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The Jupiter High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter recently took part in the South Florida Fairs annual youth judging contests.  Jupiter FFA dominated the horticulture contest having both the first and second place teams.  Students on the first place team were Christina Orth, Allyson Causey, Brian Hemphill, and Kelsay Mackey.  Christina Orth had the highest score in the entire contest, missing only 11 specimens out of 83.  The second place team was comprised of Charlene Deal, Mattea Niederhouse, and Lindsey Cohen.  In the horticulture contest students have to identify plants, insects and diseases, and horticultural tools.

Jupiter HighIn addition to this success, Jupiter High FFA also took second place overall in the Dairy judging contest.  The team was made up of Ricky Munroe, Brian Hemphill, Reed Smith, and Parker Neville.  Jupiter also had several of the top individuals in the event with Ashley Allen placing fourth overall individually out of over 100 participants. 

In the vegetable competition Jupiter High placed eighth with team members Tishe Perry, Blakely McBride and Tessa Mills.  Kari Gatyas placed seventh individually out of over 80 participants and Nicole Cornwell placed sixth individually in the horse judging contest.

For more information please contact Jupiter High School Agriscience Teacher and FFA Advisor Derrick Crum at 561-744-7900 or .

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The Superintendent’s Graduation Increase and Suspension Reduction Task Force will meet on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at the Fulton-Holland Educational Service Center-Board Room, from 3:00P.M.-4:30P.M. A DRAFT of the Graduation Strategic Plan will be presented at the upcoming meeting for review and input.

For further information regarding the Superintendent’s Graduation Increase and Suspension Reduction Task Force, please contact Dr. Cynthia Smith, Principal and K-12 Curriculum at (561) 434-8879.


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It’s FCAT Parent Night, Thursday, February 16th at Howell L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens and the school staff is asking parents, “Help Us Help Your Child.”  The new FCAT grading scale will be discussed and it is important parents attend.  FCAT Parent Night begins at 6:00 PM in the cafeteria and dinner will be served.

“This is an opportunity for parents to come out and hear about their child’s academic performance,” said Principal Dr. Glenda Sheffield.  “Our goal is to prepare all students for academic success and we need the assistance of our families.”  Teachers will be available to answer specific questions.

Parents are welcome to call their child’s Grade Level Assistant Principal for additional information at 561-776-3600.

The School District of Palm Beach County recognizes the vital role that parents/guardians and family members play in the education, welfare and values of the students.

Media please contact Dr. Sheffield at 561-776-3600 or for more information.

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Whispering Pines Elementary School in Boca Raton will be opening a new Gifted Cluster for students this August.  The school will hold a Showcase featuring tours and information sessions about the new programs on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Whispering Pines Elementary is located at 9090 Spanish Isles Boulevard in Boca Raton.

For more information please contact Whispering Pines Principal Walter Cornnell at 561-672-2700 or .

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 If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, Tim Hadsell is looking for you.    The Greenacres man is seeking students, their families, and other volunteers for the next phase of planting  two community vegetable gardens—one in Riviera Beach and the other in suburban West Palm Beach on Saturday, February 4.  The end result will be two gardens that help sustain area feeding programs. The St. George’s Center Garden is located in Riviera Beach at 21 West 22nd Street with the beginnings of a 2,000 square foot garden.

The West Palm Beach site which is near the Elk’s Lodge on Belvedere Road, has 4,000 square feet prepared for growing vegetables.  “Volunteers are needed at the Elk’s site from 8:00 a.m until the work is finished Saturday afternoon. The work at St. George’s is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. until the work’s completed that afternoon. The  City of Greenacres Leisure Services is providing transportation and the Mounts Botanical Gardens and the University of Florida Extension Service are providing plants, seedlings, and training. 

Hadsell is the Grants chair of the local Elk’s Lodge and has played an instrumental role in installing three other gardens at or near public elementary schools during the past two years. Mr. Hadsell says  volunteers will help plant a variety of winter and summer vegetables. Students who volunteer can receive community service credit.  To RSVP or for more details, contact Mr. Hadsell, 561-670-4790 or email

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 Students, staff, and family members of Conniston Middle School are gearing up for next Saturday’s Family Day at the Norton Museum of Art event. Over 70 works of student art will be on display and participants will enjoy a variety of performances and activities on February 11, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The day includes a free ride from Conniston Middle to the Norton Museum of Art on Molley’s Trollys, tours of the museum, love glass blowing presentations, and performances by the school’s chorus, band, solo artists, break dancers and fly girls. The museum’s Café 1451 is also providing free lunch for participants.

