Guest Commentary: Much has been accomplished this school year
As we near the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, there are many things to be thankful for. Senior celebrations have already taken place, including proms and award ceremonies. Now we look forward to congratulating our seniors in person during our high school graduations. All events have included health and safety protocols, and many have, or will be, offering virtual opportunities for participation. While things may look different, the sentiment is the same, as we at the school district share in the excitement of the accomplishments of not just our seniors, but of all our students.
When our unwelcome guest COVID 19 first arrived last spring, we all rallied together to ensure that we continued to meet the academic and social emotional needs of our students. It has been a trying year with masks, positive cases, and quarantines. Through it all, we have fundamentally changed how we are teaching and learning, and teaching to include:
• Three instructional models for students: Lee Home Connect, Lee Virtual School, and Face to Face.
• Nearly 70,000 students have returned to in-person instruction.
• We created “Connect with Lee:” Homework help-line connecting students with a live instructor.
• Summer School programs to be offered to continue to close the gap.
• Performing arts shows and concerts have been held health guidelines in place.
• Food and Nutrition Services continued to serve meals to our Lee Home Connect and Lee Virtual School students at designated schools with 82% of our students back in schools.
• Food safety was enhanced at schools with pre-packaged meals and snacks being provided to students enrolled in face-to-face instruction.
• Summer Meals will begin on June 21 and will serve breakfast and lunch at local Community sites.
• The creation of Parent University – The goal of the program is to inform and engage parents and guardians as partners, advocates, and lifelong teachers in their child’s education.
• Wellness Wednesdays for parents to complement the lessons offered to students in our schools.
• Kids Read Now (2nd graders in our Traditional schools will have eight books sent to their homes during the summer)
• S.O.S. Enrichment Program for High schoolers
• Vaccinations for district employees
I am so proud of the work that has been done by this district that continues to focus on the needs of our students. The grant department continues to secure Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grants which will provide opportunities in creating enrichment programs. Our Community Partnership School at Franklin Park is meeting the needs of not only the students, but the families and staff as well. The list goes on of what we have been able to accomplish this year.
I would like to thank the entire staff at the school district who have had to learn to be flexible and adapt to the everchanging world in which we live. We cannot do this without the support of the parents and the students who have also had to adapt. There is always opportunity before us and we share the responsibility to move beyond it.
Have a wonderful and safe summer and we look forward to seeing you during the next school year.
Debbie Jordan, is the chair of the School Board of Lee County. She represents District 4.