Monday, April 30, 2007

Interim Assessment - Spring

We are tentatively scheduled to have our third and final Interim Assessment Exams for grades 3, 4 and 5 on Monday, May 7 and Tuesday, May 8. There will be a memorandum forthcoming with more direction. Please click the title bar or logo if you would like to see the program guide for this assessment.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Grant Wrangler

Please click on the title bar or logo to access an excellent site for school grants. Grant Wrangler is more user-friendly than most sites and enables you to easily find grants that are specific for your area of need.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

FAU and BCC Security Threat

A security threat Friday morning forced school officials to shut down Broward Community College's six campuses, as well as two Florida Atlantic University campuses. Classes were canceled for the rest of the day, but all the BCC campuses and the two affected FAU campuses will reopen today. Hollywood detectives arrested Larry Boynton, 52, on a charge of making false threats to plant a bomb, set fire to a building and detonate weapons of mass destruction.

Source: Miami Herald

Mandatory P.E. Hits a Roadblock

TALLAHASSEE - Mandatory P.E. for elementary students has stalled in the Legislature because of a debate over the price tag. The P.E. bills would require elementary school students to have 150 minutes of physical education each week, a breakdown of about 30 minutes per day.
Source: New York Times

In terms of funding, the issue is whether more P.E. coaches have to be hired, more professional development is needed and to what extent non-P.E. teachers can be utilized for this initiative. It is not clear how this will impact our school district.

Giving to Ms. Bivins

Ms. Bivins's family is very appreciative of the support they have received thus far. As previously mentioned, the family is seeking money to be used to upgrade the headstone. If you decide to write a check, in addition to making the check payable to "Southern Memorial", it is equally important that you include "Gloria Bivins" in the reference section. There is no account number at this time.
If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Cooper from Southern Memorial at (305) 332-3519

Friday, April 27, 2007

SAT Results Release Information

The SAT-10 results for Grade 2 and Grade 1 in Reading First schools will be sent via school mail between April 30 – May 4, 2007. The individual student reports will be sent via school mail between May 14 – 18, 2007.

Herald Story of Our Book Donation

Posted on Thu, Apr. 26, 2007


On a drizzly Saturday afternoon, curling up with a good book seems like a good idea. But 11-year-old Elan Radick had a different idea: He and his family spent the day on the lookout for books in Bay Harbor Islands.

It was the second year for Elan's Bay Harbor Islands Book Drive, which he started to collect books for children who can't afford to buy them. Elan, a sixth-grader at Ruth K. Broad Elementary, explains his rationale succinctly: ``I love books.''

Last year, working with family, friends and neighbors, he collected more than 1,000 books, which were donated at Biscayne Gardens Elementary. This year he had bigger plans, to gather 1,500 books. So he cast a wider net throughout the town, asking residents to participate by leaving their books on doorsteps or dropping them off at town hall.

A TV station even took notice and ran a news story on his book drive. Saturday, around 10 a.m., Elan started making the rounds in Bay Harbor Islands. His dad's SUV made more than three trips around the west island, where the family lives. By 1 o'clock, more than 20 boxes lined the walkway in front of Elan's home. ''There has to be, like, 1,000 books,'' Elan said with excitement.
Then the report that ran on NBC 6 also had a ripple effect. Elan's mother, Lauren Radick, who is the PTA president at Ruth K. Broad, announced she has received e-mails from people as far south as Kendall, with promises of even more books.

As of Monday, Elan had collected more than 2,200 books. They will go to children at Parkway Elementary School in Miami Gardens. ''I'm definitely glad that I'm giving all these books to people,'' Elan said. ``It gives them something to do -- if they do their homework already and they don't want to do violence. Books give me something to do whenever I'm bored instead of just floating around and just watching TV.''

Adam Kosnitzky, assistant principal at the school, notes that a majority of the students at Parkway are on a free lunch program. "For a lot of our children, this gift is priceless,'' Kosnitzky said. ''Some of the books we're just not able to get because of the scarce resources,'' he said, and because of Elan, ``they'll get books they never would have been able to achieve.''

