Sarasota County Schools News

New principal appointed for Riverview High School

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Paul Burns 2

Paul Burns

SARASOTA, June 30, 2016 – Sarasota County Superintendent of Schools Lori White has appointed Riverview High School Assistant Principal Paul Burns as principal of the school effective July 11. Burns succeeds Eric Jackson, who served as RHS principal for the 2015-16 school year and has been appointed principal at Venice High School.

Burns holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and French from the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in Educational administration from Lindenwood University in St. Louis and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Louis. He was a Fulbright Scholar and a National African-American Scholar.

He 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 the spring of 2014. 

He accepted a position as an assistant principal at Venice High School for the 2014-15 school year. He was assigned as an AP at RHS in 2015.

Burns said he is pleased to have joined the Sarasota County Schools and looks forward to serving in a leadership role at RHS. “I am proud to have the opportunity to serve as principal of Riverview High School,” he said. “RHS is an outstanding school community with a long tradition of academic excellence. I'm looking forward to continuing the tradition of academic excellence at Riverview while working with our students, families and teachers.”

Sarasota Executive Director of High Schools Steve Cantees said Burns is an outstanding administrator and a perfect fit for RHS. “We are excited to have Dr. Burns as the next principal at Riverview,” he said. “It’s important to have an accomplished academic leader at a high-performing school.”

Cantees said the field of applicants for the RHS job was strong, but Burns stood out. “He is a top five-percenter,” Cantees said. “He is a natural-born leader and relationship builder. He is highly motivated and constantly learning about teaching and learning. He is always studying and applying the latest educational research.”

Although Burns will begin work on July 11, his appointment must be approved by the School Board. The appointment will be submitted for approval at the July 19 Board meeting.

Suncoast Technical College graduates 21 precision machinists

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 23, 2016 –The third class to complete the Suncoast Technical College precision machining and computerized numerical control automation program will graduate at 6 p.m. Thursday (June 23) in the STC Conference Room.

Twenty-one students are graduating from the year-long program, which brings the total number of graduates to 57 since the program started in 2013. A fourth class of 18 students is set to begin in August.

Students graduate with certification from the National Institute of Metalworking Skills. Instructor Ed Doherty said STC has earned more NIMS certifications than any school in Florida for the past two years.

All 21 graduates are starting jobs or continuing their education. Wages for graduates average $30,000-$42,000.

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, STC, 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.

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

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.

Doherty said the program has served manufacturers and the local economy well. It also has 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.


District students maintain high achievement in state tests

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 10, 2016 – The percentage of Sarasota County School District students scoring as proficient in the Florida Standards Assessment remains higher than state averages at all grade levels in mathematics, and English Language Arts, according to results released June 10 by the Florida Department of Education. The results were announced for grades four-10 in English Language Arts and grades three-eight in mathematics.

The third-grade English Language Arts results released in May are reported again with the grades released today, in order to provide a comprehensive review of student performance.  Results are based on all students tested, including charter school students, English-language learners and students with disabilities.

“The spring 2016 FSA and end-of-course results represent the hard work of students, parents, teachers and administrators in Sarasota County,” Superintendent Lori White said. White said she is proud of results the students have achieved and of the district teachers and support staff for maintaining their focus on student achievement. Nevertheless, she realizes there is more to be accomplished. “We will continue to strive toward the goal of all students meeting the rigorous proficiency levels in all subjects,” she said. 

The State Board of Education established new achievement level standards for the FSA in English Language Arts and mathematics in the winter of 2016. This is the first time results are being reported according to these new standards. Because the FSA is based on more demanding content standards and the achievement standards are more rigorous, scores may appear lower on the new scale than on the previous scale for certain grades and subjects.

Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart said “I commend our state’s students, educators, parents and school administrators for their hard work throughout the 2015-16 school year,” “Even with a higher bar, Florida students continued the overall trend of increased performance year over year.

An FLDOE news release noted that Sarasota County students had increased eight percentage points in Algebra 2, with 60 percent of students scoring at the proficient level or higher; improved six percentage points in civics for 77 percent of students scoring proficient or higher; and moved up three percentage points for high school students in Algebra 1.

