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SCTI precision machining students graduate to jobs

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machining brothers

Porter Harris, left, and Andy Harris study a machined valve during a tour of the Sun Hydraulics factory they attended as members of the first class to graduate from the SCTI Precision Machining Education Program.

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 24, 2014 – As the culmination of a very successful collaboration of local educational, business and government agencies, the Sarasota County Technical Institute graduated 16 adult students from its inaugural Precision Machining Education Program on June 25. Every student who completed the program had a job or a job offer.

The precision machining program was created by a joint effort of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, CareerSource Suncoast, Sarasota County Government, the Sarasota County School Board, SCTI, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and CareerEdge, a privately funded workforce-development group.

In 2013, a skills-gap study conducted by CareerEdge showed that despite high unemployment in the Sarasota County area, manufacturers still had trouble finding skilled workers necessary to grow their businesses.

One employer said he could be filling 30 percent more orders if he had the skilled workers to keep up with demand. Seventy-five percent of respondents also said that schools are not preparing workers with the skills needed in manufacturing.

The study prompted a consortium of organizations to propose a solution to the problem. Todd Bowden, the Sarasota County Schools executive director of career, technical and adult education, said the study confirmed what he already knew, but was valuable in quantifying the issue.

“Part of the impetus behind the CareerEdge study was to provide the school district with the data needed to support the manufacturing training,” Bowden said. “The study was definitive that the jobs were here in this community.”

Armed with that information, Bowden moved quickly to create a space in the new SCTI facility to house a machining lab and to develop the curriculum for the program. He worked closely with an advisory board of area manufacturers to make sure that the training was appropriate for the available jobs.

In June 2013, the Sarasota County Commission approved $343,500 to buy the machining equipment for the program. The Sarasota County School Board also approved $655,000 to support the program over five years. The program opened in August.

Bowden said the program was developed at a “breakneck pace,” but appeared to be very well conceived. The first class was filled and had a waiting list as soon as it was opened for registration.

Nevertheless, Bowden remained cautiously optimistic. “The true confirmation will be when that first class graduates next year and they get jobs,” he said. That time has come. The first class has completed the course and they all have jobs.

Instructor Ed Doherty said the program not only will serve manufacturers and the local economy well, it has already had a major impact on the lives of the students who have completed it. He noted that many of his best students were people who had no previous experience to predict that they would be successful machinists, but they all had the courage and commitment to give their best effort to finding a new career path.

Charles Alston came to the program through the Veterans Administration after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. He now has a job offer with a local marine custom builder.

Sean Tierney was employed in construction and woodworking before he started the program. Not only did he become an outstanding student, he mentored others and became Doherty’s unofficial right-hand man. He has a solid job offer with high pay making aerospace components in Venice, Doherty said.

Shawn Rauch switched fields from automotive to precision machining, Doherty said. He has a job offer with a Sarasota custom motorcycle manufacturer. 

Rauch said he is very proud to have been a member of the first SCTI precision machining class. “After this short year, I'm going to be confidently walking into my new workplace, making an entry level wage that is close to what I was making as an ASE certified master automotive technician at my old shop,” he said.

“I enrolled into the program as soon as I had heard it was open. I truly believe it was the best decision I have ever made. The demand for quality machinists is huge. The pay is high, the shops are clean and the work is very enjoyable. I can't thank the people who made this class happen enough.”


Pam Groom

Pam Groom adjusts the settings on a four-axis Computer Numerical Control vertical milling machine she programmed and operated in the SCTI Precision Machining Education Program lab.


One of the most successful students also was the only woman in the class.  Pam Groom “started from ground zero,” Doherty said. Ground zero in her case was having no background in machining and working as the third shift manager at a gas station and convenience store.

She came to class every morning following her night’s work to put in another six hours at the very exacting challenge of mastering Computer Numerical Control machining, the state of the art in modern machining taught at SCTI.

