Sarasota County Schools News

Sarasota High’s Metcalf is finalist for National Coach of the Year

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SHS Coach Clyde Metcalf

WINNING COACH: Sarasota High Head Baseball Coach Clyde Metcalf is a finalist for National High School Coach of the Year.

SARASOTA, Jan. 30, 2015 – The National High School Athletic Coaches Association has announced that longtime Sarasota High School coach Clyde Metcalf is a finalist for the title of National Coach of the Year in the sport of boys’ baseball. Eight finalists from across the nation will be honored during the National Coach of the Year Awards Banquet to be held during the NHSACA National Convention, June 20, at the Kahler Grand Hotel in Minneapolis. The highlight of the banquet will be the naming of the National Coach of the Year in 19 sports categories.

Metcalf was selected for this national honor by the Florida High School Coaches Association. This selection is based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years, and winning parentage. The nominees and finalists are evaluated by experts in the field of coaching using a sport-specific rubrics to assign points in each category. The National High School Athletic Coaches Association is the oldest coaches association in the nation formed by coaches, for coaches, and has been recognizing national coaches of the year since 1978.

Metcalf has been the head baseball coach at Sarasota High for more than 30 years and served as the school’s athletic director for over 16 years. He has compiled a career record of 731 wins and 173 losses. Metcalf’s teams have advanced to the Final Four 10 times, winning six state titles and finishing as runner-up three times. The Sailors have twice been named as National Champions and were the USA Team of the Decade for the 1990s.

Metcalf has received numerous coaching awards, including the National Coach of the Year Award twice and the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Lifetime Membership Award. He was inducted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December 2010.


New Riverview High ball fields open at Suncoast Technical College

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Jan. 30, 2015 - The new Riverview High School Baseball and Softball Complex will host its first game at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3. The ball fields are located behind Suncoast Technical College (formerly Sarasota County Technical Institute).

The inaugural game on the fields will pit the Lady Rams softball team against the Venice High Lady Indians. Riverview Principal Linda Nook will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Riverview Rams boys’ baseball team will play their first game against the Sarasota High School Sailors at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13. Former Riverview baseball coach and Florida Baseball Coach of the Year Larry Altier will throw out the first pitch for that game.

The ball fields may be reached from the Proctor Road entrance at the southwest corner of the Suncoast Technical College campus, which is located at 4748 Beneva Road (corner of Beneva and Proctor roads).

Booker High musicians to present ‘Death by Chocolate’ Feb. 6-7

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BHS student Dakota Stroble-Death by Chocolate 2015

PIANO PRODIGY: Booker High student Dakota Stroble will be among the featured musicians at the 12th annual “Death by Chocolate” event, Feb. 6-7 in the school’s café.

SARASOTA, Jan. 29, 2015 – The Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts Music Program will present the 12th annual “Death by Chocolate,” at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 7, in the school’s café.

The event, a crowd-pleasing combination of eclectic music and decadent chocolate, is a signature experience of the VPA Music Program. Event organizers are planning a three-stage format that will feature talented soloists and ensembles performing a variety of genres, from classical to jazz to contemporary pieces.

“Everyone can enjoy the evening because our talented students will perform a wide variety of musical styles,” said Sung Choe, VPA Music Department chair. “Plus, there’s a lot of delicious food.”

Patrons will hear music by candlelight in a jazz club setting designed by Esaw’s Elegant Events. The selections will include homemade and gourmet chocolate desserts and hot coffee, making the event a feast for the ears and the palette.

As effortlessly as the evening will seem to unfold, a lot of hard work goes into the performance, planning and preparation of Death by Chocolate. Students participate in everything from baking desserts to helping set up the venue. Choe notes that understanding what goes on behind the scenes is a boon to performers.

“Students get to see what goes into pulling off a big concert,” she said. “And they get to contribute in real ways to its success. It’s great to see their level of dedication.”

Highlights of the performance include violinist Sommer Altier, who will perform Kabalevski’s “Violin Concerto, Movement 3;” Dakota Stroble and Skyler Miller, who will dazzle with “Waltz of the Flowers” from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” as a piano duet; and the chamber choir, which will perform a touching rendition of the Beatle’s “Let it Be.” The Booker High Jazz Ensemble will play some sizzling tunes by composers ranging from the iconic Duke Ellington to contemporary phenomenon Gordon Goodwin to heat up the night. 

