School Days

Well, it looks like it’s that time of year again. The summer is quickly winding down and Island parents are gearing up to send their kids back to school.

Seeing all the backpacks, pens, pencils, notebooks and folders in the store always reminds me of sending my own children — all now grown — to Pine Island Elementary School.

Island kids were bused all the way over to North Fort Myers until Pine Island Elementary was built in 1960. Because we are on an island, all the kids who live here attend school here. When my kids were young, I thought that was one of the greatest advantages of living on Pine Island.

Before my kids went to school, I knew some of my neighbors and fellow Islanders, but after my kids started attending school, I had the great opportunity to meet so many more Island families. There are usually between 200 and 250 kids attending the school each year — making it small enough to get to know everyone.

In fact, this school really is an important part of the community — for residents with and without kids.

All of the local service clubs rally around the school, hosting fundraisers to help provide everything from additional books and classroom materials to playground equipment. The Beacon of Hope even offers after-school mentoring program for the kids that helps to strengthen social bonds and build academic skills.

This support really makes a difference in the classroom, too. We can all be proud of the school’s record: It’s been rated an “A” school for more than 15 years and the teachers are all highly regarded and well qualified.

While I’m not prone to missing the old days, I do wonder where the time has gone sometimes — especially when I see my children’s childhood friends dropping their own kids off at Pine Island Elementary!