Steven K. Teuber, School Board Member, District 4 - April 2017
If you have read recent articles from other Board Members over the past several months, you may know that the Lee County School District has undertaken a methodical, systemic approach to becoming a World Class School System. The vision of the Lee County School District is being realized through a comprehensive Strategic Plan that has been adeptly named “Vision 2020” and is directed at changing the culture of education at every level of our school system, with the hope of being the catalyst for the State of Florida and perhaps even the nation.
There are four distinct overarching components that form the pillars of Vision 2020:
- Increase student achievement
- Increase family and community engagement
- Increase retention of effective and highly effective employees
- Become a model continuous improvement organization
Each of the above mentioned pillars have discrete, measurable goals and metrics that are being implemented across the district into every function, classroom, and work group. The goals for each focus area are not soft, philosophical goals that sound lofty but fail in reality. Each goal and corresponding targets set by the Lee County School Board is comprehensive with metrics that are measurable and meaningful to our stakeholders. Collaborating with the Superintendent and his staff, community members, and the business community, goals were established that are designed for global competitiveness. For example, Goal 1, Target 3 is:
“By the year 2020, the School District of Lee County will improve its overall academic ranking in Florida from 35th to 5th, as measured by the annual Florida Department of Education (FDOE) District rankings.”
This goal is meaningful, measurable and the plans and directives supporting this goal are designed to move us from the middle of the sixty-seven counties to one of the best in the state. To achieve this particular goal, the District is moving toward taking local control of our academics through local standards. The Lee County School District is creating our own academic standards, the Lee County Standards for Excellence. These standards have an emphasis on key subject mastery, versus the temporary retention of vast subject content, providing actual mastery and deep rooted understanding of subject matter. This paradigm shift in how we teach not only provides our students with more in-depth knowledge of subject matter, but it also allows our teachers the ability to provide more comprehensive, individualized instruction that is necessary for the critical thinking required with the more rigorous standards.
Integral with our new standards and our uniform approach to achieving our vision to become a World Class School System is the continued commitment towards data-driven decision making. Using data dashboards that allow everyone from the teacher, school administrator and district staff all the way to the School Board, parent and taxpayer to view all aspects of our operation, we not only empower our educational team, we provide seamless transparency to our entire community. We hope to have these dashboards available to all concerned in the very near future as we continue to develop into a state-of-art educational system.
If you have not had the opportunity to hear a presentation of our Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, please find the time to attend one of our community outreach efforts. Today’s educational requirements are far different than what they were five years ago and certainly different than when I was in school. When you see firsthand what the Lee County School District is doing and the plan we have for academic excellence, you will be amazed at the efforts going on within your community. I look forward to seeing you at the next public presentation.
Steven K. Teuber, School Board Member, District 4