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News from the 2016-17 School Year
Monroe Computes
Key West HS students earn awards from Monroe Computes
Key West High School students added several new names to their I.T. Wall of Fame recently. Students in Ms. Laura Blythe's Applied Engineering and Mr. Ebenson Michelin's Applied Internet Technology classes earned new industry certifications in Microsoft Office and Autodesk Inventor. In addition to college credits, students also earned cash awards from Monroe Computes for themselves, and additional funding for their classrooms. To date, Monroe Computes has given approximately 500 MCSD students over $75,000 in cash incentives.

Pictured above, L to R: KWHS Instructor Laura Blythe, Wendy Galo, Abigail Ladino, Anastasija Dmytryk, Kristen Haughey, Daniella McCausland, Dr. Jerry Caputo (MCSD Director of Career & Adult Education), Christopher Cervantes, Viren Alwani, Jared Perez, Eric Whiteside.
Sugarloaf Students earn awards from Monroe Computes
Mrs. Janet Vazquez's Sugarloaf Middle School students have the unique distinction of being the first students in Monroe County to complete the first section of the four part Internet Computing Core (IC3) Certification. The new district program is specifically designed to build a solid foundation in digital concepts, while promoting internet safety and responsibility for primary and middle school age children. The students each earned $50 from Monroe Computes and have the ability to earn up to $200 each for completing all four sections of the program.
Pictured above, L to R: Matthew Khan, Noah Bingham, Gemma Egan, Kiera Wicht, Abigail Woods, Matthew Portillo, Harry Russel (SLS Principal), Dr. Jerry Caputo (MCSD Director of Career & Adult Education), Isabella Dell'Api, Mrs. Janet Vazquez (IT Instructor), Styder Graft, Oliver Buterbaugh, Lucas Montiel, Savannah Cole, Angelena Decesare, Marcos Montiel

Horace O'Bryant School students Savannah Oropeza and Garrett Knott are the latest recipients of Monroe Computes financial awards. Oropeza, a 6th grader, earned $50 for completing part one of a four part Internet Computing Core (IC3) Certification. The new program is specifically designed to build a solid foundation in digital concepts, while promoting internet safety and responsibility for primary and middle school age children. Knott, an 8th grader, completed a Microsoft Office certification, which earned him $200 from Monroe Computes and three college credits.

Pictured, L to R: HOB IT instructor, Phillip Baucom, Savannah Oropeza, Dr. Jerry Caputo (MCSD Director of Career and Adult Education), Garrett Knott, HOB Principal Christina McPherson
KWHS Fire Fighting and Emergency Responder Class
KWHS Fire Fighting and Emergency Responder students
The Key West High School Fire Fighting and Emergency Responder class recently held their recognition ceremony honoring the 2017 class. Five KWHS seniors received their Fire Fighter 1, Emergency Responder and Career Ready Practices Certificates, putting them one step closer to becoming certified Fire Fighters. Underclassmen completing the course received their Career Ready Practices and Emergency Medical Responder Certificates.
Monroe County's Sunshine State Scholar
Ben Ryder and Carrollyn Cox
Congratulations to Marathon High School Junior, Benjamin Ryder who was selected as the Sunshine State Scholar from Monroe County. Ben and science teacher Carrollyn Cox represented the district at the Sunshine State Scholar conference in Orlando.
Social Studies Outstanding Teachers of the Year

Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the Florida Council for the Social Studies (FCSS) Elementary Teacher of the Year for Monroe County is Anne Osborne from Plantation Key School and the Secondary Teacher of the Year is Nora Laubenstein. Mrs. Osborne and Mrs. Laubenstein were selected because of their ability to foster the development of democratic beliefs and values, the student-teacher relationships they have built, their professionalism, and their outstanding teaching methods.

Jennifer Barrios, Anne Osborne, Lisa TaylorMrs. Osborne teaches several grades in the Gifted and High Achievers program at Plantation Key School. Mrs. Osborne has a passion for social studies. She has attended numerous summer seminars sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Her “coup de gras” social studies project this year was working with the Keys History and Discovery Center and the Art Guild of the Purple Isles (AGPI). The project began with a field trip to Lignum Vitae Key to learn Florida history. After the field trip local artists from the AGPI provided guidance as the students brought back sketches and created beautiful water color paintings that are currently hanging in the hallway at Plantation Key School as a reminder of their trip. “Mrs. Osborne provides hands on, authentic experiences that bring social studies to life for the Plantation Key School students. Our students are very fortunate to have a Mrs. Osborne as their teacher,” Plantation Key School Principal Lisa Taylor said.

Amber Acevedo, Nora Laubenstein, Jennifer BarriosMrs. Laubenstein currently teaches Advanced Placement World History and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). Mrs. Laubenstein loves what she teaches and she strives to get her students to become historians by instilling a curiosity to learn from the past. This summer Mrs. Laubenstein will be leading her first overseas tour to Central Europe with some of her current and former students so that they can see part of the world through historical eyes. “Nora Laubenstein helps make students connect history to the everyday world around them. Her ability to engage students in their own learning enables them to be successful, not only in her class, but in other academic areas. Her work exemplifies excellence in education while building the confidence of the students she works with every day,” Key West High School Principal Amber Acevedo said.

