District News https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:23:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Your Penny at Work! School District Begins Summer with Sales Tax-Funded Projects https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/21/your-penny-at-work-school-district-kicks-off-summer-with-sales-tax-funded-projects/ Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:36:20 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8143 Blue and white sign showing Your Penny At Work in front of a school. From new roofs and weather-proofing at schools, to 78 brand-new buses that will hit the road in the upcoming school year, the School District of Palm Beach County is putting its share of the one-cent sales tax to use this summer.

These projects are the first to be funded by proceeds from the one-cent sales tax, which is expected to generate approximately $2.7 billion over the next 10 years. The School District will receive half of the sales tax revenue collected during the next decade, and has identified more than $1.3 billion in projects at all District-operated schools.

Sales tax revenues will be used to upgrade every campus, increase school security, buy new school buses, and update and expand the District’s technology.

“It’s important that the community sees their dollars being used quickly and efficiently and that promises made are promises kept,” said Dr. Robert Avossa, Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent.

Check out The Education Network’s video below to see how sales tax money is being put to use, and visit www.palmbeachschools.org/referendum2016 to learn more about the work planned throughout the School District.

Work is planned this summer at the following schools:

New Roofs

  • Carver Middle
  • K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary
  • Lantana Middle
  • West Riviera Elementary

Outdoor Lighting Upgrades

  • Jupiter Farms Elementary
  • K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary
  • New Horizons Elementary
  • Wellington Landings Middle


  • Bear Lakes Middle
  • Del Prado Elementary
  • Timber Trace Elementary
  • Watson B. Duncan Middle

Weather-Proofing/Water Intrusion Prevention

  • Cypress Trails Elementary
  • Eagles Landing Middle
  • Lantana Middle
  • Lighthouse Elementary
  • Pahokee Elementary
  • Palm Beach Lakes High

School Police Hold Inaugural Award Ceremony, Name Officer of the Year https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/21/school-police-hold-inaugural-award-ceremony-name-officer-of-the-year/ Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:00:19 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8100

It was a night of respect, appreciation and recognition of the hard work of the men and women of the School District of Palm Beach County School Police Department and honored civilians at the Department’s Inaugural Awards Ceremony.


While several awards of commendation and merit work were presented, the evening was capped with the presentation of the Officer of the Year Award to Officer Patrick Auger. Described as humble, observant, diligent and willing to answer the call of duty whenever needed, Officer Auger was awarded the honor, the first ever from the School Police Department. He will be presented with a custom Officer of the Year ring designed for the School District Police Department and donated by Herff Jones.


“We’re not only the officers on the campus; we’re mentors and counselors,” said School Police Chief Lawrence Leon. “We build those relationships, and that’s what it’s all about.”


The event was held at the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association Hall, and dinner was served by students in the Hospitality Academy at Forest Hill High School. Students from the Santaluces High School Criminal Justice Academy served as color guard and assisted with the service.


Winners from the event include:

Officer of the Year: Patrick Auger

Detective of the Year: Daniel Vargas

Civilian of the Year: Jennifer Garson

Law Enforcement Life Saving Award: Anthony Vargas, Curtis Riddick and Teak Adams

Officer of the Quarter: Patrick Auger (Q1), Jose Cuellar (Q2), Howard Howell and Katrina Trotman (Q3) and James Hanrahan (Q4)

Civilian of the Quarter: Patricia Coolahan

Chief’s Valor Award: Howard Howell and Katrina Trotman (two awards)

Chief’s Achievement Ribbon: Adam Golden, Frank Fanelli, Michelle Lockhart, Robin Griffin-Kitzerow and Diana Burfield

Meritorious Service Award: Jancel Amoedo-Martinez and Hernan Ramos, and Sgt. Charlie Wilson, Tyron Arnett and Leslie Houston, and Salvatore Longo and James Schnaderbeck

