Unique, right from the start:
Maximo Elementary, located near the beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge, has always considered itself a unique school. For many years, this was based on its unusual open design and dedicated staff.
Maximo’s past and present:
Through the years, many of the open areas have been converted to closed classrooms to meet the ever-changing needs of new students housed at Maximo.
For quite some time, Maximo was one of the few remaining neighborhood schools in south Pinellas. At that time, the student body came from the surrounding beach communities and area subdivisions, such as Lakewood Estates and Broadwaters.
Then, the student community changed for several years to meet the district guidelines for desegregation. The commitment and dedication of the staff became stronger than ever with Paula Lamb at the helm. That strong commitment helped the staff to meet the challenges, every two years of taking different students drawn from at least three different neighborhoods and melding them into one community. These students represented a diverse population.
In the last few years, Maximo has gone back to being a zoned school serving the nearby community and neighborhood.
Maximo has been fortunate to have an exceptionally supportive Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and School Advisory Council (SAC). All parents are invited and encouraged to join PTA, as are teachers and community members.
Through the PTA, tens of thousands of dollars have been given to the school over the years to enhance the quality of education for our children. These dollars have provided library books, playground equipment, teacher mini-grants, computers, field trips, a teacher seminar fund, classroom donations, and an outdoor classroom. The PTA has constantly been here to support and enhance Maximo.
In addition to material items, the PTA has given countless volunteer hours helping children, teachers, and parents. Special shows, parent education, legislative action, clinic help, bicycle safety, drug awareness, parties and book fairs — no job has ever been too big or too small for the PTA to lend a hand!
Parents, teachers, staff, and community leaders are also involved with the School Advisory Council (SAC). This committee meets monthly to discuss school issues and the implementation of the School Improvement Plan and to offer advice and support to the principal. Serving on SAC has become an excellent way to be informed of new trends, current issues, and special events. Topics of discussion have included beautification, school-based management, the impact of the interstate and building projects, rezoning, and school choice.
Maximo has continued its spirit of community by undertaking many special projects to reach out and meet the needs of its stakeholders. The school has enjoyed parent workshops, shared visitations with retirement and nursing homes, such Pinellas Point Rehabilitation Center, and collected donated items for Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
As a part of the school’s community involvement, volunteer tutors have come as individuals or from local businesses and agencies, such as Florida-Power, Eckerd College, and Publix.
The Florida Department of Education honored Maximo in 1998 with the Ten Year Golden School Award in recognition of its continued outstanding school volunteer programs. In another community effort, the staff established an Adopt-a-Student program, which gave a helping hand to students in need, emotionally and/or financially.
Under the direction of principals Paula Lamb, Karen Seibert, Barbara Hires, Sandra O’Bryant, Seymour Brown, Sharon Wilson, Randi Latzke and Lakisha Falana, Maximo has continued to offer a well-rounded curriculum, which emphasizes highest student achievement.
Included are programs in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health. Students regularly receive scheduled art, physical education, music, and library skills classes. Additional programs offered are the school's percussion group ("Maximo Beats"), chorus for 4th and 5th graders, STEM/Robotics, and computer lab. Other resources offered are guidance, speech, gifted, Title One and exceptional education.
The curriculum offers a variety of creative programs: creative process writing beginning in Kindergarten, school-wide science fairs, and entries in the county Economics Expo.
Combining technology and learning:
Along with the creative curriculum, many of Maximo’s teachers have applied for federal, state, and local grants. One of the many grants received allowed the school to enter the world of technology. Since then, additional monies have been received from the state and raised by the school’s technology committee and PTA through Walk-a-Thons and Runs for Technology. As a result, Maximo has a school-wide network, a televised morning newscast, and at least six computers per classroom with internet access.
Where learning is exciting and fun:
Whether reading a story, creating a new art project, rehearsing culturally diverse music, or giving a student a helping hand, the faculty has always created excitement in learning at Maximo. The staff and students show they care about Maximo by participating in a kaleidoscope of activities and events.
Maximo in the new millennium: Since the beginning of the new millennium, Maximo adjusted its programs to meet the challenges of this new century while striving to maintain its unique character. School choice proved to be the major challenge facing Maximo.
Whatever changes and challenges are ahead, Maximo’s mission will remain constant. The staff will continue to maintain a supportive school climate in which students and staff feel a sense of belonging, experience success, and grow through learning. Maximo’s unique instructional model encourages all stakeholders to work together to ensure that every child is challenged at their personal highest level of rigor.