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NewsRe001Sawgrass Bay Elementary School has implemented the new “Leader Riders” program. The school’s Lighthouse Team, a component of The Leader in Me program, boards eight buses on Mondays and Thursdays. Each team is comprised of two Sawgrass Bay staff members. These volunteer teachers and administrators talk and interact with students riding the bus and meet and greet the parents at the bus stops.

This voluntary program is an outreach effort that supports the school’s vision to “Build Leaders for Life, One Student at the Time.”

Sawgrass Bay Elementary adopted The Leader in Me as the culture building program that supports the implementation of Personalized Learning.  Through the program, all staff members and students infuse Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, into all aspects of the school day.  School leaders believe that in order for students to take ownership of their learning it is essential that they are equipped with the necessary leadership skills to do so.

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2242675_origCypress Ridge Elementary School (CRES) was represented by four teams at the Vex IQ Robotics State Championship that was held Sunday, February 14, 2016, at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL.  CRES took home three awards:  the Sportsmanship Award (VexMasters), STEM Research (Tombstones), and Design Notebook (R2DTools).  All six of the CRES after-school Robotics Club teams are ranked in the top 15 for computer programming among elementary schools in the state of Florida.  These students have worked diligently to design, program, continuously redesign and reprogram their robots to successfully perform tasks both remotely and autonomously.
Their technology teacher and Robotics Club sponsor, Kristin Willis, along with dedicated parents will be traveling with the R2DTools to the Vex IQ World Championship in Louisville, KY, April 20-23 as their state award was a qualifier for this competition.

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VexIQ State Competition
On Sunday, February  14, 2016 Lost Lake Battlecats Robotics and Engineering Club #281 traveled to Tampa, Florida to participate in the VexIQ State Championship.  Team 281X(members: Ryan Peterson, Luke Sambuco, Jonathan Everett, Moriah Langford, Azaria Madlock, and Vijay Singh: Advisors: Samuel Danner and Tim Bunnell) competed against 27 teams from across the State of Florida making through the qualification rounds and to the finals where they placed 3rd. The students represented Lost Lake Elementary and Lake County Schools with great sportsmanship and zeal!

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Rhonda_Image1Eustis Heights Elementary School Principal Rhonda Hunt has been named Florida’s Principal of the Year!

The state’s top administrators were announced yesterday in a ceremony at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals.

Hunt has been a principal for 10 years, during which time she has been involved in a new school opening, establishing parent-teacher organizations, building mentoring programs and drafting grant applications that have benefited her students. She is described as an exemplary instructional leader and has been commended for empowering her teachers to be leaders. Under her leadership, Eustis Heights has improved its school grade from an F to a C (based on 2014-15 simulated school grades).

The other finalists in the Principal category were Tamie Stewart of Parkside Elementary in Collier County and Steven Royce of Tara Elementary in Manatee County.

“What Rhonda Hunt has done at Eustis Heights is nothing short of outstanding,” said Susan Moxley, Ed. D., superintendent of Lake County Schools. “She has a way of inspiring and bringing out the best in her students, faculty and staff. Parents and the community as a whole have supported her efforts. Together, they have done what’s best for students and produced tremendous results. To say Lake County Schools is proud to have her on our team is an understatement. She represents the best of Lake County Schools and we are excited that she is being recognized statewide for her success.”

Chad Frazier, assistant principal at Eustis Heights, was a finalist for the state’s Assistant Principal of the Year award along with Kahlil Ortiz of Dommerich Elementary in Maitland. Anne Bieber, assistant principal at Vero Beach High School, received that honor.

Frazier’s colleagues expressed an appreciation for his passion for learning and willingness to take on challenges toward an identified goal, as well as his dedication to creating innovative solutions. In just one year, he has already made an impact on Eustis Heights. With the support of his principal and through collaboration with school faculty, Frazier was able to reduce truancy by 50 percent during the 2014-15 school year.

“Mrs. Hunt and Mr. Frazier are a great team,” Dr. Moxley said. “We are thrilled for both of them.”

As recipient of the 2016 Principal of the Year award, Hunt will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and $1,000 for her school. The 2016 Assistant Principal of the Year will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and $500 for the school.

