Florida Distance Learning Consortium
Girls Get IT! Newsletter Volume II Issue VIII
March 2008
In This Issue
:: 13th Annual Florida Children's Week
:: Girls Get IT! Wins Three Marketing & Advertising Awards!
:: Many Florida Schools Are Going Green
:: Visit Girls Get IT!!
:: Girls Get IT! Has Two New Local Chapters
:: GGIT! Website Gets a Facelift
:: Ohmwork: Networking Homebrew
:: STEM Mini-Grants & Program Directory
:: Have You Ever Heard of a Robot Nurse?
:: FACTS.org Can Help Girls Get IT!
:: Science Fair Summary
:: NEW Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents!!
                                           Explore ~ Educate ~ Empower

13th Annual Florida Children's Week is Full of Activities


CW Logo

The 13th annual Florida Children's Week officially begins March 30th! This year, more than 70 statewide partners and corporations which include: Comcast, Clear Channel, Nemours, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Publix Supermarkets, Inc., Salter Mitchell, Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Florida, and many others, are teaming up to host events and activities to promote the health, safety and well-being of children and families across the Sunshine State.


The following activities are taking place:

  • The "Capital Steps for Kids" program presented by Nemours is giving away 20,000 pedometers to Children's Week local event coordinators to organize walks and promote healthy and active lifestyles.
  • Children throughout Florida are coloring and designing more than 100,000 paper cut-outs of their hands. Hundreds of volunteers from across the state will arrive at the Capitol to help with the traditional "Hanging of the Hands" in the Rotunda at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 30th.
  • The "Children's Capital for a Day" is scheduled for Tuesday, April 1st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the State Capitol. The day includes free walking tours of the Capitol, hands-on educational activities for children, and legislators reading and distributing books to children.
  • Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp and the Children and Youth Cabinet will host a "Kids Only" Town Hall meeting on April 1st from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Cabinet Meeting Room, lower level of the Capitol. The meeting will feature teens posing questions to members of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet.
  • Community advocates in all 67 counties are contacting local government leaders to sign resolutions and hold press conferences to proclaim April 6, 2008 as "Parents and Children's Day", encouraging parents and children to spend quality time together and participate in fun, healthy and educational activities in their communities.

All activities are free and open to the public.

For additional information and a listing of local events in communities across Florida, Click Here!

Girls Get IT! Wins Three Marketing & Advertising Awards

Florida Quality Counts

The Girls Get IT! promotional materials debuted with a bang, scooping up three ADDY Awards this month.  Next, we will compete in the regional competition and if we win, we will be eligible to compete in the national/international competition held this June. Hosted by the American Advertising Federation, the ADDY Awards are the world's largest advertising competition, recognizing outstanding work in the communications and marketing fields. Entries are judged by advertising professionals, and awards are given to those who surpass the high standards of the industry.

The Girls Get IT! materials, made in collaboration with  Ron Sachs Communications, a statewide communications firm, received three awards. Only 26 Gold ADDYs were awarded and the Girls Get IT! materials received two. In the category of Collateral Material, the Girls Get IT! identity package and the new Girls Get IT! poster received Gold Awards. The Girls Get IT! logo received a Silver Award. To view our award-winning poster, Click Here!


This contest was the first step on the way to the national/international awards. As Gold Award winners, the Girls Get IT! materials will go up against other Gold recipients in the southeast. The winners of the district will go on to compete at the national/international ADDY Awards competition in June. For more information about the ADDY Awards, please Click Here!


Many Florida Schools are Going Green!


green schoolsSchools systems are now realizing the benefits of going green. Going green saves energy and has also improved student health and achievement. Between 2001 and 2006, thirty environmental friendly schools were built across the nation. Although the initial costs of the building were more expensive, the financial benefits were 20 times greater than that cost-on average schools saved $100,000 each year.