The event has traditionally been the VPA Music Department’s biggest fundraiser, helping the department cover operational fees as well as scholarships for summer study for promising young musicians. Much of this year’s funds will be earmarked to help a new initiative, the Whirlwind Brigade’s Winter Guard, an indoor color guard activity that stretches the season of the Booker High School Marching Band Program.

Tickets are $10 and may be reserved by calling Judy Piercy at 941-355-2967, extension 65215. Individual tickets are available, or parties can reserve tables seating six or eight people. The café is located at the south entrance of the school, 3201 N. Orange Ave.

Sarasota High students stage original play ‘Mark of the Fleur-De-Lis’

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SHS Fleur-De-Lis play Jan 2015

TALENTED TRIO: From left, Kali Karcher, Miranda Marino, and Olivia Hermey helped develop their roles and the script for the Sarasota High production of “The Mark of the Fleur-De-Lis.”

SARASOTA, Jan. 27, 2015 – Students in the Sarasota High School Theater Department will perform an original play, “The Mark of the Fleur-De-Lis” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28 through Saturday, Jan. 31. A matinee performance of the 90-minute play also will be staged at 2 p.m. Saturday. The script was written by drama teacher and director Melissa Dweck and her students.  

It is a mystery — a story of pure and evil hearts, romance and betrayal. Set in medieval times, it traces the story of the much beloved King Garrick as he tries to discover who is plotting against his life. Although the castle is alive with intrigue and people who conspire to murder, Garrick finds safety with the one woman who can make him open up his heart again. But with evil lurking at every corner and greed fueling a hate that could spark a war, can Garrick and Addelyn’s love overturn the tide, or has their fate been determined by the mark of a needle?

The Sarasota High School Theater Department puts on at least three or four shows a year. Dweck has written four or five of those shows over the past 13 years she has been here, this production is a Sarasota High first because of Dweck’s collaboration with her students.

“The students are so proud of the final script that they plan on sending it in to be copyrighted and to a company to market it,” said Dweck. “That way, other acting companies can have the chance to perform it, too.”    

The show began its life with a cast list of 24 students and no script. Three weeks and several meetings, phone calls and text messages later, the students had a 48-page script and three chapters of a novel based on the play. They also are making a movie of the play; filming it in various locations with full costumes and make-up.

“To watch my students come up with ideas and question why we did what we did in a scene, to watch them think not only about their own character but how it would fit into the story, and to watch them breathe life into their role and adapt the story to other art forms is truly impressive,” said Dweck.

Senior Jimmy Smith, actor and contributor to the script, said, “I always will remember this production because it has a little of me and my fellow cast members and writers in it. Building my character was interactive and fun. King Garrick is the lead role in the play and I have helped put bits and pieces of the character together. The king is an honorable man who plays by the rules, but he also has compassion for those around him. This sometimes leads him to situations he sometimes doesn’t know how to manage. That’s all I’ll say, because the rest is a surprise. We aren’t allowed to reveal the ending!”

Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $7 for students and seniors age 55 and over. Tickets may be purchased online at

Sarasota High School is located at 1000 S. School Ave. in Sarasota.

Pine View senior awarded Take Stock in Children fellowship

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Alexis Smith Pine View-Take Stock fellowship 2015

LEADER 4 LIFE: Pine View senior Alexis Smith is one of six Florida students to receive a $40,000 fellowship to attend college from Take Stock in Children.

This news release is from Take Stock in Children of Sarasota:

SARASOTA, Jan. 20, 2015 – Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County student Alexis Smith is one of six deserving scholars across Florida to be awarded Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellowship. This prestigious award was created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation and is valued at approximately $40,000 per student award. Take Stock in Children is a statewide non-profit organization with a 20-year history of mentoring middle and high school students so they can achieve academic success by graduating high school and earning a college scholarship to help break the cycle of poverty.

With this award, Alexis will now be able to achieve her dream of a post-secondary education free of all expenses. She is currently a senior at Pine View School where she is active in community service and consistently on the Honor Roll.  Alexis plans to attend the University of Florida next fall and major in Veterinary Science.

Alexis is among five other recipients across Florida. These highly motivated scholars, who are amongst several thousand high school students statewide benefiting from Take Stock in Children, were selected based on their demonstration of strong leadership skills, moral character and academic success. 

