Burke-Astatula2 Burke-Astatula1

Pat Burke, former NBA player and owner of HOOPS Basketball Training Facility, spoke with fourth and fifth grade students at Astatula Elementary recently about hard work, believing in yourself and the importance of teamwork. His visit was inspired by one of Burke’s HOOPS Life players. Jordan, a fifth-grader, interviewed Burke for a school-wide STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) poster project entitled, “How does STEAM relate to your future career?” Here are Burke’s answers:

  • Science: basketball, air pressure, shoes, surface friction
  • Technology: video highlights, scoreboard, shooting machine
  • Engineering: arena’s stadium seating capacity and safety
  • Arts: human form, signature moves, dunks
  • Math: statistics, regulations, measurements, height of the goal, length of the court, free-throw line

Astatula Elementary sends a huge “Thank You” to Pat Burke for bringing a real-world learning experience to life for our students.


We’re all shouting a huge “thank you” to the Eustis Service League for their $2,000 donation to Eustis Heights Elementary School today. The money will help pay for a new writing curriculum for fourth- and fifth-grade students. We appreciate your support, Eustis Service League!

The public is invited to the next Coffee & Conversations, a monthly outreach meeting hosted by School Board Member Marc Dodd and Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks, to be held on Friday, Dec. 4, from 8 to 10 a.m. at Cheeser’s Palace, 707 W. Montrose St., Clermont.

December’s featured guest is Pat Burke, former NBA player and owner of HOOPS Basketball Training Facility in Tavares. Burke’s HOOPS Life Youth Training Program is offered in both Tavares and Clermont, with the goal of introducing children to an enriching curriculum both on and off the court.

Together, Dodd and Parks have been organizing the casual get-togethers on the first Friday of each month at various locations throughout South Lake County, inviting area residents to speak one-on-one with elected officials and community leaders.

The January event will be canceled due to the New Year’s holiday.

For more information about Coffee & Conversations, contact Dodd at doddm@lake.k12.fl.us or Parks at sparks@lakecountyfl.gov.


Webster 2 Webster 3 Webster 4

We’re sending a big thank-you to U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, who visited Windy Hill Middle School earlier this month to share his passion for the U.S. Constitution with one of our seventh-grade civics classes. Each student received a personal copy of a pocket-sized Constitution booklet, many of which were signed by the congressman. Before leaving, he toured a Personalized Learning eighth-grade Language Arts class to see firsthand how this approach to learning is providing students with the tools they need to be successful in rigorous coursework. We appreciate you, Congressman Webster!



Congratulations to Windy Hill Middle School Wolves athletic teams for their numerous recent championship wins. The football team, girls’ volleyball team and boys cross-country team all won their respective championship competitions! Way to go, Wolves!

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Special-needs students in Tavares High School’s Best Buddies program prepared a  Thanksgiving lunch this week for their buddies, many of whom also volunteered with Special Olympics.

Best Buddies is nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In schools, the program fosters friendships between those who have disabilities and those who do not. It helps break through social barriers at an important time in a young person’s life.

The lunch guests were given printed menus on which they could check off the items they wanted to eat. Lunch options included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, stuffing/dressing, green bean casserole, corn muffin and cranberry sauce. Dessert options included Butterfinger cake, pumpkin pie, apple pie and pecan pie, all with or without whipped topping.

BP Vitals photo Craft Table photo Jackets photo PRC table photo Reading corner photo

The 4th Annual Families in Transition (F.I.T.) Resource Fair took place Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, at South Lake High School’s Cafeteria from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Homeless students and their families received invitations to attend this event from Lake County Schools’ Title I Department. Community partners, charitable organizations, Lake County Schools Title I and Student Services Departments, and additional volunteers were on hand to help our vulnerable families enjoy several hours of free outreach services, resources, and donations.

Free resources provided to families at this year’s fair included:

  • Laptops set up for parents and students to learn about and navigate iStation and iReady
  • Health Department vision and hearing screenings
  • Blood pressure, pulse, and temperature checks by Lake-Sumter State College Student Nurses
  • Reading Corner with free books and stuffed toys, featuring Read to Sydney – the reading dog
  • New winter jacket/coat and haircuts for children
  • Employment opportunities and job training information for parents
  • Lunch, drinks, and snacks for all participants
  • $10 gas cards and bags of cleaning supplies/paper products for each homeless family participating
  • Door prizes, including: gift cards from Target, Publix, Office Depot, AMC Theaters, Rural King and Payless Shoes; meal cards from Sonic, 2 children’s bicycles with helmets, various gift baskets, a comforter set, and a handmade quilt.

Families and students received a warm welcome and exited the fair with smiles on their faces and many expressions of thanks. This year, families from 29 of our schools came to the fair, representing a 6% increase in attendance from last year. Our total participation with community partners, volunteers, and Lake County Schools’ staff was 323 persons.

Parents had the opportunity to complete a survey during lunch to help us plan for and improve future resource fairs. All 57 adults who completed the survey were entered in a raffle to select a door prize; 41 prizes were awarded.

Feedback from participants included the following:

“It was really nice seeing such happy and smiling faces at the event. I could see that many families received valuable information and enjoyed the event thoroughly.” – Community Partner

“I have attended MANY events in many regions for many years. This FIT fair event ranks as one of the BEST ever events that I have attended.” – Community Partner

“Everyone was so kind and helpful. I can’t think of one person or event that was my favorite. All of it was fantastic.” – Parent

“Everyone was very helpful, the most that I liked was talking to the career personnel and Salvation Army.” – Parent


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