“What’s the plan in the meantime?”

Lee School District looks to ‘summer school’

Published in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze Jan. 22, 2015 issue

The School District of Lee County has eliminated private tutoring after they opted not to renew a yearly contract. A fifth quarter option of additional instruction will be implemented this summer.

The concept of the extended learning proposal, the fifth quarter, was brought forth to the school board at the beginning of December during a briefing meeting.

The fifth quarter will be held for 25 days with 75 hours of instruction, which breaks down to four hours a day with two hours of reading instruction and an hour of math. It will also include breakfast and lunch.

According to information presented at the meeting, the students eligible for fifth quarter are those who score below proficiency at a level one or level two, based on mid-year STAR and Early STAR assessments. Students who score at a borderline three level may have the opportunity to participate in the fifth quarter through a recommendation by a teacher or administrator.

The program will be located at the nine lowest 300 list in Title I schools, which includes Bonita Springs Elementary, Colonial Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Franklin Park Elementary, James Stephens, Lehigh Elementary, Manatee Elementary, Orange River Elementary, Ray V. Pottorf Elementary, Tortuga Preserve Elementary and West Zone 3rd Grade Reading Camp site at Patriot Elementary.

Board Member Cathleen Morgan said she has seen the numbers that the district put together about the after school tutoring. She said the fact that student gains did not meet expectations; she believes the fifth semester is the right decision because the district should get better gains with that tactic.

“The numbers didn’t show we were getting the bang for the buck,” Board Member Steve Teuber said about the learning gains.

He said the tutoring did not get discontinued; it just went from external to internal.

“We have to do what is best for our students and our taxpayers,” Teuber said.

Board Member Mary Fischer said she thinks the fifth quarter is a good idea.

“According to information we have from research and past practice, we know that when kids have support over the summer it helps them to maintain and continue their gain,” she said.

In addition, fifth quarter is really good for a lot of parents because the kids might otherwise be on their own during the day over the summer. With daily reinforcement and support, Fischer said it will allow the students to continue to progress.

“Our goal is to get the kids up to where they need to be,” she said. “These are the kids that really need the additional academic support.”

That additional support, Fischer said provides more success in that type of environment that improves their motivation and confidence level.

There is one concern however with the fifth quarter.

Fischer said her concern is for the children that are in the private tutoring program and are making progress.

“What’s the plan in the meantime between January and the beginning of June,” she asked. “What happens to those kids that are making progress and getting support?”

Many of the students received support after school, in their own environment and on the weekends, Fischer said, during their private tutoring. She said the students developed relationships with their tutors during that time.

“My concern is we must have some kind of plan for those children to maintain their progress between now and June. I would like to see us continue that tutoring until the end of the school year, so we don’t interrupt that positive progress,” Fischer said.

Board Member Pamela LaRiviere said she was torn with all kinds of feelings on the tutoring issue.

“I understand the power behind the fifth quarter as well,” she said during the meeting. “Maybe there will be something we can come up with in the meantime. I don’t know what that will be and how that will come. Maybe we can create something and think outside of the box and maybe someone will donate some money that will help pay for that.”

Superintendent Nancy Graham told the board members during the Jan. 13 meeting that the only reasoning for the timing of the cancelation of private tutoring is because of the January-to- January contract.

“We weren’t able to extend for another six months without going into another year,” she said. “We continue to have extensive instruction during the day. Superstars, which is a program we do, is still in place. The children that were using outside matters are able to get into that program without any issues.”

“We are a romance destination”

Lovers Key Resort: A serene retreat on the south end of the island 

Published in South Fort Myers Community Lifestyles October/November issue

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A hidden gem frequented by couples for a romantic getaway is tucked away on the south tip of Fort Myers Beach, providing breathtaking views, an award-winning restaurant and lagoon-style pool to really escape.

“We are a romance destination for anniversaries, honeymoons and special occasions, like Valentine’s Day,” Lovers Key Resort general manager Jeff Bullock said of the property that is catered toward couples. “We have some custom packages for a couple’s getaway destination.”

