Marco Island City Council opens with Marco Island Academy report; close with advisory committee selections

Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent
Jane Watt, right, board chairwoman of Marco Island Academy, gets a nod from Marco Island City Councilor Frank Recker as she waits to give her presentation Monday to city council. With her are her children, Olivia, a 6th grader at Marco Island Charter Middle School, and Johnathan, a 3rd grader at Tommie Barfield Elementary.

Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent Jane Watt, right, board chairwoman of Marco Island Academy, gets a nod from Marco Island City Councilor Frank Recker as she waits to give her presentation Monday to city council. With her are her children, Olivia, a 6th grader at Marco Island Charter Middle School, and Johnathan, a 3rd grader at Tommie Barfield Elementary.

Naysayers were nowhere to be found Monday as Jane Watt gave City Council her first year report on the Marco Island Academy. Critics dogged the fledgling charter high school from its inception. The report by Watt, chairwoman of the academy's board, set out to prove them wrong.

The school ended its first year with a total enrollment of 68 in grades 9 and 10. Students performed up to or better than district standards, Watt said. Registration for next year in grades 9 through 11 will nearly double total enrollment to 120. After grades 9 through 12 are populated in 2013-2014, the school will hold future enrollments to 400 pupils.

Work will begin in June on the academy's campus next to Key Marco on San Marco Road. First plans are to install modular classrooms similar to those used when Marco Island Charter Middle School first opened.

Watt told council the new site would not be completed by the first day of school in August. Classes will continue at the First Baptist Family Church on Winterberry Drive until modular classrooms are approved for occupancy. Classes then will be transferred to the new property.

The school started its first term with $320,000 raised from private donations and a grant for $325,000 that provided equipment and supplies to start the school. Fundraising will continue through the summer with a capital campaign, Watt said. In the first month of the campaign's "quiet phase" the school received $400,000 in pledges.

In the fall, the school plans to add three new programs. Amber Prange, teacher of social studies, will head up the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE), an advanced placement curriculum. Marine biology will be offered through Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures, and Marco Island's Marriott will partner with the school for resort management courses.

Football, golf, tennis and track will be added to the school's athletic programs.

"From everything I see, it (Marco Island Academy) is doing fantastic," said Councilor Frank Recker Tuesday. "I always thought it would be good for the island, and I think it will prove me right. I'm very happy for the parents whose children will be attending in the future."

Recker has been a vocal supporter of the academy since its inception. On Monday, Councilor Chuck Kiester praised Watt for her work and success.

"You've done an incredible job," he said. "I know how hard you worked."

On Monday, councilors chose new volunteer board and committee members to serve the city. New members will be seated next month and serve until council elections in November.

On the Arts Advisory Committee, Nora Joel, Jerry Masters, Jo-Ann Sanborn, Claire Keery and Craig Greusel were reappointed. Barbara Cooper will join the committee, and Lavonne Johnson and Greg Glover vacated their seats. Councilor Recker passed on making an appointment.

The Audit Advisory Committee reappointments were Laura Gelman, Ron Saffin and Bill Schroeder with new member Ed Walsh. Waiving the requirement of Marco Island residency, council reappointed Tom Kirstein to the committee. Councilors Joe Batte and Recker passed on making appointments.

All Beach Advisory Committee members were reappointed with the exception of Jim Gratkowski. Councilor Jerry Gibson passed on appointing a new member. On the committee are Kevin Donlan, Bernardo Bezos, George Schmidt, Susan Purvis, Pattie Miller and Debbie Roddy.

On the Beautification Advisory Committee, Bob Kennedy replaced Sandi Johnson and Andrew Kirlin replaced Barbara Murphy. Remaining are Syd Mellinger, Susan LaGrotta, Susan Oldershaw, Dianna Dohm and Linda Colombo.

Planning Board retained Dick Shanahan, David Caruso, Bob Brown, Marv Needles, Jack Patterson and Monte Lazarus. Max Peterhans joined the board appointed by Councilor Bill Trotter.

For the Parks and Recreation Committee, Rich Lutz replaced William Holloway. Stacy Needles-Witthoff vacated her seat. Members remaining are Joe DiSciullo, Cindy Love, Greg West, Val Simon, and Paul Meyer. Gibson passed on a new appointment.

The new Utilities Advisory Committee received three appointments: Amadeo Petricca, William Porter and Victor Rios. Councilor Batte will approach Ken Honecker to join the committee. Councilors Wayne Waldack, Gibson and Kiester passed on making appointments.

All Waterways Advisory Committee members were reappointed with Donald Ricci, Jr., filling a vacant seat. Remaining members are Richard Shanahan, Don Dilks, Geoff Fahringer, Kris Hellend, Gale Vinson and James Timmerman.

No appointments were made for the Code Compliance Board. Council requested an advertisement seeking candidates be posted. The Bike Path Advisory Committee is ad-hoc and not appointed by council.

