Guest Commentary: How much do you know about Lee County Schools?
When our hard-working educators, prepare lesson plans, they refer to Florida Standards for core lessons. Lessons are available by grade and achievement levels from level one to four. The achievement Level Ones need more attention to make sure they understand and learn. Not because they are incapable, maybe because they have not had exposure to the topic, while level 3-4’s may know something about the topic. It is described as Depth of Knowledge, DOK, prior knowledge, what you already know.
For example, if you have never been exposed to learning about the planets, and may you look up in the night sky and only see a lot of “twinkling stars.” Your DOK may be level 1-2 regarding a topic about the planets. However, if you were told about stars and planets, visited a planetarium, looked through a telescope, were read to, and got books about planets, can point out the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt, or giggle when you say Uranus, based on your experience you have “Prior knowledge” and are probably a level 3 or 4.
Our teachers have to teach the Planets to all students regardless of DOK. They have to meet each student at their level… differentiate. Our job as Board members for all stakeholders is like that teacher preparing a lesson plan; we have to acknowledge all DOK levels. There are topics such as Proximity, Building schools, and the Achievement Gap that all stakeholders should know about; besides we are using your resources and educating your children.
Some are considered Level 1 DOK when it comes to these topics and has little if any exposure. Others are level 3-4; you know, understand, and participate by writing or speaking to the Board in Public Comment. Just as classrooms must be equitable and inclusive for all students, knowledge for all stakeholders must be equitable and inclusive.
So, let’s test your Depth of Knowledge. Please answer the following factual questions about Lee County Schools; you can use your “books” or any other resources such as www.leeschools.net. (You don’t have to share your answers, it’s just for you)
• How many schools and Zones are in the District?
• How many choices does each student have for school choice now?
• When will the “Proximity Plan” be final and what grade level will be affected?
• If the #3 or #4 Proximity Maps are selected, what schools will be available to your child?
• What percentage of families get their first, second, or third school choice now?
• What are three things you know about “Brick and Mortar” and “Portable classrooms?”
• How does our district compare to others in Florida with the use of portables?
• How many portables are in use in Lee County by zone and the cost?
• How many schools have been built in the last five years and how many will be built in the next five years and where?
• Do you know about the Pre-K Program Initiative and why it is important to everyone?
These are “Open Book/Open Resource” questions. You can: go to www.leeschools.net, or contact your individual Board member, or email BoardOffice@leeschools .net to find your answers. In order to be successful as a Stakeholder; taxpayer, parent, student, educator, employee, leader, concerned citizen, or business owner you can know the answers or where to find them. You are a part of the village that will educate our children. We support our hard-working staff/educators across the board, who constantly look for the best way to help all children achieve. In order to help, you must have the knowledge, evaluate facts and use your voice. Equity and Inclusion mean All voices are heard.
— Gwynetta Gittens represents District 5 on the School Board of Lee County