VEX_RoboticsFive robotics teams from Lake County Schools have qualified to compete at the World Championship in Louisville, KY, April 14-19.

The teams from Fruitland Park Elementary, Cypress Ridge Elementary and Carver Middle schools were part of the Florida VEX Robotics State Championship on Feb. 21 at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa. The VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) is a STEM program with 300 Florida teams ranging from elementary to college students. VEX has grown to nearly 12,000 teams worldwide representing 36 countries.

Top teams from local events throughout the state qualified to compete in the 2015 state championship in high school, middle school and elementary school divisions. Lake County Schools brought 14 teams to the state competition.

The top teams in each division will compete at the world competition. Included are five teams from three Lake County Schools. They are:

• Fruitland Park Elementary Robo-Wizards (VEX IQ) – Dencov Bryant, Alexis Cowgil, Nichola Desforges and Sydney Williams (Teacher, Crystal Rizzo)
• Cypress Ridge Elementary Betabots (VEX IQ) – Ethan Loden, Mattias Peroni, Koen Phipps and Emma Schoer (Teacher, Ashley Phipps)
o State Design Award
o Teacher Ashley Phipps was named a State Volunteer of the Year

• Carver Middle Raider-Gators (VEX IQ) – Joey Jarrett, Matt Jutkofsky, Acadia Schwartz and Marshall Widmann (Teacher, Bart Nash)
o State STEM Research Project Award

• Carver Middle Hunters (VRC) – Noah Burry, Harrison Dicus, Caleb LeWare, Will Pyles and Craig Yox, Jr. (Teacher, Bart Nash)
o State Tournament Champions.

• Carver Middle Avalanche (VRC) – Dylan Humphrey and Andrew Junkin (Teacher, Bart Nash)
o State Tournament Finalists
o State Design Award
o State Programming Skills Award

The teams will have their robots on display before the Lake County School Board meeting on March 9 and will be recognized by the board for their accomplishments. Students will display the robots at 5:30 p.m. in the rotunda of the Lake County Administration Building, 315 W. Main Street, Tavares. The Board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in Commission Chambers.

Teams are asking for community support to help with World Championship expenses. If you or your business would like to sponsor them, please contact Lori Humphrey at humphreyl@lake.k12.fl.us, Crystal Rizzo at rizzoc@lake.k12.fl.us, and Ashley Phipps at phippsa@lake.k12.fl.us.

Registration for the voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) program at Beverly Shores Elementary School is March 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and March 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Parents should bring the following documentation for their student:

• Original birth certificate or certified copy
• Proof of residency (lease agreement, utility bill, etc.)
• Immunization records
• School physical records

The child must be present at the time of registration, as the process includes a brief screening for every applicant.

Questions? Contact the school at 352-787-4175.


Several Lake County Schools students are among the winners of the Lake County Library System’s 16th annual Bookmark Design Contest. The winning bookmarks soon will be available to view and print from the library system’s web site, http://www.mylakelibrary.org.

The presentation of awards will take place during the BookFest Authors’ Reception on Friday evening, March 13, at W. T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora. The 16 winning designs will be available at the event and distributed to all 15 Lake County Library System public libraries.

The Bookmark Design Contest winners are as follows:

Elementary School:
1st Place: Mai Nguyen, Sorrento Elementary School
2nd Place: Brianna Rodriguez, Lost Lake Elementary School
3rd Place: Madisyn Cassidy, Lake Prep School
4th Place: Kiana Morrow, Eustis Heights Elementary School

Middle School:
1st Place: Sarah Mehdinia, East Ridge Middle School
2nd Place: Sharuina Leonard, Mount Dora Middle School
3rd Place: Joshua Oscar Guerrero, Four Corners Charter School
4th Place: Alberto Escalera, Mount Dora Middle School

High School:
1st Place: Elvina Roberts, First Academy Leesburg
2nd Place: Sarina Young, Home Life Academy
3rd Place: Katherine Hacic, Mount Dora High School
4th Place: Anna Bergholtz, Mount Dora High School

1st Place: P. J. Commerford, Leesburg, FL
2nd Place: Pam Franciose, Mount Dora, FL
3rd Place: Courtney Gainer, Grand Island, FL
4th Place: Daphne Baxter, Mount Dora, FL

esol6Students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and their families are invited to celebrate reading  at the ESOL Families Reading Night. Join us for an evening of fun reading games and activities, snacks, giveaways and prizes. The English Language Learners (ELL) team will be available to answer your questions. The event is planned for 7 p.m. March 5 in the East Ridge High School cafeteria, 13322 Excalibur Road, Clermont.

For additional information about Reading Night, please call 352-253-6888.


Oak Park Middle School is hosting a Career/College Expo, where parents and students can learn more about careers, how to turn $1 into $100, and steps to take to ensure a successful future.

A medical doctor, mechanic and other local professions will talk about their work, and two local credit unions will share savings tips. Lake-Sumter State College, Daytona State College, Lake Tech and others will discuss college admission and benefits.

The event is at the school on March 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.  For more information, contact the school at 352-787-3232.

Students from 22 public and private schools in Lake County will compete next week in the 2015 Lake County Spelling Bee.

The local competition is part of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Every year, tens of thousands of schools enroll in the program. During the fall and winter they conduct spelling bee programs at the classroom, grade and/or school level, and send their spelling champions to the next level of competition as designated by their local spelling bee sponsors.

In Lake, first-place winners from each participating school will compete in the county spelling bee, which is being coordinated by Lake County Schools’ Academic Services Unit in partnership with The Orlando Sentinel. The Golden Triangle Kiwanis in partnership with the Educational Foundation of Lake County will present the winner with a $100 check, and the runner-up will receive a $50 check.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at the Eustis Community Center, 601 Northshore Drive, Eustis FL.

Participating schools are listed below:

Cecil E. Gray Middle             Imagine South Lake Charter          Seminole Springs Elementary
Christian Home and Bible     Lake Preparatory                           St. Paul’s Catholic
Clermont Elementary            Lost Lake Elementary                    Tavares Middle
East Ridge Middle                 Minneola Elementary Charter        Umatilla Middle
Eustis Elementary                 Montverde Academy                      Villages Elementary
Eustis Heights Elementary    Mount Dora Middle                         Windy Hill Middle
Eustis Middle                        Oak Park Middle
Groveland Elementary          Sawgrass Bay Elementary

Trout Lake Nature Center

Trout Lake Nature Center

Sawgrass Bay Elementary School recently partnered with Trout Lake Nature Center of Eustis to design a Personalized learning field trip for the eight classes at the school that are piloting Personalized Learning.

Personalized Learning is a student-centered, competency-based approach to learning. Teachers get to know their students as individuals and consider their interests, aspirations, learning styles and needs, and modify instruction to individualize the learning experience. They give extra time for latent learners to master key concepts and allow for those who can quickly master to content to learn at an accelerated pace. Sawgrass Bay is one of eight schools in Lake County selected to pilot Personalized Learning this school year.

With this learning approach in mind, Sawgrass Bay and Trout Lake Nature Center worked together to re-design the traditional field trip curriculum. First, students in each class were surveyed to determine their interests. The third-grade pilot students were eager to learn about water, the fourth-grade students were more interested in habitats, and the fifth-graders wanted to explore ecosystems.


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