SR 4-25-17 Volume 6, Issue 15

Three individuals were honored as St. Johns County’s 2016-2017 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year at the 10th annual Volunteer Recognition Reception held recently at First Coast Technical College. Cheryl Freeman, volunteer coordinator for the St. Johns County School District, served as emcee and Superintendent Tim Forson announced the outstanding volunteers.

Outstanding Senior Volunteer Thelma Ford, from Otis Mason Elementary School (OMES), has a desire for each student she works with to develop a love learning.  She helps approximately 200 students each year to improve testing performance. Most of the students she works with see their scores increase by one or two levels. The students also become more independent in their ability to complete tasks, and their confidence is boosted at the same time. In addition, Ms. Ford organized a lending level library at OMES, increasing efficiency and saving time for both students and teachers. Offering her excellent seamstress skills, she made superhero capes for the safety patrol students. Other activities include taking groups to the media center, being a test proctor, laminating, and decorating bulletin boards that align with themes and standards. Utilizing her amazing talents of teaching, organization and creativity, students are impacted because of her time and servant’s heart.

Aaron Jett, an eighth grader at Sebastian Middle School (SMS), is this year’s Outstanding Youth Volunteer and was nominated by both Ketterlinus Elementary School (KES) and SMS. He works with over 50 students at KES, tutoring math and spelling, and working on timed reading. The after school coordinator applauds him for displaying an eagerness to help others and responding to students who have behavior challenges in a calm and patient manner. Aaron also provides leadership in the WEB program at SMS. As a talented guitarist, he helps new students at school acquire the skills needed to be successful musicians. Aaron has been volunteering for the last three years and, at just 14 years of age, has given 446 hours of volunteer service over the last 18 months to district students.

Michelle Clark, from Creekside High School (CHS), is the district’s Outstanding Adult Volunteer as well as the Florida Department of Education Region II Outstanding Adult Volunteer.  This makes Michelle one of the top five adult school volunteers in the state. She has been extremely successful in raising funds for school needs.  Her most notable and favorite activity is the CHS Running of the Knights 5K which has raised $90,000 over the last five years for athletics, band activities and performing arts. Michelle was instrumental in implementing the Ambassador Program at CHS. Through her efforts, high school tours were provided to new families, or those considering relocating to St. Johns County. She led a year-round tour schedule with ambassadors. A few of her additional accomplishments include planning teacher appreciation events; active participation in yearly orientation, Freshman Day, Economics Reality Fair, Barnes and Noble Book Fairs; ticket sales and concessions for numerous athletic events; banquets for cross-country and track and field; and assisting with graduation set-up.

The Outstanding Volunteers of the Year will be recognized by the School Board at their May 2 meeting.

Awards were also presented to runners-up in each category. In the Youth Category, Rylie Baker of Gamble Rogers Middle School and Alexandra Bass of The Webster School were recognized for their volunteer efforts. Bonnie Ruckh of Durbin Creek Elementary, Carol Jasper of Palencia Elementary, and Kaajal Rijsinghani of Ocean Palms Elementary were honored in the Adult Category and the Senior Category honored Bill Yancey of Ketterlinus Elementary and Jim Wheelwright of Creekside High School.

In addition to the announcement of these outstanding volunteers, the school volunteer coordinators were also recognized. The 125 individuals honored at this event were just a few of the 25,042 volunteers who contributed 252,442 hours of service to district schools during the past year. National Volunteer Week is observed April 23-29.

Schools Update

W.D. Hartley

The students and staff had a busy night at Hartley Elementary School (HES) at their annual “Night of the Arts” family fun night held April 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. Student art from the entire year was on display throughout the school with 3-D creations featured in the cafeteria. A talented harpist, Murray Center for the Arts, and Hartley’s own Music Makers performed as a backdrop for an amazing silent auction. Tommy Bledsoe and his bluegrass band provided additional music to accompany square dance lessons, local vendors provided food for purchase and there was free face painting available for children. Hartley families and friends were invited to join this fun, free event.

Hickory Creek

Earlier this month, students at Hickory Creek Elementary School (HCES) participated in the third nine-week Brag Tag Assemblies in correlation to the CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative for good character as well as celebrated those students who met their reading AR goal. Throughout the ceremonies, HCES Hawks were treated with guest animal visitors from the Jacksonville Zoo. First and second-grade students had the privilege to take part in a presentation from the Chinese Cultural Center. Throughout their time together, students learned about Chinese New Year traditions and the Cann Sisters who performed on dueling pianos entertained the audience. The EMMA Concert Association of St. Augustine made this presentation possible.

