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Sixty-nine Palm Beach County public school students were among the 16,000 Semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $32 million, that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.  About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Berger, Kelly
Cudia, Chandler P.
Labonte, Nikolette G.
Margaritoff, Michael A.
Nicolai, Kira D.
Orosco, Enrique M.
Otero, Victoria D.
Shuter, Daniel J.
Wan, Christopher X.

Benitez, Lorena M.
Heung, Christopher
Sobhan, Armaan M.
Willet, Kaylee R.

Alfano, Calder B.
Gelwasser, Martin L.
Homrich, John Thomas B.
Jackson, Courtney E.
Nusbickel, Alex J.
Radulovic, Petrana
Snow, Gabriella G.
Van Hare, Holly D.

Cassulo, Gina C.
Meiser, Rebecca J.
Rogers, Evan R.

Tessler, Steven A.
Summers, Richard B.
King, Margaret M.

Baratta, Toby
Barrick, Rachel A.
Birchansky, Joseph B.
Darwiche, Sarah N.
Esterman, Philip M.
Fogel, Michael
Groszman, Ken
Han, Elaine
Hunter, Hobie W.
Kupin, Aaron H.
Mansour, Mary S.
Posner, Caroline S.
Sha, Whitney Y.
Shapiro, Scott M.
Weisman, Ilana B.
Zeldin, Jordan A.

Brion, Louis A.
Coates, Thomas Jewell
Crippen, Brent R.
Davis, Jessica A.
Fennell, Moira E.
Gilbert, Samantha R.
Gouge, David C.
Gutierrez, Joel
Kohner, Megan E.
Le, Doris N.
Liang, Angela L.
Makepeace, Olivia H.
Morton, Kayla E.
Perera, David D.
Ravipati, Kaushik
Rothschild, Julia H.
Rubin, Hanna B.
Taylor, Jerome C.
Turk, Jessica D.
Xiao, Justin T.
Zhang, Alvin H.
Zuniga, Andres F.

Cesta, Johnna M.
Kennedy, Ryan M.

Dubnick, Logan A.
Patel, Tejas J.

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Benoist Farms Elementary is committed to promoting kindness and compassion so that the school remains a safe place for students to learn. A program titled “Rachel’s Challenge” will be implemented this year at Benoist Farms Elementary. Rachel Scott was one of the students in the Columbine High School incident, and her father along with over twenty other certified presenters travel all over the nation delivering the message of kindness and compassion, which were two traits that characterized Rachel Scott.

A kick-off celebration of kindness and compassion will take place on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 from 8:20 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. or from 9:20 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

Since Benoist Farms Elementary believes that the foundation of social and emotional skills, as well as academic skills, begin at the elementary level, the school would like to introduce “Rachel’s Challenge.” They will focus on how she lived her life and the challenges she set forth for all: influence, goal setting, journaling, acceptance and kindness.

“It is the our hope and wish that this will spark a change in how students treat each other as they prepare for middle school and high school,” added Dr. Ruthann Miller, Principal. “Please encourage your child(ren) to show kindness and compassion toward others, especially those who are new students, special needs students or isolated students. This was the wish of Rachel Scott.”

Students will be urged to fill out paper chains with statements of kind and compassionate actions they have witnesses from others. The links will be chained together in each classroom. The goal at the end of the year will be to host a group, campus event, celebrating all the acts of kindness and compassion where all of the chains will be joined together to create a “Chain Reaction of Kindness and Compassion.”

For more information contact Kimberly Rogers, Assistant Principal at (561) 383-9706 or via email at





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

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The Palm Beach County Art Teachers Association Members’ Exhibition at the Armory Art Center features original art works bythe county’s art teachers and community members. The exhibit which runs from September 14-October 13, displays the individual talent and creativity of area teachers and community members. The opening reception will take place on Friday, September 14th, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

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. 

Featured Artists

Jerilyn Brown

Bonnie Bruner

Kris Davis

Sarah Davis

Britt Feingold

Laura Folgate-Hernandez

Sandy Lerman

Jennifer Love-Gironda

Melanie Sitzer Hedges

Betty Jane Heiser Zedonek

Cynthia Oakes

Mimi Potter

Paula Rakszawski

Gwenn Seuling

Linda Stevenson


Armory Art Center is located at 1700 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. (561) 832-1776.



