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Sarasota County Schools News

Middle and High School Showcase events held in January

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FIND THE BEST FIT FOR YOUR CHILD: Middle and High School Showcase events are Tuesday, Jan. 16 and Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

SARASOTA, Dec. 21, 2017 - Parents and guardians, please mark your calendars for the Sarasota County Schools Middle and High School Showcase. This is a great opportunity to explore several schools in one place to find the best fit for your child.

Two Showcase events will be held in south county and north county locations on these dates:

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 5:30-7 p.m., Suncoast Technical College-North Port Conference Center, 4445 Career Lane (take I-75 exit 179, head south on Toledo Blade Blvd., turn right on Cranberry Blvd.)

Middle and high schools in south county will showcase their academic programs and extracurricular activities. Representatives from these schools will provide information and answer your questions:

Heron Creek Middle
Laurel Nokomis
Venice Middle
Woodland Middle

North Port High
Pine View School
Venice High
 
Charter Schools:
Imagine North Port
Island Village Montessori Middle
Sky Englewood
Sky Venice
Student Leadership Academy

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 5:30-7 p.m., Suncoast Technical College-Sarasota Conference Center, 4748 Beneva Road (corner Beneva and Proctor roads)

Middle and high schools in north county will showcase their academic programs and extracurricular activities. Representatives from these schools will provide information and answer your questions:

Booker Middle
Brookside Middle
McIntosh Middle
Sarasota Middle

Booker High
Oak Park
Riverview High
Sarasota High
Suncoast Polytechnical High

Charter Schools:
Imagine Palmer Ranch
Sarasota Military Academy
Sarasota Academy of the Arts
Suncoast School for Innovative Studies
Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences
Sarasota Suncoast Academy

You are welcome to attend either or both Showcase events, but please be aware that south and north county schools will be represented on different nights.

Questions? Call 941-927-9000, ext. 31350. We hope to see you at the Middle and High School Showcase!

Volunteer writing tutors needed at Gocio Elementary

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Ashton volunteer and student Nov 2016

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Volunteer tutor Sarah Kiger, at right, helps Ashton Elementary student Patrick Faucher with his reading and writing skills in November 2016. Volunteer writing tutors are needed now at Gocio Elementary School.

SARASOTA, Dec. 21, 2017 – Volunteer writing tutors are needed for a five-week writing program for fourth-graders that will be starting in January at Gocio Elementary School. No formal teaching or tutoring experience required; just an interest in helping students and a passion for language arts.

Two training sessions will be held the second week of January at the school, 3450 Gocio Road, Sarasota. Volunteers must attend both sessions to participate. The first training session is set for 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 10. The second session is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12. Snacks will be provided.

Volunteers will be trained to guide students on the path to success on the Florida Standards Assessment in March 2018. The writing program focuses on encouraging students to use evidence to support claims in their writing, an invaluable skill that will serve them for years to come. Volunteers will work with two students for 30 minutes each, totaling one hour of tutoring per week.

For more information about the Gocio Elementary writing program or to register for the training sessions, please contact the Sarasota County Schools Volunteer and Partnership Office at 941-544-1661, or by e-mail at volunteerspartners@sarasotacountyschools.net.

 

Booker High JROTC cadets clean servicemen’s graves at cemetery

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BHS cadets clean gravestone

HONORING THE FALLEN: Booker High JROTC cadets clean a soldier's gravesite at historic Oalands/Woodlawn Cemetery in Newtown. Joao Soares is at left; in partial view at right is Karla Quintanilla.

SARASOTA, Dec. 19, 2017 — The Booker High School JROTC cadets have begun a service project to clean gravesites in historic Oaklands/Woodlawn Cemetery in Newtown, the final resting place of many veterans from the community. The restoration project was begun Dec. 12. Plans call for the work to continue as an ongoing tribute to the fallen.

The project first came to JROTC instructor and retired Army Lt. Col. Ben Weiss from Deborah Livingston, who has chronicled the lives of Newtown’s citizens. Livingston showed Weiss an album that includes archival photos of local men who had served in the military. After seeing the soldiers, he decided to do something to honor them.

“I looked into the faces of those young men who died not even a year after their pictures were taken,” said Weiss. “Those photos still haunt me.”

Inspired by the idea of creating a proper burial ground in the graveyard, which has become mostly derelict, Weiss presented the idea to his cadets. “They were behind it 100 percent,” he said. The JROTC unit partnered with a local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which is providing funding and manpower for a two-phase restoration project that began Dec. 12. Students and staff cleaned out weeds and overgrown shrubs, and scrubbed the lichen and moss off of existing headstones. One student has been assigned the task of mapping the land for posterity.

“As it is, you can walk through this place and feel the ground change under your feet because you’re standing on a crypt that has, through the years, been covered in pine and sand,” Weiss said. He adds that the map will help facilitate future upkeep and maintenance.

In the spring, the group will follow up with further maintenance and place an American flag on a pole in the cemetery, along with a plaque dedicated to the veterans who are laid to rest there: The inscription will read: “To our community’s veterans: When our nation called, you answered.” The names of the men who are buried in the cemetery will be listed beneath.

Weiss, who is known on the Booker High campus for leading service projects and field trips to places like West Point, is passionate about ensuring that these men and women have the proper respects paid to them, because his background in the military has inspired him “to love these soldiers.”

And while his long career in the military and education has been marked by many accomplishments for him and his cadets, Weiss feels particularly drawn to this activity: “This is the coolest project I have done in 18 years with the students,” he said. “It means a lot to them, and I’m convinced it does for the veterans and their descendants.”

 

Riverview High selected for new International Baccalaureate initiative

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Dec. 18, 2017 – Riverview High School has been selected to participate in the International Baccalaureate Excellence and Equity Initiative (E2), a new national program created to promote the inclusion and success of under-represented students in the IB Diploma and Career-related programs, known as DP and CP.

Over the next two years, secondary school leaders and faculty will work to remove barriers to DP or CP participation for under-represented students, create pathways to the DP or CP, and incorporate strategies that are designed to positively impact the success of under-represented students enrolled in the programs. The goal is to empower more students to graduate with the skills and tools needed for post-secondary education and lifelong learning.

