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Honoring Those Who Served is the theme of a special event being sponsored by Christa McAuliffe Middle School Friday, May 25 at 9:30 a.m.  State Representative Mark S. Pafford, a member of the Community and Military Affairs Committee, will open the event by introducing the theme. Featured guest speaker Corporal Burt Richards, founder of the Veterans Speakers Forum and  moderator of the Educational Schools program in District schools will present his group of distinguished veterans.

Eighth grade students will attend the live presentation while 6th and 7th graders will watch via the in-house system. Everyone is encouraged to wear red, white, and blue, and bring their hand-held U.S. flags in honor of Memorial Day. The school band is also scheduled to perform at the event.

 Faith Ann Cheek,  principal of the Boynton Beach school, said the event is an opportunity for everyone at the school to pause and reflect. “Our students and school community need to remember the sacrifices these outstanding Americans have given for our country,” she stated. “ Memorial Day is a time when we need to acknowledge and appreciate all of those who have served and those who are still serving to keep us free.”

For more details, contact Assistant Principal Dr. Shawn Servos, 561-374-6616 or email

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Connie Siskowski CNN HeroConnie Siskowski, RN, PhD, never expected her doctoral research to uncover the high prevalence of family health situations and concomitant care giving with detrimental academic effects upon children in Palm Beach County. She has been selected as a CNN 2012 Hero and her story is scheduled to premiere on Thursday, May 17, 2012 and will continue airing throughout the weekend.

CNN Heroes is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others.  All CNN Heroes are selected from viewer nominations submitted at  Last year, more than 10,000 nominations were received from 100 countries. 

Her broad background in healthcare and dedication to diminishing caregiver isolation and struggles led to the 1998 establishment of what is now the American Association of Care giving Youth®. Their mission is to increase awareness about the effects on children who provide care for family members who are ill, injured, elderly and/or disabled. 

Dr. Siskowski and her group of professionals serve 17 high schools, 8 middle schools and over 500 students in Palm Beach County who are care givers.  They provide direct and indirect support services such as lunch and learn, discussion clubs, home visits, resources and many other activities.

Below is the schedule of CNN Heroes:

Friday, May 18, 2012


8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 9 p.m., 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.


6 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.


2 a.m., 6 a.m. and  7 p.m.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.


8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


6 a.m.

Monday, May 21, 2012


7 p.m. 

**All times are given Eastern Time

**Times listed reference the hour starting at. We are unable to specify the time within the hour. 

For more information contact Connie Siskowski at (561) 391-740 or via email at





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

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The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Hawk Battalion at Seminole Ridge High School will name their Raider Team after a World War II hero Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk. The General will address the students on Monday May 21st, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the Dr. Lynne K. McGee Auditorium.  There will also be ribbon cutting ceremony at the JROTC Raider Training Site to name the training area “Irzyk’s Raider Training Compound.” 

Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk served in the Army for 31 years. He fought five campaigns in Europe as a 27-28 year old Tank Battalion Commander in the Fourth Armored Division, which spearheaded Gen. Patton’s Third Army across much of Europe. He was wounded twice and received the nation’s second highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, for extraordinary heroism. Additional decorations include the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with 3 Old Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. 

At the University of Massachusetts he received his Bachelor’s Degree and a commission in the Horse Cavalry from ROTC. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC, and is a graduate of the National War College. 

General Irzyk resides in West Palm Beach and is the author of five books to include: He Rode Up Front for Patton; Gasoline to Patton; A Warrior’s Quilt of Personal Military History; Firsthand Account 4th Armored Division Spearhead at Bastogne; Unsung Hero’s, Saving Saigon.

For more information contact Hans Fritz Hunt at (561) 422-2620 or via email at

 SRCHS Gen Irzyk Photo

General Irzyk as a Major.








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

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Emerald Cove Middle began offering Law Studies as an elective class this past year. In an effort to increase her knowledge and bring real simulations Ms. Ana Villanueva, was recently selected to attend the Florida Supreme Court Teacher Justice Teaching Institute in Tallahassee, FL.  

