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April 2014 GEMS
Two entrepreneurial students were recognized as April GEMS at the Marathon School Board Meeting on April 22. Angel Velasquez is a fourth grade Switlik student who took the initiative to raise funds to support a Volunteer Aide in his classroom when he learned that the volunteer had contracted cancer. Angel was able to raise over $300 in a week's time to support the Volunteer.

Elaysa Solis from Switlik Elementary School was also recognized as a GEM. Elaysa realized that many students would need books over the summer to read so that their reading skills would remain strong. Keeping this in mind, she organized a book swap for student participation. On the evening of the Board Meeting, it was revealed that 1000 books had been collected for the book swap.

We commend these students for their concern for others and for taking action to make things better. They are truly Monroe County GEMS.

Keys Kids are GEMS
Recognized as GEMS at the March 11th School Board meeting were Nora Revelin, teacher at Gerald Adams School, and Cameron Murray, teacher at Key West High School, who are the founders of the Keys Kids. They are very humble about creating this wonderful opportunity for Keys students, but deserving of many accolades. Over the years, they have done numerous productions that have wowed Keys audiences with their professionalism and expertise and have given students opportunities to excel in the performing arts. Because of their high level of creativity and energy, numerous Keys students have chosen and are successful in careers in the performing arts. We congratulate them on their success and anxiously await future productions. Also receiving GEMS are student performers in recent productions from Gerald Adams School.

Pictured - Back row: Cameron Murray, Amber Hernandez, Nora Revelin, Amari Hines, Theresa Axford, Erika Dam, Superintendent Mark Porter and School Board Chairperson Ron Martin; front row: Natori Hines, , Bailee Utt and Zandre Font
March 2014 GEM
Lauren Klitenick was recognized as a GEM at the Monroe County School Board Meeting on March 11th in Key West. Lauren, who is an 8th grade student at Horace O'Bryant, chose to raise funds to support the students in Laura Fisher's Pre-K ESE class. She raised $5,179, almost half of which she donated herself. Her humanitarian spirit was recognized and commended at the Board meeting.
Pictured, from left: Mike Henriquez, Principal, HOB; Lauren Klitenick, GEMS recipient; Ron Martin, School Board Chair; Mark Porter, Superintendent; and Laura Fisher, HOB Pre-K ESE teacher

Science Fair Recognition
February GEMS were recognized for their work as school science fair contacts. They are pictured here after receiving their certificates: from left to right, Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Camilla Burton, Coordinator of Secondary Education with a focus on Science, HOB teacher Melissa Alsobrooks, KWHS teacher, Tara Thompson, GAE teacher Katrina Madok, Superintendent Porter and Board Chair, Ron Martin

Ms. Burton is a GEM!

February GEM Camilla Burton is pictured with her daughter Cambria, who attended the School Board Meeting to share the recognition with her Mom.

Marathon HS Voice of Democracy Essay Winners
Also recognized at the Board Meeting on February 25th, were the Voice of Democracy Essay winners, each of the girls received a check from School Board Member John Dick who fosters the contest each year.

Pictured, from left to right, School Board Chair Ron Martin, past chair and Member John Dick, Sydney Schuhmacher, Nicole Butler, Kelsey Heller, and Superintendent Mark Porter
Marathon HS Academic Challenge Team
Also receiving GEMS Awards were the Marathon Academic Challenge Team, who won the competition for the first time in the history of the program. These students are headed for state competition representing Monroe County.

Pictured, from left to right: Board Chair Ron Martin, Superintendent Porter, John Galjanic, Reef Landrum, Carlos O'Farrill, Seth Landry, Sharon Rodriguez, and MHS Coach Lyn Cox
Marathon HS Mock Trial Team

GEM awards were given on February 25th to the Mock Trial Team from Marathon High School who won the competition their first time participating.

Pictured from left to right: Board Chair Ron Martin, Superintendent Mark Porter, John Galjanic, Melanie Ornelas, Hannah Gracy, Mackenzie Helms, and faculty sponsor Elizabeth Bayerl
Ms. Eli Jannes, Charter School Principal of the Year
Superintendent Mark Porter recognized Elisa (Eli) Jannes as a GEM for her work as Sigsbee Charter School Principal. Eli was recognized as Charter School Principal of the Year by the National Charter School Association.

