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Tag Archives: teachers

The Computer Age

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By Monte Lazarus In memory of Monte Lazarus and his contributions to Coastal Breeze News, we are publishing many of his humor columns again in coming editions. They will bring as many smiles now as they did when first printed. Enjoy! It’s easy to understand why education costs so much. Think about it. In most of the last century there were no readily available computers. Teachers knew the basic stuff about reading, writing and arithmetic. As kids, many of us learned – maybe secretly – to count on our fingers. The arithmetically challenged also used their toes. In those days ... Read More »

Volunteers Needed

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Submitted Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is seeking volunteers! Our learning center is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM (open Saturdays beginning October). Volunteers are an integral part of the reserve and there are many opportunities available. Currently we are filling volunteers positions in the following areas: Docents for our daily programs; teachers and assistants for our school programs; maintenance/handyman; visitor services (admissions and Nature Store); greeters; fish feeders; communications assistance; special events and administrative assistance. Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age and we welcome high school students. Training will be provided and ... Read More »

Aquí, Hablamos Español MIA’s award-winning Spanish teacher insists on it.

Governor Rick Scott’s Shine Award recognizes outstanding and inspirational contributions made by Florida educators.
Rients and three of his colleagues received
this prestigious award from the Governor during his visit to MIA on March 4th

By Barry Gwinn On March 4, 2016, Governor Rick Scott came to town and didn’t stop until reaching the campus of Marco Island Academy (MIA). One of the reasons he came was to see for himself how this small high school (opened in 2011) could have risen so rapidly in the state’s academic rankings. (The Florida Dept. of Education has ranked MIA as an “A” school for the past two years. Since then, the Washington Post has rated MIA as one of the 255 most challenging high schools in the nation.) Another reason the Governor came was to personally present ... Read More »

Local Guidebook for Kids Wins Award

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Submitted The Independent Book Publishers Association awarded “A (mostly) Kids’ Guide to Naples, Marco Island, & The Everglades” its Silver Benjamin Franklin Award, making it runner up for the Top Travel Book of 2015. Published by Naples-based Mostly Kids’ Guides, LLC, the book is the only winner featuring a U.S. destination. The other two winners featured Paris, France and Naples, Italy. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are regarded among the highest publishing honors recognizing excellence in book editorial and design. Nationally known travel journalist and book author Karen T. Bartlett is the founder of Mostly Kids’ Guides. She has been a ... Read More »

Academy Receives Donation from the Marriott

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Rick Medwedeff, General Manager of the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club and Spa, presented the Marco Island Academy with a check for a portion of the proceeds raised from a golf tournament, a total of $38,000. The school founder, Jane Watt, accepted the donation. The Academy is a Charter High School whose mission is to provide a student-centered, well-rounded, interdisciplinary education while forming an integral partnership among students, teachers, parents and the community. The money will go towards the school’s ‘General Fund,’ which is critical to their operations, as they do not receive sufficient ... Read More »

Relay Recess Kickoff

Students receive goody bags from ACS with sunglasses and sunscreen.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff On December 4, 2015 the American Cancer Society’s Relay Recess kicked off at the Island Montessori School. Relay Recess brings the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay For Life to elementary schools, nationwide. The program brings cancer education and community service into the classroom, engaging youngsters in the fight against cancer. ACS makes the education fun, through entertainment and activities. Volunteers from Marco Island Academy, high school students Duneshka Cruz, Cassidy Carlson, Cole Stretton, and Abi Neal, along with Principal Melissa Scott, helped Sue Olszak from ACS with the activities. Kickoff began with music and Zumba, ... Read More »

A SALUTE to Line of Duty Members

Submitted Ruben Zamora, a realtor with Keller Williams, introduces the SALUTE to Line of Duty Members, which contributes up to 25% of a realtor’s commission towards closing costs for members that are U.S. veterans, police officers, fire fighters, medical staff, and teachers. The program allows for those members to apply the commission towards their closing cost settlements, and would be reflected in their HUD-1 statements of the savings. This, in conjunction with other state benefits such as the Florida Bond, SHIP Program, and Military Heroes Government Loan Program, can result in little out-of-pocket costs. “I have been in the military ... Read More »

