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Matlacha Hookers give to school

August 22, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Pine Island Elementary School principal's received a donation from the Matlacha Hookers Monday night at Miceli's, along with an opportunity to see the 2012 Matlacha Hookers Pine Island Elementary School Fishing Tournament Derby T-shirt.

DJ Ruscik, Matlacha Hookers madam, said the island group donated $1,000 to Pine Island Elementary School Monday night for teaching supplies.

"It completes our commitment in 2011," she said about Pine Island Elementary School.

Article Photos


Pine Island Elementary School Principal Robert Mazzoli shows his excitement after Matlacha Hooker Madam DJ Ruscik presented the 2012 Pine Island Elementary School Fishing Tournament Derby T-shirt to him, which included a character of himself on the shirt. Also pictured is Arlene Stornello

The Hookers made a pledge to donate $9,000 to Pine Island Elementary School from the proceeds they earned from their yearly fishing tournament.

Ruscik said they had already donated $7,000 to the school at the end of last year for the Compass Learning web-based program.

The remaining $2,000 was donated to the teachers for their supplies.

Robert Mazzoli, Pine Island Elementary School principal, shared some information about the Compass Learning program during the meeting Aug. 13, which the Hookers were instrumental in helping the school purchase for the students.

Mazzoli said Compass Learning is a computer software-based program that allows teachers to build a class, as well as an opportunity to build assignments and assessments for students, which allows them to work on their own individualized learning path.

For example, he said a teacher could assign an assessment on fractions, which is a standard in math, to see how each child is doing in the subject. Mazzoli said scores of how well the student is doing are provided directly after each student is done taking the assessment.

An individualized learning path for each child is made depending on how they did on that assessment.

Teachers can also set what percentage of mastery they would like to see their students achieve on the assessment.

Mazzoli said, for example, when a teacher assigns a 75 percent mastery score, the program path is automatically assigned for the student.

When the student gets onto the computer, he or she goes through the program, which guides them through the lesson.

"The computer will do a hook to get them interested," he said, which is done through funny animated characters that really grab their attention.

The program guides the student through content, examples and then independent practice, which is followed by an evaluation of how they did.

Mazzoli said the program remediates the students and increases their skills.

The program, he said, can also be utilized by teachers for classroom presentations to deliver certain skills.

"It's a really cool tool and a great program," Mazzoli said.

The program was $18,000 to purchase. The Matlacha Mariners also contributed to the funds to help the school purchase Compass Learning.

This is the first year teachers of Pine Island Elementary School are really diving into the program and using it in their classroom to help their students.

Right now the program is being utilized for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. Mazzoli said in September kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teachers will be on board with the program as well.

He said Tuesday mornings are going to be dedicated to professional development for the program.

The meeting also held another surprise for Mazzoli, a 14th annual Matlacha Hookers Pine Island Elementary School Fishing Tournament Derby T-shirt that had a character drawing of him.

The artwork for the shirt this year was done by Marty Gembecki.

"That's one of the things Marty is known for, fun characters," Ruscik said. "Makes it a little personal."

Mazzoli said he was very surprised with the T-shirt.

"That shirt is cool," he said. "What an honor, just an honor to be on the Matlacha Hookers fishing tournament shirt."

Mazzoli said he is very fortunate to have that opportunity to be on the T-shirt.

"That T-shirt just goes to show how we are all in it together, how we all support each other how the community supports the school," he said.

The T-shirt sponsors for the 14th annual tournament include Wildchild Gallery, Traders Hitching Post, Bert's Bar, Seven Seas Bait and Tackle, Woody's Waterside, Shallow Bait, Monroe Canal Marina, Matlacha Hookers, Matlacha Mariners, Little Lilly's Island Deli, Miceli's and Total Payroll Management.

The shirts, which are $15 a piece, are available at several locations on the island.

Oct. 14 marks the 14th annual Matlacha Hookers Pine Island Elementary School Fishing Tournament Derby, which will be held at the Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha.

Although the organization has been around for 15 years, they did not hold the fishing tournament the year Hurricane Charley hit the area in 2004.

"It wouldn't have been appropriate to ask for community support," Ruscik said because of the devastation it caused the area.

Mazzoli said for Pine Island Elementary School to be a part of such a great tournament for 14 years speaks volumes of the community.

"We are going to continue to do great things for the kids," he said.

Children sponsorship forms, along with more details for the adult anglers will be made available in the weeks to come.

The money from the Hookers fishing tournament has helped Pine Island Elementary School purchase interactive smart boards for the classrooms, refurbish the media center books in the library over the past five years, along with purchasing Compass Learning since Mazzoli has been a principal.



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