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Updated: 02/26/2014 08:00:00AM
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The Steel Drum Band students at the Hillcrest Elementary School entertained the Lake Wales Charter School trustee board members and others attending the Tuesday afternoon meeting at the Hillcrest School. Two young men master the congo drums for the presentation. The students are under the direction of Christine Guzzletta, arts director and music teacher.


The Mardi Gras of Lake Wales presented a $500 donation to the Lake Wales Charter Schools. "When we have a little extra we always like to donate to you," said Attorney Bill Ouellette who made the presentation. Danny Gill, vice chairman of the LWCS trustee board, and Superintendent of School Jesse Jackson accepted the donation. From left are Gill, Ouellette and Jackson.

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Teacher Evaluation Report

Danielle Schick, Lake Wales High School assistant principal, and her committee offered the Evaluation Advisory Committee report during the Lake Wales Charter School trustee board meeting Tuesday at Hillcrest Elementary School.

“The teaching staff is feeling more comfortable and are increasing the comfort level,” Schick said. “We expected it to be a three-year rollout and we did it in one year. Participation (by teachers in the evaluation) is on the increase. We can’t support you (teachers) until we get feedback.”

Schick noted the ongoing theme of the evaluation program is the teachers need more time. “The time factor has been difficult and they need time to do well.”

Overall, she says the program is making progress.

“It was important to us from the beginning to have teachers comfortable with this,” said Jesse Jackson, LWCS superintendent. “We don’t want people to be too overwhelmed and especially since it is an evaluation process. So we have to pace ourselves so we don’t get overwhelming and what we can do to relieve that process. It is a much better process, something more substantive. For us to get the most out of the process, we have to refine it and keep working with it.

“In the future we will have a survey to give them a voice in it,” Jackson said. “The former teacher evaluation was a system of blanks to check off with no real involvement by the teachers.”

LWHS Track

Joe Settle, Lake Wales High School volunteer track and field coach, approached the Lake Wales Charter School trustee board asking for support for the department’s track team events.

“We have a combined GPA of 2.99 with the male and female students involved in track,” Settle said. “I know I am always coming to ask for money, but we don’t have a competition track at the high school and travel to competitions.”

The teams have brought back championships two and three years consecutively and need funds for overnight and meals.

The department will be holding a chicken dinner fund-raiser from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 26 for $8 per person. The Masonic Lodge will be providing the chicken and parents will be donating other food items.

Principals’ Reports

Babson Park Elementary — Ken Henson, principal at Babson Elementary School, reported his students were visiting Kennedy Space Center in Titusville on Tuesday to teach them about the space program by attending the launch site and museum.

Hillcrest Elementary — Principal Jennifer Barrow of Hillcrest Elementary School praised her teachers and students in the various programs and classes involved at the school.

Polk Avenue Elementary — Principal Gail Quam noted her students are working on their data notebooks, sharing the working information with other classes, kindergarten with third graders and second-graders with fourth-graders.

Janie Howard Wilson Elementary — Principal Barbara Jones said her fifth-grade students were four of the six Daughters of the American Revolution essay winners this year.

W. Bok Academy — Principal Damien Moses reported the online application process deadline for seating at the school for the next school year was Feb. 7. It was a very successful program with 600 applications, not including those who applied after the deadline. Tuesday it was close to 700.

Lake Wales High School — Principal Donna Dunson praised her percussion band students who brought home a superior first in music competition, the first time in seven years. She also reported the basketball regionals were being held in Orlando Tuesday night.

Nancy Denton, head softball coach, was honored as the softball field was named for her on Tuesday afternoon at the LWHS.

Churches, Church Groups Recognized

This community is being transformed for this intricate contribution,” Jesse Jackson, LWCS superintendent said. “Churches have adopted certain schools. It is because of the people of this community that is making this system work. Great schools start with great parents, therefore I am thankful and your presence is important to us. Some people think churches should not be in our schools. But we don’t push away people in our schools who are with or without faith.”

The LWCS presented appreciation plaques to the participating churches and groups.

Schools and church combinations include: Hillcrest Elementary and the First Baptist Church; Impact Church and Janie Howard Wilson Elementary; Polk Avenue Elementary and First Presbyterian Church; Babson Park Community Church and Babson Park Elementary; Greater St. Thomas Holiness Church and Babson Park Elementary; High Point Church and Janie Howard Wilson Elementary; High Point Church and Lake Wales High School; Church of the Good Shepherd and Polk Avenue Elementary School; South Lake Wales Church of God and Edward W. Bok Academy; Lamb of God Lutheran Church and Paula Alford, school health, for backpacks. Food items and financial help for her backpack program at the LWCS; Seekers in Action Sunday School Class for the First Presbyterian Church for Paula Alford; New Creation Ministry with Paula Alford and Janie Howard Wilson.

Attorney Pleads Case Over Bus Route

Attorney Natasha Lias addressed the Lake Wales Charter School trustee board at its meeting Tuesday to plead the bus transportation case of parent Shellie Blum of Waverly who would still like to see her children picked up in front of their home instead of at the current bus stop a half mile from her home. The children attend Edward W. Bok Academy.

Blum addressed the board previously on two occasions in 2013. A petition requesting an administrative hearing was presented by Blum to the school district and to Robin Gibson, board attorney, at the Dec. 16, 2013 board meeting. The petition was to be filed against the Charter Schools with the Division of Administrative Hearings in Tallahassee, according to what Blum had said at the time. Attorney Gibson has not heard anything further on this.

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