Subscribe with Bloglines MAST Academy Captain's Blog: 2008

MAST Mission Statement

MAST Academy provides a marine setting and a nurturing environment for studies leading to academic success, career preparation, an appreciation of the sea, and environmental awareness. Stakeholders work together to instill a commitment to life-long learning and to advance and improve a challenging curriculum integrated with sciences and technology.

Monday, November 3, 2008

MAST Weekly Calendar

Here's what happening this week at MAST Academy!

Not so Spooky Halloween

We ended our voyage last week with a lot of fun.  Many of our students came dressed in Halloween costumes showing a lot of school spirit.  My favorite costume was definitely Stephan as you can see is this picture.  He really did a great job and was a great me.  On top of that, he and a team of defenders did a great job in Mr. Maas' Government class' mock trial where he and the defense team split the jury and a mistrial was declared by Judge Maas.  Let's see if the prosecution decides to give it another go round!

More great news that I have not had the chance to share beyond the last PTSA meeting was the fact that 72 MAST students, another new school record, were recognized as Advanced Placement Scholars.  These students represented 30 percent of the students who took AP exams last year.  This is an amazing feat that says a lot about our community - students, teachers, and parents alike!  This is one of the reasons why we all work so hard!  Congratulations to all for a job well done!

Over the past few weeks we have also done a bit of grade level and school wide testing.  A big thanks to parents, students, and teachers for all that they did to make PSAT and PLAN testing so successful.  In another first, 100% of MAST 9th, 10th, and 11th graders took the PSAT and 100% of MAST 10th graders took the PLAN.  It is inspiring as a principal to see students and families thinking ahead and getting prepared for college as early as possible.  Much credit is due Ms. Ulman and Ms. Yancoskie for staying on top of everyone and making sure that we reached complete participation.

On a final note for this entry, I am thinking about inviting parents to participate in a book club.  I have two titles in mind:  Edwin Abbott's Flatland or Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind.  I very much enjoyed reading both and I would welcome any feedback as to what anyone might think to be the more appropriate title.  My thoughts are to begin reading and create a blog to hold the conversation before the semester break.  Please, feel free to respond with any ideas.  I believe it will be an amazing valuable experience for our community, and particularly our students, to begin additional discussions and to lead by example of adults reading as learning together. 

Strong winds and calm waters!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Busy Time for All at MAST!


It certainly has been extremely busy for everyone at MAST - students and crew members alike - during the month of October.  Just a quick overview of the month includes a huge Ecomedia press conference including visits by Mr. Carvalho and Mayor Manny Diaz, the first of the Fairchild Challenge events, many college admissions visits for seniors, Intel training, visiting professors from around the world, U.S. Coast Guard vessel tours at our dock, parent group meetings, PSAT for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders, a pending PLAN test, and election of MAST's Teacher of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year (Mr. Cruz & Ms. Plana - CONGRATULATIONS!), and a very successful magnet open house.

Our sails have been full of strong winds during the past weeks.  Ms. Yancoskie and Ms. Garcia have both completed and passed reviews for renewal of their National Board Certifications.  Mr. Cruz and Ms. Plana, as mentioned above, were chosen as MAST's representatives for the region and district competition for Teacher and Rookie Teacher of the Year, Mr. Tohulka is in the final preparations to become the first "Teacher Under the Sea" with the Aquarius Project, and we held an amazingly successful magnet open house for potential applicants.

Our magnet open house was extremely full as parents and students from around the district came to learn about MAST, tour the campus, and ask questions.  Many thanks to all who made the event so successful but particularly to Dr. Haun for planning the event, the USCG JROTC cadets who truly shined and exemplified what it means to be a MAST student, Dr. Khalil, Ms. Ulman, Ms. Yancoskie, Ms. Fischer, Ms. Posse, Ms. McCrary, Mr. Siegmeister, Ms. Fernandez, Ms. Marquez-Diaz, Ms. Sinkler, Mr. Cherilien, CWO Hawkins, Ms. Layne, and the multitude of PTSA and JROTC Booster Club parents who volunteered their time to support our programs.  We showed all who came to visit who we are and what we are about at MAST Academy!  Mako Pride shone brightly!