TV Story on our Book Donation

NBC 6 did a story about our books. Apparently Bay Harbor Town Hall was being used as a drop off center for our books and other groups became interested after this news story.

Please click on the link to watch the news story.

TV Video

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eating in Media Center

Recently, there have been a numerous sightings of roaches in the media center. Please do not eat in the media center unless it is an approved function.

Merit Award Program (MAP)

Final plans of the Merit Award Program (MAP), which replaces STAR, still needs to be completed at the local and state level.

Some of the highlights of this merit pay program include:

- District participation in Performance Pay is voluntary.
- At least 60% of the performance evaluation must relate to student performance.
- Up to 40% must relate to professional practices (No veto by Principal).
- Student Performance must be measured by FCAT in FCAT subjects.
- Other areas may be measured by any other locally determined assessment.
- Student performance may be based on gains and/or proficiency as determined locally.

Source: UTD

Summer School Manual

Please click the title bar above to view all of the information that teachers and administrators need to know about summer school. This includes the criteria for summer employment, as well as, the guidelines for the ESY program.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rest In Peace

BIVINS, GLORIA JEAN, 60, Teacher at Parkway Elementary, Library Supervisor for Miami Dade College at the North, Wolfson, Entrepreneurial and Medical Campus, died April 20, 2007 at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Survivors include children Richard Perry II, Latefah McGill, Rachel Perry, Tracy Finney; siblings Otis, Curtis, Paynes Bivins, Marquerite Mosley Bivins and Francine Webb. Visitation will be on Friday, April 27 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Services will be held Saturday, April 28 at Spirit of Christ at 1:00 pm.

Published in The Miami Herald on 4/25/2007.

FCAT Writing + Results for Parkway

Please click the title bar above to view more specific information about our 2007 Writing + Results

Arrangements for Ms. Bivins

Her viewing and homecoming celebration are planned as follows:

Wright Funeral Home
15532 NW 7th Avenue
Friday, April 27, 2007
9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Spirit of Christ Church
18801 West Dixie Highway
Saturday, April 28, 2007
1:00 p.m.

In lieu of cards and flowers, the family would appreciate donations. Please make checks payable to Southern Memorial Park.

State warns of bogus official FCAT site on Web

Someone set up a bogus FCAT Web site mimicking the official site that allows parents to look at their students' test scores in cyberspace, the state Department of Education said Tuesday. Later this week, parents can visit and use the login and password provided by their child's school. This is the official FCAT Parent Network, not the phony Web site.

Source: Sun-Sentinel

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

FCAT Writing +

We anticipate that the Florida Department of Education will release the FCAT Writing + results tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. Details to come.

Concerns with SES

Don't be surprised if the funding for Supplemental Education Services (SES) is significantly cut or eliminated. It is claimed that more than $500 million is being spent annually on tutoring with no accountability meaures in place. From a local perspective, the state of Florida is supposed to regulate the companies, not the district which further complicates the matter.

State Legislature to Increase Education Spending

Florida public school spending would increase by about $457 per student, according to a tentative agreement House and Senate negotiators reached Sunday. The remaining money can be used to give teachers across-the-board pay raises, which many school officials believe should come before merit pay. Lawmakers had scrapped the STAR pay program that they passed last year. The new more flexible Merit Award Program, which has been endorsed by the union and associations representing school boards and superintendents. Details to Come.

Source: Sun-Sentinel

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ms. Gloria J. Bivins (1946-2007)

We are deeply saddened to announce that Ms. Gloria Bivins has passed away.
We intend to provide grief counselors and other services for her students of this school year, as well as, any other children or staff who may have difficulty with her loss.

Her smile and kindness will truly be missed. Keep her family in your prayers.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Over 140 Palm Beach teachers told not to return

More than 140 teachers have been told by their principals they are not welcome back next year, including 90 who teach critical needs subjects. The teachers work at seven schools across the district that have not met federal education standards, making them targets for restructuring. Usually one or two veteran teachers each year have been dismissed, but this year schools have asked 40 to leave. At least 100 teachers in their first three years in the profession have been told their contracts won't be renewed.

