The Sarasota County School Board kicked off its meeting last night with a little local entertainment.
Students from the Visual and Performing Arts program at Booker Middle School made a special presentation to showcase some of the intense-study programs offered at their school. The School Board watched a number from the ballet, Don Quixote, listened to several original poems and watched a student’s original monologue.
The Florida Alliance of Arts Education awarded the State Arts Alliance Award to Booker for outstanding arts education practices this year.
“I was having a good day, now I’m having a great day. This is big time talent,“ said Chairwoman Jane Goodwin. “Words are so important, dancing is so important, singing is so important. Drawing is important!”
Board member Shirley Brown commented that Booker Middle School demonstrated a wide array of different students. She had recently received a request from school staff to ask the community for volunteer mentors for some of the more at-risk students.
“Booker Middle School is unique in our district as it has these unique performing arts programs,” Brown said.
During the superintendent report, special guest Jeff Hazelton, president of BioLucid, a global digital healthcare company based in Sarasota, gave a presentation about the importance of teaching career-readiness in education.
One element of his company is digitally reproducing the internal stimulations of patients’ ailments or injuries to help patients understand what is happening in their bodies. The company’s goal is to create “interactive immersive experiences for the healthcare industry to simplify communication, amplify your message and create understanding,” according to its website, biolucid.com.
“We are essentially going through this, trying to reinvent the way people learn,” Hazelton said.
He stressed the importance of teaching students at a young age to work in teams and to be leaders, as industries such as his valued employees with these skills.
The school board passed the consent agenda with no discussion, including a $33,500 non-competitive grant for high quality musical instruction from a woodwinds specialist for Booker Middle School and an amendment to the Sarasota High School renovation and new construction plan with Harvard Jolly Architecture. The amendment asked for structural mitigation for some uncovered issues after demolition, such as cracks found in support columns. School staff also requested in the amendment that the marine biology storage and supply room be redesigned for a scallop growth and research area.