It is an honor for me to welcome and introduce to you our new Superintendent for the St. Johns County School District, Mr. Tim Forson!
Tim is an outstanding educational leader who I have had the pleasure to work with over the past 14 years, and I personally do not think the Board could have made a better choice for the future of our school district.
As a teacher, coach and administrator in St. Johns County, Mr. Forson has a broad range of experience in all areas and is more than qualified and prepared to assume the role of Superintendent of Schools. His long tenure as a principal at multiple levels gives him a unique understanding in curriculum, instruction and assessment for all students while his work as deputy superintendent of Operations ensures a smooth transition in leading a complex organization.
Most importantly, Tim is a person of high moral character and integrity. His values are consistent with those of the school district and he displays them daily in his work and in the manner in which he interacts with staff, parents and students. Additionally, Tim has exceptional judgment, discernment and foresight. As a native St. Augustinian, he has great respect in the community and is constantly sought out for advice.
The past 14 years as Superintendent of Schools have been the highlight of my professional career and I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of the students, parents, teachers, support staff, board members and community who have allowed me to serve in this capacity. It gives me tremendous comfort and peace to know Tim Forson will be leading our school district to the next level of excellence!
Windows 10 Upgrade
The IT Department has completed the upgrade of most (if not all) student computers and tablets (that are capable) from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10. Windows 10 is the latest version from Microsoft that contains several new features and supports increased security measures.
We are working to roll-out a Windows 10 upgrade plan for teacher machines that should take place in early 2017. All new teacher and administrative computers that are distributed this school year have Windows 10 installed. The Technology Support Specialist (TSS) at each school will help teachers perform this upgrade when it becomes available.
The IT Department is planning to upgrade BusinessPlus from 7.9.9 to 7.9.10 in February 2017. This upgrade will bring more functionality to District BusinessPlus users.
Some of the new features include:
- Ability to delete attachments (in PO’s)
- More control over the time card review process (for Timekeepers)
- Ability to multi-thread workflows (this will produce faster processing)
- New workflow notification for alternate approvers (when primary is “out of office”)
- For Employee Online, the system will detect when a browser is unsupported and advise the user that “not all features will be available”
School Wireless Upgrades
There were 13 schools selected for wireless upgrades this school year. These upgrades include new high speed cabling, new GB network switching and new high speed wireless 802.11ac access points for classrooms. Because this project covers three technology areas and multiple schools, it is slated to take most of this school year to complete. The schools on the project list are:
|Bartram Trail HS||Ocean Palms ES|
|Ponte Vedra HS||PV-Rawlings ES|
|Nease HS||Wards Creek ES|
|St. Augustine HS||Hartley ES|
|Pedro Menendez HS||RB Hunt ES|
|Liberty Pines Academy||Otis Mason ES|
The video production team continues to assist the district’s career specialists with their Programs of Choice videos as well as gearing up for the Jim Harbin Contest which features local students’ own video productions in categories ranging from comedy to book trailer. The deadline for entry in this contest is March 10, 2017. The department recently completed installation of the remaining Amino Tuners at Patriot Oaks and Valley Ridge academies giving them the capability to broadcast their own local television signal throughout the entire school. Community Relations looks forward to seeing what the broadcast teams can produce as the district takes great pride in the video production work done by all St. Johns County students.
Working with Human Resources, the Community Relations Department recently relaunched a website which allows newly hired employees to learn about school district programs and policies from home through a brief online course. The new website includes updated video presentations and a simplified design which is compatible with a wide range of devices.
The district webmaster has also been working closely with the Information Technology Department to improve the performance of the main school district website and significantly decrease the time it takes to load for end users. In the coming months, these same techniques will be applied to school websites to improve their performance as well.
Character Education and Community Partnerships
NFL Play 60
In October 2007, the NFL launched NFL Play 60, a national youth health and fitness campaigned focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes per day. During the 2016- 2017 school year, Alice B. Landrum, Gamble Rodgers and Sebastian middle schools, St. Johns Technical High School and Valley Ridge Academy opted to have their sixth-grade students participate in this program. Several of the participating schools earned the opportunity to attend the NFL Play 60 football game. Gamble Rogers Middle School was selected to receive the Play 60 Challenge school visit that includes an active assembly for their entire sixth grade population involving program directors, cheerleaders and a Jaguars player.