Research indicates that less than 1 percent of diverse schools nationwide have advanced programs in which their students reflect the diversity of the overall school population. Research has also shown that the DP and CP programs can empower under-represented groups for college entrance, persistence and success. One of the most compelling studies found that IB Diploma candidates in Chicago Public Schools — low income, minority, first generation college-goers — have not internalized the negative stereotype effect of similar non-IB students.

In fact, the study concluded that “the IB program in Chicago appears to have accomplished something very rare in urban education: it took economically and socially disadvantaged students and radically changed their long-term educational prospects by making them world-class learners with an arsenal of academic skills.” To read more about this study, visit http://ibo.org/globalassets/publications/ib-research/dp/cps-summary-en.pdf.

“We look forward to expanding our DP and CP participation rates in order to prepare more students to find success as life-long learners," said James R. Minor, Riverview IB coordinator, “Our teachers and leaders are excited to increase the impact of an international curriculum in our school community.”

To learn more about E2 and the International Baccalaureate, visit http://www.ibo.org/excellence-and-equity/.

Riverview High School is located at 1 Ram Way, Sarasota.

About Riverview High School

Riverview High School is a four-year comprehensive high school of 2,600 students, located on 51 acres in Sarasota, Florida. Riverview has been recognized as one of the leading schools in Florida and the nation. Based on its challenge index rating (enrollment in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate), Riverview is ranked as one of “America’s Best Schools” and was selected as one of the Washington Post’s “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” in 2014. The vision of Riverview High School is to create a school community which works together so that all students will reach their highest potential to become life-long learners and responsible citizens by providing quality instruction and a challenging world-class curriculum at a state-of-the art facility.

 

About the International Baccalaureate

In 2018, the International Baccalaureate (IB) celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Pioneering a movement of international education in 1968, the non-profit foundation now offers four high-quality and challenging educational programs to students ages 3-19. Through a unique curriculum with high academic standards, the IB champions critical thinking and a flexibility for learning by crossing disciplinary, cultural and national boundaries. The IB currently engages with more than 1.4 million students in over 4,775 schools across 153 countries. More information is at 50years.ibo.org.

   

2018 NEST Calendar features art by Sarasota County students

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NEST calendar cover 2018-PV student art

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Artwork by Drew Kimball, a fifth-grade student at Pine View School, was selected from the hundreds of entries for the cover of the 2018 NEST calendar.

This news release is from Sarasota County Government:

SARASOTA COUNTY, Dec. 13, 2017 - Sarasota County's 2018 NEST Calendar is now available at county facilities, while supplies last. Each year, the Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) produces the calendar, which supports the county's goal of environmental stewardship. It cultivates a strong conservation ethic in the community's youth and adults.

The theme of the 2018 calendar is "Seagrass Keeps the Bay Alive," in which students were asked to convey that what we do on our lands and in our homes has a direct impact on the health of our beautiful bays and beaches.

Students from schools across Sarasota County were honored by the Sarasota County Commission during Wednesday's board meeting. During a breakfast ceremony prior to the meeting, commissioners signed each winning student's calendar.

Elementary school students in all public and private Sarasota County schools, including charter and elementary-age home-schooled students were invited to participate.

Drew Kimball, a fifth-grade student at Pine View School, was selected from the hundreds of entries as this year's cover winner. The other winners, whose artwork is featured each month, are as follows: 

  • January: Eva Brock, a fifth-grade student at Island Village Montessori School
  • February: Chase Lanum, a first-grade student at Garden Elementary School
  • March: Lana Tran, a third-grade student at St. Martha Catholic School
  • April: Selena Shen, a third-grade student at Pine View School
  • May: Daniel Palacio, a fourth-grade student at Ashton Elementary School
  • June: Bowdy Paver, a fourth-grade student at Englewood Elementary School
  • July: Irina Kazakova, a second-grade student at Glenallen Elementary School
  • August: Emiri Lawrence, a kindergarten student at Englewood Elementary School
  • September: Rayne Wilkerson, a third-grade student at Glenallen Elementary School
  • October: Kai Sons, a second-grade student at Incarnation Catholic School
  • November: Ana Martinez-Montanez, a fourth-grade student at St. Martha Catholic School
  • December: Bryce Santar, a fifth-grade student at Ashton Elementary School

There are nearly 13,500 acres of seagrass beds in coastal and bay waters in Sarasota County. Sea life such as manatees and sea turtles depend on the seagrass for food. It also serves as homes for marine life such as seahorses, crabs and sea stars.

"Keeping stormwater as clean and clear as possible will help seagrass grow," said Mollie Holland, NEST coordinator. "More seagrass means more food for manatees and sea turtles, and more room for fish, seahorses and other marine life."

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000. 

 

 

Principal change announced for Lamarque Elementary School

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Ryan Bruck CROPSandra Russell

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP CHANGES: Ryan Bruck (top photo) will move from Lamarque Elementary to Ashton Elementary as an assistant principal. Sandra Russell will serve as acting principal of Lamarque until a new leader is named.

NORTH PORT, Dec. 15, 2017 — Lamarque Elementary School Principal Ryan Bruck will be reassigned for the second semester of the school year. He will serve as an assistant principal at the district’s largest elementary school, Ashton Elementary in Sarasota.

Retired principal Sandra Russell has been selected to lead Lamarque until a new principal is named. Lamarque staff and parents have been notified of the change.

Executive Director of Elementary Schools Chris Renouf announced that the change will be made at the end of winter break; students and staff return to school Monday, Jan. 8.

“Sandra previously served as acting principal at Lamarque and is very familiar with the staff and school community,” said Renouf. “We look forward to her returning to the school in this temporary role while Ryan assists at Ashton Elementary.”

Bruck has served as principal of Lamarque since September 2016. He was formerly an assistant principal at Cork Elementary in Plant City.

Russell served as acting principal of Lamarque in August-September of 2016 and as acting principal at Garden Elementary during the second half of the 2015-16 school year. She previously served as principal of two Sarasota schools, Tatum Ridge Elementary (2005-11) and Brentwood Elementary (1986-2005).

