By: Jada Langford Fleming
Happy New Year to all of our students, families, educators, and community. It has been encouraging to experience such a smooth transition to a new School board post-election. As we embark on a new year, we continue to celebrate successes, but also face some challenges ahead. While our community continues to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, we are celebrating the fact that our students and staff were back in the classrooms at record speed. However, our challenges remain far from over regarding decisions that must be made concerning our schools that were hit the hardest. The Lee County School Board is reviewing all aspects of the reopening of Fort Myers Beach Elementary School. These decisions will not be made without careful consideration of all possibilities. As an elected School Board member, it is my job to listen to the community and their concerns.
Safety is crucial to running a successful school district. The School Board has discussed the adoption of the Guardian Program in recent meetings. Students, parents, and staff should always feel safe when they are in school. The Guardian Program can add another layer of protection and we are currently examining what a design of this program may look like. Adding more School Resource Officers, implementing optional specialized training for staff members, and ensuring our schools are secure at all exits are just a few of the steps to this program. I am a supporter of the Guardian Program and will not rest until I am assured all of our children and staff are safe. In the coming months, the School Board will also be looking closely at student achievement and graduation success rates. It is imperative that our children leave our school district knowing they are prepared for the next steps after graduation. As we embark on a new year and a new School Board, I am excited about working together to always put our children first.