Take Stock seeks mentors; Runcie visits EAB Nov. 4

So I kept jotting down nuggets about our schools to share sometime, and by this point my notebook is full. So here we go:

 Take Stock

  First off, I am beyond excited to announce that both Plantation Middle School and Seminole Middle School are participating in Take Stock in Children, a mentoring, college readiness and scholarship program for low-income, academically qualified students.

   TSIC connects students with mentors, who support the children throughout the school year, and in some cases follow them all the way through high school. TSIC students, who are selected based on need, then receive free tuition to a Florida college upon graduating.

    I think it’s the best program, with the best measurable results, around. But, of course, it’s only as good as its volunteers. And, again, this is where you come in. Folks, I know a lot of you out there want to do good. I know a lot of former teachers and educators who are looking to stay involved. This is an ideal way.

  There is a training process. Call 754-600-9756 or email BrowardMentor@TakeStockBrowardFL.org. I have worked with the executive director, Amanda Frey and feel free to email her at afrey@takestockbrowardfl.org.

  Local contacts are Tameka.Smith@BrowardSchools.com or 754-323-4226 (for Seminole Middle) and Pamela.vanhorn@browardschools.com or 754-322-4131 (Plantation Middle).

Volunteers’ impact

 Meanwhile, volunteers are stepping up to help our schools, as I requested in an essay I wrote earlier this year. My proudest example comes from Five Star Premier Residences of Plantation. About 10 seniors filled out volunteer forms via BrowardSchools.com/Volunteer. Staff at the facility arranged for group transportation, and the residents now work with students at Mirror Lake Elementary once a week. I consider them a valuable resource.

Runcie appearance

 Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie is scheduled to speak to our city’s Educational Advisory Board at its monthly meeting. This one is at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at City Hall. I am not sure of any other details. Working on it…


 EAB chair Andrew Dolberg has led an effort to beautify the schools: That could mean fund-raising for plants, tapping into a business connection or even putting on your gloves and getting down to digging.

If interested, contact him at asdolberg@gmail.com.

Running club

  Eager to encourage children to get involved in a sport he loves, Plantation’s Joe Goldstein is working with elementary schools and Plantation Middle to create running clubs. My idea is to use one of the 5K runs held each spring in Central Park as a focal point for a weekend race, where parents, teachers and students – running club members or not – would participate.

To help with a running club, email JGoldstein@Shutts.com.


 Tropical Elementary has nine teachers who have been awarded grants to improve the school. Each is worth about $250. New principal Robert Schneider also noted that parents and their children love bingo: he had more than 700 signups for an event, so bingo night became bingo nights.

Seminole band

 The Seminole Middle School band, led by director Anthony Church, has grown from 25 members at the start of the school year to about 50. The brass choir, about 18 students, played “Ode to Joy” before a meeting of the South Plantation High Innovation Zone meeting.

Mr. Church also performs throughout South Florida in his own right, including a big concert on the lawn in the spring at South Plantation.


  Plantation Elementary is our easternmost school, about a block from State Road 7. But the school has thrived under principal Judith Pitter, who is in her third year. Last month, Mrs. Pitter met with members of the Park East Homeowners Association, with the idea of encouraging residents, whether they have children or not, to visit her campus. (I moderated the discussion, throwing her softball questions when the conversation waned.)

I think it’s the start of another school that hopefully will be seeing increased community involvement in the coming months.

Mirror Lake 50th

  Mirror Lake Elementary continues celebrating its 50th anniversary with music, activities and more.

The event is at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1.

Plantation Middle Magnet

 Plantation Middle School has a special Magnet Open House and Showcase at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. Organizers at the International Baccalaureate say they are excited to open their doors to prospective students and their families and provide a sampling of what their students participate in, learn, and have fun doing.

This event very much plays into my suggestion: If you’re shopping for schools, visit each campus and do your research. This internet stuff goes only so far.

This newsletter originates on NickSortal.com and is shared via various platforms. The best way to get it is to subscribe to my Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/NickSortalPlantationCityCouncil. Sharing is encouraged. My email is NSortal@Plantation.org and my phone is 954-498-5337.