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Archive for the ‘Student Services’ Category

Food Drive_ wMathias

Concerned about children who may not have enough food to eat now that school is out for the summer, three Lake County students and their family launched a food drive to help. They dropped off their donation this week with the Lake County Schools Student Services Department.

The idea began last year with Sean Miller, an eighth-grade student at Windy Hill Middle School. When he turned 11, instead of receiving gifts at his birthday party he asked guests to bring canned goods and other nonperishable food items. He passed those donations along to his church and to his school for children and families in need. From that point on, it has been his mission to help out as often as he can.

With the help of his sisters, third-grader Michelina Miller and second-grader Rosalie Miller, both students at Astatula Elementary School, Sean collected food donations again before the winter holiday break and now for the summer break. The Howey-in-the-Hills family made it a community event by hosting a cookout and inviting people to drop off food items in exchange for grilled burgers and hot dogs.

“This speaks volumes about the future of our young leaders here in Lake County,’’ said school board member Bill Mathias, who was at Student Services to thank Sean and his family personally.

The food will be distributed by the Families in Transition visiting teams – a school nurse and two social workers who provide outreach to homeless families, some of whom reside temporarily in local motels. During visits to these families, the teams connect them to community health services, academic support, transportation information, community resources, food and other resources.

“We are extremely proud of them,’’ Michelle Miller said of her three children. “They’ve done such a great job and they want to continue.”

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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.

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The Second Annual Families in Transition (F.I.T.) Resource Fair took place on Nov. 2 at Lake‐Sumter State College’s Leesburg campus with more than 58 families participating.

Staff members from the Title I Department, Student Services Department and Family School Liaisons from various Title I schools throughout the Lake County School District helped make the F.I.T. Resource Fair possible.

Staff members from the Title I Department, Student Services Department and Family School Liaisons from various Title I schools throughout the Lake County School District helped make the F.I.T. Resource Fair possible.

Homeless students and their families received invitations to attend this event from Lake County Schools’ Title I Department. Many community partners, Title I and Student Services Departments, and additional volunteers, were on hand to help families in transition enjoy several hours of free outreach services and donations, boxed lunches, craft projects, a reading corner, technology training, and personalized attention and assistance.

Highlights from this year’s fair include:

  • 12 laptops setup for teaching parents and students how to register and navigate free technology available through Lake County Schools, including: eSembler Gradebook, myON Reader and InSync Education
  • Reading Corner for children with free books
  • Craft project tables directed by a Lake County Schools’ teacher
  • 26 community partner tables providing information, assistance, donations, clothing, support and referrals
  • Free boxed lunches, drinks and snacks for all participants
  • Free backpacks and hygiene kits given to all homeless students in attendance
  • Free $10 gas card for all homeless families participating
  • Opportunity to enter a free $50 gift card drawing

Families and students received a warm welcome and exited the fair with smiles on their faces and many expressions of thanks. The 58 families participating included 80 adults and 114 children. The total participation from community partners, volunteers and Lake County Schools’ staff was 283 persons.

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As Lake County Schools turns the page to a new fiscal year beginning July 1, several school administrators will be turning the reins over to new leadership.

Many of the changes this school year were due to the retirements of June Dalton at Tavares High and Dr. Kathy Cantwell at Cypress Ridge Elementary, as well as the upcoming retirement of Doug Kroulik at Eustis Heights Elementary.

“We have greatly appreciated their efforts over the past years,” said Aurelia Cole, Chief of Administration for Lake County Schools. “June Dalton, Kathy Cantwell and Doug Kroulik have been outstanding leaders dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the community and ensuring student achievement was at the forefront of their schools.”

In all, seven schools will have new faces in the principal’s office for the 2013-2014 school year. Principal changes include:

  • Dale Delpit, Cypress Ridge Elementary
  • Brenna Burkhead, Eustis Heights Elementary
  • Barbara Longo, Oak Park Middle
  • Stephanie Mayuski, Pine Ridge Elementary
  • Leah Fischer, Seminole Springs Elementary
  • Dr. Janice Boyd, Tavares High
  • Amy Cockcroft, Windy Hill Middle

In addition to changes at schools, two longtime educators are retiring from the District office. Mike Herring, Administrative Coordinator for Student Services Department, and John R. Schmidt, Administrative Coordinator for Safe Schools, are retiring with a combined 56 years of service to the School District. Stepping in their positions are Dr. Kristine Hawkins at Student Services and Sebrina Dillon-Banks at Safe Schools.

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Homeless students at Lake County Schools will have greater opportunities to learn thanks to a recent grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

The Foundation recently awarded Lake County Schools with more than $14,500 to purchase laptops that will be loaned to homeless unaccompanied youth who will be high school juniors during the 2013-2014 school year.