Groom had completed a two-year digital design program at SCTI, but finding work in the field proved very difficult in a slow economy. She decided to take a chance on a brand new career path.

Doherty said she proved to have an excellent grasp of the math and the essential concepts of machining and fearlessly took on every task assigned. She was one of the top five students in the class and has a job offer from JLM Manufacturing, a Bradenton company that produces aerospace and medical equipment.

Doherty said he was asked whether the students in his class typically have family backgrounds in the machining field. He said nearly all of them are just beginning to find undiscovered talent.

He said many have the ability not only to get high-paying jobs as machinists, but to go on to careers in engineering. “Manufacturing in the USA is on the climb again and we are in the right position to take advantage of this opportunity,’ he said.   

For more photos and details about the Precision Machining Education Program, visit the instructor’s blog at:  




New appointed School Board member takes office

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 Bridget Ziegler

Bridget Ziegler


SARASOTA, June 18, 2014 – The newest member of the Sarasota County School Board was sworn in prior to the Board’s June 17 monthly Work Session to participate in the Workshop and a regularly scheduled Board meeting later in the day. Bridget Ziegler, 31, was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott on June 6 to represent District 1 through Nov. 11.

The seat was vacated when Carol Todd resigned in April after serving 16 years on the Board. The seat is on the August primary election ballot. Ziegler will run as the incumbent against three other candidates.

Ziegler is an Illinois native whose parents relocated to Sarasota while she was in college. She worked in retail management in Miami for seven years before moving to Sarasota to be closer to her family.

She has been an associate with a Sarasota insurance company since 2011. She has been engaged as a community volunteer for Children First, the North Central Florida Make-A-Wish Foundation, Asolo Reparatory Theater and Goodwill Manasota. She has completed the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Leadership program and has been appointed co-chair of the Chamber Youth Program for 2014-2015.

She said her first day on the School Board was exciting. “I was met with a warm welcome from my fellow board members.I am looking forward to working alongside of each of them in an effort to ensure Sarasota County continues to provide the best education possible to all of our students,” she said.

The day concluded with Board members meeting with students from the Students Taking Active Roles (STAR)leadership program of the Community Youth Development agency. “It was a great pleasure to end my day with the members of STAR,” she said. “Nothing gets me more excited than seeing our students taking an interest in leadership positions for the future. It is an honor to be able to serve the community that I have come to love so dearly.”

She is married to Christian Ziegler. They have an eight-month-old daughter, Reagan Reese.

 BZ and Art

Sarasota County School District Attorney Arthur
Hardy swears in Bridget Ziegler at the June 17 School Board meeting. Photo courtesy of North Port Sun.

District students score higher than state averages on end-of-course tests

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SARASOTA COUNTY, June 18, 2014 – The Florida Department of Education released the spring 2014 biology and geometry end-of-course (EOC) assessment results on June 16.  Algebra, US History and civics results were released June 6 but are also being included in this report for comprehensiveness.

The 2014 EOC assessments are reported on a 151 point scale ranging from 325 to 475.  Students must score at or above achievement level three on a five-point scale to pass each EOC assessment.

In the spring, 2014, testing cycle, thousands of Sarasota students in grades nine -12 participated in the biology and US History EOC Assessments.  Sarasota students in grades eight-12 took the algebra and geometry EOC tests. Middle school students also participated in the civics assessment.

Results are based on all students tested, including English language learners, students with disabilities, and charter school students. Comparisons to statewide results are reported below for all students participating and separately for students taking the assessment for the first time.

Biology
District total average biology EOC scores are seven points higher than the state average in 2014 for all students. District first-time test takers scores are six points higher than the state first-time test takers average.

District total passing rates are 10 percentage points higher than the state passing rate.  First-time test takers passing rates are nine percentage points higher that the state.

Geometry
District total average Geometry EOC scores are six points higher than the state average in 2014 for all students. District first-time test takers scores are six points higher than the state first-time test takers average.

