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The Black Educators Caucus of Palm Beach County is organizing for the second year in Palm Beach County “The Million Father March,” a national effort to encourage fathers and men to take their children to school on the first day and to commit to supporting their education. The first day of school is Monday, August 20, 2012.

In a district wide communication, Schools Superintendent E. Wayne Gent encouraged all Palm Beach County principals and schools to participate in the initiative and suggested several activities and communications to involve male caregivers. 

For example, the organizations encourage all male caregivers to say, “I am taking my children to the first day of school.”   

Participating fathers and men will also be signing a pledge, attached, committing to actively getting involved in schools, volunteering, meeting teachers and being involved in parental leadership.

“The Million Father March” is sponsored by the Chicago-based Black Star Project, which lists 800 cities around the world from Atlanta to Tamale, Ghana, as participating this year. Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.  

“The disintegration of the family unit has had a huge impact on children in this society,” said Ron Leonard, President of the Black Educators Caucus. “This march is just one small attempt to encourage families to participate, at least for one day,” he said.

For more information, contact Ron Leonard at (561) 209-2270 or each school’s main office.  



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The School Board of Palm Beach County’s 5 p.m., Aug. 22 meeting will take place in Lynn University’s Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, 3601N. Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL , 33431, the site of the Oct. 22 presidential debate.

The School Board, which rarely holds meetings at community venues like Lynn’s Wold Performing Arts Center, wants to highlight Palm Beach County’s role in the debate and to stress the importance of education in our nation’s political system.

“The final presidential debate before the election puts Palm Beach County squarely on the international map and is a great opportunity to showcase our county as a world-class destination, both for its beauty and for our top quality educational institutions,” said Frank Barbieri, Palm Beach County School Board Chairman. “Being able to give our students a once-in-a lifetime educational experience in their own backyard is an important civic duty for all of us.” 

In addition, the meeting will provide an opportunity for School Board members to learn about the debate-related educational activities that Lynn University and the school district have   planned together.

Educational activities include:

  •  A K-12 Debate Curriculum for Education, has been developed to give students specific instruction, aligned with the state standards, on the historical and political perspectives of the American political system and the role of presidential debates. It is available for free download on the iPad through Apple iTunes U or through Lynn’s official debate website.
  • This fall, students will participate in a mock debate in Lynn’s Wold Performing Arts Center, the same venue that the presidential candidates will use when they debate just weeks before the 2012 presidential election. 

For more information about the School Board, contact Nat Harrington, Chief Public Information Officer, at 561 357-7679. For more information about Lynn University, contact Joshua Glanzer, Director of Public Relations, at 561 237-7761





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The School District of Palm Beach County’s Public Affairs Department has launched a Facebook fan page and Twitter account in an effort to enhance the district’s educational presence and public engagement. Parents, students, employees and community members will now be receiving important and interesting information about schools events, activities, scholarships, graduation and much more by “Liking” the District’s Facebook page and “Following” us on Twitter. 

Facebook – The School District of Palm Beach County 

Twitter – @PBCSD 

This pilot program is the initial step toward creating a district-wide social networking policy. The Department of Public Affairs in collaboration with the Division of Information Technology, Educational Technology Department and the Legal Department will be evaluating the pilot program to determine guidelines and procedures that will be implemented in the future by all schools and departments. 

Initially schools will not actively participate and will only be impacted to the degree they are currently through press releases and web site postings. All Facebook postings will be written by the same experienced Public Affairs staff members who write the press releases for our schools and departments, and several employees will monitor the activity of the social media sites. 

Some of the information that our “fans” will be able to see include national, regional and state awards and recognitions; district, school and program accomplishments; educational events; hurricane information; information about scholarships, colleges and universities; back to school information and much more.  

The Facebook and Twitter Pilot does NOT affect the district firewall that prohibits employees from accessing prohibited sites on the internet on district computers at work.  If employees, volunteers, students or others in the district wish to “Like” a posting, “friend” us, comment or Tweet, they must do so from home using their own computer or personal device and individual social media account. There will be a disclaimer informing potential fans and followers of the “rules of engagement” on Facebook including information regarding what will and will not be permitted. 

All Palm Beach County students, employees, parents, volunteers, partners and supporters are invited to be our “Fan.” It will help support public education, our schools and our students. 

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




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

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Danny Forster, chief architecture and engineering expert for Discovery Education and host of the SCIENCE series Build It Bigger, will address more than 1,000 science teachers to kick off the 2012 Palm Beach County Science Symposium that will take place on Thursday, August 16, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Park Vista High School - 7900 Jog Road, Lake Worth, FL. 

Forster will share his experience traveling the world in search of incredible feats of architecture and engineering and his work on Discovery Channel’s documentary, Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero. He also will discuss what inspired him to pursue a career in science. 