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Comments » 17

eaglepalooza writes:

For one, why does the City Council need to get an update from them? Does The Middle School and TBE do the same???
Second, the director is all smoke and mirrors. Most people that I have spoken to had a BAD experience at the school this year and will not be returning. Most of the rising 8th graders will be attending Lely. Nothing of value occuring at that school. Parents are shortchanging their child;s education and need to look elsewhere ASAP!

happy6 writes:

why in the world would our geniuses at the city be entitled to a d--n thing about the academy?
and who cares if the education is substandard...that's up to the parents to decide...not obamanation.

Brisla writes:

"Students performed up to or better than district standards"

Ian_Curtis writes:

The variance for the church property is 100 students. How can they have 120 students there next year even if it just for a few months? Everyday they run over 100 students at the church they are against code and they are admitting this to the council?

eaglepalooza writes:

in response to Ian_Curtis:

The variance for the church property is 100 students. How can they have 120 students there next year even if it just for a few months? Everyday they run over 100 students at the church they are against code and they are admitting this to the council?

Thats because they already know that they wont have 100 kids! There were kids that were leaving this school to go to EVERGLADES CITY to get away from this debacle! 99 percent of the 8th graders are going to LELY!

eaglepalooza writes:

in response to Brisla:

"Students performed up to or better than district standards"

They are sooooo great at the Marco Island Dysfunctional Academy

RayPray writes:

in response to eaglepalooza:

Thats because they already know that they wont have 100 kids! There were kids that were leaving this school to go to EVERGLADES CITY to get away from this debacle! 99 percent of the 8th graders are going to LELY!

"$320,000 raised from private donations"

"a grant for $325,000"

"Fundraising will continue through the summer"

""quiet phase" the school received $400,000"

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

A lot of peperroni pizzas @ Vandy

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Ruger writes:

Congratulations Jane!!

She has shown some incredible fortitude and her strength has really shown throughout this first school year.

Someday soon, parents will be sending their children to Lely about the same rate as they are sending them to Manatee Middle vs MICMS now.

Go Manta Rays!!

Ruger writes:

in response to eaglepalooza:

For one, why does the City Council need to get an update from them? Does The Middle School and TBE do the same???
Second, the director is all smoke and mirrors. Most people that I have spoken to had a BAD experience at the school this year and will not be returning. Most of the rising 8th graders will be attending Lely. Nothing of value occuring at that school. Parents are shortchanging their child;s education and need to look elsewhere ASAP!

Nobody is buying your lies, it is sad that you are so full of hate.

Mayor_McCheese writes:

in response to happy6:

why in the world would our geniuses at the city be entitled to a d--n thing about the academy?
and who cares if the education is substandard...that's up to the parents to decide...not obamanation.

What on Earth does the President of the United States have to do with the Marco Island Charter School? Get a hobby.

Mayor_McCheese writes:

I don't have kids at either school, but I don't see why there are people who are so militantly against this school? If you don't like it, don't send your kids there. Its not costing you anything. Why is it a bad thing to have schools on Marco Island? Give it time. These people seem to have put a lot of effort and their own money (or their own fund raising efforts) into this. It seems to me they should be applauded not vilified. Even if you don't have kids attending it, if nothing else, it will help to increase property values on the Island.

blogsmog writes:

in response to Mayor_McCheese:

I don't have kids at either school, but I don't see why there are people who are so militantly against this school? If you don't like it, don't send your kids there. Its not costing you anything. Why is it a bad thing to have schools on Marco Island? Give it time. These people seem to have put a lot of effort and their own money (or their own fund raising efforts) into this. It seems to me they should be applauded not vilified. Even if you don't have kids attending it, if nothing else, it will help to increase property values on the Island.

just another assault by the syndicate on the marco homeowner, putting a school on marco directly interferes with their grandios vision of miami west here on marco.

MrsT writes:

Are all these students living on Marco Island? I didn't realize there were that many kids living on Marco in that age group. It was more of a retirement community when I moved here and that's what drew me here.

Mayor_McCheese writes:

in response to MrsT:

Are all these students living on Marco Island? I didn't realize there were that many kids living on Marco in that age group. It was more of a retirement community when I moved here and that's what drew me here.

Since there is an Elementary School and a Middle School, why would you find it surprising that there should be a need for a High School? What did you think happened to the children when the got older? Moved to the mainland?

Like it or not, Marco is a multi-generational community. All of the businesses that serve retirees like you are owned and run by real people with real families and believe it or not, some of them also live on Marco Island.

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to MrsT:

Are all these students living on Marco Island? I didn't realize there were that many kids living on Marco in that age group. It was more of a retirement community when I moved here and that's what drew me here.

Time for you & Mr.T to get out more.

Last report was near 1500 child residents here. That's substantial considering full time residents are around 13,000.

Northerner writes:

"Last report was near 1500 child residents here. That's substantial considering full time residents are around 13,000."

...hmmm...so let's say that half of those kids, or even a third or fourth of them are high school age. That means only 68 out of 500 or 375 attend the world class MIA. Jane better order extra trailers.

RayPray writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree 100% with this analogy!

Gunga Jane is to intellectual aptitude as "great President Obama" (and let's not forget Neil Kinnock Biden!) are to reproachless statsmanship....

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