Kindergarten and first-grade students participated in Field Day April 13. The music department from HCES will host its annual spring concert on May 4. The annual “Arts and Ice cream” event will be held on May 11, followed up with the band and choir performing at Universal Studios on May 19.

Julington Creek

In the month of April, Julington Creek Elementary School (JCES) faculty, staff and students participated in the “Bag It Up “event supporting Good Will with gently used clothing, household items and toys. This event served as a great service-learning project for JCES families to be involved in and really helped to display the pillar of citizenship to their community. The school is also gearing up for their annual book fair and “Evening of the Fine Arts” to display student artwork for their family and friends on May 9.

Liberty Pines Academy

Liberty Pines Academy (LPA) will be holding its final School Advisory Council (SAC) meetings on April 11 and May 9. LPA student council is encouraging the faculty, staff and students to participate in the “Bag it Up” clothing drive on April 27-28. GoodWill will be receiving the donations for the local community. The drama club will be presenting their “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” production April 27-29 at 6 p.m. and family, friends and community members are invited to join. On May 2 at 6 p.m. there will be a community-wide event featuring the movie “Screenagers.” The Spring Music and Band Concert will be on May 11 at 6 p.m. for families to enjoy.

Osceola

Osceola Elementary School (OES) will host its annual Field Day during the month of April. Earlier in the month, students from OES participated in the Read and Feed. The goal of this program is to give children an appetite for reading by strengthening literacy skills and providing encouragement for them through the process. The Tropicana Speech Contest for grades 4 and 5 was held on April 7. OES will be honoring their volunteers with a breakfast on April 26 as a “thank you” for all of their hard work and time.  OES will be hosting its Character Kids Awards ceremony on May 8 at 2 p.m.

Upcoming Events

  • May 22- Third-grade Awards Ceremony at 9:15 a.m.
  • May 22- Fourth-grade Awards Ceremony at 1:30 p.m.
  • May 23- Fifth-grade Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m.

Otis Mason

Otis Mason Elementary School (OMES) Spring Scholastic Book Fair is well underway. Reading with Grandparents was celebrated Wednesday, April 5. OMES PTO will host a Spring Carnival on Saturday, April 28 from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free to the event and there will be games, food, face painting, silent auctions, a cake walk and the book fair for families to enjoy.

Patriot Oaks Academy

Patriot Oaks Academy (POA) would like to congratulate their middle grades Botball team for placing third in competition March 18 at the University of North Florida. Third and fourth-grade students performed with recorders and sang to delight families on April 4.  On April 8 four POA Odyssey of the Mind teams competed at the state competition at the University of Central Florida. On April 6 the Middle Grades Sports Recognition breakfast was held. In honor of April being Month of the Military Child, POA hosted a ceremony and breakfast on April 7 to celebrate those students. On Saturday, April 22, POA will be having a Spring Carnival from 4-7 p.m. and welcomes students and families to attend.

South Woods

The St. Johns County School District is proud to announce that the Community Partnership School initiative is under way at South Woods Elementary School (SWES).  This process has been in the works for more than a year. SWES and the surrounding communities are fortunate to have core partners (St. Johns County School District, Flagler Hospital, St. Johns River State College & Children’s Home Society) that will provide services to students and families at SWES. The long-term vision for South Woods Community Partnership School is to offer essential services to students, families and community members such as medical, dental and mental health among others.  The facilities will be located on the SWES campus in order to help remove any barriers that may prevent access to these important services. The Community Partnership School initiative is also underway at The Webster School.

Valley Ridge Academy

In an effort to implement the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program, Dean of Students Brian Gifford hosted a parent communication night at the beginning of April to inform the community of the goals and process for recognizing and rewarding all VRA students who consistently model CHARACTER COUNTS!. To help support the PBIS initiative, VRA will be hosting a family bingo night on April 27 from 6-7:30 p.m.  Tickets at the door are $5 and all proceeds will go toward rewards for students.  More information can be found on the VRA website.

A perfect example of students who model the “VRA Way” are members of the Middle School National Junior Honor Society (pictured below) who led a pet food and supply drive April 4-5 to support local animal shelters.  VRA is proud to see such a sense of community involvement in their students.

VRA would like to also thank the families and community for coming together on April 8 to work on the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant: Playground Beautification Project.  Thanks to the generous grant from Lowe’s, VRA is able to install a learning garden with citrus trees and picnic tables as well as several interactive pieces. Special thanks to Ms. Amy Zobel for her leadership on this project that will have a tremendous benefit for all of the students at VRA.

