The ECET2 team at Clermont Middle School recently hosted a celebratory event to Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2).  The event was made possible by the ECET2 grant award that the school team applied for and received.
Media PhotoThe celebration was used as a light-hearted way to launch a Strengths Finder assessment in conjunction with the book “Teach With Your Strengths,” by Gallup Press.  To coincide with this, our administrative team has been doing a book study on Dr. Ivette Jackson’s “The Pedagogy of Confidence,” which has led to activities to spur students, particularly those that are under-performing, in identifying their strengths using Thinking Maps, sharing out with peers, and using those to reflect and set academic goals.  At the same time, our administrators have taken the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment and are reading the book “Strengths Based Leadership” by Rath and Conchie.

Participants have been amazed to see how the three strengths-based approaches are connected and are setting the district up for success. They are being reminded that everyone has gifts, and when those gifts are strategically utilized, the result can be high intellectual performance. We are working to locate a research-based strengths finder assessment that is affordable, that all students can take during the first week of next school year to complete the triangle.

The Clermont Middle School faculty will convene again in April to share the results of the strengths finder assessments, dig into a portion of the “Teach With Your Strengths” book, and participate in a collaborative activity.
from left, Kevin Evans, Fred Key, Nick Guidetti, Angel Puente, Nick Morey, Dedrick Mack

from left, Kevin Evans, Fred Key, Nick Guidetti, Angel Puente, Nick Morey, Dedrick Mack






Several athletes at South Lake High School recently signed letters of intent at a ceremony to celebrate their college choices. Congratulations to:

  • Kevin Evans, RB – Northland Technical College (MN), Football
  • Nick Guidetti, QB – Jacksonville University, Football
  • Fred Key, LB – Northland Technical College (MN), Football
  • Dedrick Mack, OL\DL – Carson Newman University (TN), Football
  • Nick Morey, LB – Jacksonville University, Football
  • Angel Puente, K – Warner University, Football

Five other athletes were honored for their contributions to South Lake’s football program and for their academic accomplishment. Each of them has a grade point average over 4.0. Combined, they passed eight 8 Advanced Placement exams and earned 75 college credits while dual enrolled in college during high school. They are:

  • Rhys Armatti – Florida State University, Film and World History Major
  • Franklin Fisher – Florida Atlantic University, Pre-Medical Science Major
  • Anthony Giglia – University of Florida, Physical Therapy Major
  • Steel Templin – Georgia Tech University, Nuclear Engineering Major
  • Brady Walters – University of Florida, Mechanical Engineering Major

“At South Lake, we believe passionately that helping student-athletes ‘get to the next level’ is not all about simply helping a few kids play sports in college,” said Principal Rob McCue “It is about nurturing an entire team to excel academically and make the best decisions for their futures.  For some that means playing a sport in college, for others it means pursuing dreams of becoming doctors and nuclear engineers and having wonderful memories of their high school sport experiences.  We could not be more proud of these seniors.”

sjrwmd_logoTwo South Lake High School sophomores will be honored by the St. Johns River Water Management District for submitting winning essays. Cameron Broughton will be recognized as a 2015 STEM Essay Award Recipient, and Justin Nelson will be recognized for an Honorable Mention. Both students and their parents are invited to receive their awards from the district’s Executive Director and Governing Board members on April 14, STEM Day at the District. They will tour the district facilities in Palatka, FL, have lunch while they are there, and hear presentations from scientists, engineers, hydrologists, land managers and others.

The goal of the day is to allow the award recipients to learn more about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Cameron’s essay was on prescribed fires. In it, he wrote: “Scientists have investigated and designed a way to set prescribed fires in the attempt to eliminate much of the devastation and destruction that is caused by unintentional or unforeseen fires.  The effects of setting prescribed fires are the new life and well-designed changes that it can bring by attempting to control the outcome.”

He wrote it in Shanna Steinberg’s Honors Biology class for a semester project, and she submitted it for the contest. “Cameron has been nothing but the exemplary student in my class,” she said. “Extremely respectful and motivated, he does nothing but excel in anything he puts his mind to. I am extremely proud of him, as I know his parents are as well.”