The 2012 Palm Beach County Science Symposium, which will be held at Park Vista High School, will feature close to 100 interactive workshops designed to: 

  • Inspire science teachers to challenge students with rigorous science instruction
  • Motivate teachers to collaborate and use creative instructional strategies and technology in classrooms to engage all learners in science
  • Encourage teachers to embrace change to transform science education in a way that better prepares students for college-level sciences and careers in the STEM fields 

In addition to Palm Beach County science teachers, representatives from more than 35 community science organizations will be in attendance. 

About Danny Forster 

Danny Forster has built a career out of the ingenious solution:  celebrating it as a television host, lecturing about it as a speaker and professor and finding it himself as a practicing designer.  As the host of the Science Channel series Build It Bigger, Forster travels the world with a camera crew in search of incredible feats of architecture and engineering – a record-setting skyscraper, a city-saving levee, a mammoth cruise ship, a state-of-the-art football stadium. 

Forster’s passion for great architecture and his exceptional ability to share that passion have made him a sought-after speaker and a popular teacher.  He has delivered keynote addresses at engineering and architecture conferences all over the world.  In 2008 he joined the faculty at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, teaching an upper level graduate architecture studio on sustainable design.  

Designing pioneering projects for DANNY FORSTER Design Studio, lecturing internationally, and filming for Build it Bigger, Forster is continually at work and on the move creating, explaining, and popularizing ingenious design solutions.  He is also at work, closer to home, as creator and executive producer of a documentary series about the rebuilding of Ground Zero.  The Rising explores the coming to life of a work of architecture that solves a host of problems – cultural, physical, historical, environmental – within one coherent project.  

For more information contact Wendy Spielman King at (561) 357-1152 or via email at







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

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School Board General Counsel Sheryl G. Wood, Esq. has been re-elected for a three-year term to serve on the American Bar Association’s  (ABA) Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division Executive Council.  The election took place in Chicago at the Bar’s Annual Meeting.

The President of the Florida Bar, Scott G. Hawkins, nominated Mrs. Wood. It will be her second consecutive term.

” I am thrilled to serve the government lawyers as a representative of the Florida Bar,” said Mrs. Wood. “As a public sector law office manager, serving in this capacity enhances my work with the school district.”

The mission of the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division’s (GPSLD) is to serve the nation’s public lawyers. By promoting integrity and excellence among public advocates, providing meaningful services not obtainable elsewhere, and by highlighting the extraordinary work of public lawyers, the GPSLD works to enhance the position of public lawyers, create camaraderie within the public sector, and provide representation within the ABA for public lawyers.

For additional information,  view the Division’s website is located at

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The School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC) has achieved recognition as one of the 2011-2012 Academically High-Performing School Districts by the State Board of Education. Based on the latest release of school and district grades, SDPBC is one of 19 districts in the state of Florida that successfully met all eligibility criteria.  The School District is an A-rated School District for the eighth consecutive year.

Palm Beach County School Superintendent Wayne Gent said, “We are striving to ensure that all our students achieve regardless of their background. Our vision is to foster a dynamic, collaborative multicultural community where education and lifelong learning are valued and supported, and all learners reach their highest potential and succeed in the global economy. This recognition will be an impetus for the School District of Palm Beach County to continue working toward its goals.”

The School District has successfully met and exceeded the following criteria for the designation: a grade of “A” for two consecutive years, beginning with the 2004-05 academic year and no district-operated school that earned a grade of “F.”; compliance with the class size requirements; and no material weaknesses or instances of material noncompliance noted in the school district’s annual financial audit.  

The School District is the 11th largest district in the continental U.S., the 5th largest in the State of Florida, and the 3rd largest AdvancED accredited district, with 173 accredited schools. It serves a diverse population totaling more than 174,000 students (K-12).

A school district retains the designation as an academically high-performing school district for three years. At the end of this period, the school district may renew the designation if it meets the requirements.

For more, please contact Dr. Dilger at (850) 245-0824 or via e-mail at

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The School Food Service Department is always looking for ways to improve the way students perceive and receive their school meals. The unveiling of the facility will take place on August 15, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m at John F. Kennedy Middle School – 1901 Avenue “S” Riviera Beach, FL 33404.

Students, teachers and staff will be able to enjoy a new and redesigned cafeteria as part of the School Food Service Cafeteria Pilot Program. This plan of action takes into consideration adequate meal time, the physical facility, customer service, nutritious food offerings, and the overall dining experience. 

“The new design of the food lines and cafeteria creates a more inviting atmosphere for the students, while at the same time we offer them healthy and nutritious snacks and meals,” said Heidi Schwab, School Food Service Field Specialist.

The School District of Palm Beach County hopes that with these modifications, students will enter a more relaxing, inviting, social, safe and customer driven dining experience. Therefore, they will look forward to this time to nutritionally recharge for improved physical and mental well-being thus supporting the District’s ultimate goal of improving academic performance. 