Earlier in the month we hosted the Ecomedia "Green My School" competition press conference that included school, civic, and business leaders from across the country.  Once again, MAST students and teachers put their best foot forward and delivered.  I will post a slide show of the event in the weeks to come for all to see.

Other highlights of the past few weeks include guest lecturers in partnership with UM RSMAS from around the world.  Professors Stefan and Vossler met and discussed global climate concerns with MAST students as well as sharing their research from across the world.  Soon, MAST will be able to broadcast these lectures and special presentations to schools around the county live in hopes of sharing the experience and powerful learning with students beyond our school.

Please stay tuned and add your comments about this blog.  More to come ...

Monday, October 6, 2008

MAST Receives 2008 Florida School Recognition Award

CONGRATULATIONS!!! We did it once again. MAST is one of the best in Florida. As Governor Christ's letter says, "Earning this recognition is a distinct honor and demonstrates your proven ability to create a positive learning environment that encourages all studnet s to reach their full potential." Great job teachers, staff, students, parents, and all MAST community members!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MAST Back to School Night - September 23, 2008

Back to School Night is fast approaching!! Just a quick reminder that MAST's Back to School Night is Tuesday, September 23, 2008. The night's schedule is as follows:

  • Athletic Booster Club Dinner - Cafeteria 5:30pm - 6:45pm

  • Resource Fair - Media Center 6:00pm - 7:00pm

  • Auditorium Presentation 7:00pm - 7:30pm

  • Classroom Visitations 7:40pm - 9:20pm

Schedules and information will be provided for parents upon arrival.

If you have any questions, please call us at 305-365-6278 for more detailed information.

We hope to see you all!

Monday, September 8, 2008

MAST - Three Weeks at Sea

Despite a very active few weeks in the Atlantic, we have managed to keep our voyage out at sea and sailing along nicely.  We have had a very busy few weeks.  We received word that Mr. Tohulka has been chosen to be the first "Teacher Under the Sea" with the Aquarius Project.  He will have the opportunity to spent eight days living alongside scientists in an underwater habitat.  Mr. Tohulka will have the opportunity to link back with students at MAST through blogs, email, and live streaming video.  

The MAST Makos started off the year strong with both swimming teams and the girls' volleyball teams recording wins during the opening week of the season.  The boys' and girls' swimming teams teams defeated Sunset at the Shark Tank.  The Lady Makos lost a tough opening match to Ransom but came back to avenge the loss by defeating West Hialeah High.

On a more somber note, Mr. Stephens was reassigned and left our MAST family late last week.  We will all miss him very much but we wish him the best on his new shores.  

As a reminder, Back to School Night is quickly approaching.  Our ship will come to port for parents and families to visit on Tuesday, September 23.  Please be on the look out for more information and details in the coming week.  We hope to see all families there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Out to Sea - The 2008-2009 School Year Begins!

After being delayed by Tropical Storm Fay, our 2008-2009 voyage got underway this past Wednesday.  Our first three days went very smoothly.  It was absolutely great having the ship full of students embarking on the next leg of their learning journey at MAST Academy.  There was much that we did this first week and students were very busy collecting new books and materials for this year's classes.  The MAST crew eased us out into the broad ocean of knowledge quickly and effectively began students' learning experiences right from the start.  Congratulations to all!  All ahead full!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TS Fay - Delayed in Port!

Tropical Storm Fay caused a delay in our setting sail for the 2008-2009 voyage.  It was a blustery event for MAST Academy but we have gotten through without any major damage.  Our ship has weathered the storm and passed inspection!  We are awaiting the go ahead to sail into a new dawn.  As we make plans to open school, please pay careful attention to local news sources and make sure that safety comes first as we begin to return to our normal routines.  I hope to see you all aboard tomorrow.  We sail forth on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 8 AM SHARP!

Monday, August 11, 2008

All Ahead Full!