“The Norton School Partnership with Conniston is in its fifth year,” said Glenn Tomlinson, curator of education. “We work with the school to provide arts-integrated lesson planning, professional development, and much more.” School tours, free family access year-round, and family day programs are also a part of the partnership. Conniston Principal Oscar Otero said community partnerships like this are an invaluable resource for his students and staff. “Art is a such a universal language that can be used across all content areas to creatively help engage students in learning and enhance their academic achievement,” he stated. “The art dimension used effectively gives teachers another resource in their toolkits for creative instruction,” he added.

The Norton School Partnership also offers the Museum opportunities to reach teachers and students at West Gate Elementary School. Additionally, the Norton maintains business partnerships with other schools, including U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School and Palmetto Elementary School. The Norton Museum tour program serves 7,000-10,000 students per year, the majority from Title-1 schools, and over 500 teachers participate in arts-integrated professional development sessions annually. 

This partnership—which is one of more than 1100 school/business partnerships in the district—provide well over $3 million per year in cash and other resources to support increased student achievement throughout our public schools. 

For more information about the Conniston Middle School Family Day at the Norton Museum of Art, contact Mr. Tomlinson, 561-832-5196 or email

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The Wellington Parent Teacher Association/Parent Teacher Organization (PTO/PTA) has been chosen as part of the FTI Great City Charity Challenge for a chance to win a portion of $50,000. Fan voting is open until Friday, February 17th, 2012.

Click here to vote for the Wellington PTA/PTO Group

The FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge started in 2010, generating over $400,000 for 24 local charities. Today, the event has grown to 32 local charities competing for a combined $1.5 million.

This year’s event will be held during the 6th week of the Winter Equestrian Festival on Friday, February 17th, 2012 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Gates open at 6:00 p.m.

The Wellington PTO/PTA provides support to all schools in the area through numerous programs which serve the school’s pupils, parents, and staff.  Some of the activities and events that they support include community events, field trips, in-school enrichment programs, school supplies and much more.

The top-three charities with the most votes will be awarded a portion of $50,000. The breakdown is as follows: 

1st place: $25,000 

2nd place: $12,500 

3rd place: $12,500

For more information contact Scott Blake, Principal at Polo Park Middle School, at (561) 333-5500 or via e-mail at






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

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The School District in partnership with design and construction teams, Song & Associates Architects and Pirtle Construction, achieved a LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council for the new Everglades Elementary School.  The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System was designed by the US Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate the development of more sustainable buildings. The Certification requires all aspects of the campus to be evaluated for Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

Everglades Elementary opened its doors to students on August 23, 2010.  The School District planned for this facility in order to relieve overcrowding at three nearby elementary schools.  The project was completed on time and was approximately 20% under the original construction budget.

LEED aspects and green initiatives were at the forefront during the planning, design and construction of the facility. The entire team diligently sought to preserve various elements of the site for the students to utilize as a learning tool, as well as numerous opportunities within the school building to reinforce the learning opportunities that have been incorporated throughout the school.

According to Everglades Elementary Principal Dwan Moore-Ross, “The end result of this collaboration is an educational facility which is not only beautiful, but can also be utilized as a learning tool for our teachers, students and community.  The “Green Wall” is a perfect example of a fun and exciting tool to teach everyone about how this elementary school is helping our environment and the part we all play in this endeavor.”

Green Features:

BUILDING AS A TEACHING TOOL - The “Green Wall” is a place to display Everglades Elementary School’s “Green” facts.” The 42” Touch Screen is also located on this wall which provides usable data that illustrates the building systems green technologies, design features and energy conservation strategies employed throughout the building or across the entire campus. A photovoltaic system is soon to be installed at the southernmost covered walkway.  This system is designed to feed the main electrical panel and the amount of solar energy provided by the panels can be monitored by the students. By providing this information along with real-time energy use data and costs, active participation by the students and community will be promoted to help reduce these costs and promote environmentally friendly practices.

MINIMIZED HEAT ISLAND EFFECT–The “Heat Island Effect” refers to the absorption of heat by hardscapes, such as dark, non-reflective pavement and buildings, and its radiation of the surrounding area.  Everglades Elementary incorporates white roofing and light colored concrete sidewalks to reflect instead of absorb the heat from the sun. 

ALTERNATIVE VEHICLE PARKING – Environmentally friendly vehicles, such as hybrids, are especially good for the environment.  They reduce the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere because they burn less fossil fuel than regular cars.  Another way to burn less fossil fuel is to carpool with others.  As a reward, the school has designated parking spaces closer to the school for Hybrids and for carpooling vehicles.