Source: Palm Beach Post

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Science Fair

Please click the title bar above to access all of the information related to this year's science fair.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Random Survey

In order to collect data to improve our recruitment, hiring and retention processes, the district developed a survey which will be sent to randomly selected teachers on April 27. Responses given on the surveys will be anonymous.

If you receive a survey and have any questions, please contact Maria Vidal at (305) 995-7009.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Carjack suspect caught on school grounds

This has been an interesting week in terms of safety


Police rounded up two men -- one of them dead in a canal -- after a predawn carjacking attempt in Miami Gardens. It wasn't easy. The hunt, involving a Miami-Dade SWAT team, required the lockdown of a school, North Dade Middle, where one of the men had had fled.

The suspect was captured by the SWAT team on the school grounds about 7:30 a.m. He did not put up a struggle. North Dade Middle remained off limits after the capture as police officers walked the grounds to make sure a firearm had not been discarded there for a student to find.

Source: Miami Herald

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Review of Procedures

In light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we will obviously review our policies and procedures in this area. Please make sure to submit any updates with your contact information to the office by Friday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

Our prayers go with the families of the victims of what was the worst shooting massacre in U.S. History.

Unauthorized Electrical Appliances

As directed by the Associate Superintendent and Head of School Operations, Freddie Woodson, please read the information below and follow accordingly.

- District safety inspectors have reported that many classrooms contain refrigerators, portable heaters, coffee makers, toasters, microwave ovens and other personal electrical appliances
- Many electrical appliances are plugged into extension cords or outlets not designed for these loads (fire safety deficiency)
- Electrical appliances may not be well maintained and could pose a potential fire and/or shock hazard
- Storing and preparing food throughout school buildings increases the potential for pests and their resulting health and sanitation concerns
- Teachers and staff should utilize appliances located in designated areas (Teacher's Lounge) for storing and cooking food.

Compact With the City of Miami Gardens

The school district and the City of Miami Gardens are in the process of forming a compact in several areas. If approved, this will greatly affect many of our policies and procedures in several areas. Please click the title bar above to learn more.

Monday, April 16, 2007

STAR Revisted

If you click the title above, you will find the most official direction our school district has with regard to the STAR Program as of March 30, 2007. While it may not clarify every aspect of the program, it does answer some of the key questions.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April Grants Newsletter

Please click the title bar above to view this month's grant opportunities posted by the district.

Google 411

From what I understand, most phones in our building do not allow the caller to dial 411 for information. You can now call out for free by dialing 1-800-GOOG-411. What makes this number different from other free information services is that there are no ads, so give it a try.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Want to Start a Tutoring Business?

As we approach the summer, many educators are anxiously seeking other means of attaining income. Please click the title bar above if you are interested in developing your personal tutoring business.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

School Board Agenda

Please click the title bar above to view this month's school board agenda.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Roadrunner Cafeteria Program

If you are one of the four classes with 20 tickets so far, please check with Ms. Harris (Kitchen) on Thursday to claim your treats for your students.

Parent-Teacher Conference Night

Please click the title bar above if you would like to access the memorandum which explains many of the procedures that will occur before, during and after our Parent-Teacher Conference Night.


Ms. Cisely Scott is serving as the test chairperson for this first grade exam. Please click the title bar above to read Ms. Scott's memorandum.

The Education Fund

The Education Fund, in accordance with M-DCPS, offers several grant opportunities for teachers. Please click the title bar above to access any of the applications. It appears to me that some of these grants applications require only a few minutes to complete and submit.
If you have any questions, please contact Lorna Valle at (305) 892-5099 or e-mail her at

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Internet Safety

Please click the title bar above to access the district mandated internet safety program which we will utilize this week.

PBS - Educational Resources

Please check out this new website for teachers. It provides valuable educational resources. Thank you to Ms. Deborah Nunez for providing us with this information.

You can access the site by clicking the title bar above.

National Board Cert. Meetings

Informational meetings for teachers, counselors and media specialists interested in information regarding National Board Certification for the 2007-2008 school year.

All potential candidates should attend one meeting. (5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.)