Team Merit Award: Tyron Arnett, Scott Dean, Yaritza Pagan and Linda McCoy-McNeal, and Lynn Powell, William Castro and Yaritza Pagan, and Sgt. Gary Kaufman, Patrick Auger and James Marinelli

Exceptional Police Duty: Sgt. Anthony Makowski and Alexander Lopez

Certificate of Commendation: Sgt. Alice Farrell, Shaquetta Fonseca, Linda McCoy-McNeal, Maria Rodriguez, Luis Santana, Christopher Proscia, and Alberta and Roy Childers

Certificate of Appreciation: Kathy Anderson (Morgan Stanley), Motes Alix, Gary Chapman, Melanie Benson Photography, Irwin Frank, Vic Damone (Blue Diamond Benefactor), Willie Perez (PSC), Loida Santiago and Jose Perez-Martinez (Cave Canem Designs and Apparel), Police Benevolent Association (Blue Diamond Benefactor), Joe Griffin (Herff Jones/Blue Diamond Benefactor), Ryan Hallihan (Related Companies – CityPlace) and Neil Seidman

Citizen Recognition- Willie Perez and Cherese Hinkson.

Palm Beach Central HS Student State Champ in MOS Excel, Competing Nationally https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/20/palm-beach-central-hs-student-state-champ-in-mos-excel-competing-nationally/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:10:22 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8132 Gabriella Gomes, a rising sophomore at Palm Beach Central High School, is an Excel-lent student — and she has a state championship to prove it.

Gomes was recently named the 2017 Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) State Champion after receiving a perfect score on the Excel exam, and has been invited to participate in the National MOS Championship in Orlando from June 20 to June 21.

Preparing for the exam requires assignments, instruction by her teacher and projects using a program called Gmetrix. “When you believe you’re ready [to take the exam], you tell the teacher, go to a separate room, and you’re off,” Gomes said.

Students can retake the exams, but Gomes got a perfect score on her first try. 

The Microsoft Office Specialist competitions test students’ skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and PowerPoint. Gomes decided that rather than pursuing the other programs, she should gain a higher level of understanding of what she already knows in Excel. She plans to work to master the other Microsoft programs over her time in Palm Beach Central’s Digital Information Technology (DTI) Academy, which also includes classes in Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

Gomes plans to study marine biology, which seems like a far cry from her expertise in Excel, but as she explains, “if I ever need to compare data, type up information or communicate with other students and scientists, these programs will help me.”

Should Gomes win at the national level, she is eligible to win $750 to $3,000 in prizes and will be invited to the World Championship.

Teachers Get Hands-On STEM Lessons at Loggerhead Marinelife Center https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/19/teachers-get-hands-on-stem-lessons-at-loggerhead-marinelife-center/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 05:00:41 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8129 Through a partnership between the K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Department and Loggerhead Marinelife Center, teachers from eight School District of Palm Beach County schools were able to get a behind-the-scenes, hands-on experience centered around marine life conservation efforts and the importance of preventing marine debris from entering our waterways.

“We are so excited to be working with other talented educators who have committed to promoting STEM education in their classrooms,” said Hannah Campbell, environmental programs manager at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. “To be able to share resources about marine science with these teachers and to see their dedication to education is both inspiring and something we look forward to doing more often in the future.”

Teachers were able to gather and collect data from “wounded” sea turtles as technicians in the field would do, engineer a Coastal Cleanup Contraption that would allow beach-goers to clean up pollution that might otherwise enter waterways and harm the local ecosystems, and learn more about resources and activities that they can use within their classrooms that are focused on standards related to environmental conservation and human impact.

“This experience was amazing. It gave me the opportunity to build relationships, communicate with my peers, and build a STEM Contraption to help clean up the beach, said Mark Golzbein, a teacher at Grassy Waters Elementary.  

To learn more about Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s educational programs, visit their website at www.marinelife.org.

For more information on the K-12 STEM District programs, contact Julia Mate at Julia.mate@palmbeachschools.org.