Following a surprise announcement of her selection to be held on January 22 on the campus of Pine View School, Alexis will be officially recognized as an incoming 2015 Leaders 4 Life Fellow during Take Stock in Children’s Leadership Summit on February 10, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida.  Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellowship Program was created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation to provide financial resources, services and support needed to ensure student success throughout college. The fellowship provides each student with a new Macintosh laptop computer, as well as funds for textbooks and supplies, housing, transportation, food and other college-related expenses. The mission of this program is to enable these students to excel in a university environment by giving them the resources that empower them to develop their full potential as “leaders for life.”

“This life-changing fellowship, generously provided by the Asofsky Family Foundation is a transformational opportunity for Alexis. By eliminating all financial concerns, Alexis will be able to focus solely on her education and embrace the college experience on her path to success,” said Candice McLeod, TSIC of Sarasota County Program Director. 

About Take Stock in Children

Take Stock in Children, a Florida 501(c)3 non-profit organization has been providing volunteer mentors, scholarships and hope to more than 24,000 of Florida’s deserving at-risk, low-income students since 1995. Reporting an unparalleled 96 percent annual high school graduation rate and an 87% college enrollment rate, TSIC is Florida’s flagship and most successful mentoring and scholarship program. In every Florida county, TSIC scholars in middle and high school pledge to meet regularly with their mentor, maintain academic standards, and remain drug and crime-free on the way to achieving a high school diploma. The reward for fulfilling these commitments is a scholarship to a Florida state college, university or vocational school. The mission of Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellowship program, created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation, is to enable students to excel in a university environment by giving them the resources that empower them to develop their full potential as “leaders for life.”  

Learn more about Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County at

Riverview High Kiltie Band presents annual Sousa Concert

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RHS Kilties Sousa Concert Jan 2014

BRASS AND KILTS FOREVER: Members of the Riverview High School Kiltie Band play the stirring sounds of John Philip Sousa from the balcony of the Riverview Performing Arts Center in January 2014. Pictured from left are Casey Loos, Parker DeWitt, Hannah Nelson, Meredith Housh, Taylor Rader, Elizabeth Hicks, Amanda Dumas, Grant Wilks and Brandon Eggert.

SARASOTA, Jan. 23, 2015 — The Riverview High School Kiltie Band will perform the music of John Philip Sousa during their annual Sousa Concert at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30, at the Riverview Performing Arts Center.

Considered by many to be America’s most beloved bandmaster, John Philip Sousa’s rousing marches have been crowd pleasers for generations.

“The Sousa Concert has been our most popular event for many years,” said Mark Spreen, director of the Kiltie Band. “This show is probably our best of the year; it attracts music lovers of all ages,” he added. 

As always, the Kilties will perform in full Scottish attire.

“Seeing more than 100 students in these impressive traditional uniforms is pretty amazing in itself,” Spreen said, “but the music is what we love to share.”

A $5 donation will be collected at the door. Reserved seating for larger groups may be arranged by contacting Miriam Thompson at 941-539-5383 or

The Riverview Performing Arts Center is located at 1 Ram Way between U.S. 41 and Swift Road in Sarasota, just off Proctor Road.

Sarasota High takes trophy at 2015 STEMsmart Summit

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STEMsmart Summit champs SHS 2015

STEMSMART STUDENTS: Todd Bowden of Suncoast Technical College, far left, and Mark Pritchett of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, far right, presented first-place ribbons to the Sarasota High School robotics team at the third annual STEMsmart Summit Jan. 20. The Sailors’ two-man team of 10th-grade students Joseph Martineau, center left, and Nicholas Greb, center right, took the Robotics Event for the second straight year.

This news release is from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation: 

SARASOTA, Jan. 22, 2015 – For the first time in its three years, the STEMsmart High School Summit, held Jan. 20 at Suncoast Technical College, ended in a tie. Sarasota and Riverview high schools matched for total points after the competition’s 13 events. Emcee Ron DiPillo, assistant director of career and technical education for Sarasota County Schools, invoked the tie-breaker rule—most first-place finishes—and announced Sarasota High School as the overall winner. Both schools, however, will receive $1,000 grants for their STEM programs from summit sponsor Gulf Coast Community Foundation in recognition of their performance. 

The two schools were among seven Sarasota County high schools and one from Charlotte County that competed in the third-annual STEMsmart Summit, created as part of Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s STEMsmart initiative to transform science and math education in area schools. The competition pits teams and individual students in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) contests. Dozens of volunteer judges from the local business and education community evaluated students’ performance and provided constructive feedback in areas ranging from robotics design and programming to scenario-based CPR tests. The event was hosted at Suncoast Technical College.

