Ocoee Middle teachers Escape the Staff Meeting … and more School News!

compiled by Lauren Salinero

Keene’s Crossing Elementary

The Keene’s Crossing Elementary community welcomed two new assistant principals to the Cougar family this year: Korey Bawden and Melanie Simmons. The school also received an A+ rating for the 2016-17 term.

Spring Lake Elementary

Through Serve our City at HighPoint Church, former Orlando Magic players Andrew DeClercq and Keith Tower surprised local youngsters headed back to school with a community cleanup project at “Pig’s Alley” in Ocoee. The two former players teamed up with HighPoint Church, Lowe’s, Ocoee Police Department, Cub Scout Pack 217, and local churches and community centers to spruce up the primary walking path for Spring Lake Elementary students, which was a graffiti-riddled area known as “Pig’s Alley.” The cleanup included a safe, repaired walkway painted with inspiring artwork and slogans. Teams also picked up garbage, cleared overgrown brush, and repaired and repainted fences. Andrew and Keith co-founded HighPoint Church in Ocoee in 2005 and currently serve as

Ocoee Middle

Ocoee Middle School’s core team and staff volunteers play Escape the Staff Meeting during the school’s preplanning.

Ocoee Middle School staff members and volunteers livened up their 2017-18 preplanning through an escape room game called Escape the Staff Meeting. Several teachers also attended the International Society for Technology in Education Conference & Expo and are eager to share the things they learned.


Dr. Phillips High

Emerald Forest resident Sara Cheney graduates with honors with Dr. Phillips High’s Class of 2017.

Congratulations to Sara Cheney of Emerald Forest for graduating with honors from Dr. Phillips High. During her high school career, she was a member of the National Honor Society and Eco-Action Club, a gymnast at Orlando Metro Gymnastics, and was involved with Peers Offering Peers Support, Buddy Break and OCA Camp. She is currently an aerialist at AntiGravity National Training Facility.

Olympia High

Kendall Barrows (center) of Olympia High — along with her mom, Jennifer Barrows (left), and grandmother, Mary Barrows — celebrates her graduation from the 2017 Florida Wing Civil Air Patrol Encampment.

Olympia High student and Windermere resident Kendall Barrows graduated from the 2017 Florida Wing Civil Air Patrol Encampment at Camp Blanding. Kendall is a staff sergeant in Civil Air Patrol Squadron 465 at her school.

Et Al

Emma Murr, an eighth-grader at Holy Family Catholic School, was chosen as a national grade-level semifinalist in the 2017 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. Nine students in kindergarten through eighth grade earned the distinction of grade-level champion, meaning they had the best handwriting among all entries. Nine other students, including Emma, emerged as semifinalists. Students who compete come from both public and private schools across the country that use the Zaner-Bloser handwriting and/or reading curriculum.

Holy Family Catholic School eighth-grader Emma Murr achieves the national grade-level semifinalist in the 2017 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

“The process of writing out letters plays a vital role in spelling, reading, writing, mathematics and motor skills development, so we want to encourage the teaching of both print and cursive handwriting,” said Lesa Scott, president of Zaner-Bloser. “Research shows that learning and using handwriting impacts students’ overall literacy development. We’re very proud to honor these students and their schools for their commitment to handwriting as a solid foundation for academic success.”

During a recent School Board of Orange County meeting, the district and the Orange Education Support Professionals Association reached a tentative agreement on compensation and contract language for the 2017-18 school year. The details of the agreement are:

  • All classified employees will receive an average of a 2.2 percent (or a minimum of 31 cents) increase added to their hourly rate of pay.
  • During the 2015-16 and 2016-17 increases, the new OCPS minimum was raised to $10 per hour with no experience credit given. As part of this year’s tentative agreement, employees will be moved to the same years of experience credit, up to five years, that they were at before these increases occurred.
  • With the combination of the raise and the experience credit adjustment, this year’s increase will range between 31 cents and 81 cents per hour.
  • Employees must have worked at least one day over half of the 2016-17 work year to be eligible for this increase.
  • A $500 one-time-only bonus will be paid to all classified employees.
  • Employees must be in an active employment status as of the day of payout to receive the salary increase and/or the bonus.

Ballots with complete details of all of the tentative agreements and memorandums of understanding should be arriving at work locations on or about Aug. 21. Ballots are due back at the OESPA office no later than Sept. 8, 2017.

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced the final group of National Merit Scholar-ship winners. College-sponsored awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. The final group of winners brings the number of 2017 National Merit Scholars to more than 7,500, who will receive scholarships for undergraduate study worth a total of more than $32 million. Congratulations to all Southwest-area students who were awarded scholarships throughout the finalist process.

(L. to r.) Sareena Desai, Luke Beucher, Joey Polo, Gabbie Garrote, Jessica Polo, Mila Kalidas, Sylvia Brooks and Clarity Vergara attend Dinosaur Camp at Premier Academy.

Although we try to ensure that all information presented above is the most current, correct and dependable available, we do rely on others for the source of our news. Therefore, the Southwest Orlando Bulletin and Cornerstone Publishing & Multi-Media LLC cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information presented here, nor does mentioning it constitute an endorsement. School News is welcome and may be mailed to P.O. Box 851, Windermere, FL 34786; or emailed to Lauren@kearneypublishing.com.

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