This is How We Roll “Manatee Strong” 2020 Parade

Photo: Grayson County Schools, KY


This is How We Roll “Manatee Strong” 2020 Parade will be taking place in Manatee County between 9-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 28, 2020.

The School District of Manatee County’s Transportation Department has organized this meaningful event to show support for our community – and congratulate students and school communities on a successful end to the year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.



The parade will consist of several school buses, school district vehicles, members of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and a fire truck from Southern Manatee Fire and Rescue.

Due to safety concerns, individual vehicles won’t be permitted to join the parade. Instead, we invite families to join us along the route to say farewell to the 2019-2020 school year.




Depart Matzke Support Complex: 1 Matzke Way, Bradenton – 9:05 a.m.

West on 26th Avenue East | North on 27th Street East…

Wakeland Support Center (across from Pirate City) – 9:07 a.m.

North along 27th Street East | West along 13th Avenue East | South along 15th Street East | West on 37th Avenue East…

Southeast High School – 9:16 a.m.

West on 37th Avenue East | South along 9th Street East | West on 57th Avenue East | South on 5th Street East…

Pass Daughtrey Elementary School (bus loop side/with PE shelter) – 9:23 a.m.

West on 63rd Avenue East | North on 26th Street West…

Pass Bayshore Elementary School (front of school/parking lot) – 9:29 a.m.

West on 57th Avenue West passing State College of Florida…

Enter Bayshore High School bus loop – 9:31 a.m.

East on 57th Avenue West | North along 26th Street West | West on 11th Avenue West | South on 32nd Street West…

Pass by Manatee High School (south of football field) – 9:45 a.m.

North on 35th Street West | East along 9th Avenue West | turn South on 9th Street West | East on 13th Avenue West…

Pass Rogers-Bullock Elementary School (front of school) – 9:51 a.m.

North on U.S. 301 over the Manatee River into Palmetto | West on 10th Street West | North along U.S. 41 Business | West on 17th Street West

Palmetto High School – 9:59 a.m.

North on 14th Avenue West | East on 23rd Street West past Blackstone Park | South on U.S. 41 Business | East along 17th Street West | North on 36th Avenue E past Gamble Plantation | East on 69th Street East…

Pass Virgil Mills Elementary School and Buffalo Creek Middle School – 10:23 a.m.

Continue along 69th Street East | East on Erie Road in Parrish…

Enter front entrance of Parrish Community High School – 10:30 a.m.

Exit South on Martha Road | East on 69th Street East behind PCHS | South on 121st Avenue East and cross over U.S. 301 going south on Ft. Hamer Road…

Pass Annie Lucy Williams Elementary – 10:43 a.m.

Continue south over Ft. Hamer Bridge onto Upper Manatee River Road which turns into Lakewood Ranch Blvd. south of State Road 64…

Pass Lakewood Ranch High School and Manatee Technical College-East Campus – 10:54 a.m.

West along State Road 70 E | North on Creekwood Blvd. which turns into 44th Avenue East passing by Creekwood Park | South on Caruso Road…

Pass by Braden River High School and Manatee Technical College – Main Campus (near west entrances) – 11:15 a.m.

West along State Road 70 East | North along 45th Street East | West on 26th Avenue East…

Return to Matzke Support Complex – 11:28 a.m.



Signs, balloons and other decorations along with loud cheers are encouraged, in accordance with CDC recommendations for social distancing.

We’ll miss you – and hope to see your memories from our last moments together on social media using the hashtag #ManateeStrong and #WeManatee!

Dear Seniors… Letters from a loving teacher


No one could have imagined that 2020 would turn out this way, especially high school seniors.

Manatee County’s senior class would have walked across the stage in their cap and gowns this week.

Soon they’d be shopping for dorm room decor – or soaking up the sun with friends who will soon part ways.

COVID-19 has changed some of that. What hasn’t changed… is the feeling in our hearts.



This week, Shelly Corbran found a letter in her mailbox. It was addressed to her daughter, Meghan, a senior at Manatee High School.

