Teaching to the test is a common practice in a day when standardized scores determine the futures of educators and students alike. Even so, there are recent studies which show a connection between the latest 21st Century learning approaches and academic achievement.
One month into the new school year, Lee County School District (LCSD) schools are employing fresh, new initiatives aimed at education enhancement and it appears to be working.
West Lee Elementary (WLE) School Principal Dr. Veronica Bradley has rolled out school culture strategies for her first year as principal.
“We want to build relationships between the parents and teachers at our school (which are) already scholarly, well-disciplined,” says Bradley. “We want (the school) to be inviting, a place where teachers are valued, where they come and want to come to work.”
Bradley’s open door policy, visibility throughout the school and community and incentive measures are all ways she hopes to cultivate an environment of collegiality and oneness within and throughout the WLE community.
In like manner, Lower Lee Elementary (LLE) School Principal Shelia Stukes says she will carry forth much of what has already been implemented in her school. They’ll continue character education initiatives and add another, much needed layer – bully awareness activities and banners throughout the school.
On the technology side, students can look forward to the addition of a computer lab, giving the school 2 fully equipped labs.
“We (added it) because all testing will be done online,” says Stukes.
The addition of cameras at each school in the district and an update of the school visitor management software are among the changes parents and students will see at LLE.
Lee Central Middle School (LCMS) has major Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activity this year with the addition of a zSpace Studio in less than a month. Basically, LCMS has designated a classroom to STEM education and within it are 3-D hands-on demonstrations; state-of-the-art classroom mobility; standards-based activities that complement existing curriculum; and the implementation of best practices in kinesthetic learning, particularly as it relates to the human anatomy.
“We’re hoping this will increase student engagement, their thinking and problem-solving,” says LCMS Principal Patrice Holmes.
Students will be able to compare, dissect, analyze, measure, annotate and explore thousands of 3-D models housed in the system’s gallery.
Lee Central High School (LCHS) students will experience a bit more of a summer program which allowed them to earn a drone certification. The school has adopted it as a part of the curriculum. The drone program benefits students through its connection with academic standards including STEM; global competitiveness; 21st-century sustainability and recognition by the FAA; gainful employment; and the acquisition of a remote pilot’s license leading to various career pathway options, according to LCHS Principal Baron Turner.
Tony Porter, the director of Lee County’s Career and Technology Center (CATE) is excited about the addition of two career pathway options this year. The course, “Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism” and a course for certification, “Medical Pharmacology” were added to CATE’s offerings. Students are taught the roles and functions of individuals engaged in hospitality, tourism, and recreation careers in the “Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism” course. “Medical Pharmacology” students learn the basic principles and several major classes of therapeutic agents, with attention to their mechanisms of action.
At Dennis Elementary School, teachers are being challenged to conduct and facilitate professional development that is based on the needs of the school according to the renewal plan and classroom observations of the students, faculty and staff, says Ricky White, principal of Dennis Elementary School. The trainings are held every second and fourth Tuesday of the month during the faculty meeting/professional development session.
The most recent installment was titled, “How Learning Happens: The Power of Relationships in Schools” and taught by Monique Clarke.