Village of Estero Vice-Mayor Bill Ribble and Chairman of the Lee County School District Cathleen Morgan signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a Joint Educational Advocacy Task Force in a ceremony at Estero High School on May 21.
This agreement is the first of its kind between the Lee County School District and a municipality.
The ceremonies started with a welcome by Estero High School Principal Clayton Simmons followed by the presentation of colors by the school’s JROTC and national anthem sung by Athena Kelley.
Opening comments were presented by Lee County School District Chairman Cathleen Morgan, who then introduced Vice-Mayor and District 1 Councilmember Bill Ribble.
Ribble stated, “Partnerships with local government is nothing new in our society. In fact, founded in 1919, Junior Achievement was created by the American Telegraph & Telephone to focus on literacy and work readiness programs from kindergarten to high school.”
“As we grow this partnership with the School District and the Village,” Ribble continued, “let’s not forget that it should be a ‘Bottom Up – Top Down Strategy’. Not only should we have school administrators and Councilmembers as part of the partnership, but teachers, students and parents as well.”
Lee County School Board Member Chris Patricca stated that this program proves Estero truly is a village with a vision.
District 6 Councilmember and Council Liaison to the School District Nick Batos stated, “I believe that the better our schools are, the more desirable our community becomes both for residents and businesses that are here today and for those looking for a place to relocate to in years to come.”
He also stated that he hopes “this program will not only make the schools of Estero stand out but will become a model for other cities to emulate.”
Closing remarks were then given by School District Superintendent Dr. Gregory Adkins and Village Manager Steve Sarkozy.
Lee County School Board members and all Village Councilmembers were at the ceremonial table, except Mayor Jim Boesch, who was out of town.
The official Memo of Understanding will:
- Create mentoring and tutoring possibilities
- Promote the development of career academies and job skill programs with local businesses
- Encourage student internship programs
- Promote the colocation of future educational and recreational facilities
- Promote coordination and shared financing of infrastructure projects
- Encourage the use of school facilities by Estero residents when not in use by students
Village of Estero officials and staff, and the principals of the four Estero schools and District staff will sit on the task force. Its members will find, plan and implement programs, partnerships and promotional opportunities. They will meet at least quarterly to work on their objectives.