The contents of the envelope included a letter her daughter wrote to herself in 2013, as a fifth grade student at Braden River Elementary School:


Dear Meghan,

If you’re reading this, your dreams have come true and you’ve made it. Do you still remember Mrs. Hood? Well, I’m in her class right now and I love her.

-Excerpt of Meghan’s letter from 2013


Love is a shared sentiment between Mrs. Hood and her students.

In 2013, Amy Hood had already been teaching for several years, but wanted to commemorate her “first” fifth grade class at Braden River Elementary School in a special way.

She asked them to write a letter to themselves as future seniors – with no idea of knowing what that gesture would mean in 2020.

“I told them I would send it to them their senior year,” said Mrs. Hood, now a teacher at Barbara A. Harvey Elementary School in Parrish. “A few weeks ago, I pulled their letters out of my file and composed a letter of my own with some advice from me.”


As you are about to finish high school (online, unfortunately!) I’m sure you have learned many life lessons on your own. None of us could have imagined that our lives would have so drastically changed, like they have and sadly, it has affected you all in big ways.

-Excerpt of Mrs. Hood’s letter to seniors in 2020



Meghan’s mom was touched. Shelly Corbran says her daughter and all seniors have lost out on so much, but this kind gesture filled a void that COVID-19 has taken away from her daughter.

In 2013, Meghan loved country music, lasagna and neon colors. She had dreams of becoming a Pediatric Nurse.

In 2020, Meghan is preparing to attend Florida Atlantic University where she plans to major in Pediatric Occupational Physical Therapy. She was right. Her dreams are coming true, despite the unknown.



As for Mrs. Hood, she is proud of all of her former students and looks forward to continuing this “Dear Senior” letter tradition in the future. Her final words in the letter to her former class, “I love you all”.



Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and Mrs. Hood’s 2013 Wranglers!


WeManatee is a campaign telling the stories of people making a positive impact through public education and those who are benefiting from it. It’s short for “We are the School District of Manatee County.”

Share your stories by emailing

Seven National Blue Ribbon Schools Named in Manatee County


Every year the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

Photo: Williams Elementary School


The School District of Manatee County is proud to announce the following Blue Ribbon Schools: Points of Light schools – Bashaw Elementary School, Braden River Middle School, Lee Middle School and Palmetto Elementary School; Beacon schools – Haile Middle School and Tara Elementary School; Lighthouse school – Williams Elementary School. Only 31 schools in the United States were awarded the highest honor, Lighthouse status.


Administrators from Manatee County’s Blue Ribbon Schools receive recognition during a School Board Meeting


To achieve Blue Ribbon status, schools are evaluated in the following areas of school performance:

  • Student Focus and Support
  • School Organization and Culture
  • Challenging Standards and Curriculum
  • Active Teaching and Learning
  • Technology Integration
  • Professional Community
  • Leadership and Educational Vitality
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships
  • Indicators of Success


Administrators and staff from Bashaw Elementary School


According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence. This is the 37th year for the program and the coveted award has been bestowed to 9,000 schools nationwide.


Haile Middle School administrators


WeManatee celebrates the people in Manatee County who make a difference in public education – and those who benefit from it. Search #WeManatee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see the great things happening in our public schools.

Education Day is a Home Run at LECOM Park


It was a beautiful day at the ballpark for thousands of Manatee County students. The annual Education Day event took place at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida on May 16th. Approximately 2,000 students plus chaperones, joined The Marauders for a day filled with baseball, learning and fun!



The Bradenton Marauders/Pittsburgh Pirates are a valued community business partner and offer this opportunity to schools throughout the district. Students take a field trip to the game at a discounted rate and their ticket includes lunch. Many public schools opted to participate this year, including Prine, Wakeland, Moody, Palma Sola, McNeal, Williams, Willis, Samoset, Palm View, Stewart, Kinnan, Braden River, Rogers Garden-Bullock and Abel Elementary Schools. Charter schools, Rowlett Academy and SCF Collegiate participated too.



“The business partnership between the School District of Manatee County and the Bradenton Marauders allows our students to enjoy Education Day, in addition to other initiatives throughout the school year,” said Deborah Perry-Gambino, the district’s Community Engagement Specialist. “We are so grateful for this continued partnership and look forward to the 2018/19 school year!”



