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At this year's Open House, Collier County School District Superintendent Kamela Patton gave the keynote address.  Here are some of the accomplishments she highlighted:


- CCPS outperformed the state in 4 of the 5 state-required assessments (FCAT 2.0 Science, Biology, US History, and Civics). It used to be a goal to achieve the state average in 2 of those scores; now, the District is ahead.


- CCPS exceeded the state average for FSA EOC Algebra and the new FSA ELA test. 


These improvements are notable because CCPS educators and students work with students who are learning English, who enter school with very different levels of preparation, and who may not attend the full year of school. CCPS ranks 3rd in the state in English Language Learners (behind Miami and Osceola), and has the highest percentage of migrant students in the state.


- Graduation rate increased to 82.1%, 6 points above the state average.


- For the first time, 3 Collier County high schools ranked in the top 1,000 in US News Rankings.


- Parkside Elementary was recognized by the state for their innovative instructional rounds. Last year, they raised their grade from F to C, and were recognized for sharing their best practices.


- CCPS has 15 new academies, an Engineering Academy in every high school.


- Partnerships are thriving - Angels Undercover delivered 14,000 uniforms to 17 elementary schools.


- Hundreds of parents and students attended the 4th annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) conference.


- JROTC attended an Honor Flight.


- CCPS' first virtual town meeting brought the community together.


- Students were connected digitally world-wide. All 30 elementary schools participated in the Hour of Code.


- Sandy Brock, Pine Ridge Middle School teacher, won state teacher of the year.


- ESE students worked with Karen Stelmacki on the first Project Unify event at Naples High School, a special needs talent show at Palmetto Ridge, and the 2nd annual unique science fair.


- Sam Chadwick, choir director at Palmetto Ridge High School, selected new teacher of the year by the Florida American String Association.


- Gov. Scott visited the District, and announced an increase in funding for the technical centers, and recognized CCPS educator Paul Holimon for winning the Governor's Shine award.


- Last year was one of our best years in the state science fairs; 11 students took home state science fair awards.


- 3 students made it into the state finals in Odyssey of the Mind.


- First ever new teacher retention event at Naples Botanical Garden.


- Avalon won a Farm-to-School Golden Shovel Award for the longest sustained garden.


- 2nd graders participated in 3-way broadcast between the school, Naples Zoo, and Africa. Students learned about giraffes from an expert.


- Two graduating seniors received National Merit Scholarships.


- Another all-time high, students earned just under $30 million in scholarships. Dr. Patton recognized educators from kindergarten on up who made that possible. 


...and much more!  So many reasons to be CCPS proud.  We wish CCPS educators, students, and all their supporters a successful year.

Students like 2015 Immokalee High School graduate, Regine François, inspire us with their determination, hard work, and community service. Regine is starting her first semester at Columbia University. We wish all students a great year!  Reach for the stars! Photo credit: People Magazine.

Happy New School Year!


How to Address Concerns About Instructional Materials: A Guide for Educators

Blue Zones Project is a community-wide initiative designed to promote healthier living in homes, workplaces, schools, etc.

In schools, the Blue Zones Project helps schools create a healthy school environment, and gives staff and students the information needed to make decisions that will give them a better chance of living longer, healthier lives.


Is the program flexible and voluntary?  Yes! Blue Zones schools checklist offers many different items so each school can assemble a program that suits its needs. The District will pilot the Blue Zones Project in 4 schools (2 elementary schools, 1 middle, and 1 high school in the same feeder pattern) to see whether this project is a good fit.  Do the points work for these schools? Are parents happy? How much work will it be for teachers?  All of these questions will be answered by the pilot projects.


Do we have to join?  No, it's hoped that all schools will want to participate, but if the project isn't flexible enough to accommodate our diverse community, Blue Zones can be a distinction for a few schools, a way to market schools to new families, and another feather in CCPS' cap. 

Schools can refer to the Blue Zones checklist, then adopt their own site-specific initiatives, but one advantage of working collaboratively through Blue Zones is that community members can support school staff. Community members have many skills and talents to offer our schools.


Please share your opinions with the school board and Dr. Patton.  


CCPS Blue Zones Pilot Project

Community Feedback Needed

On Aug. 18, the Board voted 3-2 to approve the first read of the policy to include the terms "sexual orientation and/or transgender identity" in parentheses in the District's nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies. 


This new language remind community members of the protected status of students and staff in these groups.  It was approved by Board Members Curatolo, Sprague, and Terry. Donalds and Lichter did not approve.


Whether or not the school board approves these policy changes, people who identify as other than heterosexual or who are transgender have protected status under the law.


Thanks to the Board leadership on this issue. These policies will come up for a second read and final vote on Tuesday, Oct. 13, in Immokalee.

Final Vote on HR Policies on Oct. 13th!

School District Attorney Jon Fishbane explained that school policies against discrimination say:

You're safe to work here. 

You're safe to go to school here. You're safe to be here.

Great Schools, Great Minds is an on-line community created to celebrate the successes of our public schools, and to find ways to address the needs.


If you are open to learning, eager to find ways to contribute, and to make a positive impact on the community, please join us!

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