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January 2010

Town Hall Meeting

    A Town Hall Meeting with Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner is scheduled for Monday, February 1 at Ponte Vedra High School, 460 Davis Park Road. The meeting is being hosted by Bill Fehling, District 4 School Board representative.
A reception will be held at 6 p.m. hosted by the Northeast Area PTOs, and the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Topics to be discussed include the Class Size Amendment, the new high school grading system, the Race to the Top federal grant and budgets. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.
The Town Hall meeting is an opportunity for the public to hear from the Superintendent and provide comments and feedback.
“I will be sharing information on these important topics but I also want to listen to what our stakeholders have to say,” said Dr. Joyner. “Every citizen in St. Johns County has a vested interest in our school system, and we want to hear their ideas on ways to make our schools better, especially as we begin our new strategic planning process.”


  Science Fair    The 2010 River Region East Science Fair will be held February 2-4 in Building C at First Coast Technical College (FCTC). Approximately 110 science projects representing 124 participants will be on public display on Thursday, February 4, followed by an awards ceremony that evening.
Students will set up their projects on Tuesday, February 2, and judging will be held on Wednesday, February 3. The public is invited to view the projects on Thursday, February 4, from 4 until 6 p.m. in Building C and to attend the awards ceremony afterwards at 6 p.m.
Participation in the fair is open to St. Johns County public, private and home school secondary students. Participating middle schools include Fruit Cove, Landrum, Liberty Pines Academy, Murray, Pacetti Bay, Rogers, Sebastian and Switzerland Point. Participating high schools are Bartram, Creekside, Menendez, Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine.
A maximum of 22 projects will be selected to go on to compete at the State Science Fair scheduled April 7-9 in Orlando. More than 60 percent of St. Johns County student projects competing at the state level last year received awards.  
One grand prize winner will be selected from the high school division of the regional fair to represent St. Johns County at the International Science and Engineering Fair scheduled May 9-14 in San Jose, California.
The St. Johns County science fair coordinator is Mark Lewis.

High School Showcase

The St. Johns County School District is hosting its Fifth Annual High School Showcase on Tuesday, January 26.
The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the St. Johns County Convention Center at the World Golf Village. The public is invited to attend.
All seven high schools will have their career academies, ROTC programs and acceleration programs on display for eighth and ninth grade parents to view.  
Paula Chaon, Interim Director for Career Education, is the event coordinator. For more information on Programs of Study, visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/academies.


  Spelling Bee Winner    Grace Remmer, a fifth grade home school student, won the 2010 St. Johns County School District Spelling Bee held today at the School Board Administration Center. She won by spelling the word “boysenberry” correctly.
Grace is the daughter of Louis and Jennifer Remmer of St. Augustine.
Thirty elementary and middle school students from 24 public, one charter, one home school, and four private schools competed for the honor of representing St. Johns County in the Regional Spelling Bee. The regional competition is scheduled for February 20 in Jacksonville. If for any reason the winner is not able to attend, runner-up Martha Felts of Switzerland Point Middle School will represent the county.
It took twenty-one rounds for the winner to be determined. The participants were congratulated by Bev Slough, School Board member; Dr. Joseph Joyner, Superintendent of Schools; Meredith Strickland, Senior Director for Curriculum and Instructional Services, and Dr. Linda Thomson, Director for Instructional Services.
WFOY-1240 AM Radio broadcast the event live. Media Services also taped the bee and will air it via Comcast SEA-TV Channel 24 next week.
The annual spelling bee is sponsored by the Florida Times-Union. The winner of the regional bee will advance to compete in the national spelling bee scheduled May 23-28 in Washington, D.C.
Laurie Hays, Program Specialist for Elementary Language Arts, served as the spelling bee coordinator.  Pronouncer was George Moon, former Director for Professional Development.
Judges for the event were Sandy Waldeis from Catholic Charities;  Shara Holt, Program Specialist for Secondary Language Arts and Professional Development; and Jim Welu, former Director for Student Services.

