Welcome to Observer School Zone!

This new feature will deliver unparalleled coverage of West Orange County's education community.

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As I pen this column introducing you to our new Observer School Zone, my oldest child is about halfway through his first day of sixth grade. My middle is starting her fourth-grade year, and my youngest just moved up a room in her preschool.

This day — Monday, Aug. 12 — began with a 5:10 a.m. alarm. Then: showers, getting dressed, breakfast, brushing of hair (and several reminders to do the same to teeth), obligatory first-day-of-school photos outside our front door, a text from my wife to remind our 11-year-old son about deodorant (you’re welcome, teachers), a last-second panic when we couldn’t find a class schedule and a minor bike-to-scooter crash on the way to middle school. 

But by the time the Eng Ubers made their final stops, all three were delivered to their destinations, on-time and with minimal bloodshed.

So, as I rely on a steady stream of caffeine to pull me through the rest of Monday, I am delighted to welcome you to Observer School Zone. Regular readers of the Observer know we fill our pages with hyper-local content created and curated specifically for our readers in West Orange County. We’re unapologetically “homers” for our community. We work here, live here and raise our families here. 

And with more than 50 schools operating within the West Orange community (special shout-out to our three newest schools: Castleview and Water Spring elementaries and Horizon West Middle), we know education is a critical component of what makes West Orange such a special place. That’s the inspiration behind Observer School Zone.

Each week, you will find unparalleled, unique schools content within the pages of the Observer as well as online at ObserverSchoolZone.com. Starting next week, we will launch a new feature, Influencer of the Week, through which we will spotlight school staff members whose presence has had a lasting and positive impact on students. Online, we are launching a School Bulletin Board, on which we will post announcements, reminders and other tidbits. Through Observer School Zone, we will have more opportunities to celebrate accomplishments and achievements within West Orange education, giving you the most comprehensive schools coverage available — reliably and consistently.

Furthermore, we’re working on some partnerships to have our staffers assist journalism initiatives at several of our schools. If you happen to see one of our Observerites out and about, please do say hello. We’d love to hear from you.

Parents: We did look into seeing how Observer School Zone could alter the Central Florida weather pattern and delay afternoon thunderstorms until after pick-up. But alas, we don’t have that kind of power, so, unfortunately, the 30/30 is still going to remain the occasional inconvenience.

Nevertheless, we hope Observer School Zone inspires, entertains and informs. And if you have any suggestions, story ideas or feedback, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.




Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

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