POLISHED CONCRETE – All corridors as well as the media center and dining area have polished concrete floors.  It is made of sand, crushed rocks, water, and something called lime (not the fruit).  After these floors dried and hardened, instead of being covered with another material, they were polished and left exposed.  Concrete is durable and requires very little maintenance.  Polished concrete is naturally glossy so there is no need to apply a wax or protective coating. 

RECYCLING – There are several recycling areas in the school.  Cardboard, paper, glass, plastic and aluminum are placed in designated bins and recycled. During the construction period, 93.64% of construction waste was recycled and diverted away from landfill.

OCCUPANCY SENSORS – All the classrooms and main gathering spaces are equipped with occupancy sensors.  A sensor tells the air conditioning system when there is no longer anyone in the room and, therefore, the need to cool the classroom is reduced.  These sensors help lower the monthly electric bills and help reduce energy. 

ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING – Light fixtures are energy-efficient fluorescent lights instead of the incandescent type.  Occupancy sensors detect when a room is empty, and the lights turn off. 

WATER-SAVING FIXTURES – Low-flow sinks and toilets, as well as waterless urinals, are used to conserve water. 

RAIN WATER COLLECTIONS – Cisterns (or rain barrels) are used to capture rainwater from roofs.  One way to use the collected rainwater is to irrigate the landscape or garden. 

HYDROPONIC GARDEN – Everglades Elementary has a hydroponic garden – plants such as fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown in containers above ground using drip irrigation.  This type of gardening is water and space efficient and also protects the plants from insects in the soil. The garden provides a unique outdoor learning environment for the students.

SOLAR PANELS – Photovoltaic (PV devices) or “solar cells” change sunlight directly into electricity. Individual PV cells are grouped into panels that can be used in a wide range of applications.  The energy the school produces will go back into FPL’s “grid.”

DROUGHT TOLERANT LANDSCAPE – AKA Florida Friendly Landscape.  Florida-friendly plants, including Florida native plants, were used because they require little irrigation or fertilizer, are low maintenance and attract wildlife.  They can survive drought due to deeper root structures and internal moisture storage.  Native plants also provide habitats for butterflies, lizards and birds.  The design preserved existing trees to the greatest extent possible including the protection of two, large specimen Ficus trees.

LIGHT POLLUTION CONTROL – Light pollution, waste light from building sites that produce glare, is directed upward to the sky, or is directed off the site.  Light pollution is also a sign of energy waste.  The school’s lighting fixtures are directed downward to emit the lowest amount of light possible to safely illuminate our parking lots and walkways.

SUN SCREEN – To help reduce the solar heat that transmits from the sun’s rays to the interior of the school, exterior sun screens were placed to diffuse the natural daylight that enters into the building and keeps the rooms from getting too hot.

DAYLIGHT/VIEWS & CLEAR STORY WINDOWS – Natural light into classrooms and other learning spaces reduce the dependency on artificial lights.  North facing windows in the school provide daylight without adding heat and glare from the sun and South facing windows have exterior solar shades.  Effective daylight provides health and energy benefits.

For more information please contact Ms. Moore-Ross at 561-792-9500.

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National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), will be celebrated from February 6–10, 2012, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors.

Comprehensive school counseling programs impact student achievement and are a vital part of the educational process for all students.  School counselors are actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; they work in partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world; they focus on positive ways to enhance students’ social/personal, educational and career development; and they work with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves.

“School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, personal/social skills and career awareness in post-secondary options,” said Kwok-Sze Wong, Ed.D., ASCA executive director. “Comprehensive school counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success.”

Parents or community members with specific questions or concerns about school counseling programs should contact the school counselors at their local schools. More general information can also be found on the Palm Beach School Counselor Association web site, or on ASCA’s Web site,

For more information please contact Michael C. Kane, Ms, EdS, NBCT, Starlight Cove Elementary School Counselor and President, Palm Beach School Counselor Association at .

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Carlton Willis and son, fifth grade student Carlton Willis, share their pride and enjoyment after completing The Home Depot "Make and Take" project.

Carlton Willis and son, fifth grade student Carlton Willis, share their pride and enjoyment after completing The Home Depot "Make and Take" project.

Allamanda Elementary School students and their families recently participated in a hugely successful Science Fair Home Depot “Make and Take” Family Picnic event sponsored by the Allamanda PTO and Science Committee. More than 300 Allamanda families participated in this educational, creative evening at the school. 

