Summer Program at Lauderhill 6-12


Firewall partnered with Lauderhill 6-12 STEM-MED Magnet School, where we just finished our first program school year, to launch a brand new summer program on June 11th. Serving over 35 incoming 6th and 7th grade students for 3 weeks, the program consisted of a full day of academic and character-building activities.

In the morning, Firewall Mentors delivered hands-on activities that reinforced important academic skills such as mathematics and Language Arts. They also taught life skills to students using Firewall’s character building curriculum and emphasized the importance of servant leadership as students learned about acts of kindness and how each of them could help transform their communities.

Students learned how to set “SMART” (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals and created their own PowerPoint presentation on a specific goal they wanted to achieve this coming school year. “While doing my SMART goals, I realized what I want to do in ten years is harder than I thought. This is why I need goals,” said Nyrdgie, an incoming sixth grade student. Additionally, students also engaged in innovative projects with their science teachers pertaining to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

The summer program not only gave students the opportunity to continue their academic success past the school year, but it also helped provide a smooth transition from elementary to middle school for the incoming sixth grade students. One of the students, Anika, believes she can now enter middle school with more confidence thanks to the program. She said, “I did not know how to solve equations, and I learned it here. It feels so good to go into 6th grade knowing I am better prepared.”

The summer program ended June 30th and we are excited to serve Lauderhill 6-12 students again this August!

Understanding your child’s assignments in Pinnacle Gradebook

Z’S, X’S, AND 0’S, OH MY!

Pinnacle Gradebook can be confusing at times, but have no fear, this post is here to help! Here are four different types of grades that you may see a teacher input for any given assignment:
  •   If an assignment is BLANK, this may mean that your child hasn’t turned in their work or the teacher has not inputted their grade yet.
  •   Z – Your child CAN make up the assignment. These assignments must be made up within a specific time period or the teacher might not accept them.
  • 0 – This assignment CANNOT be made up. Depending on the teacher’s policy, they might accept late work so do not lose all hope.
  •   X – This means that your child has been excused from this assignment, and it cannot hurt their grade. Often, teachers will put an “X” for extra credit assignments that were not completed.

All your Pinnacle Gradebook questions answered here:


Q.   If my child says that they turned in an assignment but receive a 0, Z, or the assignment still has no grade assigned, what should I do?

A. You can email the teacher right from Pinnacle to follow up.


Q.   If my child consistently does poorly on tests/quizzes, how can I help them?

A. Take the time to remind them to study. Some teachers have consistent test dates so

become familiar with these. For example, when homework for a particular chapter is due,

some teachers test on it on the same day. These set schedules are great because you can then

help your child study for their tests in advance.


Q.   Is there anything else that I should be aware of?

A. Become familiar with weekly assignment due dates (current events, reading logs, etc.)

Teachers usually do not let students make-up these assignments since they are so frequent.

Every grade counts!


Before students arrive each day at Firewall Centers, AmeriCorps Firewall Mentors have checked the students’ Pinnacles and are aware of any missing or upcoming assignments.

Read more about from the students they serve here.

Knowing your child’s homework- tools & resources

Student: I have no homework…

Time to check School Notes!

School Notes provides mostly middle school students and parents with homework information. It also contains vocabulary lists, worksheets, and study guides.How to use School Notes in 5 steps:

  1. Go to
  2. From there, click on the blue tab labeled “Parents.”
  3. Look on the right for “By School” and fill out the information relating to Country, State, District, and School (i.e. USA, Florida, Broward, Pompano Beach Middle School)
  4. You will then see “Teacher Results.”
  5. Find the teacher and click on the blue link corresponding to the right teacher (i.e. J. Doe).
    Warning: Every teacher is different so be sure to become familiar with the website.

Student: I need to check my Instagram…

Well check your Edmodo first!

Another useful website that helps keep track of upcoming assignments is Edmodo. Edmodo allows students to connect with their teachers about their assignments, tests, study resources and important announcements.Students can communicate with teachers, submit assignments, or ask questions.

How to log onto Edmodo in 3 steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Once the page opens, click to sign in. Each student has a username and password as well as a group code assigned by a teacher.
  3. Once a student has an account, Edmodo can also assign a code for the student’s parent to create an account as well.

“I forgot my textbook” is an excuse of the past with B.E.E.P.

Accessing Your Child’s Textbooks – B.E.E.P.

Your child gets home from school. When you tell them to do their homework, they tell you one of two things:

  1. They finished their homework in class.
  2. They do not have the textbook at home to be able to work on the assignment and that they will just finish it during lunch the next day.

Firewall students say these things to our Mentor staff all the time. If your child’s grades are not what they should be, then this is what you can do to ensure that they are headed in the right direction.

There are so many valuable tools and resources out there. Broward County Schools provides many of them to you, and they are easily accessible. One of these is “B.E.E.P.”

B.E.E.P. (Broward Enterprise Education Portal) allows students to access a Broward County Schools textbook online.

  1. To log onto B.E.E.P.:
  2. Once you log into B.E.E.P., a list appears that contains grade levels (K-5, Grades 6-8, & Grades 9-12) and links to different subjects that correspond with each grade level.
  3. Depending on what your child has for homework and what book he/she needs, click on the link. Once you click on the link, click on “View Textbook.” For example, your child needs the seventh grade math book. While on this page, click on the book that says Florida Math Connects Course 2 (Grade 7).

So the next time your child tells you that they cannot finish their math problems because they do not have the textbook at home, think about B.E.E.P. before you let them slide!

