FAU and St. Lucie School District Celebrate Dedication of Palm Pointe Educational Research School at Tradition
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (October 17, 2008) - Leaders from Palm Pointe Educational Research School at Tradition brought members of Florida Atlantic University and the St. Lucie County School District together to host a dedication celebration today. A large audience of parents, students, community members, and FAU and St. Lucie County faculty and staff gathered in the school’s auditorium to hear from Principal Debra Snyder, Superintendent Michael J. Lannon and FAU President Frank T. Brogan. The Palm Pointe chorus preformed and several students participated during this important occasion in the school’s history.
“I am honored to be the principal of this unique school and look forward to more collaboration opportunities with FAU,” said Snyder. “We plan to share best practices with other schools in St. Lucie County, throughout the state of Florida and the nation.”
Palm Pointe, a K-8 charter laboratory school, kicked off its first year of operation in August 2008 with 1,420 students, and 120 faculty and staff. The student body was selected through a random lottery system, and mirrors the State of Florida’s diversity of race, gender and socio-economic levels. Curriculum and instruction is linked to FAU faculty and researchers, providing students a novel learning environment and experience.
Research and assistance in areas of discipline strategies and autism is already in progress. Dr. Jack Scott, professor and director of FAU’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), and his staff are working with the school’s exceptional student education (ESE) teachers to help engineer their classrooms for optimal learning environments and to assist them in determining appropriate curriculum for each class. CARD staff also has conducted awareness and sensitivity training for all teachers and paraprofessionals.
“The recurring theme among many parents I have met with is “thank you!” said Stephanie DiMarzio, Palm Pointe’s ESE department chairperson. “I have had more than one parent cry in my office because of the progress their children have made in just a few weeks. CARD has been such an essential piece to the strong start of our program and will continue to be as we improve.”
Dr. William Nicoll, FAU professor of counselor education, is working with the Palm Pointe guidance department on “Cooperative Discipline” and presenting “Family First” workshops to students’ families on a monthly basis. FAU students enrolled in reading instruction courses also are involved in Palm Pointe, providing after-school tutoring sessions. To foster continued education, the university has dedicated $500,000 in tuition assistance for Palm Pointe teachers and staff wishing to pursue a graduate degree at FAU.
“This public school gives the children of our community the opportunity to learn in an environment fostered by the latest in educational research,” said Brogan. “FAU is pleased to continue its commitment of educating and developing the future leaders of tomorrow.”
“This facility further advances our public schools and all of St. Lucie County as a community dedicated to educational excellence, a highly educated workforce and a future that links the application of knowledge with an improved standard of living for all residents,” said Lannon.
For more information on the Palm Pointe Educational Research School, contact Beth Wuycheck at 772-345-3240.