Suncoast Community High School Wins Florida High School Athletic Association’s 2017 Sportsmanship Award https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/15/suncoast-community-high-school-wins-florida-high-school-athletic-associations-2017-sportsmanship-award/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:41:32 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8117 The Chargers are good sports! Suncoast Community High School has been named the recipient of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) 2017 Fred E. Rozelle Sportsmanship Award for Class 6A. The award is given to schools whose athletic teams demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship during the 2016-2017 regular season as well as FHSAA State Series competition.

Suncoast joins 14 high schools and two middle schools from Florida in receiving this prestigious award. Schools were evaluated on criteria including programs and activities implemented within the school and community to promote sportsmanship; the number and type of technical fouls received; the number and type of exceptional sportsmanship reports; and the source of the nomination.

As the first place winner for Class 6A, Suncoast will receive $2,500 and a commemorative plaque honoring their achievement.

High School Students, Adults Can Attend West Tech for Career, GED and ESOL Education https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/14/high-school-students-adults-can-attend-west-tech-for-career-ged-and-esol-education/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:20:32 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8058

High school students who are currently enrolled in grades nine through 11 can now apply for the Construction or Mechatronics academies offered at West Technical Education Center (West Tech). The construction academy provides training in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and air conditioning. The mechatronics academy allows students to gain technical skills in automation technology and apply those skills to manufacturing, engineering, and robotics.

Additionally, adults and students age 16 or older who have officially withdrawn from school can also attend West Tech for GED test readiness, ESOL and workforce development classes. Evening classes in welding, electrical, HVAC and construction are also available.

High school students enrolled in West Tech will attend their assigned high school for their core curriculum, and then attend intensive and focused career preparation in 100-minute blocks during the school day, allowing the students to participate in athletics and other after-school activities at their assigned schools. Transportation from the schools to West Tech is available.

High school students who wish to attend a career academy at West Tech must meet specific academic and disciplinary criterion to be considered. The academies will ready students to sit for the industry certification associated with their field of study.

Interested students should complete an interest application and submit it to West Tech between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. West Tech is located at 2625 NW 16th Street in Belle Glade. For a list of frequently asked questions about the programs available, click here.  For more information call West Tech at 561-829-4620.

For the academy application (students currently enrolled in ninth grade through 11th grade), click here.

For the workforce development, GED and ESOL program (adults or students 16 and over who are not enrolled in a K-12 program), click here.

School Bus Driver’s Attentiveness and Quick Thinking Saves the Day https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/13/school-bus-drivers-attentiveness-and-quick-thinking-saves-the-day/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 19:50:10 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8079 Three people in picture with woman in center holding an award.School District of Palm Beach County Bus Driver Regina Shealy recently received the Heroism Award from the Traffic Safety Committee of the Palm Beaches at the 32nd annual Traffic Safety Recognition Luncheon.

Shealy was honored for quickly coming to the rescue of a student who rode on her school bus. In February while driving her usual route, Shealy noticed that one of her students had not exited the school bus at the appropriate stop. Shealy called the student’s name, but did not get a response.

Concerned, she walked to the student’s seat and found her unresponsive. After unsuccessfully trying to wake her, Shealy contacted dispatch to summon emergency medical personnel to the scene.

Unfortunately, the situation took a turn for the worse in the minutes before paramedics arrived, when the student began having a seizure. Undeterred, Shealy called on her training and experience, knowing that she needed to roll the child on her side and protect her from hard objects.

When she noticed a security guard on a golf cart headed her way, Shealy flew off the bus and flagged him down. The security guard was able to provide assistance, and once paramedics arrived they were able to help the child who is now OK. A potentially tragic situation was averted, thanks to Shealy’s efforts.Woman in picture next to a school bus.

“[The Heroism Award] is significant and well deserved,” said Sue Gorby, the Senior Transportation Coordinator for the School District. “We have many unrecognized heroes in our ranks of bus drivers and bus attendants, and I’m so proud of Regina.”

Although she has been with the District for 10 years, Shealy had only been driving that particular bus route for two months.

