays, from 5:30-8:00 p.m., and Sundays, 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. Guests are asked to bring an email confirmation as a receipt for online purchases when picking up tickets.  For more details, click here or call 561.650.7400.

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Strides for Education 5K Walk/Run throughout Florida aims at raising $1,000,000 for college scholarships for low-income and deserving students. Take Stock in Children helps break the cycle of poverty by providing college scholarships, caring volunteer mentors and hope for a better life.


WHEN:          Saturday, December, 8, 2012   –   9:00 AM

WHERE:       Florida Atlantic University (Boca Campus) – 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL

Take Stock in Children is Florida’s flagship and most successful mentoring program. Participants can walk, run, volunteer or raise fund as a virtual walker!

For event details and sponsorship opportunities, call 561-603-9780 or visit

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The School District of Palm Beach County, in partnership with Onehealth, United Healthcare, and Wells Fargo, has taken the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” to a whole new level. Over the past five weeks, all district personnel have been encouraged to eat at least one apple every day. The event started October 3 and continued through November 6.

In its first year, this healthy and engaging initiative enjoyed overwhelming support. Thousands participated, at over 120 locations, submitting over 4,000 of pictures of responsible apple consumption. The 2012 Apple A Day Wellness Event was won by Intensive Transition South (Team Challenge) and Glenda Williams (Individual Challenge). 

Apple a Day was designed to encourage healthier lifestyles, focusing on seven specific areas of health and wellness. Each day, personnel took pictures of themselves eating apples or an approved nutritious equivalent (ideally, mid-consumption). Photos were sent to Onehealth via MMS text, e-mail, or via an online form to be recorded and scored. 

Each week bonus activities were featured that addressed each of the seven targeted objectives, including passing out apples on Halloween, exercising, and reading health and wellness articles online or in print. By promoting friendly competition and encouraging conscientious healthy eating habits, this event reflected exactly what The District’s wellness program is about. 

“I love this apple a day campaign! It such a simple concept, and can make a big difference!” said one District Wellness Champion. The competition turned out to be too much fun for the students to merely observe, and hundreds ended up participating. More than one cafeteria reported running out of apples just hours into the challenge. 

“This was an easy, fun program that offered competition and the motivation to be healthy. We know fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet and most of us don’t get enough of them. It was inspiring to see how the program benefited not only staff- but students, parents and the community” says Kim Sandmaier, the District’s wellness coordinator. 

This event was successful in allowing participants to take their health into their own hands. People were even excited about eating apples daily. As a school district, Palm Beach County is ahead of the curve in striving for employee wellness and doing so in engaging, fun ways. 


For more information please contact Kim Sandmaier at 561-434-8044 or via email at






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

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Palm Beach County student photographers were selected to represent their schools at the 25th Anniversary of the Armory Art Center. They are celebrating all things artful and as part of this initiative invited middle and high school art teachers to select three great works from their school for the exhibit. 

Palm Beach Daily News is the sponsor of this exhibition and the bronze competition which also celebrates Armory’s 25th anniversary. On display are 52 works from 14 middle and high schools created in the theme of Art Deco or the Celebration of Art. 

"Collision" by Aquille Dukley (RPBHS)

The participating schools include: 

Christa McAuliffe Middle

Conniston Middle

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

John I Leonard High

Jupiter High

Olympic Heights High

Palm Beach Central High

Palm Beach Lakes High

Royal Palm Beach High

Seminole Ridge High

Suncoast Comm. High

Watson B Duncan Middle

Wellington High

Woodlands Middle 

The dates for the exhibition are from November 15 through December 7, 2012.  The Armory Art Center is located at 1700 Parker Ave. West Palm Beach.

"Hangin' Out" by Amara Kaboudan (RPBHS)


"Orange Osmosis" by Paulena Wermuth (RPBHS)


For more information contact Talya Lerman via email at






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


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The Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition invites parents, teachers, social service providers and other community members to attend Bullying Prevention: Social Responsibility in the 21st Century, a special training aimed at arming the community with the skills needed to stop bullying. 

When? Friday, November 30, 2012 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm 

Where? Santaluces High School: 6880 Lawrence Rd. Lantana, FL 33462 

Recent research and multiple studies have suggested that students who bully their classmates are more likely to use cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana than their non-bullying peers and, to no surprise, bully-victims reporting the greatest levels of substance use. 

