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July 2012

AP Exams

The number of students in the St. Johns County School District taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams last year increased by 14 percent, and the number of exams taken by students increased by 17 percent. Students scoring high enough to qualify for college credit rose by 6 percent. This continues the district’s and state trend of increasing numbers of test-takers and exams. The AP program enables students to take college-level courses while still in high school.

In spring 2012, 3,204 St. Johns County high school students took 6,248 AP exams. Of the total number taken, 58.5 percent received a grade high enough to qualify for college credit.

The district also saw an increase in the participation of minority groups. There was an 8 percent increase in the number of African-American students taking AP exams and a 10 percent increase in the number of exams they took. In addition, there was a 13 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students taking AP exams and a 23 percent increase in the number of exams they took.

“Typically, a large increase in the number of tests taken would be accompanied with a drop in scores, however we continue to increase our success rate,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “I am very proud of the number of students taking the AP exams and the number of exams they are taking. We continue to score above the state average both in the number of exams taken and in the amount of students scoring high enough for college credit. These numbers represent the dedication of our students as well as the efforts and vision of our high school principals, guidance counselors and teachers.” AP courses taken for college credit by St. Johns County students include Art History; Biology; Calculus AB and BC; Chemistry; English Language and Composition; English Literature and Composition; Environmental Science; European History; Human Geography; Languages including Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish; Macroeconomics; Microeconomics; Music Theory; Physics B; Physics C Electricity and Magnetism; Physics C Mechanics; Psychology; Spanish Literature; Studio Art Drawing and 2-D and 3-D Design, U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. History and World History.

Free and Reduced Lunch

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) has announced its policy for free and reduced-price meals for students unable to pay full price for meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and Child Care Food Program. Anyone interested may review a copy of the policy by contacting Elizabeth Binninger, SJCSD director of Food and Nutrition Services, 10 Hildreth Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084 or (904) 547-3961 or toll free 1-(866) 984-7084.

Household size and income criteria will be used to determine eligibility. An application cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information. Once approved, meal benefits are good for an entire year. You need not notify the school district of changes in income and household size.

Application forms will be sent home with a letter to parents or guardians or a copy can be found on the Food and Nutrition Service’s website. To apply for Free or Reduced-Price Meals, households must complete the application and return it to the school or district office, or an application can be completed online. Additional copies are also available at the front office in each school. The information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Households that receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) are required to list on the application only the child’s name, SNAP/TANF case number, and signature of adult household member.

Foster children will receive free benefits regardless of the child’s personal income or the income of the household.

Households with children who are considered migrants, homeless, or runaway should contact the district liaison Chamane Williams (904) 547-7587.

For the purpose of determining household size, deployed service members are considered a part of the household. Families should include the names of the deployed service members on their application. Report only that portion of the deployed service member’s income made available to them or on their behalf to the family. Additionally, a housing allowance that is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative is not to be included as income.

All other households must provide the following information listed on the application:

  • Total household income listed by gross amount received, type of income (e.g., wages, child support, etc.) and how often the income is received by each household member to include all children whether in a school or not;
  • Names of all household members – check the “no income” box if applicable; if household member is a child, list school name for each;
  • Signature of an adult household member certifying the information provided is correct; and
  • The last four digits of the social security number of the adult signing the application or the word “NONE” for this household member if he or she does not have a social security number.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size changes, the district should be contacted. Children of parents or guardians who become unemployed should also contact the district.

Under the provisions of the Free and Reduced-Price meal policy, the Food Service Director or approved designee will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent or guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling of the official, he or she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If the parent wishes to make a formal appeal, he or she may make a request either orally or in writing to the Director of Student Services, 40 Orange Street, St Augustine, FL 32084, 904-547-7536.

Unless indicated otherwise on the application, the information on the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application may be used by the school system in determining eligibility for other educational programs.


Household Size Annual Monthly Twice per Month Every Two Weeks Weekly
1 14,521 1,211 606 559 280
2 19,669 1,640 820 757 379
3 24,817 2,069 1,035 955 478
4 29,965 2,498 1,249 1,153 577
5 35,113 2,927 1,464 1,351 676
6 40,261 3,356 1,678 1,549 775
7 45,409 3,785 1,893 1,747 874
8 50,557 4,214 2,107 1,945 973
For each additional family member, add 5,148 429 215 198 99



Household Size Annual Monthly Twice per Month Every Two Weeks Weekly
1 20,665 1,723 862 795 398
2 27,991 2,333 1,167 1,077 539
3 35,317 2,944 1,472 1,359 680
4 42,643 3,554 1,777 1,641 821
5 49,969 4,165 2,083 1,922 961
6 57,295 4,775 2,388 2,204 1,102
7 64,621 5,386 2,693 2,486 1,243
8 71,947 5,996 2,998 2,768 1,384
For each additional family member, add 7,326 611 306 282 141

To determine annual income:

If you receive the income every week, multiply the total gross income by 52. If you receive the income every two weeks, multiply the total gross income by 26. If you receive the income twice a month, multiply the total gross income by 24. If you receive the income monthly, multiply the total gross income by 12.

