Color of Our Worlds April 2021

Educating ALL Students for Success!

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April 7 (HS) April 8 (MS) April 13 (ES) - Parent Teacher Conference Night!

Tips for Parents/Caregivers

  • Do arrive at the Zoom call on time and ready to listen. Conference days are exhausting for instructors (back-to-back-to-back) and even a 2-minute delay can throw off an entire afternoon. Furthermore, it can be tempting to start the conversation immediately with your questions and concerns, but educators across the board highly recommend that parents/caregivers start by listening in order to gain a better sense of their child as a student. Then, when the instructor asks for your insight, you can offer your perspective with a greater context.
  • Do come prepared with a list of questions for your student’s teacher, as it can help guide the conversation, especially with limited time. Furthermore, questions that lead to action items are sometimes more helpful than more general questions, for example: How is my student doing with addition and subtraction? What suggestions do you have for our family after school and on weekends to support their mental math skills?
  • Do know that educators, like families, are doing their very best amidst a pandemic. Many teachers are being asked to juggle both in-person and online instruction, while others are bearing the burden of caring for their own families while managing a full course load. As with everything in 2020-21: bring extra patience, understanding, and kindness to the conversation.
  • Don’t assume that your student’s teacher knows everything they need to know about your child. Oftentimes, a specific insight or detail that you might not think is critical, can be the crucial link in a teacher’s full knowledge of your kiddo. Something as simple as, “We’ve discovered that my daughter really struggles with focused seatwork in the afternoons here at home, so we have started to take walks between Zoom classes after lunch.” This small, but intuitive detail gives teachers a holistic view of your child as both a remote learner and a person.
  • Don’t lose sight of what’s really important. The New York Times puts it well: Value process over product. It’s easy as a parent or caregiver to get caught up in the small stuff, like comparing your student’s accomplishments to others or fixating on one test or one grade. More than ever, students are feeling overwhelmed, so now is the time to support your child in valuing the learning process over simply acing exams. And during a virtual conference, this may look like asking questions about your child’s emotional well-being instead of what grade they got on a recent test.
  • Do end the virtual conference with a plan. Every conversation with an educator can and should lead to action items, whether it’s something small (Read with your student every night before bed) or a long-term plan (Scaffolded steps to increase independent homework completion). Make sure you understand what has been shared and how it affects your student’s learning success and be sure to follow up with questions via email or a phone call if you need clarification.

Remember: communication between parents/caregivers and educators is highly related to homework completion rates, classroom behavior, and participation in class. Additionally, when the school/home connection is strong, students know they have resources to turn to when facing challenges, which further strengthens their confidence and academic integrity. The parent-teacher conference shouldn’t be the only time during a school year that instructors and families connect on student learning, but it is certainly an important time. And while virtual conferencing may feel strange at first, after the call, you might just find that you enjoyed yourself and gained a deeper appreciation for your student and your role on their learning team.

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The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go! - Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat (School Board Member Christia Li Roberts, District 1) visited several school campuses for #ReadAcrossAmerica Day. Students at Crystal Lake Elementary School, J. D. Parker School of Math, Science and Technology and Pinewood Elementary School loved listening to the Cat read and share silly stories with them!

Kindness is Magic! Make Kindness the Norm!

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Indiantown Middle School Story - This story is an act of pure kindness!

A few days ago, a gentleman by the name of James Stedham, reached out to Mr. Nottage, Indiantown Middle School's Band Director, about a trombone he was wanting to pass along to the school. This wasn't just any trombone, as it belonged to his late father and was purchased in 1979. His father went on to become a pastor but always carried the love for music with him. Mr. Stedham wanted this trombone to go to someone who shared the same love of music that his father did. His only request was that Mr. Nottage find a good home for the instrument. Needless to say, Mr. Nottage knew exactly where that would be! Knowing that Rey (pictured above) played the trombone, Mr. Nottage reached out to his mother, made the offer and the family gladly accepted it.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there - Mr. Nottage took the time to meet with Mr. Stedham, picked up the trombone and personally delivered it to young Rey. Little did they know, Rey had joined band in memory of his grandfather, who also had a love for music. His grandfather never had the opportunity to play any instruments, so Rey pursued the role and joined band, honoring his grandfather.

One last twist to the story - Mr. Stedham’s father’s name was Buren Ray, yet everyone called him Ray. So from one special Ray to another, a new incredible bond has emerged which truly exemplifies music of the heart!