The summit not only tests students’ technical skills but also gives them experience with real-world interactions they might encounter in future STEM careers. Volunteer judge Jennifer Behrens Schmidt, president and owner of local manufacturer Atlantic Mold and Machining, noted that students in the robotics event had to present their design strategy and expected results to the judges prior to competing head-to-head with other teams. “That presentation accounts for 30 percent of their score,” said Schmidt, “so even if their robot performs the best, they still can’t win without it.”

A healthcare student from North Port High School, meanwhile, was caring for an infant simulator throughout the morning as part of a child-development class unrelated to the summit. When her team’s turn came to perform life-saving techniques on an adult CPR manikin under the scrutiny of two professional instructors, she had to arrange for a teacher to watch her sleeping “child” until she was finished. The student could be seen a short while later feeding the “baby” from a bottle while her teammate held her infant carrier as they gathered with others to watch the robotics event’s final competition.

“The STEMsmart Summit taps into these students’ competitive spirit, but there is also great camaraderie among the schools and the kids,” said Mark Pritchett, senior vice president for community investment at Gulf Coast. “By encouraging them to be creative, think on their feet, and work as a team, we’re starting to prepare students for the jobs of the future. The summit is a lot of fun, but it’s also a priceless learning experience.”

Full competition results and photos from the 2015 STEMsmart High School Summit can be found online at

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Together with our donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy.  Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital.  Since then, we have become the philanthropic home of nearly 600 families who have established charitable funds here, and have invested $185 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at





Regional Science Fair exhibits to be judged Jan. 27 and 29

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Science Fair 2014-Savannah Tucker and Cliff Ondercin

YOUNG SCIENTIST: Regional Science Fair judge Cliff Ondercin, left, learns about student Savannah Tucker's project Jan. 28, 2014, at Robart's Arena in Sarasota. Tucker was a student at Phillippi Shores Elementary in 2013-14.

This news release is from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County:

SARASOTA COUNTY – Jan. 22, 2015 – Sarasota County’s most promising young scientists from grades 3-12 will defend their hypotheses, research and results as their exhibits are judged this week during the annual Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair. More than 160 volunteer judges will review elementary school projects from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 27. Middle and high school judging will take place 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 29. All judging will be held at Robarts Arena in Sarasota.

All schools in Sarasota County, public and private, as well as home-schooled students, are invited to participate in the regional science fair.

Sarasota County has produced a regional science fair for more than twenty years.  The fair is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Students who are judged to have the top two high school projects will have the opportunity to compete in the annual Intel ISEF in Pittsburgh, PA this May.

The Regional Science Fair encompasses fourteen categories, including biological, environmental, physical and earth/space sciences, math, engineering, computer sciences, and behavior and social sciences. Projects promote the development of inquiry process skills that are essential for learning.

The fair is a community-wide effort.  Participating organizations include the Sarasota Agricultural Fair Committee, which allows the Science Fair organizers to use Robarts Arena at no charge for four days for the judging of the exhibits. The committee also donates lunch for students, chaperones and judges; donates award ribbons; and provides space to display the award-winning exhibits at the Sarasota County Fair each year in March.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County underwrites the expenses for the regional fair, the affiliation with the Intel ISEF, travel for winning students to attend the international fair, and numerous cash awards made possible by community sponsors.  Leading sponsors this year include the Dart Foundation, the Faulhaber Foundation and PGT Industries. Anyone interested in becoming a judge can register online at through Friday 1/23, or on site Tuesday and Thursday at 8 am.

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.  

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, founded in 1988 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, serves more than 41,200 students in 58 elementary, middle and high schools.

The Education Foundation is the leading advocate for an exceptional public education for all students in Sarasota County. With strong support from our donors and community, we undertake significant, high impact projects and initiatives that go beyond what tax dollars can provide. We have the knowledge, expertise and capability to develop, implement and administer sustainable solutions.

The foundation encourages donors with a passion for education to express their imagination in finding solutions, to make an investment in providing new opportunities for student learning, and to share the inspiration their generosity sparks in young people whose lives are forever changed.  For more information, visit or call 941.927.0965.



Venice High hosts Rolling Thunder Classic Car Show

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VHS car show Jan 2015-1967 Mustang

MUSCLE SHOW: A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback will be among the “muscle cars” showcased at the Rolling Thunder Classic Car Show set for Jan. 24 in the Venice High parking lot.