The five day Justice Teaching Institute (JTI) provides innovative hands-on training to 20 to 25 secondary teachers in Florida. It incorporates mock oral arguments, an overview of the State Courts System, history of the Supreme Court of Florida, visits to the trial and appellate courts, case studies among many other things.

“I was so inspired that I applied to the 2012 Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers in Washington D.C. this June and was accepted!” added Ms. Villanueva.

The Institute includes sessions led by Supreme Court experts, journalists, authors, and attorneys, who give teachers an in-depth understanding of how the Court chooses and decides cases, and what it is like to argue before the Court.

“This exciting opportunity culminates with a visit to the Court to hear decisions handed down and a private reception at the Court,” said Ms. Villanueva.

The Institute prepares teachers to use innovative teaching methods with current and past cases. Beyond the content-rich sessions and activities, teachers are also equipped with the skills and tools to train fellow teachers at home.

For more information contact Ana Villanueva at (561) 803-8000 or via email at  






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

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Watch the Palm Beach County School District High School Graduation Ceremonies from your school or home.  The Education Network (T.E.N) is pleased to announce that all of the graduation exercises being held at the South Florida Fairgrounds will be carried Live on T.E.N.’s Vodcast Secondary Education Channel  Graduations will also be delivered to all schools on the Secondary Education Channel. The ceremonies will be held beginning May 17th.

For further information please call The Education Network at 561-738-2791.

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Atlantic High LogoThe 4th annual Palm Beach Atlantic University High School Mathematics Competition was held Saturday morning, May 12, in Lassiter Hall on the university’s campus.

Nine high school teams from Boca Raton to Ft. Pierce attended the competition.

The team from Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach was declared champion of the 3-hour competition consisting of real-life mathematics problems whose solutions required applications of concepts from Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics and Calculus. 

Atlantic’s 5-member winning team consisted of seniors Hayden Jansen (also winner of the Pathfinder Award in Mathematics), Michael Klionsky (Valedictorian), Gowri Nayar, Hanif Ahmed and Benny Tom.

Atlantic’s winning team members won TI-Nspire graphing calculators and $375 in gift certificates to Best Buy.

It was the second competition championship for Atlantic in the last three years of the competition.

Following Atlantic in 2nd place was the team from Suncoast Math/Science/Engineering (MSE) Magnet School.

Some of the other schools with one or more teams competing were Seminole Ridge, Port St. Lucie Centennial, Seminole Ridge and Spanish River.

For more information, contact Russ Williams at

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Animal-loving members of Diamond View Elementary School’s Critter Club are set to make a donation soon to the Greenacres Fire Department. Comprised of about 40 3rd throug 5th graders and three of the school’s teachers, the club started fundraising with a purpose earlier this year with the goal of buying animal oxygen masks.  Teachers Barbara King, Katie Lorne, and Ann Schulte are club sponsors who worked with the students to sell doggie bandanas and homemade doggie treats to raise the money needed to buy the animal oxygen masks. With the help of Captain Don Delucia from Palm Beach County Fire and Rescue, they identified and located appropriate masks with enough money to purchase five sets of them.

A recent article in USA Today said that animal oxygen masks are “cone-shaped and designed with enough depth to fit over an animal’s nose and mouth, making delivery of oxygen more effective than it is with masks made for people’s flatter faces.”  Animal masks also have a rubber seal which leads to a snug fit around the animal’s snout.

The Critter Club is scheduled to present the life-saving gifts to representatives of the Fire/Rescue Services Division of the City of Greenacres on Thursday, May 24 at 2:30 in the school’s Physical Education Pavillion.  For details, contact Ms. King, 561-304-4201 or email

cat  with mask

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Domonick Lewis-Buchanan, a member of the Palm Beach Gardens High Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) was awarded the Alternative Scholarship Reservations (ASR).  This prestigious award totals $180,000 and was presented to Domonick at a recent awards ceremony at Palm Beach Gardens High School.