Details about the selection process will be shared with the staff and school community in the new year.

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

 

 

 

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Wilkinson Elementary gathers STEAM in 50th anniversary year

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Wilkinson Elem students 2017-18

THUMBS UP: Wilkinson Elementary students celebrate at a previous event. The school celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

SARASOTA, Dec. 14, 2017 – Students, parents, staff and guests — including graduates, former teachers and administrators — are marking the 50th anniversary of  Wilkinson Elementary School this year. A special birthday celebration is set for 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15, in the cafeteria and on the grounds.

The theme for the anniversary celebration is “Where the Past Meets the Present and Looks to the Future.” Speakers at the event will include parents, former teachers and William H. Muth, Jr., longtime Wilkinson principal (1986-2007). The school’s chorus will perform and student artwork will be displayed. A vision for the future will be shared and school tours will be offered.   

Wilkinson Elementary, which sits in a park-like setting of stately oak trees, opened in the fall of 1967. Peter Miller was the first principal; there were 39 students in each classroom. 

The school was rebuilt in 2007. It includes an outdoor theater that has hosted many events over the years. Wilkinson is currently establishing a STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in partnership with Faulhaber Fab Lab, The Florida House, Suncoast Polytechnical High School and Suncoast Technical College, which are all near the Wilkinson campus. This year the school will add a unique “STEAM courtyard,” designed for outdoor learning opportunities.   

Wilkinson Elementary is located at 3400 Wilkinson Road, Sarasota. 

25 parents to graduate from adult ed program at Alta Vista Elem. Dec. 19

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ServSafe class grads Alta Vista 2-Gen July 2017

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: Graduates of the ServSafe Program in the Alta Vista Elementary/Suncoast Technical College Adult Education Two-Generational Program include, from left, Tania Joseph, Krystal Ramos, Nakiera Keno and Lorena Joseph. Instructor Daniel Freeman is at right.

SARASOTA, Dec. 14, 2017 – Alta Vista Elementary School and Suncoast Technical College will honor 25 adult graduates of the schools’ Two-Generational Program in a ceremony at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the school.

The Two-Generational Program offers multiple courses in the Alta Vista Adult Education Center, thanks to an expansion of the elementary school’s partnership with Suncoast Technical College. The program is open to parents of students attending one of four of the school district’s Title 1 elementary schools: Alta Vista, Emma E. Booker, Gocio and Tuttle. Title I is a federal designation indicating that a high percentage of students at a school are from financially challenged families.

The courses include Certified Nurse Assistant, Microsoft Office, ServSafe (food safety), Childhood Development Associate and General Equivalency Diploma. The current group of graduates includes 24 mothers of students and one father. The ServSafe class was taught by Daniel Freeman, the father of an Alta Vista student. Freeman is a graduate of the CNA program; he was in the food industry and was a certified ServSafe instructor and decided to change careers when his father got sick. He graduated from the CNA program in June and taught the ServSafe class of five female students. That course was completed in July; all students passed their exams.

Two-generation-focused programs provide opportunities and meet the needs of vulnerable parents and children together. While they were already adept at meeting the needs of children at the school, the school’s adult education program focuses on enriching the lives of parents.

“We are very proud of this program and our partnership with Suncoast Technical College,” said Alta Vista Principal Barbara Shirley. “The two-generation approach has transformed our thinking to include the entire family, connecting students and parents with educational opportunities that promote lifelong success.

“Every child in our school has a better chance of academic success because we engage parents. They’re involved in their child’s learning, but also their own learning. We focus on strengthening life and parenting skills while also fostering career and vocational training. The impact of the two-generation approach has been so much more than we ever dreamed.”

With the establishment in 2013 of the Eagle Academy, Alta Vista became the first school in the Sarasota County School District to adopt an innovative and comprehensive model of approaching education, shifting from a student-focused to a two-generation focus. The new model was the result of a collaboration of partners including Suncoast Technical College, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and individual donors. In the four years since the program was established, 113 adult students will have graduated following this ceremony.

Anyone who would like more information about the Adult Education Two-Generational Program at Alta Vista Elementary — including parents of students at Alta Vista, Emma E. Booker, Gocio or Tuttle elementary schools who are interested in enrolling in the program — may contact Mary Tucker, parent education navigator, at 941-361-6400, ext. 51524, or at mary.tucker@sarasotacountyschools.net

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

District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year is Riverview High English teacher

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Es Swihart SCS TOY 12-13-17Todd Bowden and Alum Jim Tollerton 12-13-17Chavez and Wolf-Ignite Ed 12-13-17

IGNITING EDUCATION: In top photo, Riverview High English teacher Es Swihart reacts to being named the 2018 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year as her colleagues celebrate. MIDDLE PHOTO: Superintendent Todd Bowden, at left, chats with Distinguished Alumni Award winner James Tollerton. BOTTOM PHOTO: At right, Ignite Innovation Award winner and Suncoast Technical College Plumbing Technology teacher Robbie Wolf shares the moment with former student Alayna Chavez.

Event also honored first Alumni of Distinction awardee and Ignite Innovation teacher

SARASOTA, Dec. 13, 2017 – Es Swihart, an English teacher at Riverview High School, was named the 2018 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year at the Ignite Education event, a celebration hosted by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. This is the second year in a row Superintendent Todd Bowden has presented this honor to a teacher from Riverview. The event was held Dec. 13 at The Westin Sarasota. 

Swihart, named from among three finalists at the annual awards ceremony, will represent all Sarasota County educators at events throughout the 2018 calendar year and will serve as the district’s nominee for state Teacher of the Year. Her fellow finalists were Venice Elementary fifth-grade teacher Bethany Burnett and Booker Middle math teacher Allison Cohen. The 37 other Teachers of the Year representing local schools were recognized at the event.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County produces the event in partnership with the Sarasota County School District. This year’s event was held at The Westin Sarasota. Also announced at Ignite Education was the first Sarasota County Alumni of Distinction, awarded to James Tollerton, a community leader and the owner and operator of a local independent insurance and benefits company. Robbie Wolf, a plumbing technology teacher at Suncoast Technical College, received the first Ignite Innovation Award.