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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The Jupiter High Agriscience Department will have its fall plant sale on September 22nd.  Many different varieties of plants will be for sale including native species.  Varieties such as Cocoplum, Spicewood, Jamaican Caper are just a few of the native plants that will be for sale.  According to Jupiter High teacher Derrick Crum, “The school nursery also has many of the naturalized plants that are popular in South Florida yards along with some nice hanging baskets that would look great on the porch.” 

Plants range in size from one gallon up to 15 gallon.  Funds from the sale will go to help pay for students to attend the many field trips that occur during the year and to purchase much needed supplies.  The sale will go from 8am to 12pm on Saturday September 22nd.  The entrance to the Nursery is off of Toney Penna Drive just west of Military Trail in Jupiter. 

For more information please contact the Jupiter High School Agriculture Department at (561) 745-3452 or email .

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Clara Johnson

Clara Johnson, Indian Ridge School Behavior Intervention Associate, has been selected to carry the Commencement banner at the upcoming Strayer University graduation ceremony.  Ms. Johnson who has worked for the School District of Palm Beach County for 14 years will be carrying the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree banner in the graduate processional. 
She was awarded the honor of carrying the banner because of her academic accomplishments. “I am so excited, this degree means everything to me,” said Ms. Johnson.  “I am the first person in my family to earn a bachelor degree. Working here at the Palm Beach County School District I have seen the need for intervention to aid students with the many struggles they face in today’s society, so I pursued a degree in Criminal Justice. Now that I have completed my degree and got the fulfillment from within I have decided to continue with my studies to earn a Master’s in Education.”
She is also encouraging her students to study hard and continue their education, “To the students, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to earn your degree in whatever path of your choice, I can say this with great pride, self determination and hard work will let you accomplish your goals and pursue your dreams.”
The Strayer University graduation ceremony will take place September 29th at the Amway Center in Orlando.  “I will carry the banner with honor and pride for my family,” continued Ms. Johnson. “Even though both of my parents and two sisters are deceased, I know they are looking down on me with great pride.”
For more information please contact Indian Ridge School Principal Edward Tierney at 561-681-0000 or .

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Suncoast High School will be holding its second annual ‘College Fair & College Prep Night’ on Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 5pm through 9pm in the campus auditorium and gymnasium. This opportunity is open to all schools, public and private, in Palm Beach County.

So far, over 60 of the top institutions in the nation will be represented including: Barnard College of Women, Barry University, Bethune-Cookman University, Boston University, Brown University, Colgate University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Dickinson College, Drexel University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida Southern College, Florida State University, Full Sail University, Harvard University, Hollins University, Howard University, Iowa State University, ITT Technical Institute, John Cabot University , Johnson and Wales University, Kettering University, Lincoln College, Lynn University, Middlebury College, Monroe College, New College of Florida, Northeastern University, Northwood University, Norwich University, Nova Southeastern University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, Princeton University, Providence College, Purdue University, Regis College, Rutgers University, Sewanee: University of the South, Southeastern University, Southern Methodist University, St. John’s University, Sweet Briar College, The Catholic University of America, Tufts University, United States Coast Guard Academy, United States Military College/West Point, United States Naval Academy, University of Alabama, University of California – San Diego, University of Central Florida (UCF), University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of North Florida, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of South Florida, University of Tampa, University of the Arts, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Yale University and many more are currently confirming their travel schedule…

This program is so valuable. It encourages students and their families to identify their college choices and affords them the opportunity to speak first-hand with admissions directors and recruiters about what it takes to gain entrance to their prestigious institution without the time and expense of a college visit trip. By gaining insight from the College that the students wish to attend, these students will be able to make informed, goal-oriented decisions as they pursue their high school education. It allows the admission officers and recruiters the opportunity to be exposed to and speak with students and their families in one evening.

The evening will be further enhanced by showcasing many of the companies that assist students in their college prep journey including our benefactor sponsor and featured speaker Judi Robinovitz College Advising and Score at the Top Learning Center and School. Additional sponsors are Bed, Bath and Beyond, TEKNO101, Mathnasium of Palm Beach Gardens, College Essay, Powerscore, Premier College Advisors, Ducerus of South Florida, College Planning Masters, Inside Track to College, Westcoast Connection, and 360* College Travel/ College Campus Trips. They will be available as resources to parents and their students and some will hold ‘break-away’ sessions about topics of interest to the college bound.

For more information please contact Cathy Brandenburg at 561-844-7350 or .