What an amazing summer we have had at MAST. The Summer Anchor program was terrific and the Class of 2012 is ready to start their new year with energy and excitement. It is hard for me to believe that we ahve just about finished another summer. Time flies by!
Tomorrow the Class of 2009 begins their activities. They will get their crown and their parking stops ready to represent their time as seniors at MAST. The new leadership team has been in touch and is getting things rolling. GO MAKOS!! Seniors, what will you make your time out to be?
The latest Jib Sheet has been mailed out to teachers and parents. It is a great piece that highlights new direction and focus for the coming year. This voyage is full of promise and I feel much anticipation for what the future holds. I believe we can make our ship tighter and faster yet!
I hope that you have each had a restful summer and are ready to begin the next leg of your trek at MAST. I cannot wait to see our staff and teachers beginning with the two opt days on Tuesday, August 12th and then for our opening day on Monday, August 18th. Enjoy the waning days of vacation and prepare to sail on!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Anchor Program Teacher Work Day

Today we had a great day of planning and getting ready to begin the MAST Summer Anchor Program. The whole staff participated and created their own individual weblog through We each also created a Bloglines account to "catch" the students' postings. Tomorrow one of the first activities we will do is work with each of the students as they follow the same process to create blogs for themselves. The purpose of the student blogs is to collect artifacts of and record reflections on their learning throughout the summer. It is the first step in the development of our MAST ePortfolio, wherein students collect samples of and document their growth and learning over the course of their career at MAST.

Friday, June 27, 2008

USCGC Bertholf Tour

     This past Friday, MAST faculty, staff, parents and students had the opportunity to tour the Coast Guard's newest cutter and first in the new Legend class, the USCGC Bertholf.  The 418 foot cutter was absolutely amazing.  DC3 Russell lead us on a tour that included the flight deck and hangars, crew accommodations, damage control areas, and the bridge.  We even got the chance to meet with the ship's captain, Captain Stadt.  The vessel was truly magnificent.  he view from the bridge and to see the technology involved in running such a ship was impressive.  It was an extraordinary experience for MAST Academy.  In addition, three USCG JROTC cadets and Chief Lasseter had he opportunity to be aboard as the ship left the Port of Miami on Saturday.  I cannot wait to hear about their experience of actually getting underway on the USCGC Bertholf!  (Click on he post title to see the USCGC Bertholf's homepage)

Friday, June 20, 2008

MAST Anchor Program - Summer 2008 Parent Meeting

On Tuesday, June 17, we held a parent meeting to discuss the MAST Anchor Program - the ninth grade summer school course mandatory for incoming MAST ninth graders. We had an amazing turn out of about 200 parent and students. We discussed many details of the summer program including the class structure and activities, water safety, technology, academic performance, transportation, and the expectations and responsibilities of students at MAST Academy.

The summer school curriculum is broken down into four areas in which students will be working cooperatively throughout the school day. The areas include:

  • Science Research - Development of Science Fair topics, problem statements, hypotheses, materials and procedures, and research descriptions and plans.

  • Engineering and Design - Hull design, Google Sketchup for design plans, boat building (and subsequent racing), and multimedia presentations.

  • Critical Thinking - Personality profiles, learning stylers inventories, career research, tools of persuasion, and time management/study skills.

  • Mathematics - reinforcement of Algebraic skills, technology infusion with graphing calculators, Logger Pro, and Geometer's Sketchpad

This year we will also begin the process of electronic portfolio development by students with the creation of individual student weblogs on the first day of the program. Studnets will use thier blogs to record reflections on their learning, post questions, and track the personally meaningful learning activities experienced throughout their careers at MAST. Students will be swim tested and begin hands on activites in our unique marine environment beginning immediately. Seine netting form marine organism studies is slated to be one of our first experiments.

This summer promises to be extremely exciting for both students and teachers. If the parent meeting is a foreshadowing of the work to come, this will be one of the best we've ever had. I am looking forward to getting underway! Our voyage is looks promising - tight lines and fair winds!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MAST: A Dream in Green

Last night MAST Academy was recognized at the Dream in Green reception for an 8% decrease in energy consumption during the 2007-2008 school year.  The MAST family saved  144,000 kilowatt hours in electricity, recycled 1000 pounds of beverage containers, 4000 pounds of paper, and 300 pounds of batteries.  In addition, Dr. Khalil's Solar Energy classes have done a detailed energy audit and tracked energy consumption and done comparisons between this and last year over the course of months.  MAST Academy students also received an honorable mention for the Dream in Green Research option at the Fairchild Challenge.