Pictured from left to right: Eli Jannes, Mark Porter, and School Board Chairman Ron Martin.

Dave Murphy, UF Distinguished Educator
Superintendent Mark Porter and School Board Vice-Chairman Robin Smith-Martin present a GEMS certificate to Coral Shores High School Principal Dave Murphy, who was recently recognized as the University of Florida Distinguished Educator from Monroe County. A reception was held for Principal Murphy at the School Board Meeting on December 10, 2013, at Coral Shores HS. Many faculty and staff attended; delightful refreshments for the reception were prepared by the culinary students from Coral Shores. Mr. Murphy was recognized for his leadership at Coral Shores and in the district.
Educators Help Aspiring Teachers
Monroe Educators who worked with aspiring teachers through the FKCC Program and Adjunct Professor, Sandi Bisceglia, were recognized as GEMS at the December 2013 Board Meeting. Pictured (left to right): Superintendent Mark Porter, Dana Beal, Kathy Caputo, Diana Bassett, Stacey Milchman, Michelle Zofchak, Lindsay Poetz, Adjunct Professor Sandi Bisceglia, and Vice-Chairman Robin Smith-Martin. The teachers not only work-shopped with the college students but they also hosted them in their classrooms, providing a real-world experience for the aspiring educators.

Liz Young, Arts Council
Liz Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, was recognized for providing great educational moments (GEMs) to students at the November 19 school board meeting for her coordination of the recent South Florida Symphony program at the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center. The program was prepared as part of the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Viva 500 Florida to commemorate Ponce DeLeon's landing on the Eastern Coast of Florida in 1513. Students from HOB, Sugarloaf, Gerald Adams, the Basilica School, and Big Pine Academy were treated to an original composition played by the South Florida Symphony under the direction of Sabrina Alfonso and an amazing slide slow of Florida History concluding with a breathtaking ride on Henry Flagler's Railway. Musicians from Arts Alive visited classrooms prior to the event to prepare students for the program. Students presented thank-you notes on Tuesday recognizing Mrs. Young for her coordination of the event as well.

Pictured from left to right back row are: Denise Santiago, HOB Assistant Principal; Mike Henriquez, HOB principal; Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning; Liz Young, Executive Director, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Mr. Ron Martin, School Board Chairman, and Mr. Mark Porter, Superintendent; Front Row, l. to r. Bailye F., Breanna A., Jaydon E., Lindsey S., Kailyn S., Garry A.
Debra Vison, Transportation
MCSD school bus driver Debra Vison was recognized for her attention to detail and quick thinking while serving Monroe County School District. She discovered a sleeping student on her bus and was able to get him safely to class and was also able to deal with a fire under the hood of her bus without any ensuing accidents. Mr. Porter said during the presentation that there are many ways to provide Great Educational Moments for students, and Mrs. Vison's behavior was definitely an example of the many ways to do so.
Pictured, from left, are: Pat Lefere, Executive Director of Operations; Debra Vison, Ron Martin, School Board Chairman, and Superintendent Mark Porter

Marathon GEMS

At the October 22, 2013, School Board Meeting, Marathon High School teachers, school administrators, cafeteria manager, school IT technician and District Curriculum Specialist for Technology were recognized for their contribution to the August 13th Back to School Event. Also recognized was the coordinator and spokesman for the first Monroe County Olympics, Sean McDonald, MHS Physical Education teacher. Congratulations to all these folks for enhancing Professional Development in the Florida Keys.

Top photo: MHS Principal Hammond Gracy and Assistant Principal Liz Logan with Board Chairman Andy Griffiths and Superintendent Mark T. Porter
Second row left: MHS teacher Sean McDonald
Second row right: MHS teachers Lourdes Dick and Roxanne Skaggs
Third row left: MHS cafeteria manager Carol Casenhiser
Third row right: District Curriculum Specialist for Technology Barbara Cavanah and MHS IT Technician Scott Cavanah

KLS is a 5 Star School!

Superintendent Mark Porter and School Board Chair Andy Griffiths present Julia Hoar, Principal of Key Largo School, and Laura Lietaert, KLS Assistant Principal, with the Five Star School Award for Community/School Partnerships.
PKS is a 5-Star School!