Accepting the district Teacher of the Year award, Swihart said, “Teaching is about helping students who are struggling to find out who they are and helping them find a space to be themselves. It’s our job to help them grow.” She thanked the audience of teachers and family members, administrators and guests and told them, “When you support teachers, you are supporting students.”

Swihart has taught for 11 years, five of them in Sarasota County. She teaches English Literature and “English 1” to Pre-International Baccalaureate students. She holds a bachelors’ degrees in English and theater performance from the University of Florida and a master’s of English education from the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg.

She said she is “passionate about teaching, learning and exploring the arts and writing to understand why these modes of expression are so powerful.

“I believe stories are powerful tools for connection and bettering our understanding of the world and ourselves,” Swihart said. “I want my students to be comfortable expressing who they are — their authentic selves.”

The Alumni of Distinction Award is designed to honor a graduate of Sarasota County Schools who has distinguished himself in his field and in serving the community. James Tollerton was selected from among many outstanding nominees. He served as the first president of the Board of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, established the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Excel Employee Appreciation Fund and serves on several local boards, including The Ringling and the Florida State College of Medicine Sarasota Advisory Board.

Tollerton was raised in Sarasota and attended Southside Elementary, Brookside Junior High and Sarasota High School, graduating in 1964. He served in student government, attending Boys State, and coached pee wee football. He returned to Sarasota after graduating from Florida State University and started his insurance career. Tollerton is known as “the great networker” because of his willingness to help make connections to anyone who asks.

“I had great teachers here in Sarasota County who made a difference in my life,” said Tollerton. “I thank God for the ability to give back to this wonderful community.”

The Ignite Innovation award is given to a Teacher of the Year from one of 40 Sarasota County Schools Teacher of the Year finalists who has shown innovation in the classroom. This can be demonstrated through using technology, utilizing cross-disciplinary methods of teaching or offering an interesting hands-on experience. In addition to being recognized at the Ignite Education celebration, the Ignite Innovation recipient will receive a custom interactive workshop for his class, provided by Microsoft.

The first Ignite Innovation winner, Robbie Wolf, has taught plumbing technology and apprenticeship at Suncoast Technical College since 2010. A graduate of State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, Wolf has owned Cy Blue Plumbing, his family’s business, since 1985. He brings more than 28 years of hands-on experience to teaching the trade.

Alayna Chavez, the first female graduate of the STC plumbing program, presented the award to Wolf. She thanked him for being an inspiration to her and helping her realize she could be successful in the male-dominated field. Photos of Chavez with her pink plumbing truck, shown on the big screen at the event, helped prove the point.

Ron DiPillo, executive director of Career, Technical and Adult Education for Sarasota County Schools, said Wolf “demonstrates excellent classroom management skills as well as instructional strategies that have a positive impact on his student’s achievements. He has dedicated much effort to influencing the careers of his students after program completion.”

Wolf said, “I believe being a leader is not about standing on a pedestal barking orders, but being in the trenches and leading by example.”

Jennifer Vigne, president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, closed the program by speaking directly to the teachers, “You truly go the distance each and every day. It is our hope that our community continues to recognize the value of teachers and we find ways to continue lifting you up.”

About Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year program recognizes educators in Sarasota County who exemplify dedication to student learning and innovative instruction. The program is co-produced by the Sarasota County School District and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and is made possible through the funding and support of community partners. The district Teacher of the Year, Es Swihart, will receive a $2,500 cash award from the Education Foundation, sponsored by Sunset Automotive Group; the two runners-up, Bethany Burnett and Allison Cohen, will each receive $1,250. Swihart will represent Sarasota County Schools at the Florida Department of Education-Macy's Teacher of the Year program and will serve as a spokesperson for and representative of the teaching profession at various events until the next district Teacher of the Year is chosen.

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is an independent partner working to advance philanthropic support for Sarasota County Schools. Its mission is to enhance the potential of students, promote excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in education. Guided by the belief that education changes lives, the Education Foundation strives to match each donor’s passion with high-impact projects created to ensure students graduate with purpose and are prepared for a post-secondary pathway. The Education Foundation of Sarasota County and its philanthropic investors are champions for students, teachers, and schools. For more information on how to be a champion for education, visit EdFoundationSRQ.org.

Sarasota Police announce art contest for middle & high school students

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Sarasota Police Dept logo

WANTED: STUDENT ART! The Sarasota Police Department is on the lookout for student art for the cover of its annual report. The contest details are in the news release.

This news release is from the Sarasota Police Department.

SARASOTA, Dec. 11, 2017 - The Sarasota Police Department is partnering with the Sarasota County School District to search for the perfect cover photo for the 2017 Sarasota Police Department Annual Report. The contest is open to any students enrolled/attending any middle or high school within the City of Sarasota limits at the time of submission.

“We want our students to convey what the Sarasota Police Department and the City of Sarasota means to them through their art,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino. “Our mission is professional, dedicated police service in partnership with our community and our community includes our children.” 

Submissions are welcome from December 11, 2017 through January 12, 2018 in any art media such as drawings, paintings, computer graphic designed, and photography. The submission does not need to include, but should be in line with the vision, core values, and mission of the Sarasota Police Department. Each student is limited to one entry. Once the winning entry and top finalists are selected, the students will be notified via email and phone. They will be invited, along with their family, to attend a ceremony to be recognized for their accomplishment. 

All submissions and questions should be sent to PDContest@sarasotaFL.gov by 11:59 p.m. on January 12, 2018. Full contest rules and guidelines are available by clicking here.

 

SPHS and STC schools to hold Book Fair at Barnes & Noble Dec. 14

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SPHS students prep for Book Fair Dec 2017

ELF HELP: Suncoast Polytechnical High School students get in the holiday spirit as they prepare for the SPHS-Suncoast Technical College Book Fair at Barnes & Noble Dec. 14. Pictured from left are Jayden Christopher Rodriguez, Luna Reitz-Nieto, Darrell Daniel Torres, Bella Renee Ocasio and Kean Sebastian Verhagen.

