Ponce de Leon Panther Post

Volume 1 Issue 3-January/February

Principal's Message

Happy New Year to all of our Ponce Panther families! I hope all of you enjoyed your holiday break. We are back and ramped up and ready to begin the second semester of this school year!

Students finished their MAP testing prior to the vacation and teachers do have the results of those scores. In addition, students will be taking their I-ready diagnostic this month. Both of these assessments should help us determine the level to which your child is growing academically and pinpoint his/her areas of strengths and weaknesses. Your child’s teacher should share these results with you either in a parent conference or through their agenda binders. If you have any questions regarding your child’s progress, please reach out to your child’s teacher, as it is critical we work together to ensure all of our students’ academic success.

As we look ahead to the upcoming year we have several exciting family friendly events. We have our Math/Science night scheduled for Thursday, January 17th from 6:00-7:15 for grades 2-5. We also have an ESOL parent workshop in January, our All Pro Parents Valentine’s Dance in February and our Family Math Night at Publix scheduled in March. All of these events are geared towards bringing students and families together along with school staff to help create an atmosphere conducive to supporting highest student achievement. Earning the right to call ourselves a great school requires a continuous determination and commitment to see that all students, regardless of who they are and how they come to us, leave us better prepared to meet the next set of life’s challenges. Our commitment must also include the development of the curiosity, character, and conscientiousness that will prime them not only for personal success, but for productive and compassionate citizenship as well. This is a charge we share as a school and a community. I thank you again for your partnership, commitment and your trust in us as we work together to ensure that Ponce de Leon Elementary continues to be great place to work and learn.

Educationally Yours,

Tracie Bergman


Calendar of Upcoming Events

January 16th-Ready Set Kindergarten, 5:30 pm

January 17th-Family Math/Science Night, grades 2-5, 6:00-7:15

January 18-Report Cards go home

January 21-No School

February 5-Midterms go home

February 7-Hearing & Vision Screening

February 8-Family Dance, 5:00

February 12-5th Grade Field Trip to Enterprise Village

February 18-No School for students

March 11-15-Spring Break

March 20-Spring Portraits and Classroom Picture Day

March 21-5th Grade Pictures

March 29-Report Cards go home

Safety Patrols

Safety Patrols Golden Shield of Merit Award Winners

The Golden Shield of Merit is awarded to patrols who have shown a devotion to duty, consistent progress in academics and initiative.


Jose P.

Alex G.

Yoseleny C.

Jennifer W.

Enterprise Village 5th Grade Field Trip

Attention 5th grade parents: We need your help!!

On Tuesday, Feb. 12th, 2019, 5th graders will be going on a field trip to Enterprise Village. This is a wonderful field trip where the students will have a job, receive a salary and be able to run a business. The students will be hard at work for the next 6 weeks on curriculum in the classroom. We need volunteers. It is an all day trip with training in the morning before the kids arrive. To volunteer you need to be a registered Level 1 which takes about 2 weeks to process. Please your child's 5th grade teacher or contact Lisa Wittmann if you would like to volunteer.

Ponce Art Project

When we return to school in January, our students will begin working on a rock garden that will be installed near the cafeteria. All students will hear the story "Only One You”, by Linda Kranz. Every student will paint a rock for the garden. This project is funded by the Clearwater Arts Alliance.

Big picture

PE Department

Field Day coming up in March! Look for more information to be sent home!

Remember to turn in your Box Tops for Education!


Welcome back! I hope that you and your scholars were able to enjoy some quality time with family over the holiday break. As you know, we start teaching and learning the minute our scholars arrive at school, so the number one thing you can do to help your child succeed is ensuring they arrive at school every day, on-time! That means that when the bell rings at 8:45am, they have already had breakfast and are in their classroom, ready to learn.

We have an exciting incentive to start off the New Year…Ponce could win two hours use of the Rolling Video Games, but we need your help! In order to win this contest we need to have a decrease in the number of students who are missing too many school days. Right now, over 20% of our students have missed 10% or more of school, and we cannot teach them if they are not here! If we can decrease that number to 15%, some of our scholars can win time playing video games with Rolling Video games, just for coming to school!

Please help us, and your child by ensuring they are at school every day, on-time. Let’s get this New Year off to a successful start, together!

Courtney Klingman, MSW

School Social Worker

Cortez's Counseling Center

Cortez’s Counseling Corner

Having a Growth Mindset

A Growth Mindset refers to the understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed and are not fixed, as was once believed. Through extensive research with school-aged children, it was found that students who were taught how the brain works, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed, could retrain their brains and how they respond to setbacks and adversity.

Conversely, when students hold a fixed mindset, school can be a threatening place because they may be worried about proving their ability or avoiding “looking dumb.” This can lead students to avoid challenges and give up when they struggle. But when students hold a growth mindset, they may experience school as an exciting place to grow, embracing challenges as opportunities to develop mastery.

“Researchers have also observed that parents ’everyday interactions with students can create mindsets that support or undermine resilience. By changing the way in which we interact with students, we can encourage them to adopt more of a growth mindset. For example, students adopt a growth mindset when adults focus praise on process rather than ability.”

When speaking with your students outside of school, help encourage the growth mindset by turning ability praise into process praise. For example, instead of saying “See, you are good at Math, you got an A on your math test.” You can try saying, “You really studied for your Math test and your improvement shows it.”

By helping students better understand their own brains and how they learn, we can have a direct impact on their academic engagement and performance.

ESOL Department

The ESOL Department will be presenting a training on Tips for Reading with Your Child and Building Vocabulary on January 31st at 8:45am. A light breakfast will be served. Location to be determined.

Family Math/Science Night

Hello to Our Wonderful Ponce Families!

Ponce will be hosting a Family Math/Science Night on Thursday, January 17th,

A pizza dinner will be served from 6:00 PM- 6:15PM.

Please look for more information regarding this Family Fun night!

Volunteers & Mentors

If you aren't already, please consider becoming a mentor. In just 30 minutes a week you can make an impact in the life of one of our students. Visit the PCS Mentor Page for more information, or contact our Family Community Liaison. We send a very sincere THANK YOU to all our wonderful Mentors and Volunteers!

Businesses & Partners

Thank you to all our Families, Businesses and Partners! Your donations and time help support education in the classroom by providing classroom supplies & books, field trips, school events and much more.

Advanced Anesthesia

Springtime City Kiwanis Club

Young at Heart

Clearwater Arts Alliance

Moore Relations

Cesar A. Lara, M.D. Weight Management


BEX Logistics LLC

Rotary Club of Largo