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Pine View student elected Boys Nation president, meets President Obama

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Pine View student Aravind Byju meets Obama

PRESIDENT MEETS PRESIDENT: Boys Nation President Aravind Byju, a rising senior at Pine View School, meets President Barack Obama at the White House in July 2015. Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2015 — Aravind Byju, a rising senior at Pine View School in Osprey, has been elected president of American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. Byju defeated Boys Nation Senator Cole Patton of Iowa by a margin of 50 to 46 in the July 21 election, with two abstentions. Boys Nation is an annual American Legion program that includes civic training, leadership development and a focus on Americanism. 

While in Washington, Byju and other Boys Nation delegates from across the U.S. had the opportunity to meet President Obama at the White House and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the Pentagon. Bjyu also met with members of the staffs of Florida senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson on Capitol Hill to discuss local issues, including the state’s demographic changes and the subject of Byju’s Boys Nation bill designed to make community college more affordable.

“Right now this whole experience has been absolutely surreal for me, and it really has not hit me,” said Byju. “I am very blessed to be where I am and to have all the opportunity that I have enjoyed. I would not be anything without all of those who have supported me and I want to thank my Legion Post 159 that sponsored me, and my entire family and my brother who is my inspiration. I am very humbled and I can only hope to make everyone proud.”

Describing the delegates’ visit with Mr. Obama, Byju said excited to meet the president. “He talked about his aspirations and his struggles, told some jokes and shook our hands. For me, meeting the president really humanized the office.”

Byju previously served as a mayor and president of the Senate at Florida Boys State, which had more than 500 student delegates. At Boys Nation, Byju will be joined by Gray Bean of Fernandina Beach in representing Florida.

At Pine View, Byju serves as president of the senior class; vice-president of the speech and debate team and a member of the Academic Olympics team. Byju also volunteers as a teen attorney with the Sarasota and Venice Teen Court programs. A resident of Sarasota, Byju hopes to pursue a career in law and public service. 

Byju credits his mother, Emmy Satya, for her help with his Boys Nation education bill and other school and community service projects. He also praises his history teacher, Pat Regan. “I learned so much in Ms. Regan’s Advanced Placement U.S. History class,” said Byju. “It was a great foundation for my work with Boys Nation and helped me understand the finer points of American government. I’d like to thank all my fabulous teachers at Pine View and everyone at the school for their support.”

About Boys Nation:

During their eight days at Boys Nation in July 2015, 98 senators (two from each state except Hawaii) learned from a hands-on approach how the U.S. Senate and the federal government function. Boys are divided into two political parties, the Federalists and the Nationalists, each of which conducts a party convention, sets a platform and nominates members for elected offices, including Boys Nation president, vice president and party leaders. Each senator also writes, introduce and debates a bill of his choosing before an appropriate Senate committee, and if successful at that level the legislation is voted on by the whole Senate. Bills passing the Senate are later signed or vetoed by the Boys Nation president.

The young men also had the opportunity to tour the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall and Korean War Memorial. They also presented a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, saw the Iowa Jima Memorial and visited Capitol Hill for meetings with their state’s U.S. senators. In addition, delegates also visited the American Legion’s Washington office to meet with lobbyists and subject matter experts, and attend a dinner at a nearby Legion post.

This year’s crop of Boys Nation senators represent the finest of nearly 20,000 incoming seniors who attended the 49 annual Boys State programs. Famous Boys Nation alumni include former President Bill Clinton, actor Donal Logue, governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker, and senators Mike Lee and Tom Cotton. Notable Boys State alumni include Tom Brokaw, Michael Jordan, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Neil Armstrong, Roger Ebert and Justice Samuel Alito.

Alta Vista Elementary moms graduate from nursing assistant program

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Alta Vista CNA grads July 2015

CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANTS: Nine mothers of Alta Vista Elementary School students will graduate from the Certified Nursing Assistant program that was offered this summer as part of the school’s Eagle Academy. In front row from left are Sadequah Caldwell, Brandi Thibodeau and Christell Redden. In back row are Brittany McClain, Debbie Lewis, Toni Bell and Amanda Bailey. Not pictured are graduates Christine Francis and Lorca Rivera.

SARASOTA, July 29, 2015 – Nine mothers of elementary school students will embark on a new chapter of their lives this week, thanks to a special program at Alta Vista Elementary. After six weeks in an intensive nursing assistant program with clinical rotations, the women will attend a job fair and graduation ceremony Friday, July 31, at 3 p.m. at the school. This will be the fourth class to graduate from this program and earn their Certified Nursing Assistant certificates, for a combined total of 36 alumnae.

The CNA certification opportunity is made possible by the school’s partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the American Red Cross and generous donors.