The experience is interactive. There are contests, giveaways and booths with learning opportunities from community organizations such as Manatee County Libraries and Mote Marine Laboratory. Marty the Marauder was available for photo ops – and a team of Marauders staff cooled down the crowd with water guns.



You can tell by the smiles on both the kids’ and the adults’ faces that a great time was had by all. Go Marauders!



The entire community is invited to join The Marauders for their ‘End of School’ Night celebration. The game is taking place on Saturday, May 26th at 6:30 p.m.; gates open at 5 p.m. There will be post-game fireworks – and the purchase of each ticket comes with a FREE Marauders hat and souvenir fountain drink. Order tickets online here.



#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.


Volunteers Thanked with Song and Dance at Rogers Garden-Bullock Elementary


Community members gathered today at Rogers Garden-Bullock Elementary School in Bradenton. A breakfast was provided for some of the volunteers who spend their valuable time helping students and staff at the school.



Principal Pat Stream and GET (Graduation Enhancement Tech) Carolyn Wilson opened the event with words of praise for the parents, church members and law enforcement officers attending the event.



Volunteers were served a delicious breakfast of grits, sausage, eggs, hash browns and toast to the thankful crowd. Many of the attendees were members of Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Bradenton Police Department and Palmetto Police Departments.



One group of students performed on the xylophones and other musical instruments. A second group of young women had a wonderful dance routine for the crowd, which included splits and kicks.



After the breakfast program, Assistant Principals Toni Schroer and Andrea Keezer, asked volunteers to join them to receive a plaque and a flower as a “thank you” from the school. Recipients included parents, several community churches, a representative from the Pirates/Marauders, a participant from United Way Suncoast’s ReadingPals, members of a local Moose Lodge and more.


“Only a life lived for others is worth living.” — Albert Einstein



#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.

Celebrating Black History at Samoset Elementary School


In February, schools in Manatee County celebrated Black History Month – including Samoset Elementary.




Teachers, students and staff worked hard on a door decorating contest, recognizing important leaders in U.S. History.



The winning door celebrated Ruby Bridges, an American Civil Rights activist. Mrs. Gilmer’s Kindergarten class will receive free backpacks for each student in the class.



Ice cream parties will also be given to Mrs. Gilmer’s class, as well as Ms. Salvitti and Mrs. Potter’s third grade class, and Ms. Rodgers’ third grade class.



Special guests were recently invited to view the doors and attend a luncheon at the school.



A wonderful meal was served by volunteers and faculty.


(L-to-R) Tawanda Means, Graduation Enhancement Tech for Samoset Elementary with Dr. Greene


Those attendees included Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene; Deputy Superintendent Cynthia Saunders; Executive Director of Elementary Schools, Mike Rio; School Board Member, Charlie Kennedy and several others.



Fredd Atkins, the first African American Mayor of Sarasota, also attended the event.



Follow Samoset Elementary School on Instagram to see all the great things happening at their school!



#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.

Toys for Tots, Others Provide Holiday Cheer at Manatee Elementary


Christmas came early for students at Manatee Elementary School in Bradenton, Florida. Thanks to generous donations from the community, Santa’s elves set up shop in the historic auditorium at the school. Every single student received a gift of their choice.



Among the toys were dolls, puzzles, trains and crafts, bringing smiles to the faces of each boy and girl. Students were dressed in pajamas, which is a familiar practice for some schools on the last day before winter break.



Teachers, dressed in festive sweaters, loved seeing each of their students receive a special gift. Some were handmade by a member of the local Lion’s Club. The wooden toys including cars, trains, banks, baby cradles and tiny chairs that double as step stools.



The rest of the toys came from Toys for Tots! Each class was brought into the auditorium by grade level. The gifts ranged from LEGO sets to jewelry making kits; something for every student. As each group left to return to class, they said a grateful “Thank You” to Santa’s elves.