The event will feature guest speaker, Dr. Debra J. Pepler, Ph.D, an internationally recognized expert on bullying and childhood aggression and an authority on school-based interventions. She speaks widely to professional and community audiences and publishes extensively. Her major research program examines the antisocial behavior of children and adolescents, particularly in the school and peer contexts. Debra J. Pepler, Ph. D. & Wendy Craig, Ph.D. have stated, “We believe that bullying, the combined use of power and aggression, is a problem throughout the lifespan.  Children do not “just grow out of it”.  On the contrary, we believe that children who learn how to acquire power through aggression on the playground may transfer these lessons to sexual harassment, date violence, gang attacks, marital abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse.” 

This training is an opportunity for the community to examine what they can change about their personal social environments that will benefit the community at large. CEUs will be available for professionals.  Please contact the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition for more details. 

Click here to RSVP By November 29, 2012.  

For more information contact Alexa Lee at (561) 844-5952 or via email at





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

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Christian Marrero, a trumpet player from Boynton Beach, received the prestigious Berklee College of Music Presidential Scholarship, granting him a four-year education at no cost to him or his family. The scholarship’s total value over four years is approximately $225,000. Presidential Scholarships, awarded to the world’s best young musicians, cover all tuition, housing, and fees. While such awards are more common for student athletes, this program is unique for a music college.

Marrero started playing trumpet at 12 and took lessons with Gloria Estefan’s lead trumpet player from the Miami Sound Machine, Doug Michels. The trumpet he plays today is a gift from a woman who was so moved by a performance of his in middle school that she purchased him the instrument. Through the years, Marrero has participated in Florida’s all-state jazz, symphonic, and orchestral groups. He toured Europe with the Make a Wish Foundation Charity Band. He was selected among hundreds of trumpet players from the United States and Canada to participate in the Grammy Band Jazz Ensemble, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and the Jazz Band of America. Marrero has worked with Wynton and Jason Marsalis, Wycliffe Gotdon, and Ted Nash in various settings. He graduated from the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

“Berklee offers me a lot of different options for starting my career. I am very interested in the professional music and performance degrees,” says Marrero. “The possibilities and opportunities are endless and I will make sure to take advantage of the prestigious scholarship I have been provided and pursue these degrees and, maybe, even more.”

Diversity and opportunity are the twin pillars of the Presidential Scholarship initiative. ”As a private college, we’re expensive for a family without a lot of income,” says Berklee President Roger H. Brown. “The added challenges in this difficult time might make higher education seem inaccessible to a student. If we want to continue to be the place where the finest contemporary musicians gather regardless of socioeconomic status, we have to work to make sure it’s possible for them to get here, and then stay here.”

Berklee College of Music, for over 65 years, has evolved to support its belief that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through contemporary music education. The college was the first in the U.S. to teach jazz, the popular music of the time. It incorporated rock n’ roll in the 1960s, created the world’s first degree programs in film scoring, music synthesis, and songwriting, and, in recent years, added world music, hip-hop, electronica, and video game music to its curriculum. With a diverse student body representing over 80 countries, a music industry “who’s who” of alumni that have received 222 Grammy Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.

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The educator panel at the Town Hall meeting with Guatemalan parents and students.

 About 35 parents, students, and advocates from the Guatemalan/Maya communities attended a town hall meeting convened by Dr. Debra Robinson, vice-chair of the Palm Beach County School Board, on a recent Thursday evening to voice issues and concerns about the academic success of Guatemalan students in District schools. Overcrowding on school buses with a high population of Guatemalan students; availability of full-time VPK programs; access to information about college entry and college scholarships; and a host of other topics were among those voiced by current and former students, their parents, and some former employees of the District who had served students and families from the Guatemalan communities.

Dr. Robinson was joined by a panel of educators who were on hand to listen to and help address the issues presented, Thursday, November 8, at the session hosted by Dr. George Lockhart at Lake Worth High School. Rod Montgomery, superintendent of Area 2 Schools, Margarita Pinkos, director of the Department of Multicultural Education, Tanya Daniel, principal of Lake Worth Middle School, Mike Riley, principal of South Grade Elementary, and Brian Killeen, principal of Highland Elementary, listened intently with some taking notes as a steady parade of people approached the microphone to express their concerns or ask questions.  Highland Bridges Director Jaime-Lee Brown joined District Mayan social services facilitator Sonia Cabrera Lopez in facilitating the session, time-keeping, and making sure the comments were recorded on chart paper.

