Committee Members Share Reports From Wellington Schools

At the Dec. 5 meeting, Wellington’s Education Committee and central region superintendents Vivian Green and Edward Tierney recognized Orlando Mastrapa (fourth from right), the new assistant principal at New Horizons Elementary School.

Wellington’s Education Committee met Tuesday, Dec. 5 and shared reports from School Advisory Council meetings attended by committee members.

“This is the first time we’re doing these, at least, recently. I think it probably would be more appropriate in the future to call it a school liaison report,” Committee Chair John Webber said. “I understand, because I’m in the same situation, that SAC meetings can be difficult to make, but at least if you can take responsibility for reaching out to the school and communicating with them.”

Committee Member Donna Baxter shared the report for Palm Beach Central High School. Moving forward, it will normally be covered by Committee Member Shelly Albright.

“We’ve had three really wonderful programs through our SAC meetings this year so far,” Baxter said. “We had a presentation for our ninth and tenth grade AVID students and parents. We’re growing that program, and we’re seeing some really wonderful results. They’ve had a few field trips so far, and they’re really seeing the benefit of looking to the future and that college is within their grasp.”

Baxter noted that CVS Pharmacy partnered with PBCHS to share a presentation on prescription drug and opioid abuse. “It was eye-opening. It was very scary, but it was extremely informative,” Baxter said. “We are trying to move toward some really strong parent informational programs to provide our parents with as much information as possible to parent their high schoolers. I would highly recommend the CVS program.”

Webber commended the students from Palm Beach Central, and others, who worked with the village to clear debris from neighborhood parks after Hurricane Irma.

Webber shared his report for Wellington High School. He recognized Cara Hayden for her future role as the new principal at WHS, and he also thanked retiring WHS Principal Mario Crocetti for his years of dedicated service as an educator. Both were present at the meeting.

Webber reported on Wellington Landings Middle School, which recently hosted an open house for its choice programs, which include a fine arts program involving journalism, band, chorus, hand bells, dance, art, speech and debate, law studies and TV production, Webber said.

“They also have a pre-information technology academy, which will allow the kids once they have completed it to have certification adults pay quite a lot of money for,” he said. “Hopefully, it won’t be out of date by the time they are out of high school, but it certainly is a great advance for them. There were probably about 300 students and parents, fifth-graders there, and me. We really got an opportunity to hear about the programs.”

He saluted WLMS teacher Theresa Flowers for being named the 2017 outstanding social studies teacher of the year. “She was recognized among all the middle school social studies teachers in the state,” Webber said. “She teaches civics to seventh graders and does a wonderful job.”

Baxter also presented on Emerald Cove Middle School.

“Emerald Cove was recognized in the top 20 percent of middle schools in the nation,” Baxter said. “They have instituted a college shirt day on Fridays to get the students interested and excited and thinking about college even in middle school. They reported at that time that they received four students as a result of the hurricane tragedy in the Caribbean. They’ve also started a ‘coffee with a counselor’ event, where students can sit more informally and talk about their future with the counselor, and they were also promoting their going green campaign at that time.”

Committee Member Beth Gillespie presented on Elbridge Gale Elementary School.

“The Elbridge Gale chess team recently won first place in all three categories for the school district, and their linguistics academic games team won second place for the school district,” she said. “In November, one of their students won an essay contest and got to speak to an astronaut on the International Space Station. The fifth-graders hosted a Veterans Day breakfast. They’ve got Chick-fil-A fundraisers going like crazy. They’ve already raised almost $5,000 with that. Last year, they won for the entire state in Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraising, and that is going to launch in March.”

Gillespie noted the organic garden on campus at Elbridge Gale as well as its robotics team. She said she would be able to share more about it at a future committee meeting.

Committee Member Ruthann Retterbush reported on Wellington Elementary School, noting that the school is going to see some long-needed improvements to traffic flow going in and out.

“Traffic flow at Wellington Elementary has been a problem for at least 19 years. That’s a little bit of a long time,” Retterbush said. “So, they had a meeting with the village about changing the traffic flow coming down Big Blue Trace. They said that would be happening possibly during spring break or even over the Christmas break. So, that’s definitely something we want to look at.”

Webber shared news from Binks Forest Elementary School. The school was assigned to Committee Member Francine Nelson, who was not at the meeting.

“Binks recently held its fall carnival, which raised more money than they’ve ever raised before,” Webber said. “They grossed more than $30,000. What they’re taking home is not quite clear yet, but it’s going to be more than they’ve ever done before.”

Webber also shared some news from Equestrian Trails Elementary School, noting an e-mail from Principal Michele Johnson.

“She told me that the language arts academic games team took first place overall in the district and that apparently the first five places, all five were Equestrian Trails Elementary students,” Webber said.

Baxter, who was assigned to Polo Park Middle School, will be attending its upcoming SAC meeting Dec. 14 and will give her report from that school at an upcoming committee meeting.