RPB Education Board Meeting Focuses on RPBHS Programs

Royal Palm Beach High School was the school of honor at the Monday, September 12, meeting of the Royal Palm Beach Education Advisory Board. The meeting featured a presentation by RPBHS Principal Michelle Fleming.

The school presentation began with dance performances by the students. They performed jazz, contemporary music and tap dance pieces.

“We’ve only been in school for six weeks, and this contemporary piece they just learned last week, so I’m very proud of them,” said dance teacher Michele Blecher Cramer. “Ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and musical theater provide them with a well-rounded dance education.”

Fleming took to the podium to provide a report on her school, which currently has 2,347 students enrolled.

“It just makes me smile from ear to ear to see my students here. Thank you for allowing them to participate in tonight’s meeting, ”said Fleming, in office for 10 months. “Not quite a year, but what a year it was. This year our theme is ‘High Expectations, High Standards, No Excuses’ and our new slogan is ‘The Royal Way’.

Fleming explained that maintaining enrollment numbers allows the school to continue to offer as many programs and options as possible to students.

“Thanks to a pandemic, we’ve been able to maintain a B grade, and for a large all-round high school, that’s no small feat,” she said. “We gained 113 points in one year. It really shows how hard teachers are working and digging deep to really bridge the pandemic gap. High school is essential. We are the last to collect them before they go out into the community.

Fleming shared data highlighting the 91% graduation rate for the Class of 2022 and over $2 million in scholarships earned. The year saw 28 Florida University Scholars, 25 Florida Medallion Scholars, nine Gold Seal CAPE Scholars, and 29 Gold Seal Scholars.

“We’ve changed the metric so higher-level students aren’t the only ones who have access to college-level courses,” Fleming said. “This year, we are 70% students in one or more accelerated courses.”

The school offers accelerated courses that include Advanced Placement courses, eight IB courses, and 14 AICE courses. Students also have access to a number of academies of choice, such as popular medical and HVAC academies. There are also 53 different clubs in the RPBHS.

In other cases:

• Past chair of the committee, Dr. Bill Thallemer, recently accepted a position with the Palm Beach County School District, and interim chair Jennifer Sullivan has been named the new chair. Meghan Crosby is the new Vice President and the Board has welcomed RPBHS Student Body President Javier Rivas to the committee for the coming year.

• Central Region Superintendent Valerie Zuloaga-Haines provided the committee with an update.

Palm Beach County is the 10th largest district in the nation with a budget of nearly $5 billion, she said.

“Our graduation rate is at an all-time high at 95.9, we’ll say 96%, and 66% of our schools are A or B-rated. We now have 180 district-operated schools, and two more schools are in the works. construction,” says Zuloaga-Haines. “The district got an A grade last year. Of the urban districts, only Miami-Dade and Palm Beach got an A.”

Compared to the rest of Florida, Palm Beach outperformed the state in English language arts in grades three through 10. In mathematics, county students were also better in sixth and eighth grade. On the graduation exams, the district was above the state in Geometry, Biology I, and United States History. Although there has been some success in science, it remains a struggle for students.

“Science is something we work on district-wide. Science, as a district, has underperformed in the state in every area except very few schools. It’s something systemic that we have to work on,” Zuloaga-Haines said. “The science test is technically almost a reading test with science content knowledge. You have to be able to read, and it’s basically an informational text.

Zuloaga-Haines described the replacement for the FSA tests, the BEST standards, which stands for Benchmark for Excellent Student Thinking. Implementation begins this year in ELA for grades 3-10, K-8 math, with Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) assessment progress tracking.

“Because we have new standards, we have new resources. When you have new standards, you have new assessments. This year is unique. They use the year as a field test,” Zuloaga-Haines explained. “Some schools will be selected and these will be used as a baseline. Students will not receive official grades on written assessments.

She went on to explain that instead of a test at the end of the year, students will now have progress monitored three times a year.

“This year the state really sees, and so do we, the importance of VPK and early learning for our students,” Zuloaga-Haines said. “We worked on the transition from primary to middle school, now they are considering the transition from VPK to school.”

To conclude her presentation, she shared videos and statistics to show how the referendum this fall asks the public to continue the 1.0 million referendum that was approved in 2018. The new referendum is on the November 8 ballot but is not a new tax. For more information, visit www.strongschoolspbc.com.

• Javier Rivas presented his first report to the committee, which included an overview of the recent leadership training camp he attended.

“It’s really a great opportunity for me to be able to sit on a board and experience it. I really appreciate that,” Rivas said. “[The camp] was a great way to find new leadership, and we all had to realize that we can’t all be leaders. We had to learn from each other. We couldn’t just stay in the spotlight. If you know someone who is interested in leadership, I really recommend that they look into the leadership training camp.

Rivas also weighed in with his approval on the advanced course options mentioned earlier in the meeting.

“I am a student who struggled a lot in school. I have an IEP. I have personal accommodations, and seeing these AICE courses was very scary. It shows kids who have disabilities, who don’t have the best learning, that you can do it no matter what,” he said.

• The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 3 and will include a presentation from Cypress Trails Elementary School Principal, Bruce Saulter.

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