Color of Our Worlds May 2021

Educating ALL Students for Success!

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The Martin County School Board approved Superintendent John D. Millay's recommendation that the Martin County School District return to full-time, in-person traditional learning in the 2021-2022 school year.

"After a successful year of teaching through the pandemic, we are pleased to recommend an on-time, full return to in-person traditional learning for all MCSD students," Dr. Millay shared with the School Board. "It is our intent to welcome all students to in-person, traditional learning at District-operated school sites on Wednesday, August 11, 2021."

The School Board did not make a decision about the District's mask policy for next school year during the meeting. The Board will continue to monitor local data and receive guidance from public health experts before making decisions about risk mitigation strategies closer to the start of the school year.

Please click the link below to read Superintendent Millay's letter to students, employees and families about the District's 2021-2022 reopening plan.


Our next statewide testing window will begin May 3, 2021. Please refer to these handy calendars to determine when your child will test. Specific details about subjects and dates will be shared by your child's school.

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The MCSD Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability has confirmed the College Board moved AP Stat test date from May 13 to May 17.


While Florida families continue to retain their choice of flexible learning options, the

Martin County School District is encouraging students to resume attending school in person and on campus as they are able.

The Florida Department of Education is requiring all of this year's statewide assessments – including Florida Standards Assessments and End-of-Course Exams - to be taken in person. If your child is currently attending school remotely, we would appreciate the opportunity to welcome them back to campus. This will allow them to become reacquainted with the school-based learning environment and prepared to take state assessments.

Parents are encouraged to contact their child's school with questions or to request a change in learning options.

Martin County School District's Statewide Assessment Calendar

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Reducing Test Anxiety

If your child approaches tests with anxiety and dread, it will be harder for him to show what he knows. Are you helping your student stay calm and do his best on tests?

Answer yes or no to the questions below:

___1. Do you help your child make and stick to a study plan to prepare for a test?

___2. Do you tell your child that you expect him to do his best, but that you will love him no matter what grade he earns?

___3. Do you encourage your child to tell the teacher if tests make him nervous?

___4. Do you share calming techniques with your child, such as deep breathing, picturing a happy place or pushing against a wall?

___5. Do you teach your child to reassure himself with self-talk, such as “I studied. I know this. The answer will come to me”?

How well are you doing?

More yes answers mean you are reducing causes of test anxiety.

For each no, try that idea.

Test-Taking Skills Brainpop
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TIME TO REGISTER for SUMMER of 2021 Extended Day Programs and 2021-2022 Kindergarten

The Martin County School District s currently registering students for its summer Extended Day programs and kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year.

Extended Day summer programs are open to all students who will be enrolled in grades K-5 at a District-operated school next year. Programs will be held Monday - Friday beginning June 1 and running through July 23. Learn more and register online:

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Kathryn Rogers Talks with Crew of the RV Falkor!

The Martin County School District has the pleasure of participating in a live event with the

Schmidt Ocean Institute, Guy Harvey Magazine and Marine Lab Environmental Education Center,

as well as other students around the globe to discuss Earth Day!

Kathryn Rogers, an aspiring scientist and 7th grade student at AMS Stallions, had the opportunity to talk with the crew of the RV Falkor which is currently anchored in the Ashmore Reef Marine Park in Australia.

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Inquisitive Young Scientists at Hobe Sound Elementary School!

Kindergarten is learning all about living things and their life cycles. Students are getting to watch the life cycle of the butterfly from the egg.

Mrs. Cagni's 4th grade class, students were able to explore the plant life cycle in H.S.E.'s very own vegetable garden

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LEARNING THROUGH OBSERVATION at Warfield Elementary School

Superintendent John D. Millay participated in a learning walk with District and school administrators at Warfield Elementary School yesterday. He observed teachers consistently using interactive technology to deliver instruction. "I am proud of all our teachers and students for embracing a growth mindset each day," Dr. Millay shared.
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We Hear You Memorial Created by WLC Students!

Willoughby Learning Center middle school students created a Holocaust memorial on campus. Stones were used to spell out the phrase “We Hear You.” Each stone features the name of a victim of the Holocaust on one side with their fate on the other side. The phrase “We Hear You” was chosen by the students after viewing a documentary that featured Elie Wiesel and Oprah Winfrey visiting Auschwitz, the most infamous concentration camp.
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The Martin County School District proudly partnered with Martin County Tax Collector, Ruth Pietruszewski's Office to host the annual Kids Tag Art (KTA) competition earlier this school year. All fifth-grade art students participated in the competition, using their artistic talents to create vanity license plates and keyfobs for purchase by the community.

