The Plato Periodiko

October - 2021

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Chairman's Corner--Parent Support Starts at Home

Plato Academy's Mission is focused on high standards. First, excellent student behavior is essential to a productive learning environment. Through firm but fair discipline, and the caring attention of excellent teachers, our students are focused on improving their academic abilities. Second, our goal is to give students a world-class education that prepares them for success at the next level. Our mission calls for collaboration between the school and home. This connection is vital.


Parents play an incredibly important role in all of this. I want to thank each and every parent who supports high academic and behavioral standards at our schools. Thank you for reinforcing the learning and character development that are taking place in the classroom. Thank you for supporting our teachers and principals. When students know parents and teachers are on the same page, the expectations taught at school and the expectations taught at home are more powerful.


Thank you for encouraging your children to do their best every day, treating others with respect, and respecting themselves by working hard to achieve challenging goals. Thank you for doing your part to ensure the high-standards mission of Plato Academy is alive and well.


Thank you,


Louis Kokkinakos

Chairman of the Board

Plato Academy Schools

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


Dear Plato Academy Family,


My office is on the floor directly above the music classroom at Plato Academy Clearwater. Throughout the day, I hear Ms. Thorsen and the students practicing. Over and over again, they work through the mechanics of a song. Like any great learning environment, there are peaks and lulls in the action—starts, stops, and restarts. The practice and progress happen in fits and starts--it's noisy and chaotic. But, eventually, over time, the children learn the whole song and they begin perfecting it. It goes from random sounds, to bits of music, to beauty. Hearing this happen reminds me that we are always working to improve and, hopefully, having fun along the way, working with people we care about and want to succeed. We do all of this within a caring and supportive learning environment with high academic and behavioral expectations. We set the bar high, knowing our students can and will achieve it!


Congratulations!

Plato Academy Clearwater was recently awarded the special designation of Number 1 Charter School in the Tampa Bay Area by Niche.com. The award is based on academic performance and parent reviews. Well Done!


Hitting Our Stride

As we begin the month of October, the weather is cooling down a bit and Covid numbers are also improving. However, October is also the time of the year when our focus on academic improvement really heats up. By now, with the first quarter having just wrapped up, classroom routines and procedures are running smoothly and students know where they are doing well and where they can improve. Students in every grade level should have a clear sense of what they are learning and how they individually want to improve in each subject. Parents can support their children at home by helping students to appreciate the power of practice and knowing that mistakes are an okay part of the learning process.


Growth Mindset--Helping From Home

At Plato Academy, we teach our students that their talents can be developed through practice, hard work, healthy habits, and caring advice from others. Healthy habits, the willingness to try and fail, over and over, and to keep trying is a growth mindset. Students with the growth mindset that practice involves learning through many mistakes tend to achieve more than students who believe their talents are innate gifts that they either have or don’t have. Instead of saying, “I’m not good at math,” children with a growth mindset will say, “I haven’t practiced that skill enough, yet.”


Schools of Excellence--A Team Approach to Continuous Improvement

Each fall, in the spirit of growth mindset, Plato Academy Schools conducts a process called Schools of Excellence. At each campus on different days, a diverse team of Plato Academy educators from different campuses convenes to interview parents, students, and teachers, conduct classroom visits, and review academic data. The goal of the visit is to identify what is working well and where we can get better. It requires the review team to listen and observe, always on the lookout for best practices to be shared amongst all of our schools. The Schools of Excellence team promotes cross-campus collaboration and the sharing of best practices. This year, there will be a parent participant as part of each team.


Greek Department Growth to Boost Academic Improvement

In addition to better building the bridge connecting home and school, we are focusing on our Greek Department this year because we believe that our Greek program can and should be a defining element of the Plato Academy experience. Understanding Greek culture and language helps us better understand modern democracy, science, philosophy, and the arts. Learning a second language boosts cognitive development in children. But, perhaps most importantly, our Greek program provides students with an opportunity to connect— to connect with each other, connect with their schools, and connect with the world. A huge component of our Greek program is the idea of community—family. The entire Greek Department, including its Director, Kostas Aretis, and Chief Academic Officer, Danielle Cicetti, met on Friday morning to begin making a series of improvements that will nurture consistency and excellence at all 9 schools.


Community Building Through High Behavior Expectations

Year after year, we learn that one of our greatest strengths as a family of schools is that parents, students, and teachers feel that there is a strong sense of community. That sense of community is founded in our sense of purpose. Does the work we do matter? Does the way we do our job matter? Do we have opportunities to learn and to grow? Are we supporting others and are we supported? Everything we do in our respective roles matters. Excellent student behavior is a key component of our mission. This requires us to be firm and fair. When one student is disrupting the learning of all the other 17-21 students in the classroom, it is the teacher’s and the principal's job to ensure that the students who are ready to learn keep learning and that the student who is struggling gets the best support that they can.