Students’ Science Fair projects were displayed while families toured and picnicked on the school grounds, enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers, popcorn and cotton candy.  Families worked as teams to build Home Depot crafts such as wooden snowman napkin holders, mini-toolboxes, planters, helicopters and mini-white boards.  Moms read directions, kids hammered and glued, dads took pictures – it was industrious, organized teamwork.  Home Depot donated all the materials, including orange, personalized aprons for the children. 

Allamanda Elementary Principal Marilu Garcia said, “Our families enjoyed every minute, stopping to read everything and snapping photos in front of their science projects.  It was a wonderful family evening.”

For more information please contact Ms. Garcia at 561-803-7200 or .

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For the 100th day of school, the school cafeteria at Poinciana Elementary is transformed into a camp ground, with a faux campfire, tents and real live creatures of the night!  The event hosts the Annual 100th Day of Dads Celebration sponsored by the school PTA to honor male role models that play such a special role in the lives of students. 

This program, scheduled for Friday, February 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM, supports the school goals listed in the School Improvement Plan for 2011-2012 which aim at improving parent and community participation in school sponsored events.  It will bring on campus many parents, dads, grandparents, uncles, brothers, and other male role models, along with many sponsors and business partners. 

“Through the 100th Day of Dads Celebration, we are able to communicate to our families and students the importance and benefits of being a male role model in a child’s life.  At this event, dads and male role models read with the students around a faux campfire, learn how to tie knots, play games with Cub Scouts, make crafts with Girl Scouts, and stare at the stars through telescopes in our courtyard.  Through various business partners, we are able to provide tasty treats to everyone who attends the event,” said Melinda Olsker, the school guidance counselor.

The event will reach out to approximately 100 families. Many sponsors will participate.  The Florida Masonic Child ID Program which allows parents the opportunity to create a kit of identifying materials for their child, free of charge.  The kit contained fingerprints, a physical description, video, photographs of the child, all of these written to a CD or DVD and a DNA sample.  The purpose of the kit is to provide critical information to the public and to law enforcement if a child is missing.  The YMCA provides families with information on their available programs, including local summer camps.  The City of Boynton Beach provides information on parks and their recreational programs.  The City also provides “story time” for the event.  Safe Kids of Palm Beach County provides information on the importance of bicycle helmet safety.    Other sponsors include Cub Scout Pack 243, Girl Scout Troop 20577, and Boy Scout Troop 395.

Poinciana Elementary school is located at 1203 N. Seacrest Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL 33435.

For more information contact Melinda Olsker at

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Destiny DavisOn January 28, 2012, Destiny Davis, a fifth grade student at Plumosa School of the Arts, sang the National Anthem for this wonderful event that continues its tradition of bringing together ambassadors, dignitaries, and philanthropic leaders from around the world. After the Marine Corps Color guard presented, Destiny was introduced and sang a wonderful and heart-warming rendition of the Star Spangle Banner. She received a standing ovation from attendees and personal kudos from Donald Trump.  Destiny is a star on the rise and she hopes to attend Bak Middle School of the Arts next school year.

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Egret Lake Elementary School will be hosting their yearly Black History Arts Integration Festival on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

The evening will begin with a fried chicken dinner for $6.00 per person (cash only). At 6:00 pm, chorus will be performing the musical, “I Have a Dream” songs for peace and harmony followed by classes showcasing dances learned through the school’s new dance teachers. 

At 6:45 p.m. parents and community members will be invited to visit classrooms to view In-formances, Reader’s Theater and other Arts Integration teaching strategies that the teachers have been using this year with their students. 

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






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

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The Pine Jog Elementary Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is sponsoring the 4th Annual Strawberry Festival. 

When?  Saturday, February 18th, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Where? Pine Jog Elementary - 6315 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33415  

The festival began three years ago and was created to celebrate the harvest of Pine Jog’s 4,000 plant hydroponic gardens and its abundant strawberry crop.  The garden is managed by the OWL (Our World Leaders) team, who created a business plan for the garden while learning science, math, and business skills. 

There will be music, games, fresh stawberries and vegetables, petting zoo and lots of fun things to do.  Pine Jog Elementary invites all of the members of the community to support the biggest fundraising event of the year. 

The School District of Palm Beach County is committed to modeling environmental stewardship, wisely managing the use of natural resources, and supporting conservation.  One of the main purposes is to educate students, teachers, administrators, and staff about the importance of conservation and environmental awareness. 

