Changes to 2020-21 Lee County school year concerns board member, parents

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
The School District of Lee County. Photo via WINK News.
Credit: WINK News.

While the remainder of this school year is uncertain, The School District of Lee County is looking ahead to next year. The District plans to change class schedules for high school students. And parents, as well as one school board member we spoke to, are now worried for their children and students’ academic futures.

We looked at what students can expect from the changes the Lee County school district plans to implement during the 2020-21 school year.

With no in-person classes or meetings, board member Melisa Giovannelli is upset about the timing of this major decision.

“You can’t roll out something that’s a huge change for an individual and do it in the middle of a pandemic when we don’t even know what our future holds, if we’ll be in school in August,” Giovannelli told WINK News.

Most high schools are moving to a seven-period day with 15 minutes added each day. Dunbar and East Lee County will have a five-by-five, block schedule and 51 additional minutes.

The District superintendent says this will increase student-teacher interaction time and add the equivalent of 26 instructional days. But not everyone is happy.

The [International Baccalaureate] program has a college-recognized curriculum,” said Tisha Bayne , who has two children at the Fort Myers High School IB program. “The rigorous work, class load of the IB program will become unmanageable in a seven-period, class schedule.”

For parents with kids in advanced learning programs, they say the amount of work their kids will be required to complete will be unmanageable.

“That was actually a conversation that I had with the superintendent on Wednesday night, about homework,” Giovannelli said. “And he has expressed that the principals have to make sure that teachers are not giving too much homework. But, you know, sometimes that’s easier said than actually done.”

With the changes, Lee County middle schools will move to a six-by-six schedule and add 15 minutes each day. Elementary school start and end times will also be impacted. We reached out to the superintendent but have not heard back yet.

Giovannelli says the hard part is knowing she was never allowed a vote. She says the prior proposal brought up a month ago is much different from what’s now being adopted.

“It is different, and that is a problem for me,” Giovannelli said. “Because it doesn’t allow the board to weigh in, nor the community to weigh in on the changes that were made.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.