Both will be honored at the FCSS awards dinner October 21, 2017, in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Enlightened Educator - Kerri Worthington, Stanley Switlik Elementary
Kerri Worthington, Sarah Morton
Recognition of Kerri Worthington, second grade teacher at Stanley Switlik Elementary, is an incredible outgrowth of two district-wide initiatives: the MCSD’s Community of Experts Catalog and Second Grade Literacy Redesign. The Experts Catalog is designed to provide teachers with contacts across the district that have had success with the resources provided by the district. Kerri is the Learning A-Z contact and license coordinator in this catalog. The Second Grade Literacy Redesign project is a Literacy Calendar with a standards-based focus, created by second grade teachers in the Monroe County School District in order to best prepare students for the rigor of third grade. Kerri linked all resources to make them fingertip-ready, and aligned the calendar and resources using Learning A-Z. Additionally, Kerri led her second grade team in strong implementation through a Professional Learning Community focused on the calendar and the results of their efforts will be used to make this project even better. Recently, Learning A-Z recognized Kerri as an Enlightened Educator, and the Monroe County School District definitely agrees. Thank you Kerri for your outstanding efforts in Literacy this year!

Pictured with Monroe County School District’s Literacy Coordinator, Sarah Adams Morton
Middle School Academic Challenge
Middle School Academic Challenge winners - Sugarloaf School

Congratulations to the Sugarloaf Middle School Academic Challenge Team for their repeat 1st Place win in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Tuesday, May 16th at Marathon High School. Marathon Middle/High School received 2nd place and Plantation Key School 3rd place. Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition.

PKS Students "Get Caught Reading"
Plantation Key Students
Get Caught Reading is a nationwide public service campaign launched by the Association of American Publishers to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. May is officially Get Caught Reading month, but the celebration lasts throughout the year. At Plantation Key School, where Readers are Leaders, the students are having a great time getting “caught” reading!

Photo courtesy of Kelli Brower, PKS/CSHS Literacy Coach
Sea Perch contest winners
On Thursday, May 11th, Key Largo, Plantation Key, Treasure Village Montessori, Marathon Middle/High, Horace O’Bryant, and Sugarloaf Schools sent teams of middle school students to Founders Park in Islamorada for the 3rd Annual Monroe SeaPerch Competition. The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, students learned engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications.
Monroe Computes

Monroe County School District Students received monetary awards from Monroe COMPUTE$ for their completion of Microsoft Office Certifications. In addition to the cash award and industry certifications, they also earned three college credits and funds for their classrooms.
Key West HS students receive awards from Monroe Computes
Mr. Ebenson Michelin (IT Instructor), Max Grim, Olivia Johnson, Andrew Maguire, Mr. John Padget (Monroe Computes), Dr. Jerry Caputo (MCSD Director of Career & Adult Education), Brian Maguire, Wilcox Hallahan, Nathan Miranda, Matthew Roy, Ms. Laura Blythe (Engineering Instructor) proudly stand under the IT Wall of Fame. The Wall of Fame, which boasts an ongoing list of students earning MOS certifications, is being expanded monthly.

Patricia Katz, Mr. John Padget (Monroe Computes), Gregory Barnes, Dr. Jerry Caputo (MCSD Director of Career & Adult Education), Ariadna Ruiz, Phillip Baucom (Instructor)
Key West Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Teachers

The Key West Chamber of Commerce recently recognized six teachers from schools in Key West. The six educators were among a group of eight the Chamber honored for their dedication to teaching the students in their classrooms. The teachers are honored every year in April at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The Chamber’s Education Committee awarded the following teachers with a plaque and a gift bag filled with cash donations, gift cards, and merchandise from businesses and organizations who are a part of the Key West Chamber of Commerce:

Andrew Lewis | Key West Collegiate
Vicki Sawyer | Horace O’Bryant School
Allison Bacon | Sigsbee Charter School
Natalie Liz | Gerald Adams Elementary School
Brooke McMahon | Poinciana Elementary School
Michael Truhan | Key West High School
Eileen Dolan-Heitlinger | The Basilica School of Saint Mary Star of the Sea

KWHS Teachers recognized by Chamber of Commerce
Pictured left to right: Michael Truhan, Education Committee Co-chair Suzanne Moore, Eileen Dolan-Heitlinger and Brooke McMahon, Key West Chamber of Commerce President Greg Sullivan, Kaitlyn Haas, Andrew Louis, Natalie Liz, Vicki Sawyer, Allison Bacon and Education Committee Co-chair Billy Spottswood

Photo provided by Key West Chamber of Commerce

Thank You to Ocean Reef Community Foundation!

Key Largo School has received $52,536 to fund programming for STEAM-related events.

