• Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Jan 30, 2019
  • Category: News, School News

Students build a stronger community, make friends through bi-weekly club activities

What Would You Do with Thirty Minutes?

Boynton Beach, FL – December 2018 –  What if you had thirty minutes on a Friday afternoon scheduled into your work day to spend time doing something that you love? Ben Gamla Palm Beach Charter School in Palm Beach has done exactly that — incorporating a bi-weekly club titled “Hugim,” Hebrew for clubs, into the school schedule.

The purpose of these bi-weekly clubs is to build a stronger community among their already tight-knit school of 245 students, while creating bonds with new friends of different ages and grade levels, all coming together with the same personal interests at heart. Students created a list of their top three choices for club assignments, and with a variety of physical, mental, and educational choices, some students found it hard to choose only three! Some options from the list of over twenty clubs included yoga, chess, creating comic books, painting, and field hockey. According to Principal, Elanit Weizman, “This is an excellent opportunity for students to express their personal interests, show off their talents, or master a new skill, while building personal relationships with children in other grades, teachers or school staff they may not know with the same passions or interests as them.”

Ben Gamla, a Palm Beach County Public Charter School, is located in Boynton Beach and has been a vital part of the education community for the past eight years. Ben Gamla is a community of learners that honors individual student’s needs, varied modalities of instruction, and nurtures character traits that help develop good citizenship. We serve families who come from all over Palm Beach County to have their children educated in an environment rich in S.T.E.A.M. activities. Ben Gamla Charter School provides a safe environment for innovative instructional practices that continuously lights the path toward maximum student achievement and personal growth. As the first English- Hebrew language Charter School in the United States, and the only one in Palm Beach County, Ben Gamla Charter integrates Hebrew instruction giving our students a useful tool in our global society.

MEDIA is invited to take part in the bi-weekly Hugim. The following dates are when they are currently scheduled to take place: December 7, December 15, January 18, February 1, February 15, March 1, March 15, April 5, April 26, May 10 and May 17.

For more information, please contact: Brianna Schraft, Bschraft@bengamlapalmbeach.org

Original Article at: https://flcharterschool.org/students-build-a-stronger-community-make-friends-through-bi-weekly-club-activities/


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Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

Mater Lakes made school history on Saturday, winning the first-ever IBT title in school history, topping the John Lyzott Memorial IBT at McArthur.

The Bears, ranked sixth in the Orlando Sentinel’s latest Class 1A team rankings, finished with five individual champions, outscoring Coral Park and South Broward by 52 points.

Week 2 tournament results from across Florida »

“We are pumped,” Mater Lakes coach Brandon Neifeld said via email. “We started this program six years ago from scratch and the team is looking very good and coming into form.”

“We have six seniors in the lineup, all capable of reaching the podium at states.”

Winning titles on Saturday were Danny Martinez (106), Nick Luna (120), Omar Amengol (132), David Alvarez (220), and Ethan Vargas (285). Nestor Nunez (16) also reached the finals as the Bears won with a team effort with 10 wrestlers making the podium.

“It feels great to see the kids achieving success not only individually but as a team because we really developed a family type of bond together at Mater Lakes,” Neifeld said. ‘”We have very limited facilities at our school but it doesn’t stop us from training and competing with the best teams.”

limited facilities at our school but it doesn’t stop us from training and competing with the best teams.”

Check out the latest Class 3A individual rankings »

Coral Park and South Broward finished in a tie for second place. Steven Villalobos (152) won an individual title for Coral Park with Justin Maynard (160) taking home top honors for South Broward.

Michael Sarron (126) and Alex Chitty (138) both won titles for fourth-place Coral Springs Charter

Results — Rankings based on Orlando Sentinel rankings

Team scores: 1. Mater Lakes 230; 2. South Broward, Coral Park 178; 4. Coral Springs Charter 167.5; 5. Cypress Bay 156; 6. Goleman 143; 7. Taravella 118; 8. Ft. Lauderdale, Nova 92; 10. Deerfield Beach 64.5; 11. McArthur 53.5; 12. Everglades, Miramar 47; 14. Monarch 46.5; 15. Douglas, Western 45; 17. Calvary Christian 25.