The Alternative Scholarship Reservations scholarship is awarded through a program sponsored by the US Navy and is designed to attract cadets desiring to attend higher education but may not otherwise be selected through the routine NJROTC route. The ASR takes in account the overall picture of a student’s potential to succeed in addition to his or her scholastic achievements, community involvement and desire to become a college graduate.

In addition to Domonick’s ASR, he has also received over $30,000.00 in scholarship awards from his selected institution, Drexel University in Philadelphia Pa. In August Domonick will start his quest to become a college graduate and eventually a commissioned officer in the US Navy.

For more information please contact Barbara Terembes, Director Choice and Career Options at 561-434-8118or .

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Theme: Robots in Paradise at USF Polytechnic

 With alliance team from Netherlands[2]

Poinciana Elementary School is celebrating their 8-member Taz Bots team of contenders who recently took first place in the Florida Legoland World Invitational Open held in Winter Haven, Florida. The team of students who participate in the school’s Aftercare Program  had  to first win in last Fall’s qualifying regional tournaments and then earned second place in January along with a bid for the State Tournament. At the State Tournament the team received the Director’s Award—the highest distinction a team can win at the state level—along with the bid to go to the World Invitational earlier this month.  The competition was hosted by Legoland and USF Polytechnic.

Ms. Gloria Gibson, team sponsor and Poinciana Aftercare director, said the team had to build and program an autonomous robot using LEGO Mindstorms technology to score points in 2 ½ minute matches on a themed playing field. “They had to solve a set of missions, along with researching, developing, and then sharing their innovative solutions—and  they truly excelled,” she stated.  The Taz Bots, who were one of 64 teams from around the world, formed a friendly alliance with team FAV from the Netherlands. 

At the closing Award Ceremony, the Taz Bots received a team trophy and individual medals.  In the photo above, the team (wearing gray t-shirts) show off the trophy as they  pose with Ms. Gibson and team Fav from the Netherlands.

For more information, contact Dr. Gibson, 561-739-5700 or email

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Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè LOGOThis month ‘Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè’, the Haitian Creole TV show, will share information about Haitian Heritage Month.

The guests are, Dr. Velouse Jean-Jacques, Guidance Counselor, and Véronique Valéry from the Haitian American Solidarity Center (HASC).

‘Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè’ will air from Sunday, May 20 through Saturday, May 26, on T.E.N. Comcast Digital Cable 234 at 12:30 PM and 8:30 PM. You can also watch the show online on the District Web site Vodcast system at this link:

“Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè” is available throughout the month everyday at 8:30 AM at

‘Fowòm Edikasyon Kominotè’ is a TV series produced by the Department of Public Affairs and T.E.N. in Haitian Creole. The program provides information to the Haitian community about education issues, activities and opportunities at their children’s schools in order to promote parental involvement, a key factor to student achievement.

For more information, contact Bito David at or call (561) 963-3820 or (561) 644-6488.

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Sunrise Part PRThe Digital Imaging Club at Sunrise Park ES participated in the Adopt-a-Plant for Your Classroom campaign, and brought some nature indoors!  The club was this year’s runners up! 

NASA recommends one indoor plant for every 100 square feet of living space to improve indoor air quality. The Club, led by Mrs. Budish, took the contest a step further and created a PSA titles entitled “Got Air? Get Plants.”  Click on this link to see the finished and creative product!

Go out and adopt a plant for your indoor space!!

Mrs. Budish has worked with this group of tech savvy elementary students all year long.  This group of students met every Tuesday after school.  They have learned a variety of software programs such as iMovie, Powerpoint, Keynote, Kerpoof, and Wordle. They created presentations for Just Read Florida!  (Follow the Reader) and many marketing presentation tools for both inside and outside our school building.   The students presented their projects on WSUN, the morning show.  Most recently this group created a marketing breeze presentation entitled “The ABCs of Kindergarten.”      

Ellen Budish, the club moderator stated, “The most rewarding part of the digital imaging club is watching the students become responsible for their own learning and sharing the information with the school and our community.”