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2016ASOrffMusic education is strong and thriving in Lake County where an elementary school student was accepted for participation in one of two All-State elementary music ensembles. Shelby Lenz attends Villages Elementary of Lady Lake and performed with the FMEA All-State Elementary Orff Ensemble in Tampa, January 15, 2016 at the Tampa Convention Center. Almost 800 students from around the state auditioned for two ensembles and Shelby was the only student accepted from Lake County! Congratulations, Shelby! Her teacher, Rosemary Pilonero, is a member of the Florida Music Educators Association and President-Elect of the Florida Elementary Music Educators Association.

The inaugural performance of the first All-State Orff Ensemble in the nation took place at the Tampa Convention Center January 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM. This new ensemble provides opportunities for elementary musicians to showcase standards-based music skills and techniques – such as instrumental performance, movement/dance, improvisation, and singing – all elements of the principles of Orff Schulwerk. Developed by famed composers Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, Orff Schulwerk is an approach to music teaching and learning based on things children like to do: sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance, and play instruments. A traditional Orff Ensemble features young musicians singing, chanting, dancing, improvising, and playing instruments such as recorders and student-sized melodic percussion instruments, known as Orff instruments, designed by Carl Orff. FEMEA Immediate Past President, Julie Hebert, who championed the development of this new ensemble, said, “With so many of Florida’s elementary music educators using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to teach music, it seems fitting that we are the first state in the nation to offer an All-State Orff Ensemble for students. FEMEA is beyond thrilled to provide this new performance opportunity for Florida’s outstanding young musicians.”

The 2016 FMEA All-State Orff Ensemble was directed by Master Orff Clinicians, Sandy Lantz and Gretchen Wahlberg from Ft. Myers, Florida. Lisa Hewitt, All-State Orff Ensemble Coordinator, pointed out that “this experience will be enriching for students, teachers and parents. The Orff process engages children in guiding them toward creating music on their own. The concert showcased the creativity as well as the musical talent of the students selected.”

FEMEA President, Marie Radloff, said, “The artistry these students have achieved in January was truly remarkable, and their All-State experience will be treasured for the rest of their lives.”

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Kylie RiderKylie Rider, a third grade student from Mascotte Elementary Charter School, won a $1,000 scholarship from Bonnie Plants as the state winner of the company’s 3rd Grade Cabbage Program!

She was selected out of 56,380 third grade students in the state. A representative from Bonnie Plants will present the $1,000 scholarship check to Kylie at the school on Friday, Jan. 22, at 9:15 a.m.

The cabbage program, started in 2002, is designed to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people. Each year the company distributes more than 1 million free cabbage plants to third-grade classrooms across the country. Each student gets his or her own cabbage to grow at home or in the school’s garden. Teachers incorporate the project into class activities throughout the year. At the end of the session, students submit a photo of themselves and their cabbage and teachers select a class winner. One class winner from each state is awarded a $1,000 scholarship through a random drawing by each states Director of Agriculture.

“The joy of gardening and the satisfaction of growing healthy food are gifts that kids never outgrow,’’ Stan Copy, President and CEO of Bonnie Plants, has said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to share these gifts with the next generation of gardeners.”

The cabbages distributed to schools are the O.S. Cross variety, which is known for producing giant, oversized heads. Some students have grown cabbages weighing more than 50 pounds! Kylie’s cabbage weighed in at 21.7 pounds.

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lweekFour schools in Eustis were notified this week that they, as a team, have won either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in a statewide literacy-civic service contest. The formal announcement will be made later this month in Tallahassee.

A group of 20 student ambassadors from Eustis Heights and Eustis elementary schools, Eustis Middle School and Eustis High School teamed up for literacy last month and began writing an alphabet book with members of the community. They will come back together on Friday, Jan. 15, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Eustis Heights to complete the narrative, add pictures and put the final touches on the book which, when finished, will highlight strategic points of interest in Eustis.

The project was submitted as an entry to the statewide Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Literacy-Civics Service contest, and the schools learned this week that they are a winner of either a $25, $500 or $1,000 prize.

The Eustis schools plan to use the money they win to get their book published so they can present copies to local day care centers and pre-schools.

Florida First Lady Ann Scott will present the awards at a ceremony on Jan. 28 at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee. In addition, Eustis Mayor Michael Holland will read a proclamation on Jan. 21, when the student ambassadors will present the book to the city commissioners. Mayor Holland will declare Jan. 27, 2016, as “Read Across Eustis Day,” part of the statewide designation of January as “Read Across Florida Month.” The students will travel throughout Eustis to read the book they created, helping to instill a love of reading and an appreciation for the Eustis community.

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