A majority of parents of local charter school students have chosen to send their children back to school since this fall, and one local principal said those numbers continue to rise.

Two principals gave a status update at the Charlotte County School Board workshop this week:

Babcock Neighborhood School

Principal Shannon Treece of Babcock Neighborhood School said the teachers and students are responding well to hurdles from the pandemic in the classrooms.

“The 2019-2020 school year for Babcock Neighborhood School started off strong and continues to prove productive over time with our ongoing student performance measures,” Treece said. “Students stay in the classrooms and teachers rotate, so less contact is made between students. Since we have so many eighth-graders, we moved them to the cafeteria and all other students eat lunch in their classrooms.”

Treece said the number of virtual students fluctuates daily.

“Our students can choose to attend school two or three days a week and the learn from home on the other days,” Treece said. “If a student is sick or has a doctor’s appointment, he or she still has the option to log in remotely to get the lessons so they don’t fall behind. Many students are choosing the blended option and we’ve been seeing more kids in the classrooms in the past few weeks. Our goals will continue to focus on positive academic growth among all students. This year will require a continued and unrelenting focus on academic growth and achievement as we add the middle school acceleration component into our school.”

Since opening in fall of 2017, student enrollment has continually increased.

“We went from having eight teachers in 2017 to 33 this year,” Treece said. “We’ve seen between 75 to 100 new students each year.”

Babcock Neighborhood School currently has 490 total students enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

The school earned a “C” school grade for 2018-2019. This grade will carry over to the current year due to no state testing in the spring of 2019.

“The school grade we carry into this year feels like a Scarlet Letter,” Treece said. “Our team believed wholeheartedly that we had responded to our deficits and we were prepared and ready to earn a grade more reflective of our work and focus. Moving into this year we have maintained the staff hired last year to support our academic needs.”

Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School

“About half of our students returned to traditional classrooms, half are doing blended/hybrid programs and only 11 students (out of 399) are remote,” said Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School Principal Michelle Wier.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School class of 2020 had a 100% high school graduation rate, and 87% of students earned their AA degree.

Wier credits this success to the dedicated students and the intervention of the career specialist at the school.

“Instead of just doing one group meeting for the students, she (Kristina Platt) meets one-on-one with the students several times and I think that has really made a difference,” Wier said. “This year, this amounted to an estimated college savings of over $550,000 for the class of 2020. The graduating Class of 2020 earned almost 4 million dollars in scholarships and grants through Florida Bright Futures, colleges, universities, and our local community.”

FSWC has been consistently ranked in the top 10% of high schools based on results from Florida’s student performance assessments and has been designated as a “High Performing Charter School” and an “A” school by the Florida Department of Education every year since opening in 2009.


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