You would have thought you were in the locker room of a Big Ten university football team. The energy and the enthusiasm poured out the doors as 132 new sixth graders, their parents and siblings attended the orientation evening at the Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS).
For the first time in their educational careers, these newly-minted charter school students will embark on a more structured style of education. Starting on Tuesday, August 13th they will be following a class schedule with eight different periods and eight different instructors, dealing with course offerings covering many different subjects.
Throughout the three years they’ll be spending at the Marco Island Charter Middle School they will be moving from classroom to classroom, depending upon the subject offerings. They will be responsible for following their own schedules as presented to them at the Thursday evening orientation and moving between different classrooms.
“Together we will face the challenges of adjustment for these new members of our family here at the Charter Middle School,” said George Abounader, the longtime principal of the Marco Island Charter Middle School. Abounader would weave the idea of “family” throughout his 25-minute presentation that evening. Whether he was talking about his teachers, the staff of the school, the students or their families he would focus on the comfort and security of the family unit.
It was a presentation more like a pep rally to energize those in attendance and instill in them a sense of pride for the institution they would soon be part of.
“I think we’ve really demonstrated what a collaborative effort can successfully produce between a public charter school and the public school system. The key to that success has been when you work together for the benefit of the children within a community,” said Abounader, after his welcome speech to the new students and their parents.
The Marco Island Charter Middle School has been consistently rated as an “A” school by the State of Florida and has been named in the top 3% of middle schools in the State of Florida.
The Marco Island Charter Middle School President Tarik N. Ayasun and board member Allyson Richards also addressed the crowd and welcomed them to their new school.
The school celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. The first 198 students for the combined grades of 6, 7, 8 entered the initial 14 temporary classroom modules that first year. Those 14 modules would eventually grow to 30. In 2006 a major milestone was reached when the Collier County School Board voted the allocation of monies to MICMS. This would allow 400 students to enter their new home where 30 trailers once stood, which had earlier housed students, faculty and staff.
Abounader also introduced his new Vice Principal, Michele Wheeler who has served in the district for a number of years, most recently in Everglades City; a new 8th grade Language Arts teacher, Kathy Stefanides, and the new Guidance Counselor and School Psychologist, Jennifer Reddick, another longtime Collier County District employee.
At 7:50 AM on Tuesday, August 13th the first bell will ring and sharply at 8:00 AM students will begin what Principal Abounader described as the “best three years of their academic careers.” Of course he would be the first to admit he was a little “prejudice.”
For more information regarding the Marco Island Charter Middle School, visit their website at www.micms.org.