Some highlights of the test results are as follows:

FSA English Language Arts:

  • District English Language Arts proficiency rates are 11 to 14 points higher than state rates across all grades.
  • The percent of district students scoring in English Language Arts achievement levels 3-5 (levels indicating proficiency) increased or remained the same in grades three, eight, nine and ten.  Percentages declined slightly in the other grade levels.

FSA mathematics:

  • Sarasota County students’ proficiency rates in mathematics are 11 to 24 points higher than state averages at all grades.
  • The 2016 district mathematics proficiency rates improved at grades three, four, six, and eight and remained consistent at grades five and seven.  Scores did not decline at any grade level from 2015 to 2016.


End-of-Course Results:

End of Course results were released for biology, US History, and civics. FDOE also released the Florida Standards Assessment Results in Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2. 

  • District total average Biology EOC scores are eight points higher than the state average in 2016 for first-time test takers and all students. 
  • District total average US History EOC scores are five points higher than the state average in 2016 for first time test takers and six points higher for all students.  District first-time test takers as well as all students are nine percentage points higher than the state.
  • District total and first-time test takers average Algebra 1 EOC scores are 11 points higher than the state average in 2016 for all students. 
  • District total and first-time test taker passing rates are 14 percentage points higher than the state passing rate. 
  • District total average Geometry 1 EOC scores are 10 points higher than the state average in 2016 for all students. District first-time test takers scores are 11 points higher than the state first-time test takers average.
  • District total average Algebra 2 EOC scores are 13 points higher than the state average in 2016 for all students. District first-time test takers scores are 14 points higher than the state first-time test takers average.
  • District total Algebra 2 EOC passing rates are 19 percentage points higher than the state passing rate.  First-time test takers passing rates are 20 percentage points higher that the state.
  • District total average Civics EOC scores are 9 points higher than the state average in 2016 for all students and first-time test takers. 
  • District total Civic EOC passing rates are 10 percentage points higher than the state passing rate for first-time test takers and all students


The links below are to tables showing the district results compared between 2015 and 1016 as well as the differences between district results and state results from those same years. Last year’s FSA ELA, Mathematics and EOC scores needed to be converted, or retrofitted, in order to make valid comparisons with this year’s scores.

Florida Standards Assessments

FSA English Language Arts and Math
FCAT science


End of Course Exams

US History
Algebra 1
Algebra 2


Suncoast Polytechnical grad to attend US Naval Academy

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Connor Weber

BOUND FOR ANNAPOLIS – US Navy Petty Officer First Class Connor Weber, center, holds a plaque created in his honor as the first Suncoast Polytechnical High School graduate to be accepted to a US service academy. Todd Bowden, left, the Sarasota County Schools executive director of career, technical and adult education, presented the plaque to School Board Chairwoman Shirley Brown, right, at the June 7 School Board meeting.

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 8, 2016 – Connor Weber is a living example of how much career and technical education has advanced since the days when vocational training was meant for students who wanted to get jobs in garages and factories right out of high school.

Weber graduated from Suncoast Polytechnical High School in 2013. This summer he is scheduled to begin classes at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, one of the most exclusive and academically prestigious universities in the country.

Weber was recognized at the June 7 Sarasota County School Board meeting by Todd Bowden, the Sarasota County Schools executive director of career, technical and adult education. Bowden presented the School Board with a plaque that will displayed in the SPHS office commemorating students who attend US service academies. Connor Weber is the first name on the plaque. 

Weber enrolled in SPHS soon after it opened in 2008. SPHS was a technology magnet high school built on the campus of the Sarasota County Technical Institute with the expectation that it would attract a student body of highly-motivated, academically talented students who could compete for acceptance and success at the best universities.

Although that expectation has been realized, it was far from certain in 2008 that college-bound students would be attracted to a “tech” school. Many SPHS students have gone on to excellent post-secondary and careers, but Weber’s achievement as the first SPHS graduate to be accepted to a US service academy is a special milestone.

As part of his SPHS program, he earned a credential as a Certified Nursing Assistant at SCTI concurrently with earning his high school diploma. He was accepted to the US Navy Nuclear Power School in 2013.