 For more information contact Heidi Schwab at (561) 383-2004 or via email at






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


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Veteran teacher Linda Pike, of Jupiter Middle School of Technology, spent her summer doing extreme science at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee. She learned how to examine nanomaterials using state-of-the-art technology.  “This has been an incredible, wonderful experience,” said Ms. Pike, who has been teaching in Palm Beach County for 23 years. “I think it’s going to change the way I teach.”
The 7th-grade science teacher was one of 11 teachers selected for the lab’s prestigious Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program. Teachers accepted into the paid internship work with scientists who do pioneering research in physics, chemistry, biological sciences, geochemistry, materials science, magnet science and engineering. The teachers learn how to use advanced technology to explore materials and phenomena at extreme magnetic fields, pressures and temperatures. Best of all, they do it while working alongside some of the finest scientists, magnet designers and engineers in the world. 

Kim Perez, Eric Hellstrom and Linda Pike

Ms. Pike worked with Eric Hellstrom, a professor at the Florida A&M University – Florida State University School of Engineering, scholar scientist Jianyi Jiang, and graduate students in the Applied Superconductivity Center. She learned how to examine materials that are critical to an international energy project called ITER (pronounced E-ter). ITER is a massive effort to create and control the same energy that powers the sun — fusion energy. That energy would then be channeled into powering much of the world.
“I’d never heard of it before I came here,” Ms. Pike said of the ITER project headquartered in France. “I think that it’s just amazing. It boggles the mind.”  She wants to expose her students to the concept of fusion and the ITER project this year. She also hopes to incorporate more “inquiry” projects in her classes. Such science projects often begin with a question (e.g., Why is the sky blue?) and proceed with a plan to answer the question.
While at the lab, Ms. Pike worked with samples of superconducting wire — wire that conducts electricity with no resistance and no loss of current. She examined superconducting wires made from a form of bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (or BSCCO, pronounced “bisko”) called Bi-2212. Each wire was smaller than a straight pin.
She and her teammate — teacher Kim Perez from Tallahassee — also learned how to make a puck to contain their nanosamples of superconducting wire. They learned how to grind and polish the puck, then examine the wires using an extremely powerful scanning electron microscope.
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory develops and operates state-of-the-art, high-magnetic-field facilities that faculty and visiting scientists and engineers use for research. The laboratory is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the state of Florida. To learn more visit
Kathleen Laufenberg
Editor, Public Affairs
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
1800 East Paul Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32310
850 644-5397

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Third grade gifted teacher Nancy Bourne of Beacon Cove Intermediate has been named the 2012 Florida Engineering Society (FES) K-12 Teacher of the Year for Engineering.  The award will be presented on Friday, August 10, 2012 in Orlando at the FES Annual Summer Conference.  Mrs. Bourne and her school will be presented with $500 checks to support future K-12 efforts.

James J. Kunard, Chairman K-12 Committee, Florida Engineering Society, Palm Beach Chapter and Director of Facilities Services for the School District wrote in his nomination letter, “Mrs. Bourne demonstrates outstanding personal commitment and exemplary professional achievements in promoting engineering and technology into her daily classroom activities. In addition, in the fall of 2011, Mrs. Bourne founded Beacon Cove Intermediate’s groundbreaking elementary STEM club, further promoting enthusiasm for the sciences across the entire student body.

He went on to write, “Mrs. Bourne is a highly energetic and passionate math and science teacher, who consistently strives to instill critical, “out of the box” thinking skills in her students. She wholeheartedly believes that learning should be fun, and as a matter of practice, uses teaching methods that emphasize real life applications of engineering and technology concepts. Her highly effective teaching skills afford her opportunities to use extra class time to conduct fun engineering activities, engaging children at a higher thinking level and promoting the lifelong value of teamwork.”

Some recent examples of Mrs. Bourne’s classroom activities have included:

Boat building: Students used a ration of foil to create floating vessels, with an emphasis on altering shape and dimension to achieve the desired outcome.

Tower construction: Students were challenged to build the tallest tower using only paper and clips.

Measurement: A hands-on exercise designed to optimize object measurement through use of appropriate tools (e.g. trundle wheels, yardsticks, and rulers).

Simulated computer labs: Virtual lessons on temperature, measurement and scientific method.

Hurricane Test Lab: Mrs. Bourne organized an event for all 120 third grade gifted students – small groups were given a ruler, 6 pieces of paper, and 10 cm of tape and then challenged to build a structure to withstand the weight of a hard cover dictionary for 60 seconds; many succeeded.