For more information contact Fred Barch at (561) 656-5401 or via e-mail at   






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

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The School District of Palm Beach County has six schools in the top ten in their categories statewide as measured by student FCAT scores and, at the high school level, by graduation rates, student participation and performance in accelerated coursework and postsecondary readiness:

 #7 – South Olive Elementary School

#4 – Bak Middle School of the Arts #6 – Don Estridge High Tech Middle School  # 9 – Wellington Landings Middle School

# 3 –  Suncoast High School  #4 – Dreyfoos School of  the Arts

For the complete listing of school rankings, visit


Palm Beach ranks #16 out of 67 districts statewide and #1 among the urban 7 districts statewide based on the FCAT scores, beating out Broward, Orange, Dade, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval counties.

Districts that received a higher ranking than Palm Beach are typically smaller districts and districts with higher concentrations of high income households. Approximately 50 percent of Palm Beach students qualify for free and reduced-priced meals.

“We are pleased to see that the continuing hard work of our teachers and students is recognized at the state level. This recognition should be reassuring to our parents that their children are receiving a high quality education”, said Superintendent Wayne Gent.

“We have  work to do to ensure that all of our students are learning to their potential,  but positive reinforcement like this will continue to encourage our teachers, staff, students and parents to work hard toward our goals of even higher performance,” he said.

The district rankings can be found at


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The School Board of Palm Beach County has scheduled informal and formal interviews and two “Meet and Greet” events for the three superintendent candidates. Informal interviews will be conducted by the board members, who will meet individually with each of the applicants, from Monday, February 6 through Wednesday, February 8 at District Headquarters, 3300 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL, 33406.

The public is invited to meet the three finalists at a “Meet and Greet” on Monday, February 6, 2012 in the School District’s Board Room from 6:00 p.m. –  8:00 p.m.  A second “Meet and Greet”  is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at Glades Central High School, Cafeteria, 1001 S.W. Ave. “M”, Belle Glade, FL, 33430, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

The formal interviews will be conducted by the board members at the District Headquarters in the Board Room on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 and are open to the public. 

                                                 1:00 – 1:15     Interview Protocol 

                                                 1:15 - 2:40     Tom Watkins

                                                 2:45 – 4:10     Constance Jones, Ph.D.

                                                 4:15 - 5:40     Janis Andrews, Ed.D.    


Board members are expected to vote to select the superintendent at the board meeting on Wednesday, February 15. The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m.


For more information, please contact Frieda Proctor at (561) 434-8953.


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Herby Raymond is a Renaissance man.  An accomplished pianist who plays classical and jazz, Herby also scored a perfect 800 on his Math SAT.  A basketball player, he also enjoys chess.  He’s President of the Wellington Chapter of the National Achievers’ Society, an organization established to encourage students, particularly minorities, to excel academically and culturally and he belongs to Kretzer Kids, a group of high school students that play piano around the county.  According to his High School Principal, Dr. Linda Cartlidge of Suncoast High, “Herby Raymond is the 21st century Renaissance man skilled in the arts as a concert pianist who plays such difficult works as Rachmaninoff.  He also excels in the sciences as a Math, Science and Engineering student at Suncoast, while remaining a truly humble young man.”

Herby Raymond addressing the School Board during recognition of National Achievers’ Society members.

Herby Raymond addressing the School Board during recognition of National Achievers’ Society members.

Herby says he has always been determined to succeed in whatever he does, “However, I owe a lot of it to my family, friends, and community. My parents always push me to do my very best and I have very kind and supportive friends. Anybody can be determined, but it’s ultimately the positive people around you that will give you that driving force for whatever you do.”

Herby is headed to Yale University next fall with a weighted GPA of 5.08 and an unweighted GPA of 3.92.  He is ranked 15th in his Senior Class and 49th in the county.  A member of the National Honor Society, he has been on the honor roll all four years of high school.  With numerous scores of 5 on his AP exams, he is a National AP Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction.  A Regional Science and Engineering Fair winner, he is also a Math Brain Bowl State Tournament Champion, a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student and a National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalist.

Along with his outstanding academic record, Herby has over 350 hours of volunteer and work experience.  As a student of Haitian descent his community service work involving food and clothing drives for Haiti earthquake victims is especially important to him. Other community service endeavors include volunteering in the Wellington Regional Medical Center cardiopulmonary area and emergency room and charity piano performances.  His work experience includes a paid internship with the School District’s Facilities Services Department. Chief of Division of Support Operations Joseph Sanches said Herby was an outstanding intern, “He willingly took on complex projects, and quickly completed them. It was a pleasure having him working in my office. I’m sure he will do great at Yale and anywhere else life takes him.”

For more information please contact Dr. Cartlidge at 561-882-3400 or .