Green school classrooms were built to take advantage of natural light, each having exterior facing walls that could make use of the clerestories (high windows) and skylights. Windows on the south and west of the buildings were lightly tinted to moderate the heat from the sunlight, and roof windows face north to allow the natural light to enter. With these techniques Green schools used 33% less energy. A geothermal heating and cooling system (renewable energy sources from within the earth), and dual flush toilets (options on the amount of water needed to flush) helped schools use 32% less water than traditional schools. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has set three levels (gold, silver, bronze) for a building to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certificate (LEED). These levels depend on how green the school has gone. Currently 55 schools have the certificate and 370 schools nationwide are waiting for approval.


"Green Teams" are also taking over the schools. These are groups where the older students teach the incoming students about their school's green design and how it works to help the environment. This exposure at a young age will foster a process of continuous learning about the importance of saving energy, recycling and being environmentally friendly. Green schools work outside the text book by living out the curriculum. Unexpected benefits in the green schools are a boost in students' achievement and improved test scores, due to the more comfortable learning environment, natural light and healthier air cycles.


Leon county schools are taking measures to acknowledge the green movement in schools. Every public school has a recycling coordinator and representatives. They form Tallahassee's own "green team" to encourage students to recycle in school. By having less trash, it will save money, which can be used to fund other areas in the schools. Leon County hopes to receive a grant that will fulfill their goal to put a recycling bin in every classroom. For more information on Leon County going green, Click Here!


There are high hopes that in the next decade more schools will turn green. It is the next big step in education. Though initial costs are high, in the long run it will benefit financially, environmentally, and educationally-implementing good habits to students at a young age. For more information on green schools, Click Here!


To visit GGIT! please click here

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Girls Get IT! Has Two New Local Chapters


We are thrilled to announce two new partners to the Girls Get IT! team-The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa and the Mary Brogan Museum for Arts and Science in Tallahassee, Florida. More information about our upcoming events, activities and opportunities for young women in both of these locations will be announced in the near future.  If you live in either of these cities, or our original locations in Jacksonville at the Florida Community College of Jacksonville, or in Miami with the Miami Dade School district, please contact GGIT Project Director, Leah Cook and we will put you in touch with our local affiliates.


GGIT! Website Gets a Facelift


Our website's makeover is complete! It has been revamped and refurbished with an all-new fun look that mirrors our outreach materials. The site is geared not only towards girls, but also includes valuable information for everyone! There are fun activities for students, resources for parents and teachers, and access to our monthly newsletter, and more! Click Here to check it out!



Networking Homebrew



Ohmwork: Networking Homebrew Science is a social network and pod cast developed by Vision Education and Media (VEMNY). VEMNY is an after school program that inspires kids to become involved with technology and multimedia. Their mission is to enlighten students and teachers of the overwhelming amount of possibilities in science.


The Ohmwork social network will give kids the tools to become inventive and post their do-it-yourself science project ideas online. The site will also allow the collaboration of projects between peers. It hopes to open new doors for kids by incorporating their digital learning experience with a network for DIY science for all ages. For more information on VEMNY and their after school programs, Click Here!


Ohmwork was inspired by the Digital Media and Learning Competition. The competition is initiated by HASTAC; an international network of educators committed to the understanding of new technology; and supported by a grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The foundation is a learning initiative created to determine how digital technologies change the way young people learn, socialize, play, etc.



VEMNY was one of ten winners in the knowledge networking category at this competition, winning $40,000 in project funding for Ohmwork. With the help of this funding, they hope to have the website running in the near future. For more information on the competition and previous winners, Click Here!


Florida Girls Collaborative STEM Mini-Grants and Program Directory

Do you have a collaborative idea within STEM education and need some additional funds to assist you? If so, join our team and receive up to $1,000 for your support. All you have to do is sign up to become part of our statewide Program Directory, and collaborate with another organization that is also in the Program Directory. It's that easy! To sign up, follow the short instructions below and be on your way to making connections you never thought you would!
For a more in depth overview of our mini-grants, Click Here!
The online Florida STEM Program Directory lists organizations and programs that focus on motivating girls to pursue education and careers in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the directory is to help organizations and individuals network, share resources and collaborate on STEM-related projects for girls. 
Organizations that serve young women and are interested in bringing more STEM resources to them are also encouraged to sign up!
The Directory contains program descriptions, resources available within each organization, program and/or organization needs, and contact information.  What better way to promote your program, resources and find other organizations in your area to collaborate with?