Mrs. Bourne’s love of teaching engineering concepts extends beyond the classroom. Her STEM Club initiative this year resulted in nearly 150 grade 3-5 students applying for just 30 spaces. Also, through her promotion of STEM education, she successfully fostered new partnerships with local scientific business and research entities, including Florida Power & Light (FPL), the Scripps Research Institute, and the Arthur Marshall Foundation. As a result, despite extremely limited availability of educational resources and guidance for elementary level STEM activities, she successfully developed a top-notch schedule of well thought-out monthly club activities.

Mrs. Bourne’s success in applying creative teaching methods in engineering and technology is evident, and can be measured not only by the superior academic performance of her students, but even more notably by their optimism and positive attitudes about learning.

For more information please contact Beacon Cove Intermediate Principal Una Hukill at 561-366-6400 or .

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Various teams of talented high school students transformed unpainted, fiberglass sea turtle sculptures into works of art that will be displayed and available for public vote at the The Gardens Mall Grand Court beginning Friday, August 10, 2012 through Wednesday, August 15, 2012. 

The participating schools are: 

W.T. Dwyer High School

Lake Worth High School

Palm Beach Gardens Community High School

Santaluces Community High School

Seminole Ridge Community High School

South Teach Academy

Wellington High School

The Benjamin School 

The top 3 schools with the most votes will be awarded cash prizes for their art departments. A Best in Show awards chosen by special judges will be given as well. The winners will be announced on August 16, 2012 at a complimentary private cocktail party for the participating students, faculty and parents. 1st place will receive $1500; 2nd place $1000; and 3rd place $500. 

On Saturday August 18, 2012 the Loggerhead Marine Center will go mobile for a kid-friendly, science oriented Marinelife Day at The Gardens Mall from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. There will be presentations on turtles and marine life that are both fun and educational. 

Additionally, mall customers can “Shop & Share” by bringing their same-day receipts to the information desk and The Gardens Mall will donate 5% of the sales back to the center. 

This event is possible through the partnership between The Gardens Mall, PNC Bank, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and the art departments of select Palm Beach County schools. 

Palm Beach Gardens High School Turtle


South Tech Academy Turtle

For more information contact Enid Atwater at (561) 844-1778 ext. 21 or via email at





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

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Tammy Skinner, business teacher and department head at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, has been named chair of the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) National Board of Directors.

As an active FBLA adviser for more than 25 years, including eight years as a district director, Ms. Skinner has been instrumental in building Florida FBLA into one of the organization’s strongest states. The Palm Beach Central High School chapter, which she established in 2003, grew to become the largest chapter in the state in 2008-09. In addition, she was adviser to the 2009-10 FBLA National Student President Mauricio Escobar, and was named Florida Chapter Adviser of the Year for 2009-10.

“Tammy brings a wealth of educational experience to this national position,” said Jean M. Buckley, FBLA-PBL president and CEO. “We are fortunate to continue to benefit from her strong leadership and communication skills as she helps to innovate and drive the future growth of our organization.”

Ms. Skinner received the William T. Dwyer Award for Excellence in Education in 2005 and in 2009 was named Career and Technical Education High School Teacher of the Year for Palm Beach County.  

About FBLA-PBL, Inc.
Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education association with a quarter million members and advisers in over 6,500 active middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Its mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. The association is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. For more information, visit

Contact: Marisa Preuss

703.860.3334 ext. 120

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Todd LaVogue, Magnet Coordinator at Roosevelt Community Middle School was recently selected by the Microsoft Corporation as one of the 16 national winners of the Partners in Learning U.S. Forum. The annual event recognizes innovative teachers and school leaders who creatively and effectively use technology in their curriculum to help improve the way kids learn and increase student success. Out of thousands that applied, 100 educators from 25 states attended the event to compete for the opportunity to represent the United States at the Partners in Learning Global Forum in November 2012. 

“These winning educators are catalysts for change and are the best in the nation at embracing technology to inspire and engage students and help transform education in their local communities,” said Andrew Ko, general manager, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “They all are incredibly passionate and driven to make an impact on each and every student they teach. Their creative project-based-learning classroom activities show real impact on student learning and success and should be scaled out as best practices in their own school districts and across the country.” 

Winning projects immerse students in active, hands-on learning, guiding them to employ collaboration and creative problem-solving skills. The 11 outstanding projects focus on encouraging entrepreneurial thinking in students, virtual learning for students with learning differences, creative uses of gaming to enhance critical thinking and service learning projects in which students engage with their community. The projects exhibit the educators’ abilities to exceed strict academic standards while making learning fun and effective for their students. 

The winning educators will advance to the Partners in Learning Global Forum, which will take place in Prague Nov. 28 through Dec. 1. This ninth annual Partners in Learning Global Forum is the culmination of local and regional events that reach nearly 200,000 participants from more than 115 countries. 