KLS Principal Laura Lietaert (left) received a check from Janie Sims (right) of the Ocean Reef Community Foundation Community Grants Program. The funds will go towards 2017 Summer Recreation program, AVID teacher training, college trips for AVID students, art supplies for the elementary art program, and an opportunity for the 5th grade class to travel to ‘Learning Through the Arts’.

Thank you for your support in the Monroe County School District!
Amanda Ban Selected to FHSAA Academic All-State Team

Congratulations to Marathon High School senior Amanda Ban! Amanda has been selected as a member of the 2017 FHSAA Academic All-State Team. This distinguished award honors Sunshine State Athletes with bright minds as well as superb academic and athletic achievement. According to the FHSAA website, "Each Academic All-State Team member will be recognized at a commemorative banquet on Monday, June 12 in Gainesville, Fla. Each student honored will receive a $1,700 scholarship. Out of the 24 All-State Team members, one male and one female will garner the title of “Ron Davis Scholar-Athlete of the Year,” the FHSAA’s most prestigious honor bestowed on any active student-athlete. The winners of this award will earn an additional $4,600 in scholarship funds – $6,300 in total."

For more information, visit
CSHS Key Club Attends State Convention
CSHS Key Club students

On March 30th through April 2nd the officers of the Coral Shores High School Key Club attended the Kiwanis – Key Club Florida State District Leadership Convention in Orlando, FL, along with 2,500 other students from across the state. Students participated in workshops to learn various aspects of leadership, caucused to select the next Florida Key Club Student Governor, and met other members of the Kiwanis family.

Coral Shores HS senior James Britton served District 26C as Lieutenant Governor for the 2016-17 year, a first for any student in the history of the school, and presented at the conference.

Monroe County Students Compete in the 62nd Annual State Science and Engineering Fair
Twelve students from Monroe travel to compete in the 62nd Annual State Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland, FL. Four of the eight projects entered in the State competition obtained awards.

Pictured left to right: Noah Ross, Chris Gaskill, Chris Anderson (MHS), Sarah Maschal, Sophie Williams (CSHS), Rachelle Magdaong (CSHS), Matthew Darrow (CSHS), Alexis Martin (PKS), Isabel Betancourt (PKS), Alison Woltanski (PKS), Emma Kost (TVM), Bodie Robbins (TVM), Elisabeth Bendall (Sigsbee), and Courtney Oliver

Emma Kost (TVM): Awarded 4th Place Environmental Engineering
Bodie Robbins (TVM): Awarded Honorable Mention Plant Sciences
Chris Gaskill, Chris Anderson, and Noah Ross (MHS): Awarded Collier County Regional Science and Engineering Fair $50 cash for research demonstrating outstanding creativity, scientific thought, technical skill and clarity of presentation.
Elisabeth Bendall (Sigsbee): Awarded Brevard Intercostal Regional Science and Engineering Fair $25 cash for research demonstrating outstanding scientific and creative thinking.
Photos courtesy of Courtney Oliver
Monroe Computes
HOB Students
Monroe Computes recently presented nine Horace O'Bryant Middle School students with checks ranging from $400-$500 for successfully earning their Microsoft Office Certification tests.

Pictured from left to right: HOB principal, Christina McPherson, Director of Career and Adult Education, Dr. Jerry Caputo, William Niles, Monroe Computes, Jacob Dekker, Ainsley Cunningham, Skylar Larmel, Bryan Urbay, Sarah Karch, Jessica Nitti, Hunter Nitz, Christian Harnish, Microsoft Instructor, Phillip Baucom, Monroe Computes, John Padget. Not pictured: Dylon Michaud
In addition to the cash award and industry certification the Steven also earned 3 college credits and funds for his classroom. Monroe COMPUTE$, thanks to Mr. Padget, has contributed (more than $25,000) in resources and cash awards for students, along with additional dollars for classroom funding. Monroe COMPUTE$ is a facet of the Career and Technical Education Training offered within Monroe County School District.

Coral Shores and PKS students receive Monroe Computes awards
Students from Coral Shores High School and Plantation Key School were presented with $400 from Monroe Computes for completing their Microsoft Office Certifications. In addition to the cash awards and industry certification, the students also earned 3 college credits and funds for their classroom.

Pictured from left to right. John Padget (Monroe Computes), Brittany Beyer, Blakely Harden, Leo Snell, Dr. Jerry Caputo (Director of Career and Adult Education), Adam Dykes, Carolina Mather, Alexandra Hardison, Rebecca Galvan.
Marathon HS student receives Monroe Computes award
Marathon High School freshman Cory Bisson was presented with a $500 check from Monroe Computes for successfully completing his Microsoft Office Certification

Pictured, left to right: Wendy McPherson, (MHS Principal), John Padget (Monroe Computes founder), MHS 9th grade student Cory Bisson, Dr. Jerry Caputo (Director of Career and Adult Education), Paul Davis (MHS Microsoft Instructor)
Sugarloaf Student receives Monroe Computes award
Sugarloaf middle school student Steven Winemiller was presented with a $500 from Monroe Computes for completing his Microsoft Office Certification. In addition to the cash award and industry certification, Steven also earned 3 college credits and funds for his classroom.

