Friday, December 15, 2017
Education

Winding Waters K-8 school in Weeki Wachee buries a time capsule to be opened in 2032

WEEKI WACHEE — The fifth-graders at Winding Waters K-8 School climbed noisily onto the gym's bleachers just before noon.

Less than two days from the end of school, they were restless, the prospect of summer so close. All those weeks and months at the pool. The vacations. The not being in school.

But first, one more lesson in history.

They had the honor of burying the time capsule that would memorialize the school's inaugural year.

"Think about this very first year as leaders of this school and the memories," principal Dave Dannemiller told the group, his voice bouncing off the gym's walls. "Think about where you are now. The opportunities you've had, the things that you've learned, the friends that you've made."

In fact, they already had.

• • •

A few weeks ago, those students wrote essays about their first year at Winding Waters, a technology-fueled school serving 1,400 elementary and middle school students.

Needed to alleviate overcrowding, it was built for $34 million on U.S. 19 north of State Road 50, next to the district's newest high school.

Teachers chose the best essays from each class and put them in a time capsule.

Twenty years from now, when the capsule is unearthed, it will reveal words like those from 10-year-old Madyson Holop.

She remembered all the way back to the first day of school.

"I felt so happy to be here I could not get the smile off my face," she wrote in her essay, one of four chosen from the fifth grade. "I wanted to do 100 cartwheels, but I held them in so I would not hurt anyone."

She talked of how excited she was to meet her new teacher and of the school's mascot.

"I love being a Yellow Jacket."

At Tuesday's ceremony, she walked into the gymnasium draped in a yellow class shirt with the names of her classmates and teachers scrawled across the back.

What did she like the most?

Her teacher, the school, the field trips. Even the microscopes and school lunches got a mention.

"It was a lot better than the last school," Madyson said.

Jasmine Clarke, 11, who also had her essay picked to go into the capsule, liked walking into the school and seeing how new everything looked.

"It felt amazing," she said. "Everything felt so brand new. It was a new fresh start."

The school will include more than just essays.

Inside the capsule went school pictures and signed T-shirts, awards, slide shows and student surveys.

A school emphasizing technology, they also included a BlackBerry and zip disc.

• • •

Winding Waters still feels like a new school.

The paint is bright, the walls clean and the floors unscuffed.

The teachers use the newest technology. The classrooms are filled with interactive white boards and sound systems. Twenty percent of their library is interactive. Next year, every sixth-grader will get to use an iPad.

"They've exceeded my expectations," said superintendent Bryan Blavatt.

Also mentioning neighboring Weeki Wachee High School, he said, "They have just had fantastic years and openings for schools. That has not always been the case in Hernando County."

He said a lot of that was due to the leadership.

Dannemiller, who has been teaching in the district for 31 years, said the school has more than just energy — it has direction.

"The difference here is that I virtually hired the staff," he said. "I selected staff that shared the vision. You can move a lot faster through the spectrum."

Much of their mission makes heavy use of technology.

"I embraced that as a way to engage students," Dannemiller said.

Aside from some minor problems early on, he said it has been a great first year.

"I just think that we accomplished our goal the first year that we're going to build this positive culture, parent involvement," Dannemiller said. "A place where people feel welcome."

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432.

 
Comments
Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

SEMINOLE — It was hard for the second-graders at Orange Grove Elementary to resist the urge to rush into the school’s science lab and tinker with the colorful objects neatly arranged on each table.Thursday was just their second time in the lab this y...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Published: 12/13/17
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Published: 12/13/17

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Published: 12/13/17
Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

TAMPA — Elementary school students programmed an electronic mouse to make its way through a maze.Middle school students directed an electronic vehicle to stop on a dime, then use its arms to locate and lift a tiny cube.When the demonstration was done...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Caitlin Gille grew up in a union household in Wisconsin, where her mom was a long-time teacher in the small city of Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee.She was accustomed to seeing educators advocating for their working conditions and pay, having a sea...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
Book tasting event lets Fox Chapel students indulge their love of reading

Book tasting event lets Fox Chapel students indulge their love of reading

SPRING HILL — As she perused the book, something about Night of the Living Worms piqued sixth-grader Inessia Richardson’s interest. So she decided to take it home from the Fox Chapel Middle School library.The opportunity to look at Night of the Livin...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/14/17