For more information contact Lee Kolbert at (561) 714-8180 or via email at





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

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Angela Bess, Ed.D., manager of the District’s Court Education Liaison Program, has been appointed to serve on the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court (FCC), a state-wide committee established by administrative order, impacting youth and families involved with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.  The appointment letter stresses that the primary charge of committee members centers around the development of promising practices designed to help ensure that children involved in dependency and delinquency court cases stay in school with diminished likelihood of arrest, suspensions, or expulsions.

The Committee on Families and Children in Court was created in 1994. Dr. Bess will be welcomed in person by Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente on September 27 in West Palm Beach. For more details contact Dr. Bess at 561.355.3497 or email


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Approximately 85 students from Pahokee Middle School will be receiving six books each as part of the Summer Reading Program that was hosted by the school this summer. The book give-away will take place on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. 

Pahokee’s Summer Reading Program was made possible from a grant obtained by the school to increase the reading capacity of the students. Children will be allowed to select from a variety of books including mysteries, series, science fiction and many others. 

“The program exposes our children to a variety of models and methodologies. Students learn to be independent readers, develop an understanding of multiple aspects and gain reading fluency and stamina,” said Mrs. Lavoise Smith, Principal. 

Barnes & Noble of Wellington played an instrumental part in this initiative by providing discounts and books that correlate to the curriculum. 

For more information contact Cynthia Guerra at (561) 924-6504 or via email at






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



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More than 70 incoming Suncoast High School Math, Science, and Engineering (MSE) freshmen enthusiastically arrived during their summer vacation for the first of an eight-day preparatory program designed to solidify their mathematical foundation.  Approximately 100 students were invited to attend Suncoast’s first of its kind jumpstart program to ensure mastery of the core Algebra II concepts that will comprise the foundational skills for success in higher level math courses prior to their beginning their mathematical journey at Suncoast.  The MSE Program boasts one of the most rigorous math tracks of any high school program in the country.  Junior and senior level MSE students take six dual enrollment courses for college credit. 

Out of a determination to be proactive and set MSE students up for success, the Pre-Calculus Jumpstart Program was born.  Suncoast’s PTSA generously provided funding and three Suncoast Math teachers wrote the curriculum and volunteered to return to the classroom two weeks early to teach it.

For additional information, please contact Karen Blumner, Assistant Principal and MSE Administrator, at (561) 882-3402 or at

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The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida Power and Light Company (FPL), and the Quantum Foundation have joined forces to support science education in Palm Beach County.  FPL and the Quantum Foundation have generously funded the Minds-On, Hands-On, Lights-On Science Teacher Summer Institute which is taking place at Palm Springs Middle School until August 9, 2012.  

This four-day institute will focus on building teachers’ enthusiasm for and capacity to conduct hands-on science investigations in their classrooms to engage students and spark their interest in science.  Over 60 elementary and middle school science teachers will participate in a variety of interactive sessions that highlight effective, research-based instructional strategies in the areas of life, physical, and earth/space science.  

Participants will also visit the Scripps Florida Institute to work side-by-side with Scripps scientists to explore how to apply mathematics and science concepts to engineering through hands-on robotics design activities. The institute will also feature Les Gold, an aerospace education specialist from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and Dr. Larry Chew, Associate Professor from the University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, who will immerse the teachers in a hands-on study of science inquiry. 

The Palm Beach Zoo will conduct a virtual field trip for the teachers to demonstrate the potential of distance learning technology and the South Florida Science Museum will conduct Nitromania, which is one of their most popular chemistry outreach programs.  

Most importantly, science teachers will have time to learn from each other, reflect on their instructional practices, and discuss ways to refine their pedagogical skills – with the ultimate goal of increasing student achievement in science.  After the institute, teachers will continue to collaborate through an interactive blog that will be established to allow them to assist each other as they implement the strategies that they learned at the institute.  Teachers will also share their knowledge with other science teachers when they return to their schools for the 2012-2013 school year. 

Keith Oswald, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Learning Support for the School District of Palm Beach County, stated, “By providing science teachers with this opportunity to collaborate with fellow educators and experts in the STEM fields, FPL and the Quantum Foundation are certainly making a valuable contribution to science education and student achievement in Palm Beach County.” 

“The Quantum Foundation is thrilled to be helping science teachers become experts at the hands-on activities that engage young minds and ultimately increase student performance. This project is especially impactful because it has the magic ingredients of a public school system, philanthropy and business – this combination is the key to any lasting community impact in education,” said Kerry Diaz, President of the Quantum Foundation.  

For more information contact Wendy Spielman at (561) 357-1152 or via email at






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

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School Transportation Services will be conducting a school bus route “mock day” run on August 17, 2012 and would like to invite all students, parents, teachers and administrators to meet and greet their school bus drivers. 

Bus routes are currently available and can be viewed at the “Find My Bus” site or families can contact the Transportation Call Center at (561) 242-6565 . 

