The Plato Periodiko

November - 2021

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Chairman's November Letter

Dear Plato Academy Families,


As we reflect on the many things for which we are thankful, I want to take this opportunity to share just a few of them with you: We are thankful for our students who come to school every day ready to learn – they give us all a daily reminder of what is important and why we are here. We are thankful for the support of the parents in creating an outstanding partnership for our students. We are thankful for our teachers, assistants, secretaries, custodians, lunchroom aides, support staff, guidance counselors, and administrators who devotedly care about student achievement and have the best interests of our students at heart. We are also thankful for our volunteers who enthusiastically contribute so much to our schools.


Most importantly, we are thankful for the parents that have kept the faith in us. They continue to share their most valuable possessions with us and work hard and advocate to be a partner in their children’s education, safety and well-being. For this, we are humbled and ever so thankful.


I would like to wish all of you and your families a happy, healthy, and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!


Sincerely,

Louis Kokkinakos

Chairman of the Board

Plato Academy Schools

CEO's Corner--Getting Better, Every Day!

Dear Plato Academy Family,


We have so much to be grateful for as we head into this holiday season: amazing PTOs doing great events, all the parents who volunteered for the Great American Teach In, All Pro Dads Lightning Game, Plato Academy Tampa’s FL DOE award, and huge sense of relief from improving COVID numbers. I’m also incredibly proud of our Greek Department at each campus for recognizing and celebrating Oxi Day and Veterans Day. I’m proud that we teach our students to say, “Oxi,” to tyrants and bullies. I’m proud that we value the service of veterans who fight for justice and freedom for all. That fierce determination is what we need as we continue providing students with a world class education amidst the challenges we face.


That being said, I think it’s particularly important this year that we all express our immense gratitude to our students and teachers. As parents who were their children’s teachers, principals, nurses, guidance counselors, and janitorial staff when the world was under quarantine know, teaching with intelligence, passion, and enthusiasm is extremely challenging work. I am also incredibly grateful to our students who show up every day and do their best to improve academically and make the world a better place through acts of kindness.


Even though we have much to be grateful for, I want you to know that we are by no means complacent about where we are now and what we need to do moving forward. Plato Academy has serious challenges ahead. COVID learning loss is a real thing. Even though our students outperformed their peers in traditional public schools, they have significant opportunities for growth. We are developing an array of additional academic opportunities that parents will be happy to hear about in the very near future.


Even though our finances are in good order, there are challenges. Currently, we are locked into leases that hurt our schools. The average charter school lease is approximately $1,000 per pupil for unrestricted, around-the-clock access to a facility. At our St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, and Trinity campuses, we are paying nearly twice that amount per pupil to only have access to the facilities between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.. The leases to the properties are very one-sided, in favor of our landlord, who was also the developer of the properties, who was also our former management company, and who now runs VPK and before and after care that also occur on our campuses. Under these one-sided leases, Plato Academy is responsible for all of the maintenance and repairs and must share the buildings with multiple other tenants. This means that money for important school improvement efforts and recruiting and retaining world class employees goes to our landlord. While we are healthy financially, we are actively looking for ways to better serve our students and families by offsetting exorbitant rents.


Even though, our ambitious strategic plan has been adopted by the board, we will need the whole community to collaboratively work together to bring it to life. If you are interested in helping our schools to grow and improve, there are nine different task forces that would benefit from your assistance.


As always, thank you for doing your part to make Plato Academy even better and continue putting our students first! Please know that my door is always open; I appreciate all of your feedback.



Happy Thanksgiving!



Sincerely,


Matt Gunderson

CEO-Plato Academy Schools

gundersonm@platoacademy.net

#platostrong

#forwardtogether

Chief Academic Officer Update

Research Supports Parent Involvement in Children’s Education

When the topic of parent involvement comes up, volunteering on school campus is what comes to mind for most people. While that is one form of parental involvement, and one that gets the most attention, research shows some of the most impactful parental involvement happens close to home.


Here are some ways parents can help support their child’s success in school:


✔ Set high expectations for your child.

✔ Make sure your child is in school every day and on time.
Attendance matters!

✔ Work collaboratively with your child’s teachers and talk to them about goals and expectations for your child.

✔ Talk to your child each day about what he or she is doing in school and discuss what he or she learned.

✔ Encourage your child to complete assignments, and see that she or he finishes them.

✔ Attend parent-teacher conferences.