Pictured from left to right. Dr. Jerry Caputo (Director of Career and Adult Education), Janet Vazquez (SLS Microsoft Office Instructor, Steven Winemiller, John Padget (Monroe Computes)

Photos courtesy of Sibba Mira

Keys to Be the Change Youth Leaders Attend Peace Jam
Youth leaders from Key West High School, Marathon High School and Marathon Middle School attended the annual Southeast PeaceJam Leadership Conference held at Florida State University. Students met and worked side by side Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi from Iran. They learned about social justice​ and ​ human right​s. They ​were made aware of the many problems our world faces today including lack of education, ​extreme ​poverty, and ​wide spread ​hunger. The PeaceJam mission is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody.

Photo courtesy of Heidi Golightly
Artist Andy Thurber Visits HOB
Key West artist Andy Thurber
Key West Artist Andy Thurber recently visited Horace O'Bryant School to share his talent and words of wisdom with Ms. Holtkamp's and Ms. Hood’s middle grades art students. He did a watercolor demonstration showing students his unique techniques and shared with them what it takes to become a professional artist.

Photo courtesy of Katie Holtkamp
National Merit Scholar at KWHS
B. Coward
Key West High School is proud to announce that Brian Coward has been named a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, an elite honor that was earned by demonstrating, through distinguished performance, high potential for future academic accomplishments. Brian is an exceptional student beyond his brilliant educational record, numerous achievements and aspirations to pursue engineering at an elite school. He is involved in many activities in the school and community, has taken on various leadership roles and has participated in many extraordinary opportunities such a traveling to different parts of the world to help struggling communities and participating in the U.S. Naval Academy Summer STEM Program.

In addition to his scholarly achievements, Brian is an accomplished athlete as a four year varsity soccer player, a dedicated volunteer, and a natural leader who has earned the respect of peers and faculty alike, earning him recognition by his senior class as the Best All-Around student as well as school-level Conch Pride Awards, and nomination and participation in the National Youth Leadership Seminar in 2013 and the University of Florida Youth Leadership Conference in 2015. In the Fall of 2015, Brian was selected as KWHS’s Sunshine State Scholar for his academic accomplishments and career potential in the STEM field. Later that academic year, Brian was selected as MCSD’s Sunshine State Scholar and traveled to the state capital to be recognized for this distinction amongst other outstanding scholars in Florida. Brian is polite, respectful and has an unassuming confidence that has grown throughout the years as he has taken on and accomplished challenges and goals. KWHS is proud of Brian’s deserving status as a National Merit Finalist and join in celebrating this high honor with his parents, Tom and Nancy Coward.

Eugene Robinson Motivates TSIC Students
Eugene Robinson with TSIC students
Take Stock in Children logo
Take Stock in Children, Monroe County, held its Take Stock in Children rally on March 6 at 11:00 a.m. in front of 275 students at Key West High School. Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson spoke to scholars from the Lower Keys participating in the TSIC program about how he achieved certain goals by way of higher education.
Photo courtesy of Lynsey Saunders

Symphony in the Schools
Collage of pictures from Symphony visit
The South Florida Symphony performed for more than 1,500 students in the Monroe County School District on Friday, March 3rd at Marathon High School. Fourth through seventh grade students from Stanley Switlik Elementary, Plantation Key School, and Marathon Middle High School were able to experience one or the other of two unique orchestra performances. The orchestra put on one performance with music from Sergei Prokofiev’s, “Peter and the Wolf” and another with an original composition about the oceans’ coral reefs as part of the culmination of learning about the music and the arts via curriculum created in collaboration with the School District, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and the Musical Director of The South Florida Symphony, Sebrina Maria Alfonso. “I feel that if it becomes a part of their life as a school program, that they will never be intimidated to get involved in the arts in the future. These musicians, they’ve mastered their instrument, and it gives kids the opportunity as if you took them to the Olympics,” said Alfonso, also a native of Key West, who has been doing these concerts for the children since the organization’s inception in Key West, as the Key West Symphony.

The Symphony also performed for Lower Keys students in grades 4, 5, and 7 at the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center on Thursday, March 2nd.

Top photo above, left to right: Elizabeth S. Young, Executive Director, Florida Keys Council of the Arts; Joy Meyers, piano and percussion, Teaching Artist, South Florida Symphony; Dr. David Vaughan, Executive Director, Mote Marine Laboratory; Donna Wissinger, Flutist, Teaching Artist, SFS; Sebrina Maria Alfonso, Maestra/Music Director, SFS; Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Monroe County School District; Mark Porter, Superintendent, MCSD

