The school district announced 13 new principals for schools in the county. Edmund Capitano will take over the helm of Loggers’ Run Middle School after Francis Giblin’s retirement.
Capitano (sometimes called Ed) was most recently principal of Galaxy E3 Elementary School in East Boynton Beach. Galaxy has received press for being environmentally conscious and having a science and engineering focus. The school’s most recent school grades were near the bottom of the county, though their student population is heavily minority and economically disadvantaged.
Before Galaxy, Capitano was a popular science teacher at West Boca High, at least according to RateMyTeachers.com. His wife Rachel is principal at Del Prado Elementary. They are the proud parents of a baby girl, and own a very nice house just off the intracoastal in East Boca.
For those interested in learning and/or following him, see his Edmund Capitano Twitter page.
In other news affecting West Boca, we mentioned earlier this week on Facebook that Dianne Rivelli-Schreiber of Waters Edge Elementary (west end of Palmetto Park Road) is leaving to take over Calusa Elementary (Clint Moore just west of Military Trail). A replacement for Waters Edge has not yet been announced.
And Boca High’s Geoff McKee was recently promoted to a regional “instructional superintendent” position. He will be replaced by Vice Principal Suzanne “Susie” King. While Boca High is in East Boca, its zone extends to Powerline between Palmetto Park Road and the county line. Calusa Elementary’s Jamie Wyatt was also promoted. The Sun-Sentinel wrote about those promotions in April.
Former Loggers’ Run teacher Matthew Webster was sentenced yesterday to just short of one year in jail to be followed by five years of probation, and will be registered as a sex offender. The sentencing was reported by WPTV yesterday. We broke the initial story of a teacher arrested for sexting a teen back in January.
Court records show the victim read a statement in court on May 2nd and that her mother testified yesterday. West Boca News is keeping the victim’s identity private.
The mom had this to say about the experience:
Our family would like to thank the Sheriff’s Department, the State Attorney and the unbelievable, wonderful staff at both Loggers’ Run and West Boca High for their immediate and continued support throughout this ordeal. We are relieved that the people in charge did their jobs quickly and thoroughly and that justice was served today.
As a family we were shocked to learn who was behind the messages and pictures, the trust we had for him was immense and we were saddened to see a well respected teacher make wrong choices and abuse his role in our daughters life. We are glad this is now over and she can now have closure and move on from this unfortunate event. This is an action of one person and should have no reflection on Loggers Run Middle School, it is a phenomenal school with amazing teachers and staff.
She also mentioned “victim-blaming” in our conversation. We hope everyone close to this young woman will recognize that the blame in a situation like this falls fully on the adult who is supposed to be responsible, and not on a child.
The mother provided us with a copy of her testimony to the court. Excerpts are below (edited to protect victim’s identity):
The reality of where we are today staggers my mind. What were you thinking?? To violate the trust that my family had in you is so unbelievably sad and so wrong. …
As like [our daughter] we all trusted you and you violated that trust in a huge way. [Name] respected you and trusted you and now we are in a court room awaiting your punishment for pictures that you sent and content that no 14 year old girl should have had to read and requests she never should have received from anyone, particularly her teacher and her coach.
What happened was awful and you robbed [her] of some of her innocence and made her grow up faster than I would have liked. [She] is a tough girl and she will get past this, this incident will NOT define her.
What makes me so angry is that you were so liked, so trusted, so respected that she has been victimized twice – once by you and again by some of her peers and people in our community.
Even though her name was never released there was enough information given to the media that it didn’t take long before her former classmates and teammates figured out it was her. She knows she did nothing wrong I’m sorry I can’t say the same for you.
No matter what you are sentenced to today I can’t erase the images that she saw, the questions she had to answer and the judgment of others that didn’t and don’t believe her.
As her mother I feel like I failed her by not protecting her enough. I didn’t see this one coming. Teachers and coaches are held to a higher standard then most. This shouldn’t happen at all but especially in a place that we send our children to on a daily basis for 13 years. This isn’t a bar. This isn’t a pick up place. This is a school, a place we trust with our kids with people who are supposed to help them not hurt them.
[Our daughter] is young and has her whole life ahead of her to prosper and soar into adulthood with the support of all her family, this equals she will be an amazing successful addition to our society. This event will not define her.
You on the other hand Matthew Webster will look back at this as a choice that changed your life for the worse and that’s good enough for me.
All this being said I/we thank you for not physically harming her or worse. I truly hope you get the help you need and that you can make steps in repairing your life.
Chase Thompson, a 7th grader at Loggers Run Middle School, wrestled for a state championship where he pinned every opponent all the way through the finals to become the Cadet 195 pound state champion. The Cadet division was made up of 9th & 10th grade wrestlers.
Chase had suffered a knee injury during practice in January, with a fractured patella (kneecap) and strained ligaments. After extensive physical therapy and cryotherapy he was able to get read for the tournament on March 13th.
