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Few West Zone glitches as new school year starts

By Staff | Aug 11, 2012

Back-to-school week kicked off with few issues in the West Zone, according to school principals and officials.

“Absolutely amazing,” said David Burgess , the new principal at Patriot Elementary School, of the first week. “This was the smoothest, most well-organized start of any school year I have experienced.”

He has been in education for more than 25 years.

Burgess comes from the Tampa area.

“I am totally impressed with the Lee County School system,” he said. “The district support staff has been truly amazing in making sure our school facilities, technology and equipment, and resources and training, are applicable and ready to use immediately.

“Concerning transportation and cafeteria, quite honestly it was like there was no summer break. Our students and families have been amazing and were a big part of this process as well. They know our system and procedures, and last but not least, I have a truly wonderful staff.”

North Fort Myers High School Principal Jeff Spiro said had similar views about the smoothness of the first few days. He is new to that school, but has been part of the Lee system, coming from Lehigh.

“First day is amazing,” he said Wednesday on Day 1. “All the buses came on time, we had the students in class ready to go by 7:10 a.m., then the teachers were deep in their instruction right away. It’s been a great day.”

On Friday, he added that the first three days all went smoothly.

On the first day of school Gulf Elementary School Principal Kim Verblaauw said staff and students were excited to start the new school year.

“The teachers have been here preparing their classrooms and have had the opportunity to meet their students on Saturday at meet the teacher day. We are excited about meeting the new kindergarten students and working with our returning students. The teachers are looking forward to implementing the Social Studies curriculum.”

It is estimated that approximately 86,000 K-12 students are back-to-school in Lee County. Final numbers are not yet available as late enrollments continue to be processed.

“We won’t do an official count until the 10th day,” said district spokesperson Joe Donzelli.

Donzelli also reports hearing from all it was a great start to the school year.

“All reports I heard indicated that this was one of the smoothest starts to a school year that anyone can remember.”

There were a few glitches, including some with buses, he said.

“The first day saw the middle school ESE buses running a little late in the afternoon rounds because they had run the elementary ESE runs just prior and they took longer on the first day to ensure students were on the right bus, etc.”