District total passing rates are seven percentage points higher than the state passing rate.  First-time test takers passing rates are eight percentage points higher than the state.

Algebra
District total average Algebra EOC scores are 11 points higher than the state average in 2014 for all students. District first time test takers scores are 11 points higher than the state first-time test takers average.

District total passing rates are 14 percentage points higher than the state passing rate. First-time test takers passing rates are 12 percentage points higher than the state.

US History
District total average US History EOC scores are six points higher than the state average in 2014 for all students and first- time test takers. District total passing rates are nine percentage points higher than the state passing rate for all and first- time test takers.

Civics
The first end-of-course test results for Civics also were released. When a new EOC assessment is administered, results are reported on a special scale known as a T-score scale of 20-80.

On this scale, a score of approximately 50 is at the statewide average. Individual student reports indicate whether the student’s score falls within the high, middle or low range, as compared to other students in Florida.

The average T-Scale score for Sarasota County was higher than the state score of 50. Forty-two percent of Sarasota County students who took the Civics assessment scored in the top third compared to the state, where 35 percent scored in the top third.

  • View EOC Tables

    Reports of district, state and school-by-school summary results are available on the Florida Department of Education website at www.fcat.fldoe.org

Sarasota High scholar earns top score in U.S. on AICE chemistry test

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 chemistry scholar
Nathaniel Folkins

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 11, 2014 – Sarasota High School Class of 2014 graduate Nathaniel Folkins has earned the highest score in the United States on the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Advanced Subsidiary Level chemistry exam.

Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. The university sponsors the AICE program in 10,000 high schools in 160 countries.

The AICE program provides students with advanced course work, a special diploma and the opportunity to earn up to 45 college credits while still in high school. Sarasota High School has offered the AICE program since 2011.

The Cambridge (AICE) Advanced Subsidiary Level Chemistry examination is historically one of the most challenging exams given by Cambridge. The areas tested include physical, organic, and inorganic chemistry as well as the application of chemistry.

Completing a Cambridge International AS Level chemistry course is accepted by universities and employers worldwide as proof of essential knowledge and ability in the subject.

The course is described as having the following goals:

  • To stimulate students, create and sustain their interest in chemistry, and understand its relevance to society
  • To give a thorough introduction to the study of chemistry and scientific methods
  • To develop skills and abilities that are relevant to the safe practice of science and to everyday life:  concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity, the skills of inquiry, initiative and insight
  • To enable candidates to become confident citizens in a technological world and to take an informed interest in matters of scientific importance
  • To stimulate interest in, and care for, the environment.

When he learned of his ranking among the students in the United States on the test, Nathaniel said: “I still find it hard to believe that I actually managed to achieve something on this level. The whole experience has been humbling for me.”  


FCAT reading, math, science scores remain higher than state

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SARASOTA COUNTY, June 9, 2014 – The percentage of students in the Sarasota County School District scoring as proficient in the FCAT remains higher than state averages at all grade levels in mathematics, science and reading, according to results released June 6 by the Florida Department of Education. The results were announced for grades four-10 in reading and four-eight in mathematics, and grades five and eight in science.

End-of-Course test scores announced for Algebra 1 and U.S. History also showed improvement over 2012-2013 results. Sarasota students scored slightly above the state average on the civics End-of-Course exam administered for the first time this year.

The third-grade reading and mathematics results released May 23 also are included with the more recent scores to provide a comprehensive review of student performance at all grades tested.

Students must score a grade of three or higher on a five-point scale to achieve proficiency in an FCAT subject or to pass an end-of-course test. Results are based on all students tested, including charter school students, English-language learners and students with disabilities.

Reading: 

  • District percent proficiency rates are nine -14 percentage points higher than state rates across all grades.
  • The percent of district students achieving proficiency in reading increased or remained at last year’s level in five of eight grades.

Percentages increased at grades four, eight and 10; remained at last year’s level in grades three and five, and declined in grades six, seven and nine.

