This week we take the time to honor our veterans and our schools celebrate them in a big way. Activities include essay contests, art projects, displays, celebrations, parades and storytelling from local veterans, just to name a few.
Though Veterans Day is recognized just one day a year, we welcome opportunities to include and honor veterans within our schools all throughout the year. I applaud the effort and thought that our principals, teachers and staff put into highlighting our men and women of service. Be sure to check with your child’s school to see what events and activities may be taking place.
Academic and Student Services
ACCOUNTABILITY AND INTERVENTION SERVICES
Exceptional Student Education
As of 1997, federal law mandates that students with disabilities who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) must begin a process called transition planning at age 14 to help them transition from high school into adulthood. St Johns County School District (SJCSD), The ARC, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities are pleased to offer Transition Planning on December 13 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Creekside High School, 100 Knights Lane, St. Johns, FL 32259. This program is designed to connect students with the proper transition planning services to give them the important skills as well as career planning tools to better prepare them for a successful life after high school, whether it be in a college setting or in the community.
The SJCSD itinerant teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) have been busy planning the statewide Florida Educators of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (FEDHH) conference which will be held in Daytona this year. This past spring four of the district DHH teachers were elected to the FEDHH Board: Traci Clark, president elect; Julie Conger, treasurer; Kathy Kelly, secretary; Jessica Mechoso, webmaster. The entire DHH team is working hard to make this conference a success for all professionals and parents of students with hearing loss from across the state.
The SJCSD ESE Department is thrilled to announce an ongoing training for staff in American Sign Language (ALS). This training is for teachers and paraprofessionals serving students with disabilities who use ALS to communicate. It is presented in both live and virtual format each month from September through February. In addition a beginner ASL class as well as an extension of the ongoing class will be offered at the February staff training day.
Planning, Accountability and Assessment
Schools have completed the first round of Discovery Education testing, and the next assessment window begins Monday, October 31.
Fall/Winter EOC and Fall ELA Grade 10 Retakes
Fall EOC testing is complete and grade 10 retakes for both NGSSS Reading and FSA ELA ended October 28. The computer-based testing ran smoothly districtwide. The winter EOC assessment window opens November 28.
Fall EOC Reports
The student score reports are now available for the Fall NGSSS EOCs and the Fall FSA EOC score reports are set to arrive to the district this week.
District high schools held successful administrations of the grade 10 PSAT on October 19. Results are expected by January 2017.
Winter Final Exams
District winter final exams are in the last stages of preparation for December administration on the computer-based OLA testing platform. The middle school assessment window begins December 8 and the high school assessment window begins December 16.
CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
Career and Technical Education
- 40 percent of all high school students are enrolled in a Career Academy in 2016-2017
- 950 Industry certifications were earned in 2015-2016 by high school students
- 2,480 digital tool certifications were earned in 2015-2016 by middle school students
- Over 1.9 million dollars of time was donated by business partners, post-secondary partners, workforce development and economic development partners in 2015-2016
- 100 students participated in internships a 39 business partner sites in the summer of 2016
The Career Academy Showcase will take place on January 19, 2017. All career academy programs will be on display for parents and eighth-grade students to view.
Instructional Resources and Media Services
The SJCSD is currently reviewing materials for the Florida instructional materials adoption for social studies. The courses being considered for adoption, along with online access information, are available online at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us. Digital and print materials are also available for examination at The Fullerwood Center, 10 Hildreth Drive, St. Augustine, 32084, from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays. This list will be updated if more items are submitted for review. Check the website frequently for updates. Please call (904) 547-3947 for more information.
Instructional Services Elementary and Secondary Education
Fidelity Checks for Reading Instruction
The SJCSD combines district and state funding so that every school has an instructional literacy coach. In order to receive the state funds, the district submits a Comprehensive Reading Plan, which is available at https://app1.fldoe.org/Reading_Plans/. The district visits each school to confirm that the Comprehensive Reading Plan is being followed with fidelity – that appropriate and effective reading instruction is occurring. The directors for elementary and secondary education and the curriculum specialists visit classrooms at each school during the second quarter. Feedback from the fidelity check is provided to the school and can be used to improve instruction.
Parent Resource Guide 2016-2017
The Parent Resource Guide is the document that answers many frequently asked questions for parents. It is written in parent-friendly language and has a section for each grade level K – 12 that explains what students will be learning, how parents can help, and what state and district assessments students will be taking. Additional topics include:
- What are the Florida Standards?