All proceeds from tag art and keyfob sales will be donated back to District elementary schools in support of arts-related programs. Through the sale of students' creations, the Martin County Tax Collector's Office has donated more than $8️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ to local elementary schools since the program's inception in 2018!

To purchase a vanity plate or keyfob, please click here:

Participating Title I Schools:

Hobe Sound Elementary School

Indiantown Middle School

The School of Science, Math & Technology, JD Parker Elementary School

Pinewood Elementary School

Port Salerno Elementary School

SeaWind Elementary School

MCSD Elementary Students 'GEERed Up' for Learning!

From January 26 to April 1, 184 students from five elementary schools participated in our Spring Gear Up, which was funded by Governor Ron DeSantis’ Emergency Education Relief Grant (GEER). The students attended after-school sessions three times a week to brush up on their reading skills. After 10 weeks, 82% of the students showed growth in reading achievement!

Students who had 80% attendance during these sessions were rewarded with a personal set of books from Scholastic to allow them to continue to grow as readers.

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Bus Operator, Mr. Farmer, Recognizes Good Character!

Bus #2006 serving Warfield Elementary School in the Village of Indiantown is full of happy students. Why, you ask?! Because Mr. Farmer, the bus operator, makes it his priority to reward students for positive behavior and model character. Look at all of the "Starbucks" these well-behaved students have earned!
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Title I Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards for 2020-2021

We are grateful to the United Way of Martin County for recognizing 14 students as part of this year's Joe Kordick Youth Character recognition program! United Way of Martin County

Character Counts! advisory board members continued the pandemic-friendly recognition they started last year by placing signs at students’ homes that read “A Joe Kordick Youth Character Award Winner Lives Here.” Seniors were also presented with a $1,000 cash award and middle school recipients were presented with a plaque.

The Joe Kordick Youth Character Awards are named in honor of the late Joe Kordick, founding chairman and the driving force of CHARACTER COUNTS! in Martin County. He believed that character development starts at home, but also felt strongly that by bringing parents, teachers, community leaders, and businesses together, everyone could share the task of teaching young people to be responsible and to live with integrity.

Congratulations to this year's award recipients:

Bianca Morales-Soto, Indiantown Middle School

Marissa Brodie, Murray Middle School

Lily Rice, Murray Middle School

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Anderson Middle School Student Wins 4 Year College Scholarship!

We are so grateful for the support of the Copper Key Promise Program - a collaboration between The Community Foundation of Martin - St. Lucie, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, House of Hope and Nina Haven Scholarships Inc. The program provides mentorship, supplemental educational services and scholarships to students right here in our Martin County community.

We are so proud of D'Asia, a 7th-grader at AMS Stallions, for being named the recipient of a four-year college scholarship this year!

"I'm very excited. I always wanted to go to college, and I knew that we weren't in a good place with money, so I always tried to narrow down my options," D'Asia said. "But my mom told me to follow my dreams and be who I want to be, and now I feel like there's hope."

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Jensen Beach High School (JBHS) will be open to ALL Martin County residents this school year. Students will not be required to enroll in a signature program to attend JBHS.

Hobe Sound Elementary School, SeaWind Elementary, Indiantown Middle School, Murray Middle School and Stuart Middle School will be open to out-of-county residents through the controlled open enrollment plan.

Section 1002.31, Florida Statutes, requires each district school board and charter school to adopt a controlled open enrollment plan that allows a parent from any school district in the state to enroll his or her child in and transport his or her child to any public school that has not reached capacity. The controlled open enrollment plan is in addition to the existing choice programs such as magnet schools, alternative schools, special programs, advanced placement, and dual enrollment.

The application window for high school signature programs is currently open and will close April 2, 2021 (Martin County High School and South Fork High School) and April 5, 2021 (Jensen Beach High School). To learn more about our high school signature programs, please click here:

The choice (in-county residents) application window will open March 1 and close July 31, 2021.

The controlled open enrollment (out-of-county residents) application window will open March 1 and close March 31, 2021.

The employee choice (for MCSD employees) application window will open March 1 and close July 31, 2021.

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Parent University Workshop - 6:00 p.m. - Thursday, May 6, 2021

Topic: Safety & Security

WHO: Representatives of the Martin County School District's Instructional Services Department, parents/guardians of Martin County students.

WHAT: Virtual Parent University Workshop

WHEN: 6:00 p.m. - Thursday, May 6, 2021

WHERE: Parents/guardians must register for the session by visiting The Zoom meeting link will be sent to all registered participants prior to the workshop.