✔ Place value on learning activities.

✔ Just read! It doesn’t matter what or how, just model and expose them to words and language.

✔ Participate in family engagement and volunteer
Opportunities.

Plato Academy educators are committed to your child’s education and welcome your support and partnership.


Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change, Third edition (2014). Scholastic Inc. and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, available on p. 103 at http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/PrimarySources3rdEdition.pdf.


Sincerely,

Danielle Cicetti

Chief Academic Officer - Plato Academy Schools

#PlatoStrong #AcademicExcellence

Plato Academy Tampa Earns High Performing Charter Status from FL DOE

Joining its sister schools in achieving academic excellence, the newest of the Plato Academy Schools, Plato Academy Tampa, has earned the State of Florida's prestigious distinction for elite schools: the High Performing Charter status.


The benefits of earning this important distinction include a 15 year charter renewal, reduced reporting requirements, and a significant reduction in administrative fees paid to Hillsborough County Schools.


Plato Academy board member, George Antonaklas, who oversees academics, stated, "Congratulations to everyone that has been involved in making this possible!"


Plato Academy Tampa already ranks in the top-10 of Hillsborough County's 54 charter schools. Plato Academy Tampa earned this status because it has been an A-rated school for three years and it has been financially healthy throughout its first five years.


CEO, Matt Gunderson, who was the founding principal of Plato Academy Tampa, said, "This designation was a goal for the school from day 1. It took the whole team to make this happen. Students, parents, teachers, administrators, district personnel and community members worked collaboratively with the best interests of children in mind to accomplish this goal. There are many more to come, including ranking in the top-10 of all Hillsborough County's public schools!"


Plato Academy Tampa is…


#1 in 3rd grade reading among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

315 Scale Score (State= 300)


#3 in 4th grade reading among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

324 Scale Score (State= 310)


#5 in 5th grade reading among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

333 Scale Score (State= 321)


#2 in 3rd grade math among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

314 Scale Score (State= 296)


#8 in 4th grade math among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

313 Scale Score (State= 309)


#7 in 5th grade math among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

327 Scale Score (State= 318)


#5 in 5th grade science among all Hillsborough County Charter Schools

206 Scale Score (state= 197)

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Volunteer Opportunity for Parents and Teachers: Strategic Plan Task Forces

Do you want to help make Plato Academy even better? After an incredibly challenging beginning to the school year due to a huge uptick in Covid, we are finally settling into a good groove where we can focus on the exciting and rewarding work of strategic planning. Below, you will find a list of the Task Forces and the Administrators who will be facilitating those teams. If you are interested in donating your time and talents to helping Plato Academy Schools become even better than they already are, please indicate below which of the Task Forces you would like to participate in. These task forces identify areas in which we want to improve over the next five years. Simply click the link below to learn more and sign up!


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeqjLeKsuqrhFndKW30P--c6KiGTf-tcKwEa6YmAZpxgF58uw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

Plato Academy Partners with Feeding Tampa Bay

On Friday, November 19th, our Plato Academy Seminole 4th graders went to Feeding Tampa Bay to help serve our community. Feeding Tampa Bay is an organization that focuses on providing food to the hundreds of thousands of food insecure families in the 10 county area of West Central Florida. As the week of Thanksgiving approaches, our students helped put together Thanksgiving meals for those less fortunate. These meals are an annual tradition that Feeding Tampa Bay, Publix, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers partner to do and with our students' help, ONE THOUSAND meals were put together! Both, Mrs. Bradford and Ms. H, are so proud of our students, they worked so hard and represented Plato Seminole amazingly. A huge shoutout to our parent chaperones that helped us as well; we honestly could not have done this without them!
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All Pro Dad Tampa Bay Lightning Event

Thank you for all who participated in the recent game night with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Had a great time watching the game with all of you including Plato Academy's CEO Matt Gunderson, Plato Academy Largo Principal, Stephen Donnelly, and Plato Academy's Facilities Director, Alex Christopoulos. Over 430 Plato Academy students and family members attended. These events are part of the legacy of Steve Christopoulos as he strongly supported these family based gatherings and helped build our All Pro Dad Program. James Sciandra deserves a huge shout out for organizing this event and providing our students and families with a positive experience that will surely be a lifelong memory.


Congratulations to Principal Donnelly and the entire Plato Academy Largo Campus for having the highest participation. They rocked it! As a reward, Plato Academy Largo received a special gift from the Tampa Bay Lightning. They also got to draw the 18 winners for the fan experience.