Juana Domingo, a sophomore at Lake Worth High School, told the panel she’d like to know where to find more sources of financial assistance….not only as she prepares to apply to colleges soon, but also for opportunities such as a leadership program she was recently invited to participate in, but had to decline because her parents didn’t have the $2500 required for her to enroll. “We have to remember that it does begin with our parents but all parents don’t have the education necessary to help or the money for the extra programs,” she stated.  *At the end of the session, Dr. Robinson urged her colleagues to follow through on the issues that could be immediately addressed and to consider remedies for the other topics. “I think this was an excellent start, an opportunity for us to listen to the parents and students instead of us overwhelming them with a lot of our presentations,” she stated. 

The session was interpreted into Spanish, Q’anjob’al, and Mam for non-English-speakers by District staff Maria Lacobs, Dominga Manuel-Xuncax, and Maria Gaspar. The meeting got underway after dinner was provided for children and their parents. Dinner was sponsored by the Highland and Lake Worth Bridges community organizations. El Sol, and the Guatemalan/Maya Center also helped to recruit participants for the event. 

For more information, contact Sonia Cabrera-Lopez, 561.434.8684 or email

*To see a complete list of concerns expressed by parents and students, click here.PBSD Town Hall Meeting Minutes[1]

Juana Domingo, a sophomore at Lake Worth High School, addresses her concerns to Board Vice-Chair, Dr. Debra Robinson and the educator panel.

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Tom Tufts presents an International Baccalaureate unit to educators at the November 2nd session

Over 30 educators gathered on a recent Saturday for professional development training led by Conniston Middle School teacher and author Tom Tufts. The focus was the International Baccalaureate Unit that focuses on Florida’s 500th anniversary. The training was also connected to Mr. Tuft’s book, The Dynamite Days of Middle School,  where he describes in great detail the fun and adventures of several middle school students as they traipsed across the Everglades. In addition to receiving the novel, the educators from Connniston and Okeeheelee Middle schools also received other classroom resources to support the implementation of the International Baccalaureate unit with their students

The four-hour presentation and workshop activities included a slide show and presentation of the history of Florida, the Seminoles, and the major players involved in the draining of the Everglades from Florida’s Statehood in 1845 to the present. He also explained what needs to be done for restoration to take place and participants had the opportunity to play the vocabulary-teaching board game  themed to the Everglades and the book, which he created a few years ago

Participating educators had been advised to dress appropriately for the outdoors and to expect to spend a couple of additional hours for the professional development experience. Mr. Tufts said it’s accurate to say they were pretty taken aback to get to take an airboat ride into the Everglades. “There was silence as we navigated in the airboat and they experienced strong connections between the presentation and their experience riding through the sawgrass,” he stated.

 Conniston Choice Programs Coordinator Chris Wilkins said the experience was a great one.  “When teachers are able to collaborate and inspire one another, then wonderful things can happen in the classroom which ultimately ensures that the students receive the highest level of education possible…that’s what I saw happen during this training,” he stated.

The  free session will be repeated again on Saturday, January 26, 2013. For more details, contact Mr. Tufts, 561.802.5400 or email

Educators experienced the Everglades firsthand after the classroom portion of their professional development training.





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Twelve biology and chemistry teachers from high schools across Palm Beach County recently participated in an intensive three-day workshop at Scripps Florida, as part of a continuing professional development program developed to strengthen laboratory skills and build confidence with hands-on experiences led by Scripps Florida scientists. 

Dubbed “Scripps Florida InSPIRE” (Instructional Support Program for Innovative Research Education) was presented by Scripps Florida post-doctoral researchers along with fellow Palm Beach County science teachers who have previously taken part in Scripps Florida’s established summer internship program. 

The program was developed to meet Scripps Florida’s goal of addressing the needs of Palm Beach County high school science teachers by providing greater professional development opportunities in a supportive and engaging environment. 

“Ultimately, our objective is to foster an enduring partnership and ongoing dialogue between the research scientist and classroom science teacher,” said Deborah Leach-Scampavia, director of education outreach for Scripps Florida. “After teachers participate in the three-day workshop, they’ll have opportunities to further enhance their laboratory skills by attending special bimonthly seminars with Scripps Florida scientists and participating in weekly online exchanges with researchers via a Web-based interface.”           

The overall goals of Scripps Florida InSPIRE are to:

  • Enhance the pursuit of scholarship in the sciences for classroom teachers
  • Improve teacher access to contemporary scientific materials and methods, as well as state-of the-art laboratory techniques
  • Provide ongoing contact between scientists and classroom teachers for curriculum and subject support
  • Empower educators to bridge the performance gap in science. 