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Michael Kane, a school counselor from Starlight Cove Elementary, a Title 1 school, has been named one of the top six school counselors in America. Mr. Kane is one of more than 270 elementary, middle, and secondary school counselors nationwide who were nominated for the School Counselor of the Year award. The award, which is presented by the American School Counselor Association, honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates and often lifesavers for the nation’s students.

Michael C KaneA counselor for over 19 years, Mr. Kane is regarded as an expert and mentor in the school counseling profession at the school, district and state level. Starlight Cove’s diverse and largely low-income student population has challenges that are met with Mr. Kane’s innovative, research-based and data-driven programs designed to advance student achievement. One such program is Beat for Peace®, a student intervention curriculum that combines small group counseling with drum circle performance. As co-founder of the program, Kane has been recognized numerous times for its achievements and also published the book, The Talking Drum: A Beat for Peace Curriculum. Mr. Kane credits the success of this program to Starlight Cove’s supportive school leadership who advocated on behalf of the program.

Another innovative program he spearheaded is the Safe School Ambassador program which trains student leaders to notice and intervene when bullying occurs on campus. Mr. Kane was the first counselor in his district to implement the program at the elementary level and as such serves as the model for all other elementary schools that have undertaken the initiative.

Upon noticing that most parent and community events at the school were solely attended by women, Mr. Kane and others on staff created the parent group the Starlight Cove ARMY or Active Responsibly Men for Youth. Armed with ARMY t-shirts, donuts, and coffee the first event was standing room only. The Starlight Cove ARMY continues to be a positive and successful collaboration at the school.

Mr. Kane currently serves as the President of the Palm Beach Counselors Association, serving as President-Elect last school year. He was awarded the Elementary School Counselor of the Year Award in 2010 by the School District of Palm Beach County and won the same award from the Florida School Counselor Association in 2011.

“Michael Kane stands out as a truly exceptional person as well as an accomplished, creative and expansive professional,” said Richard A. Lewis, Specialist in School Climate Initiative at the Department of Safe Schools for the Palm Beach County School District. “He is a superb counselor, organizer and educator as well as an outstanding practitioner. Very few people embody this combination of diverse skill-sets as well as Mr. Kane.”

The School Counselor of the Year awards program was open to the more than 107,000 members of the school counseling profession. The top six school counselors were nominated by their peers and administrators and judged by a select panel to be the “best of the best.”

The candidates were judged on several criteria, including: creative school counseling innovations, effective counseling programs, leadership skills, and contributions to student advancement.

“School counselors make significant contributions to the overall well-being of students and their success,” said Richard Wong, Executive Director, American School Counselor Association. “They have unique qualifications and skills that allow them to address students’ academic achievement, personal/social and career development needs.”

Mr. Kane, along with the other five finalists, will be flown to Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2012, for three days of celebratory events. The honorees will have meetings with their members of Congress, attend a congressional briefing, tour the White House, participate in a briefing at the Office of the Vice President and be formally recognized at a black-tie gala.

Co-chairs of the 2012 School Counselor of the Year program are U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI – 6th), and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL – 23rd).

For additional information on the American School Counselor Association, please visit

About the American School Counselor Association

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) professional organization based in Alexandria, VA. ASCA promotes student success by expanding the image and influence of professional school counseling through leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change. ASCA helps school counselors guide their students toward academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning to help today’s students become tomorrow’s productive, contributing members of society. Founded in 1952, ASCA currently has a network of 50 state associations and a membership of nearly 30,000 school counseling professionals.

For more information please contact Rachel Adams at (202)772-5007 or

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Teacher Robert Biello and student Vandi Allen with his entry in the Alcohol Prevention Poster Contest.

Teacher Robert Biello and student Vandi Allen with his entry in the Alcohol Prevention Poster Contest.

Vandi Allen, a 7th grader in the pre-engineering Choice program at Roosevelt Middle School, was a semi-finalist in the School District’s Alcohol Prevention Poster Contest.    His entry was judged to be one of the five best in the county, selected from over 750 entries submitted from schools throughout the Palm Beach School District.  Vandi designed his poster in a Digital Media class.  As he said, “As soon as I heard about the subject of the poster, I immediately thought of basketball and what I wanted my poster to look like.”  His entry, “SCORE”, used Photoshop Elements, part of the Adobe Digital School Collection software suite, which was introduced into the curriculum two years ago. 

Last year, Roosevelt students, Ariel Trice and Joseph Jones, submitted entries that were selected as semifinalists in the District’s Alcohol Prevention Poster Contest.   Robert Biello, their technology  teacher, said, “Nothing is more gratifying to a teacher than having students realize that the projects and assignments completed in the classroom are helping develop skills which students will actually employ outside school in the real world.”

