Appeared on Florida Charter School News Newsletter by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools May 21, 2012 On Wednesday, May 9th, more than 100 public charter schools across Florida were honored at an A+ celebration. The event is hosted by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools as part of the National Charter Schools Week, May 7-11, which celebrates the essential role charter schools play in our country’s public education system by pro-viding education options to parents while helping raise student achievement. ..read more.
Appeared on Florida Charter School News Newsletter by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools
May 21, 2012
On Wednesday, May 9th, more than 100 public charter schools across Florida were honored at an A+ celebration. The event is hosted by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools as part of the National Charter Schools Week, May 7-11, which celebrates the essential role charter schools play in our country’s public education system by pro-viding education options to parents while helping raise student achievement. ..read more.
Future City Design Team appeared on Gainesville Sun on Thursday, January 19, 2012
(Picture courtesy of Gainesville Sun)
SWBA FCAT Saturday Studies appeared on Gainesville Sun – December 2011
SWBA 2nd Annual Math Stars Contest
1. Students Win Honors at State Engineering Competition
Each year, Florida students seek to solve our world’s energy challenges one student at a time as they prepare for the annual EnergyWhiz Olympics – a series of activities that are designed to encourage students’ interests in alternative fuel technologies. On May 1st, 2010, hundreds of students traveled to Cocoa for an all day Saturday competition of the energy minds. This was the 8th annual competition for Florida students and events include the Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, the Junior Solar Sprint, Hydrogen Spring, and Energy Innovations.
With over 50 schools competing, this competition can get pretty heated. Sweetwater Branch Academy definitely heated things up in the Solar Energy Cook-off where they won the 1st place position with their solar cooker that is designed to use radiation as its energy source. The challenge is to design and build a solar cooker, and design and cook a recipe that will be presented to the judges. These challenges allow student creativity and culinary skills to be “fueled” into action.
SWBA students Aubriana Strawder, Kiara Williams, Natalie Liu, Natanya Cruz, Ruslan Chernitsyn, Sahil Patel, Stephen Anyaegbuna, Weston Clark and Jenise Hall were the masterminds behind this year’s winning cooker. Their environmentally-friendly design is only one example of how many options there are to alternative energy. The cooker design used parabolic mirrors to collect light from a wide area and focused the light to only a few square inches, making the point reach approximately 350 degrees. Energy was trapped and insulated to maintain the energy at the top level. It was the temperature that enabled a steam engine to be used, if necessary. The cooker was designed to move in all directions to track the Sun at all times, enabling it to collect the highest amount of sunlight.
SWBA students have once again shown their ingenuity through their efforts in this academic competition. We can all rest a little more easily knowing our future is in the hands of these bright and energetic students!
2. Congratulations to SWBA Science Olympiad Team for the great result at the Florida State Science Olympiad.
Fifteen (15) students from Sweetwater Branch Academy traveled to the University of Central Florida on April 10 to participate in the statewide Science Olympiad. Going up against 54 other teams from all around Florida, the sixth through eighth-grade students competed in 23 different events, including Anatomy, Meteorology, Solar System, Elevated Bridge, Ornithology, Physical Science Lab, and others.
SWBA students placed in the top four in two events (Disease Detectives and Road Scholar); top five in two events (Shock Value and Meteorology); top six in one event (Elevated Bridge); and top 9 in one event (Junkyard Challenge).
Our school team placed ninth overall among 54 schools in Florida that were able to make it to the state level competition. This is the school’s second year attending the Science Olympiad and is the highest place it has finished so far.
The competition gives students the opportunity to enhance their scientific and mathematical skills while competing with other students from across the state. Events are designed to test students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills. The following students received top placements:
· Disease Detectives - 4th Place : Angelica Forson and Isaac O’Hern
· Road Scholar – 4th Place: Quennon Ewing and Christopher Theriot
· Meteorology – 5th Place: Anya Fairchild and Cullan Hennessy
· Shock Value – 5th Place: Anya Fairchild and Maia Pelham
· Elevated Bridge – 6th Place: Natanya Cruz and Maia Pelham
· Junkyard Challenge – 9th Place: Sahil Patel and Anya Fairchild
We are proud of our students. Go Jaguars!
Source: Florida's Charter Schools Newsletter, May 2010 Issue
3. SWBA hosted famous rap and hip hop star Trina on March 8, 2010
The students sat in anticipation, watching and waiting for the moment she would arrive. They had been anticipating this day for weeks and it was finally here; the day rap and hip hop star Trina would come. Besides the obvious excitement for the native Floridian hip hop star, the students were also aware of what they had done to deserve this visit. A few weeks prior to this happening, a local radio station sponsored a county-wide competition for the schools in Alachua County to raise pennies for the victims who had been involved in the tragic natural disaster in Haiti.