Read more about Firewall Centers and their school-based mentoring services here.

Firewall Student


Pinnacle Gradebook Overview

Pinnacle Gradebook is an online resource and powerful tool for students and parents to stay current with grades and assignments.  When teachers enter grades in their accounts, student grades are automatically available to you through a username and password.Parents can set up alerts for their email when: a student misses a homework assignment; scores below a set limit (determined by the parent) on any quiz, test, assignment or project; student average goes above or below a set limit.

The Pinnacle Gradebook contains: 

  • List of classes and current grades
  • List of missing assignments
  • All tests, quizzes, and homework assignments completed
  • The teacher’s names and emails
  • Daily attendance per class period

The Pinnacle Internet Viewer can be accessed one of the following three ways:

  1. Username: Student ID#
  2. Password: date of birth yyyymmdd
  3. Make sure you choose the correct school from the dropdown list.
  • Another way is through the Broward County Schools website:
  1. Go to
  2. Click the link called “Virtual Counselor”
  3. Once the page opens, click to log in as a “Student”
  4. Type in the student’s ID number (i.e. 0600000000)
  5. As the password, type in their birth date (i.e. MM/DD/YYYY)        *Forward slashes are necessary
  6. Go to Student Info and scroll down the menu:
      • Absences
      • Academic History
      • Assignment History
      • Driver’s Education
      • Future Planning
      • Graduation Information
      • Marking Period Grades
      • Pinnacle Gradebook
      • Obligations
      • Student Schedule
      • Test Scores (FCAT and NRT)
  • You can also log on from:

The student’s school website which takes you to the following link:

If logging in using this link, the student’s ID number (i.e. 060000000) is entered as normal. However, their birth date is entered in the following format: YYYYMMDD.

Learn more about Firewall Centers and how they provide free tutoring and mentoring to low-income students.

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Understanding your GPA

You hear about it all the time—the dreaded Grade Point Average (GPA).

“You need a good GPA to get into a good college”
“You really need to try and raise your GPA”
“This test will definitely affect your GPA!”

But with all this talk about it, what exactly is a GPA anyways? There is a lot to understanding your GPA but here is a basic run down to help you get started…

Simplified, your GPA is the average of all your grades from all your classes put into a numerical value. A GPA helps you to see how you are doing collectively with all courses. So, every grade you get in a class equals a value:

  • A = 4
  • B = 3
  • C = 2
  • D = 1
  • F = 0

You then take all of your grades, add them together, and  4+3+3+2=12 divide by the total number of classes. This equals your average grade for all classes—or GPA. For example, let’s say you are taking four classes this semester. Currently, you are making an A, two B’s, and a C. So let’s do the math:

  • 12/4=3

So your current GPA for this semester is 3! But, the key here is that your GPA carries over with you throughout your entire school career. So as a high schooler, your GPA is decided upon every class you take for the entire four years—and that’s why it’s so important to do your very best in EVERY single class! Every class counts, and it all adds up.

Let’s take the same example from earlier, but make a slight change. Let’s replace one of the B’s to an F. Guess what happens? You GPA drops from a 3 to a 2.25! And that is the difference between getting into a better college. That is the difference between getting an academic scholarship or not. GPA is important, so keep up with it! Don’t wait until your senior year to care… it’ll be too late.


Broward Schools Virtual Counselor Overview

As a parent or a student, Virtual Counselor could be one of your most powerful tools of your school career.  However, just opening the website could easily be overwhelming and confusing.  This is because there is so much information available which once you get the hang of it you’ll be the master of understanding yours or your students grades and academic profile, where you stand currently and where you need to be to graduate and get into college.

Here is a basic overview to help you get started:

To log into Virtual Counselor:

  • Go to
  • From there, click the link that says “Virtual Counselor.”
  • Once the page opens, click to log in as a “Student.”
  • Type in the student’s ID number (i.e. 0600000000) and birth date (i.e. MM/DD/YYYY). Forward slashes are necessary.

Once you log into Virtual Counselor, the Student Info drop down menu appears on the top.

The following tabs are available to choose from:

ABSENCES:  has a summary of each student’s attendance per school year.

ACADEMIC HISTORY: has a summary of each student’s grades per school year.

ASSIGNMENT HISTORY: is the student’s history of retention or promotion throughout his/her education in the Broward County School system.

COURSE REQUESTS: is for high school students only. It shows the schedule of upcoming courses that may need approval by a counselor.

DRIVER’S EDUCATION: is for high school students only and offers free Driver’s Ed classes. Students can also take Driver’s Ed through FLVS (

GRADUATION INFORMATION: is for high school students only as well. This tab informs you of what courses a student has taken, what they need in order to graduate, their test scores, GPA, community service hours completed, etc.

MARKING PERIOD GRADES: gives you information by quarters. Check this when you want to see the grades for the year.

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRESS: is for middle school students only. It shows updated FCAT scores and information on whether the student met the current year’s requirements.

PINNACLE GRADEBOOK: is the most important section on the site. Pinnacle is where the student’s current grades are available.

OBLIGATIONS: shows if the student owes any money to the school.

STUDENT SCHEDULE: tells you what classes the student is currently enrolled in and their teachers’ names in order of period.

TEST SCORES: allows you to get a better idea of where the student is placed (i.e. regular classes, advanced classes, AP classes, etc.). This section provides the student’s FCAT and Benchmark test scores as well as SAT, ACT, and EOC scores for high school students.

CAREER VISION: is for middle school students only. This section provides students with lessons on careers, decision making, and other areas.