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Cypress Elementary School in Osceola County Accepted
as Member of Successful Practices Network

Cypress Elementary School in Osceola County has been accepted for membership in a national network of K-12 schools committed to school improvement and high academic achievement for all students. The Successful Practices Network, sponsored by the International Center for Leadership in Education in Rexford, NY, which was created by Dr. Willard Daggett, is a not-for-profit collaboration of good schools that are striving to become great schools. Through the Network, the professional staff of Cypress Elementary School will exchange best instructional practices, successful methodologies and peer support with other member schools. Poinciana High School in Osceola County is also a member of the Successful Practices Network.

Network Executive Director Ray McNulty describes the collaboration as "a way to link committed educators and district leadership with like-minded practitioners across the country. Even the best schools can't be expert in every aspect of school improvement. At the same time, these schools have enormous expertise in specific areas to share. The idea behind the Network is to connect schools with other schools that can offer needed expertise and possible solutions."

Network members identify their own improvement priorities and technical assistance needs, as well as the experience and know-how they can share with other schools. Each school works through an assigned Network liaison to establish contact with other schools and with master teachers and senior consultants who can provide research, data and approaches that otherwise might not be accessible to local educators.

Cypress Elementary had its site visit on September 24th by Peter McBride, where he noted that Cypress is a model of a caring, safe and nurturing learning environment and that the school's leadership and staff work tirelessly to support the diverse and significantly at-risk student population. He also made reference to the school's "Essentials" clubs/art/movements programs, which every grade 3-5 student participates in during the school day every Wednesday so that students can participate without interference from after-school commitments and family schedules. McBride also noted that the school stands behind its motto of "Everyone Is Someone At Cypress", and that the school's staff is passionately dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and all students deserve life-enriching opportunities to engage in activities that match their interests.

One of the school's most unique programs is called CARE (Cyrus Assists Reading Education), which features Cyrus, a Newfoundland and certified therapy dog, that visits the school and promotes reading, language development, and care-giving skills as important parts of the learning process. Results have shown that by bonding with the lovable Cyrus, students develop nurturing skills as they learn to respect and care for a pet.

Cypress Elementary School is featured in the November 2005 issue of the Successful Practices Network Monthly Magazine for its accomplishments. The school is located at 2251 Lakeside Drive in Kissimmee, Florida.