But even in that short time, she came to know her students and was therefore quickly able to sense something was wrong when the student didn’t get off the bus at their regular stop.

Grove Park Elementary Students Cap Year’s Lessons with Trip to Zoo Miami https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/08/msap-grant-affords-grove-park-es-students-a-trip-to-miami-zoo/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 02:14:39 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8066 grove park elementary school at the Miami ZooGrove Park Elementary School capped up the end of the year and their first year as an International Baccalaureate School by sending the entire school to Zoo Miami for a field trip to wrap up the students’ Sharing the Planet unit that included the students researching and studying various animals, creating Paper Slide videos and presentations on the iPads – that the students  received as part of the MSAP grant. The zoo trip was a first for many of the children.

“Being an I.B. PYP (Primary Years Programme) school truly ‘prepares students for the intellectual challenges of further education and their future careers, focusing on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside’,” said Nicole Black, the Single School Culture Coordinator for the school.

Grove Park Elementary School is one of five District schools that are still accepting applications for enrollment into their MSAP grant-funded programs, including two I.B. elementary schools, an I.B. middle school and one I.B. middle school adding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) while another is adding STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum. For more information on the MSAP program and how to apply, click here.

State releases FSA results for math, English Language Arts, end-of-course exams https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/08/state-releases-fsa-results-for-math-english-language-arts-end-of-course-exams/ Thu, 08 Jun 2017 23:13:49 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8069 Students in the School District of Palm Beach County outperformed their peers statewide on Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) tests across many key indicators, according to data released Thursday by the Florida Department of Education.

Seven of the District’s eight most fragile elementary schools also made gains, improving their performance on the FSA English Language Arts (ELA), math and science tests, a preliminary analysis of the data shows.

“I’m very proud of the progress that we’re seeing with the schools that have been on our priority list,” said Superintendent Robert Avossa.

District leaders are still analyzing data provided by the state, and individual school results will be available once that review is complete. The District’s Executive Summary provided to School Board members and other leaders provides a comparison of how the District’s students performed compared with students across the state and in other large school districts.

An early review of data shows that District students outperformed their peers in Florida on each of the following assessments given during the 2016-2017 school year:

  • ELA for grades 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10;
  • Math for grades 5, 6 and 8;
  • Science for grades 5 and 8; and
  • End-of-course exams for Algebra 2, Geometry, Biology, U.S. History and Civics.

The District’s students also had the highest performance or tied with the highest performing large districts for the following assessments:

  • ELA for grades 4, 6 and 7;
  • Math for grades 5, 6 and 8;
  • Grade 8 Science; and
  • Civics EOC.

The state Department of Education released results for the third grade ELA exam last month, in which 54 percent of students earned a Level 3 or above.

Lake Shore MS Principal Lockhart Named FASA Principal of the Year https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/06/08/lake-shore-ms-principal-lockhart-named-fasa-principal-of-the-year/ Thu, 08 Jun 2017 18:03:01 +0000 https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/?p=8050 During an annual start-of-summer meeting with all of the principals and assistant principals from the School District of Palm Beach County, Superintendent Robert Avossa stopped his presentation to make a special announcement.

Dr. Anthony Lockhart, principal of Lake Shore Middle School, had been named as the Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA) Principal of the Year. The crowd of Lockhart’s peers and colleagues rose to their feet to applaud him while he took to the stage to share a bit of his experience and the advice he gives the staff at the school to keep them passionate about the work that they do.

“I used to teach students like they were going to college,” Lockhart said. “Now I teach them like they are going to be marrying my daughter.”

In his first year at Lake Shore Middle, the school grade improved by two letter grades, rising from an F-rated school to a C rating for the 2015-2016 school year. Lockhart’s success at the school led to the FASA award, which qualifies him for the National Principals of the Year Award by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Lockhart is also the School District of Palm Beach County’s Principal of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year.

“It’s not about doing the best that you can do,” Lockhart told his colleagues. “It’s about doing it with love.”