Photos courtesy of Lynsey Saunders

Monroe Regional STEM Fair

On February 4, 2017, over 160 Monroe County students gathered at Sugarloaf School to participate in the 5th annual regional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Fair. This year our students stepped up the complexity of their projects. The engineering category doubled, and students challenged categories such as Intelligent Machines, Robotics & Systems Software for the first time. Our community partners, including FWC, Florida Keys Mosquito Control, Dolphin Research Center, FKCC, JIATF, Naval Air Station in Key West Executive Officer Pornchai Davidson and other local scientists stepped up to assist with judging. A big thank you to Centennial Bank in Big Pine for donating the pizza lunch. The top three individuals and top team from the Junior and Senior division will represent MCSD at the state competition March 28-31 in Lakeland, FL. Category, Individual, and Team achievements are listed below.
Category Elementary Middle High
Animal Science Chloe Migut (SSE) Michael Ancheta (PKS) Chris Anderson (MHS)
Chris Gaskill (MHS)
Noah Ross (MHS)
Behavioral and Social Science Natori Hines (GAE)
Billie Shepha (GAE)
Biomedical and Health Science Edie Killpack (KLS) Isabel Betancourt (PKS)
Alexis Martin (PKS)
Ali Woltanski (PKS)
Oriana Mendez (MHS)
Shannon Pitchford (MHS)
Hannah Ziels (MHS)
Chemistry Lucas Carballo (PKS)
Ayden Lane (PKS)
Andres Mendieta-Kuhnke (SLS)
Chance Palacios (SLS)
Mason Cooper (KWH)
Cellular/Molecular Bio
And Biochemistry
Robert Aleman (KLS)
Ethan Arevalo (KLS)
Nicolas Concepcion (May Sands)
Earth and Environmental Science Connor Dixon (KLS) Katerina Nikiforova (MHS) Jenna Morgan (CSHS)
Alan Thomson (CSHS)
Environmental Engineering Kai Guth (TVM)
Abbie Sargent (TVM)
Emma Kost (TVM) Amy Athans (KWH)
Leila Nolan (KWH)
Engineering Nick Cano (TVM)
Rex Matthews (TVM)
Elisabeth Bendall (Sigsbee) Rachelle Magdaong (CSHS)
Intelligent Machines Robots & System Software Siddharth Singh (May Sands)
Mathematics and Computational Sciences Zack Woltanski (OSC) John Sheagren (MHS)
Microbiology Allison Broadway (May Sands)
Samantha Broadway (May Sands)
Nicole Lera (MHS)
Physics Isabella Salvatore (PKS)
Naomi Snell (PKS)
Alexandra Mucci (SLS) Matthew Darrow (CSHS)
Plant Sciences Daniella Barroso (POI) Jenesis Rose Perloff (SLS) Sophie Williams (CSHS)
Elementary STEM winners
Elementary Division

1st place: Edie Killapck (KLS)
2nd Place: Daniella Barroso (POI)
3rd Place: Connor Dixon (KLS)
Top Team:
Lucas Carballo (PKS)
Ayden Lane (PKS)

Middle School STEM winners
Junior Division

1st Place: Elizabeth Bendall (Sigsbee)
2nd Place: Annika Needham (KLS)
3rd Place: Emma Kost (TVM)
Top Team:
Isabel Betancourt (PKS)
Alexis Martin (PKS)
Ali Woltanski (PKS)
High School STEM winners
Senior Division

1st Place: Sophie Williams (CSHS)
2nd Place: Rachelle Magdoang (CSHS)
3rd Place: Matthew Darrow (CSHS)
Top Team
Chris Anderson (MHS)
Chris Gaskill (MHS)
Noah Ross (MHS)

Photos courtesy of Courtney Oliver
Monroe County Mock Trial Championship
Mock trial championship team
Congratulations to the Marathon High School Mock Trial Team, the winners in the Monroe County District Championship held on Thursday, February 16 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Marathon. The Marathon team will represent Monroe County in the Florida Mock Trial Competition in Orlando on March 23-25, 2017.

Thank you to the Honorable Ruth Becker for presiding in her courtroom.

Pictured, left to right: Anthony Proudnik, Hannah Lowe, Brittany Smollett, Karli Roberts, Milly Cruz (Team Captain), Benjamin Ryder, Alexandra Pabon, John Sheagren, Elizabeth Bayerl (Faculty Sponsor)

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios

Employee of the Year
IT Department congratulates Tariel Moran
Superintendent Mark T. Porter is pleased to announce Information Technology Programmer Analyst, Tariel Moran as the Monroe County School District’s School Related Personnel Employee of the Year. Mr. Moran’s role in the successful implementation of a new student information system, Focus School Software, was vital to the district reaching one of its most significant milestones of the year.

Tariel has served the School District for over twenty-one (21) years. He spent eight years at Sigsbee School as an Office Manager and Data Entry Clerk before moving to the IT department as an Information Specialist in 2003. Tariel was promoted to Programmer Analyst in the spring of 2016.

Tariel’s responsibilities include the maintenance and modification of the student information system (SIS) as well as the submission of required State and Federal reports which directly impacts student services and district funding. Tariel’s reach is district-wide, he provides data services to schools, Curriculum and Instruction, Food Services, Exceptional Student Education along with Assessment and Accountability to ensure student information is entered accurately, accessed securely and used effectively.