The month of May will be full of “The Arts”.  The students of the VRA Middle School Band have been preparing all semester for their Spring Concert to be held on the evening of Thursday, May 4 led by instructor Trevor Spaulding, this promises to be an incredible evening of music.  The musical trend will continue with a move to the lyrical when the Valley Ridge Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Megan Watkins, performs a concert on Tuesday, May 9. The VRA Drama Club, sponsored by Ms. Kathleen Zielinski, will perform “Alice in Wonderland” for both students and parents.  Times and locations can be found on the VRA website.

Wards Creek

On March 31, Wards Creek Elementary School (WCES) involved the entire community to celebrate fitness and raise funds for school enhancement projects with the Ready, Set, Glow 5K Run. On April 5, the WCES Warrior Team highlighted their track and field skills by competing in the district track meet at Creekside High School. On April 7, the PTO hosted the annual Spring Fling that consisted of fun games, bouncy houses, obstacle course, great food and famous class baskets drive! On April 21, students and faculty are encouraged to wear blue and green as well as work in grade level gardens to celebrate Earth Day. Cowboy Roundup Day will be April 28 and students are encouraged to wear western gear as they celebrate the traditions of the early American West. The fourth-grade presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” will be on May 11-12. Fifth-grade students are invited to participate in the recognition ceremony on May 16 and the Talent Show on May 22. Kindergarten “Aussie Day” will be on May 24 for the students to spend the day “down under”.

On April 21, students and faculty are encouraged to wear blue and green as well as work in grade level gardens to celebrate Earth Day. Cowboy Roundup Day will be April 28 and students are encouraged to wear western gear as they celebrate the traditions of the early American West. The fourth-grade presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” will be on May 11-12. Fifth-grade students are invited to participate in the recognition ceremony on May 16 and the Talent Show on May 22. Kindergarten “Aussie Day” will be on May 24 for the students to spend the day “down under”.

Middle and High Schools

Gamble Rogers

Gamble Rogers Middle School (GRMS) has been named for their professional collaboration as a “Solution Tree Professional Learning Community Model School “for a third time. There are fewer than 200 model schools in the country and the faculty and staff could not be more proud of all the hard work that has earned them this distinction.

GRMS is proud to present their spring musical, “Getting to Know the Sound of Music” which took place at the beginning of April.  The theater department worked tirelessly to bring the community this wonderful musical experience.

Pacetti Bay

The Pacetti Bay Middle School (PBMS) Wind Ensemble performed at the Florida Bandmasters Association’s District Music Performance Assessment on March 9.  At the event, area bands are rated against a pre-set standard of musical excellence on their ability to perform three prepared selections and two selections they have never seen/heard before. The PBMS Wind Ensemble was awarded the rating of “Superior” from all judges.  The rating of superior can be compared to the grade of “A.”  Congratulations!

The PBMS Wildcats are looking forward to the grand opening of the 300-student cafeteria expansion at the end of April.  The new room will include an additional service line to allow the cafeteria staff to serve students more efficiently.  PBMS also expanded the bus loop area, which allows all of the buses to be staged at once to expedite the afternoon pickup line.

Eighth-grade students are actively participating in service learning through the “Be the Change” project.  Students select a local cause or identify an area of need, and then research and share their learning with peers. Students, with the help of their parents, then raise awareness and/or funds in their community to support their cause.

The WEB Leader program is wrapping up its second year.  The eighth-grade mentors meet bi-weekly with their mentees during PAWS time. The eighth and sixth graders have participated in many events this year including creating posters for the CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run/ Walk and providing school tours for new students to the school.

PBMS musical theater classes presented “Legally Blonde Jr.” at the end of March.  The 49 cast members and six crew members outdid themselves on stage and behind the scenes in this student-run musical.  They performed in three sold out shows!  The arts program at PBMS encourages students to unleash their creativity and discover new understandings.

Creekside

Creekside High School (CHS) was recently a featured site for the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute! The Jazz Institute teaches American History through a Jazz construct. This presentation is a gift for our eleventh-grade students and was shared with local district high schools.

CHS Battle of the Books team, led by media specialist Laura Strickland, won the 2017 High School Battle of the Books Competition. At least one team represented every high school in the county. CHS is very proud of these students for their participation in this literacy event. The students were well prepared, well behaved, and “well read.”

CHS Ms. Creekside Pageant was held April 13 at 6:30 p.m.

 

On the Horizon

 

American Youth Character Awards Banquet

The annual American Youth Character Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m. at Anastasia Baptist Church. This event recognizes high school juniors and seniors throughout the county who have been nominated by their schools for displaying the Six Pillars of Character — Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship — in their daily lives. In addition, two students will be awarded special scholarships, the David Macaulay Mathis Memorial Pursuing Victory with Honor Award for displaying character on the athletic field and the Tucker McCarty Memorial Scholarship for exuding good character in an effort to make the world a better place.

