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GEMS

GEMS stands for Great Educational Moments for Monroe County Students. It is an effort to shine a light on the great things happening in the District Schools.  This is an initiative from the Curriculum Department led by Mrs. Theresa Axford, Executive Director for Teaching & Learning, which recognizes the GEMS in Monroe County. 
 
In order to create a GEM, it takes the leadership of a great principal, the expertise of wonderful teachers and the commitment of outstanding students.
 
We will be looking for and recognizing GEMS throughout the school year – you will not be able to miss them as they sparkle and shine throughout our district schools each day! !
2016-2017 GEMS
January 2017 - Amanda Ban, MHS Student
Congratulations to Amanda Ban, who was recognized at the January School Board Meeting in Marathon. Amanda is one of the first students in Monroe County to receive her AA degree midyear while matriculating as a high school student. Amanda will graduate with a high school diploma and an AA degree. Her hard work and dedication to her studies has paid off in a big way.

Pictured left to right are Luis Gonzalez Jr., Amanda's brother-in-law; her sister Ryana Gonzalez; Terri Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning; her mother and MCSD employee Zoraida Ban; John Dick, Chairman of the MCSD School Board; Amanda Ban, holding her GEMs Award; her father Bobby Ban; and School Superintendent Mark Porter.

December 2016 - KLS Special Olympics Team
At the meeting in December, the Monroe County School Board recognized the Special Olympics Team from Key Largo School. This was their first competition at the state level and they were Silver Medalists. They were very much the stars of the School Board Meeting and enjoyed the well-deserved recognition.

Pictured are: Back row; Assistant Coach Jose Zepeda, Coach Jordan Lombard and Mark Porter, Superintendent
Students: Partner Angelica Gonzalez; Athlete/Inspirational Player of the Year Zergio Ornelas; Athlete Natalia Gonzalez, Athlete Sophia Gonzalez; Partner, Andrea Barrios
December 2016 - Art in the Capital
How would you like your artwork to adorn the walls of the Capitol Building in Tallahassee? Annavera Peixoto, Key Largo student, and her teacher Kristen Burns recently sent Annavera's artwork to Key West to be judged with all other middle school students who participated in the local competition to find a winner to be sent to the state. Art Coordinator Shannon Perkins of KWHS coordinated the local contest and judging; Annavera was our local winner. The artwork was given to Representative Holly Raschein to convey to the state.

Pictured are Kristen Burns, KLS art teacher, Annavera, and Principal Laura Lietaert
October 2016 - Paul Mosczynski, Key Largo volunteer
Mr. Paul Mosczynski received a GEM for his outstanding support of Key Largo School. Mr. Mosczynski is a Key Largo Firefighter and he organizes Fire Safety Day for the students at the school each year. This year Mr. Mosczynski went a step further and instructed all middle school students in how to operate a fire extinguisher. Each student actually used the extinguisher in this “hand-on” learning experience. Key Largo Principal Laura Lietaert said, “this is a great way to increase safety especially for those students who are responsible for watching younger siblings home alone.”

Pictured: Theresa Axford; Laura Lietaert, Principal, Key Largo School; Mr., Paul Mosczynski, GEM honoree; Mark Porter, and Andy Griffiths
October 2016 - Remorna Ochoa, Plantation Key School
Mrs. Remorna Ochoa received a GEM Award for her outstanding role during International Literacy Day at PKS. Mrs. Ochoa shared information about literacy in Jamaica and read authentic Jamaican story books to the children at all grade levels. To the delight of the staff, she also prepared a Jamaican Jerk Chicken Feast for them. The intent of International Literacy Day is to help us identify with a culture where literacy is still being developed.

Pictured: Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning; Lisa Taylor, Principal, Plantation Key School; Leyla Ochoa, Remorna Ochoa, GEM honoree; Mark Porter, Superintendent; Kelli Brower, Reading Coach; School Board Chairman, Andy Griffiths and Media Specialist, Tina Cash

September 2016 - Craig Kerns, Switlik Teacher
Three years ago Mr. Kerns was volen-told he would be in charge of the DAILY, SWIT-TV program. His tentative start has given way to a passionate dedication to an engaging, student driven morning program. This past summer, SWIT-TV was upgraded to a digital format. After many extra hours planning, setting up, trouble shooting and coordinating with IT, SWIT-TV is rolling. Extra effort and boundless enthusiasm for the program has made the SWIT morning program a student favorite and essential to our school culture. In addition to his producer duties, Mr. Kerns also volunteered as our “Professional” photographer for events and publications.

Pictured are: Andy Griffiths, Chairman, Monroe County School Board; Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning; Craig Kerns, Superintendent Mark Porter and Brett Unke, Principal, Stanley Switlik Elementary
September 2016 - Janet McNaughton, Sugarloaf School Teacher
Janet McNaughton is Sugarloaf School’s PBIS coordinator and for the first time, Sugarloaf School received Model School status. Her leadership, hard work and dedication with implementing a school wide successful PBIS program significantly impacted the student and staff culture at Sugarloaf School.

Pictured are: Mr. Andy Grifiths, Theresa Axford, Janet McNaughton, and Mark Porter

September 2016 - Esteban Sainz, MHS Student
Esteban is a multi-sport athlete who has played football and baseball since his freshman year. He also played basketball for a year. A junior in high school, Esteban is involved off the field as well; his extracurricular activities include Relay for Life and the Garbage Committee. As a new member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, he has goals to continue to improve sportsmanship among student-athletes, and he hopes to make coaches be more involved in their players’ lives.

Pictured are: Mr. Andy Griffiths, Esteban Sainz, Theresa Axford, Mark Porter and Wendy McPherson, Principal MHS
September 2016 - PKS Student Allison Woltanski
Pictured: Lisa Taylor, Principal of Plantation Key School, Theresa Axford, Alicia Jensen, PKS Civics teacher, Allison Woltanski, GEM recipient, Superintendent Mark Porter, and School Board Chairman Andy Griffiths

Allison was recognized for achieving a perfect score of 5 on the Florida Standards Assessment Civics Test. She received a certificate from the state honoring her achievement along with the GEM Award.
September 2016 - Christopher Hernandez, Coral Shores HS student
Christopher Hernandez is being recognized as a GEM for his participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) which honors academically-talented seventh graders for their exceptional scores on the ACT or SAT. Chris received the Silver "State Recognition" Medal Ribbon for being in the 99th Percentile in the State of Florida. He also received a Gold "Grand Recognition" Medal Ribbon for being in the top 4% of 7th Graders for the Duke TIP Program in the Country. As a seventh grader, Chris achieved scores on the ACT or SAT rivaling those of half of all college-bound seniors who took the tests. In addition, Chris entered Coral Shores High School this August as a freshman.

Pictured are Blake Fry, Principal, Coral Shores High School; Christopher Hernandez, GEM Recipient; Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning; Mark Porter, Superintendent and School Board Chairman, Andy Griffiths.
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