Tech Trek Seeks Nominations

Submitted T Tech Trek is seeking nominations of seventh grade girls for their weeklong STEM educational camp. Students are nominated for the program by their math and science teachers. The deadline for teachers’ nominations is December 15. Women are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Tech Trek’s camp aims at changing that by introducing girls to STEM through fun and interesting educational workshops. Some of the workshops offered at the 2015 Tech Trek camp included application inventor software, aeronautics design for hot air balloons and Barbie bungee-jumping. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) sponsors ... Read More »

How Do You Measure Student Learning?

Johnathan Watt; Students’ individual talents cannot 
only be measured by standardized tests. PHOTO BY JANE WATT

FIGHTING FOR KIDS Jane Watt JaneWatt01@gmail.com website: JaneWatt.org As the chairman of the board of Marco Island Academy (“MIA”), a public charter high school for the past five years, I have had an opportunity to witness firsthand how the current standardized testing strategies affect students, teachers and administration at the school. As a parent of three children in the public school system, I have personal experience with how the testing has affected my own kids. In both cases, there is an unnecessary amount of stress caused by the abundance of standardized testing in schools today. During the past few years, legislators ... Read More »

SALUTE TO VETERANS: Philip “Phil” Ballou

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By Maggie Gust Philip Ballou served as a Staff Sergeant in the 1771 Air Transport Command, Army Air Force, in the Pacific Theater, 1943 to 1946. Phil had a very unique wartime story. He is the first person I have ever met whose mother served in the same war. Hazel Ballou, a 38-year-old legal secretary during peace time, enlisted in the WACs a month before her 18-year-old son Phil was drafted into the Army. Ironically, they both got their 30-day leave before deployment at the same time, so were able to spend time together at home. Home was Clarion, Iowa, ... Read More »

Kiwanis Terrific Kids

Kathleen Reynolds and Avè Dussias. Mom Jennifer looks on.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff On October 22, the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island honored five fifth-grade children from Manatee Elementary School and Tommie Barfield Elementary School with the Terrific Kids award. October’s Terrific Kids are: Avè Dussias, Hope Heidreich, Woodjenley Nicolas, Alejandra Ramos and Olivia Saunders. Avè and Hope attend Tommie Barfield. Woodjenley, Alejandra and Olivia attend Manatee. The Terrific Kids program is a student recognition program that promotes character development and self-esteem. Outstanding students are nominated by their teachers. Every month the Terrific Kids and their family join the Kiwanians for breakfast where they are recognized for their ... Read More »

Conservancy of Southwest Florida receives $25,000 grant during Walmart “Day of Giving”

Funding to support STEM-based programs at the Conservancy The Conservancy of Southwest Florida recently received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support STEM-based Learning Adventures outreach and field trip programs at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The grant was presented to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida on Sept. 30 during a special Walmart “Day of Giving” event in Naples. STEM-based Learning Adventures are a series of dynamic, environmental education programs. Outreach programs include an interactive classroom experience, presented by knowledgeable naturalists using ambassador animals. Children can also visit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center and the STEM ... Read More »

Stand Up and Speak Out for Charter Schools!

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FIGHTING FOR KIDS Jane Watt JaneWatt01@gmail.com website: JaneWatt.org Recently I served as a panelist at the 2015 Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools Quality Charter School Authorizers Task Force meeting in Fort Lauderdale. District and charter representatives from across the entire state gathered to share ideas. Representative Janet Adkins and Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie co-chaired the annual summit meeting. We met to discuss issues related to the charter school movement in Florida and discover ways for district and charter schools to better collaborate. There are many reasons why working together is so important. The highest performing districts in the state also ... Read More »

Why Back to School is the Best Time of Year

Students take the opportunity to socialize before school starts. PHOTOS BY JANE WATT