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School Saturday, May 13.  The purpose of this event is to encourage and celebrate student interest in STEM, with the primary goal to promote student use of these subjects to solve real-world problems.  Student representation will be decided at the school level.  Teachers, parents, administrators, and community members are welcome to attend.

Did You Know…?

 

Flagler College is now accepting applications for students to start in August in the Public Administrative Degree program.  If you have a friend or co-worker who is interested, please encourage them to apply now.  The deadline for all application materials to be received for a student to start in August is Friday, July 14. Due to the Florida Resident Access Grant, which you will qualify for by being a Florida resident, total out-of-pocket tuition is only $600 for the entire 2017-2018 academic year. Flagler College offers this opportunity as a community service. Students can complete their bachelor’s degrees in just five semesters. The College accepts working professionals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have their A.A. or A.S. degrees or who have 60 transferable college credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university.

The Public Administration Program teaches the subjects and skills needed for success.  For information on our curriculum and faculty, please refer to the Program’s web page:  www.flagler.edu/PAD.  The Public Administration Degree program is widely recognized for its value to the region by elected officials and agency administrators.

To apply, please:

·         Complete the online application at https://my.flagler.edu/ICS/Admissions/Home.jnz?portlet=Pubic_Administration_Online_Application

·         Pay your $30 application fee online by following the instructions that will be emailed to you when your application is submitted.

·         Order official transcripts from ALL colleges where you have completed coursework and request that they are sent to the address below.

Office of the Chancellor
Flagler College
74 King Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.”
~Henry David Thoreau

SR 3-30-17 Volume 6, Issue 14

The St. Johns County History Fair was held last month at First Coast Technical College (FCTC). All of the projects were impressive, and I was so pleased to see the in-depth study and hard work that went into them.

Theresa Le and Anoushka Patel of Switzerland Point Middle School won top honors for their project, “3 … 2 … 1 … Blast Off to the Space Race: John F. Kennedy’s Influence in the Start of the First Space Program in the United States” which was awarded the Overall Most Outstanding Project. Theresa and Anoushka explained, “John F. Kennedy’s motivation to assemble the country together and his confidence in the potential of the American people to accomplish anything that may seem impossible, inspired us to form our topic around Kennedy and the influence he had on the start of the first space program.”  They were each awarded a $75 check by the St. Augustine Historical Society.

The SJCSD History Fair featured approximately 100 projects representing 150 participants. This year’s theme was “Taking a Stand in History.”  Students in grades 6-12 from six middle schools, one K-8 school and four high schools conducted research using primary and secondary sources on related topics. After analyzing and interpreting the information they have gathered, students express their findings in a paper, exhibit, performance, documentary or website. They may work individually or in groups of up to five members except in the historical paper category, which is open only to individuals. Students’ entries are judged in two divisions—junior (grades 6–8) and senior (grades 9–12)—during the various levels of competition. First- and second-place county winners in each category and division advance to the state contest.

Theresa and Anoushka will be joining 22 other students representing seven schools to compete in the State History Fair scheduled for May 7-9 in Tallahassee. First- and second-place state winners in each category and division earn the right to represent Florida at the National History Day competition in College Park, Maryland in June.

The SJCSD History Fair is produced in conjunction with the Florida State History Fair sponsored by The Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee and the National History Fair sponsored by National History Day. The project-based learning emphasized by the history fair provides an excellent opportunity for students to showcase college and career readiness skills including research, writing, speaking and creative thinking while embracing history.

Brian Morgan, SJCSD program specialist, coordinated the history fair.

I look forward to recognizing both Theresa and Anoushka at the upcoming School Board meeting on April 11.

Information Technology

BusinessPlus Upgrade

The IT Department completed the version upgrade of BusinessPlus last month.  This upgrade brings more functionality to District BusinessPlus users.   System performance has also been improved.

Some of the new features include:

  • Ability to delete attachments in purchase orders
  • More control over the timecard review process for Timekeepers
  • Ability to multi-thread workflows to produce faster processing
  • New workflow notification for alternate approvers when primary user 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 Upgrade

Thirteen schools have been 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.   Here are the schools on this project list:

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
Osceola ES


eSchoolPlus Upgrade

The IT Department completed the version upgrade of eSchoolPlus last week.  This upgrade brings more functionality to School Admin users and does not affect Teacher Access Center (TAC).   One of the largest improvements is the improved interface and capability to perform a key word search to find menu items and student detail.  If you are a school administrator who uses eSchoolPlus and has not received training on this upgrade, please contact the eSchoolPlus IT team.

On the Horizon

Outstanding School Volunteer Reception

The annual reception to honor school volunteers and volunteer coordinators is Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m. at First Coast Technical College, CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, located at 2980 Collins Ave. Please contact the Volunteer Services Department at 547-3945 for more information.