For more information about this contest or the Digital Imaging Club, please contact Mrs. Ellen Budish at (561) 477-4300 or via email at

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Sharon Flake at LantanaOver 500 Lantana Middle School students were enthralled as they listened to nationally renowned author Sharon Flake’s readings and interacted with the dynamic Philadelphia native recently. The author of six award-winning books including The Skin I’m In, Money Hungry, and  Bang, visited  the Lantana school and participated in two large group sessions and a small group discussion that gave students and teachers a close-up view of the world of a professional writer. Reading Coach Lillian Simpson said the event served to reinforce her efforts all year to enhance students’ literacy skills and appreciation of the written and spoken word. “When students can meet, touch, and talk with someone who actually earns a living from the stories she writes and reads—their efforts at honinig their own skills have more meaning,” she stated. “Ms. Flake tells stories that reflect the lives of many of these students—now they have a sense that they can also bring their own stories to life.”

 An author of young adult books, Ms. Flake expressed  gratitude for being invited to speak at Lantana Middle and being blessed with success in her writing. She told the audience that she strives to visit schools and public libraries to talk with students about her past and the possibilities of their futures. She wanted the students to know that they don’t have to be perfect to do something that they want to do. “Trust your own instincts and believe in yourself,” she stated. “Life is full of twists and turns so you never know where a road might lead you.”

 During the large group sessions, topics discussed included creating memorable characters and writing realistic fiction. Ms. Flake mingled with students and took them on an unforgettable journey of the day-to-day activities and life of an author including working with editors, and the rewrite process.

 During the more intimate small group discussion, Ms. Flake went deeper into the writing process; specifically the editing, illustrating, marketing, and publishing aspects of the field. A question and answer period followed at the end of each session and time  was  allotted for her to autograph books.

 For more details, contact Ms. Simpson, 561-540-3400, or email

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The Department of Choice and Career Options is pleased to announce that Debi Franklin, from Independence Middle School, has been selected to receive an award at the American Red Cross Community Courage Awards Luncheon.  This annual event is an opportunity to show appreciation to everyday heroes in our community.

Ms. Franklin was selected as a winner in the Educator category as a result of her intervention with one of her 7th grade students. This student was under extreme personal pressure and stress due to an overwhelming home situation. Thanks to Ms. Franklin’s intercession on her student’s behalf, this 7th grader’s life was saved and is now undergoing both individual and family counseling.

Ms. Franklin has been teaching in the Pre-Teacher Education Academy at Independence Middle School for five years.  The program curriculum teaches students important topics including Child Abuse, Shaken Baby Syndrome, First Aid/CPR, and the Development of the Child. Sixth grade students earn the Red Cross Babysitter’s Certificate before moving on to 7th grade.    

The Community Courage Awards Luncheon will be held on Thursday, June 21st at The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.  During the luncheon, Ms. Franklin will be recognized and her story will be shared with all in attendance.

For more information please contact Barbara Terembes, Director Choice and Career Options at 561-434-8118or .

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Golfers should save Friday, June 15, 2012, to hit the links in support of the Student Summer Intern Program, a great fundraising cause for students. The Division of Support Operations will hold its annual fundraising Golf Outing at The Fountains Golf & Country Club, in Lake Worth, FL.
Date: Friday, June 15, 2012

Time: 7:30 a.m.

Location: Fountains Golf & Country Club, 4467 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 33467

Early Registration: $150 per player; $600 per foursome; $35 Luncheon Guest

Late Registration: $175 per player; $700 per foursome

Contact:  Sandra Bridges, Phone 561-386-1350; e-mail at 

The Best Way To Shape The Future Is To Invest In It!

Event proceeds benefit the Student Summer Intern Program, which introduces students to career opportunities in various trades and professions. Through this opportunity, high school and college interns gain valuable workplace experience that will serve them throughout life.

The golf event begins at 7:30 a.m., with a continental breakfast and practice on the driving range and putting green. Prepare for a fun-filled morning of golf on a picturesque golf course and opportunities for networking. After 18 holes, golfers will feast on a delicious lunch and end the day with awards and exciting raffle prizes.