VENICE, Jan. 22, 2015 – More than 100 classic cars will be on display at the Rolling Thunder Car Show, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24, in the Venice High School parking lot. Highlights will include door prizes, oldies music and a performance by the award-winning Venice High School Marching Band. The event is free; the sale of food and other concessions will benefit the band. Proceeds of this fundraiser are instrumental in lowering the cost for students to participate in the band and color guard.

This annual car show gets bigger and better every year, drawing the very best classic and “muscle cars” from throughout the Southeast. Cars compete for awards by category and many car owners are available to answer questions about the vehicles.

Mark Petty, Venice High Band Boosters president, local car enthusiast and race car driver, described the event as “the best car show on the West Coast of Florida.”

Venice High School is located at 1 Indian Ave. in Venice.

Suncoast Technical College hosts picnic, awards scholarships

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Jan. 21, 2015 – Suncoast Technical College will host a free community picnic from 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 24, at its main campus at the corner of Proctor and Beneva roads. The event is open to the public; free hamburgers and hot dogs will be served. At 11:30 the college will announce the winners of the free tuition contest it held on its Facebook page. Scholarships will be awarded to the two winners.

The college officially changed its name from the Sarasota County Technical Institute to Suncoast Technical College in early November and kicked off its free tuition contest at a rally on campus Nov. 24.

“We’re excited to invite the community to this celebration,” said Todd Bowden, director of Suncoast Technical College and executive director of Career, Technical and Adult Education for the Sarasota County School District. “We invite everyone to come have some fun and learn more about our ‘career in a year’ programs.”

Suncoast Technical College students, staff and families, as well as other interested community members, are invited to the event. Participants can check out the weekly Farmer’s Market, which is held most Saturdays in the college’s parking lot along Proctor Road.

Local radio station 107.9 WSRZ will broadcast live from the event with host David Jones. There will be a dunk tank, bounce houses, face painting, balloon artists, games, giveaways and much more. 

Just north of the Suncoast Technical College campus, the Suncoast Science/Faulhaber Fab Lab will host a sneak preview event from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 4452 Beneva Road, between the Florida House and the YMCA Triad School. The Science Center is set to open in the spring.

Suncoast Technical College is located at 4748 Beneva Road.  

About Suncoast Technical College  

Suncoast Technical College is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. With locations in Sarasota (main campus, Newtown campus and Fire Science Academy) Venice and North Port, Suncoast provides quality technical education in a wide variety of fields to meet workforce development and community needs. More information is at

Venice High project ‘Indian Ink’ seeks online votes for national award

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SCS News

VENICE, Jan. 21, 2015 – A student printing enterprise at Venice High School called Indian Ink has entered a national education contest. The school is hoping to receive one of the 13 cash prizes that will be awarded to recognize the nation’s best innovative school projects — and the public can help by voting online for Indian Ink.

In addition to completing an online application for the fourth annual Follett Challenge, Venice High School also submitted a short video to promote the India Ink program, which teaches students the skills they need to run and manage a business in the 21st century. Indian Ink designs and prints posters and other printed material to promote school projects and events and hopes to offer its services to the community in the future. The student staff includes the positions of CEO, CFO, marketing manager, systems manager and graphic designer.

Ten of the cash prizes, valued at $8,000 each, are in the “People’s Choice” category. These entries will be awarded based on how many votes applicants receive for their videos. Anyone can vote once every day; voting began Jan. 19 and continues through Friday, Jan. 30. People can view the Indian Ink video and vote for the project at

Not only are the public’s votes significant in the video voting portion of the contest; they also will factor in to the results of the overall competition; Twenty percent of each school’s final score is based on the number of votes generated for their video.

“We hope our community will support us by viewing our video and voting for our submission,” said Maddy Zubyk, Venice High digital design teacher and adviser for the Indian Ink project. “Participating in the Follett Challenge recognizes our students and teachers for the great job they are doing with the limited resources they have. If we win the challenge they will be rewarded with resources to do more. It also will give our school a platform to share our innovation with other schools across the country and throughout the world.”

