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The Air Force Junior ROTC instructors and cadets of Mount Dora High School earned an overall unit assessment score of “Exceeds Standards” – the highest rating attainable during the state wide assessment held on Oct. 22.

The Air Force Junior ROTC inspection is performed on every unit throughout the world, every three years. Some of the areas of focus during inspection include: logistics, curriculum, community service, compliance issues, finance, physical fitness paperwork, information technology, and inventory and classroom management.

“Lt. Col. Ronald Richards and Senior Master Sgt. Gary Ward created a dynamic and supportive learning environment coupled with community outreach,” said Douglas Davenport, Area Coordinator, U.S. Air Force. “The instructors provided outstanding leadership in administering the cadet-centered citizenship program.

“The Mount Dora High School cadets performed exceptionally well and took great pride in leading and accomplishing their unit goals,” said Davenport, “The Mount Dora High School Air Force Junior ROTC citizenship program is making a positive impact on the cadets, the school and community.”

A congratulatory letter was sent to both Lt. Col. Richards and Senior Master Sgt. Ward from Col. Bobby C. Woods, Jr, Director, Air Force Junior ROTC regarding their recent assessment, noting the significance of achieving a rating of “Exceed Standards,” and indicating that it is “no small feat – it takes a team effort and lots of hard work.”

One of the core missions of the Air Force Junior ROTC program is to teach high school students (cadets) character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership and diversity. Collectively, these lessons motivate cadets to be better citizens.

For more information about the Air Force Junior ROTC program, visit www.afrotc.com.

Lake County Schools and Lake County Library System have partnered for a district-wide contest with an effort to provide every student in Lake County Schools the opportunity to have a free library card. The new partnership and the library card competition was announced last Tuesday during Jumpstart’s Read for the Record event at Lake Minneola High.

“We want to ensure every child has an opportunity to excel in the classroom and beyond”, says Brian Payne, Community Engagement Liaison. The contest will be recognized through all of the schools in the district. Each school will receive Lake County Library Card Registration forms. Forms will be sent home to each student with instruction to return them by November 21st and a FREE library card will be sent to every student who has signed up. As an added bonus – the elementary school, middle school and high school with the highest percentage of forms returned by November 21st will each win a special trophy to be displayed at their school.

“The 15 public libraries in Lake County have a multitude of helpful resources and knowledgeable library staff to assist students,” said Linda Goff, Youth Services Coordinator with Lake County Library System. “Our libraries offer free computer use, free WiFi, inexpensive copiers, online databases and ebooks, in addition to fun afterschool programs such as Lego Club.

Parents and students are encouraged to visit http://www.mylakelibrary.org/ for more information on all of the features and programs at Lake County Library System.

Kimberly Menendez, a junior at Lake Minneola High, received the highest percentage of votes for her design of the logo which will be used to help promote this year’s inaugural Arts & Cultural Festival. Menendez competed with 20 other finalists for a logo design which captured the theme of the festival: artistic approach and cultural significance.

Menendez began her inArts & Cultural Festival Logoterest in Commercial Art Technology during her freshman year and describes the approach to her design process: “It was the feeling of accomplishing something that makes all the work worth it.” Menendez has developed an excellent track record in Commercial Arts and is now Adobe Photoshop certified and hopes to be Adobe Illustrator certified very soon.

“When brainstorming for the logo, I thought of things that represented arts and culture,” said Menendez. “My logo is a fun way to tie together the balance of art and culture in one simple eye-catching design.”

The new logo has made its official debut on the 2014 Lake County Schools Arts & Cultural Festival official website: http://artfair.lake.k12.fl.us/. The logo will be the prominent feature on the event t-shirts, signage and promotional material.

The Lake County School Arts & Cultural Festival is scheduled on Friday, Nov. 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Wooton Park in Tavares. It will showcase the innumerable arts and cultural activities happening at local schools. In addition to promoting the arts (performing and visual), the festival will provide schools an opportunity to fundraise for needed supplies and equipment for arts and cultural programs.

Support the Tavares Middle School Jazz Band as they raise funds to perform at the Florida Music Educators’ Association Conference.

The Tavares Middle School Jazz Band was one of three middle school bands selected to play at the Florida Music Educators’ Association Conference in Tampa on Jan. 14-17, 2015.

“There are 29 students from the Tavares Middle School Jazz Band planning to attend this conference and they are working hard to raise money to attend the event,” said Victoria Warnet, Band Director at Tavares Middle. “One way they are working to raise money is by playing for our community. The Winn-Dixie in Tavares has been so gracious to allow these students to perform in front of their store to raise money for this event.”

To help support the Tavares Middle School Jazz Band and listen to an outstanding talented group of musical students, visit the Winn Dixie, located at 450 E. Burleigh Blvd., on Nov. 8 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Donations are also accepted at the Tavares Middle, located at 13032 Lane Park Cutoff Road. For more information, contact Victoria Warnet at warnetv@lake.k12.fl.us.