Sponsorships and registrations are available at Contact Sandra Bridges at (561) 386-1350 or by e-mail at

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Payne Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church will be honoring all teachers, educators and support staff Sunday, May 20th at 10:15 AM.  Superintendent Wayne Gent will be a special guest and speaker as the church recognizes May as Teacher Appreciation Month.

In a letter to the community, Reverend Milton Broomfield, Sr. wrote, “Educating our students is a very important job. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  It takes the entire village to raise our children.  It is our philosophy that teachers and support staff involved in educating/supporting our students receive honor every day.”

Click  here Payne Chapel 5 20 2012 Flyer for more information.

Payne Chapel is located at 801 9th Street in West Palm Beach.

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Del Prado Elementary

WHAT:               Internet Safety Workshop At Del Prado Elementary School

WHO:                  Del Prado PTA, Deputy Karl Martin, PBSO

WHEN:               Tuesday 5/22/2012 6:30 PM

WHERE:             Del Prado El. School 7900 Del Prado Cir., Boca Raton

WHY:                  Deputy Karl Martin from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office will present information for parents to help them keep their children safe on the internet.  He will share his tips for parents to keep their children safe while surfing the net, playing games, chatting and messaging on social networking sites.  Children’s activities will be available during this free presentation.

Please RSVP by May 18th to Julissa Baez,, if your children will participate in the children’s activities that night.

For more information, contact Laura Fellman, 561-544-1800.

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Haitian Heritage Month Generic LogoThe Haitian Heritage Month Essay Contest Committee is proud to announce the winners of this year’s contest.

First Place: Ally Rosenblum, A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, 10th grade
Second Place: Dolores Sary Blanc, Glades Central High School, 12th grade
Third Place: Sophie Press, A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, 9th grade

Ally Rosenblum, first place winner, demonstrated outstanding thinking and writing skills in her composition, excelling in content, originality, grammar, and spelling, according to the judging committee members comprised of district administrators and teachers. The essay topic was:  Considering the case of Haiti as an example, discuss the reasons why international aid from rich countries should or should not be given to poor countries.” Ally brilliantly expressed her thoughts on why help should be given to poor countries and how the help should be managed.   

Dolores Sary Blanc, from Glades Central High School and Sophie Press, from A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, who respectively won second and third place, are also excellent students whose behavior and academic performance are praised by their teachers.

The Palm Beach County essay contest for high school students began in 2004 in commemoration of May as Haitian Heritage Month. Its goal is to motivate students to practice their thinking and writing skills in order to increase their achievement level in high stakes assessments like the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), to increase their self-esteem by promoting their history and culture while asking them to conduct historical research about their country, their people and their contributions to the history of the world.

The winners will be recognized during the School Board meeting on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM, at the Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center, 3300 Forest Hill Blvd, West Palm Beach. The first place winner will receive an award certificate along with a check for $250.00. The second place winner will receive a certificate and $150.00, and the third place winner a certificate and $100.00.

The winners of the essay contest will also be featured at an author talk event organized by the School District of Palm Beach County in collaboration with the Palm Beach County Library System at the Okeechobee Library  located at 5689 Okeechobee Blvd., Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at 6:00 PM, where they will be talking about their essays.

The Essay Contest was sponsored by Gaskov Clergé Foundation, a nonprofit and philanthropic organization established to promote health and education in Haiti and the United States. 

For more information about the Haitian Heritage Month Celebration in the School District of Palm Beach County, visit or call Bito David, Public Affairs Specialist, at (561) 963-3820 or email

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Lantana Middle School, Seminole Ridge High School and Park Vista High School are home to the top winners of the 2012 The Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO)  Fair Housing student competition.  Sponsored in collaboration with  the Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches (RAPB), this year’s theme recognized the 44th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and was titled Fair Housing: We Are All Part of the Puzzle.