Teacher of the Year Finalists

Four finalists for the 2009-2010 St. Johns County Teacher of the Year have been selected from among 33 nominees. They are Diane Ousley of Landrum Middle School (LMS), Wendy Brogdon of Ponte Vedra-Palm Valley/Rawlings Elementary School (PV-PV/RES), MaryCarol Stearns of Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS) and Chassity Johnson of Sebastian Middle School (SMS).
The teachers all received a surprise visit to their classroom today from Superintendent Joseph Joyner and School Board Chairman Bill Mignon to announce their selection as finalists. The winner, along with the Rookie Teacher of the Year, will be announced at the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration on February 11 at TPC Sawgrass.
Ms. Ousley has been a math teacher at LMS since the school opened in 1991 and is currently serving as the math department chairman. She was also Landrum’s Teacher of the Year in 1995-96. Prior to the opening of LMS, she taught math at Nease Junior-Senior High School. A product of St. Johns County Schools, Ms. Ousley willingly tutors students needing extra help and serves as a team leader and mentor to other teachers.
Wendy Brogdon, a kindergarten teacher at PV-PV/RES, has taught for 20 years, the last 14 of those at her current school. She previously taught kindergarten for three different schools in Duval County. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, Ms. Brogdon has served as the kindergarten team leader for the past three years and as a member of the School Advisory Council (SAC), the Spirit Committee and the Child Study Team.  
MaryCarol Stearns, an English teacher at PVHS, is in her third year of teaching in St. Johns County but has 19 years of teaching experience in California. She has received this honor twice before, as Orange County Teacher of the Year in 2001 and as the Irvine District Teacher of the Year in 2000. In addition to creating an inspiring classroom environment, Ms. Stearns serves as SAC secretary and sponsor of the Pink Ribbon Club and the Creative Writing Club.  
Chassity Johnson, a math teacher at Sebastian Middle School, is also in her third year of teaching in St. Johns County. Her previous experience includes four years at Lakeshore Middle School in Duval County where she was named Rookie Teacher of the Year. She serves as the school’s eSIS Teacher Assistant co-trainer, Fall Festival co-chairman and Bible Club sponsor.
The annual awards banquet is sponsored by the St. Johns County Education Foundation to recognize excellence in the teaching profession.

Action Team Nominations

The St. Johns County School District is inviting you to help plan its vision for the future. The school district is embarking on a new strategic planning effort. The current strategic plan is now almost ten years old and was meant to direct the district until 2010.
During the past few months the district has held various focus groups to determine the success of the 2001-2010 plan. Dr. Steve Barone of Transformation Systems, who will facilitate the new strategic planning process, visited the district on January 5 to share information with the School Board, district staff and the community. On January 13-14 the Superintendent hosted four different Community Cafés in different areas of the county to hear from stakeholders about their hopes and ideas for public education during the next ten years.
“The school district has been true to its strategic plan,” said Superintendent Joseph Joyner, “but it’s time for us to revisit the plan. I encourage the community to become involved in helping us create a new educational vision for our young people.”
A new strategic plan will give school district employees, along with area citizens, the opportunity to determine the future direction of the school district and how it can most effectively deal with the numerous societal, legislative, economic and other issues that impact teaching and learning.
The school district invites any interested person to apply to serve on one of the strategic planning teams. Persons may nominate themselves or someone else in the community.  Nominees should plan to attend all scheduled meetings.
Action Planning Team Leaders – individuals with excellent organizational and facilitation skills with a vision for the future. These people will work with groups to determine plans of action for the accomplishment of each strategy. Meetings are scheduled March 24, May 3, June 2, June 7 and September 8.
Action Team Members – individuals willing to learn about, envision and create plans of action for each strategy. Specific strategies will be developed by the Core Planning Team.  Each team of 8-15 people will be assigned to a specific strategy. Meetings are scheduled March 24, May 3, June 2,  June 7 and September 8.
Measurement Team Members – content specific people who are charged with determining how progress on the strategic objectives will be measured. People may apply to serve on this team and others will be recruited once specific strategic objectives are identified. Meetings are scheduled Monday and Tuesday, March 22-23, 2010 and Thursday and Friday, September 9-10. Other meetings will be held as needed.
Individuals interested in working on any of these teams should contact Margie Davidson, Director of Community Relations, at [email protected] or at 547-7504. Applications are available on line at http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/spform and by mail upon request.
Action Teams and the Measurement Team will be formed once the Core Planning Team drafts the new strategic plan on February 12-13. The Superintendent will make selections for each team from the completed applications and based upon the needs of that team.

Town Hall Meeting

 A Town Hall Meeting with Superintendent Joseph Joyner is scheduled for Monday, January 11 at Bartram Trail High School, 7399 Longleaf Pine Parkway. The meeting is being hosted by Beverly Slough, District 1 School Board representative.
A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. hosted by the Northwest PTO/PTA Presidents, and the meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
Topics to be discussed include the new high school grading criteria, differentiated accountability, the Race to the Top federal grant, as well as the upcoming budget.  The Town Hall meeting is an opportunity for the public to hear from the Superintendent and provide comments and feedback.
“I will be sharing information on these important topics but I also want to listen to what our stakeholders have to say,” said Dr. Joyner. “Every citizen in St. Johns County has a vested interest in our school system, and we want to hear their ideas on ways to make our schools better, especially as we begin our new strategic planning process.”