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.