 The following poster, essay and video winners were selected:

 Middle School Posters

First Place:  Anthony Alves, Lantana Middle

Second Place:   William Elizondo, Loggers Run

Third Place:    Alexandria Trombetta, Lantana Middle

 High School Essays

First Place:  Jonah King, Seminole Ridge High School

Second Place:   Alexandra Dejesus, Atlantis Academy

Third Place:          Nicholas Debase, Atlantis Academy

 High School Video

Alexa Lightle and Taylor Walsh, Park Vista Community High School

 The goal of the contest is to raise public awareness of enactment of the federal Fair Housing Law, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, familial status, disability, national origin, and gender, and to encourage fair housing opportunities for all citizens. In addition, Palm Beach County’s Fair Housing Ordinance prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation, age, marital status and gender identity or expression.

 The winners received prizes at a reception at the Realtors Association in late April in recognition of National Fair Housing Month.

 The OEO provides coordination of the four civil and human rights programs of Palm Beach County government. These programs include the Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Fair Housing Program, Handicap Accessibility Program, and the Human Relations Camp that provides programs to encourage interracial and intercultural understanding among high school students.

  For more information, please visit

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Conniston Middle School’s entire campus will soon be transformed to reflect regions around the world when they host their third annual World’s Fair activities. The event is set for Thursday, May 24 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. The international extravaganza at the West Palm Beach School provides an opportunity to showcase the diverse student and faculty population and embodies the International Baccalaureate (IB) philosophy. As part of the IB philosophy, teachers work collaboratively across different subject areas to teach a unit of study. The mission of the IB program is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young peoople who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

A variety of regions of the world will be represented by different grade-levels on campus and will reflect the efforts of students who have worked collaboratively with each other and the faculty for six weeks to learn about the different cultures of each region. The research involved and the knowledge acquired will then be highlighted at the culminating event- the World’s Fair.

world fair conniston

This final unit of work is a collaborate effort in many ways. The state curriculum is meshed with the IB philosophy to enhance and deepen the acquisition of knowledge through participation and research. The different subject- area faculty members work together to make the unit enriching and student-centered so the acquisition of concepts learned is embedded in  students’ minds forever. The teachers also take real-life problems or situations from their regions of the world and have students work on possible solutions for these issues. These higher learning skills students acquire through this rigorous approach is unlike the conventional middle school and prepares students for the rigors of high school, college, and ultimately–life.

 Some of the activities planned for the Worldl’s Fair include:

 * Music from around the world performed by the chorus and  band;

* International Dances performed by a variety of students;

* Artistic works representing the different regions exhibited throughout the  school and

* Eighth grade IB showcase projects on display and explained by their creators.

 Conniston’s World’s Fair, which drew over 500 people last year, is now  a staple within the community. “Each team is assigned a region of the world and the teachers really intertwine what the students are currently learning with IB practices. The students’ creativity is shown through their culminating activities which makes them take ownership of their learning. The teacher facilitates during this process and helps guide the students with their acquisition of knowledge. This approach to teaching is what sets us apart from other programs,” said Felix Ocejo, magnet coordinator.         

For more information contact Mr. Ocejo, 561- 802-5477or email .

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Renowned author and Palm Beach resident James Patterson has a new goal in life: “To make kids readers for life.”  His website, Read Kiddo Read, is dedicated to that goal,  and recently, five students from John F. Kennedy (JFK) Middle School  in Riviera Beach were selected to participate in a webinar with Mr. Patterson to promote reading.

The reading leaders of JFK Middle, who earned above 250 points in Reading Counts, received an advanced copy of Mr. Patterson’s book Middle School:  Get Me Out of Here and were given the task to read the novel and generate five questions to pose to the author for the webinar.

The JFK students were treated to chauffeured transportation to the King’s Library in the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach where the show was taped. The students met with their peers from Palm Beach Day Academy and rehearsed the segment to be filmed. Arriving from another filming location in the early afternoon, Mr. Patterson placed the students at ease with his warm personality. The set was actually a cozy library in which students posed questions regarding his career, his future projects and the making of movies from his books.

