Hertz Corporation donates $10,000 to school district’s teaching academies | News, Sports, Jobs

Hertz Corporation recently donated $10,000 to the Lee County School District for its high school teaching academies, providing funds for things like teacher resources, curriculum, exam vouchers and materials to prepare for industry certification.

“The generous donation from The Hertz Corporation will provide much-needed resources for our high school teaching academies,” Adult and Vocational Education Director Rita Davis said in a prepared statement. “These academies foster a passion for education as they help prepare future educators for the classroom. We remain grateful to business partners like The Hertz Corporation who see the tremendous value of investing in high school career and technical education programs.”

There are six high schools that offer the Education and Training Career Academy, four of which offer Principals of Teaching – Ida S. Baker High School, Riverdale High School, Lehigh Senior High School, and East Lee County High School. The other two high schools, Estero High School and Fort Myers High School, provide early childhood education through the Education and Training Career Academy.

The program, the district said, provides students with educational opportunities, training services, and related learning support with a focus on improving public education services. These are offered in three tracks, including administrative and administrative support, professional support services, and teaching and training.

Graduates of the Teaching Academy receive a talent reservation with the Lee County School District Recruitment Department, which recognizes them as entry into the educational field and leaves a door open to future employment. The prospective teachers receive post-secondary and scholarship opportunities at local colleges and universities.

Career specialist Kelly Thawley said they are a Future Makers partner of Hertz. They began discussing becoming a partner in the Future Makers Coalition and a conversation ensued about goals and hoping to help develop the workforce.

“They wanted to get more involved in society” said Thawley. “They realized they weren’t making a big local impact and looked for ways to get more involved in the community. Because of that, they really had a passion for education.”

As a result, high school students were supported by the donation.

Thawley said much of the academy’s funding comes from federal grants, which involves a process.

“On the ground, this career academy must provide the workforce with high qualifications, high wages and high demand. Since education is not a high-wage area, it cannot use the funding.” She said.

Hertz’s donation is very beneficial and will fill some of the funding gaps, Thawley said.

Nicole Bailey, a teacher-in-training who oversees the Education Career Academies, said without much money coming into the fundraisers, they are being used for textbooks that are either outdated or additional courses have been added.

In addition, it will help fund teacher certifications. Bailey said it will help fund the ServeSafe Food Handling Manager license because teachers work with children and food in classrooms and the need to understand safety is important.

“When a student earns that, the funds flow back into their program. Then they can use it for the curriculum and other things.” She said.

The $10,000 donation will establish these educational academies to be more self-sustaining.

“In their free time, they have to go into the community and solicit sponsorships. It definitely helps them.” said Thawley.

There are currently 555 students enrolled in the educational academies at the six schools, ranging from freshmen to senior students. Some of the programs offer older students the opportunity to intern at a neighboring elementary and middle school for hands-on training in working with students.

At Fort Myers High School it offers “Ripple”, which the municipality can apply for for the 3- and 4-year day-care center. The students prepare the lessons and snacks for the day care center. Bonita High School offers a similar program.

Businesses interested in donating to one of the district’s career academies can do so by visiting www.leeschools.net/cte.

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