In his thirteen years with the IT department Tariel has trained data entry staff, district level clerks as well as administrators on the proper use and entry of data elements. His experience at both the school level and district headquarters prepared Tariel for what would be the most trying year of his career. The challenge came in the form of a new student information system, significant staffing changes within the IT department and a promotion. Tariel rose to meet each challenge with success.

Director of Information Technology, Joy Nulisch, said “I am very proud that Tariel Moran has been recognized as Employee of the Year. Tariel represents himself, the department and our organization with high professional standards and dedication. His work this year, launching the SIS side of Focus has charted the course to accessible, accurate, secure and meaningful data for many years to come. Tariel is a valuable asset to Monroe County School District and is very deserving of this award and recognition.”

Pictured Left to Right:Sherri Boyer (Specialist, Computer Systems Admin), Tom Matangos (Operations Manager), Brian Doe (Specialist, Computer Network Admin), Andrew Hish (Specialist, Computer Systems Admin), Mark Porter (Superintendent), Tariel Moran (Programmer Analyst), Joy Nulisch (Director, IT), Patrick Lefere (Executive Director, Operations)

Teachers Honored by KW Chamber
Key West Teachers honored by local chamber of commerce
The Key West Chamber of Commerce honored seven area teachers during the organization’s January 25th luncheon.

Pictured left to right, Social Studies Coordinator for Monroe County School District Jennifer Barrios; honored teacher Samantha Batty, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Theresa Axford, honored teacher Kaitlin O’Connell, Education Committee Co-Chair Suzanne Moore, honored teachers Betty Shapiro, Kym Momaly, Key West Chamber of Commerce President Greg Sullivan, honored teacher Rebecca Provost, Education Committee Co-Chair Billy Spottswood and honored teacher Sarah Smith. (Not pictured: Honored teacher Kimberly “Dawn” Albury)

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios

Special Recognition for John Padget
John Padget recognition at School Board meeting
On January 24th, Superintendent Mark Porter recognized John Padget on behalf of the Monroe County School Board for his dedication and service to the State Board of Education. In a beautifully delivered recognition, Mr. Porter described Mr. Padget's history. It is one that is full of examples of his service to his community. Most recently Mr. Padget has served on the State Board of Education from 2009 through 2016; however, his accomplishments in Monroe County go far beyond that. As President of the Monroe County Education Foundation, he began the Take Stock in Children Program which has served countless boys and girls in Monroe County and created the opportunity for them to attend tuition free a state college of their choice. Mr. John Dick, Chairman of the School Board, said it best, "John has impacted more students lives in a positive way than any person in the Keys."

Teacher of the Year
MCSD Teacher of the Year Samantha Hopper with Superintendent Porter and students
Samantha Hopper, 4th grade teacher at Key Largo School has been chosen as the Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year for 2016-17. Superintendent Mark Porter visited Ms. Hopper’s classroom today to give her the news.

Ms. Hopper has a Master’s Degree from the University of Florida with a Math/Science Specialization and has been teaching at Key Largo School since August 2013. She has been a recipient of the Florida Best and Brightest Scholarship for the past two years. Ms. Hopper’s passion for teaching comes through in her high expectations for students and through her innovative teaching style which incorporates research based programs, project based learning and collaboration for students. As an AVID trained educator, she thrives on utilizing current student data to prepare for instruction. She is known for the Socratic Seminars that occur in her room which engage all students in reading and discussion. Samantha is also Ms. Hopper with her studentsbusy with other school activities. She has been a VIEW (Visiting Innovative Educators’ Workplace) program host, a grade level team leader and performs numerous coaching jobs for both volleyball and basketball. She is also a mentor to new and beginning teachers. Samantha participated in the development of the District’s new writing sequence. She is an Elementary Site Team Member for AVID and uses AVID best practices like Costa’s Levels for Questions, two column notes and reading and writing strategies daily.

KLS Principal, Laura Lietaert describes Samantha as a person who, "makes teaching look easy" and further states that "it is a pleasure to walk into her classroom and become absorbed in the learning - it’s a place that kids want to be." Superintendent Mark Porter said "Samantha is an outstanding example of the fine teachers that we have in the Monroe County School System. She clearly demonstrates the importance of strong relationships with students as a vehicle for success and she is a truly deserving recipient of this recognition."
Congratulations to Marathon High!
MHS Literacy contest winners with Florida First Lady Ann Scott
For the first time ever, a Monroe County School has placed in the annual statewide Just Read, Florida! Literacy-Civics Project contest. Earning Second Place amongst 67 school districts is Marathon High School! Literacy Coach Jill Williams submitted an entry based on Marathon’s first Family Literacy Night. The goal of the event was to promote independent reading and to build a community that values literacy. At the event, free books and magazines were provided to encourage reading at home. Ms. Williams organized the entertainment of the evening which featured MHS students reading excerpts of their favorite books or poems and the book exchange. Chef Carl Stanton and his culinary arts students prepared and served dinner, and MHS art students provided decorations for the event that featured posters, signs, and sidewalk art promoting the importance of literacy. Literacy Coach Williams and Chef Stanton escorted five of the students who participated in the event to the awards ceremony, which took place on Thursday, January 26th at the Florida History Museum in Tallahassee. They are pictured with Florida First Lady Ann Scott and their $500 award. They will take a private tour of the governor’s mansion while in Tallahassee.