He was such a standout there that his commanding officer offered him an appointment to the Naval Academy. Weber gladly accepted the offer and attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School upon completion of his Nuclear Power School course.

His CNA credential helped him earn a position as an athletic trainer at NAPS. He has parlayed that experience into a trainer position on the Navy football team.



Booker Middle teacher wins wilderness study scholarship

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 8, 2016 – Booker Middle School language arts teacher Joanna Fox has been selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar to attend an NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop in New York State this summer. The NEH is a federal agency that supports summer study opportunities for teachers to work with experts in humanities disciplines.

Fox will participate in a workshop titled “Forever Wild: The Adirondacks in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.” The one-week program will be conducted in at Camp Huntington, the first “Great Camp” of the Adirondacks. The Great Camps were wilderness estates where wealthy families could spend their summers in the wild and still enjoy all of creature comforts of home.

Camp Huntington is now owned and operated by State University of New York at Cortland. The program will be directed by faculty members of the SUNY Cortland History Department.

Fox has established a three-year creative writing program at Booker Middle School that develops students writing skills in poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. The poetry her students perform in the school’s Dragonfly Café has received international acclaim.

Her application for the NEH program required that she write an essay on her professional goals. The focus of her work in recent years has been the culture of wilderness, which is the connection between one’s purpose for going into nature and the resulting experience.

She has adapted that cultural concept into a theme for her seventh-grade classes: “The World Around You.” She also emphasizes in her instruction that poetry involves a sense of place, including one’s place in history, place in experience and personal place.

She said she hopes that her time in the Adirondacks will enhance her capacity to help her students express their own life experiences in new and more meaningful ways.

District administrator named one of 60 inspiring ‘Gator Nurses’

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GO, GATOR NURSE! Sarasota County School District administrator Sherri Reynolds has been honored by the University of Florida’s College of Nursing as one of 60 top ‘Gator Nurses.'

GAINESVILLE, June 3, 2016 – Sherri Reynolds, the Sarasota County School District’s supervisor of pupil support services and school nurses, has been named one of 60 inspirational “Gator Nurses” by the University of Florida College of Nursing, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Reynolds earned a Bachelor of Science from the College in 1975. 

Dean Anna McDaniel wrote in her introduction to the profiles of notable graduates in the current issue of the College’s publication, Gator Nurse, “We’re happy to celebrate 60 of some of our most accomplished and inspirational alumni, whether they are early in their career or have already retired. They are simply symbolic of all our Gator Nurses who are caring, leading and inspiring every day in so many ways.”

Here is the profile of Reynolds from the Spring 2016 issue of Gator Nurse:

Sherri Reynolds has dedicated her career to making a difference in the community. For the last 30 years, she has worked within the public school districts of Manatee and Sarasota Counties, first as the coordinator of health education and then as the supervisor of pupil support services, respectively. Within her current role as an administrator at the Sarasota County Schools, Reynolds established and managed the Grants Department, authoring over 150 grant proposals and managing 80 percent of the resulting grants. Reynolds also supervises Sarasota County school nurses and has supervised and secured innumerable community prevention programs, including grants to address violence prevention and to start an employee wellness program for the school district.

Reynolds is a charter member and chairwoman of the board of the Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse, a non-profit organization launched in 2000 as a school district committee after several tragic teen DUI fatalities. She also has served on the boards of the Suncoast Communities Blood Bank, the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness and the Sarasota County Human Services Advisory Council.

Reynolds has received numerous awards for herself and the school district over the years, including the Florida Health School District Gold Award and National Health Educator of the Year. In July 2015 she received the ABC 7 Who Care Award for Leadership and Community volunteerism in Sarasota. As she prepares to retire later this year, she plans to continue to commit time to her true passions: community service and family.

Riverview High JROTC cadets clean up Phillippi Creek

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RHS JROTC Phillippi Creek clean-up April 2016

CATCH OF THE DAY: From left, JROTC cadets Nicholas Gilliam and Christopher Barham show off their catch while cleaning up Phillippi Creek with fellow JROTC cadets from Riverview High.

