News from FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools
Celebrating 25 Years of Support for Volusia County's Public Schools
   FUTURES Education Foundation

Established in 1985 to increase business and community involvement in public schools and to provide programs and activities beyond the financial capabilities of the school district, the nonprofit foundation is the only organization that provides assistance to all public schools in Volusia County.

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Look for a new monthly column from FUTURES in the March issue!
Volusia County Schools
      Volusia County Schools

Upcoming Events
Feb. 17: FUTURES Board Meeting

Feb. 18: Take Stock in Children Leadership Council

Feb. 20-21: (March 13-14 for Ormond Lanes only)

Feb. 23: Superintendent's Outstanding Achievement Awards Reception
Feb. 24:
Educator Intern Program Orientation

Feb 25: Educator Intern Program Full Day Shadowing

Feb: 26: Educator Intern Program Debriefing

For details, visit

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Caribbean Party Sponsors Make
Evening Possible

FUTURES' seventh annual Caribbean Party on April 30 is gathering support from local businesses and individuals, including these sponsors:      

  • Florida Power & Light
  • Bank of America
  • Cobb & Cole
  • Consolidated Tomoka
  • Daytona State College Foundation
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
  • Florida Health Care Plans
  • Rice & Rose PA
  • USTA Florida
  • Weston, Gregory, PA

  •   $500

  • Bomar Construction
  • Daytona International Speedway
  • Fletch Ed Services
  • Florida Capital Bank
  • Giles Electric
  • Root Company
  • James Moore & Co.
  • JoEllen Rogers
  • The News-Journal

  • Look for sponsored buffet stations at the Caribbean Party -- such as the event's famous chocolate fountain -- plus new incentives and rewards for all levels of sponsorship, from Teacher ($500) to Superintendent ($2,500) status.

    Reservations are now available for the party itself, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 30, in the Riverfront Center at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 134 N. Halifax Ave., Daytona Beach.

    Make plans to attend and enjoy gourmet island cuisine prepared by a top local executive chef; complimentary beer, wine and beverages; and music and other entertainment by calling FUTURES at 255-6475, ext. 50730.

    Reservations are $60 each, and all money raised will support FUTURES
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    Bowl-A-Thon Planning Reaches Final Frame
    bowling a strike

    In less than a week, bowlers at four Volusia County centers will take to the lanes, raising money that directly helps the county's public-school teachers and students. The FUTURES Foundation's 17th annual Bowl-A-Thon kicks off in Daytona Beach, DeLand, Deltona and New Smyrna Beach on Feb. 20 and 21 and continues in Ormond Beach on March 13 and 14.

    By the end of the Bowl-A-Thon, we'll have had teams on more than 270 lanes. You can help them by making a per-pin pledge.

    New to the Bowl-A-Thon this year is Wii Bowling for Education. For this first-time component, we're looking for virtual bowlers to participate at Sam's Club in Daytona Beach, 1175 Beville Road, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 and March 6. For a $5 donation, you can Wii Bowl for Volusia County Schools, plus you'll have a chance to win one of the trophies for the top three scorers and an entry in a drawing for a Wii game console and gift certificates for Sam's Club. Get your tickets in advance here.

    We anticipate tripling participation in the Bowl-A-Thon for 2010, enlisting more than 5,000 bowlers and raising $55,000 to support Volusia County's classrooms. For Bowl-A-Thon sponsorship opportunities, contact Beth Butera, FUTURES Director, at (386) 255-6475, ext. 50730.
    Kristy Kuches Named Teacher of the Year 2011

    Teacher of the Year 2011 Kristy KuchesKristy Kuches, a seventh-grade math teacher from Heritage Middle School in Deltona, is Volusia County Schools' Teacher of the Year for 2011. She will serve as Volusia County's Teacher of the Year until February 2012, representing all of Volusia's teachers.  

    She received her award before an audience of more than 900 friends of public education at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. FUTURES and the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce co-hosted the Feb. 5 celebration, presented by Bright House Networks.  

    The newly named Teacher of the Year came to Volusia County Schools in 1993 and taught fifth grade at Discovery Elementary until 2000. She then moved to Forest Lake Elementary, teaching fourth and fifth grades. In 2004, she moved to Osteen Elementary to teach fifth grade for two years and then served as the math/science special area teacher for all grade levels. She has been teaching at Heritage Middle since 2007.

