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Instructional Services News

Spelling Bee

The St. Johns County Spelling Bee was held January 17 at First Coast Technical College.  Students in grades fifth through eighth from 33 public and private schools participated. The winner was Carly Miller, an eighth-grader from Switzerland Point Middle School and runner-up was Jackson Willis, an eighth-grader from Liberty Pines Academy. Both will advance to the regional bee in Jacksonville Saturday, March 9.

The pronouncer for the event was Linda Villadoniga, retired SJCSD teacher. Judges were Cheryl Freeman and Jay DiMartino, both SJCSD employees and Sandy Waldies, community representative.

The Character Cup

The Character Cup, a student-centered event highlighting physical education, links academics and character education through athletic competition.  Two hundred student-athletes representing 20 elementary schools participated in the 2017 event and this year’s event looks to be even bigger and better.

The 2018 Character Cup will take place March 21 at St. Augustine High School.  Parents, teachers, administrators, school mascots and community members are strongly encouraged to come out in support of these hard-working students. The Character Cup Trophy will once again be awarded to the winning team for display at their elementary school during the 2018-2019 school year.

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School Saturday, May 5 from 8 – 11 a.m.  The purpose of this event is to encourage and celebrate student interest in STEM, and to use these to help solve real-world problems. Teachers, parents, administrators, and community members are welcome to attend.

Science Fair

The St Johns County Science Fair was February 7at First Coast Technical College (FCTC). The awards ceremony was held February 8 at FCTC.

STEM Event for Seventh and Eighth Grade Girls

The American Association of University Women partnered with St. Johns County School District to offer our first STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Spark Event on Saturday, October 21, 2017.  More than 80 seventh and eighth grade girls from St. Johns County attended the STEM Spark Day at Sebastian Middle School.  The purpose of STEM Spark Day was to “spark” an interest and broaden the girls’ understanding of STEM fields and careers.

Sixteen women in STEM Careers shared their passion and provided insight into their chosen fields. Careers represented by the women included:

  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Statistician
  • Psychologist
  • Environmental Outreach Educator
  • Marine Scientist
  • EMT/Firefighter
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Physical Therapist
  • ER Physician
  • Software Engineer
  • Medical Assistant,
  • Dentist
  • Industrial Engineer

Students had an opportunity to learn from and ask questions of these STEM careers women in small group sessions and a panel of five of the women who talked about how they chose their field, the path they took to get to their current job and hear advice on how to learn more about opportunities available in STEM fields.  Parents also attended the panel discussion with their daughters and received information about preparing for high school from SJCSD Guidance Specialists.  According to student feedback, the best part of the day was the “mingle session” where students and parents could continue talking with the women informally.

Fidelity Checks for Reading Instruction Underway

St. Johns County School District receives funds from the state to assist in funding instructional literacy coaches.  The district provides additional funds so that every school has an instructional coach.  In order to receive the state funds, the district submits our Comprehensive Reading Plan, which is available online for any district.

The district conducts a visit to each school to confirm that the Comprehensive Reading Plan is being followed with fidelity – that appropriate and effective reading instruction is occurring at each school.  The directors for elementary and secondary instructional services visit classrooms at each school for this purpose during the second quarter.  Feedback from the fidelity check is provided to the school and can be used to improve instruction in English/Language arts.

Congratulations to High School Bands

Congratulations to Bartram Trail, Creekside, Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine high schools’ bands, winter guard and band directors for achieving superior (highest) rating at the recent Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) District 21 marching band Music Performance Assessments, hosted by Bartram Trail. The elaborate marching programs performed during halftime at football games culminate in the FBA district competitions, where they compete with bands from Clay, Putnam and Flagler counties for ratings in marching, music, general effect and auxiliary (Winter Guard) categories.

Parent Resource Guide and Student Progression Plan will be available in mid-September

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) publishes two documents to assist parents and students with information about instruction, assessment, promotion and retention, advanced academic opportunities, and more.  Both documents are revised annually and the 17-18 publications will be reviewed the September 19 School Board meeting.

The Parent Resource Guide:

  • Defines terms commonly used by educators
  • Gives examples of skills that children are taught in each grade
  • Explains what will happen if your children fall behind and what help is offered to catch up
  • Describes opportunities for advanced academics at the elementary, middle and high school level
  • Suggests what parents, as partners in the learning process, can do at home

Parents are encouraged to use the guide as a starting point for extended communication with teachers, school and district administrators, and most importantly, with their children.

The Student Progression Plan

The Student Progression Plan includes:

  • standards for evaluating each student’s performance, including how well he or she masters the performance standards approved by the State Board of Education,
  • specific levels of performance in reading, writing, science, and mathematics for each grade level, including the levels of performance on statewide assessments,
  • appropriate alternative placement for a student who has been retained two or more years, and
  • procedures for informing each student and his or her parents/guardians of the student’s academic progress

The SJCSD Student Progression Plan is a contract delineating what a student must know and be able to do to be promoted and what the district will do to help the student meet the requirements for promotion.

The Student Progression Plan is governed by state statutes and district policy. All procedures listed in the Student Progression Plan are subject to change due to School Board or legislative action. Students are placed in programs and levels best suited to meet their academic needs and customized learning path, with consideration given to their social, emotional and physical development.

Decisions regarding student promotion, retention and special placement are primarily the responsibility of the individual school’s professional staff. District and state regulations place the responsibility for decisions regarding student placement with the principal and the Child Study Team or its equivalent.

It is the responsibility of the School Board and district administration to provide students with effective instructional and remedial programs that accomplish the following:

  • monitor student progress,
  • promote continuous achievement,
  • make provisions for individual differences,
  • promotes students’ assuming responsibility for their learning and attendance
  • provide effective, engaging instruction and remediation, and
  • document instruction in, and student mastery of, the standards.