SARASOTA, Dec. 12, 2017 – Suncoast Polytechnical High School and Suncoast Technical College will host the Barnes & Noble Family Night and Book Fair to  benefit both schools. The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 14, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 4010 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The event is a night for students, families and the staff of both schools to celebrate their commitment to learning, service and community involvement. Students will perform and demonstrate their skills and projects. There will be opportunities to read and browse, as well as fun activities and prizes. Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase books and supplies for the media center shared by the two schools.

Suncoast Polytechnical High teacher Ricardo Bellon said, “This event is one of the highlights of our school year. To watch the students perform, come together and showcase all their talents and skills is a constant reminder and reinforcement of why I do what I do every day!”

District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year to be named at event Dec.13

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Teacher of the Year finalists Dec 2013

WHO WILL IT BE? Pictured from top are Sarasota County 2018 Teacher of the Year finalists Bethany Burnett (Elementary), Allison Cohen (Middle) and Es Swihart (High). One of them will be named district Teacher of the Year in a ceremony December 13.

Celebration will also honor an Alumni of Distinction  

SARASOTA, Dec. 8, 2017 – Superintendent Todd Bowden and Education Foundation of Sarasota County President Jennifer Vigne will announce the overall Sarasota County Teacher of the Year for 2018 from among three finalists at the annual awards ceremony honoring educators. This year’s event, titled Ignite Education, will be a brunch held from 10:30am-noon, Wednesday, Dec. 13, at The Westin Sarasota.

The Ignite Innovation Award will be announced along with the first Sarasota County Schools Alumni of Distinction. The individual Teachers of the Year for each school also will be recognized at the event.
   

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County produces the event in partnership with the Sarasota County School District. The three finalists — one each for elementary, middle and high schools — were surprised at their schools November 13, 2017. Nominations for the Alumni of Distinction awards were accepted through November 10 and a complete list can be found at http://edfoundationsrq.org/article/2018-alumni-distinction.

The finalists for Sarasota County Teacher of the Year are:
 

Bethany Burnett, Venice Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, Elementary School Teacher of the Year

Allison Cohen, Booker Middle School sixth-grade math teacher, Middle School Teacher of the Year
 

Es Swihart, Riverview High School Pre-International Baccalaureate English teacher, High School Teacher of the Year

About Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year program recognizes educators in Sarasota County who exemplify dedication to student learning and innovative instruction. The program is co-produced by the Sarasota County School District and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and is made possible through the funding and support of community partners. The district Teacher of the Year will receive a $2,500 cash award from the Education Foundation, sponsored by Sunset Automotive Group; the two runners-up will each receive $1,250. The district Teacher of the Year will represent Sarasota County Schools at the Florida Department of Education-Macy's Teacher of the Year program and will serve as a spokesperson for and representative of the teaching profession at various events until the next district Teacher of the Year is chosen.

 

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is an independent partner working to advance philanthropic support for Sarasota County Schools. Its mission is to enhance the potential of students, promote excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in education. Guided by the belief that education changes lives, the Education Foundation strives to match each donor’s passion with high-impact projects created to ensure students graduate with purpose and are prepared for a post-secondary pathway. The Education Foundation of Sarasota County and its philanthropic investors are champions for students, teachers, and schools. For more information on how to be a champion for education, visit EdFoundationSRQ.org.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:

Pictured from left are Sarasota County 2018 Teacher of the Year finalists Bethany Burnett, Allison Cohen and Es Swihart. One of them will be named district Teacher of the Year in a ceremony December 13.

 

Volunteer reading tutors needed at Lamarque Elem., training on Dec. 19

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Wilkinson Elem reading tutor and student Nov 2017

LAMARQUE ELEMENTARY NEEDS YOU: Sarasota County Schools volunteer Sandy Krawetz, at right, is a reading tutor for Wilkinson Elementary student Mathias Temple. Volunteer reading tutors are needed for two programs beginning soon at Lamarque Elementary in North Port.

NORTH PORT, Dec. 8, 2017 – Volunteer reading tutors are needed for two reading programs that will be starting January 2018 at Lamarque Elementary School in North Port. No experience is required; just a love of reading and helping children learn. There will be a volunteer training held for both programs Tuesday, Dec. 19 at the school, 3415 Lamarque Ave., North Port. 

The two reading tutor programs launching at Lamarque Elementary are Rockin’ Readers and Reading Pals. The training session for Reading Pals is 9:30-11 a.m. The training session for Rockin’ Readers is 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Reading Pals is a third-grade program designed to give students the extra push to reach their full potential and read on grade level by integrating the classroom text into the tutoring session conducted by the volunteer. Rockin’ Readers is a program in which volunteers read to kindergarten students who need assistance with building word awareness and vocabulary.

Volunteer tutors will work with the same two students one-on-one each week for 30 minutes per student, totaling one hour of tutoring per week.

“Reading Pals and Rockin’ Readers give students the reading confidence they need to succeed in the classroom,” said Sarasota County Schools Volunteer and Partnership Coordinator Lyndsey Cantees. “Many students are not getting outside reading help, so as a district and community we want to make sure we are doing everything in our power to help them reach their full potential as readers. Thirty minutes of focused reading practice a week makes an enormous impact on a child’s life inside and outside of the classroom.”

Anyone who would like to register for a training session or learn more about the reading programs may contact the district’s Volunteer and Partnership Office at 941-927-9000, ext. 31500, or via e-mail volunteerspartners@sarasotacountyschools.net

Venice High student is 1st graduate of SCF Dual Enrollment Pilot Program

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Madison Angelo VHS-SCF DE student Dec 2017

TRAILBLAZER: On Dec. 15 Venice High-State College of Florida Sarasota-Manatee student Madison Angelo will become the first graduate of the SCF Dual Enrollment Pilot Program.

This news release is from State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota. 

Note from Sarasota County Schools: The Accelerated Dual Enrollment program is available at Sarasota County high schools, allowing students to have early admission to SCF in grades 11 and 12 and to complete their AA degree as they earn their high school diploma. Students can attend any of the SCF campuses.