SARASOTA, June 3, 2016 – Riverview High Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadets recently completed a Phillippi Creek cleanup as one of their service learning projects. The academic phase of the project included the Florida Safe Boating Education Class given by U.S. Coast Guard personnel, a class on Pollution Prevention by the Sarasota County Stormwater Department and several videos on how to safely clean up polluted waters from the Sarasota Bay Watch organization.

The final phase was putting this knowledge into action in late April by cleaning up a portion of Phillippi Creek. The cadets cleaned from Pine Craft Park off Bahia Vista Street to the dock at Riverview High, collecting more than 30 pounds of trash. Former cadet Jocelyn Doell was the certified lifeguard. The cadets plan to make this an annual event and coordinate their efforts Sarasota Bay Watch and Riverview High’s Marine Science classes, which also conduct annual cleanups of Phillippi Creek.

JROTC Programs must perform at least one Service Learning Project each year as part of maintaining their U.S. Army JROTC rating of an “Honor Unit with Distinction.”

“This project was chosen to coordinate with the Army’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ROTC and JROTC,” said Sgt. Major Roger Mitchell, U.S. Army (ret). “The Phillippi Creek cleanup was chosen because the cadets wanted the project to benefit not only their community, but also their school. Volunteers have done a lot of Phillippi Creek cleanup in recent years, especially on the portion that borders the Riverview campus. Our cadets wanted to help with those efforts to beautify our school and campus.”

The 19 Cadets who participated in the project received four volunteer service-hour credits each. All cadets are enrolled in the Presidential Youth Volunteer Awards Program and all hours are recorded on the program’s website. Mitchell and Mark Gilliland, assistant principal, also participated in the project.

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


Sarasota County Schools logo wins top award from state communicators

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District Logo white

ACCOLADE FOR NEW LOGO: The district has won a top award from SUNSPRA for the new logo it introduced in August 2015.

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 3, 2016 – The Sarasota County School District has won a top award from SUNSPRA, a statewide organization of school district communicators for its new logo. Also known as the Sunshine State School Public Relations Association, SUNSPRA’s members are communications professionals from Florida’s 67 county-wide school districts.  

The logo and the campaign to create and introduce it received first-place honors in the Overall Image/Brand Campaign category of the annual Sunshine Medallion Awards, which recognize the best communications projects for state school districts. The award will be presented at a June 15 luncheon and awards ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel at SeaWorld Orlando as part of the summer conference of SUNSPRA, FASA, the Florida Association of School Administrators, and other affiliated organizations.

The logo was introduced in August at the start of the 2015-16 school year. It depicts a stylized book, sun, palm tree and ocean waves, reflecting the district’s educational mission as well as its environmental setting on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It was developed in-house by the Communications and Community Relations Department. Online Communications Specialist Mina Ajrab, a 2002 graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design who has worked for the district since 2007, led the development and design team. There was no budget impact; the work was done in the course of staff members’ regular duties.

The former logo was adapted from a version of the 1921 Sarasota County School Board seal combined with the words “Sarasota County Schools,” but School Board members and staff wanted update the look and distinguish the identity of the elected body that sets policy from the identity of the district itself.

The Communications Department conducted an online survey asking community members to choose their favorite logos from among nine options. The survey was announced to the public in June 2015 on the district’s Facebook page and a link was emailed to employees. More than 2,000 people responded with their top choices; the winning concept was selected by more than 60 percent of respondents.

The new logo was presented to the School Board at a work session Aug. 18, 2015. School Board member Jane Goodwin said, “I love it. This is something we’ve needed for a long time; it’s a great image for the district and the community.”

District teachers pioneer in classrooms as ‘Technology Trailblazers’

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Toledo Blade Trailblazer students 2015-16SHS freshman Kelli Elliot Trailblazer 2015-16

TRAILBLAZING STUDENTS: In top photo, Toledo Blade Elementary third-graders Shiloh Williams and Cody Crehore use a tablet computer and a digital microscope to investigate the plants from the school garden. In bottom photo, Sarasota High freshman Kelli Elliot uses the “digital inking” function on a Microsoft Surface tablet to electronically collaborate with classmates on a science class assignment.