All Pro Dad Camping Trip at Westgate River Ranch

I am thrilled that my family and I are booked to attend the "Tenth" All Pro Dad Family Camping trip at the Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo. It will be great to spend some quality time with the Plato Academy Family thanks to All Pro Dad.


Sincerely,


Matt Gunderson

CEO-Plato Academy Schools

gundersonm@platoacademy.net

#platostrong

#forwardtogether

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

Hello Plato Academy Families,


Many of you have waiting a long time for this........We are excited to officially announce our “Tenth” Annual All Pro Dad Camping trip. (Missed last year due to Covid). 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!!!


Gratefully,


James Sciandra, All Pro Dad Team Captain

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Niche.com - Best School Awards 2022 - Plato Academy Ranks at the Top!

Plato Academy Clearwater:

  • #1 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #1 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County
  • #1 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Tampa Area


Plato Academy Tarpon Springs:

  • #2 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #2 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County


Plato Academy Palm Harbor:

  • #3 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #4 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County


Plato Academy Trinity:

  • #5 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pasco County


Plato Academy St. Petersburg:

  • #7 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #7 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County


Plato Academy Seminole:

  • #8 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #8 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County


Plato Academy Largo:

  • #9 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #9 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County


Plato Academy Pinellas Park:

  • #10 of Best Public Middle Schools in Pinellas County
  • #10 of Best Charter Elementary Schools in Pinellas County

Great American Teach-In - November, 18th, 2021!

On November 18th, we will sponsor the Great American Teach-In.


We wish to help coordinate you speaking to your child's class, a grade level of choice, or even the whole school virtually! Are you up for the task? Perhaps you can get some coworkers involved to show off just what it is you do.


No matter the profession, no matter the job, no matter how well you public speak, please consider volunteering your time. You can do this!


This great opportunity really brings great pride and joy to your child when you speak to their peers. Join us that day for some fun.


You can...

  • show off your workplace
  • some vehicles
  • processes you utilize to fix/grow/analyze
  • land your helicopter on our field
  • have your trained K9 tackle the principal
  • or simply read a story to the students.


If you are interested in helping please let your teacher know right away.

$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: October 31, 2021

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Welcoming Heather Jenkins - New Principal, Plato Academy Tampa

Please join us in welcoming Heather Jenkins as the new principal at Plato Academy Tampa. Mrs. Jenkins is a seasoned professional with a passion for school improvement. She has always admired all of the incredible accomplishments of Plato Academy-Tampa, and the tight-knit family the school has created together. "When I was given the opportunity to join this school, I knew I could not pass it up. I am so excited to take up the baton - and to run the race in a way that honors all the hard work that came before me."


The famous Zig Ziglar quote says, “Success is when opportunity meets preparation,” and Mrs. Jenkins has been preparing for this opportunity for a long time. Born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Spanish and English, and began her teaching career in 1995. She spent 11 years as a teacher, and earned her first M.A. in Education from the University of Michigan. From there she spent three years working in the Office of State and Federal Programs as a curriculum and assessment specialist.


Always willing to try something new, Mrs. Jenkins accepted a position as a principal at an American international school in Malaysia and remained there for six years. Upon returning to the U.S., she continued her career as a principal in the great state of Florida for the last 6 years. During that time, she earned an additional M.A. in Theology and an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction.


Mrs. Jenkins considers herself fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive husband, and three fantastic children- two sons, ages 23 and 17, and her 11-year-old daughter who joined the 6th-grade class at Plato.


She looks forward to experiencing the greatness that is Plato Academy-Tampa, and working together with all of you to make it even greater! Welcome Mrs. Jenkins!

Schools of Excellence--A Team Approach to Continuous Improvement


Each fall, in the spirit of growth mindset, Plato Academy Schools conducts a process called Schools of Excellence. At each campus on different days, a diverse team of Plato Academy educators from different campuses convenes to interview parents, students, and teachers, conduct classroom visits, and review academic data. This year, a parent-participant will be serving on the team to ensure the parent point of view is represented. The goal of the visit is to identify what is working well and where we can get better. It requires the review team to listen and observe, always on the lookout for best practices to be shared amongst all of our schools. The Schools of Excellence team promotes cross-campus collaboration and the sharing of best practices. At Plato Academy Clearwater's SOE visit, the team identified the many strengths of the school, including:

  • Small group rotations that help teachers better identify/support unique student needs.

  • Principal's clear and consistent middle school communication/expectation setting

  • Positive class-wide and individual behavior systems

  • Quality staff recruiting and retention

  • Attending to the small behavior issues before they can become big.

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ARETE AWARDS

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.