Exciting announcement planned at 10 a.m. on Oct. 21 at Lake Minneola High

Reading unlocks the future for Lake County children and the School District and Library System are teaming up to ensure every student in Lake County has the key to success.

Jump StartOn Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 10 to 11 a.m., Lake County Schools and the Lake County Library System will forge a new partnership to ensure every child has an opportunity to excel in the classroom and beyond. Before the announcement from the library system and school district, kindergarten and first-grade students from Grassy Lake Elementary and Minneola Charter Elementary will gather in the auditorium of Lake Minneola High School to participate in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record.

The annual reading initiative mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. On Oct. 21, 2014, people across the country will unite in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between to read the children’s book Bunny Cakes, by bestselling author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells.

Each year, Read for the Record comes alive thanks to countless reading events in schools, libraries, offices, and homes across the country. For more information about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, log on to http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-record.

Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Lake County Schools, authorized today the immediate suspension of school district benchmark tests to students in seventh through 11th grade to give teachers more time to adapt to the new Florida Standards.

“I have heard students, teachers and parents loud and clear,” Dr. Moxley said. “We are drowning in a sea of state-required assessments and anything this school district can do to reduce the burden needs to be done. Assessments are important in the classroom because it is a way for teachers to see if the instruction is working and if the students are comprehending the material. Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain a balance between assessments as an instructional tool and teaching & learning. Teachers need time to teach and students need time to learn.”

The reduction of October assessments is the second time Lake County Schools has decreased the number of assessments it uses to measure student academic growth in preparation for high-stakes state testing conducted in the spring. This past summer the school district made a strategic decision to forgo mini-assessments as the state wrestled with major changes to its standards and state assessments.

“Due to the administration of the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) in grades 9-11 and the administration of the ReadiStep assessment in grades 7-8, Lake County Schools is waiving the Lake Standards Assessments (LSA) and Lake Benchmark Tests (LBA) in English Language Arts and Math in grades 7-11 for the October testing window,” wrote Dr. David Christiansen, Chief Academic Officer at Lake County Schools, in a memorandum to Lake’s high and middle school principals.

Dr. Christiansen added, “The PSAT and READISTEP are national, standardized assessments from the College Board that provide comprehensive data reports on our students in the areas of Critical Reading, Math and Writing. These reports identify areas of development for the students in each area along with Advanced Placement (AP) Potential.”

Students in third through sixth grade will still be required to take district monitoring assessments next week as it will be the first benchmark of their performance. The ReadiStep and PSAT will be administered on Oct. 15. Students in grades 3-11 will take district monitoring assessments in February as teachers and schools will have one last look at their students’ progress before heading into the Florida Standards Assessments for English Language Arts and Math, which are slated to begin on March 23 for students in grades 3-4. A complete testing calendar for Lake County Schools is available online at http://www.lake.k12.fl.us/page/480.

Excitement is in the air at Pine Ridge Elementary as three teachers have recently been recognized for outstanding educational achievement.

Whitney Kreiling, 3rd grade teacher, was recently named by the Florida Council for the Social Studies as Lake County Schools’ elementary social studies teacher of the year. Along with daily classroom instruction, Kreiling led a school-wide “Freedom Week” Project Based Learning spiral for all grade levels. The project culminated in a “Day at the Museum” in which Pine Ridge Elementary was transformed into a museum of student projects connected to Freedom Week.

“I love social studies and think it’s important to weave it in and teach it in a cross-curricular manner,” Kreiling said. “My students get really excited over our mini-economy, classroom government, and the multiple problem-based learning projects we do. This kind of teaching excites me so much that it spills over onto the kids.”

Fifth grade teacher Vanessa Townsend was also recently named STEM Alliance of Central Florida elementary science teacher of the year for Lake County Schools. Townsend was recognized for her efforts as STEM coach as well as her outstanding science classroom instruction. She is passionate about science and can often be seen wearing a lab coat to model the importance of scientific careers.

“I am very honored to be receiving this prestigious award for science,” Townsend said. “I believe that bringing science to students in an innovative and exciting way will help give them a love of learning it as well as the necessary tools to be successful 21st century thinkers now and in the future.”

Finally, Pine Ridge Elementary School’s art teacher, Susan Schommer, was recognized as the school’s 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year. Schommer leads the Art Ambassadors club which promotes art leadership for the school’s fifth grade students.

“My love for seeing our students create has never faltered,” Schommer said. “I could not be more proud for having been selected as Teacher of the Year. It reminds me that my peers appreciate the effort I put into a job I love.”

Schommer also organizes the annual “Pinwheels for Peace” event in which the entire school community creates pinwheels designed to promote peace awareness throughout the community.

Townsend and Kreiling will be recognized at the Lake County School Board meeting on Oct. 13. Schommer will be recognized at the district’s annual Lake County Teacher of the Year celebration.

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