For more information about college participation or sponsorship, please contact Kim Kohner at 561-758-4939, Cathy Brandenburg at 561-844-7350, or Mari Lee Holtzman at 561741-3202. You may also email


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Some members of School District leadership will participate with other community decision-makers and elected officials in the upcoming Poverty Simulation event scheduled for Wednesday, September 12, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Addie Greene Room of Gaines Park in West Palm Beach. Pre-registered District participants include: Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Learning Support Keith Oswald; Assistant Superintendent of Safe Schools, Joseph Lee; Director of Safe Schools, Ellen VanArsdale;  and Area 2 Director Valerie Zuniga –Haines. Retired Academic Executive Judith Klinek and retired Chief Academic Officer Ann Killets are also participating.

These educators will join Palm Beach County Education Commissioner Jody Gleason, Palm Beach County Commissioners Paulette Burdick and Shelly Vana, Deputy Chief Mike Gauger of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department, and over 100 other community leaders. Hosted by the National Circles Campaign-Palm Beach County—a collaborative community initiative of the Center for Family Services-the awareness-raising event is intended to draw attention to the circumstances of a growing number of Palm Beach County residents who find themselves among the ranks of those living at or below the federal poverty levels. They will “live” four 15-minute weeks confronting some of the tough decisions people in poverty face daily.

Assistant Superintendent Keith Oswald said it’s important for everyone who wants to see the community thrive to understand the realities of poverty and  families who live those realities daily. “Certainly the public education system of any community plays a vital role in the health and wealth of that community and of course we want to be a part of the solution to this crucial issue facing some of the most vulnerable of our residents—our children and our elders,” he stated.  

Participants of the simulation will learn when they arrive at the session what their particular “family circumstances” are and proceed to replicate the experience of a typical low-income family trying to survive “the tyranny of the moment.” They will try to navigate the complex and sometimes contradictory eligibility requirements of various community resources while attempting to find childcare, provide food, and make rent and utility payments. Representatives of the community resources will be played by volunteers from county government, the School District, Workforce Alliance, Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and a variety of other agencies and organizations. Although participants will be “acting out roles”, this is not a game.

The National Circles Campaign-Palm Beach County is designed to help families help themselves out of poverty. Palm Beach County is the 72 site in the U.S. to undertake this unique initiative. The simulation is designed to maximize understanding and to mobilize future positive action.

Limited participant spots are available. Contact National Circles Campaign-Palm Beach County Coordinator Hilda Alexander to register or for more details about the event at 561.616.1252 or


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The School District of Palm Beach County will not have emergency make-up days as a result of the closure for Tropical Storm Isaac. 
District officials have conferred with the Florida Department of Education,  and the remaining instructional time provided in the District’s school calendar exceeds statutory requirements.  
Florida statute sets instructional requirements in terms of hours of instruction over the school year rather than a prescribed number of school days.  
The Learning Team Meeting (LTM)/Professional Development Day (PDD) scheduled for October 11, 2012 has been cancelled.  October 11 will now be a full day of school for all students.  
Schools located in Loxahatchee and the Acreage will receive additional academic support to ensure the full curriculum is covered within the school year.  The Keep your Skills Sharp online activities were used by over 6,000 students who were home bound due to Tropical Storm Isaac.  

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The School District of Palm Beach County announced its participation in promoting Disability History and Awareness Month.  This is an annual awareness campaign that takes place the first two weeks of each October in compliance with the 2008 Florida Statutes, Section 1003.4205, Disability History and Awareness Instruction. The Department of Exceptional Student Education at the School District of Palm Beach County has set up a new webpage,, where schools and community members can access the awareness activities resource manual, K-12 lesson plans, and the historical timeline to promote awareness of disability history and the contributions of people with disabilities.

“The School District of Palm Beach County is dedicated to the important message of access, equity, and inclusion as we continue to promote disability history and awareness in our schools and in our communities,” said Will Gordillo, Executive Director of the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Department. This year’s Disability History and Awareness Month theme is; Access, Equity, and Inclusion. Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month of October, the School District of Palm Beach County will be engaging in a variety of activities designed to raise awareness. These efforts include an Art Poster Contest based on this year’s theme which is open to all K-12 students in the district.

In addition, the ESE Department will be highlighting Disability History and Awareness Month at two upcoming conferences that are open to the public including parents and other community agencies.  The conferences are the Annual STARZ Conference which will be held at John I Leonard High School on October 20, 2012 and the Florida Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) State Conference which will be held at Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa on October 25-27, 2012.

