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Back in session: Students return to classrooms Friday

By Staff | Aug 9, 2018

More than 90,000 students are heading to school this morning, ready to tackle either their first, or another school year.

School District of Lee County spokesperson Rob Spicker said the district-wide enrollment projection for the 2018-2019 school year is 95,052 students, 3,364 more students than last year. The attendance number typically drops approximately 2,000 students once a 10-day count is conducted.

“The attendance figure will be different than the projected enrollment,” he said.

One of the reasons the decrease in numbers occurs is because families move and forget to let the district know they no longer will have a student attending the school.

Some students going to schools in Cape Coral will meet a new principal this year. Principal Shelly Markgraf moved from Caloosa Elementary to Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary. The new principal for Caloosa Elementary is Ashley Lamar. Principal James Moreland moved from Hector Cafferata to Gulf Middle. Principal Dr. Michelle Cort-Mora moved from Gulf Middle to Island Coast High. Mariner High’s new principal is Thomas Michel, the previous assistant principal at Challenger Middle.

There are a few new features this year for students and parents. Spicker said the first is the Where’s the Bus app, which allows parents to know how far their child’s bus is from their stop both in the morning and afternoon.

“This should eliminate a lot of confusion and improve efficiency,” he said.

Another new feature, School Messenger, is a new app that will improve communication.

“Our teachers have new curriculum maps that gives them the resources to build lessons aligned to our standards and helping students reach those academic standards,” Spicker said.

To help those students achieve their academic potential, all 79 district schools and 17 special centers, will offer a free breakfast and lunch.

Elementary students have the choice of such lunch menu items as the fisherman’s platter, vegetable dippers, potato smiles, assorted fruit and milk, or oven roasted chicken, dinner roll, vegetable dippers, mashed potatoes, assorted fruit and milk.

Middle school students have the opportunity to choose such lunch menu items as cheese calzone, tossed salad, marinara sauce, fresh green beans, assorted fruit and milk or teriyaki chicken, fried rice, vegetable dippers, chopstick vegetables, assorted fruit and milk.

Some of the lunch items for high school students include Asian chicken bites, seasoned sweet potato fries, Sidekick fruit cup, Grahams, assorted fruit and milk or barbecue pork sandwich, vegetable dippers, baked beans, assorted fruit and milk.

Safety is another high priority for this school year.

Spicker said there will be an school resource officer in every school.

“Two-thirds of our schools now have Red Lock doors, which can be locked from the inside, so the class doesn’t have to be exposed to a threat in the hallway to lock the door,” he said. “The remaining third will be installed during the school year.”

The district is also installing a video entrance system at all of their schools.

“Guests will press a button at the door, announce who they are and why they are there before being admitted into the school. These are in high demand after Parkland so they are being installed in batches as they arrive,” Spicker said.

The district also has three new zone security managers, he said, who will make sure the best security practices and protocols are being implemented.

“We have started the training process for threat assessment teams at every school.” Spicker said. “We have started the first phase of PREPARE, which is our mental health awareness training. Every staff member is going to be trained on what to look for in students that will help strengthen safety and security.”