He said the boutique property opened in 2000 with picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico and Estero Bay from the suites, many of the rooms receiving upgrades and remodels in 2013.

The suites are spacious with a king-sized bedroom and queen-sized sleeper sofa, as well as a full-service kitchen and private balconies overlooking either the Gulf of Mexico or Estero Bay. The units also include a dining room with a table and chairs for four people.

Lovers Key Resort suites offer full-sized kitchen galleys with updated stove, microwave, refrigerator, large sink and spacious granite counter tops.

Lovers Key Resort suites offer full-sized kitchen galleys with updated stove,
microwave, refrigerator, large sink and spacious granite counter tops.

“Many of the units have full floor-to-ceiling windows,” he said. “You
can see all of Lovers Key, as well as the gulf and Fort Myers Beach.”

Several units also include a Jacuzzi tub and separate showers in the full-sized spacious bathrooms.

Bullock said what makes the resort unique is guests see a lot of natural Florida habitat, such as native birds, manatees and dolphins, when staying on the property.


The resort has a lagoon-style pool with a waterfall that sits right on the bay and a 24-hour fitness center that is assessable for all guests. It also public, as well.

Flippers photo

Flippers on the Bay, a restaurant sitting on top of Estero Bay, changed to the current management company in 2011 with new Executive Chef Juan Cruz, originally from El Salvador.

“He came from California to us about three years ago,” Bullock said.

The restaurant was also renovated and remodeled in 2011. The casual, yet elegant atmosphere of Flippers on the Bay is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, primarily serving seafood cuisine.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 11 a.m. offering such favorites as the
Ultimate Lobster Egg Benedict and Lovers Key Breakfast Burrito.

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

The Benedict is comprised of two English muffins, two poached eggs,
fresh succulent lobster meat finished with house-made key lime hollandaise and house-made breakfast potatoes. The burrito is made of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, peppers and cheddar cheese, topped with house-made enchilada sauce, sour cream and house-made breakfast potatoes.

From May through January, the resort offers a room package that
automatically comes with a warm continental breakfast.

The lunch menu is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of the popular
appetizers include Tuna Ceviche and Campechana.

Bohemian Grouper

Bohemian Grouper

The ceviche is fresh yellow fin tuna with pickled ginger, diced cucumbers and avocado relish tossed with sesame seeds, lemon juice, house-made cusabi and Asian garlic sauce. The Campechana is a Spanish-style shrimp cocktail with seasoned shrimp, lump crab meat, avocado, red onion, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno and clamato juice on warm tortilla chips.

Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Some of the favorite menu items include Chilean Sea Bass, Coconut Shrimp and Bohemian Grouper.

The sea bass is pan-seared and served with a citrus miso sauce and
steamed rice. The grouper is seared and served over ripe mashed plantain with roasted seasonal vegetables and topped with a citrus mango relo fish and citron buerre blanc.

Taste of the Bay

Taste of the Bay

Taste of the Bay, fettuccine pasta with succulent lobster meat, shrimp and sea scallops, is another popular dinner item.

The location of the resort also offers many opportunities for guests to take full advantage of the water within walking distance.

Bullock said Lovers Key State Park and many local vendors offer private tours for kayaking, paddle boarding and water sports.

“When they stay here they can access the state park or the local vendors within a mile,” he said of the resort. “Some of them will meet the guests here and access the bay from the resort property.”

LKR photo

Guests can also take a short walk across the street to Fort Myers Beach or travel a mile down the road to Lovers Key State Park.

Lovers Key Resort has a very high rating on Trip Advisor and was voted the Best of the Beach Waterfront Restaurant and Best Place for Lunch on the Water by the Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach’s local entertainment newspaper.


Lovers Key Resort is located at 8771 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.

For more information, call 239-765-1040 or visit LoversKey.com. For
more information about Flippers on the Bay, visit FlippersOTB.com or call 239-765-1025.

Lovers Key