Out2News Education News

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BREAKING NEWS: All Florida school districts will remain closed through May 1, 2020

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All school and District events, athletic contests, field trips and activities have been canceled through April 15. Information about events and activities scheduled after that date will be shared as it becomes available.

All statewide assessments have been canceled for the remainder of this school year.

Messages to Families from Instructional Services

The Martin County School District is using Google Classroom for virtual instruction. Please click here to view our instructional continuity (digital learning) plan.

Here is important information for you to know about your child’s Google Classroom and digital citizenship:

• When students are logging in each day, they must access ClassLink first, then Google Classroom. This is mandatory for attendance and record-keeping purposes.

• If a student is using a District-issued laptop, they should click the "ClassLink" icon displayed on their device's home screen.

• If they are using a personal device, they must visit martinschools.org and click the ClassLink icon on the homepage to access Google Classroom.

• At this time, the video feature in the Google Classrooms has been disabled districtwide. Although lessons will be posted in Google Classrooms by 8 a.m. tomorrow, there will not be any live lessons presented on Tuesday, March 31. The MCSD is implementing a new video system that will be in place shortly and student instructions for joining the lessons will be included in Google Classrooms. Thank you for your understanding as we make this adjustment.

• Student accounts, including Google Classroom and associated products, are NOT to be used for the following purposes:

• Unauthorized personal communication that impedes instruction

• Bullying or harassment of other students (FS1006.147; School Board Policy 5517.01 & 7540)

• Sending inappropriate content or language

• Social Media, blogs, and chat rooms (School Board Policy 7540 & 7540.03).

• Students who violate any of these policies will face discipline as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct and - depending on the offense - potential legal repercussions.

• If you are experiencing any hardware (including damage) or software issues with your District-issued device, please email mcsdlaptops@martinschools.org for support.

• Please continue to monitor the District's dedicated Coronavirus webpage at martinschools.org/coronavirusinfo for video tutorials, updates and current information about our digital instruction plan.

Education Foundation Martin County Asking for Donations

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With all Martin County schools being closed due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Education Foundation of Martin County is asking for monetary donations from our community to assist the Martin County School District in providing 200+ laptops for teachers in need, and for the provision of various other items as needs develop.

These laptops will be used by teachers to provide instruction to our 19,000 public school students while they are away from school facilities during the current health crisis.

We are kindly requesting donations of any amount to help with this endeavor and for other educational materials, as well as supplies and services for teachers and students working from home as needs are identified.

If you have any questions, please email Lisa Rhodes at LRhodes@EducationFoundationMC.org.
Donations may be made via check mailed to the EFMC at PO Box 291, Stuart, FL 34995, or via credit card using the form below.
On behalf of the students and teachers of Martin County's public schools, thank you for your kind consideration at this time of critical need.

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Education Foundation St Lucie Announces a Laptop Drive for Students

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St. Lucie County, Fl – In response to the COVID-19 heath crisis, the St Lucie County Education Foundation announces an immediate fundraising initiative to purchase new laptops for use by St. Lucie Public Schools students and teachers. “Our goal is to help the school district acquire 5,000 laptops as soon as possible,” stated Thom Jones, President.

Each laptop costs $300 and donations in any amount are welcomed.
The foundation is accepting donations of cash through Facebook, Venmo to @EFSLC, on line at www.efslc.org or by mail. The Education Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit direct support organization for St. Lucie Public Schools.

St. Lucie Public Schools will resume teaching and learning through virtual instruction beginning March 30. The school district has already distributed 8,500 laptops to ensure that every household has access to at least one laptop or digital device. St. Lucie Public Schools has over 40,000 students, with over 64% economically disadvantaged, the need for additional laptops still exists.
The Education Foundation has organized this campaign to help our students and teachers during this unprecedented crisis.
Many households with multiple children are still in need of additional laptops or other digital devices. Due to the purchasing power of the school district and the need to ensure each laptop meets the requirements of the district, all funds raised will be distributed directly to the school district beginning March 30, 2020.
Please make your donation today! Visit fslc.org www.efslc.org

Indian River State College Updates Response to Coronavirus College to Maintain Operations Remotely with Limited Services on Site

