AME ready for first day of school

AME ready for first day of school
A welcome bulletin board at AME celebrates the new marine educational program - the Guy Harvey Academy of Arts and Science. - Leslie Lake | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – The first day of the school year at Anna Maria Elementary will have an added layer of excitement as it becomes the first home in the country to the Guy Harvey Academy of Arts and Science.

“The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) has been creating a marine science STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curriculum that will align with our school district’s curriculum,” AME Principal Michael Masiello said.

Teachers will be trained to implement the curriculum and use of materials prior to the Wednesday, Aug. 10 first day of school.

“Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation staff will conduct the trainings. Future trainings are planned as we move throughout the school year,” Masiello said.

Students will be introduced to The Guy Harvey Collection: Sharks, Introduction to Marine Science, Mangrove Science and Coding-Ocean Edition.

“We will be adding additional curriculum topics as we move throughout the school year,” he said.

One existing classroom will be converted into an aquarium research room.

“The aquarium research room will house up to four aquariums with different marine ecosystems and new furniture,” Masiello said. “Students will be able to visit the aquarium room with their class to learn about the marine life and ecosystems, which will align with lessons of study.”

Dr. Guy Harvey is a well-known marine artist and conservationist. The GHOF’s mission statement reads in part, “The GHOF conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment… (and) will help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ecosystem.”

The GHOF also funds affiliated researchers working to better understand our ocean ecosystem and educators helping to foster the next era of marine conservationists, according to the GHOF website.

The agreement between the School Board of Manatee County and GHOF was signed and adopted on June 28.

Masiello said that school enrollment will be 189, approximately the same as last school year, and students are still being enrolled at different grade levels.

“Students zoned for Anna Maria are automatically approved to attend,” he said. “Students outside of the Anna Maria school zone can apply for ‘hardship’ and must be approved prior to enrollment. ‘School choice’ will become available again in December.”

AME registrar Amy Slicker said that approximately 65% of students at the school live off-Island.