It’s Friday, so you know it’s that time of the week where we recognize a different school in Tampa Bay as 10News’ School of the Week powered by Duke Energy Florida. This isn’t just a pep rally, we are headed into the classrooms to showcase the great achievements of the students, faculty and staff. Every Friday we are live from the school campus beginning at 5:30 a.m. and don’t forget to watch at 6 p.m. as well to catch the highlights from earlier in the day.

We’re happy to announce that our school this week is Cotee River Elementary in New Port Richey. Congratulations Lightning Bolts! The administration says the culture of the school is unique and after spending only a few days on campus, you can feel the Cotee River pride.

One of the areas they focus on is positive behavior intervention and focusing on the student’s wellbeing. Each month the school features a different character trait and then this week was kindness week. How do you teach kindness? At Cotee River they have classroom meetings and on Wednesday one of the kindergarten classes talked about kindness with their teacher and how they can help one another, help others in the community and what you can do if someone you know is unhappy. They hold team building exercises, not only for the students, but the faculty as well. You’ve heard of escape rooms? They had escape boxes. The faculty came together before the first bell rang and worked in groups to solve the escape box. Later that day, the 5th graders did the exact same exercise. Let’s just say the faculty and students saved the world from Dr. Evil’s plan to rid the planet of chocolate.

The administration, faculty and staff also believe in a high impact instruction structure with a focus on the student centered learning. With this, the students play a more active role in their own education. How does this work? After students learn about their subject matter such as fractions, they then will get an activity sheet that lists out various activities they can choose from, all which reinforce the classroom learning. The third grade STEM lab we visited had various stations that students would have to use fractions or gravity concepts to compete. They could choose from the activity list which station they wanted to go and they all varied from robotics to interactive videos and quizzes on tablets. It’s a classroom infused with technology, but it’s preparing for their careers later in life that will surely have technology in some aspect.

Another part of the culture at Cotee River is the parental and community involvement. Parent shave an opportunity at this school to learn right alongside their children. They offer workshops, such as stress management where parent and child can come after school and learn yoga. They also offer an hour of code where parent and students learn coding together. On campus they also have a food, clothing and school supply pantry. With the help of the community the school is able to pack a sack of food every weekend for approximately 25 students so they will have two meals on Saturday and Sunday when they are not at school. On the longer breaks like spring, winter and Thanksgiving they are able to supply food for approximately 40 families of students at the school. Students also take part in donating items for these longer breaks and for each item they bring in they receive a raffle ticket for a weekly drawing. The pantry also has clothing, shoes and school supplies for families in need at the school and the students get to do their own shopping for these items at the beginning of the year. This was a vision of the principal to be able to help her students and the school always welcomes additional support from the community. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why Cotee River Elementary is 10News’ School of the Week powered by Duke Energy Florida.

If you have a recommendation for 10 News’ School of the Week powered by Duke Energy Florida, email us the name of the school and tell us why they should be featured at We’re looking for elementary, middle and high schools. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see more about the school throughout the week. If 10News is out at your school, make sure to show your spirit by snapping pictures and tag them with #wtsp and #RiseWith10. That way we can find your photos and post them here!