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Teachers get ready for Monday

August 7, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The teachers have reported back, the new students have gone through orientation, and bus drivers are practicing their routes.

That means only one thing: School is about to get back in session.

Lee County schools open Monday, and teachers are busy getting their classrooms ready, having meetings with their supervisors and doing whatever workshops they need to be at their best when the first bell rings.

At North Fort Myers High School, things got started early as freshmen underwent orientation, getting their schedules, lockers and Chromebooks. They also did a scavenger hunt to get more acquainted with the school.

This week, the teachers returned to a celebration of being the only "A" school in the area and for team-building exercises.

"We still have some work to do to make sure we have the finishing touches, but we're really excited to start the year," North Principal Debbie Diggs said. "We will spend some time with expectations, the curriculum, target goals and building relationships with the kids."

Diggs said many teachers even came early to get a jump on prepping their rooms, putting together lesson plans or to just drop in and say hello.

"We want to have everything together by Thursday when we meet the kids, so on Friday we'll just go through opening day procedures and some optional training sessions."

At the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts, the arts-oriented K-8 school, Principal Thomas Millins has his teachers working as well.

The rooms have been cleaned, the floors waxed and the hallways painted and will be ready for the students come Monday.

One of the things the teachers have already done training for is in the event of an active shooting, which they did Monday with help from the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

"They're really trying to get teachers prepared and no situation is the same. It gives them an opportunity to think about situations and making good decisions if an incident occurs on campus," Millins said.

The big event is Thursday when they, along with many other schools, hold an open house where the students get to meet their teachers with their parents, get their uniforms and their pictures taken.

The teachers also will celebrate last year's successes before getting ready for the new year. Millins said the school will strive to improve on their "B" status from a year ago.

NFMAA got a jump on things by holding orientation for sixth-graders on Friday, geared toward those who come from different schools in the area.

At J. Colin English Elementary, Principal Joe Williams III had his teachers prepare for the new year and getting the campus ready for the kids' return.

"The enthusiasm is there as much for the teachers as it is for the students. They're excited," Williams said.

Williams said there is a procedure for getting the building prepped and maintained that starts after the last school year ended.

"We have a checklist of things that need to be done by a certain date and we're pretty much on target with making those goals," Williams said. "Now, it's a matter of pieces here and there, but we're ready to roll."

The teachers will also be undergoing training on classroom management, reading and creating thinking maps, especially the newest teachers. There will also be an open house on Thursday.

Williams said the school narrowly missed a "B" grade last year, and that they (along with NFMAA) will focus on the students who are a little behind to bring that up.

"We need to get more learning gains out of them and improve our proficiency scores. If we do that, we'll hit the mark," Williams said. "We're excited and ready for another school year."



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