Be sure to follow the All Pro Dad - Family Events Page on Facebook!


https://www.facebook.com/groups/183890615045886

Plato Academy Schools - All Pro Dad - Camping Trip REMINDER!!

Hello Plato Academy Families,


We are excited to officially announce our “Tenth” Annual All Pro Dad Camping trip. We are VERY excited to be returning this year to the "Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo." This is a special place with lots of unique activities to enjoy. Everyone will get to see a live rodeo show and all the kids will have an unlimited weekend pass to the River Ranch Adventure Park, and it will include the bounce houses. You can look forward to having lots of fun and enjoying some great quality family time. To find out more details about the Ranch you can go to www.tinyurl.com/riverranchresort


We have reserved close to the entire resort for the upcoming camping trip, and we are projecting to sell out. Sign up now to secure your family’s spot. Spots are still available so take advantage of this and book your spot right away by signing up below. Our tent spots are all together in the same area. That means no need for requests or worrying about not being directly next to your friends. New to the resort this year is Platform Tent camping which includes a tent and the Luxury Glamping which includes a golf cart.


There are MANY camping options at the River Ranch Resort. These include Tent camping, Platform Tent camping, RV camping, Studio Cabins, Railcar Cabins, Glamping, 1-bedroom Cabins, 2 bedroom Cabins, 1 bedroom cottages, 2 bedroom cottages, Luxury Glamping, and exclusive Tee Pee camping.


Our camping trip is set to begin Friday, February 18th and wrap up Monday, February 21st. (Please note that there is no school on Monday, February 21st). Join in for this 3-night camping trip. We will kick off the camping trip with a Friday evening party with a live DJ and food. We will wrap up on Monday with a group breakfast. In between there will be lots of great times including group games, group meals, activities, campfires, making smores, outdoor movies, scavenger hunts, contests and more!


This year is an ALL-INCLUDED trip. Food for your entire family (six meals-3 breakfasts & 3 dinners. Lunch is not provided), weekend adventure park passes for all kids, Saturday night live rodeo show, shirts for the whole family, and a ton of group activities. All this is included with your site reservation.


  • Tent site vacations are a total of $450.00 per tent for the entire 3-night stay (you supply your own tent).

  • Platform Tent site vacations are a total of $635.00 per tent for the entire 3-night stay (tent is provided and already set up for you along with a BBQ grill and picnic table).

  • RV/ Trailer spots vacations are a total of $675.00 for the 3-night stay (you supply the RV/Trailer).

  • Studio Cabin vacations are a total of $1,090.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • Railcar Cabin vacations are a total of $1,150.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • Glamping site vacations are a total of $1,174.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • One Bedroom Cabin vacations are a total of $1,252.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • One Bedroom Cottage vacations are a total of $1,252.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • Two Bedroom Cabin vacations are a total of $1,732.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • Two Bedroom Cottage vacations are a total of $1,780.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • Luxury Glamping vacations are a total of $1,738.00 for the entire 3-night stay.

  • Exclusive Tee Pee vacations are a total of $1,870.00 for the entire 3-night stay.


All payments will be made through this sign-up genius page. These prices again cover your site, food, kids adventure park weekend pass, rodeo show, shirt and all our group activities. So, for as low as $450 you can have a 3-day all-inclusive Resort vacation for your entire family. The only separate cost would be the golf cart rentals and they are available to purchase through this sign-up genius page as well, but the golf carts do not have to be paid for now. (Please note that a custom golf cart is included with every Luxury Glamping and Tee Pee reservation) Details in addition to this sign-up page will be sent out periodically via email. Also, we will be having a pre-camping trip meeting to address any questions and concerns and the time an place of that meeting is to be announced.


Please note that this is a "family" camping trip and that ALL family members are welcome. Mothers, Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, Grandfathers, cousins, etc., as well as dads. Although our schools All Pro Dad program is hosting this camping trip, it is not exclusive to just Dads with their children.


All Volunteer positions are for dads only. This is the dads time to say thanks to all the hard-working moms that do so much all year long. So, moms, you get to relax and enjoy :-)

***Also note that cancelations after December 31st will not be eligible for a refund***

Thank you for your continued participation and support for our schools All Pro Dad program. Hope to see you and your family there!!!


