The State of Florida passed significant legislation during their legislating term this previous spring which has resulted in changes to the Collier County Public School System.
“There has been a restructuring of district leadership which always comes with change and new roles,” Naples High School principal Kristina Lee said.
CCPS has a new superintendent this year, following the resignation of Dr. Kamela Patton. Dr. Lesli Ricciardelli is an alumna of the Collier County area’s elementary, middle and high schools. Her appointment was finalized in May 2023.
“Dr. Ricciardelli is committed to being involved with school improvement across CCPS, including Naples High School,” Lee said. “She is an alumnus of Naples High School, so she is also cognizant of the special history and traditions that have become part of our school culture.”
The most discussed change passed by the state has been the ‘book ban’ in Florida schools. At Naples High School, every student must sign a consent form to check books out of the library. Some teachers have found this change difficult to navigate around in their attempt at educating in the classroom.
“If part of my job is to inspire students to be life-long readers, then I want to be able to provide them with a classroom library that reflects not only the importance of literacy but texts that reflect who they are and what they are interested in,” AP English teacher Gina Travis said.
Pronouns and nicknames have also lost their place in the public school system this year as the state is enforcing the usage of ‘biological’ pronouns, he/him and she/her. This is directly correlated to bathroom usage, as they are enforcing male and female bathrooms. To go by a nickname, you must have a form signed by a parent that authorizes the usage of the name in the classroom.
“I don’t personally care too much mainly because the majority of students use [biological] pronouns and it’s a very small minority at NHS that could feel a little threatened by the sudden ban,” NHS senior Kailie Toreky said. “I don’t think students would be negatively affected by this, and if so, they would not rudely disrupt the class environment in order to make a change.”
NHS is fully committed to abiding by and supporting these changes at the state and district level. Principal Lee believes that there is good reason to trust the decision-makers and is hopeful for the future of NHS and CCPS.
“I think that a continued commitment to listen to the insight and expertise of all stakeholders with regards to programming and district initiatives is a move in the right direction and I hope it continues,” Lee said.