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Fort Pierce - Beginning March 23─the conclusion of Spring Break─Indian River State College will maintain operations remotely with limited services on site. In order to observe to the latest guidelines by the CDC, IRSC is implementing the following measures to keep students, employees, and others safe.
Measures announced earlier this week:
• All online classes will continue as scheduled on March 23.
• All hybrid and face-to-face courses will adjust to fully online formats and resume on March 30.
• Workforce programs and courses that rely on significant contact hours will have alternative plans developed, and faculty will reach out to students in these areas. These courses will also resume on March 30.
• All IRSC athletic events, planetarium shows, fine arts performances, and public pool hours have been suspended indefinitely.
• The IRSC Child Development Center is closed until further notice.
Additional steps IRSC is initiating at this time:
• No IRSC events of any kind are to take place with 10 or more individuals until at least April 15, 2020, or in the event the CDC deems gatherings safe again.
• IRSC will evaluate all future events on a rolling schedule, determining the status of an event no later than two weeks prior to the event.
• Any meeting of 10 or more individuals that is necessary must be done so in an online/virtual format.
• IRSC’s Spring Commencement ceremonies have been postponed until further notice. The College is evaluating alternative means to celebrate our spring graduates, and working to ensure that graduates who want to take part in Commencement exercises have a future opportunity to do so.
• In addition to the continuation of most classes in virtual format, IRSC will offer student services virtually where possible.
• The College will be closed to students during the week of transition above (3/23 to 27); IRSC employees will use the week to develop alternative delivery methods for the libraries, ASC labs, testing centers, and more. Students, however, are encouraged to reach out to their instructors and/or assigned advisors during this week if there are questions or concerns regarding the adjustment to online learning.
• IRSC is committed to ensure continuation of its student and support services. Any service that must maintain a limited opening will do so with respect to the CDC’s social gathering and social distancing guidelines.
As Indian River State College continues to shift its operations online to the extent possible, employees will work with their immediate supervisor in advance of March 23 to establish an alternating work schedule on site or a remote work plan.
The College will continue to disseminate information regarding the Coronavirus via College email, the College website at www.irsc.edu, and IRSC social media channels.

St. Lucie Public Schools Child Nutrition Services

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St. Lucie Public Schools Child Nutrition Services Department will serve free meals to children in St. Lucie County from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday – Friday. The meals include both breakfast and lunch. These new sites will begin distribution on Monday, March 23rd.

North County
Dan McCarty Middle School, 1201 Mississippi Avenue, Ft. Pierce Fl, 34950
Forest Grove Middle School, 3201 S. 25th Street, Ft. Pierce Fl, 34981
Francis K. Sweet Elementary, 1400 Avenue Q, Ft. Pierce Fl, 34950
Lakewood Park Elementary, 7800 Indrio Road, Ft. Pierce Fl, 34951
Weatherbee Elementary, 800 E. Weatherbee Road, Ft. Pierce Fl, 34982
Westwood Academy, 1801 Panther Lane, Ft. Pierce Fl, 34947
East County
Morningside Elementary, 2300 SE Gowin Drive, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34952
Northport K8, 250 NW Floresta Drive, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34983
Port St. Lucie High School, 1201 NE Jaguar Lane, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34952
Rivers Edge Elementary, 5600 NE St. James Drive, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34983
West County
Bayshore Elementary, 1661 Bayshore Blvd, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34984
Manatee K8, 1450 SW Heatherwood Blvd, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34986
Oak Hammock K8, 1451 SW California Blvd, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34953
West Gate K8, 1050 NW Cashmere Blvd, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34986
Windmill Point Elementary, 700 SW Darwin Blvd, Port St. Lucie Fl, 34953

Staff will be on-site to prepare and distribute breakfasts and lunches, which will be bagged and distributed to families in the bus loop.

Indian River State College Moves Classes Online in Response to Coronavirus

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Online course continue as planned on March 23; Hybrid and Face-to-Face classes transition to online delivery effective March 30

FORT PIERCE, FL—In response to the latest guidance issued by Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health, Indian River State College (IRSC) will deliver all classes in an online format when it returns from Spring Break next week until further notice.
• Classes currently being taught online will continue as scheduled on March 23rd.
• Hybrid classes (blend of online & face-to-face) will be delayed for one week and shift to completely online on March 30th.
• Face-to-face classes will be delayed for one week and be adjusted to an online format where possible on March 30th.
• Workforce programs that require in-person contact hours (such as Cosmetology, Construction, and Industrial Education programs) will resume March 30th with alternative plans so students may complete the semester. Faculty members will be contacting students in these programs.
• In accordance with the CDC guidance as of March 15th, IRSC will begin working to postpone or cancel events in the near future that consist of 50 or more people. Please continue to check the IRSC website calendar for updates on event status.