Superintendent Mark Porter and School Board Chair Andy Griffiths present Lisa Taylor, Principal of Plantation Key School, with the Five Star School Award for Community/School Partnerships.

Upper Keys GEMS

Upper Keys Educators who shared their expertise with District Staff during the Welcome Back Professional Development Event were recognized by School Board Chairman Andy Griffiths and Superintendent Mark Porter as GEMS at a recent Board Meeting at Coral Shores High School.

They are (back row, from left): Andy Griffith, Mark Porter, Dana Beal, Lindsay Poetz, Barbara Berry, Alesa Rehmann, Rosanne Stripling, Gwenn Maue (front row, from left): Robin Fry, Dianne Wischmeier

Marathon High School Athletic Director Receives GEM Award
Teresa Konrath was recognized as the first Monroe County woman to be elected to the Board of the Florida High School Athletic Association. Although, Monroe has been represented by numerous other people on the Board, we have never been represented by a woman. Teresa who is an excellent role model for teachers and students alike will bring a strong presence on the Board as an advocate for women in sports. We look forward to her reports back to the district.

Thanks to Marathon High School Principal and Office Manager
Hammond Gracy and Regina Ryan were recognized as GEMS for their hard work in hosting Monroe County School Distinct events at Marathon High School whether it's bringing water for school board meetings or buying treats for Strategic Planning Sessions, they do it all. Regina is always available to coordinate Principals' Meetings and help with refreshments. Mr. Gracy takes personal pride in taking care of everyone who attends meetings and other events. Without their dedicated service to the district we would not have the apparent seamless meetings and events that are held there. Also pictured are Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Mr. Mark Porter, Superintendent and Andy Griffiths, School Board Chairman.

2012-2013 GEMS

Gerald Adams Elementary Odyssey of the Mind Team

Odyssey of the Mind students from Gerald Adams Elementary School were recognized at the March School Board meeting. Attending the upcoming OM trip to Orlando: D. Pepper, G. Rodriguez, A. Castellanos, M. Gonzalez, D. Michaud, Y. Camejo, and A. Fisher.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Madok

KWHS Video Production Class
Ed Smith’s Video Production Class created a short film to introduce Moolah, First State Bank’s mascot to promote their going green campaign. First State Bank has launched an aggressive and Going Green initiative designed to:
§ Implement energy reduction, reuse and recycling programs at all bank locations!
§ Encourage community involvement through incentives and education outreach programs!
§ Partner with local businesses and government to sponsor green initiatives!
§ Actively sponsor and support Green organizations both locally and nationally.

First State Bank - MCSD Business Partner of the Year

Amber Bosco, Principal of Key West High School, presented the Business Partner of the Year Award to Key West First State Bank at the School Board Meeting in Key West on January 22,2013. The bank was recognized as Key West High School’s Business Partner of the Year, and it also received the award for the Monroe County School District Business Partner of the Year. Amber cited many of the bank’s contributions to Key West High School and all district schools in her presentation. On hand for the recognition were Karen Sharpe, President and CEO and Doria Goodrich, Executive Vice President.

(photo courtesy of Tom Oosterhoudt)

Barbara Lytton - MCSD Senior Volunteer of the Year
Theresa Axford, left, and Harry Russell, Principal of Sugarloaf School, congratulate Barbara Lytton, the Senior Volunteer of the Year for the Monroe County School District. Barbara was a teacher at Sugarloaf School for many years and now volunteers there almost daily.

(photo courtesy of Tom Oosterhoudt)

Fleasher Hall - MCSD Adult Volunteer of the Year

Fleasher Hall, Monroe County Volunteer of the Year in the Adult Category, receives her award form Theresa Axford and Amber Bosco.

(photo courtesy of Tom Oosterhoudt)

Chris Bujak - MCSD Student Volunteer of the Year

At the January 22nd School Board, the Monroe County School District recognized its District-wide Volunteers of the Year. Pictured are Theresa Axford, Director of Teaching and Learning, Chris Bujak, honoree in the Student category and Amber Bosco, Principal of Key West High School.

