• Search
A lifestyle magazine for Central Florida's modern parents

Leaders in Learning

From our high-ranking public schools to our independently run private and charter schools, the Orlando area offers an array of educational opportunities to choose from. When you combine our excellent schools with the availability of an award-winning, nationally recognized science center, the possibilities for project-based learning, hands-on experiences and personalized enrichment are endless.

As the field of education continues to evolve, including the integration of technology and the application of non-traditional learning methods, we wanted to discover more about the exciting opportunities being offered right here in our community. So, we reached out to local women leading the way to gain a broader understanding of their
vision for the future. 

The Women Shaping Education in Our Community

Dr. Barbara Jenkins
Superintendent of Orange

County Public Schools

Dr. Barbara Jenkins has been superintendent for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) since 2012 and has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for 35 years. In 2017, she received a presidential appointment as a director of the National Board of Education Sciences and was named Florida Superintendent of the Year.

We Asked: What types of nontraditional learning opportunities does Orange County offer to students?

She Answered: “OCPS offers learning environments for every type of student, including magnet programs, dual-language programs, personalized learning, virtual school, blended learning and dual enrollment at local colleges and universities. This past year, we launched the Orlando Gifted Academy that provides opportunities for gifted learners to pursue their interests and tap into their talents. Middle and high school students have the opportunity to take 37 different industry certifications at the secondary level, and high school and adult students are offered 97 different industry certifications in post-secondary programs through Orange Technical College. Also, several school-to-work programs help students gain workplace experience while gaining academic credits, such as the ESE transition school, Simon Youth Academy, Universal Education Center and Project Compass.” 

This past year, we launched the Orlando Gifted Academy that provides opportunities for gifted learners to pursue their interests and tap into their talents. 


JoAnn Newman
CEO, Orlando Science Center
Photo by: Jessica Friend

JoAnn Newman joined the Orlando Science Center (OSC) in 2003 and has been the CEO since 2009. She is dedicated to guiding OSC as a strong community partner for informal science education, family engagement and workforce development.

We asked: What is the biggest change you’d like to see happen in education, and how do you believe that change could be implemented at the Orlando Science Center? 

She answered:“In a world where information is at everyone’s fingertips, it is essential that children are taught problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills. Orlando Science Center is the perfect location to hone these skills. We provide learners with opportunities to apply real-world experience and content knowledge to science phenomena, engineering, etc. Our environment provides immersive, authentic opportunities to engage with complex problems or hard-to-understand concepts in meaningful ways. The way we teach empowers our youth and provides them agency over their own learning.” 


Carol Mikulka, Founder and Director of Walden Community School
Photo by: Jessica Friend

Dr. Mikulka, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist and founder of Walden Community School. Her unique interest in education and years of extensive research and teaching experience led Dr. Mikulka to establish Walden Community School in 2002.

We asked: What types of nontraditional learning opportunities does Walden Community School offer students?

She answered: “Our student-centered philosophy focuses on teaching to the whole child by addressing social, emotional and academic needs. By developing and implementing an integrated curriculum, Walden facilitates real-life learning. We teach for understanding and use authentic assessments rather than traditional grading to promote mastery and growth mindset. In our noncompetitive learning environment, we encourage taking academic risks where mistakes become an integral part of learning.”


Dr. Michele Gill, Founder and Chair of Galileo School for Gifted Learning
Photo by: Jessica Friend

Dr. Michele Gill has her Ph. D. in educational psychology and is a founding board member of the Galileo School. She is program coordinator of the University of Central Florida’s education doctorate in curriculum and instruction and is a professor of educational psychology in the Department of Learning Sciences
and Educational Research. 

We asked: What types of nontraditional learning opportunities does Galileo School offer students?

She answered: “Galileo School offers a wide variety of nontraditional learning opportunities for our students. All of our students, in grades K-8, get the opportunity to choose enrichment activities via Creative Productivity (CP) classes. Students choose CP classes based on their interests from a long list of offerings (through a survey given to each student). In the elementary grades, students go to CP classes for two weeks at a time, several times during a quarter. They may learn about things like robotics, gardening, sewing, comic book illustration, origami, miming, debate, etc. Middle schoolers choose quarterly CP classes that are also generated from their interests.”  


