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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

Click Here to view news articles from 2014-15

Click Here to view news articles from 2013-14

Click Here to view news articles from prior years

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