The following high school teachers from Palm Beach County participated in the 2nd annual Scripps Florida InSPIRE workshop: 

Antonio Loyd, Biology Teacher, Lake Worth High School

Melissa Varvarigos, Biology Teacher, Wellington High School

Cindy Bhebe, Biology Teacher, Santaluces High School

Tracy McCoey, Biology Teacher, West Boca Raton High School

Linda Kunf, Biology Teacher, Park Vista High School

Momodou Jobe, Biology Teacher, Glades Central High School

Dionne Lewis, Biology Teacher, Royal Palm Beach High School

Jacob Elvey, Chemistry Teacher, Boca Raton High School

Robert Frick, Chemistry Teacher, Seminole Ridge High School

Lynsey Bruce, Chemistry Teacher, Atlantic High School

Kathleen Leland, Chemistry Teacher, Jupiter High School

Ashley Spooner, Chemistry Teacher, Boynton Beach High School 

InSPIRE was developed by the Scripps Florida Office of Education Outreach and was made possible by the generous support of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. 

For more information, contact Greg Goebel, 6-12 Science Program Planner, at (561) 357-1128 or via email at







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

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South Intensive Transition School, for the second time, converted its gymnasium into a showcase of academic achievement and behavioral recognition. The school held the final round of its Annual Science Fair on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 9:45 a.m. hosting eight contestants from grades 6 through 12 and between the ages of 13 and 18. Parents, faculty, staff and students gathered to see students focused on science, math and engineering issues and careers.

“I think it is a great thing for him to experience. He wants to change and make better grades, so I think this is a positive,” commented Ana Sebastian, parent of ninth grader Tomas Francisco.

The Science Fair this year has grown considerably in popularity and the school anticipates having five entries into the Palm Beach County Districtwide Science Fair. The skills that students attain by participating in hands-on engineering and scientific research will prepare them for higher education and future careers.

“We are creating a generation of innovators where students pursue degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This level of excellence was accomplished with hours of hard work by the students and teachers,” said Assistant Principal Terrence Narinesingh, who also served as a Science Fair judge.

Middle school Science Teacher and Science Fair Coordinator, Ronnie Suddith commented, “our Second Annual Science Fair was a huge success. Our students gained valuable hands-on experience working on their projects. We had a few students that had never participated in a Science Fair and they were excited to be a part of something. I am looking forward to entering our winning projects in the District Science Fair.”

The Science Fair was paired with the Honor Roll Assembly to ensure that academics were at the forefront of the school’s FY13 theme of “high expectations.”

“It’s great to see our students achieving success in their academic subjects as well as their behavior. Many of them have received a certain amount of negative attention at their comprehensive schools and in the community, and they come to us with the goal of transitioning back into a traditional educational environment.  Our staff meets the needs of our unique population on a daily basis, and we are proud to honor our students for their positive results in Science Projects, Honor Roll, and FAB Awards (School-wide Positive Behavior). These are all indicators that our students can and will be victorious over the obstacles they face if they focus on doing their best,” commented Principal Dr. Voncia Haywood.

Twenty-eight students made it on the Honor Roll. The Honor Roll Assembly is an opportunity for diligent students to receive recognition for their hard work and accolades for their academic success. “I feel good about making the Honor Roll because I had bad grades in my other schools so I feel good to accomplish something that I haven’t since fourth grade,” said ninth grader Griffin Napolitano.

Seven students received School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SwPBS) Awards. Every student at South Intensive is encouraged to follow the three universal guidelines for success: Follow directions, Avoid aggression and Be respectful. The SwPBS Team recognizes these students as being “FAB.” It is the ultimate goal for all students to become “FAB” so they can successfully transition back into their comprehensive schools.

According to Monique Lambrou, Middle School English Language Arts/Reading Teacher and SwPBS Coach, “implementing a positive approach to discipline at South Intensive has helped us reduce the number of referrals in FY13 by 48%, when compared to FY12. We plan to continue using a positive behavior support system in order to help our students experience success.”

For more information contact Dr. Voncia Haywood at 561-202-0600 or via e-mail at

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For Royal Palm Beach High School sophomore Shaquille Johnson, he credits his ability to read better and grasp a firmer understanding of complex ideas to his English II/Intensive Reading teacher, Brandon Gilbert.  It hasn’t been easy, given his lack of an affinity for reading, but Gilbert’s energetic style and ability to relate well with students are what makes him a superb educator.

“If you’re having a problem with a question, he simplifies it,” Johnson said. “He’ll meet you half way, where you are, and he’ll be straight with you.” 