For more information on how to participate in the Disability History and Awareness Month activities and promote these important messages, during October and throughout the year, please contact Fartun Mohamud at

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The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is pleased to announce that the Seventh Edition of its publication: An Educational Guide to Art and Culture in Palm Beach County is now available on the web. This one-of-a-kind educational resource for educators and families may be viewed or downloaded online at:

An Educational Guide to Art and Culture in Palm Beach County is an easy-to-use resource tool that assists educators and parents looking for free, or low-cost events, field trips and in-school presentations to enhance learning experiences for children. An Educational Guide to Art and Culture in Palm Beach County offers hundreds of activities for the K-12 student-age bracket, and provides information for educators and families to help keep art and culture a constant throughout the year.

In early August, thousands of brochures, outlining how to access the online Educational Guide were distributed to teachers at professional development workshops to assist them in planning for the 2012-13 school year. Additionally, these brochures will be distributed to all public and private schools and home-school support organizations in Palm Beach County. 

“This information is not available anywhere else,” said Shawn Berry, Manager of Arts and Cultural Education for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. “More than 60 Palm Beach County arts and cultural organizations – all members of the Cultural Council – are featured in the guide along with special discount offers for teachers from Office Depot,” Berry said.

“The guide is an excellent resource and we encourage everyone to take advantage of these wonderful activities,” said Rena Blades, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. “By doing so, it strengthens and forms ongoing partnerships with arts and cultural organizations often in the same community with your home or school, and can lead to other exciting possibilities such as, internships, scholarships, and jobs.”

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County publishes, An Educational Guide to Art and Culture in Palm Beach County with generous support from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Lawrence A. Sanders Foundation, Inc., and Office Depot.

For more information about An Educational Guide to Art and Culture in Palm Beach County, please contact, Shawn Berry, Manager of Arts and Cultural Education at, or 561.472.3347. To learn more about the benefits of membership with the Cultural Council, please contact Debbie Calabria at , or 561.472.3330.

About the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County:

The Cultural Council is Palm Beach County’s official arts agency and serves non-profit cultural organizations and professional artists throughout the county. The Cultural Council’s responsibilities include marketing the county’s cultural experiences to visitors and residents, administering grants to organizations and artists, expanding arts and cultural education opportunities, advocating for funding and arts-friendly policies, and serving cultural organizations and artists through capacity building training and exposure to funders and audiences.

Admission to the Cultural Council is free and open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit

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The informative, and free Safety Day family event is being held for the second year Saturday, September 8, from 11:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. at Hidden Oaks Elementary School. Hosted by the Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Target’s National Night Out Program,  the event is intended to promote crime prevention, child safety, youth programs, and community awareness.

Families are invited to come and see the Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit,  and the Aviation, and Mounted Units. McGruff the Crime Dog will be on hand along with the Florida highway Patrol and Palm Beach County’s Fire Rescue Department. Drowning Prevention of Palm Beach County, Safe Kids, the Solid Waste Authority, and the American Red Cross will also be participating to offer tips and strategies to help families live safer lives  Lots of free entertainment including games, face painting, and bounce houses is planned.  The community is encouraged to come enjoy the food, drinks and fun.

The school is located in Lake Worth at 7685 S Military Trail. For details contact Jen Martinez, County Council of PTA/PTSA president, at


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The members of the Tampa Bay Posse—owners of one of-a-kind Corvettes–, will roll into West Palm Beach Friday, September 7,  to delight about 40 Roosevelt Elementary students who were the school’s highest FCAT performers last  year.  A convoy of more than 20 cars will parade through the school’s parking lot starting at 11:00 a.m. preceding a luncheon the school is hosting for the Posse and students. The group is joined this year by the West Palm Beach Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, whose members tutored the students in preparation for the statewide test.  Brothers of the fraternity joined with the Tampa Bay Corvette Posse to co-sponsor a DJ who will play music on the school’s playground to add to the festivities for those students who scored a 4.o on the writing,   reading, or math  portions of FCAT.

This year the Posse also sponsored  red, white, and black Write to Ride t-shirts for the student to wear on this special day. The parking lot at the Science, Technology and Mathematics magnet program will be transformed into a deluxe, Corvette car exhibit and demonstration area. Principal Dr. Glenda Garrett expressed gratitude for the fourth year of involvement by the Tampa club. “We have students participating this year who first heard about the event when they were in first or second grade and this year—they were old enough and scored high enough to be among those who reap the rewards,” she stated. Typically the students are allowed to select the color of the “grand chariot” they get to ride in through the neighborhood.