The term “unaccompanied youth” includes youth in homeless situations who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Lake County has the fourth largest homeless student population in Florida.

“Homeless youth face many challenges, and this project will allow them to be part of the district’s new Bring Your Own Device initiative, boosting their academic achievement and helping them to graduate high school and move on to careers or post-secondary education opportunities,” said Jan Tobias, Director of the Student Services Department at Lake County Schools.

Kristin McCall and Kathy Entler of the Student Services Department led the visioning and planning for this grant and submitted it with the support of the Grants Services Department.

Participating students will receive the guidance and support they need to achieve success from McCall and Entler, who will also serve as the project managers and coordinate the program. They will work with students to track credits, attendance and achievement. Those students selected to participate and remain in the program will be required to maintain specific academic standards.

The homeless students will benefit both by being afforded equal opportunity for higher achievement and by believing that they can graduate from high school and have the same career and college opportunities as other students. The community will also benefit as students become graduates and attend local colleges and technical centers and obtain employment.

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Lake County School Board members accepted a check at this week’s Board meeting that will provide food pantries for all eight Lake County high schools.

The check presentation from the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties included (left to right) School Board Member Tod Howard, School Board Member Bill Mathias, School Board Chair Kyleen Fischer, School Board Member Debbie Stivender, Lori Humphrey from Lake County Shared Services Network, Tandy Hammond from Church at South Lake, Kristin McCall, Families in Transition Liaison for Lake County Schools, Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley, United Way CEO Sue Cordova and School Board Member Rosanne Brandeburg.

The check presentation from the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties included (left to right) School Board Member Tod Howard, School Board Member Bill Mathias, School Board Chair Kyleen Fischer, School Board Member Debbie Stivender, Lori Humphrey from Lake County Shared Services Network, Tandy Hammond from Church at South Lake, Kristin McCall, Families in Transition Liaison for Lake County Schools, Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley, United Way CEO Sue Cordova and School Board Member Rosanne Brandeburg.

The goal of the $11,115 grant from Winn-Dixie via the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties is every homeless child in Lake County high schools will receive sufficient food so they will have enough to eat for each weekend during the school year. Expected outcomes of the grant are homeless high school students will have a better attendance and performance record thus reducing the likelihood of them dropping out of school.

“It’s a program that we hope to have up and running by Feb. 1, and it’s a program that we want to emulate down into middle schools and, if it at all possible, elementary schools,” said Sue Cordova, CEO of United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties.

Food purchases and deliveries will be completed by the Church at South Lake staff. Finances will be handled through United Way.

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With more than 2,000 homeless students identified last school year in Lake County Schools, every measure helps in providing students and families support, including a $360,000 grant secured this month.

Lake County Schools will receive $120,000 each year for the next three years to support homeless students and families throughout the County. Grant funding is provided through the Florida Department of Education, and more specifically, Title X, Part C – Education of Homeless Children and Youth Project. Specific goals for this grant include:

  • Identify and enroll homeless students, especially those in preschool and unaccompanied youth.
  • Improve school attendance for homeless students.
  • Increase academic achievement for homeless students.
  • Increase the number of secondary homeless students and unaccompanied youth applying for and accepted into post-secondary experiences. 
  • Provide outreach services to homeless students and families to ensure services provided to homeless and non-homeless students are comparable.
  • Build and reinforce collaboration with community and social services agencies to ensure a wide range of services are available for homeless students and families.

Funding will be used to continue employing a Homeless Advocate who identifies and provides support and services to students, schools and families of homeless students. Additionally, Lake County Schools currently has 618 homeless students that fall into the category of “Unaccompanied Youth” at the secondary level. These students need tremendous support with career counseling and assistance with financial aid and scholarship programs to ensure they have access to post-secondary opportunities. A second Homeless Advocate will be hired to address the individual needs of secondary students, with special focus on unaccompanied youth.

In addition, funding from this grant will allow visiting teams, consisting of one school nurse and one social worker, to provide outreach to homeless families. During these visits, teams connect families to community health services, academic support, transportation information, community resources, etc. Additionally, through these outreach visits, teams will be able to identify other homeless families and provide services for them.

Lake County Schools’ Homeless Education Program began in 2009 with the purpose of creating a system of support services that connects educators, parents, advocates and service providers to help ensure the identification, enrollment, attendance and overall success of homeless children and youth. The overarching goal of this grant program is to build upon the successes of the current program and address the challenges encountered over the last three years.

The state defines a homeless student as lacking a regular nighttime residence, such as sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds; are living in shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement. For more information about Lake County Schools’ Homeless Education Program, call the Homeless Liaison at the District’s Student Services Department at (352) 742-6920.

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