BRADENTON, Dec. 7, 2017 - Madison M. Angelo, 17, is a trailblazer. She was one of the first students to sign up for an accelerated dual enrollment pilot program at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) that allows students from the Sarasota County Schools to enroll as a full-time college student while completing their high school requirements.  She has been so successful in the program at SCF Venice she will graduate from high school and receive her Associate in Arts degree this month, a semester earlier than her peers in the program.

Angelo, who was in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Venice High School before she joined the pilot program at SCF Venice in 2016, said she loved her experience at the College. She said when she started she didn’t expect to graduate a semester early. She simply wanted a more flexible school schedule.

“I would honestly recommend it to anyone, although this program isn’t for everyone” she said. “I had to meet a specific GPA requirement to get in. I had to spend many long hours to complete this program at this pace. It has been two years since I have had a summer break, but I was able to get it done.”

Angelo, who plays competitive beach volleyball, said she decided last year that she wanted to finish her classes as quickly as she could. Her SCF advisor told her she could take summer classes and she jumped on the opportunity. She will transfer to USF Tampa in the spring to pursue a business degree.

She said it is important for high school students to know that if they are motivated accelerated dual enrollment at SCF is a great opportunity because it offers options to a diverse population; whether you want to have a job or pursue a passion the schedule at SCF allows great flexibility.

For information on the accelerated dual enrollment program at SCF Venice contact Heather Shehorn, coordinator, special academic programs at shehorh@SCF.edu or 941-408-1416.

 

Sarasota Schools leadership team again recognized as Master Board

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Master Board at FSBA Nov-Dec 2017Sarasota County School Board Nov 2016

MASTER BOARD: In top photo, members of the Sarasota County Schools governance team celebrate the designation of their governance team as a Master Board at the FSBA/FADSS Joint Conference in Tampa, held Nov. 28-Dec. 1. From left are Superintendent Todd Bowden and School Board members Caroline Zucker, Jane Goodwin and Shirley Brown. BOTTOM PHOTO: The Sarasota County Schools governance team, pictured from left, includes Eric Robinson, Caroline Zucker, Shirley Brown, Vice Chair Jane Goodwin, Chair Bridget Ziegler and Superintendent Todd Bowden.

SARASOTA, Dec. 8, 2017 — The Florida School Boards Association has once again recognized the Sarasota County Schools governance team — the five School Board members and the superintendent — as a Master Board. The FSBA awards the Master Board distinction to school boards in the state whose members complete a rigorous program designed to enhance leadership and teamwork skills.

The Sarasota County leadership team first achieved the Master Board designation in 1992. Its latest Master Board achievement was recognized at the 72nd annual Joint Conference of the FSBA and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, held Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in Tampa.

When one or more members leave a school board, the Master Board distinction is lost and must be regained through the FSBA’s Master Board Reinstatement Program, which requires additional training for new and returning board members. Of the 67 school districts in Florida, 18 are currently recognized as Master Boards.

“The Master Board training helps us recognize our individual strengths and challenges as board members and how we can best contribute to the team,” said Caroline Zucker, who served as School Board chairwoman during the most recent FSBA Master Board reinstatement training.

On Nov. 28, Ziegler was elected by her fellow School Board members as chairwoman for a one-year term, succeeding Zucker. Goodwin was named vice chair. In addition to Ziegler, Goodwin and Zucker, the other School Board members are Shirley Brown and Eric Robinson. Todd Bowden is the superintendent.

According to an FSBA news release, the Master Board training program “is designed to strengthen the team’s ability to work effectively, efficiently and collectively, while maintaining a focus on student achievement and factors contributing to the success of schools.”          

Booker High to hold first ‘Booker Bash’ robotics competition Dec. 9

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Booker High students practice robotics Dec 2017

STUDENTS, START YOUR ROBOTS: Booker High School freshmen students Anthony Perez, left, and Anthony Frisbie, practice their robotics skills in preparation for the Dec. 9 Booker Bash competition. Both students are in the school’s engineering program and both competed in robotics in middle school.

SARASOTA, Dec. 7, 2017- The first-ever Booker Bash VEX Robotics Competition will be held from 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Dec. 9, from 8 a.m. to noon in the Booker High School cafeteria. The event will feature over 40 robotics teams from 13 Sarasota County schools, plus teams from Tampa, Naples and Orlando.

Teams will compete in Robot Skills is an official VEX Robotics category that includes students and robots competing in 1-minute driving and programming skills.  Scores from this event may qualify teams for the Florida VEX Robotics State Championship in February and are great practice for the Florida State Conference and Competition in Orlando in March.

The Booker Bash is open to the public; admission is free. Concessions are available, with proceeds benefiting the Booker High Engineering Program and Key Club.

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

About VEX Robotics:

The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation sponsors student competitions using the VEX system of components for programmable robots. The REC Foundation exists to connect students, mentors, and schools in every community to a variety of successful and engaging technology-based programs. The Foundation is committed to promoting technology and related student and professional advancement so that one day these programs become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities.

Booker Middle students form Rotary Interact, dinner set for Dec. 20

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Booker Middle students-Rotary Interact-City Hall 9-20-17

SERVICE ABOVE SELF: Booker Middle School Rotary Interact officers students were part of a presentation about the club by the Rotary Club of Sarasota Sept. 20 at Sarasota City Hall. Pictured from left are Tatum Tellsbuesher, second treasurer; Yeoshua Wilson, second secretary; Abi Holdway, secretary; Leah Dubose, vice president; and Christina Brush, president.

SARASOTA, Dec. 6, 2017 – Students at Booker Middle School have formed a club called Rotary Interact, which is dedicated to serving the community by promoting literacy awareness by tutoring elementary students and developing other service projects. To celebrate the formation of the club and its mission, Interact is inviting anyone who would like to come to a free Holiday Community Dinner at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 20, in the school cafeteria.

Rotary of Sarasota sponsors the Interact chapter. Its members chose to partner with Booker Middle because the school has a program known as WEB Leaders, which stands for Where Everyone Belongs. Eighty-six students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades are WEB Leaders and Interact members. Two students have been guests at the monthly meeting of Rotary of Sarasota at Marina Jack’s restaurant, but Rotary members said they were so impressed with the students that they will invite six students each month instead of just two. In addition to the regular monthly Rotary Club meetings, the Interact student board members meet with the club’s executive board once a month.

