Lee school enrollment: What parents need to know about their choices

fort myers student assignment office

The Lee County School District approved a new proximity-based student assignment plan that could lead to a new school for many elementary school students in the district for the 2023-24 school year.

The plan increases the number of school assignment zones to decrease the number of schools’ families have to choose from, according to school officials.

"The reason for this new student assignment system is simple: Our current system is broken," Lee School Board Chairman Armor Persons said. "We drive students across the county to the school of their choice causing almost 3,000 students to be late to school every day."

Enrollment for elementary schools starts Monday and runs through March 10.

Previously, parents could chose a school in their zone regardless of distance from their home. Now students will need to attend one of four schools in their proximity zone. If they do not want to attend a school in their zone they can remain at their current school but the district will not provide transportation, school officials said.

More: Lee County first day of school marked by late buses, more than 1,000 late students

More: Five months after Hurricane Ian, students return to The Sanibel School

More: Lee students now required to use bathroom, dressing and locker rooms of their biological sex

When the current system was created in 2005, the district had 68,000 students. Now it has just under 100,000.

"This is not a driver shortage issue but rather an increase in the number of students and the number of schools." said Superintendent Christopher Bernier. "We're only going to get bigger."

Here's are some frequently asked questions and answers provided by the district:

How do I find out which elementary schools are in my zone?

Elementary families are encouraged to determine what schools are in their new proximity zone through an interactive map on the district’s website.

How do I confirm my student's school of choice?

  • Students enrolled in a school in their proximity zone who want to stay in that school do not need to take action.
  • Students enrolled in a school outside their zone who wish to stay in that school must confirm their choice to provide transportation through their FOCUS Parent Portal.
  • Students who want or need to enter the assignment lottery for a school in their new zone must use their FOCUS Parent Portal to rank their choices.
  • Incoming kindergarten students should also use this open enrollment period to register for the 2023-24 school year and/or rank their school choices for the assignment lottery through their FOCUS Parent Portal.
  • Elementary school students transferring from charter or private schools, or new to the district, must visit the Student Enrollment Office at 2855 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers before March 10 to register for the student assignment lottery. 

What about middle and high school students?

Student assignment changes for middle schools are being considered for the 2024-25 school year. Middle school students do have the option to enroll in a new middle school in Lehigh Acres currently named QQ. The board just named Dr. Joseph Restino, current district Assistant Principal of the Year, as its principal. 

More: New Lee County middle school needs name submissions

There is no consideration for high school changes at this time.

Can my student still attend their school if it's outside of our proximity zone?

Yes. All rising elementary students are provided the option to continue to attend their current school, also known as being grandfathered in. However, transportation will not be provided unless the current school is within new proximity boundaries.

If my child is grandfathered, would their younger sibling/s be able to attend the same school?

Yes. Younger siblings will be able to receive a sibling preference to the school. Transportation will not be provided unless the current school is within new proximity boundaries.

How will open enrollment for elementary schools be implemented?

Open enrollment windows for elementary schools will run through March 10.

Rising elementary students living outside of their current school’s proximity zone will either select to stay and waive district transportation or enter their new proximity attendance zone with associated choices.

The proximity lottery for all incoming kindergarten students, elementary students new to the district, rising elementary students living outside of their current school’s proximity attendance zone and needing transportation will run at the same time. Finalized dates for open enrollment will be announced soon.

How does the proximity zone impact K-8 schools?

  • If the student is a rising first through fifth grader and is out of their elementary proximity zone follow the above instructions.
  • If a student is a rising six grader in a K-8 school and does not want to switch schools then parents do not need to complete a Choice Application form. The student will stay at the school.
  • If a student is a rising seventh or eighth grader in a K-8 school then parents will follow the middle and high school zones. 

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Plane Crashes on Florida Highway, Killing 2, Authorities Say

The plane, a Bombardier Challenger 600 series jet, was carrying five people when it crashed on Interstate 75 near Naples, Fla., the authorities said.