Follett, a provider of education technology, print and digital content, will award the overall winner a $60,000 prize, plus a celebration at the school. Each of the other three semifinalists will earn $30,000 prizes. The 10 “People’s Choice” awards are worth $8,000 each in products and services; these winners and the overall semifinalists will be announced Feb. 13. The grand-prize winner will be announced April 30. Applicants will be judged on such criteria as critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration among students, teachers and other members of the school’s staff. More information about the Follett Challenge is available at

Venice High School is located at 1 Indian Ave. in Venice.

Area high schools to hold student-parent info nights through April 21

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, Jan. 26, 2015 – Through April 21, Sarasota County public high schools will hold student-parent information nights, also known as SPIN nights, for current eighth-grade students and their families. The events are designed to help families learn what area high schools have to offer in terms of magnet programs, special interest academies, career and technical education, and extracurricular activities such as athletics, clubs and service organizations.   

Although schedules vary for each event, families are encouraged to arrive at the start of the event for a welcome and overview presentation. Students may need to meet specific requirements for some schools and magnet programs, and admission may depend on whether space is available for students who wish to attend a school other than their geographically designated high school.

Parents or students who have specific questions may contact a school directly; contact information for all high schools is at  

The SPIN night dates and times are as follows: 

    • Thursday, Jan. 29, 7-8 p.m.: Venice High International Baccalaureate (IB) Information Night
    • Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m.: North Port High Student-Parent Information Night 
    • Thursday, Feb.5, 6:30-8 p.m.: Sarasota High Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE Program)/Math, Science and Technology (MaST Program) Information Night
    • Tuesday, Feb. 17, 6-7:30 p.m.: Suncoast Polytechnical High Open House 
    • Wednesday, Feb. 18, 6-8 p.m.: Riverview High International Baccalaureate (IB) Information Night 
    • Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6-8 p.m.: Booker High Student-Parent Information Night 
    • Wednesday, March 18, 6-8 p.m.: Riverview High International Baccalaureate (IB) Information Night 
    • Tuesday, April 7, 6-8 p.m.: Sarasota High Student-Parent Information Night 
    • Tuesday, April 14, 6-8 p.m.: Riverview High Student-Parent Information Night 
    • Tuesday, April 21, 6-8:30 p.m.: Suncoast Polytechnical High Student-Parent Information Night


    District to accept 2015-16 school choice requests Feb. 2-20

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    SCS News

    SARASOTA COUNTY, Jan. 20, 2015 – Parents who would like their children to attend a Sarasota County public school in 2015-16 other than their districted school are invited to submit a school choice application from Monday, Feb. 2, through Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.

    The ability for parents to choose a school outside of their district began in the late 1990s in the Sarasota County Schools and has been well received by parents and school administrators. However, since space is always limited and demand may be high at some schools, it is typically not possible to accommodate all school choice requests. Siblings can no longer be guaranteed placement at a school that has been determined to be over capacity. Options at some schools that are open to school choice are limited to certain grade levels for the 2015-16 year if those schools are near their enrollment capacity for those grades. The complete list of schools open to choice is available at

    Schools that are open to school choice for 2015-16 may host open houses or other parent information events. Parents may visit the websites of schools on the “open” list or contact those schools for more information. All school websites are accessible via the district site at  

    As in previous years, school choice approvals will be determined by a random lottery process, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis. Students will be assigned automatically to their districted school (based on the location of their residence) or their current school, unless a school choice application is received.

    School choice application forms will be available beginning Monday, Feb. 2, at all public schools and at selected daycare facilities, or by contacting the Office of School Choice at 941-927-9000, ext. 32255. Parents will be notified of choice assignments in April. 

    Other district options, such as charter schools, magnet schools or magnet programs, do not require the completion of a school choice application. Students interested in attending these schools or programs, including Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Suncoast Polytechnical High School, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Brookside Middle, Riverview and Venice High schools, the Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) program at Booker Middle and Booker High Schools, the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) programs at Booker, Sarasota and North Port high schools, the Law Academy at Booker High School, and the Venice Middle School Young Marines program, should contact these schools directly.

    Parents whose children receive their school of choice will be responsible for providing them with transportation to and from school. All questions may be directed to the Office of School Choice or by visiting

    Booker High students present ‘Seasons of Disney’ show

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    Aladdin-BHS Seasons of Disney Jan 2015Be Our Guest-BHS Seasons of Disney Jan 2015Under the Sea-BHS Seasons of Disney Jan 2015

    SEASONS OF DISNEY: Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts Program Music are collaborating with the VPA Digital and Motion Design Department to present “Seasons of Disney,” a mix of music and student animation. Images from the animation interpreting Disney movies and songs are, from top to bottom, “Aladdin” by Josh Galindo; “Be Our Guest” by Kyra Galbreath; and “Under the Sea” by Tyler Howell.