The motto of Rotary Interact is the same as the motto of Rotary International: “Service above self.” The mission of Booker Middle School’s interact program is “to develop the academic, intellectual, creative, emotional, social, moral and physical aspects of its diverse student population…Through varied opportunities and experiences, students will maximize their potential to be responsible, lifelong learners in a dynamic global society.”

Debra Alvis-Greenwald, administrative assistant to Principal LaShawn Frost, is the Rotary Interact advisor. She describes the club’s activities: “Our students tutor at Bay Haven, Emma E. Booker and Tuttle elementary schools. Rotary just helped us purchase books for students and is going to help us purchase additional books for school media centers; we are hoping to purchase more in the future.

“We’d like to invite everyone to attend our free Holiday Community Dinner December 20th. We want to make our community aware that family comes first and we want to let them know we are here to help. The Rotary Club will be donating money to help purchase toys for the holiday toy drive for our families at Booker Middle.”  

People interested in attending the free Holiday Community Dinner should call Debra Alvis-Greenwald at 941-320-6908 no later than Thursday, Dec. 14. Booker Middle School is at 2250 Myrtle St., Sarasota. 

Third-grade students at local charter school ‘Believe’ again

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Dec. 5, 2017 – For the eighth consecutive year, students in Linda Kneeland’s third-grade class at Suncoast School for Innovative Studies in Sarasota will experience the joy of the holidays with a special field trip celebrating their belief in the spirit of helping others.

The children will be picked up at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 8 at the public charter school on School Avenue by a van and taken to Macy’s at Westfield Siesta Key shopping mall. Dressed in their holiday best, they will meet the store’s general manager and deliver their letters expressing holiday wishes for themselves and others to the big red “Macy’s Santa Mail” box — part of Macy’s “Believe” campaign.

“Many of my students come from economically disadvantaged families themselves,” said Kneeland. “But they recognize that they have families, friends and a supportive school. They wanted to focus on others, so they expressed that spirit in their letters to Santa. As a special thank-you for the students’ generosity, Macy’s employees present gifts to our students. They truly appreciate them; in some cases they are the only presents the students will receive other than the gifts I give them.”

As in past years, Too Jay’s Deli will provide a meal for the class during their visit to the mall. This year Too Jay’s will again serve the students.

“We’re grateful to everyone who has contributed to making this such a memorable experience for our students,” said Kneeland. “And my students are happy that, in some small way, they can play a role in making a special child happy.”  

Macy’s nostalgic holiday “Believe” campaign was inspired by the New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897. The annual campaign includes letter-writing “Believe Stations” in Macy’s stores across the country.

Macy’s is making a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each letter deposited in Macy’s Santa Mail, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. On National Believe Day, Friday, Dec. 8 — the day Kneeland’s students will visit the store — Macy’s will offer a double donation, providing an additional $1 per letter to Make-A-Wish, up to an extra $1 million, above the existing $1 million campaign goal.

According to its website, Macy’s has raised more than $100 million in total giving since 2003; impacting more than 2.4 million people by the wishes the company has helped grant.  

Suncoast School for Innovative Studies is located at 845 S. School Ave., Sarasota.

 

Riverview High principal named to state education post

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Paul Burns

TAPPED BY FLDOE: Riverview High Principal Paul Burns has been named as Deputy Chancellor of Educator Quality for the Florida Department of Education.

TALLAHASSEE, Dec. 5, 2017 – Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has named Riverview High School Principal Paul Burns as the Florida Department of Education’s Deputy Chancellor of Educator Quality, effective Jan. 3. Burns brings to the position nearly 20 years of experience in education. 

In an email about the appointment of Burns, Stewart invited her colleagues at FLDOE to “join me in welcoming him warmly to the agency and to Tallahassee.”

Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden said, “Dr. Burns has been a great leader for Riverview. While we are sad to see him go, we are honored that one of our own administrators has been selected for this important position in our state’s public education system.”

“I am excited by this opportunity to work with teachers and administrators throughout Florida to recruit and nurture great educators in our state,” Burns said. “I will miss Riverview students, families and staff and I thank them and my colleagues at the school district for supporting me as principal.” 

Beginning Monday, Jan. 8, after the school district’s winter break, Riverview High Assistant Principal for Curriculum Kathy Wilks will serve as acting principal. Wilks has performed the duties of principal in Dr. Burns’ absence. A search for a new principal will begin in the spring.

Burns taught for 11 years and has served in school administration for eight years. He began his career as a French teacher in the St. Louis Public Schools and taught French and math for five years at a private high school in St. Louis before moving into school administration. He was an assistant principal at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis for two years, and assistant and associate principal at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Mo., for four years. He was named Assistant Principal of the Year in St. Louis in spring 2014.

He joined the Sarasota County School District as an assistant principal at Venice High School in the 2014-15 school year. He became an assistant principal at Riverview High in 2015 and was named principal in June 2016. During his tenure, the school maintained its “A” grade and improved its performance.    

Burns earned his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas, his Masters of Arts in Educational Administration from Lindenwood University and his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University. He is an E.W. Fulbright Scholar and Rotary Scholar and has been both a Leadership Florida Education participant and program facilitator.

 

Voters have the chance to renew school referendum funding in March

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Referendum Card

SARASOTA, Dec. 1, 2017 – In March, Sarasota County voters will have the opportunity to renew the 1-mill referendum funding for local public schools. The measure has been approved by voters four times, every four years since 2002, most recently in 2014 by 76.9 percent of participating voters. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 dollars of the taxable assessed value of a home. Because the 1 mill is already in place, renewing the funding would not be a tax increase.

Sarasota County is one of only two of the state’s 67 school districts to receive an A from the Florida Department of Education every year since grading began in 2004. Referendum funds stay in Sarasota County to help local schools. The 1 mill will yield about $56 million in Fiscal Year 2018 — roughly 13 percent of the school district’s operating budget. An independent Financial Advisory Committee reviews referendum spending and reports their findings and recommendations to the School Board.

  • Click here for basic referendum information.
  • Click here for detailed school-by-school information about how referendum dollars are spent.

