Monthly Archives: December 2012

Melissa Szentmiklosi: Hurricanes’ Teacher of the Year!!!


Congratulations Melissa!

  • We are all shaken by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary. It is just beyond belief.  The best thing we can do as leaders and educators is provide the safe and secure surroundings of school. Sometimes, school is the best place for some of our students.  We need to keep the familiar and consistent routines and schedules in place. Superintendent Walt Griffin acknowledged this  situation by  sending this note to the administration stating the following: “There are no words sufficient to express our sorrow for the people of Newtown, Connecticut and the losses of lives and innocence in their community.  They will remain steadfast in our hearts and in our prayers.  As superintendent of Seminole County’s public schools, I want to assure the parents, staffs, students and neighbors that we pledge the highest level of safety standards at our facilities.  Though we don’t specifically speak to matters of security, know that there is nothing more important to me, to this school board and to this community than the safety of our students.”  Monday, December 17, 2012, we will have a brief faculty meeting at 4:00pm in the media center to debrief on how things went and what we need to know.
  • You may wish to review and refer to the attachment: “Talking To Children About Violence.”

Talking to Children About Violence

  • ESC visitors on campus today; all personnel will be wearing their SCPS badge.
  • Want to know what’s happening this week?  Check out the Hurricane Weekly Tab
  • In order to receive your W-2 Tax Form electronically you must give your consent by logging on to Employee Self Service (ESS) and select W-2/W-2c  Consent.  Read the consent information and click on the box to consent.  You must consent by December 21, 2012 to receive your 2012 W-2 electronically……otherwise you’ll receive a mailed paper form in mid-January 2013.

  • The Semester Exam Bell Schedule for Wednesday through Friday [12/19-20-21/12] is attached for your use. Please remind the children about the schedule change and the fact that on these three (3) days bag lunches will be served at lunch time AND school will dismiss at 1:50 P.M. Also note the sequence of class periods. If any changes occur, Ms. Taylor will email an updated version.

SSMS Bell Schedule Early Release Days 12-10-12 .

  • The grading period for the 2nd quarter report card ends on 12/21/12.  It is critical that all grades are inputted by 9:00pm on Monday, 1/7/13.   This must be done before the 2nd semester schedules are printed on Tuesday. If you are taking comp days on 1/7 and/or 1/8, plan accordingly to meet the  deadline.
  • The Hospitality Committee is sponsoring the Holiday Luncheon on Wednesday, 12/19/12, beginning at 2:00 P.M. in the MPR. Please mark this important date on your calendar and plan on joining our school community as we honor Josey and Melissa and prepare to leave for our holiday with family and friends.

Have a Great Week Hurricanes!

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Posted by on 12/16/2012 in LEAD21- SERIES1


Josey Pagan: Hurricane’s Employee of the Year


Congratulations Josey!!! You Make Us Proud!
Ms. Haile passes the torch..

Hello Hurricanes!

  • What inspired you to become an educator? …” But, we know we can inspire. Moreover, when we chose education as our career we assumed the responsibility to inspire our students. But, unlike Mr. Miller, who inspired me to open my text more, go to the library more and to buy more books about science, we have the ability to inspire our students to connect with others who share their interests. We have the ability to inspire our students to, as Will Richardson says, talk to strangers on online with the confidence that their passions will match that of those with whom they connect and that they can do so safely and appropriately. We have the ability to inspire our students to not only learn new information, but collect, vet, assimilate and create new information. We have the ability to model how we leverage global relationships to expand our learning and encourage our students to do the same. We have the ability to inspire our students to look beyond that which is front of them and wonder what lies beyond. (This Screams our Leadership and Global Connections Magnet)

    We’re in the inspiration business. How will you leverage your ability to do so?

Read the whole blog entry below

What inspired you to become an educator?

  • Check out the happenings on the Weekly Hurricane Updates!
  • Below is the A+ Survey a copy will be placed in mailboxes before 8:30 Monday, December 10, 2012

A + Funds Survey Dec 10, 2012

  • Bell Schedule for Semester Exams beginning December 18 – 21, click the links below.  A copy will also be placed on the shared folder.

Bell Schedule Tuesday December 18

SSMS Bell Schedule Early Release Days 12-10-12 .

  •  SCPS middle schools now has a Facebook. If you have pictures to share, please email them to me or Diane Taylor with a quick blurb of what is happening in the picture.  For now, pictures with students should not show faces or be such that we can crop it so we don’t identify students.  Also, any material, quotes, pictures of interesting things on your campus, etc. that will make a clever post are also great material.  Posters in classrooms, work on the board, anything you can think of, is potential FB material. We want to showcase our teachers, too.  Please always ask them if they are OK with posting on our FB. Thanks for your help and support.

                     “Like” the account on Facebook at
                            (Liking the page will not display your personal information)
  • Coming Soon…. South Seminole MS Facebook…..
  • An instructional strategy from our Coaches…. click below to find out more…..

Alternative to Round Robin Reading

  • MISSION POSSIBLE PD 2.1….Upcoming January Training.

PD Mission 2.1

  • To continue our “Say No to Bullying Campaign”, 7th grade students and teachers will be participating in an assembly this Wednesday, December 12, 2012 in the MPR,  presented by  John Halligan, a father who lost his son to suicide as a result on Bullying. Contact  Mr. Fitzwater with any additional information.
  • On Friday, November 30, 2012 the Florida Department of Education released last year’s 2012 Federal Graduation Rates for the 67 Florida public school districts. We are pleased to announce that Seminole County’s graduation rate is 80.3% for the 2011-12 school year. By comparison, the Federal Uniform Rate was 78.8% in 2010-11 and we’ve continued to improve from an initial Federal Uniform Rate of 69.4% in 2003-04. The continued improvement is an indication of your support and the hard work of everyone in our PK-12 system.

