Community leaders tour Immokalee schools

Visitors were acquainted with the breadth of local learning during an April 20 tour that included levels from elementary to up-to-date technology education. The tour began at Village Oaks Elementary, continued at Immokalee High School and culminated at iTECH Technical College.

At Immokalee High School highlights included a glimpse of former Golden Apple Teacher awardee Frederick Rimmler’s Engineer Academy. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

At Immokalee High School highlights included a glimpse of former Golden Apple Teacher awardee Frederick Rimmler’s Engineer Academy. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

Collier County Superintendent of Schools Kamela Patton and Deputy Superintendent David Stump led the way for a group for the group of community leaders. First stop: VOE  where the superintendent began the tour with a short welcome at Village Oaks library when she laid out county wide educational needs including affordable housing for teachers and other professionals and their recruitment. Fourth grade VOE students did a great job as escort, ushering guests into the library.

VOE Principal Angela Torres offered thanks for the great support from the Immokalee Casino and Suncoast Credit Union for the schools’ new reading resource room.

She extolled a phenomanal group of colleagues and teachers who are “second to none.” She said the misconceptions about Immokalee are profound and that their teachers  freely put their time, energy and heart into what they do.

On the tour, Village Oaks STEM lab fifth grade teacher Mr. Cruz gave those on the tour a glimpse of their amazing science program, including a spot on the school’s morning show and the education channel. Students submit questions about “How Does This Work?” and Mr. Cruz gives fun, real life examples that connect with students’ lives.

n Ms. Rodriguez class at Village Oaks Andrea Ginjon, Yves Decimus, Belen Lopez show Vickie Gause their work on a science project. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

n Ms. Rodriguez class at Village Oaks Andrea Ginjon, Yves Decimus, Belen Lopez show Vickie Gause their work on a science project. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

At the high school, the group met some amazing Engineering Academy and Innovation with Think Tank students working on entirely new educational concepts. Students are about to compete in a science challenge at Florida SouthWestern next month.

The last stop was iTECH College for a quick greeting by Principal Dorin Oxender and a short overview of the curriculum.

The school opened in 2009 and is the newest technology school in the state. The student body includes 130 dual enrolled IHS students. Mr. Oxender noted that the school has a 92 percent placement rate and debt free graduates.

He noted that  iTECH will be offering an apprentice program in masonry beginning in August. Arthrex, he said, has moved its machining class to iTECH. Among its many vocational offerings are CAT training and construction technology.

Juniors Christopher Rios and George Escobedo, second year in the IHS Engineering Academy, demonstrate their robot. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

Juniors Christopher Rios and George Escobedo, second year in the IHS Engineering Academy, demonstrate their robot. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

Community leaders hear about the vocational opportunities available at iTECH College. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

Community leaders hear about the vocational opportunities available at iTECH College. (Patty Brant/Immokalee Bulletin)

Patty Brant, Publisher of the Immokalee Bulletin can be reached at pbrant@newszap.com

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