Gilbert, 29, who is in his fifth year at Royal Palm Beach High School, has not gone unnoticed. Because of his commitment to students and his work as a youth pastor for In the Word Ministries in West Palm Beach, he was one of 25 leaders under the age of 40 featured in the November edition of Legacy Palm Beach, a Palm Beach Post supplement that spotlights the African American community. 

Although the November issue features leaders in engineering, financial services, government, real estate and law, Gilbert is the lone educator. And that distinction, he said, is what makes him even more humbled and honored by the recognition. 

“I feel very blessed to be recognized by a magazine like Legacy,” said Gilbert, who teaches six classes out of a seven-period day. “I just want to do all I can to teach, mentor and help kids improve their lives.” 

His way of improving lives is to not only give students the academic skills and knowledge they will need to pass the FCAT, but he also wants to impart the life skills of being a person of integrity and helping others to grow. Although the Bethune-Cookman University graduate is considering law school in the future, he said he will continue to work in some capacity with teaching and mentoring children. 

Jesus Armas, principal of Royal Palm Beach High School, said that Gilbert is an exemplary teacher who always has the students’ best interest at heart.  

“He is the consummate professional,” Armas said. “His fervor for the profession and his love for the students are what make him a great teacher and a definite asset to not only the school, but the greater community as well.” 

Legacy is a relatively new magazine that is published by the Mia Media and Communications Group and distributed within The Palm Beach Post. The next edition is slated for January, its Black History Month issue. 

For more information contact Brandon Gilbert at (561) 420-3644 or via email at






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

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Librarians and Principals were welcomed to the stage on the opening night of the 40th FAME (Florida Association for Media in Education) annual conference to receive recognition in having achieved the status of Florida Power-Library Schools. Launched in the fall of 2008, by FAME and the Florida Department of Education’s Library Media Services, this statewide recognition is awarded to schools that involve their school faculty members in developing and implementing outstanding library media programs focused on student achievement.

Teacher/librarian collaboration, supportive administrations, and dynamic library media programs are hallmarks of winning Florida Power-Library Schools. After a rigorous review, including site visits, three schools were chosen as this year’s winners of the prestigious award. The designation as a Florida Power Library School is valid for three years; after which the school must reapply.

Of the twenty six schools that received the award in 2009 eleven completed the renewal evaluation process to retain their designation.

“We are proud to announce that Freedom Shores was among eleven schools who qualified to have their Florida Power Library Award renewed,” said K-12 Curriculum Director Liz Perlman. “Congratulations to Michelle Cates (media specialist), Valerie Haines (Principal Freedom Shores at the time of the award application) and Patricia Trejo (Principal Freedom Shores).”

When asked about the award Ms. Cates said, “The award program and aspiring to the details of the Exc3el document has communicated goals to the Literacy Council and administration, and directly resulted in Digital Citizenship and Research Madness programs.  Without this communication, I believe that our school-wide collaborative programs would not exist.  The award is also a sense of pride for our school, which keeps our students and staff positively viewing our initiatives.”

Throughout the next three years, Freedom Shores will serve as a mentor to other schools in the district and region. For further information on the Florida Power-Library Schools program please visit

For more information please contact Library Media Services Specialist Hollyanne Ruffner at 561-684-5227 or .

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The modern three-bedroom home, built entirely by the students of the Seminole Ridge High (SRCH) School Construction Academy for Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, now sits quietly in its new neighborhood in Westgate. After many months of planning, preparing, drilling, electrical and plumbing work, the house is ready for its excited new owners, Tina Cromatie and her family.

The work was wrapped up within the daylight hours of November 14 when the four (4) modules for the 1,206 square foot house were lifted, transported on flat bed trailers and set gently down onto the foundation.  As soon as the house modules were set and secured, the six (6) pre-assembled roof segments were lifted into place. 

 “With some tugging and pushing and applying some muscle to the modules, the team got everything pulled together. Everything was built as close to perfection as is possible in construction,” says David Porter, local architect and project manager.

At the property, Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County staff and volunteers are making all final electrical and plumbing connections and installing the siding and roof shingles.  The project, which had numerous partners, has even involved other schools.  The Royal Palm Beach High School Air Conditioning Academy has been working with EDS Air Conditioning Contractors to install all of the ductwork and the air conditioning systems.  Habitat will build the front porch and the attached rear shed on-site.  “This project was the ideal educational experience in that it incorporated academics, collaboration, on the job training, business partnerships, community involvement, social awareness, sense of achievement, and pride in a job well done,” said James Campbell, SRCH Principal.

The Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, a division of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Education, has prepared an all-native landscape plan for the property, and they will work with the Florida Native Plants Society (Palm Beach chapter), the house’s owner and Habitat volunteers to landscape the property.

David Porter noted, “I grew up in the home construction business and was building houses and doing all of the same things the Construction Academy students have done at that same age.  So, I had some historic reality to reflect upon for what to expect out of the students.  I was overwhelmed with emotion yesterday when I saw the fruits of their learning, education, experience, and efforts drop so perfectly into place when the modules and roofs were set.”

The deserving owner, selected by Habitat for this property, is Tina Cromatie and her family.  Ms. Cromatie is a remarkable woman who, by life’s unfortunate circumstances, is now caring for her deceased twin sister’s two severely handicapped, wheelchair-bound sons.  She serves in the new role of “mom” while holding down a full-time job at a local hospital.

“Seminole Ridge Community High School is proud to have been a part of such a tremendous undertaking and looks forward to starting our next project with Habitat for Humanity in December,” added Mr. Campbell. 

“Our partnership with Seminole Ridge High School and its Construction Academy has been a great opportunity for our organization to provide another simple, decent and affordable home for a hard working family in Palm Beach County,” stated Bernard Godek, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County. “But more importantly, it has given hundreds of students an opportunity to gain knowledge and learn skills that will help them better themselves after high school – whether that be through the state university system, the community college system, through local trade organizations, or through local job opportunities.”

The project has been documented from beginning to end, including through a dedicated website, The Education Network documentary, photographs, school and district public relations and media coverage.

To see more photos and read about this amazing project from start to finish, please visit

Click here to see a video from the Palm Beach Post about the house being put in place.

Click here to see a video produced by TEN about the project

To learn more about this Seminole Ridge project and Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, please visit or call (561) 253-2080.





About Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County

Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County is a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of sub-standard housing by building simple, decent, safe, affordable houses for low income, hardworking qualified families in partnership with God, community volunteers and local organizations.  Each Habitat partner family is required to invest a minimum of 500 sweat equity hours of their own labor into the construction of homes before being eligible to purchase their home utilizing a 30-year, no-profit, no-interest loan. The affiliate’s service area extends from Hypoluxo Road in the south to the Martin County line in the north, and from Palm Beach to Lake Okeechobee.

For more information contact John Walker, Academy Coordinator at (561) 422-2600 or via e-mail at





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Students from John F. Kennedy (JFK) Middle School were given the opportunity to tour C-Span’s 2012 Campaign Bus this past Wednesday. JFK was one of two schools in Palm Beach County, the other being Spanish River High School, to have this unique experience. 

The C-Span Campaign Bus began its coverage of the election process in August 2011 by criss-crossing the United States, gathering news and opinions from campaigners and voters alike.  The bus is an excellent example of how technology is being utilized in reporting and broadcasting of news across the country.

JFK students were given a detailed tour of the bus and shown how the bus can be equipped with cameras and other broadcast equipment at a moment’s notice. They learned about the history of C-Span and the opportunities that C-Span offers to aspiring students.

For more information please contact Juan Lopez, Magnet Coordinator at 561-845-4526 or via e-mail at .

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Boynton Beach Community High School, Boynton United, City of Boynton Beach, United Voices of Boynton Beach and the Red Cross commit to Fund Raising Event for Storm Victims

The community of Boynton Beach has come together and organized a storm relief drive in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. On Sunday, November 18, 2012 donations will be accepted in the form of cash and canned goods at Boynton Beach Community High School starting at 4:00 PM and ending at 7:00 PM. The evening’s agenda includes an official statement of concern by the City of Boynton Beach, performances by Boynton Beach High’s Dimensional Harmony, selections by the United Voices of Boynton Beach, a statement by Boynton United and cash collection efforts by the Red Cross. Boynton Beach Community High School is located at 4975 Park Ridge Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL 33426.

Boynton Beach, Florida has a long history of compassion for its neighbors domestically and internationally. This particular effort is spearheaded by Boynton Beach Community High School and Boynton United.

Boynton Beach High School’s mission is to graduate students who have achieved academic excellence and have developed dignity, respect and personal responsibility in a safe and caring learning environment. The school offers top Choice Programs and innovative teaching techniques. Academies offer an $8 million Performing Arts Center with a state of the art Black Box Theatre. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University partners with the school to offer studies in aviation and aeronautics. The Information Technology Academy, Culinary Academy and Early Childhood Academies offer industry certification as well as preparation for college and career. The Advanced Placement and Honors classes provide a challenging foundation for college bound students. Further information regarding Boynton Beach Community High School may be found at www.PalmBeach.K12.FL.US/BoyntonBeachHS.