Finals: 106: #4-1A Danny Martinez (Mater Lakes) p. Alex Couto (Coral Park) 3:57

113: #19-3A Justin Huertas (Taravella) p. #18-3A Nico Cava (Monarch) 5:23

120: #2-1A Nick Luna (Mater Lakes) maj. dec. #7-2A Anthony Montanez (South Broward) 15-5

126: #8-1A Michael Sarron (Coral Springs Charter) p. Frank Indiero (Goleman) 1:09

132: #5-1A Omar Armengol (Mater Lakes) maj. dec. #20-3A Eddie Punzalan (Cypress Bay) 18-4

138: #10-1A Alex Chitty (Coral Springs Charter) maj. dec. Marlo Garcia (South Broward) 9-0

145: #8-3A Steven Erched (Douglas) dec. #7-1A Terrell Taylor (Coral Springs Charter) 12-9

152: #3-3A Steven Villalobos (Coral Park) p. #12-2A Raul Chavarry (Goleman) 3:08

160: #3-2A Justin Maynard (South Broward) dec. #3-1A Nestor Nunez (Mater Lakes) 6-3

170: Emerson Derose (Miramar) dec. #10-1A Tyler Vargas (Coral Springs Charter) 10-8

182: #15-3A Christian Deluna (Cypress Bay) dec. Coby Newton (Taravella) 6-3

195: #12-3A Caio De Almeida (Cypress Bay) p. Jesus Rodriguez (McArthur) 5:22

220: #10-1A David Alvarez (Mater Lakes) dec. #12-3A Julian D’orazio (Fort Lauderdale) 7-0

285: #13-1A Ethan Vargas (Mater Lakes) dec. Kareem Crawford (South Broward) 5-4

Check out the latest Class 1A individual rankings »

Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

Mater Lakes makes school history at John Lyzott

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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Dec 10, 2018
  • Category: News, School News

SPORTS, LEADERSHIP, ARTS & MANAGEMENT OSCEOLA is the newest member of the Slam Family

SPORTS, LEADERSHIP, ARTS & MANAGEMENT OSCEOLA – A TUITION-FREE PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL SERVING STUDENTS IN GRADES 6th-8th is the newest member of the Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management family of high performing charter schools. The brand-new facility is located at 611 Heritage Park Way, Kissimmee, FL 34744.  With plans to add high school grades in years to come, the vision of Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management Osceola is to produce college bound and career-oriented graduates. With career academies designed to provide unique educational experiences, with internship opportunities for high school students in areas such as Sports Management, Medicine, Multimedia and Graphic Design, Broadcasting Communications, and more.

“My goal is to develop a high-energy, college-preparatory academy that transforms classrooms into vibrant learning environments that build expert problem solvers,” Principal Monique Machado said. “Couple this energy with learning academies designed to provide job shadow opportunities and professional internships and the results are confident, driven high school graduates that are prepared for the challenges of both college and career.”

“Our goal is to engage students and promote high achievement for all students,” Ms. Machado added.

2019-2020 applications are currently being accepted for students entering 6th grade through 9th grade at http://www.slamosceola.com  or by calling 407-569-7637.

Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management Academy provides students with unique access to career mentors, athletes as role models, and executive internships through educational partnerships with local and national sports franchises. By fostering these and other long-term relationships, students at Sports, Leadership, Arts & Management Academy benefit from real world learning experiences within all facets of the sports industry.

Additionally, the school will benefit from partnerships with local and national sports organizations such as the Florida Fire Frogs, Osceola Heritage Park, Orlando Sea Wolves, NBA, MLB and NASCAR through its affiliation with the National SLAM! Foundation, which also provides support.

For more information about the SLAM! network please visit www.slamfoundation.org

The quality of the educational programs and system effectiveness over the past decade demonstrate SLAM! Foundation’s commitment to ongoing improvement efforts and academic progress.   

Charter Schools are…

  • Tuition-free public schools
  • Accountable for academic results
  • Required to employ highly qualified state-certified teachers
  • Required to participate in state standardized exam (FSA)
  • Required to meet Annual Yearly Progress, under the No Child Left Behind Act

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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Oct 29, 2018
  • Category: News, School News
Image for Article

New $12M charter school to open in vacant Four Corners supermarket on U.S. 27

Article by Laura Kinsler

A Jacksonville-based charter school developer has secured county approvals to open a K-8 charter school in a former Winn Dixie supermarket on U.S. 27 in south Lake County.

Taylor Smith, president of Project Finance & Development Inc., said the new Pinecrest Academy in Four Corners would serve up to 1,050 students from all four counties. The school site is about a half mile north of Cagan Crossings and one mile north of the U.S. 192 intersection.

from the county. Lake County Schools awarded a charter beginning in Fall 2019.

The new Pinecrest Academy in Four Corners would renovate and repurpose the 49,000-square-foot supermarket, outlined in red, while another 15,316 would be reserved for future expansion.