“We are especially encouraging elementary students and first time riders to participate to ensure a smooth first day of school,” recommends Dale Fambrough, Director of Transportation. The main purpose of this exercise is for families to identify their buses and know for sure the time and place on their bus stop. 

For more information contact at (561) 242-6565.





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

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“An experience of a life time,” is how a small group of Palm Beach County migrant students described their trip to the nation’s capital in June. The 11 students participated in the Close-Up, New American High School Program and spent six days with students from across the country in a fast-paced, interactive program visiting the famous sites of Washington and attending meetings with government officials.

The Close -Up thematic program– which included leadership, interest groups, and government issues– opened a door to discussions about factors that are pressuring the nation. The experience taught the students that they have a voice and they can use it to make a difference in their community and their nation. Many students were shy at first, but developed a new level of confidence as the week progressed.

For some students this was a first for many experiences: the first time on a plane, first time away from family, first time speaking up and expressing their opinions, first time at a banquet, and of course–the first time in the nation’s capital.

Some highlights of the week were visiting the monuments which helped them understand U.S. history and the cost of freedom.  The visit to the Capitol was most memorable and the students met with representatives from the offices of Representative Alcee Hastings and Senator Marco Rubio. They discussed issues such as improving education with more hands- on activities and less emphasis on testing; and the Universal Healthcare policy.

For more details about the recent Close Up, New American Program trip taken by District students, contact Celia Elrod, assistant director of Federal and State Programs, 561.434.8446 or email


Top row, from left to right:  Jacqueline Placius, Maline Legros, Cristhofer Sanchez, Pedro Lopez, all from Glades Central High School; Leslie Roman, from G-Star Charter School.


Bottom row, from left to right:  Rosario Sarabia, South Tech High School; Mrs.Cristina Pendas,(chaperone from Federal and State Programs Department); Guadalupe Sarabia, South Tech High School; Jessica Gonzalez, Pahokee High School; Griselda Contreras, Boynton Beach High School; and Jennifer Panigua, (seated), Pahokee High School .






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Wynnebrook Elementary School and Palm Springs Middle School have been notified that each has been selected as an Exceeding Expectations Award School by the East Coast Technical Assistance Center (ECTAC). “Your school was selected based on a combination of criteria consisting of FCAT scores and observations and conversations that occurred during our site visit in May,” said ECTAC Direct Marjorie Murray in her recent award letter. Palm Springs Principal Sandy Jinks and Jeff Pegg, principal of Wynnebrook, have both been invited to present at ECTAC’s Exceeding Expectations Conference set to occur September 12 and 13 in Orlando. Both will join other winners from across the state to receive their awards at the conference banquet. 

Both Wynnebrook Elementary and Palm Springs Middle will be included in a booklet ECTAC is publishing for the conference with information about the State’s award-winning schools. Federal and State Programs Director Debbie Battles said there’s reason to be proud of both schools’ accomplishments. “There are exciting things going on at both of these schools and we’re looking forward to the presentations the principals will give at the conference in September; others around the state will benefit from hearing about the efforts implemented at Palm Springs Middle and Wynnebrook Elementary,” she stated.

The center provides educational consultation services to help local school districts with high poverty schools provide fair, equitable, and significant opportunities for a high quality education.

For more details, contact Ms. Battles at 561.434.8609 or email



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The Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA was well represented at the recent Florida  PTA Leadership Convention by local board members Jen Martinez, Wendy Corso Ruud, Jenn Olson, Debbie DeHoog, Kay M. Stagray, Mindy Haas, Charlotte Spikes, and Dawn Balliet.  They joined over 80 representatives from 23 local PTA units at the annual convention held at Innisbrook-Palm Harbor; five units were able to attend after receiving a grant from the County Council.  By the end of the session Mindy Haas had been elected President-Elect for the Florida PTA and Kay M. Stagray was voted in as Florida PTA’s vice-president of Organization.

 Second term County Council of PTA/PTSA President Jen Martinez said this is the first time the state PTA has held elections at the Leadership Conference and only the second time the Leadership training and state convention have been combined.

“It was great to see so many volunteers come together for the good of all children- our Every Child One Voice theme could be clearly seen throughout the event,” she stated. Ms. Martinez said a number of area PTA/PTSAs also received recognition for their performance.