Karen Almond
School Board Vice-Chairman of
Seminole County Public Schools
Photo by: Jessica Friend

Ms. Almond was first elected to serve as a Seminole County School Board member in 2010 and is currently in her third term. She has been a community and education advocate for more than 25 years.

We asked: What types of nontraditional learning opportunities does Seminole County offer students?

She answered: “Through our ePathways initiative, we offer students flexible scheduling to meet their needs. A student can take a virtual class off campus, along with taking classes on a traditional campus. With the help of Mrs. Jobs (wife of Steve Jobs) and a $1,000,000 grant, we started PSI High a few years ago. PSI High is our Problem-Solving Incubator. Students reach out to the community to partner and solve real-world problems. It’s an awesome opportunity for our students and the community. A true win-win.” 


Dr. Tina Calderone, School Board Chairman of Seminole County Public Schools
Photo by: Jessica Friend

Dr. Calderone has served on the Seminole County School Board since 2010 and is currently the chairperson. She has worked in the fields of business and education
since graduating with her first education degree in 1980.

We asked: What is the biggest change you’d like to see happen in education,
and how do you believe that change could be implemented?

She answered:“My hope is for adequate funding from the state and federal level to allow us to keep high-quality teachers in the profession and lure technically skilled instructors from the private sector to teach in our vocational classrooms. Additionally, I would hope the State of Florida would consider our Sunshine Solution … wherein we could replace the state FSA exams with nationally normed tests that match our standards such as the SAT or ACT to measure student success. This could be easily implemented with less time on testing, more time for instruction and quicker turnaround with scores. It is the fiscally conservative and educationally sound thing to do. Our students could also use these scores for their college applications not one university asks for an FSA score.”

We want to thank these exceptional women for their ongoing commitment to providing outstanding learning opportunities for the children of Central Florida.

Betsy Jewell
Written by
Betsy Jewell

Betsy Jewell is a Central Florida-based content creator and mother of two teenage boys. After a long career managing projects and producing digital content for a certain mouse, she has set off on a new adventure as a podcaster and blogger at betsyjewell.com.

View all articles
Betsy Jewell Written by Betsy Jewell

Categories

Follow us

Proactively formulate resource-leveling imperatives through alternative process improvements.

Family Events

October 2020

October 1, 202012:00 am

Join us on our family farm for our 5th annual Fall at Southern Hill Farms events!

What fall adventure would be complete without mouth-watering apple cider donuts, jolly Jumbo Jack carving pumpkins and strikingly beautiful sunflowers and zinnias for your family photos? Admission tickets must be purchased online in advance, no admission payments will be accepted at the farm. Tickets and more information can be found at https://southernhillfarms.brushfire.com/fallfestival/.