As a community school with a two-generational approach to educating children and their parents together, Alta Vista provides a free seven-week summer academic and enrichment program for students entering kindergarten through third grade. Known as the Eagle Academy, the program gives students an opportunity to continue their educational journey by increasing academic achievement and preventing loss of learning during the summer. As a part of the Eagle Academy, the CNA program and Parent University enhance employment opportunities through career and vocational training and provides classes designed to strength parenting and life skills.

“The Eagle Academy provides educational opportunities for children and adults, with the goal of helping to break the cycle of poverty,” said Alta Vista Principal Barbara Shirley. “We’re pleased that so many families have been able to learn, grow and improve their lives through this program.”

Alta Vista Elementary is located at 1050 S. Euclid Avenue in Sarasota.

District adds text messaging to parent notification service

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, July 20, 2015 - This week the Sarasota County School District will add text messaging to its Connect-ED parent notification system. The district will continue to distribute messages by phone and email, but will send text messages in addition. 

Parents and guardians will receive a text message from Blackboard Connect, the company that provides the district notification service, alerting them to the new feature and directing them how to opt out of the service if they prefer not to receive text messages.

A set of frequently asked questions about the texting service is posted on the district website at http://tinyurl.com/scssms. Parents should visit the site or call the district Communications Department at 941-927-4009 for further information.

Health Department extends hours for walk-in school shots Aug. 18, 19

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SARASOTA COUNTY, July 14, 2015 - The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) has extended Immunization Clinic hours into the evening at two locations before school begins on Monday, Aug. 24. Immunizations are required for students entering Kindergarten, 7th grade and college.

By the time a child starts school, he/she should have lready had a number of required immunizations. Proof of updates and series completion is required to enter Sarasota County Schools for the first time and to advance to some grade levels.

Parents of children entering schools in Sarasota County for the first time must provide a completed Florida Certification of Immunization (DH 680). The DH 680 form is available through your health care provider or the Sarasota and North Port locations of the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota).

Students who do not have the required immunizations will be sent home from public schools on the first day, Monday, Aug. 24. In addition, they will not be able to ride the bus or participate in sports, band or other extracurricular activities until the school has the DH 680 form showing that they received the required immunizations.

The DOH-Sarasota, through the federally funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, offers immunizations to eligible children at no cost. No appointment is needed. A parent or legal guardian must be present, and must bring prior shot records. Immunizations are also available at no charge to children with insurance. Please bring your insurance card information.

Walk-in immunizations for children are available at the following locations (North Port: Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sarasota: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.), with extended hours on the dates noted below for each location:

North Port Health Center
Hours: Call 941-861-3864
Walk-In Immunization Clinic
6950 Outreach Way, North Port (extended hours 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18)

William L. Little Health and Human Services Center
Hours: Call 941-861-2900
Walk-In Immunization Clinic
2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (extended hours 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19)

For more information:

National organization honors district’s law enforcement partners

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Sheriffs Office SRDs 2015Venice PD SROs 2014-15Sarasota PD SROs 2014-15North Port PD SROs 2014-15

KEEPING SCHOOLS SAFE: Pictured from top to bottom are members of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Youth Services Section and school resource officers from the Venice, Sarasota, and North Port police departments.

SARASOTA COUNTY, July 9, 2015 — The National Association of School Resource Officers presented four area law enforcement agencies with the Model Agency Award Monday (July 7) at NASRO’s 25th annual national conference in Orlando. The award is presented annually to agencies that excel in training, policies and standards and that “demonstrate creative and innovative approaches to school-based policing,” according to the NASRO website.

The Sarasota County School District nominated the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the police departments of Sarasota, Venice and North Port for the work of their school resource officers and deputies to keep the district’s schools safe for students, parents, teachers, administrators and visitors. The four agencies all received the award. They also will be honored at a regular meeting of the School Board of Sarasota County at 3 p.m., Tuesday, July 21.

Lori White, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools, said, “This award was well-deserved. Our public schools and our communities are safer because of the commitment and dedication of our local law enforcement agencies and their partnership with the school district.”

In his nomination of the agencies for the NASRO Model Agency Award, Sarasota County Schools Director of Safety and Security Darrell Reyka cited the collaborative training provided to district administrators by local law enforcement agencies and emergency management personnel at a school-crisis drill at Riverview High School in July 2013. The exercise, which included a simulated shooting and bombing, was designed to give school officials practice in managing potential security threats at schools. The mock-perpetrator was apprehended by a SWAT team and a robot destroyed a suspicious package in the school’s courtyard.

“The training provided to our school administrators at this exercise has significantly and consistently improved the emergency-response readiness of our teachers, support staff and students,” said Reyka. 

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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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