 (*local units will receive these award on August 30th ) 

President’s Achievement Award 2011 – 2012 Eagles Landing Middle School PTSA
PTSA Student Involvement Awards Eagles Landing Middle School PTSA
Outstanding Principal of the Year Cindy Chiapetta, Eagles Landing Middle
President’s Membership Award Eagles Landing Middle School PTSA
Thomas Newsletter Grant Sandpiper Shores Elementary PTA
100% Membership for 7 years Morikami Park Elementary PTA
*25% Membership Increase Poinciana Elementary PTAPine Jog Elementary PTAOrchard View Elementary PTA

Belvedere Elementary PTA

Okeeheelee Middle PTSA

Don Estridge High Tech Middle PTSA

Emerald Cove PTA

Eagles Landing PTSA

Del Prado Elementary PTA

Calusa Community Elementa ry PTA

Boca Raton Community Middle PTSA

Boca Raton Community High PTSA

Boca Raton Elementary PTA

Hidden Oaks Elementary PTA

*Local Unit Achievement Award Eagles Landing Middle School PTSADel Prado Elementary PTASpanish River High PTSA

Hidden Oaks Elementary PTA

Morikami Park Elementary PTA

Binks Forest Elementary PTA

Sandpiper Shores Elementary PTA

Poinciana Elementary PTA


Promoting Communication Excellence Award Del Prado Elementary PTASpanish River High PTSAHidden Oaks Elementary

Morikami Park Elementary

Binks Forest Elementary PTA

Sandpiper Shores Elementary

Poinciana Elementary PTA

*Mentor A PTA Award Hidden Oaks Elementary PTA
*Study Discussion Group Award Del Prado Elementary PTA
*Volunteer Award Del Prado Elementary PTAHidden Oaks Elementary PTASpanish River High PTSA

The Convention portion of the event is the annual business meeting of the Florida PTA.  This year the convention delegates elected new Florida PTA officers, adopted bylaws changes and updated the position statements in priority for the spring legislative agenda.  Leaving such items in priority;   Assessment and Testing, Adequate Public Education Funding, Tax Limitation and Voucher Funded School Accountability.

The Leadership portion offers a variety of roundtables and workshops for members to take to help them be successful in whatever PTA role they play.  Attendees were invited to participate in many workshops including:  Social Media, Common Core State Standards, Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), Connect for Respect, Partners that Advocate, Internet Safety and more!

Key Note speakers included National PTA President Betsy Landers, and  Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. County Councils and local units throughout Florida had their programs and accomplishments recognized by Florida PTA.  Awards presented to the Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA included:  Thomas Newsletter Grant, Promoting Communication Excellence, Program Awards (3) and Study Discussion Group Awards (3).

The newly installed officers of the Florida PTA are:

President – Eileen Segal (Miami-Dade)
President-Elect – Mindy Haas (Palm Beach)
V.P. for Leadership – Cindy Gerhardt (Escambia)
V.P. for Regions and Councils – Melissa Kighlighter (Duval)
V.P. for Organization – Kay M. Stagray (Palm Beach)
V.P. for Education – Faye Norris (Orange)
Secretary – Elinor Adler (Broward)
Treasurer – Janet Lamoureux (Polk)

For more information about the Leadership conference, election, orawards, contact Palm Beach County Council PTA/PTSA President Jen Martinez, 561.254.9513 or email

About PTA

The Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA is a member of the largest advocacy group for children in the nation. PTA stands for Parent Teacher Association and PTSA stands for Parent Teacher Student Association.  Collectively referred to as PTA, we are an all volunteer association that is nonpartisan, noncommercial, and nonsectarian.  PTA is a nonprofit child advocacy association organized at the local, county, state and national levels. 

PTA comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. Join a local unit today!



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The School District of Palm Beach County Food Service Department announces its policy for Free and Reduced Price Meals for students under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Any interested person may review a copy of the policy by contacting Jussara B. de Souza (JB) / 3661 N Interstate Park Rd, suite 100, Riviera Beach, FL 33404. Phone Number (561) 383-2025. 

To ensure applications are processed by the first day of school, they need to complete by August 05, 2012. Families can go to to complete their application. 

Additional hard copies are available at the principal’s office in each school. Families need to complete one application per household, even if the siblings attend different Palm Beach County schools.  The information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. 

Household size and income criteria will be used to determine eligibility. Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown may be eligible for Free or Reduced Price Meals.  An application cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information. Once approved, meal benefits are good for an entire school year. You need not notify the organization of changes in income and household size. 

Florida Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced Price Meals

Effective July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013






Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks


















































For each additional family member, add












Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks


















































For each additional family member, add







To determine annual income: The total income before taxes, social security, health benefits, union dues, or other deductions must be reported.

  • If you receive the income every week, multiply the total gross income by 52.
  • If you receive the income every two weeks, multiply the total gross income by 26.
  • If you receive the income twice a month, multiply the total gross income by 24.
  • If you receive the income monthly, multiply the total gross income by 12.    

Households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are required to list on the application only the child’s name, SNAP / TANF case number, and signature of adult household member. 

Foster children will receive free benefits regardless of the child’s personal income or the income of the household.  If the foster family chooses to apply and the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced price meals, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free meal benefits. 

Household with children who are considered homeless or runaway should contact Kim Williams (561) 494-1589. Migrant students and families please contact the district liaison, Debbie Battles at (561) 357-5949. 

