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Daily Archives: March 9, 2012

Charter information goes virtual

Just this week, Lakeland High School started a Web site to keep students, parents, and the community updated on the school’s current pursuit to become a conversion charter school. A conversion charter school is a former public school that has become a charter.

The site is designed to let the community give input as well as ask questions about the process and about what would happen, if and when, Lakeland becomes a charter school. It also allows any rumors that may be formed to be dispelled.   This way, parents can ask questions and stay up-to-date on the process.

On the charter Web site, it addresses why the school decided to pursue charter status.  It states that the decision was made to keep Harrison and Lakeland united in order to provide the best educational opportunities for students. It also states the need for more, “site-based management and an increased ability to make decisions on curriculums and spending,” was a contributing factor as well.   Additionally, the site details the benefits and challenges that charter schools face, so the community is aware that the school has considered both pros and cons.

On Monday, teachers who had volunteered to serve on specific charter committees met with the administration, to find out what their roles would be throughout the process. Principal Tracy Collins said at the meeting, that the goal is to be as forthcoming as possible. She added that what she feels really does not matter, because this is about what’s best for the students of Lakeland High School and Harrison Arts Center.

Another benefit the site provides is a timeline showing the actual process schools must go through to become a conversion charter. Committees formed to make decisions have their own pages on the site which they are responsible for keeping up-to-date, so stakeholders know what the committees are currently working on.

There are currently 14 committees. Committee topics range to include student performance, assessment and evaluation, parent and community support and partnerships, budget, government and employment, and more.

Web site administrator, Frank Webster, said, the goal of the Web site is, “to give light to the process of exploring becoming a conversion charter as well as [allow] stakeholders to ask quetsions or make comments and have a hand in the process.” Comments that are posted will be moderated before being posted live.

To visit the new charter Web site, go to:

Mangrum: Rookie in the classroom; not on the field

David Mangrum, teacher, works on his grades on Friday, March 9. Mangrum is also a coach. Photo by Kiara Aquino

This year, Lakeland High School not only added a new coach, but also a new teacher to the classroom. David Mangrum joined the Social Studies department as both an American and World History teacher and joined the football team as a coach for the defensive backs (DBs).

Mangrum was born in Nebraska and raised in North Carolina, California and Florida. After graduating high school in 1996, he went on to the University of Central Florida, where he majored in History. Other than teaching and coaching he enjoys, “watching football, going to the movies, and hanging out with friends.”

Mangrum is a first-year teacher at LHS and has only been teaching for two years cumulatively. Mangrum said, “It is a great school. My co-workers and administration are very helpful.” Mangrum left his job as a teacher at West Orange High in Winter Garden seeking “an opportunity.”  Teaching was not always Mangrum’s first choice though.

At first, Mangrum wanted to join the military. After deciding not to, he pursued his second option, teaching. In Mangrum’s short two-year experience, he said he enjoys, “seeing the growth of students” and is yet to find something he dislikes about his profession. Mangrum’s students agree that Mangrum has helped them grow as students.

“Coach is laid back and a pretty cool teacher,” said Robert Campos, sophomore.

Junior, David Caldwell, added, “Coach is a good teacher; he’s funny and he’s cool.”

Football has always been a passion for Mangrum. He played football all through high school and then went on to become a coach, first at the high school level. He has coached at the high school level for eight years.

Effort pays off for Eagle Scout

Image curtsy of courtesy of

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men.  Jordan Ruhl, senior, is one of those.

Ruhl joined the Boy Scouts in 2004. “A lot of my friends were doing it,” Ruhl said. “It seemed fun.”

To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout,  ”you have to do a community service project, demonstrate leadership and achieve other qualities,” Ruhl said.

His project was to build a handicap accessible ramp and platform at a Lakeland’s own Lake Parker Park. However, to be able to make his project he had to first create plans and get it approved by the City, get a building permit, and hire a contractor and an architect. Ruhl participated in the building of the ramp.

“Overall it took me about six months to plan it and carry it out,” Ruhl said.

One of the most difficult parts of the Eagle Scout project, is simply coming up with an idea. Ruhl said, “This project was suggested to me by a friend at church and I took it on as a challenge.”

Ruhl still met some difficulties, such as getting his plan approved by the City and making it a cost-effective project.

“I had to fundraise,” Ruhl said, of acquiring the necessary funds.

While throughout the experience there were some difficulties, Ruhl also learned some lessons along the way. He says it taught him how to be patient, diligent and punctual. He also was able to work on many leadership qualities.

Ruhl says he is proud of what he accomplished.

“I am glad I went through this because it taught me so many things,” he said. “It’ll help me throughout my life.”