This year an added feature of the celebration is a skating party for the students –also sponsored by the Tampa Bay Posse—that will be held at a later date. Members of the Posse and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity are expected to be on hand at the school until 2:30 p.m. For details, contact Dr. Garrett at 561.653-5100 or

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Cypress Trails Elementary School (CTES) announced that its CTES Super Readers Book Club was awarded a $2000 grant from the Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT). Target recognizes the efforts of Cypress Trails Elementary in developing an afterschool enrichment program designed to promote reading for pleasure.  The grant will help develop the book club and provide resources to promote independent and shared reading and discussion. 

“We are thrilled to receive the grant from Target. Our goal is to help students build mastery in reading and this book club allows them to do that and have fun,” said Principal Tameka Robinson. 

The grant is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to build strong, safe and healthy communities across the country. These efforts include Target’s long history of giving 5 percent of its income to communities, which today equals more than $3 million every week. As part of this commitment, Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015 to help kids learn, schools teach and parents and caring adults engage. 

“At Target, we are committed to serving local communities where we do business,” said Laysha Ward, President, Community Relations, Target. “That’s why we are proud to partner with Cypress Trails Elementary as we work to strengthen communities and enrich the lives of our guests and team members.” 

In addition to the grant received by Cypress Trails Elementary, Target also gives through signature programs such as:

  • Take Charge of Education, a school fundraising initiative that provides undesignated funds to local schools for whatever they need most, from books and school supplies to classroom technology.
  • Arts Accessibility, free or reduced-price admission to arts and cultural events nationwide.
  • Target School Library Makeovers, a program that leverages Target’s world-class design expertise to transform school libraries across the country with new construction, furniture, and technology, as well as 2,000 new books.
  • Education Grants and Awards, including Books for Schools Awards, Target Field Trip Grants and Early Childhood Reading Grants, that provide schools, libraries, teachers and nonprofit organizations the resources they need to bring learning to life and put more kids on the path to graduation. 

For more information contact Tasha Burke-Peart  at (561)  904-9000 or via email at






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

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Mandy Freeman (left) joins her coach and teammate

Mandy Freeman, a Senior at Atlantic High School, has been named one of the 21 soccer players who will represent the United States at the 2012 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup being held in Azerbaijan from September 22 through October 13.  U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team head coach Albertin Montoya named the squad after a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, from August 19-26, at which the USA defeated the China U-17 Women’s National Team in two friendly matches by 2-1 and 5-1 scores.  Mandy plays in the defender position on the team, which compiled an overall record of 22-5-6 over 2010 and 2011 heading into the Women’s World Cup, including a 13-1-4 mark in international games.
Also a member of the Atlantic High soccer team, Mandy’s Principal Dr. Anthony Lockhart says she is a star on and off the field. “She is a tremendous student/athlete with a winning personality who works hard on the field and in the classroom,” said Dr. Lockhart.  “I am proud to know her and it is an honor to be her Principal.” 

One of Mandy’s other accomplishments was being selected as an All American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for 2012. Only 40 youth girls in the United States received this honor.  Mandy verbally committed to play soccer for the University of Southern California (USC) during her sophomore year in high school. She plans to attend USC when she graduates in 2013.
For more information please contact Atlantic High School Principal Dr. Anthony Lockhart at 561-243-1500 or .

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The Office Depot Foundation recently donated 20,000 colorful new sackpacks to deserving children served by non-profit organizations, schools and agencies in Palm Beach County. They contained essential school supplies, during a special “Back-to- School Celebration” that took place at different Office Depot stores located throughout the county. 

Special guests included West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio; West Palm Beach Commissioner Sylvia Moffett; Fred Pinto, Administrative Assistant, representing Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess. R Santamaria; Dan Liftman, Staff Assistant, representing U.S. Congressman Alcee L. Hastings; and State Representative Joseph Abruzzo.

 Through the award-winning National Backpack Program, which is now in its 12th year, the Office Depot Foundation plans to help children prepare for school by donating 400,000 sackpacks across the United States and internationally – the most ever in a single year. The sturdy, specially designed sackpacks come in seven different color combinations with kid-friendly graphics. 

By the end of 2012, Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation will have helped more than 2.9 million children since the inception of the program in 2001. 


Office Depot Foundation Representatives and Employee along with Jimmy Peterkin, Debi Elfen and Nat Harrington


Office Depot Foundation Representatives and Employees along with Debi Elfen and Vickie Middlebrooks.


Nat Harrington, CPIO, on behalf of the School District of Palm Beach County

For information on the Foundation and its initiatives, go to More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on Facebook at You can also follow the Foundation on Twitter at  The National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #OfficeDepotFndnKids.