(photo courtesy of Tom Oosterhoudt)

Wendy Houser - Switlik Elementary School Teacher
Ms. Wendy Houser is 34 year veteran teacher at Stanley Switlik School. She recently received a grant from the Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union. Ms. Houser has already made many project plans for the funding, one of the plans is a student favorite. She will purchase for each student a disposable camera so that he/she can take pictures of specific examples of their community and environment. Each one will make a PowerPoint presentation and book using the vocabulary they have learned in the new Social Science Series along with the pictures. Thank you to the Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union for the generous donation to Ms. Houser's program.

Key Largo School Lesson Study Team

A Lesson Study Team at Key Largo School worked side by side to develop a lesson for students addressing the issues of bullying and tolerance while making a science connection to a “Bully” in the waters of the Keys – the lion fish. The depth of the topics discussed inspired students to truly dig down and work together to address the issues through engagement consisting of in-depth conversation and activity. The team used the lesson with a large number of students from all demographics, including students with disabilities, English language learners, different races and different socioeconomic backgrounds. It was truly a moving experience.
The teachers being recognized are:
Daniel Smith – long time KLS PE teacher and KLS Community School Contact who has earned the respect of KLS students. Mr. Smith co-taught the first round of the Lesson Study and it was obvious that tensions were eased with some students simply because Mr. Smith was the teacher asking them to delve into the sensitive areas.
Michelle Wieland – 6th Grade Social Studies and Intensive Reading Teacher. Mrs. Wieland is equally loved by students and known for her excellent relationships with them due to her down to Earth, no-nonsense style. Michelle co-taught with Mr. Smith rounding out the Dynamic Duo.
Ana Hortensi – Middle School Social Studies and Language Arts teacher as well as KLS’ Title I parent Contact. Mrs. Hortensi is a natural leader who is extremely involved in “All things KLS.” Mrs. Hortensi’s leadership skills make her a fabulous role model for her students. Mrs. Hortensi was the Co-Teacher for round 2.
Elena Delgado – Middle School Language Arts Teacher and Media Specialist. Mrs. Delgado co-taught round two with Mrs. Hortensi. Mrs. Delgado is known for her caring, quiet way with students. She is a master reading teacher who is approachable and works hard to make students feel comfortable in sensitive situations.
Tina Cash – KLS Elementary and Middle inclusion/ESE teacher. Also, a master reading teacher and all-around guru, Mrs. Cash finds ways of reaching exceptional students in ways no other can. In order to ensure that all students learn, Mrs. Cash has a multitude of tricks up her sleeve!
Kyle Harrison – KLS Middle School PE teacher. Ms. Harrison is a teacher who has been an informal mentor to some female students who are at-risk. She communicates with their teachers in order to offer support to help make them successful. Ms. Harrison also works with students on her own time after school in a self-created running club where she shares her passion of Marathon running with the students.
Sandra Prew – KLS Middle School Language Arts Teacher. Mrs. Prew is one of those teachers who is always going above and beyond for students at KLS. She has always given so much of her personal time to her students and created extra-curricular activities and clubs for them. She has worked with students in Odyssey of the Mind, developed a Red Hot Readers club and been highly involved in multiple fundraisers for her students.
Melanie Tabbert – KLS Reading Coach and Middle School Language Arts Teacher. Mrs. Tabbert is another teacher who constantly goes above and beyond. Besides her accessibility for students and providing them with a top notch education in reading/Lang. Arts, Mrs. Tabbert is an amazing leader among her peers. She assists teachers with reading strategies, study of data and is an integral part of the Core RtI team at KLS.

Emily Christian - CSHS
The principal, David Murphy, of Coral Shores High School announced today that Emily Christian has been named a Commended Student in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. A letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to this scholastically talented senior.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2013 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed in the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2013 competition by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

“Recognizing academically talented students plays a fundamental role in the advancement of educational excellence within our nation,” commented an NMSC spokesperson. “The young people recognized as Commended Students represent some of the best and brightest minds in the country as demonstrated by their outstanding performance in our highly competitive program. We sincerely hope this recognition will provide them with additional educational outlets and motivate them in their pursuit of academic achievement.”

Last Updated: 9/15/14
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