Heading into the Holidays

Heading into the Holidays
Posted on 12/20/2019
Heading into the Holidays

Dear Families,

As we head into the holidays I wanted to take a minute and thank you for all the support you have given to your children, their teachers, administrators, and our District.

We have been hard at work this first semester implementing comprehensive mental health and wellness initiatives to support our students socially and emotionally and providing professional development for our teachers to support them academically.

In addition, this year we are focusing on educational issues affecting children before they even walk our halls, to after they graduate and leave them. We call these goals our “Big Five.” They are initiatives we have embraced in order to increase academic achievement and workforce success.

The first concerns Pre-Kindergarten programs. New data to the District shows that only 40% of Lee County’s children are ready for Kindergarten. That means when they come to us, they are already behind other children of their age. We have made a commitment to expand the District’s Pre-K offerings every year, so that by 2030, two-thirds of our Kindergarten students will have participated in a District Pre-K program.

As children go through their educational career with us, we find that some are falling behind because they do not have access to high quality before and after school care, or summer enrichment programs. We are tackling that issue, creating community partnerships so that 80% of students identified as in need of extended services will be enrolled in a program by 2030.

Working with Lee County businesses and industries has been a crucial component of our Career and Technical Education Program. Identifying positions of high demand and creating curriculum and certification programs remain a top priority. To that end, we have a goal to expand Fort Myers Technical College so we can serve more students and grow programs like barbering, welding and small appliance repair. In addition, we are looking to open a satellite campus in Lehigh Acres to serve students who live in our East Zone.

Speaking of zones, we have made progress this year to move toward a proximity-based student assignment plan. This plan would have families choose from the 4-6 schools closest to their home. By August of 2022, our goal is to have at least 75% of newly enrolled students placed either at the school closest to their home, or within five miles. By 2030, that goal would encompass 75% of all students. That will allow us to cut bus routes and drive times, realizing a significant savings that we can put toward salary increases for teachers.

That brings us to the final goal of “The Big Five” which is to increase the retention rate of all employees until a 90% rate is reached and maintained. Lowering turnover will save our District money, preserve institutional knowledge and positively impact student achievement.
I am excited for everything that we are accomplishing to ensure the success of your children. We are committed to personalizing education in order to help them reach their highest personal potentials.

Thank you for your dedication to your child, and for trusting us with his or her education. I want to wish you a wonderful and relaxing holiday break, and I look forward to all we will accomplish together in 2020.

Sincerely,
Greg Adkins, Ed.D. Superintendent