Boynton United is a grass roots community organization within Boynton Beach. The efforts of Boynton United include the April 28, 2012 rally of over 7000 concerned citizens, the formation of a city wide Youth SMART Business Mentoring Initiative, and the 2000 student anti-violence pledge. Further information regarding Boynton United can be found at

For more information contact Mrs. Karen Whetsell 561-752-1200 or email, or Rae Whitely at 561-523-2286.

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The Palm Beach County Art Teachers Association Members’ Exhibition at Northwood University features original art works by the county’s art teachers and community members. The exhibit displays the individual talent and creativity of area teachers and community members. 

The exhibition offers PBCATA an opportunity to complete their mission of supporting art education and promoting art as a means of communication for each individual. 

Dates:  Opening Reception on Wednesday, December 5th from 4:00-6:30PM

Exhibition Dates: November 16th – February 14th, 2013 

Location: Northwood University – 2600 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33409-2911. 1.800.622.9000.


Featured Artists 

Susannah Brown

Bonnie Bruner

Britt Feingold

Brigid Howard

Sandy Lerman

Linda Mae Morgan


Sharon Salansky

Linda Stevenson



It is the mission of the Palm Beach County Art Teachers Association to support art education and to promote art as a means of communication for each individual. It is the right of each individual to develop his own creativity and aesthetic potential. It is our purpose to strengthen the position of art education in Palm Beach County. We support programs in art which meet the needs, interests and abilities of each individual student. We will promote and maintain the highest quality of art education in Palm Beach County. 

For more information contact Kim Pilla at (561) 640-1259 or via email at






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



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All proceeds from the carousel at Downtown at the Gardens will benefit Indian Ridge’s Television Production classes on Friday, November 30th, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Families and community members are invited to ride the carousel and help a child. 

“Young or old, we all love to ride a carousel. It’s an ageless way to let go and enjoy a few carefree moments. And, while you are enjoying those timeless moments of the classic carousel, Television Production students at Indian Ridge School are learning new skills,” adds Ms. Laurence. 

These students are able to write and produce their own television programs as part of this curriculum. See an example of their work by following this link: 

Indian Ridge School serves kindergarten through twelfth grade students throughout Palm Beach County who have been identified as Emotionally/Behaviorally Disordered.   The school is an academically focused school with therapy infused throughout the day. Being able to produce their own programs not only helps develop their skills, but it improves their self-esteem and confidence as well. 

The carousel is located behind the Whole Foods Market in Downtown at the Gardens. 11701 Lake Victoria Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410. 

For more information please contact Alicia Laurence at 681-0048 or via email at








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


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Students all over Palm Beach County are preparing their projects for the upcoming 56th Annual Palm Beach Regional Science and Engineering Fair that will be held December 3rd through the 5th at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center West.  Monday, December 3rd is the day for students, teachers, and parents to register projects and bridges and get them certified from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

School fairs have been held and regional selections have been made by individual schools in anticipation of the largest academic event held in Palm Beach County each year.  Over 1,100 students in grades 6th and 12th are expected to participate! 

Secondary Science Program Planner Greg Goebel said, “The Palm Beach Regional Science and Engineering Fair is a wonderful showcase of the scientific work done by our county’s dedicated young scientists.” 

On Tuesday, December 4, the exhibit hall of projects will be open for public viewing from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The Palm Beach Regional Bridge Challenge will also be held on December 4 in the morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  Interested community members should enter the Fairgrounds at Gate 12.  Fairgrounds’ parking, as well as entry into Expo Center West to view the projects and/or bridge competition, is free.  Community members are welcome to view the compelling research being conducted by students.  

Project judging will occur on Wednesday, December 5.  Middle school judging will be from 9 a.m. to noon.  High school judging will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Entry on the day of judging will be restricted to student participants, coordinators, and judges only.  

If you work or have worked in a science related field and are interested in judging, please contact Debrah Bowen, 561-434-8267 or email

For more information, contact Greg Goebel, 561-357-1128 or email






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

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The VSA Holiday Showcase, We Are the World, celebrates the season on Saturday, December 1, at 2:00 pm at the Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth. This two-hour tribute to dance and music performance has a multicultural theme this year. The Showcase is an entertaining and heartwarming inclusive community event where children, teens, and adults have the opportunity to “showcase” their talents on a professional stage.