Employees are expected to return to work as scheduled on March 23rd to ensure the continuation of services to students throughout the entirety of the spring semester.
The College will disseminate information regarding the coronavirus throughout Spring Break via College email, the College website at www.irsc.edu, and IRSC social media channels.

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Stuart - The Martin County School District's Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) Department will serve free meals to children in the Martin County community from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday, March 23 - Friday, March 27, 2020. Meals will be served to children aged 18 and under at the following locations:

• J.D. Parker Elementary School - 1010 E. 10th Street, Stuart, FL 34994

• Port Salerno Elementary School - 3260 SE Lionel Terrace, Stuart, FL 34997

• Warfield Elementary School - 15260 SW 150th Street, Indiantown, FL 34956

FNS managers and staff will be on-site to prepare and distribute breakfasts and lunches, which will be bagged and distributed to families in each school's car line area. Parents and guardians can drive, bike, or walk to these locations with children. Meals will be provided to anyone present who is 18 years of age or younger.

"We will be providing breakfast and lunch items via cart service, with carts being thoroughly sanitized after each meal is provided," FNS Director Laura Holmedal shared. "Families may pick up both meals at the same time if they prefer. Those in the community who are looking for a way to help ensure children receive meals are encouraged to explore carpooling possibilities. We are able to provide meals to all children who are present."

Hours of operation at each site are subject to change depending on community participation. Additional questions about the meal program should be directed to Food & Nutrition Services at (772) 223-2655.

Renaissance Charter School of St. Lucie, 5th Annual Mother/Son Glow in the Dark Dance Party

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Transforming a school cafeteria into a festive dance hall and an entire second floor into a laser tag venue is quite the undertaking but well worth the effort.
Renaissance Charter School of St. Lucie recently hosted its 5th Annual Mother/Son Glow in the Dark Dance Party.
Having the flexibility to host these types of events adds to the appeal of a charter.
“We do this event every year to encourage bonding time between moms and their sons,” said Community Outreach & Marketing Director Jill Todd. “We host at least one family-friendly event every month. It’s not only important to educate the children, but we also strive to engage the whole family and bring everyone together. We value this culture!”
While some attendees glowed in the dark and danced the night away to the festive sounds of the deejay, others headed upstairs for a recreation game of laser tag.
Armed with phasers, players dodged behind strategically placed bunkers hiding from and attempting to outwit and outscore their opponents.
Refreshments and snacks, including pizza, helped provide stamina for the bustling evening.
Stay tuned for more information about Renaissance’s Annual TikTok Lip Sync Battle on Friday, April 24, at the school. Celebrity judges from the popular short-form video sharing TikTok app will be on-hand to select the winners. This includes Florida-born Gabby Murray, who currently boasts over 3.5 million followers.
Other upcoming events include the school’s 2nd Annual Touch a Truck gathering on Saturday, May 16, and a full-scale production of the Little Mermaid at the Sunrise Theater in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce on May 8, 9 and 10.
For more information, please visit StLucieCharter.org or the school’s Facebook page.
Applications for the 2020-21 school year are currently available online.

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Martin Youth LEADERship Announces Applications Open for the 2020-21 School Year

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LEADERship Martin County Alumni Foundation for Youth is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for Class 24 for the 2020-21 school year.

The Martin Youth LEADERship Program (MYL) for high school students is in its 23rd year. The group continually strives to better serve students who have made application, and been accepted into the program. MYL is an opportunity for high school sophomores and juniors throughout Martin County to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Students must apply, and a maximum of 40 are selected to participate in this comprehensive nine-month program that is modeled after LEADERship Martin County. Upon completion, these young Leaders have learned about their community including history, government, business, arts and culture, criminal justice and the environment. Class members are given a rare opportunity to reach their highest leadership potential through sessions focusing on leadership enhancing activities. Every effort is made to select a racially, gender diverse class representing various levels of leadership experience. Students come from all high schools, public and private, in Martin County, as well as from the home schooled community.

Some of the key objectives of the MYL program are to identify and nurture young leaders, promote their awareness and involvement as community citizens, and offer programs that will allow interaction with community leaders and decision makers. Students are presented with numerous volunteer opportunities, as well as selected internship and/or paying summer positions.