    Technology is an integral part of Kuches' classroom.  She maximizes
    student achievement by using Classroom Performance System (CPS) clickers, self-created PowerPoint lessons and a classroom Web site. The clickers engage every student and give each immediate and anonymous
    feedback on answers. Students easily can reference her PowerPoints at home by accessing the Web site.

    Kuches has been described as "a teacher who thrives on turning around students who hate math." Her students are rewarded with "Kuches Kash" for asking questions or seeking help for themselves. The teacher also has found her students work very hard to learn something so they can serve as peer tutors and help someone else. They hardly realize how they are helping themselves.

    Kuches succeeds Kelly Conway, an Advanced Placement psychology and dance teacher from New Smryrna Beach High School, who was Volusia County's 2010 Teacher of the Year.

    "Over the past 25 years, FUTURES has been able to provide much needed
    resources to teachers as a result of the generous support that we have
    received from corporate and individual members of our community," FUTURES President Len Marinaccio said. "Celebrating our teachers' accomplishments in such a visible way is very rewarding to all of us at the foundation."    

    Other major sponsors included Daytona 500 Experience, Volusia Teachers
    Organization, Halifax Health, Bank of America, Brown & Brown, Florida Power & Light, Kennedy Space Center Federal Credit Union, University of Central Florida, Nova Southeastern University, Consolidated Tomoka and Diamond Suzuki. More than 100 businesses and organizations in Volusia County also contributed donations of goods and services to Volusia's Teacher of the Year program.

    Teachers Report Maximum Results From Recent Mini-Grants
    Cover of
    Debbie Hartman, a seventh-grade reading teacher at Heritage Middle School in Deltona, recently received an $840 Mini-Grant for her work with the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" book series. "The grant allowed me to buy 35 copies of each of the first four books and 11 of the last book," Hartman says. "A local movie theater also donated 30 movie tickets." A movie based on the first book, "The Lightning Thief," opened on Feb. 12.

    Soon after Hartman's grant was approved, "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan won a "Book of the Decade" honor, and all of the books have topped multiple bestseller lists, thanks to rabid tween fans. "The books flew off my shelves, and I have students waiting in line for them," Hartman says.  "Many students who have never been readers can't stop reading.  It has been a huge success. I predict that this will have an impact on the FCAT scores, too." 
    Students are giving up their lunchtime to be in the "Lightning Thief" club, and Hartman has had to separate the activity into two days each week "because I have so many students." 

    Two other teachers reported on the status of their Mini-Grant projects:
    • Teacher Sharon Uliasz is working with Dr. Marie Bracciale on an after-school activity called "Afterwords" each Monday at Deltona Middle School. "Our goal is to help FCAT level 2 students with their spelling, vocabulary, math and critical thinking skills, as well as help to expose our higher FCAT achievers to more exotic words," Uliasz says. "Our secondary goal is to help students boost their personal and social skills." This Scrabble-inspired club is funded by a $600 Mini-Grant from FUTURES.
    • Spruce Creek High School teacher Andrea White, who received $800 for her Superintendent's Mini-Grant Award, has ordered supplies for her classroom project,  "FUTURES Meets 'Strong Science' and 'A+ Funding' in Genetic Discovery." She was awaiting their arrival at the end of January and expected her 12th-graders to begin work this month. "They would be extracting DNA from either hair follicles or cheek cells and determining biochemically their genotype and comparing the class gene frequencies to the (National Institutes of Health) database for that gene," White says.
    FUTURES awarded 103 Mini-Grants to Volusia County Schools teachers during a presentation at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach at the end of 2009. A total of $60,385 was awarded to teachers in amounts ranging from $150 to $1,500. Over 25 years of community support, FUTURES has funded more than 2,200 such Mini-Grants, totaling $1,126,681, thanks to generous sponsors.

    Students Who Turn Things Around Are Eligible for Award

    Applications have just been distributed for FUTURES' Turn Around award program, part of Volusia County Schools' drop-out prevention program.

    Turn Around recognizes middle and high school students who have demonstrated a marked improvement in school involvement and citizenship. Winners and their parents will be invited to a gala dinner hosted by FUTURES, plus honored students will receive certificates and have their  names engraved on a plaque to be displayed at their schools. Most Turn Around students haven't received positive recognition before and need to be reached, motivated, and rewarded as they turn their lives around.

    Principals and guidance counselors can find nomination forms here.