Severns and Smith said that the project involves the complete conversion of the closed 49,000-square-foot Winn Dixie store into a new state-of-the-art charter school, as well as the redevelopment of a portion of the parking lot to provide parent drop-off and pick-up areas, recreational fields and playground areas. The school would feature the latest educational technology for students as well as high-tech security and safety features, they said.

The Four Corners school represents the second Pinecrest Academy charter school in Lake County, with the other A-rated Pinecrest K-8 School
in Minneola.

Florida Engineering Group provided civil work. The school is being designed by Miami-based Civica Architecture Group and will be built in two phases, with the second phase involving a 15,000-square-foot expansion of the existing facility.

Pinecrest officials are also working with Lake County School officials to avoid duplication of services between the charter school and a planned K-8 public school to serve the growing Four Corners area. The school district has a 35- acre site nearby and is designing a traditional campus to open as early as August 2021.

The development team has been active in charter school development in Central Florida. Smith’s PF&D Inc. provided the financial backing for a new

Mater Academy in St. Cloud, and Severns represented BridgePrep Academy on the land acquisition and permitting for its new Poinciana charter school.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Full article at


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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Apr 26, 2018
  • Category: News, School News
Photo Apr 20, 9 37 53 AM

The Zimriyah at Ben Gamla Charter School

Israeli culture & entertainment was on full display on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Ben Gamla Charter School located on 8600 Jog Road in Boynton Beach.  The K-5th tuition free charter school, which provides a Hebrew language program, celebrated Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) Zimriyah.

What is a Zimriyah…?

The Zimriyah is an Israeli Song & Dance Performance that the Ben Gamla students put on each year celebrating Israel’s Independence Day.  The event took place at the Temple Torat Emet Social Hall from 8:30am – 10am.



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Mater Lakes Academy’s Principal is Named Top Principal by Florida TaxWatch

Miami, FL, Monday, April 23, 2018 – Principal, Rene F. Rovirosa of Mater Lakes Academy was named one of the top nine principals in the State of Florida, by Florida TaxWatch, and one of the top three in the high school division in August.  On Thursday, April 19th, Florida Tax Watch held their Principal Leadership Award dinner, and amongst the three nominees in the high school category he was awarded the top principal.

Florida TaxWatch is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute.  According to their website, “Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses.”

Florida TaxWatch established their Principal Leadership Awards Program in 2014.  The criteria used to name the top 3 principals per grade division (elementary, middle, and high school) is not done through a nomination basis, but it is data driven.  Florida TaxWatch basis their criteria on data received from the Florida Department of Education, using assessment scores, their learning gains, and the percentage of students that are ELL, SPED, and economically disadvantaged and their progress.  Mater Lakes Academy has 4% learning gain in English and Language Arts and a 14% learning gain in Mathematics.  Mater Lakes Academy exceeded both the state and district percentage of proficiency at 71%.

“I am honored, there are no other words to describe it, but just that I am honored,” said Principal Rene F. Rovirosa.  “I truly feel that they key to a better community is quality education, and that is what we are providing because this award is not just mine but all of Mater Lakes.”  Earlier in the school year, Mr. Rovirosa was also awarded the 2017 Charter School Champion Leader Award by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.

Mater Lakes Academy is a Miami-Dade County Public Charter School, with students enrolled in 6th – 12th grade.  Mater Lakes Academy has been open since the 2006-2007 academic school year, and is currently in its 12th year under the direction of Principal Rene F. Rovirosa, and is an A school for both the middle school and the high school.  For more information, visit the school’s website at www.materlakes.org.


Mrs. Alice Martinez
Mater Lakes Academy
Phone:  (305) 698-8000
Fax:  (305) 698-1800



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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Apr 11, 2018
  • Category: News, School News
Key West Academy

Key West Collegiate Academy In The News!

Local charter school launches new security program

See something, say something.” It’s the latest catchphrase to come from school shooting tragedies such as the one that killed 17 people on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida. A new program being launched Tuesday at Key West Collegiate Academy charter high school will enable students to actually do something.

Students will be briefed on the implementation of School Text Tips, a simple and anonymous text message hotline that allows students to immediately report weapons, bullying, drugs, harassment, cyber bullying, suspicious behavior and troubled students to school faculty.