The Community Relations Department is available to help facilitate school partnerships among one another and with outside organizations and businesses. To date, partnerships have been created to fulfill needs including food, clothing, supplies, books, monetary and in-kind donations.
Kelly Thigpen, the district coordinator for character education and community partnership, has been assisting teachers across the district by teaching and creating fun and engaging CHARACTER COUNTS! lessons that infuse their state standards with character education. CC! the Pillar has also been traveling each week to celebrate the awesome character and student leadership that is taking place on campuses throughout the district.
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Volunteer Services
Outstanding school volunteers in the youth, adult, and senior categories have been selected. The district winners have been chosen, and will be announced at the annual Outstanding School Volunteer and Volunteer Coordinator reception on April 6, 2017. These amazing individuals represent over 16,000 volunteers in the SJCSD who support schools throughout the district.
Volunteers from RSVP will play a major role in the St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Tour of Inns on December 10 and 11, benefiting a local charity. A holiday recognition breakfast will be held for RSVP members December 13. Volunteers continue to mentor and tutor students in grades kindergarten through 12, and provide literacy enhancement opportunities to preschool students in the district’s early childhood program and local childcare facilities. Last year over 600 students received specialized service from RSVP volunteers. Mark your calendars now for Chocolate and Beyond, a delicious and exciting fundraiser for the RSVP program. This will take place Saturday, February 25, 2017, at First Coast Technical College from 2 – 4 p.m.
For information regarding volunteer opportunities and/or Chocolate and Beyond, call the RSVP/Volunteer Services office at 904-547-3945.
On the Horizon
District Spelling Bee
The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, at 9 a.m. at First Coast Technical College, Bldg. C, located at 2980 Collins Ave., St. Augustine.
The Regional Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1, 2017, at First Coast Technical College, Bldg. C, located at 2980 Collins Ave., St. Augustine. Exhibit Hall viewing will be February 1, 2017. Parents are welcome to view projects/take pictures between 8:15-8:45 a.m. prior to the start of judging. Project pick up is February 1, 2:30-4:30 p.m. or after awards on February 2. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. All events will be held at First Coast Technical College.
Teacher of the Year Celebration
The annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of students. This year’s theme is “All Star Teachers.” The sports-themed celebration will be held on Monday, January 23, 2017, from 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards. Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.
CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk
The fifth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 4, 2017, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 14, 2017, to guarantee a run t-shirt.
Wednesday, December 21 is a regular early release day, Elementary at 1:50 p.m.; Middle at 1 p.m.; High at 2:45 p.m.
Winter Break begins Thursday, December 22 and ends Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Wednesday, January 4, 2017 is a district-wide inservice day and student holiday. Classes resume for all students on Thursday, January 5, 2017.
Did You Know…?
- The fifth annual Santa Suits on the Loose 5K, presented by Bozard Ford and Island Doctors to benefit St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS), is a walk/jog/run that will be held December 10 starting at the St. Augustine Beach Pier Park at 8 a.m. The race follows a flat 3.1 mile course through St. Augustine Beach neighborhoods. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m., and entry fee is $35 per person. There is a choice of a Santa Suit or Santa-inspired t-shirt. Go to www.sayskids.org/santa for more information. Again this year is the Community and Corporate Team Challenge. You can gather your neighbors, co-workers, friend and relatives to form a team. Receive bragging rights and a traveling trophy for registering the most participants. For more information or to register online, visit www.racesmith.com or email [email protected] for any questions. SAYS is a residential therapeutic group home for boys ages 6-17 who have experienced emotional trauma or abuse, and is celebrating 27 years of serving children.
- The city of St. Augustine Beach is currently seeking volunteers to work the New Year’s Eve Beach Blast Off on Saturday, December 31. Two shifts are available: 3-7 p.m. or 6-10 p.m. and includes food and drinks, a t-shirt, a drawstring bag, 10 tickets ($10 value) and community service hours. Sign up to volunteer at sabevents.com/help or call (904) 669-5670.
“Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success.”
~John Hays Hammond