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New Bus for school

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MISSION: “To prepare students for college and career success through an individually paced. Technology-paced, flexibility-scheduled program”.

About ten years ago, a woman named Donna Beasley had the vision to open a school to offer a second chance to high school students. Ms. Beasley was the Executive Director of Tri-County Apprenticeship Academy (TCAA), an evening school where local trade companies send their employees for national certification. She wanted to provide a pathway for a diploma and a trade career.

Our public charter high school, grades 9-12, provides a pathway toward a high school diploma in a non-traditional format. This approach has had a positive effect on student achievement. Students who could not
achieve in a traditional school have found our system conducive, which has resulted in many graduations. Graduates have gone on to college, the military, and the workforce.

There are seven non-traditional high schools in Lee County. We are the smallest in size, but we offer quite a bit for young adults to have their best chance at success. We are the only non-traditional charter high school in Lee County providing school bus transportation. It is important to ensure our students are safe and can access our school. Once at the school, students will find a proactive staff in following their progress. Typically, we offer multiple sessions; however, due to the COVID virus, we have one session with teachers available until 10 pm to assist those working from home online.

Besides offering a small school setting, we provide direction for a trade career. The adult night school TCAA we partner with offers national certification in Electric, Plumbing, Air Conditioning, Welding, and Fire Sprinklers. Regardless of career path, all students must take a CORE course. DJB offers the course CORE and Electrical. When a student graduates with their diploma and has taken CORE, we will present that graduate to TCAA and their affiliates. Students will be able to pursue any one of the five trades. Once hired on as full-time workers, the employers have offered to pay any tuition and book costs for these individuals to continue their national certification.

The result is that they could be nationally certified in their chosen trade by the time they are about 23 years old. A career that is not going overseas, no 20-year college loan, and regardless of the economy, electricians, plumbers, and air conditioning will always work here in SW Florida.

Donna J. Beasley has a good working relationship with the School District of Lee County and received a Commendable grade, the highest rating from the State of Florida Board of Education. Our school is growing every year. Our home is right here in Lehigh Acres. We are locally owned and managed, not part of any chain. We provide the individual help that so many are looking for.

According to Census American Community Survey 2018, with a population of approximately 119,205 people, Lehigh Acres is the 16th most populated city in Florida out of 919 cities. Hispanics and Blacks make up about 58%, while whites make up about 39%. In 2018, the median household income of Lehigh Acres residents was $46,816. However, 20.2% of Lehigh Acres residents live in poverty. The median age for Lehigh Acres residents is 33.7 years young. The News-Press reported 2018 that Lehigh Acres was ranked number one in fastest growing cities in America. This growth included population, an increase in business, and technology companies.

Donna J. Beasley Technical Academy is a public charter high school. Our source of income is the same as any public high school in the State of Florida. Our funding is based on student enrollment. When we relocated to our current location, we only had 54 students. The school’s last location was unpopular with many families, so the school relocated to Lehigh Acres, where we currently have a population of 200. We will continue to grow to the district charter of 300. Unfortunately, we cannot continue to grow at the desired rate due to a lack of space. With the “Commendable” grade given by the State of Florida, the highest grade possible to achieve for an identified At-Risk school, and the professional relationship with the Lee County School District, our enrollment will continue to increase significantly. The result will be the school will have much more sustainable growth. Besides the revenues from the State of Florida Board of Education, the school has a Consultant who seeks to identify grants that will provide much-needed resources.


Ronald Renna
Lehigh Acres, FL

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