The Royal Palm Beach Education Advisory Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 10 featured a standing-room-only crowd of enthusiastic parents, school administrators, students, teachers and citizens coming together to encourage local excellence in education and to hear a presentation on Crestwood Middle School and a short performance by Crestwood’s band.
While Crestwood was the meeting’s focus, Board Chair Krystal Clark started the meeting by praising Royal Palm Beach High School.
“I want to publicly commend Royal Palm Beach High School for winning the Triple Crown of awards this year,” she said, noting that Dr. Jesús Armas was recently named Principal of the Year, Daniela Boyd was named Teacher of the Year and Nikki Lanier was named High School Counselor of the Year.
Each Education Advisory Board meeting focuses on a particular school, and this month’s focus was Crestwood Middle School.
Principal Dr. Stephanie Nance started her presentation by introducing the Crestwood Middle School band led by Band Director Jeneve Jarvis. About 25 members of the band treated the packed house of parents and education professionals to three tunes: “America the Beautiful,” “Grand Old Flag” and “The Yorktown March.”
Nance said that the most exciting thing going on right now at Crestwood is the success of the school’s various academies, each designed to provide tailored educational opportunities not previously available at the school.
“Crestwood is all about providing students with opportunity,” she said. “Each of our academies now provide students with educational opportunities, some not previously available in the village.”
Crestwood academies include Infinity Gifted Academy, Pre-Engineering/STEM Academy, Pre-Business IT Academy, and the Multimedia, Music and Communications Academy.
“Crestwood opens more doors for students now than ever before,” said parent Jonathan Amaya, who came out to honor his old alma mater and to see his son perform in the band. “I wish they had some of these programs back 20-some years ago when my wife and I attended Crestwood. I sometimes wonder if I was exposed to musical education back then, whether my life and career might have turned out a little differently.”
Vincent DeJesus, an eighth grader and skilled percussionist, enjoys the music programs available at the school.
“I never thought I would benefit from handbells, which got me interested in percussion,” he said. “Now I love playing drums. Getting good at this gives me confidence. The experience of practicing hard and learning to play a musical instrument, I suspect, is going to help me as I tackle college and higher education.”
Jarvis said keeping kids excited about school is the whole idea.
“It’s mind-boggling how thirsty kids are to learn something and get good at it,” she said. “Working with kids from grades six to eight is the best job in the world. These are such formative years. I love being part of a team that conspires to provide kids with opportunities.”
Science teacher Briana Moncur is new to Crestwood, enjoying her sophomore year of teaching.
“The opportunities for kids at Crestwood are endless, whether they are interested in music, science or even working on the yearbook,” said Moncur, who is the faculty advisor for the yearbook, which conducted a photo shoot of the band in the lobby of the Village Meeting Hall after their well-received performance.
Susana Perez came out to see her daughter Julian play clarinet and was delighted with the band’s performance.
“One of the things I like about Crestwood is that there are lots of opportunities for parents to be involved with their middle-schoolers’ lives,” she said. “My one piece of advice to every parent out there is this: Please, please be active and involved in your child’s educational journey.”
Nance said she welcomes such parental involvement.
“At the end of the day, our core mission is working together as partners with parents to provide a positive learning experience for all students,” she said.
The Royal Palm Beach Education Advisory Board meets on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.