American Youth Character Awards Banquet

The annual American Youth Character Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m. at Anastasia Baptist Church. This event recognizes high school juniors and seniors throughout the county who have been nominated by their schools for displaying the Six Pillars of Character — Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship — in their daily lives. In addition, two students will be awarded special scholarships, the David Macaulay Mathis Memorial Pursuing Victory with Honor Award for displaying character on the athletic field and the Tucker McCarty Memorial Scholarship for exuding good character in an effort to make the world a better place.

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School Saturday, May 13.  The purpose of this event is to encourage and celebrate student interest in STEM, with the primary goal to promote student use of these subjects to solve real-world problems.  Student representation will be decided at the school level.  Teachers, parents, administrators, and community members are welcome to attend.

Status Report

Character Cup
 

St. Johns County School District’s Character Cup is an annual student-centered event linking academics, physical education and character building through athletic competition.  This year’s event, held March 22 at St. Augustine High School, brought together 210 student-athletes representing 21 elementary schools who participated in a variety of track and field events, including a Frisbee throw, 100 meter run, long jump, tennis ball throw, 4 x 100 relay, sack race, field ski race, and tug-of-war. This friendly competition allowed students to demonstrate the event’s theme that “Character Builds Champions!”

The 2017 Character Cup brought together parents, teachers, administrators, school mascots and community members who came out to support these hard-working students. While all of the students were winners, PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School collected the most points overall, earning the privilege of displaying the Character Cup Trophy at their school during the 2017-2018 school year.

Special thanks to all of the teachers, volunteers, and community members who helped make this year’s Character Cup a special day to remember for all participants!

Did You Know…?

  • St. Augustine’s annual Rhythm & Ribs Festival celebrates delicious barbecue, music and good times, with live entertainment and local chefs competing for the best BBQ. The 2017 festival will take place Friday through Sunday, March 31 – April 2, 2017, at Francis Field. This festival includes great live music throughout the weekend, people’s BBQ choice awards, a kids zone, mechanical bull, an array of vendors, and much more.  The Rythm & Ribs Festival is the signature fundraiser of St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club. The many beneficiaries who receive funds generated by the Rhythm & Ribs Festival include Home Again St. Johns, Betty Griffin House, Catholic Charities, Boys and Girls Club, Council on Aging, St. Francis House, Habitat for Humanity, SAFE Animal Shelter, and the St. Augustine Orchestra. For admission information, please visit https://rhythmandribs.net/admission/.

“I don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends I can be certain of.”
~Alice Walker

SR 3-15-17 Volume 6, Issue 13

The St. Johns County Regional Science Fair was held last month at First Coast Technical College (FCTC). All of the projects were superb, and I am so proud of all the categorical and special awards winners.

Adam Snowden, from Ponte Vedra High School, won top honors as the Best Overall in the Senior Division. Adam’s project was titled “The Effect of Wnt/Beta-Catenin Signaling Inhibition on Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.”

Aditya Singh, of Valley Ridge Academy, won Best Overall in the Junior Division for his project “Developing Distance Based Edge Detection.”

Approximately 123 participants were involved in the St. Johns County Science Fair. This annual academic competition is designed to challenge students to meticulously apply science process skills and content knowledge in order to investigate scientific questions of their own choosing. Participants also experience the importance of practicing science ethics and responsibility on a personal level.

Twenty-one students representing four St. Johns County schools will attend the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland, March 28-30. Adam Snowden will attend the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California in May.

I look forward to recognizing both Adam and Aditya at the upcoming School Board meeting on March 21.

Human Resources

Recruitment Efforts Underway

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) is looking for high-quality teachers and non-instructional personnel to help fill upcoming openings for the 2017-18 school year. If you are interested, continue reading to learn more about available college/university visits and upcoming job fairs.

College and University Visits

The district recruitment team made up of administrators and teachers has already started attending career fairs at different colleges and universities both in and out of state. The fairs allow SJCSD representatives the opportunity to talk to education majors about opportunities and teaching in the SJCSD. With over 24 events scheduled this spring, the team is looking forward to talking to high-quality teachers who have a passion for their work with students. The recruitment teams will be visiting Flager College, Florida A&M University, University of Central Florida, University of West Florida, Florida Fund Minority Teachers in Tallahassee, Miami and St. Leo, Valdosta State, University of Florida, Bethune Cookman University, Savannah State College, College of Coastal Georgia, Albany State University, Georgia Southern University, University of North Florida and Florida State.