Manatee Elementary School’s guidance counselor, school psychologist and staff made the event possible. They worked hard to ensure that the toys were restocked – and helped students decide on the perfect toy. They also made the atmosphere joyous, by singing, dancing and playing holiday music.



Today’s toy giveaway was also made possible by the Bradenton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, who collected many of the toys that were donated to Toys for Tots. It’s one of several schools where they are spreading holiday cheer. Mrs. Lynette Edwards is a member of the sorority – and longtime educator in Manatee County. The former teacher and Asst. Superintendent retired in 2011, after working for the School District for 32 years. She treated each student to a candy cane.



We wish all of our families and staff a safe and happy holiday season! Remember the reason for the season – and cherish the memories. We’ll share more amazing stories from our community in 2018. Happy New Year!



#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.

Haile Holiday Performance Takes Flight


Haile Middle School’s Chamber Orchestra played their annual concert at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Wednesday. The sweet sounds of violins, violas and cellos playing holiday tunes could be heard throughout SRQ’s corridor.



Travelers flying out of Sarasota took out their cell phones to capture a quick video before going through airport security.



Haile Middle School’s Orchestra Director, Valerie Terry, keeps an eye on the flight arrival times too. She makes sure that the students are playing – as arriving travelers make their way to baggage claim.



The student musicians perform arrangements such as ‘Holiday on the Housetop’ and ‘A Christmas Symphony’ for approximately three hours.



The audience loves to see the students’ instrument bows dressed in beautiful holiday colors.



Enjoy a short clip of their performance… and Happy Holidays, whether you’re traveling near or far.


Haile Middle School Chamber Orchestra playing music for holiday travelers at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

Posted by School District of Manatee County on Wednesday, December 13, 2017


#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.

ManaTeach: Horizons Academy


This week’s ManaTeach video comes from Horizons Academy. “As the Business Partner Coordinator for Horizons Academy, I recruited Fit Crew, Inside and Out and Fifth Third Bank to become our new business partners. I arranged for the partners to tour the campus, meet the administration, staff, and students,” said Theresa Kern, Horizons Academy Testing Administrator.

They also shared their school mission, vision and academic goals for the school year with the special guests. The outcome? A wellness assembly for students that focused on the BIG 3: Attendance, Discipline and Grades.



ManaTeach allows teachers, staff and students within the School District of Manatee County to share, “What I Taught. What I Learned.”

To watch more videos, search “ManaTeach” on YouTube.

Fifth Graders Explore at Nature’s Academy


Picture yourself immersed in nature’s classroom. There are mangroves to explore, sea creatures to capture and superheroes who are learning how to save our environment. This adventure is made possible by Nature’s Academy, a non-profit environmental education company focusing on educational field trips.



We recently spent the day exploring Leffis Key with students from Daughtrey Elementary School. The preserve is within Coquina Beach in Manatee County. Staff from Nature’s Academy walk the fifth graders through the mangroves in search of ecological discoveries. They will gasp at schools of fish, view sea birds through a pair of binoculars and learn that those mangroves grow from a tiny seed pod. Students will be serving as citizen scientists and provide their data to an online database that will help to benefit the Gulf of Mexico.



The mission of Nature’s Academy is to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) literacy and foster environmental stewardship. After eating lunch, students gear up for a trek into Sarasota Bay. They are provided with water shoes for wading, and a net for collecting small marine life through an activity called dip-netting. They drag the net through the sea grass in hopes of finding shrimp, crab or tiny fish.



After collecting specimens, the excited young scientists learn a fascinating lesson about the creatures they’ve discovered. They have removed the sea life from their home – only temporarily – in order to learn more about each species. The students from Daughtrey will take their new knowledge with them – and a reusable water bottle to get them thinking about STEM and environmental literacy. Nearby, another group of students are learning about how the removal of litter through coastal cleanups can better sustain the well-being of local waterways.



Nature’s Academy uses grants and donations to provide amazing outdoor educational field trip programs to every fifth grade student in Manatee County, at no cost to them or their schools. For more information, visit their website. Congratulations to its founder, Dana Pounds, who recently received a First Place Gulf Guardian Award from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency.)

#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.