FORT MYERS, Fla. — Students aren’t the only ones getting their stamp of approval. The Florida Department of Education grades school districts every year based on performance, and Lee County School District received an overall “B” for the sixth time.
“We’ve seen more of an increase across the board than we’ve seen in years past, we have more A and B schools than we had the previous year,” Gregory Adkins said the Superintendent for Lee County School District.
Four schools went up a letter grade, but some schools are slacking. In Lehigh Acres, nine out of 11 schools received “C” grades. Adkins says the steps might be small, but they’re necessary.
“So it may be reducing class size, it may be putting in a turnaround principal, which we do in many, many cases which is a highly talented principal, along with a very talented teaching team to get the school turned around,” Adkins said.
Lee County School Board Chair Gwynetta Gittens says they need to take more significant steps to see change.
“We need space, we need the location, and besides that, it’s the staff. We are working hard to make it somewhere where teachers want to come,” Gittens said.
So to draw more teachers in, the school board approved to add an innovation school which would focus on science, math, and English. The school will be in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University and will have teachers work closely with FGCU experts.
“To learn how to reach the kids that really have had academic challenges, and it would start with kindergarten students all the way up to eighth grade,” said Betsy Vaughn, a school board member.
So, where is this school going to go? Some board members are still trying to find out the answer. The grant itself shows that the school will be in Estero, but some don’t want it there.
“I think that an innovation school needs to be exactly where the students of most need are located,” Vaughn said.
Adkins says they are still discussing options.
“We’re definitely going to do an innovation school, but how and when is something we’re still talking to our partner with,” Adkins said.
The school is set to open in 2023.