The voter-approved dollars allow the district to:

  • Continue to attract and keep outstanding teachers
  • Keep the added 30 minutes of instruction per school day, equal to 18 extra days of instruction a year
  • Continue to commit resources to close the achievement gap
  • Preserve art, music and drama classes
  • Continue to enhance safety and security at schools

There are several ways to vote in the school referendum. Most Sarasota County residents who will be age 18 or older on or before the date of the special election on Tuesday, March 20, and who register to vote by Tuesday, Feb. 20 (if not already registered) may vote in this election. 

For information about online registration (new in Florida as of Oct. 1), voting by mail and early voting at three sites March 10-17 at election offices in Sarasota, Venice and North Port, polling places on election day, Tuesday, March 20, and any other information about voting, visit sarasotavotes.com or call 941-861-8619

Free flu vaccinations to be offered at three schools Dec. 5-8

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, Dec. 1, 2017 - The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County will offer free flu vaccinations at three schools beginning Tuesday, Dec. 5, for children who are 18 and younger, or who are still in high school.

Flu clinics will be held at these north, middle and south county locations from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Booker High; Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Pine View School; and Friday, Dec. 8 at North Port High.

A flu vaccination is the best and safest way to protect students against several flu viruses. Protection will be effective within two weeks and should last until the end of the flu season. It’s important for children to be immunized for their own protection and to prevent the flu from spreading to families.

Anyone under 18 years of age will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive a vaccination.

For more information, call 941-927-9000, extension 32101.

Booker High to stage ‘James and the Giant Peach’ Dec. 7-9

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James and the Giant Peach cast BHS Dec 2017

JUST PEACHY: The cast of the Booker High production of “James and the Giant Peach” includes, from left, Atticus Taylor, Rachel Rice, Todd Bellamy II, Danny Bó Delongaig, Emma Johnson, Vincent Pearson and Jonah Duchesne-Shaw.

SARASOTA, Dec. 1, 2017 – The Booker High School Visual & Performing Arts Theatre Department will present the beloved Roald Dahl children’s classic, “James and the Giant Peach,” as its winter musical. The show will run at 7 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 7-9, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, at the Booker High School VPA Theatre, 3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at bookervpa.com. Patrons can get a free child’s ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket by entering the coupon code “peachy.”

Scott Keys directs, with musical direction by Johnnie Mnich, choreography by Cynthia Ashford, sets by Seth Berry and costumes by Heather Clarke. Music and lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Director Scott Keys said the theatre department chose “James” for its 2017-18 season because it is “a magical and whimsical story of discovery that is thematically connected through the idea of the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the chase.” Keys said it’s a “kid-friendly” show that attracts a younger audience, and adds that it’s been a while since the department has done a show designed mostly for youth.

“We’re hoping to bring in a young, enthusiastic audience,” Keys said. “It’s important to instill an appreciation of quality theater in our youth, and we’d also like Sarasota parents and students to see Booker High VPA Theatre as a viable path for young artists.”

The department will host a school-time performance for local elementary students from Southside, Emma E. Booker, and Bay Haven schools at 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Booker High VPA Theatre — the first school-time performance since the VPA presented “The Wiz” in 2013. Keys is excited to offer youngsters the opportunity to see a novel from the children’s classical canon unfold live before their eyes.

While “James and the Giant Peach” may tread on children’s territory for its storyline: a young orphan boy who is mistreated by his horrid adoptive aunts finds himself on a magical journey, along with giant insects, in an oversized peach. But staging the production is no child’s play. It requires the director, actors and technical crew to tackle enormous challenges, like creating the illusion that the fruit and its tenants are bobbing at sea, or being pulled away from a giant shark by a team of seagulls.

“The world that needs to be created on stage is really fun and creatively challenging,” Keys noted. “I’ve had fun playing with scale, from giant to miniature, in trying to bring the story to life.”

The show’s inherent creative challenges educational territory for the tech crew as well, and it has created an opportunity for collaboration and problem solving among departments. The school’s VPA Visual Art department has been tasked with building the gigantic shark puppet – to be animated by three student operators – and the interdepartmental collaboration is inspiring. It helps the students see the connections between different disciplines in a way that doesn’t come up in day-to-day instruction.

Aside from providing students with terrific challenges, bringing the musical to Booker High is an opportunity to perform music from the great songwriting team Pasek and Paul, whose musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is currently a Broadway phenomenon. Pasek and Paul have been critics’ darlings, securing the Best Song Oscar for “City of Stars” from “La La Land” and sweeping the Tony awards this year with “Dear Evan Hansen.”

“Performing music from one of the hottest contemporary songwriting teams is inspiring for the students and exciting for theater-goers,” said Mnich. 

Alta Vista Elementary to host 2nd annual Reading Street Dec. 12

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Alta Vista Reading Street 2016

WORDS ON THE STREET: Circus Arts Conservatory clowns Karen Bell, with book, and Robin Eurich, join Clifford the Big Red Dog and other guests at the first Reading Street at Alta Vista Elementary in December 2016. This year's event is Dec. 12.

SARASOTA, Dec. 1, 2017 – Students at Alta Vista Elementary will open their favorite books for the school’s second annual sidewalk read-in, known as Reading Street. The event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 12, starting at 10 a.m.

The “streets,” with names like “Dr. Seuss Street” and “Roald Dahl Drive” (walkways around the campus temporarily named for famous children’s book authors) will be lined with students and staff, cozying up with a good book to read. Teachers, administrators, support staff and guests will come as their favorite storybook characters for this community-building event.

Children bring blankets and pillows to get comfortable sharing the love of reading with classmates and adults. Students from Pine View School who are Alta Vista’s “book buddies” in the “Up with Books” program, will participate as well. Family members of students are welcome to attend, as long as they bring a good book to read. 

“We want everyone to join in the fun,” said Assistant Principal Holly Heim. “It’s such a beautiful sight to see all of our teachers and students with a book in hand. Cultivating a love of reading in young children is so important — and Reading Street paves the way!”

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Communications and Community Relations
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Phone: 941-927-4009 or
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Lyndsey Cantees, Coordinator  
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