  • Please see below from Mr. Julian, SCPS Attorney.  There are changes from previous years.  The memo applies to all holiday seasons, not just the Christmas holiday season.

Holiday Observances Memorandum11-27-2012-2

  • SSMS will be closed 1/2/13 – 1/4/13, Laura, Peter and I are taking vacation days.  For employees that DO NOT have direct deposit, Joan Stapelton at Casselberry Elementary will be disbursing your checks on 1/4/12.  Laura will send additional times before we leave for Winter Break.
  • The Flexible Scheduling Committee had the opportunity to spend time at Milwee and Millennium Middle School to see the bell schedule in action.  Ask them any questions that you may have...“the good, the bad and the ugly” : )  With the foremost guiding question, “Is this good for kids?”  Committee Members that participated in the tours/shadowing were:  Karen Gundal, Alicia Carver, Anne-Margaret Strudgeon, Jessica Brantley, Joan Fenaughty, Amy Bingham, Katy Lind & Michelle Orozco.  Alex Nicholas and Kim Lieser had the opportunity to visit Millennium’s Chorus and Band program.  Millennium is a Fine Arts and Communications Magnet on modified scheduling for 10 years. The committee chair Mr. Ougel, has done a great job facilitating this process with the committee.  He has additionally met and/or corresponded with schedulers at Milwee, Sanford MS and Millennium.
  • Regardless of your subject “Google” can assist you with your teaching.  A  Google Lit Trip is a great 3-D, digital exploration that is designed to stimulate higher level thinking skills in our students. These free, downloadable files utilize literature, Google Earth and a variety of other resources to supplement teaching units and expose children to “real world” references. There are “virtual trips” available for grades K-12 and Higher Education. Check out these resources for your next unit of study!

    Have a Great Week Hurricanes!!

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Posted by on 12/09/2012 in LEAD21- SERIES1


Holidays Around the World at SSMS

world globe

Let’s Get This Week Started Hurricanes!

  • Superintendent Griffin will be visiting SSMS on Monday December 3, 2012, from 11:00am – 1:00 pm.  He will be accompanied by Board Chairman Karen Almond. We will randomly be visiting classes to see our SSMS students in active engagement and learning.   Do what you do Hurricanes…I’m sure your excellence will shine!
  • Don’t forget to check out the Hurricane Weekly for this week’s happenings around campus
  • The preliminary data related to the distribution of “Final Evaluation Ratings” for SCPS instructional personnel is summarized below. This is the “SCPS” summary of the same information that was reviewed at our Faculty Meeting on 11/14/12.  You should have also received an e-mail describing how you could retrieve your evaluation data score on “ESS”. Take a moment to reflect on your student growth data.

SCPS Evaluation Rating Stats – Preliminary Data

  • Just a reminder, the narrated video explaining the Student Growth Calculation portion of the Teacher Evaluation System is posted on SCPS,  below is the link:  Scroll down to Resources

  • The state has informed the district that the Seminole County Public Schools have again achieved and met FLDOE class size requirements this year thanks to your assistance and cooperation.  What does this require? The district earns this recognition by meeting class size requirements in each and every class at each and every school. Congratulations! Your patience and  perseverance are greatly appreciated. Hats off to Laura Richards and the Guidance Team for making this a reality for SSMS.
  • Congratulate Mr. Adamowicz and the boys of the SSMS Boys volleyball team.  They played with heart at the tournament held this weekend at Millennium Middle School. Although the boys  did not advance to the final round, We were all very proud of them. Thank you to Ms. Szentmiklosi and Ms. Strickland for helping to cheer them on.
  • There will be an A+ Committee meeting in the media center on Wednesday, December 5, 201 at 8:30am.  The meeting is open to open to all.
  • You are cordially invited to attend our next Education Forum, “Rescue and Resistance – UpStanders!” at the Holocaust Center on Thursday, December 6th. This program will focus on practical lessons that we can learn from Holocaust rescuers that can be used to help students to become UpStanders in their schools and communities.This event is open to all teachers who are concerned about promoting pro-social behavior among students, especially as it applies to the issue of bullying in schools. It will be particularly helpful to teachers whose schools have been involved in the Holocaust Center’s UpStanders: Stand Up to Bullying Program. We will also unveil the 2013 Yom HaShoah Creative Arts Contest theme and prompts at this event!  If you would like to attend, please reply by phone or e-mail to Mitchell Bloomer (Contact information below) Please leave a message with your name and school indicating your desire to attend. Please feel free to invite guests as well.  The evening’s events will begin at 5:15 p.m. with a reception and light refreshments. This will be followed by the program at 6:00 p.m. The program will last approximately 2 hours. Inservice credit is available for this event. Mitchell Bloomer, Resource Teacher  407-628-0555 x283

  • From Bob DeVecchio regarding Vehicle Burglary Prevention……With the arrival of the holiday season each year, comes an increase in the number of vehicle burglaries and thefts. Attached are some facts from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office regarding vehicle burglaries and tips on how you can avoid being a victim. We encourage you to share this information with your staff and parents.

     Vehicle Burglaries Nov. 2012

    Have a Great Week Hurricanes!


Posted by on 12/02/2012 in LEAD21- SERIES1