Justin’s essay was about water. “Homo sapiens are completely reliant upon water for their very survival. However, mankind goes on leaving water on their wayside as their canteen drips dry with no oasis in sight,” he wrote. “Humans must learn the importance of water and why it is worth saving, how humans have and are currently wasting water, and what technology is currently being implemented to help this growing epidemic and what the average citizen may do to assist.”

“Justin is an exceptional student of good character and a fine scholar,’’ said Deane Marshall, his Honors Chemistry teacher. “He is a pleasure to teach.”

Questions-and-AnswersDo you have questions about testing and student progression in Lake County Schools? Get answers straight from key leaders on the district’s new blog, “Learning in Lake.” Check out the blog at QandA.lakeschools.com, and join the conversation!

A South Lake High School student was recently ranked No. 1 among individual competitors in the FFA 2015 Middle and High School Floriculture Career Development Event. Cassandra Emelianchik received the state’s highest individual score, and the South Lake High School team received the state’s second highest team score.

FloricultureThe event is designed to stimulate interest in learning activities related to the floriculture industry, including the identifying plants, professionally handling business situations and raising awareness of safety issues. Participants were required to property identify plants, pests and tools related to Florida’s floriculture industry. They had to complete written exams that tested their knowledge of horticulture. They also were presented with a variety of hazardous situations that could develop in a retail nursery, greenhouse or floral business, and were required to determine the most appropriate solutions to the problems. They had to complete a practicum on customer service as well, addressing effective customer communication, professional presentation, salesmanship, product displays and teamwork.

Congratulations to Cassandra, South Lake High and all of the Lake County schools who participated. They are listed with their rankings below:
• No. 4 – Umatilla High School
• No. 9 – Lake Minneola High School
• No. 17 – East Ridge High School
• No. 18 – Leesburg High School

Students will compete next week in the first Lake County History Fair, part of the annual National History Day competition.

nhd_logoEach year, students around Florida participate in history fairs in their school districts to demonstrate their understanding of history as it relates to a theme. This year’s theme is “Leadership and Legacy in History.” Students use their historical inquiry and analysis skills to create an authentic and creative project. By participating in the history fair students will develop interviewing skills and confidence, as well as twenty-first century skills needed for the workplace.

The public is invited to attend the Lake County History Fair, sponsored by the district’s Academic Services Unit, on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Projects will be on display for the public to view from 4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. at Windy Hill Middle School cafeteria. The awards ceremony will follow from 5:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at Windy Hill Middle School.

Schools conducted history fairs on their campuses and selected top candidates to represent their schools at the district level in the following categories: Exhibit, Historical Paper, Documentary, Website and Performance. Projects will be judged by a panel the morning of the fair.

Students who win the county fair will move on to the Florida State History Fair in Tallahassee on May 3-5, 2015.

Officials from around the county gathered this week to launch the new Health Sciences Collegiate Academy (HSCA), which will allow students in south Lake County to earn a high school diploma while taking health sciences classes at Lake-Sumter State College.
Health Sciences Collegiate Academy Signing

Health Sciences Collegiate Academy Signing

The program is a collaborative effort involving five partners – Lake County Schools, Lake-Sumter State College, South Lake Hospital, the University of Central Florida and Montverde Academy. It is designed to prepare students for careers and/or additional college study in one of the fastest growing fields in the nation.

“These entities have worked together to forge a partnership that will spur a passion for health care and science, technology, engineering and math in our young people in Lake County,’’  David Christiansen, Ed.D., Chief Academic Officer at Lake County Schools, said during a ceremonial signing event on March 3 at Lake-Sumter State College. “It’s exciting to consider how the future of our county will be impacted by this partnership.”

Initially, the HSCA will accept students in south Lake schools who will enter the ninth grade in the fall of 2015. While attending their zoned high schools as freshmen and sophomores, students will participate in health science exploration activities and events at South Lake Hospital and Lake-Sumter State College. As juniors and seniors, students will take classes at the college’s South Lake Campus and participate in internships at South Lake Hospital.

Parents in south Lake will receive more information about the HSCA in the mail and at their students’ schools this month.


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