Mathematics:

  • Sarasota County students’ proficiency rates in mathematics are 7 to 22 points higher than the state at all grades.
  • The 2014 district percent proficient in mathematics improved at grades four, five and seven, remained consistent at grade six and declined slightly at grades three and eight.

Science:

  • Sarasota County is 12 percentage points higher than the state in the percent of students proficient in science in grade five and 10 percentage points higher in grade eight.
  • The 2014 district percent proficient improved at grade five and remained consistent at grade eight.

FCAT Reading and Math Results

FCAT Reading and Math 2014

FCAT Science Results

FCAT Science 2014

End-of-Course Test Results

Algebra 1

Students must pass the Algebra 1 End-of-Course test to graduate from high school. The 2014 Algebra 1 End-of-Course scores are reported on a 151-point scale, ranging from 325 to 475. A student must score 399 or above to reach achievement level three and pass the test.


In 2014, 3,528 Sarasota students in grades seven-12 took the Algebra 1 EOC assessment. Average scores and the percent passing are reported below for all students participating and separately for students taking the assessment for the first time.

  • District total first-time Algebra 1 EOC test takers in 2014 demonstrated a 4-point increase compared to the mean scale scores for first time test takers in 2013.
  • The passing rate for district total first-time Algebra 1 EOC test takers in 2014 increased by 5 percent.

Algebra 1 EOC Sarasota County Results

FCAT Algebra 2014
*All students” includes students who have taken a prior Algebra 1 EOC assessment

U.S History
The 2014 U.S. History EOC scores are reported on a 151-point scale, ranging from 325 to 475. A student must score 397 to reach achievement level three and pass the test.


In 2014, 2092 Sarasota students in grades nine-12 took the U.S. History EOC assessment. Average scores and the percent passing are reported below for all students participating and are reported separately for students taking the assessment for the first time.

US History EOC Sarasota County Results

FCAT History 2014

*“All students” includes students who have taken a prior US History EOC assessment. The US History EOC assessment was first given in 2013. In 2013 the results were reported in ‘T-Scores’. When achievement levels were developed in 2014, these levels were retrofitted to the 2013 scores. Mean scale scores for 2013 were not available.

Civics

The first End-of-Course test results for Civics also were released. When a new EOC assessment is administered, results are reported on a special scale known as a T-score scale of 20-80. On this scale, a score of approximately 50 is at the statewide average. Individual student reports will indicate whether the student’s score falls within the high, middle or low range, as compared to other students in Florida. District highlights of results are provided below:

  • The average T-Scale score for Sarasota County was 52.
  • Forty-two percent of Sarasota County students who took the Civics assessment scored in the top third.

Civics EOC Sarasota County Results

FCAT Civics 2014

Reports of district, state, and school-by-school summary results are available on the Florida Department of Education website at www.fcat.fldoe.org

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Education Foundation installs new officers

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Ed Fnd Officers 2014-2015
New officers installed for 2014-2015 at the Education Foundation’s annual meeting were (left to right) Tom Koski, Secretary, Jason Swift, Vice Chairman, Kimberly Page Walker, Chairman of the Board, and Cheryl Gordon, Immediate Past Chair.  Not pictured: Tricia Fulton, Treasurer.


SARASOTA COUNTY, June 5, 2014 – Kimberly Page Walker was installed June 4 as the chairwoman of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County Board of Directors for the 2014-2015 academic year. Walker is the lead attorney in the labor and employment practice of the law firm of Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen.

As she accepted the gavel from her predecessor, Cheryl Gordon, at the Foundation’s annual meeting at the Field Club, Walker thanked Gordon for leading the Foundation board through a record-setting year. “We raised more money, and we had a greater impact on student learning than ever before,” Walker said. “You set a high bar, you led by example, and then you coached, cajoled and charmed us into meeting every goal.”