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 3, 2016 – As the 2015-16 school year draws to a close in Sarasota County, the school district is celebrating the success of the inaugural year of Technology Trailblazers. The program was launched to give teachers across the district the opportunity to explore innovative ways tablet computers could enhance instruction in their classroom. The focus was on using the tablets for the design, adaptation and implementation of innovative and effective instruction and learning.

This year 30 participants received sets of Microsoft Surface 3 tablets and software as a part of the program. The group included teachers from various schools and a guidance counselor. Together, this group of educators has taken part in professional learning experiences, shadowing opportunities and classroom visits. They have developed teacher training materials and shared creative ideas for the use of tablets as teaching tools.

“The results of the Technology Trailblazers program have far surpassed our expectations about how a motivated teacher can use technology to make a difference in the classroom,” said Joe Binswanger, the district’s director of information technology. “Students from first grade to high school are seeing teaching and learning transformed by our Trailblazer teachers.”

Andy Harshman, MaST Research Institute co-director and environmental management teacher at Sarasota High School, said, “Trailblazers has benefited the students in my research program in immeasurable ways. They have the world at their fingertips, can communicate their findings in more interactive ways, and can take their research anywhere. The tablets have been a true game changer for the program, and it is definitely reflected in the quality of work our students produce.”

The classroom teacher remains the single most important factor in the success of the students in the Sarasota County Schools. The right resources, including technological tools, can enhance a teacher’s ability to reach students on their instructional journey. The use of tablets is helping the district better understand the level of impact they can have on student achievement.

“Being a Technology Trailblazer has taken my hands-on science classroom to the next level,” said Jennafer Slanger, a math and science support teacher at Toledo Blade Elementary in North Port. “The excitement and engagement from the students in my classes is overwhelming. My students are using their knowledge across content areas to develop deeper-level thinking, projects and group collaboration with the Surface tablets. As an educator it makes me feel good to know they are learning technology skills that will benefit them for years to come.”

Binswanger said 23 employees have been selected as the newest Technology Trailblazers. Professional development opportunities are planned for this summer for the group selected in 2015-16 and the new group. He anticipates “a very exciting time” for the Trailblazer teachers and their students in the 2016-17 school year, which starts Monday, Aug. 22 in Sarasota County. 

Sheriff presents check to Booker High for student test prep program

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Sheriff Knight donates check to BHS 6-2-16

DONATION TO BOOKER NATION: Sheriff Tom Knight presented a check for $3,000 to the Booker High School Foundation for a test-preparation program for students. Pictured from left are BHS Foundation supporter Eric Robinson, Principal Rachel Shelley and Sheriff Tom Knight.

This news release is from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

SARASOTA, June 2, 2016 - Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight today presented a check for $3,000 to Booker High School's ACT/SAT Test Taking Strategies Program. The funds came from seized or recovered cash that went unclaimed, and per state statute, can be distributed to a qualifying organization. Sheriff Knight's donation to the program helps level the playing field for all students by offering test preparation at no cost.

The donation was directed to the Booker High School Foundation, which was launched three years ago as a means of funding college and career-focused counseling and preparation. Foundation supporter Eric Robinson is credited with helping ignite the foundation and bringing awareness to the needs of Booker High School.

"We are always happy to support educational initiatives," said Sheriff Knight. "Kudos to Dr. Shelley for seeing the value in test preparation and career placement for our future leaders."

For more information and donation opportunities, visit or contact Principal Rachel Shelley at 941-359-5757.

Summer food programs offer free meals for children, families

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, June 2, 2016 – The Sarasota County School District is joining forces with other local organizations to operate summer food programs at various schools and community sites. The district and All Faiths Food Bank are partnering again to feed children and teens age 18 and younger at Summer BreakSpots throughout Sarasota and DeSoto counties. The Food Bank is making food available for families at several sites and the Sarasota County Library System is again joining the partnership this year. There are three components of the program:

  1. Free breakfasts and lunches for youth 18 and younger will be served at Summer BreakSpots in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Locations and schedules are available at; by downloading a free mobile app, School Lunch by Nutrislice; or by calling 211. Times and dates vary by location. 
  2. Food for the whole family will be available for pick-up at several sites. For details and locations call 941-379-6333 or visit
  3. Backpacks with food for children and teens will be available at public libraries throughout Sarasota County. For details and locations call 941-379-6333 or visit or

Summer BreakSpots provide nutritionally balanced meals to children, regardless of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin. Any child 18 or younger who meets the criteria at a particular site is eligible to receive meals at no cost. Each site falls into one of three categories: open, open-restricted and closed-enrolled.