Job Fairs

The SJCSD recently held a teacher job fair at St Augustine High School on Saturday, February 25 and nearly 120 teachers attended. Teachers were not only local but also came from South Carolina, New York, South Dakota, and Texas. The focus of the fair was to provide interested educators the opportunity to learn more about teaching in St. Johns County Schools and to have the opportunity to sign up for 10-minute interviews with principals and assistant principals in attendance.  Based on the fair’s feedback form, 96 percent of respondents indicated that the Job Fair truly met their needs and they enjoyed it. Many of the attendees expressed how grateful they were to have had the opportunity to interview face-to-face with administrators. Well over three-quarters attending shared they learned about the fair through our district’s recruitment website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/recruitment/.

Saturday, April 1

The next fair is an invitational event held Saturday, April 1 at First Coast Technical College. This fair will allow invited attendees to have a more in-depth interview with principals and assistant principals from around the SJCSD.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday, April 29 at Sebastian Middle School will be the last teacher recruitment fair of the spring. This fair allows any new education graduates the opportunity to meet with SJCSD administrators and have a limited number of short interviews with them.

Saturday, May 20

Saturday, May 20, the SJCSD will host a non-instructional job fair for anyone interested in working as a paraprofessional, food service worker, custodian, bus operator, bus attendant, extended day worker, clerk or in the maintenance department. Interested people are asked to bring copies of their resume and register online prior to the event.

Wednesday, July 26

July 26, the district is hosting an Associate Teacher Expo. This expo is designed to identify, interview and recommend associate teachers needed in schools for the 2017-18 school year. Be sure to monitor the district website for job fair information throughout the spring and summer.

Individuals planning on attending any of the job fairs need to:

  1. Complete an application online at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/recruitment/apply/
  2. Register online at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/recruitment/jobfairs/
  3. Bring multiple copies of their resume to the job fair.

Attendees will receive an email the week of the fair with additional information.

Critical Needs Positions Identified

The SJCSD recently identified hard-to-fill teaching positions and will be focusing on finding high-quality educators to fill positions for the 2017-18 school year.  Areas identified include speech/language pathology, music, teachers for students who are visually impaired, chemistry/physics, Spanish, Algebra II and higher level math teachers. Teachers for self-contained exceptional student education (ESE) are also difficult to fill positions.  The district will be looking for teachers with these particular certifications during the upcoming college/university visits and job fairs.

In addition, is in critical need of highly qualified bus drivers and bus attendants as well as paraprofessionals, extended day workers and custodians.

Job Postings

Individuals with certification or experience in these particular positions mentioned above are encouraged to complete an application online at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/recruitment/apply/. Positions are posted daily on the school district website. If you need assistance with your online application, please call our Application Help Desk at 547-7631.

Department Location

The Human Resources (HR) Department is currently housed at First Coast Technical College (FCTC) located at 2980 Collins Ave in St. Augustine. The St. Johns County School District Administrative Building sustained damaged to the first floor during Hurricane Matthew and is currently under renovation. Construction should be finished by late summer at which time the HR Department will return to 40 Orange St.  Please note that Human Resources resides in two different areas on the FCTC campus. Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Cathy Hutchins as well as the assistant director for position control and the pre-employment team are located in Building 1. The director of instructional personnel, the director of non-instructional personnel, the director of benefits and compensation and their teams are located in Building A. The department’s telephone numbers remain the same and they can also be contacted by email.  Human Resources main number is (904) 547-7600. All new employee set-up meetings are currently being held at FCTC until further notice.

 

On the Horizon

 

The Character Cup

The Character Cup is a student-centered event highlighting physical education which links academics and character education through athletic competition.  In 2016, 200 student-athletes representing 20 elementary schools participated, and this year’s event looks to be even bigger and better.

The 2017 Character Cup will take place Wednesday, March 22 at St. Augustine High School.  Parents, teachers, administrators, school mascots and community members are strongly encouraged to come out in support of these hard-working students. The Character Cup Trophy will once again be awarded to the winning team for display at their elementary school during the 2017-18 school year.

Outstanding School Volunteer Reception

The annual reception to honor school volunteers and volunteer coordinators is Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m. at First Coast Technical College, CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, located at 2980 Collins Ave. Please contact the Volunteer Services Department at 547-3945 for more information.

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School Saturday, May 13.  The purpose of this event is to encourage and celebrate student interest in STEM, with the primary goal to promote student use of these subjects to solve real-world problems.  Student representation will be decided at the school level.  Teachers, parents, administrators, and community members are welcome to attend.