In keeping with the multicultural theme, VSA’s Dance Residency students from Forest Hill Elementary School will perform the national dance of Mexico, the “Jarabe Tapatío,” known in English as the “Mexican Hat Dance.” The students will be wearing authentic, traditional Mexican costumes. Dance Residency instructor and professional dancer Dee Mac choreographed and directed the performance.

Returning Holiday Showcase favorites include the Wellington Wolverines’ Singers & Dancers performing to “If I Ruled the World.” and the Unity for Kids School Rock Band “rocking out” to two very lively songs, “I Go to Rio” and “La Bamba.” Dreyfoos School of the Arts graduate Joel Solomon will sing an Israeli song, “Lu Yehi” and the Beatles Classic “Let It Be” while accompanying himself on the guitar. Joel teaches band and computer at Unity For Kids School and will also perform with their rock band.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. They may be purchased at the door or reserved by calling (561) 966-7025.

VSA is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting artistic excellence and providing educational opportunities through the arts for people with disabilities. VSA Florida – Palm Beach County offers ongoing programs, special events, and resource and referral services. For more information about VSA Florida-PBC visit

For more information please contact Susan Fetner at 561-966-7024.

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YINKA SHONIBARE (British/ Nigerian, born 1962)Victorian Couple, 1999Fiberglass, leather, Dutch wax cloth, and metal66 x 50 x 22 in (167.6 x 127 x 55.9 cm)Purchase, acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary and Modern Art Council and the R. H. Norton Trust, 2006.10Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

District teachers across subject areas are being encouraged to bring Kindergarten through high school -aged students to the upcoming Say It Loud Exhibit which showcases a wide cross-section of  African and African American artists and 20thCentury artwork of cross-disciplinary significance at the Norton Museum of Art. Set to open December 27 and scheduled to run through March 3, 2013, William Randolph Hearst Curator of Education Glenn Tomlinson said the Museum has made arrangements to facilitate tours of approximately 3,000 school-aged students. “We’re also pleased to host the School Board’s February 13 Board Workshop meeting onsite at the Museum and we anticipate offering a special tour of the Say It Loud exhibit for Board Members just prior to the start of the actual workshop,” he stated.

 The Museum has been meeting with Board Vice-Chair Dr. Debra Robinson, Department of Multicultural Education Director Dr. Margarita Pinkos, and Dr. Cathy Pressey from the African and African American Studies Office to organize a special dimension of the opening event *Thursday, December 27, the Board Workshop in February, and multiple visits by schools and District staff from the December opening through early March. In addition, standards-based Arts Integrated lessons have been created and multiple teacher meetings and professional development sessions have been arranged to optimize student learning through the exhibit experience.

The Say It Loud exhibit includes works by more than 20 recent African American artists such as Bob Thompson, James Van der Zee, Al Loving, and Carrie Mae Weems.  The poignant, sculptural Soundsuits of Nick Cave join works by Jacob Lawrence and Augusta Savage. The riveting photography of Gordon Parks will be on hand along with emotion-evoking works such as the quilted painting of Faith Ringgold. Works by recent African artists such as Mary Sibande and J.D. Okhai Ojeikere  all guaranteed to leave exhibit visitors enraptured and spellbound.

The Norton Museum and its supporters have provided financial support to help offset the cost of school bus transportation to the museum for students of Title I public schools. They will be working in conjunction with District Arts Administrator Dr. Tom Pearson to facilitate the arrangements on a first come, first- served basis.  The museum has also arranged special admission arrangements for area residents. Those who live in Palm Beach County enjoy free museum admission on the first Saturday of each month. City of West Palm Beach residents benefit from free admission every Saturday.

Schools wishing to arrange a student tour of the Say It Loud Exhibit should contact the African and African American Studies Office, 561.434.8683, or email  Myra Leavy-Bazemore, manager of African American, Latino, and Gender Studies, The exhibit opens on December 27th as an Art After Dark event from 5:00 p,m, to 9:00 p.m. with invitations extended to special guests from the Palm Beach County School District.

For details about the Say It Loud or other multicultural exhibits at the Norton Museum of Art, contact Carole Gutterman, 561.832.5196, ext. 1198, or email

 *The December 27th opening event is open to the public and being organized by the Norton Museum with generous support by the West Palm Beach Hapter of The Links, Inc. The School District’s organizing committee is working with the Museum to extend special invitations to District leadership and other educators to participate in this opening event to enhance awareness of the exhibit and opportunities for school tours.