Education Bulletin

Baxter Murrell honored for backpack program

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  • | 6:05 a.m. April 28, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Baxter Murrell honored for backpack program

Baxter Murrell of Winter Park, a senior at Winter Park High School, was presented with an engraved bronze medallion on Wednesday, April 27, to recognize his selection as a Distinguished Finalist for Florida in the 2016 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Baxter founded “Baxter’s Bags” in 2013, raising $18,250 in funds and in-kind donations to provide backpacks stuffed with basic essentials for 400 men, women and children who are homeless. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.

Local high schools recognized

Orange County Public Schools is proud to be part of the prestigious recognition bestowed upon high schools each year by U.S. News & World Report. The district has seven schools on the exclusive list of the Best High Schools. Schools are awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments, their graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college. The outcomes for OCPS include: higher than average performance on statewide assessments adjusting for the percentage of economically disadvantaged students; higher than average performance on statewide assessments for black, Hispanic and low-income students when compared to similar students across the state; meeting a higher than expected benchmark for their graduation rate; and school performance on college-readiness as measured by Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate assessments. Out of 28,651 public high schools in the United States, 19,908 were large enough to be eligible for inclusion in the rankings. Winter Park, Timber Creek, Freedom, Lake Nona and Olympia high schools ranked in the top 5 percent of all eligible high schools while University placed among the top 10 percent. This qualifies these schools for a Silver Medal recognition. Orange County Virtual School received bronze level recognition for their placement in the top-third in the country.

Winter Park Wildcat earns scholarship

Winter Park High school student Josephine M. Spiegelberg was recently awarded the National Merit Siemens Scholarship. Siemens Corporation produces and markets electrical and electronic systems, instruments, and components for medicine, science, and industry. Funded through the Siemens Foundation, the purpose of the scholarship program is to support higher education, to honor exceptionally talented high school students, and to aid as many as possible in obtaining a college education.

Winter Park High Schoolers place in competition

CSPAN and Bright House Networks visited Winter Park High School on Wednesday, April 27, to honor local winners for CSPAN’s annual student video documentary competition, StudentCam. During the visit, a CSPAN Representative presented a StudentCam certificate of merit to the winning students during ceremonies in front of classmates, teachers, and family members to recognize their winning achievement in the national competition. StudentCam encourages middle and high school students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and nation. This year, students were asked to create a 5-7 minute video documentary about the topic “Road to the White House: What's the issue YOU most want candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign?” In response, CSPAN received 2,887 video submissions from almost 6,000 students in 45 states and Washington, DC. 150 student and 53 teacher prizes were awarded, totaling $100,000 in prize money. Sydney Plastow and Zoe Heafner, sophomores, won third prize and will receive $750 for their documentary, "Education In America." Walker Simasek and Clay DeHart, sophomores, won honorable mention and will receive $250 for their documentary, "Standardized Testing." Christina Spain and Chelsea Wilck, sophomores, won honorable mention and will receive $250 for their documentary, "Free College Tuition." Nancy Pickett, a junior, won honorable mention and will receive $250 for her documentary, "Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery." Visit to watch all the winning videos for 2016.

Dommerich principal honored with award

On April 12, the School Board for Orange County Public Schools celebrated Dommerich Elementary’s Acting Principal, Kahlil Ortiz, in recognizing him as a Top Three Assistant Principal by the Florida Department of Education. As a Top Three Assistant Principal Mr. Ortiz received the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award. The award honors exemplary assistant principals for their commitment to education, promoting a safe learning environment for students, and establishing cohesive partnerships with parents and community members. Prior to joining Dommerich Elementary in July 2015, Mr. Ortiz served as Assistant Principal at Cheney Elementary for three years. In January 2016, Ortiz was appointed Acting Principal at Dommerich Elementary where he hopes to continue a successful career in public service to students and their families.


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