All Pro Dad Plato Academy Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/183890615045886


Gratefully,


James Sciandra, All Pro Dad Team Captain

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Greek Department - News & Updates

Kiria Kosta, Director of the Greek Program of Plato Academy Schools, had the honor to meet the new Consul General of the Consulate General of Greece in Tampa, Mr. Loukas Tsokos.


Following a presentation of our nine schools, Mr. Tsokos showed appreciation and admiration of the work being done with the Greek language and culture, but also overall of our high academic achievements. His plans are to visit our schools within the month of December to meet students and educators in person and learn more about our schools.


We are excited to have him and look forward to showcasing our Greek department at each of our wonderful schools!

OXI Day & Veterans Celebration Events


Plato Academy Schools celebrates OXI day!!


28 October, 1940 commemorates the anniversary when Greek Prime Minister and Military General Ioannis Metaxas said Oxi, or NO! to fascist Italian Prime Minister Mussolini refusing Italian forces to occupy strategic locations in Greece. The motivation behind Mussolini’s ultimatum was to impress his ally Adolf Hitler because Mussolini thought Greece would be an easy victory. The Italian army indeed invaded, but a few months later the Greek soldiers pushed the Italians back into Albania. Mussolini then asked Hitler to assist. Despite courageous and long lasting efforts, Greece eventually fell but this small and proud nation lasted longer than other bigger nations before it. The detour through Greece cost Hitler immense time so he had to delay the invasion into Russia. Hitler's army experienced the inhospitable cold Russian winter, which helped lead to the Nazi defeat. With Ioannis Metaxas' “OXI” Greece was destined to enter WWII. Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States of America praised Greece for saying NO to fascism: "On the 28th of October 1940 Greece was given a deadline of three hours to decide on war or peace but even if a three day or three week or three year were given, the response would have been the same. The Greeks taught dignity throughout the centuries. When the entire world had lost all hope, the Greek people dared to question the invincibility of the German monster raising against it the proud spirit of freedom."

4th Grade Greek National Anthem

Great American Teach-In at Plato Academy Schools

Last week, Plato Academy Schools sponsored the Great American Teach-In. Thanks to immense support from parents and community members, our students had amazing opportunities to learn more about different career paths and exciting hobbies. Thank you to everyone who made the event a huge success!

Help Plato Academy Rise Up in the Rankings with your Honest, Supportive Reviews $1,000 School Survey Sweepstakes !

Take a short survey on your school and be entered for a chance to win $1,000. Open to students, parents, and recent alumni. DEADLINE: November 30, 2021

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ARETE AWARDS

In Loving Memory of Mr. Galasso

On Friday, November 12th, Mr. Galasso, Plato Academy Clearwater parent, passed away unexpectedly. He leaves behind his wife and 2 young daughters, who attend Plato Academy Clearwater. The Galasso family has been a strong part of the PAC community over the years and we are going to give back to them in whatever ways that we can. Below, you can find a meal train to help for the next three weeks. The school is also accepting donations for gift cards to help with groceries or meal delivery, as well as to put together a comfort basket for each girl and mom. If there is anything you would like to contribute or cards to send the family, please communicate with Principal Sutera at principalclearwater@platoacademy.net or bring it to the Plato Academy Clearwater office and we will arrange delivery. The family has given us permission to share this information, as they are so appreciative of the love and support that we give and they thank you in advance for any words of encouragement. Thank you for your help during what is going to be a very difficult season for this family.

Greek Word of the Month

prassó (Greek: πράσσω) is a Greek term that signifies practice, and continuous improvement.


At Plato Academy, we believe prasso is an integral component in achieveing Arete (excellence) in all things. Prasso is to perform or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency. Prasso (practice) is a value that is not only expressed by how well you do something, but rather how you grow through the process of practice.

Contact our Board Members:

Louis Kokkinakos - Chairman of the Board: lkokkinakos@platoacademy.net

John Petalas - Vice Chairman: jpetalas@platoacademy.net

Yale Walker - Treasurer: walkery@platoacademy.net

George Antonaklas - Secretary: antonaklasg@platoacademy.net

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Plato Academy Schools Mission Statement

The mission of the Plato Academy Charter Schools is to assist students in achieving their full potential by requiring and nurturing high academic and behavioral standards in a safe, supporting, challenging, and enthusiastic environment, providing a well-rounded K-8 education fortified by a study of the Greek language and culture, and fostered by a commitment and cooperative effort among the school, students, parents, and community: our family.