We are excited to be back in the throes of the new school year! Our classrooms are filled with many new students and we are proud to announce that we have opened a brand new school in Tallahassee.
Please take some time to read the following article regarding Common Core.
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office at 407-644-5000.
TECHNOLOGY REIGNS! Three of our schools have recently replaced textbooks with IPADs, eliminating the weight of the proverbial backpack and rendering the phrase “The Dog Ate My Homework” obsolete. Congratulations to Forest Lake Academy, Greater Miami Adventist Academy, and Miami Springs Adventist School.
IRON CHEF COMPETITION. On March 13, Orlando Junior Academy invited local celebrity chefs and community leaders to serve on a panel of judges for their 5th – 8th grade Iron Chef competition. Students worked in teams to create healthy and tasty dishes from recipes using fresh ingredients harvested from the school’s own garden. The competition was the final exam for the students’ 9-week Nutritional Science Lab unit.
SCHOOLS UNITE! William A. Kirlew Jr Academy middle school students, their teachers and principal were guests for the Sawgrass Adventist School’s Valentines’ Day Friendship Banquet. Students were judged on traits discussed in their Life Skills after school groups, including their ability to hold polite conversation, proper table manners, and appearance befitting a young woman or man of God. After judges’ scores were tallied, an Etiquette King and Queen were chosen. “We have had a number of exciting events at our school this year,” Principal Kathy McCullough reports. “In the past few weeks, we had an awesome Social Studies Fair and a great Multi-Cultural Banquet. Our Valentine’s Friendship Banquet was especially meaningful since we invited guests from our sister school in Miami.”
‘TIS THE SEASON….FOR CLASS TRIPS! Students from Florida Conference Schools and their teachers are traversing the state and beyond as they expand their knowledge of the world around them. Pictured (above) in front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. are Jesse Benton and his 9th grade students from Z.L. Sung Seventh-day Adventist School in Gainesville. “It was a little cold for their Florida blood, but we had a great time,” says Jesse. In addition to the Capitol, the students visited the Supreme Court, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, several Smithsonian Museums, Antietam Battlefield, Harpers Ferry, and much more.
FAMOUS GROUP PERFORMS. The internationally noted Yale University “Spizzwinks” presented a concert for the James E. Sampson Memorial Seventh-day Adventist School in Fort Pierce at the Indian River State College’s Fine Arts Theater on March 15. The performers followed up by visiting the school and praying with the students in each classroom. “It was a truly inspiring and entertaining concert,” reports Principal Deborah Dahl, who planned the event.The “Yale Spizzwinks” are known as America’s first and oldest underclassman a cappella group. Since 1914, they have entertained audiences around the world with a unique blend of sweet harmony and tongue-in-cheek humor.
Whether you are brand new to Florida Conference or have been here for awhile and want to “sharpen the saw,” you have a menu of training opportunities right within our conference. Call or e-mail Betty Jean Mader or Alejandra Torres to sign up today! The following trainings will be offered in Orlando this summer:
Responsive Classroom – Grades K-5 – June 3-7 (Required for new employees)
Developmental Designs – Grades 6-9 – June 3-7 (Required for new employees)
Stepping Stones Unit Planning – single grade or combination kindergarten programs – June 3-7
Grades 5-8 Curriculum Planning (Suitable for single and multi-grade teachers) – June 3-7
Writers’ Workshop Clinic – Grades K-5 – June 10-21. (This training will help you fine-tune your writing program. Teachers will practice what they learn while working with real students during this two week course.)
Valmae Lowry, first- and second-grade teacher at Orlando Junior Academy and Dr. Eudora Stephens, fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Beryl Wisdom Adventist School in Orlando have recently become part of a pilot project leading to the Southern Union Teachers of Excellence Award. Created by Dr. Pam Forbes of the Carolina Conference, the “test pilot” has invited teachers from Carolina, Georgia-Cumberland and South Altantic Conferences to share expertise, coach one another via Virtual Learning Communities, and develop expertise in six components: Integration of Faith and Learning, Determining the Learners’ Instructional Needs, Delivering Instruction, Planning Curriculum, The Learning Environment, and Exhibiting Professionalism.
Valmae and Eudora began their involvement with the project in February, attending the kick-off meeting at the Carolina Conference, where they completed an initial self-assessment; listened to presentations by Dr. Bernice McCarthy; participated in brainstorming sessions; and became part of a virtual EDGE coaching group. “I am always looking for ways to grow as a teacher,” states Valmae, a 20-year veteran to the Florida Conference. “This is a great opportunity to discover new ideas that are unique to my own needs.”
We look forward to future reports as these teachers gain valuable skills that will benefit our conference.
At the last Board of Education meeting, Dr. Sandra Doran reported on the Office of Education’s strategic planning session which set the direction for some major upcoming changes. With a foundational belief that “all children have the right to reach their God-given potential,” the Office is committed to “grow teachers, nurture children, and live Christ’s love,” reports Arne Nielsen, Vice President for Integrated Youth Ministries. This year’s thematic goal is to find a way to create a “differentiated professional growth model,” Nielsen says. “We need to get our teachers connected with one another and working on goals that matter to them.”
In order to accomplish this task, the Office is investigating various technology solutions, including such things as virtual learning communities. The goal is to tie evaluation, professional development, study groups, and inservices together, resulting in meaningful experiences that are tailored to the needs of each teacher.
View the Board of Education presentation here: http://prezi.com/pi_5w6-wwvvk/board-of-ed-february-2013/?kw=view-pi_5w6-wwvvk&rc=ref-5512991
As our current teachers indicate their plans for next year, the Office of Education invariably discovers that there are a number of positions to fill. Teachers retire. Re-locate. Go on extended mission trips. Pursue full-time study. Prayerfully, our team begins to make contact with Adventist universities, pour over resumes, set up interviews.
“Our goal is to maintain the high quality of teachers that Florida Conference is known for,” says Arne Nielsen, Vice President for Integrated Youth MInistries. “We have an outstanding team here. Each opening must be filled by someone whose skill, faith, and compassion equal that of the teachers that are already in place.”
This year, Rachel Torres (right) has the distinction of being our first new hire for the 2013-2014 school year, filling the position of first- and second-grade teacher at Forest City Adventist School in Altamonte Springs. Hailing from Forest Lake Academy (2008) and Southern Adventist University (2012), Rachel lives her life by one of her favorite quotations from the book, Education, by Ellen White.
The heart of the child is tender and easily impressed; and when we who are older become “as little children” (Matthew 18:3); when we learn the simplicity and gentleness and tender love of the Savior, we shall not find it difficult to touch the hearts of the little ones, and teach them love’s ministry of healing.
As each day passes, new names appear beside Rachel’s on our list of new hires. We wish our departing teachers God’s richest blessings and pray that God will continue to guide as we find just the right match for each school, classroom, and child poised for new learning in the 2013-2014 school year.
Indigo Christian Jr. Academy, in Daytona Beach, FL, has adopted a new way of doing things. Take a look at this video on how a school can take the C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health principles and infuse every area of school life. It’s an exciting thing that’s happening at ICJA. Please pray for them as they continue to work to share the GOOD news of God with their students, parents, and community.
March is Southern Union National Lab Month. Learn more here.
Students at James E. Sampson Memorial SDA School performed a beautiful rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In” on steel drums. They are a talented group of young people and we wish them the best as they continue to grow and learn and succeed. Continue making beautiful music for Jesus!