WHY: The Martin County School District is pleased to present informational workshops via Zoom for all parents/guardians to access. A different topic will be shared in English and Spanish each month, with this month's Workshop focused on required programming - courses, topics and content the District is mandated to present to students.

To learn more about our Parent University framework, please click here.

Parent University 2020-21 Session 6
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The majority of our playgrounds have been reopened for students effective immediately!

The District will continue to follow its established risk mitigation strategies and public health guidance when allowing students to resume using equipment for play and recess.

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Thank You, Amy Holley for 27 Years of Service at Warfield Elementary School!

Superintendent John D. Millay and the Martin County School Board celebrated the retirement of Warfield Elementary School's Amy Holley.

Ms. Holley's commitment to Warfield and the Village of Indiantown community began in her childhood - she attended Warfield as a child, has served the school faithfully as an educator for 27 years, and now her grandchildren have followed in her footsteps as students!

"Ms. Holley is an outstanding teacher, colleague, mentor and friend," Principal Crissy Smith shared.

Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement, Ms. Holley!

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Port Salerno Elementary School Students Eat the Rainbow!

Students at Port Salerno Elementary School were served the rainbow for lunch thanks to the FNS staff. They were treated to red delicious apples, tangerines, baby carrots, cantaloupe, honey dew, broccoli, cucumber, rainbow carrot coins, golden delicious apples, yellow squash and Florida fresh zucchini grown in Plant City.

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All students eat free during the 2020-2021 school year!

While all students will receive free breakfasts and lunches this year, we are still asking all families to complete a meal application to ensure funding continues to be available to support Martin County students.

Free Suppers and Snacks, Too!

In addition to the free breakfasts and lunches that are provided districtwide through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meals for Kids program, District-operated elementary schools currently offer free suppers and snacks to students every day that school is in session. Effective February 16, 2021, the program will be expanded to include Indiantown Middle School as a Super Snack serving site. No registration is required. Curbside service is not available for the Super Snack program - it is available to students who are attending school on campus. Snacks and suppers are available to students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
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“I say Ooh You Say Ahh” / “Yo Digo Ooh Tu Dices Ahh”

School Board Member Victoria Defenthaler (District 3) and Ms. Mirabel are reading “I say Ooh You Say Ahh” / “Yo Digo Ooh Tu Dices Ahh” for families.
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Picture books are a wonderful way to talk about big topics with children (and adults). These books for children focus on themes related to immigration, including the many kinds of journeys people make when moving to a new land, as well as some of the experiences that children in immigrant families experience.

These titles can provide important 'mirrors' and 'windows' for children and families from a wide range of backgrounds, and may also prove to be important resources for immigrant families at home.

Note: Keep in mind that some of the topics in these books may elicit strong feelings from children, especially those who have experienced some kind of trauma. Use discretion when choosing which titles to share with children in private or group settings.

(Retrieved from, April 26, 2021.)

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Month of May Literary Events

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage with these booklists from Colorín Colorado.

MAY 3-7 Teacher Appreciation Week

Try titles that celebrate teachers with this Read Across America booklist.

MAY 17 Brown v. Board of Education

Commemorate the anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision with our Read Across America booklist.

MAY 31 Memorial Day

Share books in this Read Across America booklist help young people understand the significance of Memorial Day.

Retrieved from, April 26, 2021.

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Some of my stories are set in North America, some in India. Some cross from one place into the other and back again, just like me.

I was born in New Delhi, India. My father worked for the government, so we moved quite often which meant that every four years or so, I was in a new school. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters, so books were my friends. The stories I read and the stories I made up in my head both felt very real to me.

The first story I ever wrote was in green crayon on a wall. Of course, it got painted over, so I have no idea what it was about but I do remember it had ducks in it.

Many writers of my generation have fond memories of pen and ink. I fell in love with typewriter keys! My father had a Remington Rand manual typewriter. I can still remember the clean sharp smell of inky ribbon. When I struck the keys, metal letters would fly up to hit the paper and leave their mark. I hammered away at those keys. I wrote stories and typed them up. At ten, I began sending my writing off to magazines. When I was thirteen, my first poem was published in “Children’s World,” an Indian children’s magazine.

I read all the time, even though no one at the time wrote anything about the world I lived in. I read everything I could lay my hands on–Hans Christian Andersen, A.A.Milne, Beatrix Potter, Noel Streatfield, a couple of books by E. Nesbit, and old copies of Life magazine and the Reader’s Digest Junior Treasury. Like so many kids in India then, I read Enid Blyton. There was a lot in Blyton’s books that mystified me. I didn’t know what scones were, or heather. Eventually I got disillusioned with her books, but I still have fond Blyton memories. She taught me to race through stories, breathless, heading into the drama, reading for context and clue. Maybe it was all just practice for the writer I’d end up becoming.

