The public school systems in Lee and Collier counties are working hand-in-glove with local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to provide a cradle-to-cap learning experience that begins with school readiness when entering kindergarten and career readiness for all graduating high school seniors.
Both districts provide a robust roster of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that prepare students for college or careers through professional certifications and specialization in fields such as aerospace, information technology and web development, and the culinary arts. Magnet schools provide an opportunity for students to hone their skill or passion. For college-bound students, high schools offer International Baccalaureate, Cambridge AICE, Advanced Placement, AVID, Honors, and Dual Enrollment programs in each zone. In Lee County, 63 percent of high school students participate in at least one of these programs.
Technical colleges provide a host of courses that lead to immediate employment in an array fields, from law enforcement to veterinarian care to medical billing, with many offering a “career in a year” format. Both Lee and Collier counties offer two technical colleges. In Collier County, a workforce assessment is underway to guide the development of a future training campus to supplement the technical colleges.
Class sizes: The Florida Constitution set limits on the number of students in core classes in the state’s public schools. The maximum number of students in each core class are set at:
• 18 students, PK through grade 3;
• 22 students, grades 4 through 8; and
• 25 students, grades 9 through 12.
School zones, school choice, school assignment: In Lee and Collier counties, students attend a school based on two factors—their geographical zone and their choice of schools within that zone. Students and parents rank the schools that lie within the zone in which they live, and the student is assigned based on a lottery system during the regular registration period. During the 2017-2018 school year, 85 percent of Lee County students received their first choice of school while 96 percent received a school ranked among their top three choices.
Schools located on the barrier islands (Sanibel Island, Pine Island, and Estero Island) are not considered part of any choice zone. Students residing in the attendance areas for these schools do not participate in the student enrollment process as long as they are at an appropriate grade level to attend those schools. However, students on the barrier islands may apply for zone and multi-zone magnet schools.
School and out-of-zone assignments may change if the student requires special educational programs that are not provided at the assigned school or within the zone, if the family moves to another zone, if a district-employed parent is changes schools, and other specific factors.
If you are new to Lee or Collier county, contact the school district’s Student Enrollment Office to learn about the paperwork you need to enroll your child or children and important registration and school assignment deadlines.
School District of Lee County
High school graduation rates: 82.6 percent
Florida high school graduation rate: 86.1
Statewide 2019 grade: B
Elementary schools: 45
Middle schools: 16
High schools: 14
Charter schools: 23
Special/alternative centers: 17
Student enrollment: 93,167
Languages spoken: 134
2017 SAT mean score: 1023
2017 ACT mean composite score: 19.3
Technical colleges: 2
(Source: 2017-2018 Impact Report and Florida Dept. of Education)
School District of Collier County
High school graduation rates: 91.9 percent
Florida high school graduation rate: 86.1
Statewide 2019 grade: A
Elementary schools: 29
Middle schools: 10
High schools: 8
Charter schools: 7
Special/alternative centers: 1
Student enrollment: 48,000
2017 SAT mean score: 1033
2017 ACT mean composite score: 19.8
Technical colleges: 2
(Source: CCPS Fact Sheet, Sept. 2019)
Charter schools: Charter schools in Florida must be nonprofit organizations and be sponsored by a school district, which oversees the schools along with the state. The Florida Department of Education provides an annual analysis and comparison of the overall performance of charter school students to traditional public-school students. The comparison is based on the statewide assessment program and information reported by the charter school to the school district.
The Lee County School District currently sponsors 23 charter schools at locations throughout the county. While some schools offer a general curriculum similar to that of the public schools, many offer unique specialty or career education options not available elsewhere. The Athenian Academy of Fort Myers was the first Greek-immersion charter school in the United States and it promotes the learning of the Greek language, culture, and customs. Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School-Lee is first and only public charter school in Florida that has earned an AdvancED STEM Certification and works closely with students to maximize their dual enrollment options to earn college credit. City of Palms Charter High School serves students ages 16-21 with flexible schedules and online curriculum to encourage diploma completion.
The Collier County School District sponsors 7 charter schools at locations throughout the county, including Marco Island and Immokalee. Some offer a general curriculum similar to that of the public schools, while others offer a unique curriculum not available elsewhere. BridgePrep Academy of Collier School (K-7) fosters a nurturing and rigorous academic environment that embraces the Spanish culture and language and promotes civic responsibility. Mason Classical Academy focuses on a classical education with a focus on the Western traditional canon, moral character development, and Latin instruction beginning in sixth grade.
Dual enrollment: Students enrolled in high school in Lee and Collier counties may be dual enrolled at a local institution of higher learning such as a community college, technical college, or university. Credits earned on higher-education campuses are applied to high school graduation requirements. In addition, formal articulations have been established with local and statewide institutions to ensure that students receive credit or advanced standing if they enroll in these institutions to continue the career program. At technical colleges, dual-enrolled high school students with a grade of C or higher earn weighted credit and may also earn industry certifications.
Postsecondary education: Florida administers a Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) to eleventh-grade high school students, virtual school students, and homeschooled students to assess their academic skills, college readiness, and course placement. Achievement of a qualifying score on the test, or successful completion of a remediation course, is required for high school graduation. PERT scores are also used for college placement.
The SAT and ACT tests are generally accepted or required by Florida’s state universities and colleges. Several private colleges and community colleges in the state permit the substitution of alternative tests such as the COMPASS, WAIS, or others.