    SARASOTA, Jan. 15, 2015 – The Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts Program Music Department, in collaboration with the VPA Digital and Motion Design Department, will present “Seasons of Disney” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16-17, in the VPA Theatre on the Booker High campus.

    The event is a sight-and-sound extravaganza that combines Disney movie tunes performed by various musical ensembles with original animations created by “Digimo” Department students. The show explores moods and elements of seasons — weather and its spiritual and symbolic connotations — and represents a first-ever collaboration of the school’s digital artists and musicians.

    Music from popular Pixar films such as “Frozen” and “The Incredibles,” along with beloved treasures from Disney classics like “Pocahontas” and “The Lion King,” will be featured in this hour-long event that immerses the audience into the music by using animation to help set visual tone. Arrangements feature band, orchestral, piano and vocal performers, showcasing the diverse talents of VPA Music students.

    Band director Ryan Gantt said one reason he decided to pursue this type of show was to give students a practical, real-world application of their musical skills.

    “Everyone goes to movies,” Gantt said. “They’re not only watching the action and the characters, but becoming engaged in the music of the films. This is a great opportunity for our students to try their hand at interpreting well-loved classical scores.”

    The collaboration of Music students with Digital and Motion Design students allows young animators to go through the process of creating moving images that are tied to tone and create their own evocative imagery, from the deserts of Egypt to the depths of the sea. The process has been invaluable to teacher Lori Burton’s design students, allowing them to reimagine locations, movement, color and textures inspired by the music.

    The event is designed to entertain the entire family, featuring music that everyone knows and loves illustrated by original animation in an hour-long medley. Youth ages 13 and under will be admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket, making this show affordable family fun that will inspire youngsters with the work of high school artists.

    The regular ticket price is $10; patrons can receive free youth tickets at the door or can purchase them in advance by calling 941-355-2967, extension 65215.

    Booker High School VPA Theatre is located at 3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota.


    Venice Middle students demonstrate outstanding programs

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    SARASOTA COUNTY, Jan. 14, 2015 - About 30 very enthusiastic Venice Middle School students converged on the Sarasota County School Board meeting Jan. 6 to demonstrate the outstanding programs and activities their school offers. The showcase was presented in the form of a VMSTV broadcast hosted by the student news anchors who present the school’s daily TV news program.

    The student presenters included students from arts classes, the chorus, the Young Marines program and the marching band. Several outstanding samples of student artwork were displayed. The chorus performed songs and invited the audience to participate in a sing-along.

    The VMS marching band is the only middle-school marching band in Sarasota County. They played songs they have performed in area parades.

    The VMS Young Marines leadership program is the only such program in the United States affiliated with the U.S. Marine Corps. They appeared in uniform and demonstrated their disciplined drill techniques.

    Representative students from each group told the Board and the audience at the meeting about their experiences with the activities the school offers, including how much these special programs have enhanced their enjoyment of school, helps them feel more connected and improves their motivation to engage in academics.

    Student presentations are regularly scheduled at the evening School Board meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

    VMS Chorus

    VOICES OF APPROVAL – Venice Middle School Performance Chorus Director Kathleen Crane leads the audience and chorus in a patriotic sing-along at the Jan. 6 School Board meeting. The students pictured are, from left, Kevin Dubrule, Chloe Sihler, Ashley McEnroe, Sara Loncar and Tiffany Rowe.

        Young MArines

    YOUNG MARINES – Representatives from the Venice Middle School Young Marines Program offer School Board members and the audience at the Jan. 6 Board meeting a glimpse of the leadership skills they are learning. The students pictured are, from left, Gavin Dixon, Sierra Reel, Sophie Shepherd, Landen Latchford, Chason Rockymore, Thanasorn Sammacheep, and Adrian Hernandez.

        VMS marching band

    MIDDLE MARCHERS – Three members of the Venice Middle School Marching Band demonstrate their musical talents at the Jan. 6 School Board meeting.  The musicians are, from left, Alexis Sumner, Miles Schmaling and Amelia Valery.