About the Office Depot Foundation

The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) − that serves as the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that help children succeed in school and in life; enable civil society (non-profit) organizations to become more efficient and effective; help people and businesses prepare for disasters, then recover and rebuild afterwards; strengthen local communities through grants, product donations and volunteerism; and encourage community development through entrepreneurship and economic innovation. For more information, visit

For more information contact Jimmy Lee Peterkin, Business Partnership Coordinator, at (561) 434- 7323  or via email at






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

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Renowned Author James Patterson, the Palm Beach resident who holds the New York Times and Guinness World Book records for most hardcover fiction bestselling titles by a single author, has funded a grant to create unique book clubs in three Palm Beach County middle schools. 

The grant of $48,500 will fund the purchase of thousands of new books in each of the three middle schools chosen for the book clubs- JFK, H.L. Watkins and Pahokee middle schools.  Patterson has partnered with the Palm Beach School District in several projects since 2004 to get students reading, and this is just the latest in his ongoing campaign to get kids reading. 

“If you give kids books they want to read, they’ll read more,” said James Patterson. “I want to help do that,” he said. 

The books will be selected from large book lists, created by teachers, media specialists and district literacy staff to appeal to reluctant as well as experienced readers. In addition to those books, Patterson is donating another 200 books to each of the schools and Suncoast High School.

Patterson’s idea, after working hard to get his own son reading more, is to give kids a relaxing place to read for enjoyment. Specially-trained teachers will lead the book clubs and help students select books and work through any reading barriers they might have.  

Patterson knows books, and he knows kids. He spoke and gave books to thousands of middle school students at the Kravis Center in 2004. This year he spoke to hundreds of students at JFK Middle School and Suncoast High School about reading and writing and gave away thousands of books to students in all Palm Beach County middle and high schools.  He then had a group of students transported to The Society of the Four Arts on Palm Beach to participate in a webcast about a bestseller he wrote of kids - Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life

Among the tips he gives parents about getting kids reading: 


2. READ MOREHere’s a simple but powerful truth that many parents and schools don’t act on: The more kids read, the better readers they become.

3. PICK OUT BOOKS THEY’LL LOVE. Kids say the number one reason they don’t read more is because they can’t find books they like. The best way to get kids reading is to give them books they’ll gobble up.

4. WHERE CAN I FIND GREAT BOOKS? AND FREE BOOKS? ReadKiddoRead.comGuysRead.comOprah.comYALSA and ALA‘s sites. Where to find free or low-cost books:, and

5. DON’T DISCRIMINATE. Freedom of choice is key: Comics, re-reading a book, easy books and hard books are all fair game. Don’t say no if the book is helping a kid get into the reading habit. 

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


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Family involvement strategies and student academic enrichment ideas are a big part of the coveted Multicultural  Teacher’s Desk Calendar rolling out once again to schools across the District.  The Department of Multicultural Education is distributing the multilingual calendar for the 11th year which features finger-tip resources for instructional strategies, classroom activities, and suggestions to parents for activities to help their youngsters.

Need to know the deadline to submit Choice/Magnet Program applications? Confused about when Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage is commemorated? The interactive home-school calendars provide that information and more. Parents Involved in Creating Student Success (PICKS) and Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork (TIPS) are included to help develop successful partnerships for student academic success. The interactive homework activities that precede each month’s calendar are provided in English, spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian-Creole.

The calendar features culturally and historically significant events, as well as a variety of tips for creating a community of diverse learners in each classroom and school.  Who gets these calendars? Specialist Connie Berry said they’re designed for use by all elementary school teachers, middle school English teachers, language arts teachers, intensive reading and ESOL teachers, high school ESOL cordinators, and all guidance counselors. “The calendars are popular because everyone knows they’re full of research-based strategies that educators can use for student and parent engagement,” she stated. “Teachers are always telling us they rely on this resource for some of the facts and dates included about specific cultures and historical events.”

School administrators support the effort each year by supplying the necessary paper for teachers to duplicate the suggested activities for distribution to students and parents; promoting a family-friendly school atmosphere; including family involvement strategies from each of the Six National PTA Standards in the school improvement plans; and encouraging teachers to consistently send home the monthly interactive homework.

For details about the interactive homework or the school, home, and community partnerships, Contact Ms. Berry at 561.434.7348 or email


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School District officials have announced all Palm Beach County Schools will be open Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  School bus schedules throughout the county will resume normal pick-up and drop-off times and locations.  Parents with concerns about individual student issues should contact their schools directly.

