Sarasota County Schools News

Bank staff and customers donate shoes and socks for needy students

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Regions Bank footwear donation 8-24-16

STEPPING UP TO HELP: Jeanne Armour and Frank Santora of Regions Bank present shoes and socks donated by the company’s staff and customers to Betsy Hooper, center, of the Sarasota County School District. The footwear will be given to students in need.

SARASOTA, Aug. 24, 2016 – As the 2016-17 school year gets underway in Sarasota County, representatives of Regions Bank presented the school district with 32 pairs of sneakers and 175 pairs of socks for students. The footwear was collected in July and August by associates and customers at eight of the bank’s branches.

The donation was presented Wednesday, Aug. 24 to Betsy Hooper, administrative assistant and bookkeeper in the English for Speakers of Other Languages Department and the school district’s 2016 School-Related Employee of the Year. The items will be given to students with the highest need, as identified by school counselors and social workers. 

“We’re pleased that Regions Bank employees and their customers want children in need to have new shoes and socks for the new school year,” said Hooper. “We are grateful for this thoughtful donation, and we know the kids will appreciate it.” 

Annual Fall College Night set for Sept. 8 at Robarts Arena

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College Just Ahead sign-clip art from web 8-24-16

SARASOTA, Aug. 23, 2016 — Local high school students and parents can meet representatives of more than 100 colleges and universities from across the U.S. when Sarasota County Schools hosts the 2016 Fall College Night. The event will be held from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8, at Robarts Sports Arena in Sarasota. Admission is free. 

Click here for a list of organizations scheduled to participate

Schools scheduled to send representatives include post-secondary institutions in the State University System of Florida as well as public and private colleges and universities from around the nation. Representatives of various military academies and military recruiters also will attend. The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections will have a table for those who wish to register to vote.

Robarts Sports Arena is located at 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. More information about the 2016 Fall College Night is available by calling the Student Services Department of Sarasota County Schools at 941-927-4036.


District begins 2016-17 school year

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Fruitville Elem-New classroom bldg Aug 2016

READY FOR DAY ONE: Helen Cao, a first-grade teacher at Fruitville Elementary, shows a classroom in the school's new building to her sons Ethan (middle), a third-grade student at Fruitville, and Eli, a first-grade student there. School starts Aug. 22 in Sarasota County.

Click here for 2016-17 school hours and a map showing the locations of district schools.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Aug. 19, 2016 – Students return to Sarasota County classrooms Monday, Aug. 22. Here is some basic information about the district:


40 traditional public schools: 23 elementary schools, seven middle schools, six high schools, one K-8 school (Laurel Nokomis), one gifted school (Pine View, grades two-12), one school for students with special needs (Oak Park, pre-K to age 22), one alternative school (YMCA Triad, north and south campuses)

Suncoast Technical College (high school/adult students; Sarasota, Venice, North Port campuses)

12 charter schools

Adult and Community Enrichment (ACE), based at Suncoast Technical College


Projected 2016-17 General Fund (Operating) Budget:

$423 million


Total Projected Student Enrollment:

Approximately 43,500 students


Number of Employees:

4,933 (2,705 teachers, 2,025 support staff, 203 administrators)


New Principals (traditional public schools):

Amy Archer, Garden Elementary, Venice (former Glenallen Elementary principal)

Rebecca Drum, Glenallen Elementary, North Port (former assistant principal there)

Steven Royce, Gocio Elementary, Sarasota (former principal of Tara Elementary, Bradenton)

Erin Del Castillo, Venice Elementary (former assistant principal at Pine View School, Osprey)

Susan Nations, Wilkinson Elementary, Sarasota (former assistant principal, Southside Elementary, Sarasota)

Brandon Johnson, North Port High (former principal of Lamarque Elementary) NOTE: Sandra Russell is acting principal at Lamarque until mid-September, when a new principal is expected to be named.