Students pictured: Sophie Dipre, Christian Ruiz, Kaleila Bigelow, Taquioa Walker
Others: First Lady Ann Scott, FDOE Chancelor Hershel Lyons, Executive Director of Just Read Florida, Richard Myhre; Literacy Coach Jill Williams; and Culinary Arts teacher Carl Stanton

Contest Winner at Sugarloaf
Janet Vazquez with her award

Congratulations to Sugarloaf School teacher Janet Vazquez, winner of the 2 Months of Contest!! Her students helped her earn a Chromebook, compliments of Since November 1, 2016, her students have launched the curriculum 3,665 times! provides an "intuitive, flexible, and personalized digital education experience" for computer science students. This program is provided at no cost to the district through its affiliation with the Northeast Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC).

Monroe County Academic Challenge
Coral Shores High School Academic Challenge Team
Congratulations to the Coral Shores High School Academic Challenge Team, the 1st Place winners in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Wednesday, January 18th at Marathon HS. Marathon High School was the 2nd place team and Key West High School 3rd place. The Coral Shores team will represent Monroe County in the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge in Orlando on April 27-29, 2017. Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition.

Pictured, from left:Dave Murphy (Director of Assessment and Accountability), Daniel Walker, Preston Holt, Keeley Catarineau, Alan Thomson, Chris Harris (Coach),Lauren Rabe, James Britton

Photo courtesy of Barbara Cavanah

PKS Groundbreaking
PKS Groundbreaking Ceremony
Superintendent Porter at PKS Groundbreaking

The Groundbreaking Ceremony at Plantation Key School was held on January 10, 2017.

From the program brochure:
"The new Plantation Key School (PKS) will inspire collaborative learning for the next generation of Florida Keys students from Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. The project consists of the phased replacement of existing facilities originally built in the 1970’s, while ongoing operations are maintained. The new 100,000 square foot school will be built according to the Green Globes assessment standard for sustainable building design, operation and management.​"
Click here for the program brochure.

Even the youngest PKS students got involved.....

PKS Preschoolers

PKS Preschoolers

PKS Preschoolers

Thank You for your service
Andy Griffiths and Ed Davidson

Thank You Recognition and Presentation to outgoing School Board Member Capt. Ed Davidson prepared by Chairman Andy Griffiths documenting 775 newspaper articles on a mounted thumb drive covering MCSD Schools 2012-2016, a historical print accounting of issues discussed with Capt Ed's input while he was serving on the Board.

Students and the Symphony

Students at the symphony
Donna Wissinger from Artz Out Loud poses with the characters from Peter and the Wolf. Donna visited all Keys schools to teach them about the Symphony Orchestra and its instruments. She also shared the story of Peter and the Wolf from the symphony of the same name by Sergei Prokofiev. Donna is a symphonic flutist and played all the melodies of the different instruments in the symphony on her flute as she instructed the students in preparation for the Big Symphony Concert.

Glynn Archer Auditorium at Key West High School was filled with 2000 students in two performances at 9:30 and 10:45 AM on Wednesday, November 16th. Many thanks to the MCSD Transportation Department under the direction of Randy Fabal who got all the students transported for the performances. It was a gargantuan task.

Pictured: Students at the South Florida Symphony presentation,Donna with the Peter & the Wolf characters
Photos courtesy of Jacqueline Lorber

District Announces Community of Experts
Community of Experts logo

In an effort to promote the sharing of best practices throughout the district, the Teaching and Learning Team, along with principals and teachers have identified teachers who are experts in the programs that are available for use in The Monroe County School District. These teachers have been organized into a Community of Experts. They are willing to provide support to any teacher who needs it when it comes to using the products that are connected to their brief biographies. The permanent location for the Community of Experts is on the District Website under the Curriculum Tab on the left. You will find a brief biography and other pertinent information there. Congratulations to all those in the Community and a special thank you for being willing to share information with teachers about using the programs we support.
Lindsay Poetz
Lindsay Poetz
Plantation Key School
Alesa Rehmann
Alesa Rehmann
Coral Shores HS
Kevin Walden
Kevin Walden
Sugarloaf School

Marianne Nelson Receives FCSS Teacher of the Year for Monroe County
Florida Council for the Social Studies awarded Sugarloaf teacher Marianne Nelson as the Florida Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year for Monroe County. Mrs. Nelson was selected because of her ability to foster the development of democratic beliefs and values, and the skills needed to for citizenship appropriate to her students, her student teacher relationships, her professionalism, and her outstanding teaching methods.