For the purpose of determining household size, deployed service members are considered a part of the household. Families should include the names of the deployed service members on their application. Report only that portion of the deployed service member’s income made available to them or on their behalf to the family. Additionally, a housing allowance that is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative is not to be included as income. 

All other households must provide the following information listed on the application: 

  • Total household income listed by amount received and type of income and how often the income is received (wages, child support, etc.) received by each household member;   
  • Names of all household members;
  • Signature of an adult household member certifying the information provided is correct; and
  • Four last digits of Social Security number of the adult signing the application or check the box for “NSSN” for this household member if he or she does not have a social security number. 

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size changes, the school should be contacted. Children of parents or guardians who become unemployed should also contact the school. Such changes may make the student eligible for reduced price or free meals if the household income falls at or below the levels shown below. Under the provisions of the Free and Reduced Price meal policy the Chief Operating Office will review applications and determine eligibility.  If a parent or guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling of the official, he or she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis.  If the parent wishes to make a formal appeal, he or she may make a request either orally or in writing to Michael Burke, 3340 Forest Hill Blvd. West Palm Beach, FL 33406. Phone number (561) 434-8510. 

Unless indicated otherwise on the application, the information on the Free and Reduced Price Meal application may be used by the school system in determining eligibility for other educational programs. 

For more information contact Susan Franklin at (561) 383-2058 or via email at


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The Department of Transportation is encouraging job seekers to join their professional team of school bus drivers. 

When? Thursday, July 26, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. 

Where? Central Transportation Facility – 3376 Summit Blvd. West Palm Beach, FL 33406 

In addition to exceptional retirement benefits, competitive pay and health insurance the School District offers the Commercial Driving License (CDL) training for free to those who qualify. 


  1. Safe licensed driver for 5 years
  2. Excellent driving record
  3. Pass the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination
  4. Pass the bus driver training course
  5. Communicate effectively in English
  6. Enjoy working with students 

Follow this link to apply online or call (561) 242-6500 

For more information contact Sue Gorby at (561) 242-6512 or via email at






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

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The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) reported that Palm Beach County will remain an “A” rated district for the 8th consecutive year. In addition, the letter grade for several schools will be adjusted.  

It is standard practice for the FDOE to perform a Review Process in which individual student files are revised for any miscalculations. Level 1 and 2 students who demonstrate significant growth are weighted an additional 30%, which increases the students’ total points and the schools’ points. The district will also have an opportunity to review the same individual files when released. 

In addition to the “A” rating, the School District of Palm Beach County does not have any “F” rated schools. 

The following schools will have their grades adjusted:


F to D Barton Elementary
D to C Bethune ElementarySouth Grade ElementaryBelle Glade Elementary

Seminole Trails Elementary

Westward Elementary

C to B Jeaga Middle School
B to A Hagen Road ElementaryBoca ElementaryS.D. Spady Elementary

U.B. Kinsey Elementary


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





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Cookie Davis, a teacher at the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, has been selected  to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute and will be heading to Washington, D.C. the week of August 6-10.

During the five-day program, participants work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website.

 Educators attending the teacher institutes develop primary-source based teaching strategies that they can take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom and pass along to colleagues. Teaching with primary sources is a powerful way to help students ask engaged, probing questions, develop critical thinking skills, and construct knowledge.

Each year, the Library of Congress provides the opportunity for a carefully chosen group of K-12 educators to attend one of its seven teacher institutes in Washington, D.C. Applicants to the Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes reflect the diversity of the world of K-12 education. Participants in a teacher institute session typically include school library media specialists and school administrators in addition to classroom teachers. Participants come from many different states, representing large metropolitan school districts and smaller, rural school districts. The expertise provided by the Library of Congress during the institutes can benefit every level of K-12 education.

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. Students working with primary sources become engaged learners while building critical thinking skills and constructing new knowledge. Teachers working in the Library’s collections will explore the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staffs—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website at

For details about Ms. Davis’s selection, contact Cindy Priest at 561-802-6002, or email


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Cindy Chiapetta, Principal at Eagles Landing Middle School was recently selected as the Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Secondary Principal of the Year. She was a science teacher and an assistant principal before taking the leadership role at Eagles Landing in the summer of 2011. The recognition took place at the PTA Leadership Conference in Palm Harbor, FL. 

Mrs. Chiapetta understands the needs of her students and the importance of parental involvement in her school. She promotes a collaborative environment in which the parents and families are invited and encouraged to be involved. 

As the principal of a middle school with over 1,300 students she recognizes the vital role that parents/guardians and family play in the education, welfare and values of the students, and that the education of each student is a responsibility shared by the school and the student’s parents/guardians and family members. 

For more information contact Cindy Chiapetta at (561) 470-7000 or via email at






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