Chris Patricca, Lee County School Board member, District 3, discussed her focus on needing to improve educational standards regarding:
- The need to attract more teachers and provide suitable homes to encourage them to stay in our community – based on the “Workforce Housing” concept
- The value of volunteers regarding JA and other potential programs
- Encouraging greater parental involvement
Chris made the point that the views she expressed were hers alone and not necessarily those of the Lee County School Board
She pointed out that the district is updating benefits to attract and retain teachers. The challenge is affordable “workforce housing.” The district collaborates with other entities (LCSO, Lee Health, Fire Rescue Districts, etc.) to address this issue. Because of the high cost of homes or renting, the impact on attracting and keeping teachers in the area is creating considerable difficulties.
In addition to the teaching staff, it was pointed out that volunteers were a godsend to the district. They are vitally important to help with reading programs for mentoring and Junior Achievement in elementary schools. Many students need positive adult influence, and volunteers can provide that.
Junior Achievement programs are rewarding for the students and those involved, who gain pleasure from knowing how much they impact children’s financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. In an era where financial complexities are ever-increasing, equipping the younger generations with essential financial literacy skills is vitally important. Please get in touch with your local school principal to volunteer or Engage Estero’s Amy Kuchenbecker, responsible for arranging JA at Estero’s local schools, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this busy world we live in, Chris said, “It can be difficult to get parental involvement in their child’s school. We must do everything we can to encourage parents to get involved in their child’s school.” She also pointed out that the district is working to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) to lessen the workload of teachers and administrators, allowing them more time to work with the students.
The Florida legislature passed, and the Governor signed a bill to change the start times for high school students. The district is discussing how to implement this requirement. School districts in Florida that have implemented saw no change in performance with a later start time for high school students.
The bottom line is that the School District is listening to parents, community groups, and committees to improve the School District. Many of the suggested processes and activities are being reviewed by staff and Board members to implement updated or revised processes and procedures.
Engage Estero would like to thank Dr. Molloy and Chris Patricca for their time addressing these critical issues and sharing their views.