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The School District has prepared a series of  academic activities for students in Loxahatchee and The Acreage at all grade levels, Kindergarten through 12, who have been unable to return to school due to road flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac. These activities are designed to help students maintain their academic skills as they await the reopening of their schools.

The activities are posted on the school district’s main web page or you can follow this link.
The activities allow students to work at home on skills that will help them be prepared to be successful learning the state standards in the classroom when they return to school. 
The activities are not mandatory, but are intended to assist parents and enrich student learning. The work will not be counted for credit, nor will students be penalized for not completing the activities. District officials applaud our students parents, teachers and staff for their efforts to keep everyone safe and for their support during the unprecedented flooding from the storm.


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The 2012 Palm Beach Partners Business Matchmaker Conference & Expo kicks off with continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Friday, November 9 at the Double Tree by Hilton & Executive Meeting Center in Palm Beach Gardens. The primary goal of this one-day event is to bring state, county, and local government agencies, major corporations, and small businesses together to match the multitude of disciplines needed for participation in major contracts.

 The 2012 Palm Beach Partners Business Matchmaker Conference & Expo will feature a number of activities including the plenary opening session featuring Attorney Collette Holt. Ms. Holt represents public agencies and private firms on issues related to civil rights, employment issues, public contracting and affirmative action and is a frequent media commentator and author on these topics.

 Rick Caldwell, president of RCultures; Inc.- a consulting firm that provides corporate trainings on cultural diversity, prevention of sexual harassment, customer service and team building, will deliver the conference keynote address during the conference luncheon. Additionally there will be opportunities for one-on-one meetings with government agencies and private corporations, on-site agency certification, and a VIP reception.

Hands-on, working sessions called Power Workshops will provide small business owners with exposure to the latest technology, industry best practices, and tools and resources that will take their business to the next level. Scheduled topics include Business Finance, Marketing/Public Relations, Legal Issues, and Insurance Matters.

 Palm Beach Partners include representatives from South Florida Water Management District, City of Riviera Beach, Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, School District of Palm Beach County, City of West Palm Beach, Center for Technology Enterprise and Development (TED), the Paragon Foundation of Palm Beach County, Inc. Palm Tran Public Transportation, and Palm Beach County Department of Airports.

Michelle Andrewin, the District’s director of the Department of Diversity in Business Practices, is chair of this year’s MatchMaker event. She said the conference benefits all who participate. “From its inception the conference has been designed to offer unique networking and educational opportunities, as well as face time with governmental agencies and prime contractors,” she stated. “Small and women and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to earn their certification, and prime contractors and agencies shore up their roster of available subcontractors and small vendors.”


 In 2007, a coalition of City, County, State and non-profit agencies aligned to maximize economic development opportunities for small businesses throughout the South Florida region. Forming what is now known as the Palm Beach Partners, the coalition includes: South Florida Water Management District, Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, School District of Palm Beach County, City of West Palm Beach, Center for Technology Enterprise and Development (TED Center) and the Paragon Foundation of Palm Beach County, Inc. In 2011, the Partners welcomed the City of Riviera Beach and the Solid Waste Authority as participating members.

 Those who want to register should contact Patrick Chrysostome at or call 561. 434.8508.  For more information about the conference and expo, contact Ms. Andrewin, at or call 561.434.8508.



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Benoist Farms Elementary families are being invited  to the media center to pick out items from the clothing drive on August 31, 2012 from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Lauren Rogers, Parent Liaison at Benoist Farms, came up with the idea of a clothing drive when she had extra clothes to donate and didn’t know who to donate them to.  

With the help of Benoist Farms staff, students, and members of the community, the donations began rolling in.  Accessories, shoes, socks, bed sheets and clothing of all sizes were being dropped off at local business partnerships as well as at the school. 

“Our students are so fortunate through our business partners to be given supplies and garments to assist where needed.  This is a way for the students to give back to the community by saying thank you for all you do.”  Dr.  Ruthann Miller, Principal. 

Benoist Farms is extremely grateful for the generosity and outreach from our community and students to help others.  A little difference can go a long way with a big heart and a positive attitude. 

