SR 8-29-16 Volume 6, Issue 2

Congratulations to Cynthia Williams, principal of St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS) and St. Johns Virtual School (SJVS), who has been selected as the St. Johns County School District’s (SJCSD) nominee for the 2016-2017 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and to Jeanette Murphy, assistant principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary School (CCES), who was chosen as the district’s nominee for the 2016-2017 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.

These programs honor principals and assistant principals who utilize teamwork and leadership skills to increase student performance, establish partnerships with parents and community members, and promote safe learning environments.

Awardees are also recognized for ethical leadership and their use of innovative technology as well as their commitment to forging personal, social, economic, and cultural relationships in the classroom, the school and the community to build and support a learning organization focused on student success.

Williams has been the principal of SJTHS since 2014 and was appointed as principal of SJVS in 2016.  With a career in education spanning 27 years, Williams has served as the turnaround specialist and assistant principal at SJTHS and assistant principal at Pedro Menendez High School and South Woods and Hastings elementary schools. From 1995-1999, she was the guidance counselor at Hastings Elementary School. She was selected as the St. Johns County Teacher of the Year in 1998 and went on to represent the district at the state level. She also worked in higher education supporting students in their quest for academic success at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Bethune-Cookman University.

SJTHS has expanded programs under Williams’ leadership and she never misses an opportunity to market the school to potential students and their parents. She was instrumental in adding sixth grade to the school in order to serve more students in a way that meets their career goals and learning styles. The graduation rate of SJTHS students has nearly doubled under her tenure and she implemented the Academy of Culinary Arts last year.

“Cynthia is a wonderful example of outstanding leadership and her focus to ensure an individual learning path for her students is admirable,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner.  “She is dedicated to ensuring that we hire the very best through her overwhelming commitment to the district’s recruitment efforts and it is not uncommon that she remains a mentor to new teachers years after their first days in the classroom.”

Williams holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree as well as certification in Educational Leadership from FAMU.

Outstanding Assistant Principal Nominee Jeanette Murphy has over 19 years of combined educational experience. Before joining St. Johns County in 2004 as a middle school math teacher, she was an elementary school teacher and reading specialist in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In 2008, she became the assistant principal at John A. Crookshank Elementary and went on to serve in this capacity at Fruit Cove Middle School before joining CCES in 2015.

As an assistant principal Murphy has developed and guided a team to review and create a standards-based grading policy and served as a mentor to other assistant principals. Her love of professional development has spurred her to form a leadership cadre, perform technology demonstrations and create professional learning communities for paraprofessionals and new teachers.

“Jeanette takes the initiative to ensure that she becomes ingrained in the culture of a school,” said Joyner. “At CCES she has furthered efforts to recognize students through CHARACTER COUNTS! and streamlined processes at the school to be more efficient.”

Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and a master’s degree from Barry University. She also has a certificate in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University.

These two St. Johns County nominees have been forwarded to the state where they will compete at the regional level. The statewide winner in each category will be announced later this year.

Department Updates

Academic and Student Services


Exceptional Student Education (ESE)

Disability History and Awareness Weeks

The first two weeks of October are designated as Disability History and Awareness Weeks.  Florida Statute Section 1003.4205, Disability History and Awareness Instruction, was signed into law in 2008. It requires school districts to designate the first two weeks of October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks and promotes providing instruction for students in all public schools to expand student knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities, disability history, and the disability rights movement.     

Planning, Accountability and Assessment

Local Education Authority (LEA) Training

The Intervention Services Department has recently provided training to more than 10 assistant principals who are new to the LEA role in their schools.  Training and support will continue through one-to-one and on-site training throughout the year.  Additionally, nearly 50 principals, assistant principals, and district program specialists attended the LEA refresher training where updated tools were provided to start the 2016-2017 school year.  Both of these training opportunities included a focus on facilitated IEP meetings as well as state and federal compliance rules related to ESE and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) processes and procedures.  In addition, participants also benefited from a review on addressing dyslexia in the public school system.

Discovery Education Testing

Discovery Education testing is required for K-3 students. The test is available to students in grades 4-10 for use as a progress monitoring tool. The testing window opens on August 22 and closes on September 30.  All elementary and K-8 schools have created schedules, trained test administrators, and recruited proctors for this first round of required testing. If you are interested in volunteering at your student’s school, please contact your school’s testing coordinator to see how you can get involved.

The state assessment conference will take place in a couple of weeks. This conference is the main forum for dissemination of information related to all of the major state assessment policies and outlines important changes and updates. Members from the SJCSD Planning, Accountability, and Assessment Department will attend and return with important information to share with school administrators and school testing coordinators.  It is vital that St. Johns County school leaders are kept apprised of these details as they guide students and schools for the coming year.