Paul Burns, Riverview High, Sarasota (former assistant principal at that school)

David Jones, Sarasota High (former principal of North Port High)

Eric Jackson, Venice High (former Riverview High principal)


School Construction/Renovation Projects:

Fruitville Elementary: New classroom building includes wing for students with autism/interior renovations/bus loop/parking lot

Sarasota High: New gymnasium (spring 2016), other improvements/additions in the works

Emma E. Booker Elementary: Renovated media center

Englewood Elementary: Remodeled classroom wing and media center

Pine View School: Gymnasium, media center and heating/ventilation/AC renovations

Suncoast Technical College-North Port Extension/Sarasota County public library: Site development is underway 


Transportation (2015-16 stats):

18,000: Average number of students who ride the bus daily

360: Number of buses in the district fleet (includes 24 new buses arriving in September 2016)

27,500: Average number of miles driven per day

3,700: Average number of gallons of diesel fuel used each day 


Food and Nutrition Services (2015-16 stats):

6,077: Average number of breakfasts served each school day

21,185: Average number of lunches served each school day

659: Average number of after school-snacks served each day

1,040: Average number of suppers served each day

$9,404: Average total dollar amount of food purchases each day

51 percent: Students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals



Health agencies offer tips for preventing spread of Zika virus

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Zika Spill the Water graphic-NEW CROPPED

SPILL THE WATER, STOP THE SPREAD: A key element of the campaign to combat the Zika virus is to empty containers of standing water in yards, since mosquitoes can breed there.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Aug. 18, 2016 – The Florida Department of Health is working with the Governor’s Office and the Florida Department of Education to educate students, parents and school personnel on how to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne viruses. All public school districts in Florida, including Sarasota County Schools, are joining that effort.

At home, one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of these viruses is to empty all containers of standing water around your yard. Mosquitoes can breed in small amounts of water.

For more information on precautionary measures and the latest information about Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses, click here for the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County website. It includes a Zika hotline phone number. Click here for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website with Zika information.  

In addition, here are links to informational fliers about preventing the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses:

Mosquito Bite Prevention in Florida

Spill the Water Elementary Poster

Spill the Water Middle-High School Poster


New North Port High principal appointed

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Brandon Jouhnson 2014

Brandon Johnson

SARASOTA COUNTY, Aug. 17, 2016 – Brandon Johnson, the principal of Lamarque Elementary School in North Port, has been appointed as the new principal of North Port High School. Sarasota County Superintendent of Schools Lori White announced the appointment today. 

Johnson, 35, succeeds David Jones at NPHS. Jones was NPHS principal from 2012 until his appointment as Sarasota High School principal Aug. 1.

Johnson has been principal of Lamarque since 2014. During his first year there, the school grade improved from a C to an A.

He holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va.

Johnson began with the Sarasota County Schools in 2005 as a teacher for children with special needs at Emma E. Booker Elementary. He also served there as a fourth-grade teacher and as a resource for teachers of special-needs students.

He became an assistant principal intern at Emma E. Booker Elementary in 2010. He subsequently served as an assistant principal intern at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus and as assistant principal at Brentwood Elementary School.

As an elementary school administrator, he was responsible for developing and supporting Positive Behavior Support initiatives and school improvement plans. He was a summer school administrator, data coach, test coordinator and volunteer coordinator. He served on district committees to create a new elementary report card and to update the Student and Family Handbook.

He also has served as a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Take Stock in Children. He was a member of the NAACP Youth Advisory Counsel.

Sarasota County Schools Executive Director of High Schools Steve Cantees said: “Brandon is the perfect fit for North Port High School. He is a passionate, tireless worker for all students. He knows the North Port community and will serve the students and families of North Port High with same dedication and purpose as he did those at Lamarque Elementary.”  

Executive Director of Elementary Schools Laura Kingsley said Johnson is an inspired instructional leader who does an outstanding job of helping all students and staff reach their highest potential.

Johnson said: “I am truly blessed to be the new principal at NPHS.  I can’t wait to start working with the staff and students at our wonderful school. I look forward to building relationships with our families and the community in the coming year. Go Bobcats!

“I have truly enjoyed my time at Lamarque and will miss the students, staff and families. In my time we have seen an increase in student achievement, brought back the exciting 5K race and have partnered with Arts Now to bring the fine arts to life. The new principal at Lamarque will be lucky to lead such a wonderful staff and hardworking students.”

Johnson will begin his transition from Lamarque to NPHS on Friday. Kingsley said retired Tatum Ridge Elementary School Principal Sandra Russell will serve as acting principal at Lamarque until a new principal is hired. Kingsley plans for the new principal to begin work the second week of September.


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Phone: 941-927-4009 or
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