Despite the smallness of our school and student population, these caring students came together and emptied their pockets, scoured their parents’ houses, cleaned out their couches and cars, and collected pennies with little hope of winning the contest. They knew they were competing with much bigger schools, but that didn’t matter. They knew they were helping others, and that was all that did matter. But, despite the odds, SWBA’s heart won out in the end and it was our students who tallied together and earned the opportunity to be recognized by one of America’s music artists, Trina.
Her visit was short, but will be remembered for a long time by our students. She was introduced by the 99.5 DJs, as the students were showing their excitement for her visit. She was presented with flowers by our student council, and also enjoyed a performance by our own SWBA’s step team, better known as the Sweet J’s. There were many hugs, pictures and just sheer enjoyment to be had by all during this exciting visit. Great job SWBA!
Source: Florida's Charter Schools Newsletter, April 2010 Issue
5. Local Students Win Regional Engineering Award
(Alachua County Public Schools' web site)
Sweetwater Branch Academy Middle School recently competed in the Future City Tampa Bay Regional Finals. As teams from all over the state gathered at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in St. Petersburg, they geared up to show off their engineering skills acquired during their preparation.
The Future City competition provides seventh- and eighth-grade students with a stimulating engineering challenge with "hands-on" application to present their vision of a city of the future, fostering engineering skills in competing young adults. The competition consists of computer design, a research essay, and a narrative about the city the team has chosen to create.
The SWBA team, with the help of mentors, showed teamwork, problem-solving, math/science, computer, and research skills in their overall performance at the Tampa Bay competition. Their city received the Engineering Excellence Award, which showed their mastery of the engineering concepts. The participants in this event were Nate Selznick, Joel Cray, and Quennon Ewing. The mentors were Mr. DiPietro, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Gurcan. The team gained a great deal of experience from this competition and is looking forward to next year.
6. County schools get bonuses for performances on FCATCounty schools get bonuses for performances on FCAT
(Gainesville Sun article)
Schools in Alachua County will receive a $1.3 million bonus from the state for student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test last year. Twenty-seven district schools, four charter schools and P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School will receive state recognition money. School district spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said that, for district schools, each school's advisory council determines how to spend the money and that one option is teacher bonuses.
The awards are $75 per pupil and go to schools that earned an A grade or improved by at least one letter grade. The largest awards locally were for Santa Fe High School, $86,744, and P.K. Yonge, $86,068, schools with enrollments topping 1,100. P.K. Yonge, a K-12 school, was an A school for the eighth straight year, and Santa Fe High went from a C to a B last year.
The five next largest school recognition awards in the county went to the following:
Westwood Middle ($73,850).
High Springs Community School ($69,908).
Kanapaha Middle ($66,491).
Hidden Oak Elementary ($61,069).
Fort Clarke Middle ($59,593).
The charter schools that received awards included:
Alachua Learning Center ($10,913).
Caring & Sharing Learning Center ($8,360).
Micanopy Area Cooperative School ($8,162).
Sweetwater Branch Academy ($7,157).
7. Board OKs SWBA Elementary Charter School
(Gainesville Sun Article)
Sweetwater Branch Academy’s Science Olympiad Team
Sweetwater Branch Academy’s (SWBA) Science Olympiad Team participated in the Invitational Science Olympiad Tournament held in Orlando on January 16, 2010. The team won third place and received 18 event placements. The SWBA Science Team will participate in the upcoming regional competition on February 27, 2010. Great job and much success in the upcoming competition!
9. Sweetwater Branch Academy’s FIRST Lego League Team
On January 9, 2010, Sweetwater Branch Academy’s first Lego League Team participated in a competition held in Ocala, Florida. There were four separate areas of judging: Robot Design, Robot Performance, Project Presentation and Teamwork. Sweetwater Branch Academy brought home the following scores:
• Technical score was the fifth (5th) highest of the 19 teams.
• Teamwork score was the eighth (8th) highest of the 19 teams.
• Project presentation was the 12th highest of the 19 teams.
• Robot performance was the third (3rd) highest score two times.
The team coached by Mr. Cinar and Mr. Gurcan consisted of Sahil Patel, Quennon Ewing, Jose Cuevas, Nate Selznick and Zephrin Green. SWBA’s accountant, Mr. Cevik, and parents, Mr. Cuevas, Mr. DiPietro and Ms. Johnson, were there to support the team.
Source: Florida Charter Schools Newsletter, February 2010