The largest school supply drive in Marion County celebrates its 14-year anniversary by giving to students in need this summer.
“Operation: Stuff the Bus” started in 2002 as a summer drive to gather school supplies for Marion County’s homeless students. Today, the program helps approximately 2,500 needy students throughout Marion County Public Schools.
The annual program is co-sponsored by Marion County Public Schools and local military organizations.
“Operation: Stuff the Bus” affords local residents the opportunity to make a real difference in a homeless child’s life by donating new school supplies, children’s clothing, shoes, books, personal hygiene items, gifts cards and financial contributions. To date, the campaign has collected approximately $450,000 in donations and merchandise – all distributed through the school district’s Homeless Student program and guidance counselors.
A decorated school bus with ample room to “stuff” donations inside appears at local retail stores from 9am-5pm based on the following schedule:
July 18, Saturday – Walmart Silver Springs, 4980 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala
Checks benefitting “Operation: Stuff the Bus” should be indicated as such and made payable to Operation: Stuff the Bus, c/o Homeless Children Program, Marion County Public Schools, 1517 SE 30 Ave. #5, Ocala, FL, 34471.
Seconds graders throughout Marion County experienced local farming first-hand thanks to the “Agventures” program. Various “stations” gave these youngsters opportunities to squeeze their own orange juice, play “beefo” bingo with marshmallows, and enjoy ice cream at the dairy station. More than 1,100 students benefitted from this year’s Marion County Farm Bureau efforts.
PBS for Positive Behavior
PBS is an alternative program keeping kids in schools and not out of the classroom. Positive Behavior Support offers structured classroom options for students who find themselves in trouble. Ten schools, including representatives from Anthony, Belleview, Emerald Shores, and Greenway Elementary, benefit because kids may be out of the normal classroom but still in a structured learning environment. Otherwise, they may not be engaged in learning at all while they’re being disciplined. Other schools recognized for their PBS contributions include Howard, Lake Weir, and Osceola Middle schools, along with Reddick-Collier, Saddlewood, and South Ocala Elementary schools.
EXPO Expands Horizons
Hundreds of parents and students packed the halls of MTI to learn more about magnet programs and schools during the district’s annual Magnet EXPO. With hands-on science demos and the smell of freshly-made crepes, potential magnet students came face-to-face with current magnet students to discuss everything from academics and athletics to school culture and classroom structure. The annual also gives parents the option to discuss any concerns with school administrators.
Strawberry Design Wins
For West Port High Senior Katelynn Nichols, designing a new logo for Habitat for Humanity’s annual Strawberry Festival was no big deal. “The basic design was there,” Nichols said. I just personalized it with some strawberries, and my design ended up winning.” For her first-place finish, the 18-year-old received a winner’s plaque and a crisp $100 bill. She is a student of Golden Apple Art Teacher Gene Hotaling.
Total visits since 1/1/2015: 5,000,750
Total visits in 2014: 6,886,178
Total visits in 2013: 11,615,641
Total visits in 2012: 11,799,753
Total visits in 2011: 9,268,306
Total visits in 2010: 8,620,826
Total visits in 2009: 4,851,153
Total visits in 2008: 3,104,170
Marion County Public Schools
An Equal Opportunity School District
512 SE 3 Street, Ocala, Florida 34471 USA