For more information, contact Dee Ann Tiffany, magnet coordinator 561 822-0261

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Scripps Florida is hosting a “Science Cellebration” day at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens on Saturday, February 4 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Meet Scripps Florida scientists and enjoy fun interactive exhibits and prizes.  There will be hands-on science activity booths and displays from School District Choice Programs and Science & Engineering Fair winners.  The event offers an exciting glimpse into the latest biomedical research taking place at Scripps Florida.

“As the state of Florida becomes a hub for the biotech industry, it is vital that our students and their families understand the impact of biotechnology on maintaining and improving quality of life,” said School District K-12 Science Manager Wendy Spielman.  “The Scripps Florida Science Cellebration at The Gardens Mall will make the science of biotechnology accessible to our students and the community in a fun, interactive way.  It may also open students’ eyes to a variety of careers paths and fields of study that they may have never considered before.  It will be an outstanding event.”

The family-friendly event is FREE and open to the public.

For more information please contact Ms. Spielman at 561-357-1152 or .

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Over the years, Jupiter High School Speech and Debate Coach, Kristen Taylor, has won numerous awards and honors.  In 2007, she was named the Regional Coach of the Year.  In 1989, 1998, and 2000 she was honored with Teacher of the Year Awards.  Ms. Taylor was named State Championship Coach in 2008 and is a Dwyer Award Nominee for 2011 – 2012. 

Kristen TaylorEarlier this month at the awards ceremony for the 4th Annual Sunvitational Forensics Tournament hosted by the University School in Davie, Florida, Ms. Taylor was presented the prestigious Jenny Cook Mentorship Award.  For Ms. Taylor this was the most important honor of all, “This award means the world to me, particularly because it is named for a very good friend of mine who has served the debate community almost as long as I have! Being recognized in this capacity lets my students know that I am a respected member of the coaching fraternity, and they are proud of me for this recognition.”

Each year, the University School’s Director of Forensics, Steven Schappaugh, and the Department Chair of the Fine Arts Department, Jenny Cook, select one coach in the nation who represents the best in coaching both students and other coaches in the debate community. Previous winners of the award select the next winner from three nominees chosen by Mr. Schappaugh and Ms. Cook.   

Ms. Taylor was not notified of winning the honor until the awards ceremony of the tournament. A surprised Ms. Taylor was presented a plaque which reads, “University School Sunvitational Jenny Cook Mentorship Award – Presented to Kristen Taylor – In recognition of her work inspiring students and coaches in the speech and debate community. She has accumulated countless hours of mentorship over the years because of her personal sacrifices and selfless efforts to enhance the experience of others.” 

Ms. Taylor says being a Debate Coach is her joy and life, “I have chosen to dedicate myself to academic pursuits which encourage students to use logic, research, and speaking skills to better understand the world and their place in it. This activity has the power to change even the shyest, most withdrawn child into a confident, articulate speaker. I can’t think of a better way to spend my life.”

For more information please contact Jupiter High School Principal Cheryl Alligood at 561-744-7900 or .

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K.E. Cunningham Canal Point Elementary School and Timber Trace Elementary School are the top two winners of the Florida Department of Education (DOE) Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! statewide public service announcement (PSA) contest.                   

To compete in the PSA contest, students created a short announcement geared toward this year’s theme: “Take the Lead and Read.” One winner was chosen at the elementary, middle and high school levels, with the winning schools awarded gift cards from Florida Education Foundation partners – $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place. 

The K.E. Cunningham Canal Point Elementary was directed by Mr. Brian Zimmerman and created by the KEC/TV News Club.  Six students went to Daytona Beach to receive the award. 

“I am extremely proud of the students and Mr. Zimmerman, who created this outstanding video.  It means a lot to the school, the students, and community of Canal Point and Pahokee.  Being able to receive this prestigious award two years in a row is a quite an accomplishment,” added Dr. Hoffman, KEC Principal. 

The winning PSAs will be also be featured on the Florida Education Channel and local television stations. 

Florida First Lady Ann Scott joined Deputy Director of the DOE Office of Early Learning Kevin Smith, Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell, Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret Smith, and Scholastic and NASCAR partner representatives at Daytona International Speedway for the announcement. The PSA contest was part of the week-long celebration that highlights Florida’s focus on literacy and reading. 