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S3 Student Technician Hunter Voloniono (Assigned to Port Salerno Elementary School) Shares About Students Supporting Our Schools

While visiting Port Salerno Elementary School, Superintendent John D. Millay met Hunter, who serves as an S3+ student intern for the District. In his role as a technical support intern, Hunter provides support and assistance to teachers and other school staff.

The District is currently looking for S3+ interns for next school year! Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors in the 2021-2022 school year are encouraged to view program requirements and job descriptions here:

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Paraprofessional Ms. Perez at Port Salerno Elementary Supports our ELL Students

Superintendent John D. Millay recently met Ms. Perez, a paraprofessional who serves our English Language Learners at

Port Salerno Elementary School

. Listen as Ms. Perez shares how proud she is to go #ALLINMartin and contribute to our mission of educating all students for success!
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The Martin County School Board recognized exemplary employees for their dedication to their Title I schools and the Martin County School District.


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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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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Did you know? The District uses the results of its annual Satisfaction & Engagement surveys to help inform practices and create school improvement goals. Please consider sharing your feedback with us and asking your child(ren) to do the same - the surveys will be accessible through April 13.

The link for the parent survey in English is:

El enlace para la encuesta para padres en Espanol es:

The link for the grades K-2 student survey is:

The link for the grades 3-12 student survey is:

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MCSD Retiree Returns to JD Parker!

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Retired fifth-grade teacher Susan Torres made a virtual comeback in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to help J. D. Parker School of Math, Science and Technology students who need it the most.

The biggest challenge, she said, was embracing new technology. But her unwavering support, even in the midst of unprecedented times, shows Torres' lifelong dedication to students in Martin County.

"She’s part of J.D. Parker, she is part of my family, and we all love her," teacher Dorothy Castillo said. "I’d be lost without her. I really would."

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A Family's Guide to Teaching Good Character

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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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MCSD Encourages IN-PERSON Learning Option for ALL Students!

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Parent University Workshop - 6:00 p.m. - Thursday, April 1, 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, April 1, 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.

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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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Project LIFT

Superintendent John D. Millay toured the Project LIFT facilities with Founder and CEO Bob Zaccheo this week. They spoke about what Project LIFT does and the different resources they offer. To learn more about our partnership with Project LIFT, check out this story by WPTV's Derek Lowe WPTV.

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Superintendent John D. Millay spoke with Executive Director Noel M. DelValle of the

Martin County Police Athletic League. They spoke about the different athletic leagues that PAL has to offer and some new sports they plan to add in the future. Please visit to learn more!

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"¡Vamanos! Let's Go!"

Principal Umbaugh and Alicia Stover who will share "¡Vamanos! Let's Go!" in English and Spanish. Are you ready to sing "The Wheels on the Bus" with us?!
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Month of April Literary Events

APR 1-30 Arab American Heritage Month

Learn more with this booklist from Social Justice Books.

APR 1-30 National Poetry Month

Fill your National Poetry Month with our Read Across America Great Poetry to Read Aloud booklist.

APR 1-30 School Library Month

Want students to love the library? Check out these tips.

APR 1-30 Reading Without Walls Month

Challenge students to read about a character who is unlike them.

APR 2 International Children’s Book Day

Find outstanding international children’s books here.

APR 4-10 National Library Week

Find more information about this celebration of libraries from the American Library Association.

APR 22 Earth Day

Use our Earth Day Read Across America booklist to inspire awareness and appreciation of the natural world.

APR 30 El Día de los Niños, El Día de los Libros

Celebrate Día with these titles available from First Book

Retrieved from, March 30, 2021.

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Fast Facts About Hena Khan

Favorite authors growing up: Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Louisa May Alcott

Favorite books: Ramona Quimby, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Little Women, Lord of the Rings trilogy

Favorite book of mine: I can’t pick one, but I love hearing about your favorite!

Favorite color: Turquoise blue

Favorite food: A three-way tie between Vietnamese, Tex-Mex, and Pakistani.

Favorite dessert: Ice cream (especially Jamocha Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins)

Favorite animals: Penguins and peacocks (I’ve never had any pets)

Favorite cities: Sevilla, Istanbul, and Seattle

Growing Up In Rockville

What is Your Why?

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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 4 | Learn basketball with Hala in Egypt | UNICEF

Inspire Stewardship

Help students see their place in the natural world. Use books and poetry to help students explore, interpret, and connect to nature.

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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