Status Report

School-Related Employees of the Year

The 2016-2017 School-Related Employees of the Year have been selected from each of the district’s 36 schools, St. Johns Virtual School and First Coast Technical College, along with four district representatives. School-related employees enhance the educational experience for the children whose lives they touch, and they are essential to the successful operation of a school or school district office. These nominees were chosen for the significant contributions they have made in their schools and community and to the school district as a whole. Criteria for the award includes exemplary job performance, dedication on the job, interpersonal skills, leadership ability, in-service/training to upgrade skills and contributions to the school and school district environment. A district-wide screening committee has reviewed all of the candidates and the winner of the St. Johns County School-Related Employee of the Year was announced, along with runners-up Ms. Renee Baker of the School Services Department and Ms. Caroline Russ of Mill Creek Elementary, at a reception honoring all of the nominees March 9 at the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum.

Mr. Stevenson Mitchell, a diesel mechanic for the Transportation Department, was named the 2017 School-Related Employee of the Year for the St. Johns County School District. Mr. Mitchell has worked in the transportation department for 33 years. His duties as the lead inspector for the district’s fleet of nearly 250 buses include performing corrective and preventative maintenance, service and repairs. Steve is a Florida Department of Education State Certified School Bus Inspector and completes his job with incredible attention to detail as well as enthusiasm. Mr. Mitchell’s name has been submitted to compete at the state level.

2016-2017 School-Related Employees of the Year

Renee Baker Academic Services Department
Constance McLaurin Bartram Trail High School
Marvin Jenkins Creekside High School
Peter Ryan Bartell John A. Crookshank Elementary School
Philip Rado Cunningham Creek Elementary School
Christine Kelley Durbin Creek Elementary School
Ronald Hitchcock First Coast Technical  College
Vicki Barfoot Fruit Cove Middle School
Danielle Sisk W. D. Hartley Elementary School
Eric Rathmann Hickory Creek Elementary School
Christine Hector Human Resources Department
Kenneth Schreiber R.B. Hunt Elementary School
Robert Chrzanowski Information Technology Department
Judy Fuhr Julington Creek Elementary School
Janet Bryant Ketterlinus Elementary School
George Wood Alice B. Landrum Middle School
John Valastro Liberty Pines Academy
Catherine Nix Otis A. Mason Elementary School
Holden Duke Pedro Menendez High School
Caroline Russ Mill Creek Elementary School
Ida Wright R.J. Murray Middle School
Greg Annucci Allen D. Nease High School
Jessica Weeks Ocean Palms Elementary School
Rona Welch Osceola Elementary School
Dawn Gillis Pacetti Bay Middle School
Abra Murrell Palencia Elementary School
Sobrina Martin Patriot Oaks Academy
Susan Gelb Ponte Vedra High School
Jennifer Scarbrough PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School
Darlene Delaney Gamble Rogers Middle School
Stefanie McMaugh St. Augustine High School
Patricia Eighmey St. Johns Technical High School
Jeffery Baldwin Sebastian Middle School
Kouvaris Davis South Woods Elementary School
Cheryl Terry Switzerland Point Middle School
Jerita Sizemore Timberlin Creek Elementary School
Stevenson Mitchell Transportation Department
Andres Vega Valley Ridge Academy
Stacy Neal Wards Creek Elementary School
Claire Heffernan The Webster School


Did You Know…?

  • Celebrating traditional and modern bluegrass music, the Anastasia Music Festival will debut at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Thursday, March 16 through Saturday, March 18. In an epic three-day bluegrass celebration, the festival will host over 20 of the brightest bluegrass stars today including The Del McCoury Band, David Grisman’s Bluegrass Experience, Sam Bush, Elephant Revival, Fruition, Cabinet, Jeff Austin Band, The Travelin’ McCourys, Mandolin Orange, Joe Pug and much more! VIP Festival Passes, 3-Day Passes and Individual Day General Admission tickets are on sale now. The VIP Festival Pass includes VIP Viewing Pit Area Access, Parking Pass, Laminate, Bag and VIP Area with private bathroom access. Children 10 and under are free with paid adult admission. Purchase tickets online at www.staugamphitheatre.com.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
~Albert Einstein

SR 3-3-17 Volume 6, Issue 12

March is Arts in Education month, a time to recognize the outstanding music, theater and art programs within our schools. Many schools will be participating in district and state visual and performing arts activities, so be sure to check with your school regarding upcoming arts celebrations and events.

The St. Augustine Art Association is presenting the 12th annual All-County High School Art Show March 3-April 2.  A community outreach partnership with St. Johns County Schools, this juried exhibition features selected art by students in grades nine through 12 and is sponsored by Carr, Riggs, Ingram. The materials range from experimental digital media and graphite studies to abstract pottery and sculptural assemblages.  The student winners will be recognized at the April 11 School Board meeting.