Chase Thompson was initially registered to wrestle in the USA Wrestling’s Florida Amateur Athletic Association (FAWA) State Championship in his respective division/weight class “Schoolboy” 190 lb. When there was no one entered in that weight class, he was asked to move up to the next division.
Chase was also awarded the Outstanding Wrestler for that division for the most pins and fastest pins. Congratulations to Chase for his hard work and success.
Eagles Landing Middle School scored the highest of middle schools in Boca on the latest school grades. All four Boca schools received “A” grades.
Eagles ranked 5th in the county out of 35 middle schools, with Loggers’ Run at 9th, Omni at 10th and Boca Middle at 17th.
The top spot in the county went to Bak Middle, an all-magnet arts school in West Palm Beach. Wellington Landings was in second place and Don Estridge, another all-magnet program, was 3rd. Schools are ranked based on “Total Points Earned” which is driven primarily by test scores.
Eagles Landing did particularly well in Social Studies, while Loggers’ and Omni both had stronger math scores. Omni’s score was driven down by a particularly low score in Middle School Acceleration, “a measure for participation in and performance on high school EOC assessments and Industry Certification programs by students in middle school.”
As we saw with the elementary school grades, we see that higher performing schools tend to have smaller numbers of economically disadvantaged students. Western Pines Middle in West Palm Beach overperformed in that sense, coming in 4th just behind Don Estridge.
Our full spreadsheet is below:
Teacher Matthew Webster was arrested for sending nude pictures of himself “to a 14-year-old student via smart phone. Charges are two counts of delivery of pornographic material harmful to a minor,” according to a media relations contact at the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier today several readers contacted us about an e-mail from Principal Fran Giblin of Loggers Run Middle School:
Today, a teacher at our school was arrested. While the allegations against the teacher are being investigated, the teacher will not be returning to campus and will have no contact with any students. At this time we do not have reason to believe that any of our students were affected.
While we do anticipate media coverage of the arrest, Loggers’ Run Middle School does not have any further details that we can provide.
Multiple sources told us that the arrest occurred shortly before 4 pm when school lets out. Readers told us they saw police at the school.
Webster teaches culinary and home economics at the school and also coaches girls basketball. He is 41 years old.
It is our understanding that the student he was sexting is female, a recent former student of his at the school, and currently attends an area high school. We do not know her name and would not release it if we did.
Loggers Run, on West Palmetto Park Road, is a highly rated middle school and students scores are among the highest in the county.
Update: From the blotter, Webster is still in custody and bond has not been set.
Booking Date/Time: 01/05/2016 18:09
Arresting Agency: 01-PBSO
Jacket Number: 0474133
Booking Number: 2016000526
CRUELTY TOWARD CHILD – TRANSMIT INFO HARMFUL TO MINORS
CRUELTY TOWARD CHILD – TRANSMIT INFO HARMFUL TO MINORS
Benjamin Schiller, an 8th grade student at Loggers’ Run Middle School, has been named to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, “the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program.”
For more than 15 years, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has delivered news to classrooms nationwide. Stories by the kid reporters appear in select issues of Scholastic classroom magazines, which are read by more than 25 million students nationwide and are available online at www.scholastic.com/news
Schiller is one of only three kids chosen from Florida, and the only one south of Orlando. He is currently working on his first article for Scholastic, about habitat protection issues in the Everglades. He tells us he is hopeful that this experience “will jump start my career in journalism.”
Schiller has written for West Boca News in the past, including these articles:
6 FAU Owls Drafted by MLB
Boca Raton Bowl Coming to FAU
Boca Raton Bowl Report
Loggers’ Run Middle School’s pre-law program is adding a new teacher. Jennifer Kuczler is a past president of the St. Lucie County Bar Association. She worked as a prosecutor in the St. Lucie County State Attorney’s office and does criminal defense and family law in her own firm.
The Palm Beach County School District added pre-law academies to four middle schools only recently. It is a 3-year program that helps prepare students for high school criminology programs and perhaps law-related careers.
Ms. Kuczler expects some changes in the curriculum, with an increased focus on trial work including evidence, objections, and how to behave in a courtroom. There will be somewhat less emphasis on local laws. She would like to give the students exposure to the subjects that form the core curriculum in law school, including criminal law and torts. For the 7th graders in particular she will focus more on constitutional law as that fits well with the civics they will be doing in their social studies class.
Kuczler started at Loggers’ Run teaching 7th grade and 8th civics and US history in November. The timing fits with the school replacing a teacher who had been arrested, though Kuczler doesn’t know anything about that. Last year’s pre-law teacher, Rachael Kelly, will return to teaching social studies.
Coming from a family of teachers, Kuczler enjoys teaching and this career was always in the back of her mind. While she was in the State Attorney’s office she trained new prosecutors and liked doing that. With two small children the change from full-time law practice will give her more time with her family. She will continue to practice on a limited basis and will also continue to be close to the law as her husband does “PIP defense” in a large firm.