Pictured, from left: Cherie Arnette, FCSS President and Marianne Nelson, SLS teacher
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barrios
Executive Director of Finance and Performance James Drake Receives FASBO Award
James Drake, Mark Porter, and Andy Griffiths
The Florida Association of School Business Officials (FASBO) awarded its eighth annual Outstanding Business Official award to Jim Drake, Executive Director of Finance and Performance of Monroe County Schools at the 50th Annual conference held at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. The award recognizes an outstanding FASBO member who exemplifies professionalism, leadership and innovation in the field of school business management. In addition, the winner will be recognized by the Southeastern Association of School Business Officials (SASBO) at their annual conference in April 2017. A team of past Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) Eagle Award recipients from SASBO will assist the winner in preparing an application for the ASBO International Eagle or Pinnacle awards.

Pictured: James Drake, Superintendent Mark Porter, and Mr. Andy Griffiths, School Board Chairman. Mr. Drake was recognized for the award by Superintendent Porter and Chairman Griffiths at the Oct. 25th Board Meeting.

Photo courtesy of Theresa Axford

KWHS Senior Brian Coward Announced as a 2017 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced Key West High School's 2017 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, senior Brian Coward. With this prestigious accomplishment, Coward joins approximately 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide in the 62nd Annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Pre-SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The Semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, are the highest-scoring entrants from each state. Each state’s number of Semifinalists is proportional to its percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. To be chosen as a Finalist, these Semifinalists must submit an application, have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by their school, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test. Coward is an outstanding athlete, role model and contributor to his school community in addition to an outstanding scholar. Finalists will be notified in February, and scholarship winners will be announced later in the spring and summer, beginning in April.

Pictured: Brian Coward with KWHS CAPS counselor Gavin Townsend
Photo courtesy of Amber Acevedo

Florida Healthy School District
At the October 12th Board Meeting, MCSD was recognized for achieving Silver Status as a Florida Healthy School District by Florida Action for Healthy Kids (FLAFHK), the Florida Coordinated School Health Partnership (CSHP), the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS), and Florida KidCare, and the Monroe County School District.

The award recognizes that the district has established a culture and climate in which students and staff can reach their personal potential. The Coordinated School Health that is displayed is effective in reducing and eliminating the barriers to learning and supports academic achievement. Recognition is determined by submission of the Florida Healthy School District Self-Assessment. The self-assessment tool is based on sustainable infrastructure, policy, programs, and practices identified from national and state guidelines, best practices, and Florida statutes.
Pictured (from left): Kathleen C. Rose, RN, MHA-N, NCSN-E, Consulting School Nurse, National Association of School Nurses, Action for Healthy Kids Executive Team Member who presented the flag, Mike Michaud, MCSD Safety and Security Coordinator, School Superintendent Mark Porter, Andy Griffiths, School Board Chairman, and Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.

Visiting Innovative Educators' Workplaces (VIEW)

Courtney Oliver, MCSD Science Coordinator, greeted VIEW (Visiting Innovative Educators' Workplaces) participants at Key West High School. The VIEW program allowed teachers to visit expert teachers in the areas of Technology Integration, STEM, or Flexible Grouping. Participants had a debrief after each classroom visit. The VIEW program received excellent reviews from participants and VIEW hosts as well. Another VIEW session will occur on November 15th.

Pictured, left to right: Jake Luce, Courtney Oliver, DeKariss Barnett
Photo courtesy of Courtney Oliver

Math Stairs at Poinciana Elementary

Poinciana Elementary School recently installed multiplication facts in the main stairwell. This is in an effort to make all areas of the school learning spaces. Thank you to the PTO for sponsoring this project.

Take Your Dad to School Day

On Wednesday, September 28, schools district-wide celebrated Take Your Dad To School Day. At Plantation Key School, every grade level had events planned celebrating the male (or in some cases female) role model in students’ lives.
In the Lower Keys, Key West Collegiate Academy principal Cory Oliver joined his son at Poinciana Elementary.
PKS Photos courtesy of Peggie Fabel
POI Photo courtesy of Cory Oliver

Inquiry Based Professional Learning

Pictured are Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning and Dr. Nancy Dana of the University of Florida. Mrs. Axford and Dr. Dana both did presentations at the Florida Association of Staff Development on Inquiry Based Professional Learning. Dr. Dana’s presentation focused on how Inquiry Questions are established through a data collection process and an examination of passions about learning. Mrs. Axford’s presentation focused on why the Inquiry Process can help teachers achieve the goals that they have for student achievement and professional learning. Dr. Dana has published numerous books on Inquiry and is considered to be one of the experts in the area. She will be working with Monroe County Schools throughout the year as a mentor for the district’s process.

Photo courtesy of Theresa Axford
Monroe Compute$ Offers Laptops
Brand new laptop computers are available to all Monroe County students enrolling in Advanced Placement Computer Science (AP CS) at the Florida Virtual School (FLVS).

“This is a new initiative from COMPUTE$,” according to John Padget, representing the sponsoring foundation. “Some students are ready to acquire additional computing skills and we want to help.”

For detailed information about this new initiative from Monroe/ COMPUTE$, please read this press release.

Prior Years' News
Click Here to view news articles from 2015-16

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