FIGHTING FOR KIDS Jane Watt JaneWatt01@gmail.com website: JaneWatt.org As summer quickly comes to an end, I commonly hear parents and students grumbling about the first day of school. Occasionally, I even catch myself joining in on the conversation. Who doesn’t love the freedom and flexibility that summer brings? There are no schedules, no homework and plenty of time for vacation. Plus, I love to spend time with my family. This year, just like the last one, I have three children in three different schools on the island: Marco Island Academy, Marco Island Charter Middle School and Tommie Barfield Elementary. All three ... Read More »

FLORIDA COASTAL OFFICE CONDUCTS “TEACHERS ON THE ESTUARY” WORKSHOPS

~Reserves promote estuarine education in the classroom~   Teachers learn about estuaries from Rookery Bay Reserve Director Keith Laakkonen.  NAPLES, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office hosted Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE), an educational program that provides hands-on, field-based activities for teachers to increase their knowledge and appreciation of estuarine environments and to support teaching estuary and watershed topics in the classroom. Developed by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, five TOTE workshops have been held for teachers in four of the gulf states, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. This marks the first time FCO has ... Read More »

Chamber Announces FIRST “Chamber Champion” Rick’s Island Salon & Day Spa

The Popoff family poses with their Chamber Champion award, joined by Dick Shanahan, far left and Nancy Carrington, far right. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted Lisa and Rick Popoff are the perfect example of a Chamber Champion. With head to toe services as their business, Rick’s Island Salon and Day Spa has been providing outstanding service since 1992, and has been a selfless contributor to the Marco Island community since the day they opened their doors. As a past president of the Chamber and current Board Member, Rick knows the importance of giving back to the community. During the month of August, Rick and his staff have provided teachers and students with free haircuts for the past six years to prepare for back to ... Read More »

Get Ready to Go Back to School at Marco Island Academy!

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff It’s almost that time of year again, as the summer comes to its end, and the teachers and students at Marco Island Academy are getting ready for a new academic year. MIA has announced that there will be seven new teachers this year: Sandi Castillo (English), Dorothy Chapman (Math), Lianna Fried (Performing Arts), Farrell Kellener (ESE/SWD), Gerry Miller (Science), Mariah Walther (Spanish) and Michael Weyrauch (History). Two new staff members are also joining the MIA team: Maegan Carr (Receptionist) and Elona Ruci (Comptroller). When school doors open in August, we will bring you more about ... Read More »

Life After the Test

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FIGHTING FOR KIDS Jane Watt JaneWatt01@gmail.com website: JaneWatt.org Many schools across the country have spent the last eight months preparing for the end of year high stakes tests. For example, at Marco Island Academy (MIA), a public charter high school in Southwest Florida, we have administered countless numbers of tests in the past couple of months to comply with the state mandates. Out of ninety full-time instructional days in the second semester, we have administered tests forty-nine of the days. Since we are a small school, the logistics of the testing have been a nightmare. The teachers have juggled their lessons ... Read More »

First Four Year Graduating Class for Marco Island Academy

Maureen McFarland, who will be a professor in the fall at Florida SouthWestern State College, speaks to the Marco Island Academy's 33 graduates.

By Roger LaLonde It was a walk back in time for many of the Marco Island Academy graduating Class of 2015 when they returned to the Family Church, formerly the First Baptist Church, on May 29. It was where the school got its start in 2011. The auditorium was packed in celebration as ceremonies marked the first class to complete four years of education at the young school. Starting with 62 students in 2011, the class size will be 255 in the fall, its maximum size at its one-year-old location on San Marco Road, on the way to Goodland. There ... Read More »

Breathing Life into History

Steven Smith, commander of VFW Post 7721 in Naples, and Mary Ellen Cash, scholarship chairman for the post’s ladies auxiliary, flank MIA history teacher Lori Galiana.

By Don Manley Lori Galiana’s approach in the classroom at Marco Island Academy (MIA) has led to her being recognized by district 13 of Florida’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization. As her world history class looked on, the history instructor recently received the district’s Teacher of the Year award from Steven Smith, commander of VFW Post 7721 in Naples, and Mary Ellen Cash, scholarship chairman for the post’s ladies auxiliary. Cash said Galiana was selected for the award, which encompasses Collier, Lee and Hendry counties, because of her focus on bringing the study of history alive for her students. ... Read More »