Chase Thompson is a student at Loggers Run Middle School. From his family:
West Boca’s Chase Thompson wrestled in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin July 2-3 in the 2015 Asics Kids Greco Roman & Freestyle National Championship. Thompson won the 140++ Novice division (11-12 year old) National Championship in both styles.
Accompanying Chase was his coach 2x Olympian Shawn Sheldon. Chase has been in the wrestling room all summer training for this tournament and all his hard work paid off as he leaves as a double National Champion. Chase’s goal is to wrestle in the Olympics for the United States.
Here’s a video of Chase in action.
And one last picture:
From the USA Wrestling results page:
1st Place – Chase Thompson of Florida
2nd Place – Jimmy Liston of Illinois
Round 1 – Jimmy Liston (Illinois) won by decision over Chase Thompson (Florida) (Dec 8-4)
Round 2 – Chase Thompson (Florida) won by decision over Jimmy Liston (Illinois) (Dec 7-1)
Round 3 – Chase Thompson (Florida) won by fall over Jimmy Liston (Illinois) (Fall 1:17)
We heard from many readers this morning about an incident in the Logger’s Run community. People saw 10 or more PBSO cars, deputies with rifles and guns drawn, and a helicopter flying overhead.
Police operation happening now inside the Timberwalk Association, Loggers Run. Lots of police cars, chopper and police with guns drawn behind trees.
What is going on at Ponderosa & Winikoff? Riot police – 10 cars w automatic weapons drawn!
We contacted PBSO and received an official response:
Deputies were dispatched to a call of shots fired. When they arrived, we checked the area and all we found was some pounding noise coming from a house nearby. This was not a false 911 call per se, whoever called it in perceived they heard a shooting. It’s considered unfounded.
The incident apparently began sometime before 8 am and heated up as kids were being dropped off at Logger’s Run Middle School. The location of the incident was in the Timberwalk townhomes south of Palmetto Park Road near the southern intersection of Ponderosa and Judge Winikoff:
Other readers reported that the middle school went into lockdown and kids were scared:
My daughter was locked in the cafeteria and was scared out of her mind. She stated in her text to me that many of the kids were very nervous and huddling with their friends.
The initial report sounded very serious:
•••WEST BOCA••• BARRICADED SUSPECT — Ponderosa Dr @ Judge Winikoff Rd (Loggers Run) — Multiple PBSO units are at the scene of a male suspect possibly barricaded inside a house, wanted for questioning, reported fired shots up in the air and ran
After further investigation there was a follow-up report:
UPDATE: PBSO made entry, suspect not in the house, appears to have fled on foot unknown direction, Further investigation revealed there was no shooting or shot, the subject was just banging on a car with a hammer, units are clearing the scene now, no danger or threat any longer
Another source – a neighbor – tells us that this was a possible domestic dispute where a man was banging on a car with a hammer and a woman got angry about it and called 911 falsely indicating shots had been fired. The banging on the car part of the story appears to be accurate though the details of who the caller was and why they made the call are disputed by PBSO and another of our sources.
Students of the Olympic Heights SECME team competed at the District Olympiad that was held at Santaluces High School on Saturday, March 28th. Meanwhile two Logger’s Run Middle School students won awards at the 2015 State of Florida Science and Engineering Fair.
SECME stands for “Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics and Enrichment”, though originally it was “Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering.” The Olympic Heights SECME team was the defending champion, and needed to place in almost every one of the 8 categories in order to retain their title. The team worked hard on the design and building of their projects, and they are very energized by their decisive victory at the event.
The OH SECME team is mostly comprised of students from the Engineering Academy with the majority from the class of 2015. This was a great way for the current seniors to finish their high school career, and now the team next year has a lot to live up to!
The following are the results of the competition:
Essay – 1st Place (Sarah Curtis), The winning essay will go to Nationals in summer 2015.
Banner – 1st Place (Jennifer Coelho and George Tripp with help from rest of the SECME team)
Poster – 1st Place (George Tripp)
Brain Bowl – 3rd Place (Daniel Baum, Garrett Goode, Jennifer Coelho, and Samantha Jairam)
Generator – 3rd place (Daniel Baum, Vincent Santano, and David Gebka)
Bridge – 3rd Place (Vincent Santano, Emily Lyn, and Garrett Goode)
Mouse Trap Car – 2nd AND 3rd Place (David Gebka, Ryan Dingman, Vincent Santano, Jennifer Coelho, Sarah Fine, Shayna York)
From Logger’s Run, Anam Ahmed’s project, “GMO: Yes or No?” earned her a 2nd place award at the state Science and Engineering Fair. Tesla Radulovic’s “The Goldbach Conjecture” won a 5th place award. That’s some pretty serious math per Wikipedia.
Last month we reported on the success of the Waters Edge SECME team as well.
And for all the whiners at Eagles Landing who are complaining, yes, we did cover you, on the West Boca News Facebook page.