CLEARWATER - The 2016 Outstanding Educator of the Year and Business Partners of the Year were all announced at the Feb. 2 Evening of Excellence at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Presented by the Pinellas Education Foundation and Pinellas County Schools, the event also featured entertainment, the induction of Thelma Rose Pearlman Rothman, co-founder of Kane’s Furniture in St. Petersburg, into the Hall of Honor and a special dessert reception celebrating the best in education.
The winner for the 2016 Outstanding Educator is Sarah Dobes. In honor of her award, a limo picked her up at her home and delivered her to school the morning of Feb. 3.
Dobes, an eighth grade language arts and English 1 honors teacher at East Lake Middle School in the Academy of Engineering, began her teaching career in Pinellas County 10 years ago. Some of her career highlights include developing school-wide vocabulary lessons for “Wacky Word Wednesday” and school-wide lesson plans on plagiarism and Marzano scales. She also presented “Mindfulness in the Classroom” at the Florida League of Middle Schools Regional Conference in Seffner, Florida in September 2015.
LARGO - Ford NGL, a community-driven education initiative developed by Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, has named The Pinellas Education Foundation a Ford Next Generation Learning Innovation Center.
Ford Motor Company Fund will provide a $25,000 grant to help the Pinellas Education Foundation become a Ford NGL Innovation Center. The Ford NGL IC is a nationally certified center of expertise that coaches and mentors communities through a five-phase roadmap to transform the teaching and learning, the secondary school experience, and the business and civic engagement.
CLEARWATER - Ruth Eckerd Hall has successfully raised the funds necessary to provide performing arts field trips to 15,000 Tampa Bay area schoolchildren.
The performances, arranged by the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall, which previously required an admission charge of $5 per child, will be offered for free and are open to schools throughout Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
“When we learned about schools and kids who couldn’t afford to attend, it pulled at our heartstrings and we wanted to do something to help,” said Alan Gassman in a press release. Gassman is with the Clearwater law firm Gassman, Crotty & Denicolo P.A. The firm pledged $10,000 to be used as a matching fund to encourage additional donations. Ruth Eckerd Hall members met the match by donating $10,000 in a single day, and with the help of an additional anonymous matching gift, went on to contribute more than $50,000.
CLEARWATER - Two teams from St. Cecelia Catholic School participated in a First Lego League Robotics Tournament on Jan. 23. This year’s challenge was Trash Trek, which has three parts, including the Robot Game, the Project and the Core Values.
Teams of up to 10 children, with at least one adult coach, participate in the challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a Trash Trek themed playing field, developing a solution to a problem they have identified, all guided by the First LEGO League Core Values.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, more than 700 students from 46 area middle and high schools put their science skills to the test on the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus for the 2016 Regional Science Olympiad.
Among those competing were students from Dunedin Highland Middle, Dunedin; and Country Day World School, Largo.
The students competed in more than a dozen science, technology, engineering and mathematics related activities. They tested their knowledge in experimental design, bridge building and air trajectory just to name a few. Winners in each division have the chance to compete in the state competition on March 19, in Orlando.
CLEARWATER - Each year the second grade students of St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School in Clearwater participate in several Pay It Forward projects.
Throughout the year, the students learn the importance of prayer, service and giving. In January, students helped an organization called Food for the Poor and the We Pledge 100 campaign. Colossia Butts, the organization’s school outreach representative, came to the school to speak about work in Ti Limbe, Haiti.
Most Summer Bridge programs for students in elementary, middle and high school will take place Monday through Thursday, June 20 through July 14.
The Pinellas County School district is sharing the dates early to give families time to make plans for the summer. Summer Bridge is designed for students who are not performing on grade level or need additional help to stay on track. The programs provide enrichment activities and intensive instruction to ensure that students are prepared for maximum success when the next school year begins. Registration dates have not been finalized.
ST. PETERSBURG - High school juniors residing in St. Petersburg are invited to broaden their cultural horizons by applying to serve as one of St. Petersburg’s Student Ambassadors to Takamatsu, Japan, this summer.
CLEARWATER - Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County released information about the outbreak of chicken pox Tuesday, Jan. 26. A cluster of varicella, commonly called chickenpox, was identified by DOH-Pinellas at a local school where eight students had been diagnosed with the vaccine-preventable disease.
Officials with Pinellas County Schools confirmed Jan. 27 that the students were from Plumb Elementary School in Clearwater. They also confirmed that the number of students diagnosed with chicken pox was up to 10.
A cluster of varicella, commonly called chickenpox, has been identified by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County at a local school where, as of Jan. 26, eight students have been diagnosed with the vaccine-preventable disease.
Per state statute, the location of the school and identifying information about the students in an epidemiological investigation are not shared. Parents at the school in question have been notified in writing, DOH-Pinellas officials said.
SEMINOLE - Two fourth-graders in Seminole Elementary School’s gifted program have taken their annual service project to a new level.
Longtime best friends Graci Tubbs and Ava Spano, both 10, teamed up for the assignment given to them by their gifted teacher Jessica Soto. Students in their class were each asked to come up with a public service project.
While other students thought short-term, taking on one-time activities such as beach clean-ups, Tubbs and Spano decided to think big.