Martin Youth LEADERship Chair Diana Bruton states, “Good leaders are made not born. We understand that if you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders are developed through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. Furthermore, leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills. Finally; we and our mentor volunteers understand the youth of Martin County are indeed our future, and it is our responsibility to provide them with the basics of Leadership”.

The program is free to accepted students and completely underwritten and sponsored by many local businesses and in-kind donations, including but not limited to:

• Ampersand Shirt Shack
• Children’s Services Council
• Florida Power and Light/Next Era Energy
• Hill, Barth & King
• LEADERship Martin County Alumni Foundation for Youth, Inc.
• Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith
• Martin County REALTORS of the Treasure Coast
• Martin County School District
• Publix Supermarkets
• SkyBlue Jet Aviation
• Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce
• Treasure Coast Legal
• Treasure Coast Realty
• Out2News/Out2martincounty.com

For more information about Martin Youth LEADERship ,and how you or a student you know might become involved, please see the group web site at: http://www.leadershipmcalumni.com/youth, or contact Jeanne Dunn at MartinYouthLeadership@gmail.com or at (772) 486-4695.

Pace Center for Girls Receives Laptop Donation From Coca-Cola Beverages Florida

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In Photo - PACE students receive a generous donation laptops from Coca-Cola Beverages Florid

Article & Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham

Completing class lesson plans, homework, researching higher-education, and career opportunities just got easier for young ladies attending the Treasure Coast campus of Pace Center for Girls.
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) recently visited Pace bearing a generous donation of laptops, career advice, and a hefty sprinkling of optimism for the school’s enrollees.
With a current enrollment of 55, the Pace Center in Fort Pierce serves girls aged 11-18 who have fallen behind academically, socially, and emotionally.

Small intensive academic classes, wraparound counseling services, and one-on-one guidance help steer the girls in a positive direction in all aspects of their life, including how to make better choices, financial literacy, self-esteem, and more.

Employees from the Coke Florida Ft. Piece operations were on-hand to share information on their various responsibilities, the paths that led them there, and they also fielded questions from the audience.
Begoñe Cazalis, Coke Florida Public Affairs & Community Relations Manager, discussed her responsibilities of engaging with the communities in which Coke Florida serves across the state.

“As Florida’s local Coca-Cola bottler, we are committed to being active in developing the communities we serve and this includes helping equip students with the resources needed to be successful. We offer access to technology throughout the state of Florida by donating laptops to organizations as part of our 2020 Black History Month program.”

Thanks to their donation of 10 brand new laptops, the digital divide is shrinking in Fort Pierce.

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IRSC Earns National ‘Leader College’ Status for Student Success Outcomes Achieving the Dream Designation Hails the College’s Sustained Efforts

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Fort Pierce - Achieving the Dream (ATD) has recertified Indian River State College (IRSC) as a “Leader College,” a national honor awarded to institutions in the ATD National Network that have sustained aggressive efforts that result in improved student success and equity. IRSC first achieved Leader College status in 2016. The Leader College designation is a three-year term.

“IRSC is honored to be recognized nationally for closing achievement gaps and increasing success for every student,” said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. “Helping students reach their educational goals contributes significantly to their individual career prospects, and the benefits extend further to support the economic strength of our community and nation.”

Large-scale, college-wide reform, particularly in the area of mathematics, has involved revision and standardization of curriculum, adoption of innovative teaching practices, data-informed professional development and evidence-based decision-making—all leading to improved retention and graduation rates for IRSC students. Among the accomplishments over the most recent three-year period leading to the ATD Leader College recertification:

• Increasing the overall percentage of students earning a credential within four years to 40%, an increase of 6%
• Narrowing the equity gap, evidenced by the percentage of Pell recipients who earn a credential within four years, now at 39%, up 6%
• Increasing success rates among black students in gateway math courses by 7%

Leader Colleges embody ATD’s goal to help colleges build institutional capacity to create a student-focused culture and strong outcomes for all students. Leader Colleges are encouraged to provide support to other colleges in the ATD network, disseminate lessons learned, support state and national efforts to advance the student success agenda, and continue to improve student outcomes.

This year, Achieving the Dream designated four institutions as Leader Colleges for the first time and recertified six Leader Colleges.
“We’re proud to acknowledge the achievements of colleges in our Achieving the Dream Network,” said ATD president and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout. “These new Leader Colleges represent a group that has worked extremely hard over the past few years to change the trajectory of their institutions. Their work impacts their students, communities, and the higher education sector.”