Having Your Program Listed in the Directory Has Several Advantages:

  1. Anyone with Internet access can find out about your program.
  2. You can view other programs in your area and across the state.
  3. Your organization can do a search and compare needs and resources in your area and across the state.
  4. Your organization is eligible for a mini-grant for innovative projects.

Don't wait - Sign up today! 

Here's How:

 Use the following instructions to create a new user account and then enter a program's information into the NGCP program directory.

  • Click Here!!
  • Click "Register New User" which is located on the far left.
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"
  • On the next page, click "New Program"
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"

That's It!  Your program will be listed and can be searched by anyone with access to the Internet.  It's that easy!


Once a new program's information has been submitted and approved,  it will appear in the public Directory for anyone to search. 


What better way to highlight the great work in STEM that you are doing in your community!



In order to be eligible for mini grant funding, your program MUST be listed in the Program Directory.  Once listed, you are encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration of funding. 

Have You Ever Heard of Robot Nurses?

 robot nurses

In January 2007, the European Commission began robotic designs in hopes of finding a technological solution to eliminate the shortage of nurses. A little over a year later they discovered the Intelligent Robot Swarm for Attendance, Recognition, Cleaning and Delivery (IWARD). IWARD is not meant to take the place of nurses, but to assist them in everyday tasks, giving nurses more time to be with patients.


By 2010, researchers and scientists predict IWARD will be used in hospitals world wide. Intelligent robots will be speeding down their own "high speed" lanes on their way to clean, deliver food and medicine, and interact with staff as well as visitors. The lanes will reduce the problem of the robots being in the way of nurses and doctors. IWARD will be giving nurses more time with patients rather than doing menial tasks, and also ensure the wards are kept cleaner and healthier.


This highly intelligent robot has integrated face and voice recognition technology, as well as the freedom to communicate amongst themselves. Each IWARD will be mounted on a platform with a module of sensors equipped for a variety of tasks. Face and voice recognition will give them the ability to communicate to visitors, patients and staff. The IWARD will welcome visitors and direct them to the patients' room. A variety of sensors and cameras are utilized in the robot to avoid collision and explore the hospital.  IWARD will be working off of a decentralized network to coordinate tasks among themselves. For more information on the IWARD, Click Here!


FACTS.org Can Help Girls Get IT!


Almost all middle school students say that they plan to finish high school and go on to college, but many don't. Technology is changing fast, so no one knows exactly what the work world will be like when current middle school students join it.  We do know, however, that to prepare for the careers of tomorrow it is vital that students challenge themselves today by taking rigorous courses and by continuing their education beyond high school.


FACTS.org, Florida's online advising system, can help. FACTS contains all of the information and tools students need to discover the type of career they want, and create a plan to make it happen. Having a goal to work towards keeps interest and participation in school at a high level.


The middle school years are the ideal time to start this process because success in high school and beyond often requires taking the right courses in middle school. Beginning with current 7th graders, all middle school students will take a career and academic planning course that will result in an electronic Personal Education Plan (ePEP). This course is a requirement for promotion to high school.


The first step is self and career exploration. Using an interest inventory, such as CHOICES on FACTS.org, students can learn about careers related to their interests. CHOICES contains information on hundreds of careers, including the outlook for jobs in Florida, the salary a student could expect to make, and the level and type of education required.


Once a career area is chosen a student can match this preliminary goal with a high school Major Area of Interest (MAI).The ePEP allows the student to plan their courses for each year of high school, including MAI courses. The planner provides personalized guidance to students based on their goals, such as going to college or completing a career tech program. It also tracks and displays how many rigorous courses have been planned, encouraging students to take as many as possible.


Christy Jordan, a counselor at Lake Gibson Middle School has started using the ePEP with her students and says, "The students are responding so positively to it.  I just had a parent come by to see me and his son wanted me to bring up his ePEP and show his Dad what he was doing and how he was planning for graduation.  He felt so empowered to plan for his success and reach his goals and explore different careers."