“For years, the schools have been able to send out mass communications to students and parents, but I wanted to be able to reverse that direction and enable students to easily feed information to the school faculty and administration because they’re the ones who really know what’s happening. They’re our eyes, ears and boots on the ground,” said Shawn Verne, a Sugarloaf entrepreneur and father who started designing School Text Tips six years ago after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “So many other programs require users to register a username, create an account, fill out a series of drop down menus and then receive a verification email. That’s just too cumbersome. With School Text Tips, all they do is program a contact number into their phone and send a text to that contact whenever they have something to report.”

Students need not label the contact entry as “School Text Tips,” he said. “They can label it ‘Aunt Sally’ or anything else, as long as it’s something they’ll remember.” Verne tested the program at a school on Marco Island more than a year ago, and within a few months had heard from school officials that School Text Tips had prevented a suicide and identified a student who was cutting herself. “This saves lives immediately,” Verne said. “And in a time when all parents are asking what schools are doing to keep their kids safe, here’s a step forward with no footdragging or red tape.” Verne offered School Text Tips to Superintendent Mark Porter for Monroe County’s schools once before the Parkland shooting and again since, but the district has not taken any action on the offer, Verne said. “So I approached the principal of the Collegiate Academy, and his only question was, ‘How soon can we implement it?’ I offered it for free to the school district, but the superintendent said he had to give the new school safety director time to get his feet wet, and I haven’t heard back from anyone, which is frustrating because this saves lives and I have kids at Key West High School and Sugarloaf School.” When asked about School Text Tips on Friday, Porter told The Citizen, “We are evaluating all available products and do plan to make a selection in the near future. We are aware of Shawn’s product and do certainly appreciate the fact that he is a member of our community.”

In the meantime, Key West Collegiate Academy will host an assembly Tuesday afternoon, where students will receive a complete briefing, their school’s individual phone number and program it into their phones. “The students appreciate the ability to actually do something to keep themselves safe,” Verne said, adding that the text tip system actively analyzes tips 24 hours a day, seven days a week using artificial intelligence algorithms to look for emergency “key words” such as bomb, kill, shoot, blow up, suicide, etc. Each tip is read and analyzed in realtime for nature and content and is appropriately dispatched to predesignated school officials. The system also tracks tipsters who send in misleading or inappropriate tips from which a report can be filed indicating number of incidences and other pertinent data.

The school then reserves the right to decide whether the tipster should be contacted and confronted accordingly, thus reducing the chance of hoaxes. In an age of abundant caution, but amid funding shortages, school districts lament the lack of mental health counselors and school resource officials, so extra help to identify troubled students is being welcomed. “Let’s face it, the kids always know what’s going on more so than any teacher or counselor,” Verne said. “This lets us take advantage of everything they see and creates a watchdog community where bullies and troublemakers are deterred from doing harm since anyone who’s looking down at their phone could be texting a tip.” The Monroe County School Board meets Tuesday in Marathon, where a closed session is scheduled to discuss school safety.

Key West Citizen
Original Article : https://keysnews.com/wp-content/themes/keysnews/assets/pdf/daily-editions/archive/Citizen031918.pdf

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2017 National Blue Ribbon  4

Academica-Serviced Schools Named 2017 National Blue Ribbon Charter Schools

Doral Academy of Technology, International Studies Charter Middle School, Somerset Academy Davie Earn 2017 National Blue Ribbon Award

Miami, FL, November 7, 2017– U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 292 public and 50 private schools as 2017 National Blue Ribbon recipients.  The Blue Ribbon Award designation goes to public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels, or have made significant academic progress and helped close gaps in achievement especially among disadvantaged and minority students.  Twelve of those schools are in Florida, and only three in Miami-Dade County.  Of the three, two are Academica-supported schools, Doral Academy of Technology and International Studies Charter Middle School.  In Broward County, Somerset Academy Davie earns its second National Blue Ribbon award, it’s first coming in 2011.  Somerset Academy Davie was the only school in Broward County to receive this distinguished honor.

This past year, Doral Academy of Technology (DAT) completed its sixth year of operations.  The school earned its 5th consecutive letter grade of “A” ranking as the highest-performing public middle school in Miami-Dade County, and among the top of all middle schools in Florida, based on the points it received under the State of Florida Accountability Program. DAT aims to prepare students for high academic performance, stimulate their lifelong love of math and science and create new pathways for them to pursue academic and professional careers in the fields of Math, Science, Engineering and Technology.  Students are provided with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and a rich extra-curricular program of activities, including team sports and clubs. The school’s award-winning facilities include fully equipped classrooms, labs, art rooms, a band room, production rooms, ball fields, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, and a brand new, top-notch football field.  This past year, Doral Academy of Technology’s campus was nominated for the American Institute of Architects People’s Choice Awards for Best Design. As part of the Doral Academy, Inc. network of high performing charter schools, Doral Academy of Technology is fully accredited by AdvancED under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS-CASI) division. 