Donna Dekersky, Media Specialist at JFK said, “The advice that he offered to the students was inspirational and something that the students listened to with rapt attention.”

Mohini Valdes an 8th grader asked Mr. Patterson about the most inspiring book he has written.  Mr. Patterson said he enjoyed writing for children and because people are always intrigued by the ability to fly, he said, “Writing the Maximum Ride series, which ends this year, is a favorite of mine.” Max, the main character, and her friends, are part human and part bird and can fly.

Nicole Hemmer, a 7th grader asked if the author includes people he knows in his books.  His response, which the students certainly enjoyed, “In the Middle School books, I included the name of my high school girlfriend. She got a kick out of it.”

Mr. Patterson told the eager students,”If you are lucky, you will get to do what you love, and if you are really lucky, you will get paid to do it.”

“It was a spectacular day. I just kept thinking, it’s really him,” said Kordell Garland, a 6th grader at JFK.

“The fact that the students were excited about meeting an author and enjoyed conversing about books made it a wonderful experience for all involved, “said Ms. Dekersky.

For more information please contact Ms. Dekersky at 561-845-5433 or .

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Districtwide Accreditation First Awarded in 2008

Superintendent E. Wayne Gent has announced that the Palm Beach County School District will seek continued accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and School Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) of AdvanceED and has officially launched the comprehensive process to maintain the prestigious designation. The District has enjoyed accreditation of all its schools since first meeting the high standards in 2008 and expects to undergo the rigorous scrutiny of a Quality Assurance Review Team in late January 2013. “District accreditation supports the Palm Beach County School District’s ongoing commitment for enhanced student academic achievement and establishes a nationally recognized mark of excellence for students, their parents, and the business community,” he stated.  

School Districts that achieve accreditation enjoy parent confidence that the top priorities are increasing student achievement; providing a safe and enriching learning environment; and running an efficient operation. Additionally, students can be assured that they have qualified teachers who continually work to improve their methods and a better transition from grade to grade where they experience rigorous, diverse, and sound curriculum based on quality standards.

While the District has already successfully met prior standards required by SACS CASI, the team of evaluators will be assessing the district on the following five revised standards when they visit in late January, 2013:  Purpose and Direction; Governance and Leadership; Teaching and Assessing for Learning; Resources and Support Systems,  and Using Results for Continuous Improvement.

The AdvacED Accreditation Process is a protocol embraced around the world and provides a clear and comprehensive program of evaluation and external review supported by research-based standards.  The organization brings together more than 100 years of experience and the expertise of the three largest US-based accreditation agencies—the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), and the Southern Association of Colleges and School Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)

For more details about the District’s process for continued accreditation, visit, go to the Department category and click School Improvement. Accreditation information can be found on the left hand-side of the page under District Accreditation, or contact process coordinators Dianna Weinbaum, 561-357-7667, or  Cheryl Baker, 561-434-8792,

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Rachel and VincentThe Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE), a state wide organization whose mission is to improve, enhance and promote arts education announced the winners of the 2012 Digital Media Challenge.  Students from Plumosa School of the Arts in Delray Beach won first place in two out of the three categories in the Elementary School challenge. 

Vincent  Cordero, 5th grade, won the 2D category for Remembering 911, and  Rachel  Jesse,  also 5th grade, won first place in the 4D Animation category for her slideshow, Rachel’s Guide to the Solar System. Both students created their artwork using Apple iMac computers in their Digital Media class under the guidance of Mrs. Sally Smollar, who is the Library Media Specialist at Plumosa. 

Entries were judged by Dr. Wendy Dickenson of the Ringling College of Art and Design and Moncia Helms of Full Sail University. Digital Media Challenge participants, their teacher and parents are invited to attend the Digital Media Festival on May 12 at the Digital Media Festival at the Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida. 

For more information, please contact Nancy Early at (561) 330-3907 or email

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The Palm Beach County School Board has adopted a resolution that opposes what it calls the over-reliance on high-stakes standardized tests, such as the FCAT. 

