Sarasota County Schools News

Alta Vista Elementary to celebrate books on ‘Reading Street’ Dec. 13

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Dec. 8, 2016 – At Alta Vista Elementary School, all students in grades K-5 will cozy up with a good book on the sidewalks around campus from 10-11 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13, in an event billed as “Reading Street.” The children will share books through book talks and create posters to display around campus. The sidewalks will be mapped out and the posters will showcase the readers in each class.

Students have been encouraged to bring their favorite blanket or pillow and a stuffed animal to “read” along with them in this schoolwide event, and to dress up as their favorite storybook character.   

Alta Vista has an ongoing partnership with Pine View School as part of the “Up with Books” program. Through this program, classes have partnered up as “buddy classes.” Pine View students from four elementary classes will visit Alta Vista to be a part of the event and to read alongside their new friends.

“Creating a schoolwide reading culture is important to promote reading as a lifelong lifestyle. Reading Street is a perfect way to foster connectivity around books and reading,” said Assistant Principal Holly Heim.

Alta Vista Elementary School is located at 1050 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota.

Shark Tank entrepreneurs to visit Booker Middle School Dec. 9

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SARASOTA, Dec. 7, 2016 – Entrepreneurs connected to ABC’s Shark Tank are coming to Booker Middle School to make a presentation starting at 7:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 9. All eighth-grade students and their teachers will participate in an event designed especially for Booker Middle students.

Ashley Drummonds appeared on the hit show and landed a deal with Shark Tank investor Daymond John to market her high-protein ABS Pancakes. At Booker Middle, Drummonds and business partner Josh McClelland will teach students about nutrition and the importance of exercise while also receiving a sample of the pancakes. Eighth-grade reading teacher Brenda Zofrea arranged to bring the entrepreneurs to the school, with help from Peter Helfen, a local businessman.

The event will start with a 7:30 a.m. presentation to all eighth-graders by Drummonds, followed by breakout sessions with her and McClelland. The students will sample the pancakes; the event also will include a physical fitness activity on the school fields.

Brenda Zofrea, reading teacher at Booker Middle School, was frustrated by her students coming to class every day asking for cookies and granola bars because they were hungry; many also struggle to keep their heads up and their eyes open. When she asked students what they ate for breakfast, many said they didn’t eat breakfast. Those who did often ate high-carb “junk food” with little nutritional value. That's when she decided her students needed some nutrition education and out to Drummonds.

McClelland, Drummonds’ business partner and personal trainer, says he can personally relate to Zofrea’s intensive reading students because he struggled with reading and faced other challenges with his own education through middle and high school.

“When Brenda asked us if we would be interested in this project, we jumped at the opportunity. We know the difference that nutrition, leadership and fitness can make in helping students achieve success both academically and personally,” said Drummonds.

Booker Middle School is located at 2250 Myrtle St., Sarasota.

SPHS and STC schools to benefit from Barnes & Noble Bookfair Dec. 8

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Suncoast Poly students prep for Bookfair Dec 2016

IN A HOLIDAY MOOD: Pictured from left, Suncoast Polytechnical High School students Riley Manion, Makenna Harris, Kayla Crawley and Zachary Pagan get in a holiday mood for the Dec. 8 Barnes & Noble Bookfair benefiting SPHS and Suncoast Technical College.

SARASOTA, Dec. 6, 2016 – Suncoast Polytechnical High School and Suncoast Technical College will benefit from the Barnes & Noble Bookfair, set for 5-9 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8.

That evening, a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of most items will be donated to the schools. All funds go directly to acquiring books, materials and media for classes and the schools’ media centers. Students will contribute their time and talents and earn community service hour points; student performances and demonstrations will add to the experience.

In addition to benefiting the schools that evening, fundraising continues through Friday, Dec. 16. Shoppers can log on to and enter the code 11986932 at checkout.

Sue Gissal, media specialist for the two schools, said, “Every year I look forward to this event. Working with the students and staff make it one of the highlights of our school year!"

Suncoast Polytechnical High School math teacher Ricardo Bellón, said, “This event is a real pleasure to plan and bring to life. The students’ commitment, excitement and energy are contagious. It’s a great event for all!”

Barnes and Noble is located at 4010 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

High school seniors can get free help with financial aid form Dec. 8

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Dec. 2, 2016 – Riverview High School will host a free workshop to help school seniors and their parents complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form is required in order for a student to receive federal financial assistance for higher education and may help students obtain other college funding.

The FAFSA workshop is set for 3 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Career Center at Riverview High School. Seniors from all local high schools and their parents and guardians are welcome. Counselors will help students complete the FAFSA form.

Students should bring their Social Security Number, the most recent federal income tax returns for themselves and their parents, and their Personal Identification Number, or PIN, after registering at Anyone with questions may call Riverview High at 941-923-1484.

Riverview High School is located at 1 Ram Way in Sarasota, just off Proctor Road. 

Lamarque Elementary to host STEM Fair for school families Dec. 8

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Lamarque science event May 2016

FAMILY PHYSICS: At a science-themed event held in May at Lamarque Elementary, students and family members make lung-powered “straw rockets” to demonstrate principles of force, motion, distance and speed. Pictured from left are Joshua Figueroa, Olga Marchena, Yohan Marchena, Patty Young, Scarlett Beasley, Meaghan Beasley and Grayson Beasley. On Dec. 8, the school will host similar activities at a STEM Fair.

NORTH PORT, Nov. 30, 2016 – Lamarque Elementary School will celebrate science, technology, engineering and math with a STEM Fair, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8. The goal is to provide Lamarque families with engaging, science-based family fun. This event will welcome the entire school community: students, parents and other family members, and school staff.

The fourth and fifth-grade student science fair boards will be on display that evening, as well as boards from an advanced third-grade class. The event will begin with a school science fair awards ceremony, and will include hands-on interactive exhibits and projects. Mote Mobile Laboratory will offer a touch tank and other activities. The Orlando Science Center also will be represented, as will other attractions and organizations.

“The event is designed to be fun and educational for all ages,” said Principal Ryan Bruck. “We hope it will create treasured family memories and learning experiences for everyone.”

Lamarque Elementary is located at 3415 Lamarque Ave., North Port.

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