SR 5-26-16 Volume 5, Issue 20

The closing of the school year gives me the opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to the many dedicated individuals who contribute to the success of our district.

We are most fortunate to have incredible parents who not only provide a supportive home environment, but are ready to assist our schools with every need. Thank you for your trust and for your support.

Our teaching staff is truly the most dedicated and committed group of people that I have had the opportunity to work with. I am most proud that in the face of external forces at work, along with the challenges of a rapidly growing district, our teachers kept their focus on the students. I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for an outstanding year. Our many accomplishments would not be possible without your devotion.

This year is especially meaningful as I reflect on my final graduation ceremonies as your superintendent and the privilege of serving this wonderful community for the past 13 years. They have been the most professionally rewarding of my career, and I have all of you to thank for it.

Commencement ceremonies mark the end of our career with these students but the beginning of the next phase of their lives. It was a joy to see just over 2,000 graduates walk across the stage. I was in awe of how this year’s class not only excelled academically, but truly showed their great character and servant leadership qualities. Even more poignant is that I have taken this journey with this graduating class, starting here as your superintendent when they were entering kindergarten. We wish these graduating seniors all the best as they move on to their next step in life.

I also want to say a special thanks to our support staff.  From bus drivers, to cafeteria workers, to administrators, to clerical staff, to custodians, we have the very best.  Thank you for making this a special year for children.

We are fortunate to have a school board who makes decisions based on a philosophy of “children first.” Their leadership during difficult times has demonstrated the true character of our board, and I am proud to work with every one of them.

Our community is special because we value everyone who is a part of it…especially our wonderful children.

Best wishes for a relaxing and rewarding summer, and I look forward to an outstanding 2016-2017 school year.

 

Department Update

Community Relations

Superintendent Search

Applicants who are interested in applying to become the next Superintendent of Schools for St. Johns County School District may now download and complete the Superintendent Application Form. The completed and signed application and all supporting materials must be emailed [email protected] no later than midnight on July 15, 2016.

Media Services

The video production team has been involved with promoting sports opportunities for women throughout district high schools in conjunction with Title IX. The female athletes of St. Johns County have proven to not only be extremely talented at their respective sports, but they also model high levels of character that are paramount to our district. We are very proud to highlight their careers and experiences during their time in high school and promote their legacy to incoming freshmen.

Every year St. Johns County participates in the Jim Harbin Video Contest in which students produce and film their own video productions to compete in a variety of categories. This year’s contest was very encouraging as we had a large number of entries as well as quite a few high school entries. District winners were selected in the beginning of May and will now compete in the regional contest. The regional winners will be announced at the end of May or the beginning of June.

RSVP/Volunteer Services

RSVP of St. Johns County

RSVP volunteers have been very busy this year fulfilling their mission to assist students with their educational pursuits, mobilize community volunteers for service and assist not-for-profit agencies in St. Johns County with special support.  They made a huge impact on academic achievement this year.  More than 600 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade received literacy enhancement, tutoring or mentoring services.  The results were higher achievement levels, increased attendance and decreased disruptive behaviors.  Volunteers also took part in special community activities including assisting with community fundraisers (ASSIST event, Bed and Breakfast Tour of Inns, Character Counts! run/walk, and RSVP fundraiser) as well as events such as the Florida Heritage Book Festival and Make A Difference Day with the St. Johns Housing Partnership.  To read more details of the service provided from this active and bighearted group, or to become an RSVP volunteer, please visit the RSVP website at www.rsvpstjohns.com.

If you want to make a difference in the life of a student this year, RSVP is looking for community members to assist once per week in the district’s summer reading program.  Hours are flexible, and even if you are traveling this summer, you can help out while you are in town.  Volunteers are an integral part of the program, and even more are needed this year.  Call RSVP/Volunteer Services at 547-3945 or email [email protected] for more information.

Volunteer Services

As the 2015-2016 school year comes to an end, reports show that school volunteers again gave tirelessly to students throughout the district.  With more than 18,000 volunteers providing approximately 250,000 hours of service, students and staff received support resulting in higher achievement levels as well as a culture of caring for all.  There were 34 elementary and secondary schools receiving Golden School status (for community volunteer hours and volunteer coordination) and 13 secondary schools receiving Silver School status (for student volunteer service).  We extend our sincere gratitude to all that gave their time and energy in our district this year!

Student Leadership

Recently over 180 Link Crew Leaders from Allen D. Nease, St. Augustine and Bartram Trail high schools spent a weekend at a Link Crew retreat.  The goal was to train the new student leaders for this student-to-student mentoring program that matches upperclassmen with incoming freshmen. This helps new students acclimate to the high school campus, culture and routine.  During the retreat, students learn that Link Crew is a program of inclusiveness which helps them to understand what it means to be a mentor. The new leaders learn to appreciate and respect their classmates as well as their fellow students from other schools. Students participated in mentor/leadership training, swam, played sports, had a skit night and enjoyed a large campfire ceremony where each student highlighted things about another that they learned over the weekend. Aside from this valuable training, the retreat serves to form a bond among the leaders. These student leaders can now bring this spirit of togetherness back to their respective high schools for the upcoming school year.

On the Horizon

Summer Reading and Algebra Programs

The Summer Reading Program is required for third graders who are reading below grade level and are at risk of retention.  In addition, each school may invite a limited number of kindergarten through second grade students to attend.  The Summer Reading Program provides an additional 96 hours of reading instruction in June and July.  At the end of the program, third-grade students may be promoted if they pass a test or qualify for other Good Cause Exemptions specified by the state.

The Summer Algebra Program is available for students who have completed Algebra I but did not pass the state End-of-Course (EOC) assessment.  Algebra students attend the program for 56 hours and re-take the EOC.  Students who complete the Summer Algebra Program receive a .5 elective credit.

Summer program locations are:

Summer Reading Program
June 6 – July 8
8 a.m. – noon p.m.
Summer Algebra I Program
June 27 – July 15
8 a.m. – noon
John A. Crookshank Elementary Bartram Trail High
Cunningham Creek Elementary Creekside High
Durbin Creek Elementary Allen D. Nease High
W.D. Hartley Elementary Pedro Menendez High
Mill Creek Elementary Ponte Vedra High
Ocean Palms Elementary St. Augustine High
Osceola Elementary
South Woods Elementary
The Webster School

Summer Food Service

The St. Johns County School District will be participating in the Summer Food Service Program for Children June 6-July 29.  There will be a break in service on July 4 as the school district will be closed during this time.

Nutritionally balanced meals will be provided to all children regardless of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin during summer vacation when school breakfasts and lunches are not available.  All children 18 years old and younger are eligible for meals on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.  The programs are approved for geographical areas of need where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year.

Summer feeding sites that are located at schools provide meals to all children in the immediate vicinity in addition to those enrolled in summer school; however, meals are only served during the identified meal service times.

Please see the news release for additional details at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/press/2016/05/26/summer-food-service-2016/.

Status Report

2016-2017 Bus Routes

The St. Johns County School District’s (SJCSD) bus routes for the 2016-2017 school year were approved by the School Board at their May 10 meeting.

Once updated, the routes will be available online at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/transportation/routes.  Parents without access to computers may visit any of the county public library locations, and staff will assist them in locating the website.

In an effort to conserve costs, the school district will not mail post cards regarding bus routes for the 2016-2017 school year. This information, along with other important transportation announcements, will be made available to parents through the Home Access Center (HAC).

The Transportation Department will operate 183 bus routes and transport approximately 60 percent of the district’s students twice a day when school starts on Wednesday, August 10. For additional questions or information, call the Transportation Department at 547-7810.

Summer Energy Savings Program

Beginning the week of June 6, business hours for all schools and district offices will be 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and will operate on a modified consolidation program with administrative teams and custodians remaining at their home schools. Summer school academic programs have been assigned to geographic areas of the district based on need. All schools and district offices will resume regular business hours beginning Monday, August 1.

Did You Know…?

  • The first day of school for 2016-2017 is Wednesday, August 10 (this is a full day, no early release). Have a great summer!

“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
~Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and 26th president (1858-1919)