Since August 18, when the halls of Lely High School were reintroduced to its students, Lely JROTC cadets have been tirelessly working toward preparing their program for the all new JPA Formal Inspection. JPA is an acronym standing for JROTC Program Accreditation. The Army JROTC program is accredited by AdvancEd as a Special Purpose Program and as such is committed to continuous improvement. AdvanceEd requires that the Army JROTC program meet five standards of quality. The purpose of the school visits is to gather information and evidence to support the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in the JROTC program. The Trojan Battalion is mentored by Army Instructors CW4 (Ret) Michael Harp and MSG (Ret) Laureano Santiago.
Lely High School JROTC staff are committed to establishing a legacy of excellence as they strive to accomplish their mission- “to motivate young people to be better citizens.” They prepare high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges as American citizens. The program is a stimulus for promoting graduation from high school, prepares the student for post- secondary education, and it provides instruction and rewarding opportunities that will benefit the student, community, and nation.
The 2014-2015 Senior Staff is led by the Battalion Commander Megan Hine and Deputy Commanding Officer Xavier Vecchio. The Senior Leadership Staff was responsible for organizing and executing the requirements of the JPA Formal Inspection. Different than any other year, the JPA Formal Inspection is the U.S. Army’s new standard of judgment in evaluating JROTC programs. Lely High School JROTC was a pilot program to be evaluated by the JPA standards, and the first program in Collier County to be scored. The score on the JPA inspection is the determinant factor in which schools can keep and continue to grow their JROTC programs. After a very successful inspection, Lely JROTC scored a 98.6%, which will truly set the standard for Collier County schools as well as other programs in the state.
The JPA Formal Inspection included components of Continuous Improvement Project Briefing delivered by the Senior Staff, Service Learning Project Briefing delivered by select cadet underclassmen, Battalion open ranks uniform inspection, Drill Team and Color Guard Evaluation, Cadet Portfolio Inspection, and S-1-S-6 Operations check.
The Continuous Improvement Project Briefing was on the topic of successful transitions for seniors onto post-secondary ambitions. The Lely JROTC program utilizes a unique organizational device called the Cadet Five-Year Plan, which is a tool which allows cadets to constantly create, update, and revisit goals. The Five-Year plan allows for cadets to create goals from their freshmen year of high school all the way until the freshman year of college or their chosen post-secondary education. Cadets regularly update and track their goals which will assist them in achieving their goals toward graduation and post-secondary ambitions.
The Service Learning Project was delivered on the JROTC programs primary service learning project. Each year the JROTC program coordinates with the Collier County Public Health Department to plan Health/Vision Screenings in the Collier County Public School System. As a Battalion, Lely provides support to over 8 feeder elementary and middle schools by supplying cadet volunteers to carry out the health/vision screenings. The project saves the Collier County government over $9,000 of taxpayer money and each family approximately $300 by providing this service free of charge.
Senior Staff Inspection focused on operation checks on several different areas. Examiners inspected how operations are ran at Lely High School, showing the efficiency and requirements of each. Itwas required to show each major JROTC event and all the major risks depicted and controlled.
This year, the inspection of the supply areas; weapons, clothing, and equipment, was one of the major areas of the LHS JPA Inspection. The focus of inspection in the supply areas was the cleanliness, orderliness, and supply control within the JROTC program. In conjunction with the supply areas was the corresponding entries into JUMS automated system. The accountability of drill team practice dummy rifles and the security of the JROTC supply, accuracy of personal data records, and system check of cadet information was also inspected. Event records were also shown, including articles posted on school website and local newspapers. The JROTC digital and hardcopy scrapbooks were also shown to illustrate the activity of the JROTC program.
Battalion Commander Megan Hine commented the following on the Formal Inspection “In the beginning of the school year, the staff was presented with this new standard, and we all believed we were way in over our heads. We were all new to our positions as staff members, and now, so suddenly, it became our responsibility to lead the battalion through an inspection that we have never experienced before. As for me, the Battalion Commander of our program, I was fearfully anticipating the arrival of the JPA Inspection, unconfident that my own performance as a leader could successfully complete this Inspection and demonstrate the standard our program truly does set, as the ‘Lely Standard’. But over the course of months and months of preparation we became more and more confident that the Lely Standard could be met and implemented. It was a rigorous task that we worked non-stop on and improved from the first day of school, until the day of the inspection.
As the inspection went on, and we all shook in our shoes, answering inspector’s questions, and presenting our briefs, it became more and more apparent that not only passing the JPA Inspection seemed possible, but scoring in the top percentile of JROTC Programs in the Nation was achievable.
In the end when the inspectors returned to the classroom to tell us our final score, we were more than pleased to discover we achieved an overall score of 98.6%. We, not just as staff members, but as an entire battalion, proved to the county, the Nation, and ourselves, that we are an above average program with above average cadets. We showed that every single cadet in our program is a leader, and is capable of achieving great things. Our 98.6% set the Lely Standard and we are all so thankful to be given this opportunity to succeed and show what we are capable of. I am proud to be the head of such wonderful cadets.”
With help from Lely Principal Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli, school guidance office, and L.H.S. teachers and administrators, the program was able to lead as a premier program in the state of Florida. Instructors and senior cadets from all other JROTC programs in the county came to observe Lely High School in the first JPA Formal Inspection. The JPA Formal Inspection will be held in December of next year again led by the new incoming seniors.
The purpose of our program is to efficiently train/educate JROTC students as effective communicators, global citizens, and users of information technology to be enablers to the students’ advancement of required skill sets in preparation for either advanced levels of education or vocational success. The JPA Formal Inspection has definitely aided us in doing just that!