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Guest Commentary | A year of accomplishments

By DEBBIE JORDAN - Lee County School Board Member for District 4 | May 11, 2024

Debbie Jordan

The school year is moving at such an amazing pace that it won’t be long now until we celebrate the Class of 2024 at their graduation ceremonies. What we’ve seen already is that there is plenty to cheer about for our students and schools. As your District 4 School Board representative, it is my pleasure to share with you some of their accomplishments from this school year.

Academically, our students are once again among the highest performers. Brody Yeung from North Fort Myers High School earned a Cambridge Scholar Award with Distinction, the highest level possible, for his performance the on the 2023 Cambridge examinations. Thirteen more North students earned Cambridge Scholar Awards with Merit and 33 won Scholar Awards. At Island Coast High School, seven students earned Cambridge Scholar Awards. Six students at North Fort Myers High School and one at Island Coast earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. This recognition helps them stand out during the college admissions process. We also saw new Carson Scholars recognized at Littleton Elementary, Tropic Isles Elementary, North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts and North Fort Myers High School. The Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to students in grades 4-11 who excel academically and are dedicated to serving their communities.

Students are also excelling in their extra-curricular activities. Thirteen students at North Fort Myers High School and four at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts were selected for All-State Musical Ensembles. They attended the Florida Musical Educators Association conference in January for an All-Star caliber concert. The Island Coast Boys JROTC Raider Team won a State Championship in November. Two years ago, they didn’t have enough members to even form a team, so this was quite the accomplishment. The North Fort Myers Girls’ Soccer team nearly won a state title. They beat rival Mariner in Regionals and only lost in the state championship game after eight rounds of penalty kicks. Congratulations on a great season.

Schools in our community are also being recognized for their success. Tropic Isles Elementary was named an Imagine Nation Beacon School. Imagine Learning is a supplemental program the school uses to help students learn English and the designation recognizes student improvement. Island Coast High School launched the state of Florida’s only “Into Space” curriculum this school year. Taught by NASA Rocket engine Quality Management Scientist Dr. William Downes, and part of the school’s Earth & Space Academy, “Into Space” prepares students for all types of careers in the aerospace industry. North Fort Myers High School was recognized for achieving Level 1 Certification in Marzano High Reliability Schools. Level 1 certification means the school has created a “Safe, Supportive, and Collaborative Culture,” which is the foundation for improved student achievement and effective day-to-day school operations. North was also honored with the school’s second Special Olympics National Unified Champion School Banner. One of only 16 schools in Florida to be recognized, National Unified Champion schools are committed to inclusive practices for all students. And one last honor for North, the school maintained its “A” grade when the 2023 School Grades Report was released late last year. During a school year impacted by Hurricane Ian and testing to new standards, this was an amazing accomplishment.

These are some of the examples of the great things happening in our schools every day. Congratulations to all our students on their successes this year. I can’t wait to see what you will do next.

Debbie Jordan is the Lee County School Board Member for District 4.