The resolution requests that the state reexamine its public school accountability system and develop a new system that does not rely as heavily on extensive standardized testing. It requests that multiple forms of assessment be used to guide instruction and evaluate student learning.

The resolution also calls on the federal government to reduce the number of testing mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act  (NCLB) and not continue the rigid role of student test scores in evaluating educators, as has been approved.

More than 360 school boards in Texas have reportedly signed a similar national resolution, which is supported by a coalition of parent, education and civil rights groups.

Board members say they have received numerous complaints from parents and educators who say the FCAT and other mandated tests create unhealthy stress on students and take away from valuable instructional time.

The Resolution follows:




WHEREAS, our nation’s future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation’s social and economic well-being; and

WHEREAS, our nation’s school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators and schools; and

WHEREAS, the over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators’ efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy; and

WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and

WHEREAS, the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate; and

WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge for students. 

Therefore be it RESOLVED, that the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, calls on Governor Scott, the Florida Department of Education and the state legislature to reexamine public school accountability systems in the State of Florida, and to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools; and RESOLVED, that the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, calls on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the “No Child Left Behind Act,” reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms ofevidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

Adopted this 25th day of April, 2012.


                                                             Frank A. Barbieri, Jr., Esq., Chairman
Attest:                                             The School Board of Palm Beach County

Superintendent E. Wayne Gent, Secretary

The School Board of Palm Beach County

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Karen Simmons, a third grade teacher at Beacon Cove Intermediate School in Jupiter, was awarded top honors at the recent Florida Association for the Gifted Conference.  Ms. Simmons, who has been teaching the past 14 years in gifted education, was given the prestigious “Excellence in Creative Teaching Award.”  Recommendation letters from principals, parents and former students all emphasized that Ms. Simmons was imaginative, creative, and energetic. 

Karen SimmonsMs. Simmons has been teaching in Palm Beach County since since 1986, at Loxahatchee Groves Elementary, Binks Forest Elementary and now Beacon Cove. Before that she taught for 12 years in Bethlehem, PA, where she was born and raised.  “I love to teach,” said Ms. Simmons. “I love to create, and I love presenting to teachers how to make learning come alive by teaching the standards, hands-on. The students love seeing and creating projects out of bags and other recycled materials. Soon, they start to create their own portfolios with everyday materials used in new ways.  Another teacher and I speak all over the United States…..and own our business called The Bag Ladies, since our thematic units are in bags.  We have also authored four books.  It is the BIGGEST honor for me to win this award!  I am happy to say, that I am motivated to teach my gifted classes in a fabulous, happy classroom that makes learning purposeful and fun for all students.”

Dr. Rosemary Daniels, School District Gifted Specialist said, “This highly creative teacher submitted her portfolio answers in a self made artistic masterpiece. The Selection Committee stated that she has raised the bar for all future recipients. She was selected among all of the state’s gifted teachers. She is truly an inspiration to all teachers and extremely deserving of this prestigious award of honor.”

For more information please contact Dr. Daniels at 561-434-8369 or

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Paul Boos, Repetiteur of the Balanchine Trust, and Michael Trusnovec, a principal dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York will both be at Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach this month.

May 14, 15, 21, 22:

Paul Boos will spend four days at Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, teaching classes to dance majors in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.  Mr. Boos will have just returned from setting works by George Balanchine on the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia and on the Polish National Ballet.  He has worked with dancers all over the world.  Martha Satinoff, Bak Dance Department Chair said, “We are honored and thrilled he will be teaching our young dancers, sharing his knowledge and his perspective on the art of ballet.”

May 22:

Michael Trusnovec, principal dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York, will be visiting Bak to teach a couple of modern classes to seventh and eighth grade dance majors. His strength, technical ability, and range of roles performed have impressed audiences and critics during his 15 years in the company.  This was evident when he performed at the Duncan Theatre this past May.

For more information about Bak or these residencies, contact Martha Satinoff at 561-882-3895.  You may also visit and for more information about Bak’s guests.