About the event:
• Held Thursdays through Sundays, beginning September 26th through November 8th. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Children 2 and under are free but will still need a Toddler Ticket to enter.
• On weekends, you will choose a reservation time. You have an arrival window of 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after your chosen time to arrive at the farm. 
• Face masks are required when in lines, participating in activities and when social distancing cannot be maintained. Please ensure that you bring a mask for everyone in your group 3 years or older to use during these times.
• Complimentary Farm Wagon rides.
• Sunflower and zinnia u-pick! $1/stem zinnias, $2/stem sunflowers.
• Sweet corn available for purchase, grown here at Southern Hill Farms.
• Our pumpkin patch barn (please note that the pumpkins are already cut from the vine) boasts a wide variety of beautiful and unique pumpkins of all sizes and colors, corn stalks, Indian corn, gourds and more for purchase. We provide a complimentary pumpkin ‘holding’ area for your purchased pumpkins while you stay and play. Prices vary based on size and type.
• Live music by Jeff Whitfield from 11:00 am to 2:45 pm, and TBD from 3:15 pm to 7:00 pm (live music on weekends only).
• Food trucks: Southern Hill Eatery, Twisted plates, Bauer-BQ, Willy Ts Crab Shack, Peru Power Food Truck, A Lo Cubano Kitchen, The Big Hot Box, Rollin Dough and Absofruitly. Serving from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (guest food trucks on weekends only).
• Local craft beer, wine, frozen concoctions, and mimosas available for purchase from our Beer Shed. Serving from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
• Worried about missing your college or professional football team's big win? Don't be! We have flat-screen TVs playing all the weekend's biggest rivalries under our food truck barn.
• Bring home the feeling of fall on the farm with our unique products, all made right here in our Southern Hill Market. Shop our handmade lotions, sugar scrubs, lip balms and bar soaps. Enjoy the scents of the season with our hand poured candles. We have unfiltered, local raw honey for purchase, organic pure maple syrup, as well as your favorite Southern Hill Farms merchandise.
• Enjoy our delicious apple cider donuts, blueberry lemonade, frozen and hot apple cider, blueberry cobbler, pumpkin muffins and more from our vintage Airstream turned bakery, Southern Hill Sweets. 
• Our grounds include a beautiful rooftop deck, covered playground for children, covered barns with picnic tables and clean, convenient permanent restrooms.
• Yard games are complimentary and include life-sized Jenga, bean bag toss, Connect Four, footballs, soccer balls and more. 
• Our ‘picture perfect’ photo op areas for your fall family photos.
• We'll have rides on our one of a kind Blueberry Express (our converted cotton harvester) for purchase. $5 for adults, $3 for children and teens ages 3-17 (available weekends only).
• Enjoy our fire pits for roasting s’mores with family and friends. S'mores kits with roasting sticks available for purchase.
• Petting zoo – Parent or guardian must be present with young children. Food for the animals is $2, cash only, payment accepted at the entrance of the petting zoo.
• Touch-a-tractor – Children MUST be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.
• Giant fun slide – 42” tall minimum, 32” can slide with an adult.
• Cyclone swing – 42” or taller to ride, 180 lb maximum.
• Inflatable sports games.
• Jump Pillows.We accept cash and card everywhere on the farm. Dogs are allowed at our fall events but must be leashed at all times and cleaned up after when needed. Our address is 16651 Schofield Road, Clermont, FL 34714. Please note that Schofield Road is a Lake County clay road. Southern Hill Farms is a working farm and does not have a paved parking lot, you will be parking and walking in grass areas. We want our farm to be a part of your cherished family traditions for years to come and we want to thank you for loving your local farmer! Please note that all events and event details are subject to change or cancellation at any time due to inclement weather, forced closures due to COVID-19, and unforeseen circumstances. Please always check our website, www.southernhillfarms.com, the day of your planned visit to ensure last-minute event details.

Read More
October 1, 20208:00 am / 10:00 am

$39 per person when you book a carriage of five with your family and close friends!

Enchanting 30 Minute Experience Includes:

• Royal Crowning with a pear drop Tiara and White Glove Treatment

• 15 Minute Tour with a Royal Princess aboard a Cinderella Coach

• Princess Photo Opportunity in the Coach

• A "Sweet Treat" and Farewell Wish for a Happily Ever After…

Departing from Masonic Lodge, 230 W Bay street, Winter Garden, Fl 34787

For all adults and children ages 2 +

Read More
October 1, 20209:00 am / 6:00 pm

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
April 6, 2020All working days 10:00 am / 6:00 pm
All Kids Spanish
2902 North Orange Avenue
Open Map
3214602844 Class / Educational / Festivals

Toddlers-5th Grade We are here to help! We understand that even though we are going through a tough time, your children's learning process must continue.We have different Spanish online live program options.
Read More
October 1, 202010:00 am / 4:00 pm

Crayola Experience's Screamin' Green Hauntoween returns for a month of spooky family fun! Monster-ific Crafts and special, spooky happenings all month long: a themed scavenger hunt, character photo ops, and more, ALL included with admission.