Instructional Services – Elementary Education

Early Literacy Skills

Students in kindergarten, first and second grades will be building foundational skills in early literacy development through the implementation of the “Being a Reader K-2” program beginning this school year. “Being a Reader K-2” is a literacy resource developed by the Center for the Collaborative Classroom based on extensive research. The Center for the Collaborative Classroom also developed “Being a Writer,” which was implemented in SJCSD elementary schools last year. Both programs are based on best practices and support the development of the whole child while addressing social-emotional needs in tandem with reading and writing instruction. This is a proactive step in meeting the early literacy needs of every elementary student in St. Johns County.

Instructional Services – Secondary Education

District Resources for Educators, Parents and Students

As a new school begins, parents eagerly ask their children about school.  Being informed about what students are learning is an easy way to begin conversations.  Parents will find the Year-at-a-Glance for courses – elementary, middle and high school – on the Families tab of the district website.  The Year-at-a-Glance provides recommended pacing and topics to be taught week-by-week.  The classroom teacher is always the best source of information regarding content and pacing, but the Year-at-a-Glance is supplied as a model of one recommended path to the completion of a course.  The Year-at-a-Glance is available at:

Some state resources are provided below.

Florida Resources for Educators, Parents, and Students

  • As the new school year begins, educators, parents, and students are encouraged to visit the state CPALMS website at, where standards for each course and many student resources are housed.
  • The website is also a valuable learning resource available 24/7 to students, educators and parents.  It is a great tool to help students improve Florida Standards mastery levels.
  • The Mathematics Formative Assessment System (MFAS) provides ongoing feedback to teachers that can be used to adjust instruction to meet students’ specific learning needs. Like all formative assessment, MFAS is a process rather than a test. The MFAS has resources for mathematics – kindergarten through Geometry and can be accessed through CPALMS.
  • Teacher toolkits provide assistance for teachers in state assessed areas and are now available on the Florida Department of Education website on the standards and instructional support page at

Contests and Awards

Hispanic Heritage Month Events

Once again, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott have invited all Florida students to participate in the 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month art and essay contests which will be centered around the theme, “Honoring Hispanic American Heroes: Veterans, Military, Law Enforcement and First Responders.” Students in grades K-3 have a chance to win a cash prize by submitting artwork, and students in grades 4-12 can earn a four-year Florida Prepaid Scholarship through the essay contest.

Students can read about Hispanic Americans and the significant contributions they have made to Florida’s diverse history. Students can then write an essay or create artwork for submission to the contest. The prizes could transform the life of a student. Please encourage your student/child to take full advantage of this opportunity to enhance their appreciation for Hispanic American History and prepare financially for their own future education aspirations.  Additionally, students, parents, teachers and principals are invited to nominate full-time, Hispanic American educators in elementary, middle and high schools for the Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award.

The deadline for all submissions is 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday, September 9, 2016.

To learn more about Florida’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and contests, visit

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Nominations/applications for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) will open to teachers of grades 7-12 in the Fall of 2016. These are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Elementary and secondary categories alternate each year.

Since 1983, more than 4,400 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. If you know great teachers, nominate them to join this prestigious network of professionals. Teachers may be nominated or apply at the PAEMST website at

Career and Technical Education

During Summer 2016, the Career Academies had 74 high school juniors interning at more than 35 business sites listed below.  The district is very grateful to the business community for their support of our students.

  • APEX
  • ASEC, Inc.
  • Black Knight
  • Cady Studios
  • Carter Environmental
  • Castillo de San Marco
  • Citi
  • City of St. Augustine Public Works
  • Creekside High School
  • Doyle Group
  • E & S Consulting
  • FL Aviation Career Training
  • FL Blue
  • FL Flyers
  • Gannet Fleming
  • Herff Jones
  • Jacksonville University
  • Leonard’s
  • Matthews Design
  • National Guard Armory
  • Nocatee Development
  • North FL Regional Airport at St. Augustine
  • Old City Helicopter
  • Osceola Elementary
  • Passero Engineering
  • Peters and Yafee Engineering
  • PGA Tour Entertainment
  • Regency Center
  • SAM Maintenance
  • Samaritan Blue
  • Simple Safety
  • St. Johns County Government Television
  • St. Johns County Public Works
  • St. Johns County Utilities
  • STD Engineering
  • Stellar
  • VyStar Credit Union


Health Services

Rotary Club Donation

The Rotary Club of St. Augustine donated over $6,000 to the Health Services Department to provide a rolling emergency medication cart for each school clinic within the district.  The number of students with life-threatening health conditions requiring emergency medications at school continues to grow and the need for appropriate storage and accessibility of these medications can be challenging.  Thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club each school will not only have a safe place to store emergency medications, but also a method for transporting them during emergency evacuations.

School Services

Software Training

The School Services Department has been providing training at several of schools presenting the benefits of using online software for discipline referrals. To date, almost half of our schools are utilizing this very efficient piece of the student management software.

School Safety Coordinator Training

The district Safety Coordinator is attending the monthly meetings, held by the St Johns County Emergency Operations Center, to participate in discussions reagrding hurricane preparedness.  The coordinator has also been attending School Safety Team meetings and assisting in updating school Emergency Operations Plans.  Beginning this year, the coordinator will be observing fire drills, tornado drills, and lock down drills at each  school in order to provide assistance with best practices in ensuring student and staff safety across the county.

