2023 Community Involvement Awards
Honoring Broward County Public Schools outstanding family and community engagement initiatives, volunteers, mentors and partners.
Congratulations to the 2023 Community Involvement Awards Winners!
Broward County Public Schools Community Involvement Awards (CIA) Ceremony was held on Friday, May 5, 2023. The CIA was attended by more than 700 individuals who gathered to honor the District’s outstanding family and community engagement initiatives, volunteers, mentors and partners.
This year’s event, emceed by Boyd H. Anderson High School Principal, James Griffin, II, featured student performances from a Dillard Elementary School, Everglades High School, Fort Lauderdale High School, Piper High School, and Winston Park Elementary School. Additionally, J.P. Taravella High School ProStart program provided an enjoyable breakfast.
DISTRICT PARTNER OF THE YEAR
CareerSource Broward (CSBD) is celebrating its 50th year of providing services to the community as well as 50 years of partnership with the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). The partnership between CareerSource Broward and the District impacts thousands of students and families annually and provides opportunities for individuals across our schools, centers, and colleges. Some of the joint projects that have come about as a result of this partnership include:
- Paid internship programs for students with barriers to graduation or employment
- High school after-school programs
- Scholarships and financial assistance for counseling, supportive services, and field trips for college visits; and employability skills workshops
CareerSource Broward collaborates with District schools and departments to give our students hands-on, real-world work experience in an education environment. Broward County Public Schools is thankful for the partnership with CareerSource Broward as they help us stay true to our commitment to ensure that all students receive the necessary knowledge, skills and support needed continues to succeed in tomorrow’s world.
SCHOOL-BASED PARTNER OF THE YEAR
Only the Beginning, Inc.
Broward Estates Elementary School
Only the Beginning, Inc. serves the Broward Estates Elementary School community faithfully with the goals of increasing student attendance and academic achievement, improving student behavior and parent involvement, boosting staff morale, increasing parent involvement, and connecting scholars and families to much needed resources. The Only the Beginning team learned that the Broward Estates Elementary’s administrators were seeking a creative way to improve attendance and curve behaviors that distracted students from making gains. The solution – the “BEE” Incentivized Program. The program motivates students to consistently demonstrate an understanding of schoolwide expectations through positive classroom behavior, academic progress, daily attendance, and a display of good character. Additionally, the “BEE” program helps to improve overall school culture and atmosphere. Through this program, Only the Beginning, Inc. has built relationships with the school community which have lasting impacts on the Broward Estates Elementary School family.
Learning for Success, Inc.
Cypress Run Education Center
Learning for Success, Inc. is a multifaceted program that boasts various mini programs. Cypress Run Education Center’s middle school students have benefitted from the “My Future is Now” portion of the program, a program that builds character and focuses on career building. Students are exposed to occupations and afforded the opportunity to meet representatives and CEOs from various employment fields ranging from entertainment to business franchises. The high school population is connected to Solutions for Change. Solutions for Change’s goal is to combat racism and create equity and social justice throughout the Broward County school system. Both programs are aligned with the school’s curriculum and through these programs, Cypress Run Education students learn how to can use their strengths, skills, talents and interests to reach their highest potential.
My Safe Harbor, Inc.
Seagull Alternative High School
My Safe Harbor, Inc. has been connected as a community partner with Seagull Alternative
High School since 2012. The organization brings hope and encouragement by lending a
helping hand to children and families in the community. “A child who is hungry cannot focus on learning and cannot function and thrive without proper sustenance and nutrition,” says Marsha Tessler, the founder and Director of My Safe Harbor, Inc. The organization provides essentials for the school’s students and toys and gifts for each child in the Child Development Center during the holidays. The relationship between My Safe Harbor, Inc. and Seagull Alternative High is more than just a partnership, they have now become a family.
SUPERINTENDENT’S STUDENT AWARD
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OF THE YEAR
South Broward High School
Rachel Mazor was instrumental in building the South Broward High School Parent Teacher Student Organization from the ground up. As President of the PTSO, her strategy to engage families is simple: make parents feel welcome and comfortable on campus and help them to connect with one another to form a network of support for all families. Ms. Mazor has created numerous programs and initiatives to bring families together, encouraging parents to build relationships with one another to support their students and South Broward High. Some of these include funding classroom requests for supplemental programs and material, as well as promoting for tutoring and volunteering in the community.