Friday, May 23, 2008

MAST Musical - First Ever!

Emily, Ryan, Rhiannon, and Chris put on a terrific show.  They, along with the stage crew and Mr. Hamilton, did an amazing job in their production of I Love You.  You're Prefect.  Now Change. They played to a packed house in the auditorium.  

Mako Battalion at the MDCPS Pass in Review

Congratulations to the MAST Mako Battalion for representing our school so well at the county-wide Pass in Review.  The Makos looked sharp as they showed off what it means to be the ONLY USCG JROTC in the nation!

Makos at the Scholar-Athlete Luncheon

Danny Kirel and Lizzy Kourtesis represented MAST well at the MDCPS Scholar-Athlete Luncheon.  Pictured here with their families, Danny and Lizzy exemplify dedication to studies and athletics.  Lizzy also won the General "Chappie" James Gold Level Scholarship.

MAST Fishing Tournament

This year we brought the MAST Fishing Tournament.  A good time was had by all both on the water and with the telling of fish tales at the end of the day.  Congratulations to the anglers and a big thank you to the PTSA for al the work they put in to bring the tournament back!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Scholarship Dinner

Congratulations to Kevin Sigler for his scholarship from the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition.  Kevin received a scholarship and we celebrated with a dinner hosted by the Fair trustees.  Mr. and Mrs. Sigler and I were there to congratulate Kevin as he was presented his award!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dade Partners' Award Luncheon

Congratulations to Priya Kurani for winning the Dade Partners Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award this past Friday at the Dade Partners celebration Luncheon at Parrot Jungle.

Ms. Ellen Basi from the Key Biscayne Rotary Club received an Honorable Mention for Exemplary Dade Partner Community Organization Advocate.

Ms. Elizabeth Kourtesis was inducted into the Outstanding School Volunteers Hall of Fame.

Other MAST Academy volunteers recognized included Ms. Annabell Harrington, nominee for Outstanding Adult Volunteer, Ms. Sara Green with the Miami Seaquarium, nominee for Exemplary Dade Partner Business or Organizational Liaison, and Royal Caribbean Criuse Lines, represented by Mr. Horace Hord, nominee for the Exemplary Dade Partnership Schoolwide Award.

To all of our School Volunteers and Dade Partners, thank you for making a difference at MAST Academy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2008 MAST Academy Science Fair Awards Ceremony Results

Maya Becker, 9th grader at MAST Academy, with her teacher Dr. Khalil, won the Best in Fair Award for her project titled, "Optimum Conditions in which to Harness Solar Energy."

Other award winners included:

Second Place Overall - Alyssa Fowers, "Sociodominance & Sexual Self-schema as Moderators in Sexist Responses to Female Sexual Subtypes."

Third Place Overall - Allison Goodman & Emily Northrop, "Seeing the Light in Energy Solutions: A Look at Solar Pool Heating."

Gold Medal Winners for Superior Performance

Maya Becker, Alyssa Fowers, Emily Northrop, Allison Goodman, Emilio Fajardo, Erin Jester, Lisa Van Houdt, Daniel Barge, Erik Laurencio, Ericka Chiroles, Michael Dorney, Renzo Riroi, Kaelan Beddoe, Nicole Swanson, Andrea Angarica, Jorge Rodriguez, Jonathan White, Audrey Arodonas, and Ledaly Blandino

Silver Medal Winners for Excellent Performance

Mathew Osorio, Sanique Martin, Jodi Spencer, Erica Rosenstein, Armando Hernandez, Mitchell Rosenstein, Paige Owens, and David Tyburski

Congratulations to all the students, parents, teachers, and judges who made the 2008 MAST Science Fair a success!

MAST Academy Science Fair - BEST IN FAIR

Maya Becker's Best in Fair Science Board.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Welcome to the Captain's Blog!

Hello and welcome to the Captain's Blog.  As the principal of MAST Academy, I am trying out new technologies and searching out ways in which we can use them to help students learn and achieve more.  This is my first attempt at blogging.  I have learned how to post, link, and now even send pictures from my iPhone.  The possibilities seem endless and I am excited to see where we will go!  Here's to smooth sailing!

MAST ePublications via Yudu

Captain's Book Shelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog