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November 2012

Ponte Vedra High School Earns Power-Library Award

The St. Johns County School District recently received one of the state’s 15 2012 Florida Power-Library Schools (FPLS) awards. The school recognized was Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS).

This statewide recognition is awarded to schools that involve their school faculty members, parents and students in developing and implementing outstanding library media programs focused on student achievement.

PVHS also won this award in 2009. Three other St. Johns County schools have received the FPLS award; Liberty Pines Academy in 2011, Wards Creek Elementary in 2010 and Timberlin Creek Elementary in 2009 and 2011/2012. There are currently only 61 schools in the state which have been awarded this recognition after undergoing a rigorous review process.

Based on the FPLS reviewers’ evaluations, the winning schools’ library media programs received excellent scores in the following components: Instruction, Curriculum/Assessment, Resource Management, Program Administration, Environment and Advocacy.

The FPLS award is valid for a period of three years. During that time, the schools have agreed to mentor other schools from around the state in their quest to develop quality library media programs.

The FPLS award is sponsored by the Florida Association of Supervisors of Media (FASM) in collaboration with the Florida Association of Media in Education (FAME) and the Florida Department of Education. The Florida Power-Library Program is based on the Colorado Power Libraries Program that highlights schools with a collaborative approach to improving student achievement.

The formal presentation of the FPLS award was made at the Opening General Session of the FAME Conference on Thursday, November 1 in Orlando. Ponte Vedra High School received a banner, and Principal Craig Speziale and School Librarian Lisa Barnett received lapel pins in recognition of their success. Ponte Vedra High School will be honored at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, December 11.

2013-2014 Proposed Calendar

The St. Johns County School District is seeking comments on the proposed 2013-2014 school calendar.

A survey link is now available on the school district website for community members to provide input on the calendar. The proposed calendar can be downloaded and printed.

The survey link can be accessed at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/calendar or under “What’s New” on the school district home page. Individuals are encouraged to submit any ideas, suggestions or concerns about the proposed calendar.

Feedback will be collected through December 4.

The final proposed calendar must be approved by the School Board.

AP District Honor Roll

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) has been recognized for achieving significant gains in both Advanced Placement (AP) access and student performance by the College Board with placement on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll. SJCSD joins school districts throughout the U.S. and Canada for simultaneously increasing access to AP course work while increasing the number of students earning a level 3 or higher on AP exams.

“Achieving this honor is a testament to the hard work of our students and the diligence of teachers, principals and district staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “I am extremely proud of our ability to provide accessibility to the AP exam and consistently increase scores and students taking the test.”

Districts accomplishing both of these goals create the ideal scenario for an AP program because it indicates that these districts are successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP course work. The SJCSD is one of the 539 school districts across 44 of 50 states in the U.S. and six Canadian providences to achieve this status.

“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in these 539 districts, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing,” said College Board President David Coleman. “These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level—which is helping to create a strong college-going culture.”

In the last decade, participation in the AP Program has more than doubled and graduates succeeding on AP exams have nearly doubled. In May 2012, 2.1 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.7 million AP exams.

The College Board is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity and is made up of more than 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and success—including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. For more information on the College Board, visit www.collegeboard.org.

School Board Annual Reorganization Meeting

On Tuesday, November 20, the St. Johns County School Board will hold its annual Reorganization meeting at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the School Board Administrative Building located at 40 Orange Street.

Two school board members will be sworn in, including new member Patrick Canan. Mr. Canan, elected in the primary election in August representing District 5, replaces Carla Wright who retired earlier this month. Re-elected in District 2 is Tommy Allen, retaining the seat he has held since 1996. Mr. Allen also served as the school board member for District 2 from 1984-1992.

The other board members are Beverly Slough, District 1; Bill Mignon, District 3 and Bill Fehling, District 4.

Patrick Canan has been a resident of St. Johns County since 1990. He and his wife have three children, who attend or have attended St. Johns County Schools.

Mr. Canan earned his bachelor’s and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Florida. He is a former Assistant Public Defender in Alachua and Monroe Counties and Assistant State Attorney/Division Chief in St. Johns County. Canan is the founder and President of Patrick T. Canan P.A., a litigation firm located in St. Augustine. He also is a former adjunct professor at Flagler College.

Following the swearing in, the floor will be open for nominations for the 2012-2013 Board Chair and Vice Chair. The agenda includes setting the board and workshop meeting schedules through November 2013, the appointment of board members to several committee assignments or liaison positions as well as a review of the Standing Rules, Standards and Ethics and approval of the use of facsimile signatures. There will be time for public comment before adjourning.

The annual meeting of the School Board Leasing Corporation will immediately follow the Reorganization Meeting.

The meeting agendas and additional information about the School Board can be found on the St. Johns County School District website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/board/.

K-12 Public School Facility Funding Task Force’s Final Report

Today, St. Johns County School District Superintendent and task force member Dr. Joseph Joyner objected to and voted against the K-12 Public School Facility Funding Task Force’s Final Report as it failed to fulfill the task force’s mission, shifts the responsibility of funding charter school capital outlay needs to local school boards and places the district’s operating budget at risk, allows nearly unfettered access to capital outlay dollars to for-profit charter schools who are accredited, and allows for duplicative student stations.

The task force met via conference call today to vote on the final report, which includes a recommendation requiring school districts to provide annual compulsory charter school capital outlay funding to charter schools by levying up to an additional .25 mills against the ad valorem taxable value of the district or from any other authorized fund source, including operating funds, should the school board choose not to levy the additional millage. Dr. Joyner has issued the following statement with regard to this final report:

“I felt it imperative that the task force look outside just amending existing statutory language and explore all available and potential revenue sources in order to identify a stable and reliable state funding source to adequately fund capital requirements for both charter schools and traditional schools.  I do not believe we, as a task force, have fully fulfilled that overarching purpose.

The proposal as set forth by the task force appears to represent a change in policy, which shifts the responsibility of funding K-12 public school facilities and specifically, charter school facilities, from the State to local school boards.  The recommendation seems to place a priority on funding charter school capital outlay over traditional public schools and potentially hurts school districts if their boards choose not to levy the additional millage on their taxpayers, as they would have to instead come up with the funds out of their existing already limited operating resources.

As the superintendent of a rapidly growing school district that has lost access to more than $40 million in capital funds over the last five years, I am especially sensitive to the capital needs of Florida’s traditional public schools and place great emphasis on being a good steward of taxpayer dollars.  I could not support a recommendation that allows for charter school student stations to be built across the street from a school that has seats available, thus constructing duplicative space.  Moreover, the recommendation provides that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited charter schools will be eligible for compulsory charter school capital outlay funds, regardless of fulfilling a need in the district.  In these difficult economic times, the taxpayers of St. Johns County have entrusted their school board to use their taxpayer dollars prudently and efficiently; this task force recommendation does not allow for this.”

Dr. Joyner was appointed by Senate President Mike Haridopolos to the task force as the “superintendent from a small to medium sized school district based on population.”  Factors the task force were to examine included, but were not limited to: charter school facility funding needs, existing funding and revenue sources available for fixed capital outlay needs of charter schools and schools operated by a school district, long-term debt for school facilities, class size requirements and the impacts of such requirements on facilities funding needs, and district facilities utilization.

The task force was required by law to complete its work and submit its recommendations by December 1, 2012, to the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, the chair of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, and the Executive Office of the Governor.