April 2023 - Melisa Giovannelli

April 2023 - Melisa Giovannelli
Posted on 04/13/2023
April 2023 - Melisa Giovannelli

The school year is coming to an end. Proms, plays, concerts, and award ceremonies are all in full swing, reminding us that summer break is just around the corner. As the Class of 2023 prepares to walk across the graduation stage, I will be honored to stand alongside this tenacious group of students, celebrating all they have accomplished. Teachers and staff are organizing End-of-the-Year field trips and parties. Parents and families are planning for summer school programs and vacations. The School District is preparing for the school year 2023-2024 with many moving parts to consider.

Recently signed House Bill 1, contains a comprehensive package of innovations that promote parental involvement and customized K-12 education in Florida. The legislation empowers parents to guide their children’s education by providing for an Education Savings Account for every student in the K-12 system. Incorporating recommendations from the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, the bill also takes the first step towards reducing onerous and excessive regulations on public schools. Now law, HB 1 will further cement Florida’s position as the nation's leader in school choice.

HB 733, Middle School and High School Start Times, would change the earliest start time for middle and high schools, including charter schools, beginning July 1, 2026. No middle school could start before 8:00 a.m., and no high school could start before 8:30 a.m. The Senate heard its version of the bill for the first time this week, and it was reported favorably by the Education Pre-K – 12 Committee. Fortunately, the bill has a three-year planning period built into it, which will allow each district to look at its operational needs and capacities, engage the local community, and ultimately share all of those local concerns with the Legislature for potential fixes before July 1, 2026.

I want to thank all the teachers, bus drivers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and all professional support staff for all their hard work. I also want to thank Dr. Christopher Bernier as he approaches one year of service for his leadership. Everyone worked so hard during these trying times and faced many obstacles: Hurricane Ian, staff shortages, sickness, and student struggles.

I invite members of the community who wish to join our workforce to register for the upcoming Spring 2023 Talent Recruitment Fair to be held at the Lee County Public Education Center on Saturday, April 29th. This event will provide candidates the opportunity to interact with on site Principals and Department hiring managers.

Additionally, the School District is pleased to announce the results of the Elementary Level Student Enrollment Proximity Plan. Families should log into their FOCUS accounts to see the latest student elementary school assignment information. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as the work continues to accommodate students in settings that will foster his/her highest learning potential.

I am hopeful that the 2023 school year will bring about an increased sense of normalcy as our community continues its recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian.
As an elected school board member, one of my duties is to listen to the community. I pledge to continue to listen to all the parents, students, community members, and our staff. Please know that your voice matters. Everyone is valued, and know that I will continue to respect those whom I was elected to serve.

Respectfully submitted,

Melisa W. Giovannelli
School Board Member, District 2

The content and any opinions expressed in this article are solely the author's and do not necessarily reflect the facts, opinions, and beliefs of the Lee County School Board or its affiliates.