Once in high school, transcript information and test scores appear on the planner and personalized evaluations track progress toward high school graduation, entrance into the State University System, and eligibility for Bright Futures Scholarship awards.  The evaluations highlight requirements that have been met and those that have not, letting students know exactly where they stand in relationship to their goals. Adjustments can be made so there are no unpleasant surprises as graduation approaches. For more information Click Here!


Science Fair Summary
Florida Quality Counts
The Big Springs Regional Science Fair was an exciting event which took place on February 21st and 22nd for over 200 middle school and high school students from Marion, Sumter and Levy counties. For  members of the Ocala Branch of  the American Association of University Women, it was an inspiring occasion as we watched these young people pour into the Ocala National Armory eager to display their science projects and explain their results to the judges. The projects represented 13 different categories, ranging from behavioral and social science to biochemistry, environmental sciences, engineering and mathematics. Over half of the students competing were young women.


Our middle school winner was Jessica Barron of North Marion Middle School, who designed a study of the Stroop Effect. She  tested a person's ability to look at a written word (which was the name of a color,  for example "Yellow")  and read that word, even when the word was printed in a different color (for example "RED").


Our high school winner, Hannah Perkins, is a junior at South Sumter High School. Her project "Athlete Equals Math-lete?" examined the effects of exercise on mental acuity among high school students. She compared the performance of 3 groups of students on a math test. The student athletes outperformed the other students; both groups had the same academic average standing in their grades. Hannah was also selected by the Science Fair judges to go to the state Science Fair to be held in Lakeland, Fl and she is an alternate to attend an International Science Fair in Atlanta, Georgia.


The local AAUW Branch president, Diane Schrier, presented the 2 AAUW awards at the awards ceremony, held on Friday, February 22nd at the Marion Technical Institute auditorium. Over 38 community organizations, including Ocala AAUW, provided special awards to approximately 100 students. Following the special awards presentations, each participant was recognized with a placement (1st, 2nd,3rd, 4th) award or an honorable mention. Approximately 15 students, each from Marion and Sumter counties were selected to attend the Florida State Science Fair in Lakeland, Fl.  By the end of the evening the room was rocking with the enthusiastic shouts of the students, families and guests. It was a GREAT event!  Ocala AAUW, let's do this again!!

What is Girls Get IT?
ggitFlorida Girls Get IT is a partnership between Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Cisco Systems, Inc.,  Florida's Community College and University system to create gender equity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) & Information Technology (IT).
Why Does Florida Need This Initiative?
To remain competitive, Florida must offer a highly trained workforce. Nearly 75% of future jobs in the United States will require the use of technology, yet fewer than 33% of students in computer courses are female and women comprise only 20% of IT professionals and 13% of engineers.
Contact: Leah Cook, Project Director
Phone: 850.922.3359
Fax: 850.922.3109
Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents

Brain Pop


Check out this animated, educational website that provides entertainment and education for teachers, parents and students. The site provides comic strips, activity pages and homework help available via e-mail. Fun for students! And great to use in the classroom! To check out what Brain Pop has to offer to your classroom, Click Here!


NOVA: Saved by the Sun


With our nation's new urgency to find a solution to our uncertain energy future, PBS and NOVA take a look at breakthroughs in the cheaper, more efficient alternative of solar energy in this program. Check your local PBS listings for air times. Also available for viewing online, Click Here! Great program to view in the classroom! PBS has even provided a teacher guide available online, Click Here!


Bill Nye


Check out home projects for planetary, physical and life science. Enjoy fun facts, send e-cards to your friends, and watch Bill Nye episodes! Click Here!


Action for Nature


Take action and read tips on how you can help make a more eco-friendly environment. Then play games online and read about their features book. Click Here!

Adventures in Education
This site contains resources for families of college-bound student. From overviews of college savings plans, to the cost of college today and in the future, to ideas about what they'll need to pack for their first semester away from home, this site is here to help. Click Here!
Parent to Parent
Parent to Parent is a web site for parents by parents. With information about health, education, and relationships this site is the ultimate parent tool. The site also features articles and a weekly column by nationally syndicated columnist, author, and parent educator Jodie Lynn. Click Here!
Florida Distance Learning Consortium | Girls Get IT! | Tallahassee | FL | 32310