Making the Grade
A rural, South Florida school district shines nationally

Each fall Monroe County’s graduating class evacuates the Keys as if a Category 5
storm was tearing across the Atlantic on a collision course with US 1. Some
remain and enter the work force, join their parents’ business, or enlist in the
Sheriff’s Office or Fire Department, but in the Keys choices are limited and
they know it. Even as our community college enters a golden age of expansion
(dorms and four year accreditation coming soon!), many simply succumb to teenage
nature and flee the islands as soon as possible.

These new graduates follow in some pretty prestigious company
including Katie Greenman, who was just named one of the top students in the
country by USA Today. Nate Pinkus recently finished his education at Georgetown
University and is going to be working for the government – analyzing information
he is not allowed to talk about.

Other notable Monroe County alumni include Ron Saunders. He
did pretty good at school and also has a government job.

Then they are the athletes. Former students like Morgan
McPherson who played football at FSU for Bobby Bowden. Key West seems to breed
major leaguers too. Like the St. Louis Cardinals SS Khali Greene or the former
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Boog Powell.

The 2009 graduating class sees one baseball prodigy, Franki
Ratcliff, heading a few hours north to play baseball for one of the most elite
programs in the country – the University of Miami.

Read more about Ratcliff and other notable Monroe County
graduating seniors including a West Point cadet and Coral Shores Prom Queen off
to Duke University to major in pre-med on pages 8 & 9.


Earlier this week, the Monroe County School District
announced they will receive a 2009 Hewlett Packard grant valued at $265,000.

Entitled “Alternative Energy Research and Education, Powered
by HP, Fueling our NEXT Generation,” the grant will afford 8 teachers from the
Key West and Marathon high schools to research and collaborate on “green”
measures like alternative energy sources.

“These resources will support alternative energy curricula
and will be aligned to national mathematics, science and technology standards,”
said the Monroe County School District in a prepared release. The grant money
will be used for stipends and professional services as well as for HP hardware
like tablet PCs, DesignJet printers, “high-power mobile workstations,
mini-notebook PCs, and HP graphing calculators.”

Ken St. James, Instructional Technology Director, said, “As
an environmentally sensitive community, we look forward to researching,
teaching, and learning Alternative Energy using technologies, Powered by HP.
Together we can make a difference in implementing innovative approaches to
curriculum, instruction, and the use of technology to enhance math/science
learning and assist in service learning projects district-wide and beyond. We
are very proud of the accomplishments already underway through the leadership of
Josh Clearman, lead teacher at Key West High’s Alternative Energy Center, and
we’re excited about the opportunities this new grant will afford.”

More information about the 2009 HP Innovations in Education
initiative and other global social investments is available at

Learn more about Monroe County School District at

Graduation Dates
Coral Shores: June 10
Marathon: June 11
Key West: June 12

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