Have a Screamin' Green good time while exploring our 27 creative attractions.
*Paint a pumpkin and make your own slime at the Trading Post. *Additional fee applies. (Annual Passholders receive a discount on these activities).
• Prior to visiting please make sure to check guest protocols at www.crayolaexperience.com/orlando

Read More
October 1, 20204:15 pm

You can do the $25 drop-in class rate or monthly membership is $75. There are limited spots available so please be sure to message me to reserve your spot. Social distancing will be practiced during this class.

Read More
October 1, 20207:30 pm / 9:00 pm

An actress who never left the stage after her final curtain call? German prisoners of war still toiling in the orange groves years after the war is over? The spirit of an artist who couldn’t leave his work unfinished? With over 100 years of history and many famous visitors, this beautiful village has plenty of unusual tales that will make your skin crawl! While visiting local haunts and historic sites, you’ll learn about more about this shining gem of Central Florida, as well as its chilling stories, guaranteed to leave your spine-tingling! Our visit includes a stop at a haunted pub for a free drink! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxf4n9-DRR0&fbclid=IwAR1vfOv-v57RNvz-9TE2PAmJ3ckXfcZbp4aoGFBdmAbFQf7qSC2m6x0jbDE
Read More
October 2, 202012:00 am

Join us on our family farm for our 5th annual Fall at Southern Hill Farms events!

What fall adventure would be complete without mouth-watering apple cider donuts, jolly Jumbo Jack carving pumpkins and strikingly beautiful sunflowers and zinnias for your family photos? Admission tickets must be purchased online in advance, no admission payments will be accepted at the farm. Tickets and more information can be found at https://southernhillfarms.brushfire.com/fallfestival/.

About the event:
• Held Thursdays through Sundays, beginning September 26th through November 8th. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Children 2 and under are free but will still need a Toddler Ticket to enter.
• On weekends, you will choose a reservation time. You have an arrival window of 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after your chosen time to arrive at the farm. 
• Face masks are required when in lines, participating in activities and when social distancing cannot be maintained. Please ensure that you bring a mask for everyone in your group 3 years or older to use during these times.
• Complimentary Farm Wagon rides.
• Sunflower and zinnia u-pick! $1/stem zinnias, $2/stem sunflowers.
• Sweet corn available for purchase, grown here at Southern Hill Farms.
• Our pumpkin patch barn (please note that the pumpkins are already cut from the vine) boasts a wide variety of beautiful and unique pumpkins of all sizes and colors, corn stalks, Indian corn, gourds and more for purchase. We provide a complimentary pumpkin ‘holding’ area for your purchased pumpkins while you stay and play. Prices vary based on size and type.
• Live music by Jeff Whitfield from 11:00 am to 2:45 pm, and TBD from 3:15 pm to 7:00 pm (live music on weekends only).
• Food trucks: Southern Hill Eatery, Twisted plates, Bauer-BQ, Willy Ts Crab Shack, Peru Power Food Truck, A Lo Cubano Kitchen, The Big Hot Box, Rollin Dough and Absofruitly. Serving from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (guest food trucks on weekends only).
• Local craft beer, wine, frozen concoctions, and mimosas available for purchase from our Beer Shed. Serving from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
• Worried about missing your college or professional football team's big win? Don't be! We have flat-screen TVs playing all the weekend's biggest rivalries under our food truck barn.
• Bring home the feeling of fall on the farm with our unique products, all made right here in our Southern Hill Market. Shop our handmade lotions, sugar scrubs, lip balms and bar soaps. Enjoy the scents of the season with our hand poured candles. We have unfiltered, local raw honey for purchase, organic pure maple syrup, as well as your favorite Southern Hill Farms merchandise.
• Enjoy our delicious apple cider donuts, blueberry lemonade, frozen and hot apple cider, blueberry cobbler, pumpkin muffins and more from our vintage Airstream turned bakery, Southern Hill Sweets. 
• Our grounds include a beautiful rooftop deck, covered playground for children, covered barns with picnic tables and clean, convenient permanent restrooms.
• Yard games are complimentary and include life-sized Jenga, bean bag toss, Connect Four, footballs, soccer balls and more. 
• Our ‘picture perfect’ photo op areas for your fall family photos.
• We'll have rides on our one of a kind Blueberry Express (our converted cotton harvester) for purchase. $5 for adults, $3 for children and teens ages 3-17 (available weekends only).
• Enjoy our fire pits for roasting s’mores with family and friends. S'mores kits with roasting sticks available for purchase.
• Petting zoo – Parent or guardian must be present with young children. Food for the animals is $2, cash only, payment accepted at the entrance of the petting zoo.
• Touch-a-tractor – Children MUST be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.
• Giant fun slide – 42” tall minimum, 32” can slide with an adult.
• Cyclone swing – 42” or taller to ride, 180 lb maximum.
• Inflatable sports games.
• Jump Pillows.We accept cash and card everywhere on the farm. Dogs are allowed at our fall events but must be leashed at all times and cleaned up after when needed. Our address is 16651 Schofield Road, Clermont, FL 34714. Please note that Schofield Road is a Lake County clay road. Southern Hill Farms is a working farm and does not have a paved parking lot, you will be parking and walking in grass areas. We want our farm to be a part of your cherished family traditions for years to come and we want to thank you for loving your local farmer! Please note that all events and event details are subject to change or cancellation at any time due to inclement weather, forced closures due to COVID-19, and unforeseen circumstances. Please always check our website, www.southernhillfarms.com, the day of your planned visit to ensure last-minute event details.