- Advanced Academic Opportunities in Elementary, Middle and High School
- Programs of Choice
- Promotion Requirements
- Graduation Requirements
- Summer Programs
- What Parents Can Do to Help
- Available Resources
The Parent Resource Guide is available from the district home page at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/ under “Featured Links.”
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
Health screenings for all kindergarten, first, third and sixth graders are currently taking place. These screenings serve to provide early detection of deficits in vision, hearing, growth and development, and scoliosis. When deficits are discovered through the screening process the school nurse works directly with families through a referral system. This system serves to assist parents in getting their child to the appropriate specialist for further evaluation. School nurses also work with families in need who may need assistance with the cost of physician visits as well as glasses.
The Uplift with Aid and Support for Students in Sudden Transition (ASSIST) dinner and silent auction was held October 28 at First Coast Technical College. This annual event benefits SJCSD’s homeless and unaccompanied youth. Hurricane Matthew has increased the number of students needing assistance this year. Heather Crawford, First Coast News, was Master of Ceremonies. Donations to ASSIST are always welcome and can be made through the Investing in Kids (INK) website at ink-stjohns.org.
Five Learning Years (FLY) has finished the hiring process for tutors and the BrightStart! program for early literacy is currently in progress at all Title 1 schools in the pre-kindergarten programs. BrightStart! Level 2 is in kindergarten at The Webster School and, most recently, South Woods Elementary. FLY recently attended Epic’s Ancient City Kids Day in an effort to expand its reach in the community and distribute information to young families.
The School Services Department has been working at scheduling and meeting with the administrative staff members who handle student discipline at our middle and high school levels. Offering support to assist schools in managing the day-to-day operations is one of the key goals for this department.
The district is heading into the final weeks of fall interscholastic athletics, and have several high school teams that have progressed to post-season play. Staff, community, and parental support continue to be outstanding at all of the athletic events.
Many of student-athletes across the district reached out to assist families with clean up efforts following Hurricane Matthew. These young men and women are shining examples of the outstanding leadership and character embedded in students throughout SJCSD schools.
A quarterly meeting with the safety team task force will soon be scheduled to review the safety plan and evaluate new enhancements and ongoing improvements that may be made. The district school safety coordinator is continuing to meet with school safety teams, looking at maximizing the efficiency of school-based emergency operations plans. He is attending and monitoring lock down, tornadoes, and fire drills at school sites as well.
On the Horizon
Education Support Professionals Day
Education Support Professionals Day is Wednesday, November 16 during American Education Week. Education Support Professionals Day was first celebrated in 1987 after the National Education Association called for the creation of a way to honor the contributions of school support staff. The purpose of this observance is to expand awareness of the important role Education Support Professionals play in the lives of the district’s students. Education Support Professionals in the SJCSD number nearly 1,400 including paraprofessionals and those who provide custodial and maintenance services, security services, food services, health and student services, clerical and secretarial services, technical services, skilled trades services and transportation services that enable our students to learn in a safe and academically challenging environment.
Superintendent Search Update
The members of the St. Johns County School Board have selected Mr. Tim Forson and Dr. Vickie Cartwright as the two finalists for the next Superintendent of the SJCSD. Public interviews with each candidate were conducted Tuesday, November 1 at First Coast Technical College with a community reception held that evening. A School Board workshop was held Thursday, November 3 to discuss the selection process. The School Board will select and vote on a new superintendent with discussion regarding contract negotiations at its November 8 regular monthly meeting at First Coast Technical College, Bldg. C at 9 a.m.
November 9, 2016 – Begin contract development
November 22 or December 13, 2016 – Approve contract with effective start date
January 4, 2017 – Transition period begins
Did You Know…?
- St. Augustine will host a full weekend of Veterans Day events from Friday to Sunday, November 11 to 13. The weekend will begin with the Veterans Day Grand Parade on Friday to honor the military history of the city and all those who served and continue to serve, as well as a three-day Veterans Film Festival of documentaries at the Corazón Cinema, and a special benefit concert by Lee Greenwood at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Sunday, November 13. The Grand Parade will begin in front of the reviewing stand at the Castillo de San Marcos at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 11. Over 1,500 marchers are participating in the parade, with veteran and active-duty groups, ROTC units, high school bands, marchers in period dress reflecting the uniforms of all those who have defended the city throughout its long history. There will also be a fly over by vintage WWII planes and current military aircraft.
“The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.”