Small Plane Crashes on Florida Highway

A bombardier challenger 600 jet erupted into flames after crashing on interstate 75 near naples, fla..

Bro. Oh my God.

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By Lola Fadulu and Jesus Jiménez

A small plane carrying five people crashed on Interstate 75 near Naples, Fla., on Friday afternoon, exploding in flames and killing two people, according to officials. They said that three of those onboard were able to get out of the plane.

The plane, a Bombardier Challenger 600 series jet, crashed on the highway around 3:15 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement . It was not immediately clear whether anyone on the ground was injured.

Preliminary information showed that the plane’s pilot had radioed that the aircraft had had a dual engine failure as it approached Naples Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement on Friday. The agency said it would not comment on the cause of the crash during the early stages of its investigation.

Photos and video footage from the scene showed the aircraft’s fuselage in flames and a large plume of smoke billowing above the crash site.

The aircraft departed from the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, Ohio, said Robin King, the director of communications for Naples Airport.

“They were scheduled to land about 3:15 here in Naples, and about two or three minutes before that, our tower received word from the pilots that they have, quote, lost both engines,” Ms. King said. “We don’t know exactly what that means. We lost contact.”

The plane crashed two to three miles from the airport, Ms. King said. Three of the five people on the airplane were able to get out of the airplane, she added.

An Ohio State University spokesman said that the plane was not affiliated with the university.

Brianna Walker, 26, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said in an interview on Friday that she was headed home from Fort Myers with her friend’s mother, who was driving southbound on Interstate 75, when they saw the plane crash.

“It looked like it was trying to hit the median,” Ms. Walker said. “It starts sliding across the highway, takes a car with it, the wing comes down, crushes another car and throws it into the median, and then it hits the concrete and immediately burst into flames.”

Ms. Walker took two videos of the crash, which she shared on social media. In one , the plane bursts into flames, and it appears as if someone was trying to flee the crash. In the immediate, chaotic, aftermath of the crash, Ms. Walker said, she struggled to tell whether people were able to get out of the plane.

Ms. Walker said that she and her friend’s mother feared that the plane would explode, so her friend’s mother drove onto the median to move around the plane.

“I said, ‘You have to drive now. It’s now or never,’” Ms. Walker said. “We just booked it.”

A six-mile stretch of the Interstate 75 will be closed for at least 24 hours, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office , and local officials encouraged people to avoid the area while the F.A.A. and the National Transportation Safety Board investigated. Florida Highway Patrol troopers were also at the scene.

More than two hours after the crash, highway cameras showed dozens of vehicles stuck in traffic, unable to get around several law enforcement vehicles at the scene.

The N.T.S.B. said that “several more” investigators were expected to arrive on Saturday to examine the crash. In its investigation, the agency said it would examine flight track data, aircraft maintenance records and weather reports.

The agency also said that it planned to look into the pilot’s license and flight experience, and anything the pilot did in the 72 hours before the crash that could have affected the pilot’s ability to fly a plane. The agency asked that anyone who witnessed the crash or took video to contact the agency.

The aircraft, which officials said had the registration number N823KD, was scheduled to travel to Fort Lauderdale from Naples on Friday afternoon, according to FlightAware , a flight tracking website.

A Challenger 604 with the registration number N823KD is listed as part of a fleet maintained by Hop-A-Jet Worldwide Jet Charter, a private jet travel company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The jet can carry up to 12 passengers, according to the company .

Hop-A-Jet Worldwide Jet Charter confirmed in a statement on Friday that it leased the jet that crashed. The company said that it would help in the investigation and that it would not share the names of those involved in the crash.

“Our immediate concern is for the well-being of our passengers, crew members and their families,” the company said.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

Lola Fadulu reports on the New York City region for The Times. More about Lola Fadulu

Jesus Jiménez covers breaking news, online trends and other subjects. He is based in New York City. More about Jesus Jiménez

COMMENTS

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