Read More
October 2, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This is a drive through event at the farm for online order pick-ups only. Shop online, choose your desired pick-up date and time and we'll bring your order to your vehicle when you arrive!

Are you eager to get some of our refreshing homemade blueberry lemonade, along with our Southern Hill Market merchandise, frozen blueberries, baked goods and more this summer? Shop online and pick-up your favorite sweet treats to enjoy from the comfort of home!

How to pick-up:
Choose your desired Friday pick-up and time, and we’ll bring your order to your vehicle when you arrive. Our address is 16651 Schofield Road, Clermont, FL 34714. Please note that Schofield Road is a Lake County clay road. We ask that you please remain in your vehicle upon arrival.

What’s available, while supplies last:
Sweet treats and baked goods.
• Frozen blueberries, sold in 1 gallon bags
• Fresh blueberry donuts
• Fresh blueberry muffins
• Blueberry donut ice cream sandwiches
• Whole blueberry cheesecakes
• Whole blueberry cobblers
• Whole blueberry pies
• Gluten free blueberry and white chocolate cookies
• Gluten free whole blueberry and peach cobblers
• Handmade popsicles
• Italian ice

Refreshing beverages.
• Blueberry lemonade, sold by the gallon and by the cup
• Frozen blueberry lemonade, sold by the cup
• The “David Hill”, sold by the gallon
• Peach iced tea, sold by the gallon
• Adult beverages, including our blueberry mimosas and blueberry lemonade smash, by the gallon
• Craft beer, sold in 4 packs
• High Noon, sold in 4 packs

Kitchen staples and merchandise.
• Raw, unfiltered local honey
• Blueberry mustard
• Apple butter and maple syrup
• Dry baking mixes, including peach cobbler and blueberry crisp
• Kickles, our sweet and spicy pickles
• Blueberry, blueberry jalapeno, peach and peach jalapeno jams
• Blueberry and peach salsas, peach hot sauce
• SHF apparel, including our embroidered hats and drifit shirts
• Handcrafted sugar scrubs, lotions and bar soap
• Hand poured soy wax candles
• Stationary designed by Giddy Paperie
• SHF plastic tumblers, pilsner glasses and koozies

Flowers and ornamental trees.
• Fresh cut zinnias, sold in bouquets of 1 dozen
• 15, 30 and 50 gallon ornamental trees

Thanks for shopping local this summer, and thanks for loving your local farmer!

Read More
October 2, 20209:00 am / 6:00 pm

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
More