Remember: The total income before taxes, social security, health benefits, union dues, or other deductions must be reported.

“In accordance with Federal Law, and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

School Grades

School grades released today shows that the St. Johns County School District has maintained its ranking as one of the top performing districts in the state. St. Johns County had 16 “A” schools, seven “B” schools and two “C” schools.

Eleven elementary schools, four middle schools and the district’s only K-8 school were “A” schools this year.

“With the constant changes in the criteria, school grades have become a much less reliable measure of school success,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “We are much more focused on the growth of each individual child. In spite of these changes, our students met the challenge and I could not be more proud.”

The 11 elementary schools retaining their “A” status, include Cunningham Creek Elementary, Durbin Creek Elementary, Hartley Elementary, Hickory Creek Elementary, R. B. Hunt Elementary, Julington Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Elementary, Ocean Palms Elementary, PVPV/Rawlings Elementary, Timberlin Creek Elementary and Wards Creek Elementary. The four middle schools with an “A” status are Fruit Cove Middle, Landrum Middle, Pacetti Bay Middle, and Switzerland Point Middle. Also receiving an “A” is Liberty Pines Academy (K-8).

Schools receiving a “B” include Ketterlinus Elementary, Mason Elementary, Osceola Elementary, South Woods Elementary, Murray Middle, Sebastian Middle and Gamble Rogers Middle. Schools receiving a “C” include Crookshank Elementary and The Webster School.

“The commitment and dedication of our students, teachers, parents, administrators and support staff is evident and I am very appreciative of their hard work,” he added. “These high marks are proof that our focus remains on outstanding performance and as always we will continue to look for ways to improve. It is gratifying to see that our efforts are reflected in this year’s grades.”

High school grades are expected to be released later this year.

Principal Appointments

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) announced two new principal appointments today. Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner has named these appointments which will become effective July 1, pending School Board approval.

Bethany E. Nelson-Mitidieri, principal of Suwannee Intermediate School in Live Oak, FL, has been named the new principal of The Webster School. Nelson-Mitidieri has worked with Exceptional Student Education (ESE) programs as a teacher and administrator since 1995 in school districts within New York and Florida. She has been responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing all areas of a Title 1 school servicing approximately 700 fourth- and fifth-grade students. Under her leadership, student achievement realized significant academic gains during the 2010-2011 school year. Nelson-Mitidieri holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, NY, and a master’s degree from State University College at New Paltz.

“Ms. Nelson-Mitidieri has an enormous amount of knowledge and experience in working with ESE students,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “She has shown her ability to motivate staff and students to improve performance and raise expectations. She is the perfect individual for this position and will continue to build on the success of The Webster School that took place under Mr. Leidigh’s leadership.”

Nelson-Mitidieri replaces George Leidigh, principal of The Webster School, who will become the Supervisor of Federal Projects at the SJCSD office. In his new role, Leidigh will be responsible for supervising Title I, Title II, Title III, Language Acquisition and other state and federal programs as well as Race to the Top reporting.

Christine Stephan, principal of Northpoint Elementary School (NES) in Granger, IN, has been named the new principal of Timberlin Creek Elementary School. Stephan has worked in education for more than 25 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She has served as the principal at NES since 2005 where the school has achieved Indiana Four Star Status for six consecutive years, and was designated as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2010. NES was also recognized as the number one school in Indiana on in 2010. Stephan holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University, and a master’s degree from Ball State University.

“Ms. Stephan has proven her exceptional ability to lead a school,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “We welcome her and know that this will be a smooth transition for the faculty, students, support staff and parents at Timberlin Creek as Ms. Hutchins moves on to be the new principal at South Woods Elementary School.”


The St. Johns County School District is encouraging parents to register kindergarten students and new students to the county and/or the public school system before school starts on August 20.

Even though elementary and middle schools are currently operating out of their area high school, parents may contact schools at their regular phone number to register their children. Parents are also able to go to the high school to register their children. The schools are currently operating Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To be eligible for kindergarten, children must be 5 years old on or before September 1 and must reside in St. Johns County. To register for first grade, children must be 6 years old on or before September 1 and have successfully completed kindergarten.

The child’s certified birth certificate is required at the time of registration and only the legal name is acceptable on student records. In addition, parents should bring two proofs of residency: current utility bill, lease, and/or mortgage statement. Florida law also requires any student entering a Florida school for the first time to show proof of certain immunizations and physical examinations.

A physical examination that has been performed within one year prior to enrollment in school will be accepted. Physical examinations can be acquired from either a private physician or from the county health department.

In addition, there will be a registration day on Saturday July 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ponce de Leon Mall for Crookshank, Ketterlinus, Osceola, South Woods and Otis Mason elementary schools as well as The Webster School.

Parents should visit the individual schools’ websites for registration information. Additional information on registration and school attendance zones can be obtained from the Student Services Office at 547-7598.