The Castro Family
The Castro Family has been very involved with District departments and the schools their children attended for more than 20 years. They have developed initiatives to bring more parents out during parent nights and school events. Dunia Castro has been very active in many schools PTSO/PTSA, holding the president position. She volunteers for field trips, field days and pro-social clubs to include Students Against Destructive Decisions, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, No Place for Hate, and Choose Peace/Stop Violence. The Castro Family’s energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and they try to pass on their love for giving back by always bringing others with them to participate and volunteer in school events.
MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Women of Tomorrow
Established in Miami in 1997, the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program was born out of the belief that caring professional women sharing their knowledge, expertise and
support with at-risk and disadvantaged girls can be the catalyst for success by inspiring them to aim higher. Women of Tomorrow partners with District schools to provide mentees with mentoring sessions by highly accomplished professionals, field trip opportunities that may include college visits, and tours of local public service and governmental agencies.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Adult Volunteer of the Year
Beachside Montessori Village
Rachel Clementi’s dedication and diligence have made Beachside Montessori Village a stronger and more vibrant school. One of Ms. Clementi’s most significant contributions is the successful re-installation of the school’s solar-powered hydroponics system. Through her assiduous efforts, the station was relocated to optimize performance and it is now fully operational, providing fresh produce for the school community year-round. Another initiative of which Ms. Clementi is an instrumental member is Beachside Montessori’s Garden Club. Her weekly sessions with students focus on basic gardening, soil health, hydroponic maintenance, planting, harvesting, composting and the interconnectivity of all living things. Ms. Clementi’s passion for the school, students and community can be felt in the garden, on the sports field, in the classroom and throughout the halls. The Beachside Montessori Village family believes it takes a village to raise a child, and Ms. Clementi is certainly a significant part of this village.
Senior Volunteer of the Year
Riverglades Elementary School
Benton Ryle has been actively involved with Riverglades Elementary School for the past three years. He has spent many hours supporting the school through volunteerism and participation in school activities. Mr. Ryle takes great pride in being a volunteer and is always willing to give back. His volunteer career started many years before at another elementary school and after the pandemic, he began serving at Riverglades Elementary, where he has served more than 400 hours. He truly cares about the community, school, staff and students and is a true advocate who believes in using his actions and voice to make a positive difference in the lives of today’s youth. Mr. Ryle’s contributions to Riverglades Elementary are impactful, meaningful and sustainable.
Youth Volunteer of the Year
South Broward High School
Kenza Elmoutawakel takes advantage of every opportunity to grow and serve as a leader. Her desire to impact the lives of everyone around her makes her a natural force to be reckoned with in all aspects of her life. Since Ms. Elmoutawakel’s freshman year, she has consistently volunteered and served in various leadership roles. Ms. Elmoutawakel is currently a member of the South Broward High School’s Athletic Advisory Committee, where she assists with various activities and initiatives. She is also a part of the athletics fundraising committee and has raised monies to provide uniforms for athletes who do not have the financial resources to purchase one. Ms. Elmoutawakel is recognized by students and staff alike her friendly attitude, outgoing personality and desire to effectively collaborate with others. Thanks to her hard work, Ms. Elmoutawakel is consistently viewed as employable and a strong asset to her community.
District Advisory/Committee Volunteer of the Year
District Advisory Council
Linda Ferrara has been a volunteer with Broward County Public Schools for the last 25 years with a weekly average of 30 hours of service. She currently serves on four Committees: District Advisory Council, Technology Advisory Committee, Facilities Task Force and the South Area Advisory. Over the last 25 years, Ms. Ferrara has trained a number of volunteers – all of whom can attest to becoming better active members and Committee chairs. Her partnership and influence have positively impacted the development and efficiency of volunteer groups for decades. In fact, Ms. Ferrara played a valuable role in developing the District’s first “School Board Advisory Council Training” manual in 2000. Most recently, in conjunction with the Budget office, Ms. Ferrara helped to produce the District’s first “School Board Budget Seminar” centered around informing School Advisory Council members on how to interpret and understand their school’s budget. Ms. Ferrara is a dynamic and important advocate for BCPS students and schools and is indeed deserving of the double nomination she received for this award.
The 2023 Community Involvement Awards is a collaborative initiative between the Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, 754-321-2300, the Office of Academics, 754-323-4735, and the Office of Student Services, 754-321-1600.