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






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

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Grants From Target Corporation Help Arts And Tutorial Program


Sunrise Park Elementary School recently received two grants from the Target Corporation, each for $2,000.00.   The first grant will be used to fund the Afterschool art program called “R.I.S.E. (Respect and Responsibility Invites a Safe Environment) through the Arts.”   Under the guidance of art teacher, Judy Simon, students will design murals to remind everyone of Sunrise Park’s weekly character traits, which are part of the school-wide positive behavior support program.  The murals will then be painted in different locations throughout the school. 

The second grant was awarded for Sunrise Park’s “Club Discovery” program.  This is an Afterschool tutorial program for students enrolled in grades K-5. Students receive homework help, academic assistance in reading and math, and valuable time in the computer lab to practice pertinent academic skills.  The grant of $2,000.00 will help Sunrise Park implement this tutorial club during the 2012-2013 school year. 

“Sunrise Park is grateful to Target for supporting our students through their generous grant award program and would like to thank them for giving back to students and local schools.  Sunrise Park Elementary is surely on “target” for another great year,’ said Alicia Steiger, the school principal.

For more information about these grant programs, please contact Allison Lazarus, ESE Teacher, at (561)477-4300 or via email at


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Rafael Rodriguez, Dual Language Kindergarten Teacher at Cholee Lake Elementary has been selected as a “Catapult Learning Education Spotlight” educator. The purpose of this recognition is to honor some of the most dedicated teachers and education professionals. 

“Those of us who have had the privilege of seeing what an outstanding teacher Mr. Rodriguez is, as well as his total commitment, not only to the students he teaches, but also to the school as a whole, are not surprised that he has received this recognition,” added Mrs. Jacqueline Perkins, Principal. 

Mr. Rodriguez became a teacher because he wanted to do something to help the community and give back some of the privileges that he benefited from. He enjoys working with the Catapult Learning Program because it’s designed to encourage students to face their challenges using different approaches, providing them with a caring environment full of new ways to help them reach their goals. 

Click here to read the full article. 

For more information contact Jacqueline Perkins at (561) 383-9600 or via email at








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

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The Rotary Club of West Palm Beach has been doing community service projects for over 93 years.  The Dictionary Project benefitting the School District of Palm Beach County is one of its all-time favorites.  In September, the Club will start its eighth year delivering a dictionary to every third grader in 14 West Palm Beach elementary schools. 

In the past eight years, the Club has distributed over 11,000 dictionaries, with a total value in excess of $20,000. Approximately 40 members of the Rotary Club will visit the 14 elementary schools and spend time with the children encouraging their academic achievement and showing them how to use their new dictionary.

Over 50% of the children in West Palm Beach are on free or reduced lunches.  For many of the children, this is the first new book they have ever owned.

In addition to the Dictionary Project, the Rotary Club of West Palm Beach also supports the 14 elementary schools in West Palm Beach through their annual Principal Grants Program and Bike Project.  Throughout the years, the Club’s contributions to West Palm Beach Schools have been in excess of $200,000. 

Kenyetta V. Haywood, School District administrator and Board Member of The Rotary Club of West Palm Beach County stated “We are proud to be an active Business Partner with the District.  “The Dictionary Project is an example of our Rotary Motto “Service Above Self”.

For more information contact:

Peter H. Bozetarnik, Partner -Bozetarnik & Company, LLP

Two Harvard Circle, Suite 400, West Palm Beach, FL 33409  (561) 253-7885

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The School District’s Purchasing Department has earned the 17th Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award for 2012.

The District is one of only twenty government agencies in Florida and one of only seventeen school districts in the United States to receive the award.

The Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award recognizes organizational excellence in procurement. Public and non-profit organizations earn the award by obtaining a high application score based on standardized criteria.  The judging criteria are designed to measure innovation, professionalism, e-procurement, productivity, and leadership attributes of the procurement function.  The Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award is sponsored by the National Procurement Institute (NPI), the California Association of Public Procurement Officials (CAPPO), the Florida Association of Public Procurement Officials (FAPPO), the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), NIGP : The Institute for Public Procurement, the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP), and the Texas Public Purchasing Association (TxPPA).

The Purchasing Department is dedicated to providing professional and efficient services and supports the activities of the School District, which includes: education, financial responsibility and community service, through contracting for all commodities and services; by maintaining procedures which foster fair and open competition, inspiring public confidence that all contracts are awarded equitable and economically; and by acquiring the greatest possible value and quality in the services and products purchased, with timely delivery.

“We have a wonderful team of professionals working in the Purchasing Department and are proud to be recognized for supporting our schools and departments efficiently,” said Sharon Swan, Director of the Purchasing Department at the District.

For more information, contact Sharon Swan at (561) 434-8214 or email