Walker also recognized the efforts of board members, employees, and Executive Director Susan Scott for their contributions to the Foundation’s banner year. The group has invested $1.2 million in classroom grants, technology, literacy, student awards, teacher recognition and other programs for Sarasota County Schools during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Other officers elected for 2014-2015 were Jason Swift, president of Jon F. Swift, Inc., as vice chairman; Thomas Koski, community volunteer and philanthropist, as secretary; and Tricia Fulton, CFO of Sun Hydraulics, returning as treasurer. Three new members were elected to the board: Louis DeCongelio, a retired educator; John McIntyre, president of McIntyre, Elwell and Strammer, Inc.; and Alix Morin, community volunteer and co-chair of the Education Foundation’s 2014 Evening of Excellence student art competition.

Four retiring board members were honored for their service, including Ronald Karp, Michael Longworth, Fred Strammer, and Constance White-Davis.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County was founded in 1988 as an independent, not-for-profit organization working in partnership with Sarasota County Schools and the community.  With the support of individuals, families, businesses, civic groups and other foundations, the Education Foundation awards more than a million dollars each year to initiatives that help elevate the Sarasota County Schools to the top of Florida’s education system.

Some of the key projects and accomplishments from the 2013-2014 academic years are listed below.

  • Investment in technology, literacy, student awards, teacher recognition and other programs will reach $1.2 million in by June 30.
  • The Texcellence computer restoration program has delivered recycled computers, training and tech support to more than 7,000 students in need since the project began in April 2007. 
  • The installation of 30 new Education Foundation Digital Learning Labs is underway at local youth-serving agencies and Sarasota County Libraries. 
  • At the 2014 Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair, 822 students from 49 public, private and home schools submitted 657 individual and team projects to the regional competition.
  • Academic Olympics had a record number of students participating this year, representing 10 area public, charter and private high schools.  For the first time, the Most Valuable Player from each of the 10 teams was honored with a $250 award.
  • The 19th annual Evening of Excellence student art competition raised more than $290,000 in one night. 
  • Investment in Literacy for Life training and materials for struggling readers in high schools reached $250,000 this year. 
  • A record number of Classroom Grants were awarded to Sarasota County’s most creative and entrepreneurial teachers. Teachers received $348,156 through the Edge of Excellence and Exploration Grants programs to provide students with high quality enrichment and experiential learning opportunities.
  • The Foundation was the primary sponsor of the district Teacher of the Year program and awards ceremony.  The three finalists won thousands of dollars in cash awards and prizes from Education Foundation sponsors.
  • At the Teacher of the Year awards ceremony, Education Foundation founder Shirley Ritchey celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary by presenting $250 checks to the principals of the schools whose teachers were finalists in the district contest.  The 25th Anniversary Committee also presented School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin with a plaque containing the names of the district Teachers of the Year since 1970 to be mounted at the entrance of the Sarasota County School Board Chambers.

More information about the Education Foundation is available at www.EdFoundation.net or by calling 941-927-0965.

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Communications and Community Relations
Gary Leatherman, Director
gary.leatherman@sarasotacountyschools.net

Debbie Tippen, Administrative Assistant
debbie.tippen@sarasotacountyschools.net

Media Relations
Scott Ferguson, Specialist
scott.ferguson@sarasotacountyschools.net

Online Communications
Mina Ajrab, Specialist
mina.ajrab@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: 941-927-4009 or
941-927-9000 ext. 74009
Fax: 941-927-4059
1960 Landings Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34231
Green 3rd Floor

Education Channel 20/33
Leanne McIntire, Manager
leanne.mcintire@sarasotacountyschools.net
Phone: 941-361-6355
Fax: 941-361-6358 
4748 Beneva Road
Sarasota, Florida 34233

Volunteer & Partnership Office
Danielle Schwied, Coordinator 
danielle.schwied@sarasotacountyschools.net

Alice Faria Stevens, Administrative Assistant 
VolunteersPartners@sarasotacountyschools.net 
Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 31500
Fax: 941-361-6539
Green 1st Floor

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