The goal of Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! is to promote literacy throughout the state by raising awareness of the programs and projects offered by the Department of Education and its partner agencies and organizations. For more information about otherCelebrate Literacy Week, Florida! events, visit

For more information contact Kathy Pasquariello, Principal at Timber Trace, at (561) 366-6200 or Dr. Donald Hoffman, Principal at K.E. Cunningham Canal Point Elementary, at (561) 924-9800.






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

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The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have an impressive legacy dating back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past winners including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.  The Awards are an important opportunity for students to be recognized for their creative talents.

There were over 2500 entries from Palm Beach and Martin County Middle and High School students.  Panels of local Arts and Art Education Professionals selected over 500 to receive Gold and Silver Keys.  The Gold Key winners work will travel to New York to compete with the other Gold Key Winners from the rest of the country. The winners of that competition have the opportunity to go receive their awards at Carnegie Hall!

The opening reception will take place on Saturday, February 4th, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in CityPlace. The exhibition will be open throughout the month.

Royal Palm Beach High School – Regional Scholastic

Art Awards 2011 – 2012

Ceramics & Glass

Gold Key – Phillip Jarrett

Title: Street paint

rade: 12  Teacher: Smith 

Silver Key – Darriane D’angelo 

Title: Chimney Stack

Grade: 12 Teacher: Smith 

Honorable Mention- Darriane D’angelo

Title: Factory Made

Grade: 12 Teacher: Smith 

Honorable Mention – Victoria Hanna

Title: Doilie In The Desert

Grade: 12 Teacher: Smith 

Honorable Mention – Niacha Johnson

Title: Paper Rose

Grade:12  Teacher: Smith 

Honorable Mention – Dainelle Troupe

Title: Betty Boop Vase

Grade: 12 Teacher: Smith


Comic Art 

Silver Key – Will Neder

Title: Fire & Ice

Grade: 11 Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Melissa Dunbar

Title: Fear of death

Grade: 12  Teacher: Oakes


Digital Art

Silver Key – Michael Murphy

Title: Slender Book

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes


Royal Palm Beach High School – Regional Scholastic

Art Awards 2011



Gold Key – Kathlyn Belizaire

Title: Street Musician

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Kathlyn Belizaire

Title: Mourning

Grade: 12  Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Jacqueline Medina

Title: Feoes

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Nicole Patterson

Title: Moody blues

Grade: 11 Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Shelby Salomone

Title: Trapaholic

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Shelby Salomone

Title: Honour Thy Mother, Unknown To Thy Father

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Paulena Wermuth

Title: Pomegranate

Grade: 11 Teacher: 

Gold Key – Taylor Werner

Title: My Mouth is Not a Sewer

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Gold Key – Taylor Werner

Title: Washed Away

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Jacqueline Medina

Title: RPB Band

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Gina Pengue

Title: Surrine Spotlight

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Shelby Salomone

Title: Sax Brew

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Shelby Salomone

Title: Coordination

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Shelby Salomone

Title: The Rhythm of a Strangers Skin

Grade: 12  Teacher: Oakes 

Silver Key – Paulena Wermuth

Title: Bubbles

Grade: 11 Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention – Melissa Dunbar

Title: Glass Inferno

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention – Michael Murphy

Title: Insomnia

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention -  Gina Pengue

Title: Sweet Ride

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention – Shelby Salomone

Title: Keeper of Peace

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention – Shelby Salomone

Title: Beautiful In My Way

Grade:12  Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention – Shelby Salomone

Title: Underwear Goes Inside The Pants

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 

Honorable Mention – Michael Tanner

Title: Dark Stairway

Grade: 12 Teacher: Oakes 


For more information contact Cynthia Oakes at (561) 753-4000 or via e-mail at






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

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Okeeheelee Middle School will be showcased at this weekend’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Wellington’s Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Okeeheelee will be bringing a broad variety of performance groups, including the International Spanish Academy dancers, hip hop dance team, cheerleaders, drama, arts, jazz band and chorus. The school will also be preparing paella and will have a Cuban cafeteria available.

Saturday’s events begin at 5:30 p.m. preceding the Saturday Night Lights event which gets under way at 7:00 p.m. in the International Ring.

Sunday’s activities begin at 12:30 p.m. preceding the competition which starts at 2:00 p.m.

To kick off the Okeeheelee weekend at the Wellington Equestrian Festival, teachers have fielded a team which will compete in the Vinceremos “Buck Off” at the White Horse Tavern Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 3401 Equestrian Club Estates Rd., Wellington, FL 33414. For more details about the Winter Equestrian Festival click here.

For more information contact David Samore at (561) 434-3205 or via e-mail at






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