All the places in India where I lived left their imprint upon me. So did former homes in suburban Maryland and in the high mesas of northwest New Mexico.

Now I live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Some of my stories are set in North America, some in India. Some cross from one place into the other and back again, just like me. I teach in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, VT. That haunted hall on a green hill has also become a part of who I am.

(Retrieved from, April 26, 2021)

Reading as a child

What is Your Why?

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Reflection Promotes Growth!

Reflect on the year’s course

When people think of the 2020-2021 school year, many will remember its challenges. But don’t lose sight of your child’s successes!

Sit down together and talk about:

Things that went well.

Did he persist despite difficulties? What new skills did he build? Celebrate his accomplishments!

Learning goals for the summer.

Ask the teacher what your child should work on to start the next year strong.

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The littlest Rockets cheered on their older peers as J.D. Parker Elementary School prepared for Florida Standards Assessments (FSAs).
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What You Do Matters!

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COVID-19 has impacted the lives of millions. But despite school closures and other lockdown measures, the young people in this video series are finding new and interesting ways to stay engaged whilst coping with home-schooling and staying indoors. From dance to sport, from cooking to art, they are turning to their passions and interests to stay positive and learn new skills.

Each story is a window into the life of a young person who inspires with original tips for learning something new.

It’s time to reimagine a better world for every child. Check back for new episodes in our #LearnWithMe series.

Episode 5 | Learn how to manage your time with Zack | UNICEF
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Thank You to our outstanding school volunteers and community partners in education!

Congratulations to each of our outstanding school volunteers and community partners in education! 2,200 volunteers and community partners provided more than 80,000 hours of service in the 2019-2020 school year, resulting in an estimated financial impact of $2.2 million.

Please join us in extending heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals and organizations for their contributions during the 2019-2020 school year:

Youth Volunteers of the Year

Juan Escandon, Pinewood Elementary School

Mia Gifford, Port Salerno Elementary School

Laura Currie, SeaWind Elementary School

Lily Duke, Warfield Elementary School

Lillian Ervin, Warfield Elementary School

Ashlee Farias, Indiantown Middle School

Adult Volunteers of the Year

Brenda Cicchini, Hobe Sound Elementary School

Emily Morello, Pinewood Elementary School

Leisa Bee, Port Salerno Elementary School

Holly Ridgway, SeaWind Elementary School

Marria Carrington, Warfield Elementary School

Deb Stillwell, Anderson Middle School

Angelina Perez, Indiantown Middle School

June Martin, Murray Middle School

Jan Horrell, The Hope Center for Autism

Senior Volunteers of the Year

Charles and Cynthia Warner, Hobe Sound Elementary School

Susan Torres, JD Parker School

Mary Schellhamer, Pinewood Elementary School

Clare Scornavacca, Port Salerno Elementary School

Marilyn Patterson, SeaWind Elementary School

Karlee Shostrom, Warfield Elementary School

Mr. and Mrs. Fichel, Indiantown Middle School

Jordan Bernstein, Riverbend Academy

Community Partners in Education

Symphony at Stuart, Pinewood Elementary School

Michelina's Restaurant and Catering, Port Salerno Elementary School

Subway#14878, Warfield Elementary School

Reich & Mancini, P.A., Indiantown Middle School

Lowe's Home Improvement, The Hope Center for Autism

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Develop Passion & Perseverance

Books help students explore, inspire interests, and launch investigations. Share titles and start discussions that will encourage them to observe, wonder, predict, invent, and evaluate the world around them.

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MCSD Adopts Schoology as its Learner Management SYstem (LMS) for School Year 2021-22!

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What is Schoology?
Schoology Student View

Community Resources

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Martin County School District Title I Schools and Program Staff

Elementary Schools:

Hobe Sound Elementary

JD Parker Elementary School

Pinewood Elementary School

Port Salerno Elementary School

Seawind Elementary School

Warfield Elementary School

Secondary Schools:

David Anderson Middle School

Indiantown Middle School

Murray Middle School

Spectrum Academy

Willoughby Learning Center

Title I Program Staff

Shela Khanal, Director of Title I Programs

Debra George, Coordinator of Title I Programs

Deb Stull, Coordinator District Title Programs: ELL, Immigrant, and FIT

Casey Vasko, Federal Programs/ Equitable Services Liaison

Yvonne Blanco, Title I Department Secretary