At open sites, meals are available to all children, whether or not they are enrolled in a summer program, such as a summer school session, at that site. Children are served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Open-restricted sites are restricted to the space available at the site for security, safety and control reasons. These sites are designed to serve the children in the local community, who will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Closed-enrolled sites operate to serve only the children enrolled in the program(s) offered at the site. 

Click here to see the list of sites, dates and times.    

Non-discrimination statement:

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. 

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (form AD-3027), which can be found online at or at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992.

Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

Fax: 202-690-7442; or




Middle school girls can get ‘Tech Savvy’ at June 4 event

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Tech Savvy girls-stock pic from AAUW site

TIME TO GET TECH SAVVY: Middle school girls who want to have fun with hands-on activities and explore STEM college and career paths can attend the Tech Savvy Conference June 4 at USF Sarasota-Manatee. Photo courtesy American Association of University Women Tech Savvy website.

SARASOTA, June 1, 2016 – Middle school girls who want to be “tech savvy” are invited to attend the Tech Savvy Conference from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday, June 4 at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. The event is sponsored by Suncoast Technical College and the Sarasota County School District’s Career and Technical Education program. Girls in grades six through eight from Sarasota and Manatee counties are encouraged to attend. The cost is $5 per person, which includes breakfast and lunch.

The conference is a one-day event featuring hands-on workshops led by female leaders in local technology-based businesses and organizations. The emphasis is on fun with science, engineering, technology and math. A special session for parents will show them how they can help their daughters on their path to higher education and a career. Representatives of local colleges will be available to answer questions.

The Tech Savvy program was developed by the American Association of University Women. More information about the concept is available at

Girls or their parents who wish to register or ask questions about the event may contact or

USF Sarasota-Manatee is located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Phillippi Shores Elementary music groups excel at Music USA Festival

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Phillippi Shores Show Choir spirng 2016Phillippi Shores PYP-Sticks spring 2016

SINGING STUDENTS: Top photo is the Phillippi Shores Elementary School Show Choir; bottom photo is the school's PYP-Sticks drummers. Both groups received awards at the Music USA Festival in Orlando in May.

SARASOTA, June 1, 2016 – Students from the Phillippi Shores Elementary Show Choir and PYP-Sticks percussion group participated in the Music USA Festival at Universal Studios Orlando earlier this month. The 18-member PYP-Sticks group won first place in the elementary percussion division of their competition. The 60-member Show Choir received second place in the elementary choir division in which they competed.

Both music ensembles rehearsed once a week after school and both perform at school and community events. This is the fourth year music teacher Peggy Conrad has accompanied students to the festival.

“This was a great opportunity for our students to perform and for their families to hear them in a professional soundstage setting, as well as enjoying the theme park after the competition,” Conrad said. “This year 51 family members attended the performances.” 

The PYP part of the PYP-Sticks name stands for the school’s Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate system.

Phillippi Shores Elementary is located at 4747 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

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Communications and Community Relations
Tracey Beeker, Director

Kelsey Whealy, Media Relations Specialist

Caroline Lee, Administrative Assistant;
Public Records Custodian, Peachjar eflyers 

Digital Communications
Mina Ajrab, Manager

Torie Ewald, Social Media Strategist

Katy Ellis, Social Media Producer

Phone: 941-927-4009 or
941-927-9000 ext. 74009
Fax: 941-927-2539
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Sarasota, Florida 34231
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John Flowerree, Manager

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Phone: 941-361-6355
Fax: 941-361-6358
4748 Beneva Road
Sarasota, Florida 34233

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Lyndsey Cantees, Coordinator

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Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 31500
Fax: 941-361-6539
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