- Palm Springs Middle School, 1025 W 56th Street, Hialeah, Tuesday, April 17, 2007

- North Miami Beach Senior High, 1247 NE 167 Street, Monday, April 23, 2007

- Ronald Reagan Senior High, 8600 NW 106 Avenue, Miami, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

- Coral Gables Senior High, 450 Bird Road, Coral Gables, Tuesday, May 1, 2007

- WR Thomas Middle School, 13001 SW 26th Street, Wednesday, May 2, 2007

For more information, contact Carolyn Guthrie at (305) 995-7179

Monday, April 09, 2007

Change in P.E. Next Year

The district has already mandated this change for next year which will affect the current structure of our master schedule which only affords 2 hours of P.E. per week for grades 2-5.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Under a bill that won unanimous approval from the House Policy and Budget Council, state schools would be required to provide 150 minutes of physical education every week in kindergarten through the fifth grade.

EESAC Meeting

Our next EESAC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 12 at 3:00 p.m. in our media center. The main item for the agenda is a review of our End-of-the-Year School Improvement Plan.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Master Plan Points for our Meetings

Most Parkway Elementary teachers received 18 master plan points (MPP) for participating in our faculty and grade-level meetings during the first half of the school year. To receive 18 additional MPP for this half of the school year, please see Dr. Kosnitzky after the break to sign the attendance roster. More directions will be forthcoming.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Teachers Beware of My Space

We are learning that students are creating fake MySpace profiles of employees.

If this happens to you, immediately notify: to report abuse and contact Local Law Enforcement and/or Miami Dade School Police.

Depending on state law, the student may have committed a crime such as identity theft, fraud, or criminal libel. Also, MySpace won’t help identify the culprit without a subpoena, which may require the involvement of the local prosecutor or police.

Source: UTD

Friday, April 06, 2007


M-DCPS wants to hire 1500 additional teachers/counselors for next school year. Take this opportunity to meet with the principals of several schools in our district.

On May 5th, the TeacherFAIR event will be at Coral Reef Senior High School.
On May 11th and 12th, the TeacherFAIR event will be at the Kovens Conference Center located at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami.

For more information, click on the title bar above and then click on the event or events you want to attend.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Changes to FCAT and Sunshine State Standards

Source: Miami Herald

The proposal would add social studies to the FCAT and push back the testing dates for the test to March for the writing portion, and April for the other tests.

The legislation would also replace the Sunshine State Standards with a new set of ''world-class'' standards that would have specific goals for each grade.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

NCLB rules made easier?

Source: Associated Press

The Bush administration wants to loosen the rules so that more disabled children can take simpler tests under the current NCLB.

Approximately 10% of the more disabled SPED students currently take easier, alternative tests and have the results count toward a school's annual progress goals. Under the proposed plan, another 20% of SPED children would be allowed to take alternative tests.

The new tests won't be as easy as those given to the children already exempted from the regular tests, but they won't be as hard as those given to typical students. The change means 3 percent of all children or 30% of SPED population will be allowed to be tested on standards geared for them.

Reading First Program In Trouble!

Source: Associated Press

A billion-dollar-a-year federal reading program, known as "Reading First" has run into scathing criticism over the past year and now has a new one: The government contractor that set up the program for the Education Department is also part of the team hired to evaluate it.

Recently, it was reported that the government failed to keep the program free of conflicts of interest. The inspector general found that federal officials intervened to influence state and local decisions about reading programs, a potential violation of the law and may have inappropriately pushed a particular brand of reading assessment when dealing with states.

The investigations have raised questions about whether Reading First should be reformed, or even abandoned, when NCLB comes up for renewal in Congress this year.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Congratulations to the Gators!!!!

I am not a fan of the University of Florida. However, in honor of the alumni at our school, parents of children who attend UF, and fans in general, lets congratulate the Gators on repeating as NCAA National Champions in Men's Basketball.

Monday, April 02, 2007

UTD Building Steward Election

Our UTD Building Stewards Election will occur at our school on or between May 8 and May 10. The election notice and procedures for UTD members can be obtained by clicking on the information below.

Election Notice