In 2017, International Studies Charter Middle School completed its 8th year of operation. This past year, the School earned a letter grade of “A” for the sixth consecutive year, ranking among the highest performing public middle schools in Miami-Dade County, and among the top public middle schools in the State of Florida.  ISCMS has an articulation agreement with 2015 National Blue Ribbon School, International Studies Charter High School (ISCHS), which opened in 2004 in partnership with the Spanish, Italian, and French Embassies.  The school offers a rigorous academic program for students interested in pursuing an International Studies education in Spanish, French, or Italian. International Studies Charter Middle School was the only middle school eligible for and nominated in the “Achievement Gap Closing” category.

Somerset Academy in Davie (Somerset Davie) completed its 14th year of operations, serving students in grades K-5. For the 9th consecutive year, the school received a letter grade of “A” from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), ranking as the 2nd top performing public elementary school in Broward County and among the highest performing in the State of Florida. Most impressively, Somerset Davie was designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education for the 2nd time since its inception. This past year, Somerset Davie students were recognized for achievements and community support and participated in events to raise funds for various causes through events such as the Scholastic Book Fair, Fall Fundraiser, American Heart Association Fundraiser, and Sweets for Soldiers. Students also participated in extracurricular activities, such as Journalism and Broadcasting Club, Dance and Cheerleading.

As a member of the Somerset Academy network of high quality charter schools, Somerset Davie is fully accredited by AdvancED under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS-CASI) division. Somerset Davie maintains a partnership with Nova Southeastern University America Reads and America Counts program, which offers students one-on-one free tutoring assistance for 30 minute intervals. The key to achieving successful learning for all students is the school’s implementation of research-based instructional strategies by a highly qualified instructional staff, and the use of innovative resources in a technology-rich setting.

The Blue Ribbon Awards recognition ceremony is scheduled to take on November 6-8 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program as bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America’s schools.  A complete list of 2017 Blue Ribbon Schools is available at https://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2017/national.pdf

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Adriana Lima at 305.878.9993 or email at alima@academica.org.

Adriana Lima



Download full Press Release

Blue Ribbon Press Release – Academica


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  • Posted by: Luis Beyra
  • Posted On: Aug 15, 2017
  • Category: News, School News

A historic first day of school in Jefferson County

By: Erin Lisch | WCTV Eyewitness News 

August 14, 2017

MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) — A historic first day of school in Jefferson County was considered a success by students and staff.

Jefferson County is the first school district in the state to go all-charter, with Somerset Academy taking the reins. Many have already noticed changes.

Students are required to wear uniforms, including a colored polo shirt that differentiates the grades at the school. Many students were excited about their new threads.

Sixth grader Javia said, “I really do like it, it’s a good color.”

9-year-old Wayne agreed, “It makes me look good!”

11th grader Mya added, “We don’t have to worry about who has on this, who has on that, who’s wearing what better than the other person. We’re equally fair.”

The district had experienced failing grades in the past, which led to the change to a charter system.

On the first day of school, the principal believes big things are on the horizon.

Jefferson County K-12 Principal Cory Oliver said, “High graduation rates, high test scores. But beyond that, they’ll have a staff that truly cares about their kids.”

Oliver said about 50 percent of the staff is new and that many of the 805 students are already noticing a difference.

Excited about the teachers, Walter said, “They really answer questions and help me more.”

“I feel comfortable being here now because we have staff that’s willing to help us out and make the school better,” said Mya.

Students said they’re striving to convert the D-graded district to an A.

10th grader Jamiya said, “You have to focus and pay attention and do the work.”

“I think it’s going to be a great school year and all the grades are going to improve,” added Javia.

Many students left Jefferson because of the failing district, but Principal Oliver hopes to bring students back and grow enrollment by at least 200.

LINK: http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/A-historic-first-day-of-school-in-Jefferson-County-440428613.html%EF%BF%BD

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Congratulations to Pinecrest Academy South Charter School!

What an outstanding honor!!! Miami Dade County has proclaimed June 2nd as Pinecrest Academy South Charter School Day! We are so very blessed and thankful!



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  • Pinecrest
  • Somerset Academy Silver Palms
  • Somerset Academy Miramar Campus
  • Somerset Academy Davie