Pursuing Victory With Honor

A video of Superintendent Dr. Joyner’s presentation to the county high school coaches and athletes at the annual Pursuing Victory With Honor in-service training is now available online at   Dr. Joyner’s contributions in instituting the Pursuing Victory With Honor program in St. Johns County Schools and athletic programs have been remarkable to say the least.  His pursuit to bring heightened awareness to character and leadership to both coaches and students will remain a focus long after his retirement.

Investing in Kids (INK!)

New Partnership with RSM for matching grant

As the nation’s largest provider of assurance, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, RSM partners with the Davis Love Foundation, the host organization of The RSM Classic, a PGA TOUR event, to raise funds that assist children and their families. The RSM US Foundation will be providing a potential match of up to $500,000 for the funds raised by Birdies Fore Love, provided that RSM meets its regional fundraising, partner participation and employee participation goals. These funds will be distributed amongst the Birdies Fore Love charities, including INK.


On the Horizon

College and Career Night 2016

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) will hold its annual College and Career Night on Wednesday, September 7 from 6 -7:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Pedro Menendez High School located at 600 State Road 206 West, St. Augustine, FL 32086. College and Career Night provides an excellent opportunity for St. Johns County high school students from all public and private schools throughout the county to interact with admission representatives from across the state and the nation. Representatives from over 75 colleges, universities, , career institutes, trade schools and the armed services will be participating in this event.  Families will find an increased presence of representatives with a focus on meeting students’ diverse needs and desires in all areas.  Between 5 and 6 p.m., mini workshops addressing topics such as the college application and selection process; financial aid; scholarship opportunities for academics, athletics and needs-based as well as career exploration and certification opportunities will be provided.  While juniors and seniors are strongly encouraged to participate, the event is open to all middle and high school students…it’s never too early to start exploring and planning for your future!

Look for College and Career Night updates on the department of Guidance and Programs of Choice website at or call (904) 547-7754.

ESE Parent Workshops

Gifted Parent Workshops Tuesday, September 27 Hickory Creek Elementary 6:30-7:30 p.m. Media Center
Thursday, November 17 Palencia Elementary 4:30-5:30 p.m Media Center
Thursday, February 23 Hartley Elementary 5:30-6:30 p.m. Media Center
Tuesday, April 25 Landrum Middle School 6:30-7:30 p.m. Multi-Purpose Room


What are Sibshops? (program for siblings of special needs kids) Tuesday, October 4 40 Orange St., St. Augustine 6 – 7:30 p.m. Auditorium
Is Your Student Ready to Transition? (life after graduation) Tuesday, December 13 Creekside High School 6-7:30 p.m. 100 Knights Lane, St. Johns

In addition, there are more ESE parent workshops to be scheduled for the second semester. Information will be coming in future editions of the Superintendent’s Report and on the ESE website.   

Status Report

Coaches of the Year

Eight St. Johns County coaches were honored with the Jeff Holt Coach of the Year Award for Pursuing Victory With Honor last month.  Congratulations are extended to Tim Krause, Allen D. Nease High School; Frank Holleman, St. Augustine High School; Megan Schooley, Pedro Menendez High School; Eric Frank, Creekside High School; Daniel Villarreal, Ponte Vedra High School; Meghan Jackowiak, Bartram Trail High School; Susan Lucas, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind; and Justin Taylor from St. Joseph Academy.  All of the Coaches of the Year will be recognized at the regular meeting of the School Board on Tuesday, September 13 at 4 p.m. in the auditorium at 40 Orange St.

 Did You Know…?

  • The Investing in Kids (INK!) Boot Scootin’ BBQ, a western-themed fundraiser, will be held October 1, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the St. Augustine Rod and Gun Club.  The event, sponsored by Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, will benefit students and teachers, a true bull’s eye for education in St. Johns County. Enjoy tasty ‘cue from local pit masters—Mojo BBQ Old City, Smokin D’s BBQ and Woodpeckers Backyard BBQ.  Ameris Bank and others will satisfy your thirst at the watering hole and guests can whoop it up to the tunes of Paper City Hustlers and learn country line dancing with the St. Augustine Line Dancers.  The dessert bar will feature moon pies, old-fashioned banana pudding by Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q, and perks by Kookaburra Coffee. Rype & Readi Farm Market will host Cow Pie Bingo where the stars of the show—two well-fed cows—will roam the grid. Nearby, RSM will host a Chip Shot Challenge for prizes. Saddle up for Old City Life Magazine Rodeo on a mechanical bull for best male and female first place trophies and city-slicker prizes! Tailgate with Ocean Grove RV Super Center and root for your favorite football team as you watch the game from outside their RV. Guests will be greeted by a themed photo opportunity, silent auction, prize give-aways, a western photo booth by Leonard’s Studio and more.

“It is better to be alone than in bad company.”
~George Washington