    Sarasota High choir joins Foreigner onstage at Van Wezel Hall

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    SCS News

    SARASOTA, Jan. 9, 2014 – The Sarasota High School Chamber Choir will join Foreigner onstage at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to lend their voices to a soaring rendition of the rock group’s hit song “I Want to Know What Love Is.” The concert starts at 8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 12.

    Foreigner is proud to join the Grammy Foundation in an effort to help keep music education alive in high schools all over the country. The band has donated thousands of dollars to individual schools and to the Foundation.

    At the Jan. 12 concert, Foreigner will raise money to benefit the Sarasota High School Chamber Choir with a $500 grant and a donation to the Grammy Foundation to support in-school music programs throughout the country. The members of the choir will be selling Foreigner's live greatest hits CD for $20. All monies from sales of the CDs will be donated to the Grammy Foundation to help fund the school music initiative.

    Foreigner has also donated a signed Les Paul guitar and concert-goers can win the guitar with the raffle ticket they will receive if they purchase a CD from a choir member. The winning number will be announced from the stage following the end of the show.    

    About the SHS Chamber Choir

    The Chamber Choir is the premier performing choir at Sarasota High School and has earned a reputation as an outstanding ensemble in the area. The choir has performed at the EPCOT Candlelight Processional and previously at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The choir and its Women’s Choral have received ratings of “Superior” at regional and state music festivals.  

    About Foreigner  

    With 10 multi-platinum albums and sixteen Top 30 hits since its founding in 1976, Foreigner continues to propel sold-out tours and album sales, now exceeding 75 million. The group has recorded some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems, including “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Say You Will,” “Cold as Ice,” and the worldwide number one hit, “I Want To Know What Love Is.”


    Author James Rollins speaks at Venice Performing Arts Center

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    James Rollins author VHS 1-14-15

    STORYTELLER: Best-selling author James Rollins will speak at the Venice Performing Arts Center Jan. 14.

    VENICE, Jan. 6, 2014 – The Venice High School Literacy Council will host New York Times best-selling author James Rollins at its 11th Annual Literacy Celebration. Rollins, who writes the popular Sigma Force sci-fi suspense series, will speak at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14 at the Venice Performing Arts Center.

    Tickets for adults are $15, or $40 with a hardback copy of Rollins’ latest Sigma Force novel, “The 6th Extinction.” Student tickets are $5, or $30 with a book. The tickets can be purchased online at or at the VPAC box office. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation provides funding for this event.

    The plot of “The 6th Extinction” is summarized on the author’s website, “A remote military research station sends out a frantic distress call, ending with a chilling final command: Kill us all! Personnel from the neighboring base rush in to discover everyone already dead — and not just the scientists, but every living thing for 50 square miles is annihilated: every animal, plant and insect, even bacteria.”

    The Venice Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of Venice High School at 1 Indian Avenue in Venice.  

    Title I Parent Involvement Plan available online and at county libraries

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    SCS News

    SARASOTA COUNTY, Jan. 6, 2015 – The Parental Involvement Plan for the Sarasota County School District’s 14 Title I schools is available for parent review on the district website, on individual Title I school websites and at Sarasota County public libraries. Click here to access the overall plan and individual school-level plans.

    Title I is a federally funded program that provides support for schools with a high percentage of students who are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches. Title I funds provide students with assistance to improve their achievement in reading, writing, science and mathematics. The assistance may include intensive instruction in reading and math, additional training for teachers, special learning events, after school tutoring and training for families.

    Parent involvement is a key element in student success at all schools. More parent involvement improves grades, attendance, attitude, behavior and promotion rates.

    School districts are required to develop a comprehensive Parent Involvement Plan for their Title I schools that explains parents’ rights and responsibilities, including information about how parents can be involved in their schools, how they can help their students at home, and a Student-Parent-School Compact in which parents formally agree to work with school staff to help their children succeed.

    Brochures summarizing the Sarasota County School District Parental Involvement Plan and complete copies of the plan are available in Title I schools’ Parental Involvement Centers and some local churches as well as well as on websites and at libraries. Parents and interested community members also may request a copy by mail by calling the district Federal and State Projects Office at 941-927-9000, ext. 34061.

    The following elementary schools are designated as Title I schools for the 2014-15 school year: Alta Vista, Atwater, Brentwood, Cranberry, Emma E. Booker, Glenallen, Gocio, Lamarque, Toledo Blade, Tuttle and Wilkinson. The other district Title I schools are Booker Middle School, Triad Alternative Middle and High School and Suncoast School for Innovative Studies.

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