Our thanks to the St. Augustine Art Association, who is the partner and co-sponsor of this event as well as for the upcoming All-County Middle School Art show in April. Congratulations to all the dedicated teachers and students who participate in these incredible displays showcasing the many talents of our students.

March is also Music in Our Schools Month the purpose of which is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children and to remind citizens that schools are where all children should have access to music. The study of music is basic to the complete education, engages students in individual and group activity, develops creativity and problem-solving, as well as critical and evaluative skills.

Operations

FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS

Transportation

New Buses
The Transportation Department will be receiving 21 new school buses from Integrated Coach (IC) over the next 30 days.  After completing a thorough technical inspection of each bus, they will go into immediate service transporting over 21,000 district students.  These new buses are part of the annual capital budgeting plan to replace/retire older buses and expand the fleet to support continued growth.

Safety/Training
The Transportation Department, continuing its focus on student safety, will expand and enhance training capabilities and opportunities to all its personnel.  These include achieving eight state-certified operator trainers and three state-certified operator testers; recurring inspection certifications for school bus mechanics; specialized engine training with Cummings; expanded behind-the-wheel training for all operators, specialized scenario-based training for ESE transportation personnel as well as an intensive training week for all department staff.  Parents and guardians should expect to see district school bus training countywide the first week of August in preparation for a successful start to the school year.

Bus Planner Routing System
The transportation department is preparing to implement a new bus transportation routing system known as Bus Planner.  Bus Planner has inherent safety capabilities which will assist operators and routing personnel in establishing and sustaining the safest and most efficient bus routes and stops for student riders.

School bus route information for the 2017/2018 school year will be provided via SchoolMessenger to all parents and guardians in July.  Routing information may also be found in the transportation section of the district website as well as in the eSchoolPlus Home Access Center (HAC).

Building Code Administration

SREF Inspections
Annually the district’s Building Code Administration staff, in conjunction with all school site managers, performs annual inspections as required by the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF).  These inspections focus on code compliance for fire safety, casualty safety and sanitation.  All required inspections are complete, and school personnel along with maintenance department staff are addressing any remaining deficiencies in advance of the submission deadline to DOE.

Energy Management

Energy Savings
Since instituting the District’s Energy Management Program in 2008, the district has surpassed the $40 million mark in energy cost avoidance.

Energy Star
Each year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) recognize organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency with an Energy Star Award.  During 2016, 95 percent of all St. Johns County School District facilities received the Energy Star Award for outstanding energy conservation efforts.

Shutdown Savings
This year’s winter break shutdown was one of the most successful to date for the district.  Spring Break is quickly approaching, and the district team is looking forward to a successful spring break period with nine days of energy savings.

Facilities and New Construction

New K-8 Schools
Construction is underway for K-8 School “KK” in the Nocatee community and “LL” in the Aberdeen community.  Building foundations are complete at both sites and work is progressing on the slab-on-grade as well as the forming and pouring for the concrete tilt-wall panels.  The schools are scheduled to open for the 2018-2019 school year.

Elementary School “M”
The construction of Elementary School “M” in the World Golf Village area is currently underway and on schedule for completion in early summer 2017.  This 110,000 square foot facility is being constructed to Green Building Standards and will open for the 2017-2018 school year.

Nease High School Expansion
Allen D. Nease High School’s major expansion project is ongoing, with the 600 student station, two-story building addition on schedule for completion this summer.  The kitchen renovation, dining room expansion and new bus loop were completed and have been in use since August.  Additional site improvements and existing facility pod renovations are scheduled to start summer of 2017.

Dining Expansions
Dining room expansions are nearing completion at both Pacetti Bay Middle School and Valley Ridge Academy.  These dining room expansions are being constructed to alleviate overcrowding in these existing facilities and are expected to be in use by the end of March.

Maintenance Services

Annual Life Cycle Visits
The facilities and maintenance department leadership teams are currently conducting annual life cycle meetings at all district schools for capital maintenance and operating needs.  Reports generated from these meetings assist in determining the specific needs of schools, scheduling of capital maintenance projects, and establishing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Relocatable Classrooms
Installation of 34 relocatable classrooms at 10 separate school sites is underway to address district growth. Relocatable classrooms include the full complement of permanent classroom facilities including integrated building management systems and controls, audio enhancement, wireless accessibility and smartboard technology. All classrooms will be ready for the 2017-2018 school year.

BUSINESS AND FISCAL SERVICES

Accounting, Payroll and Accounts Payable Departments

Tax Forms
The payroll department issued 5,900 Form W-2, wage and tax statements to current and former district employees.  Of these, 2,501 were processed electronically to employees on January 15, with the remaining 3,399 hard copies sent on January 30.  Also, the accounts payable department processed and issued 624 IRS 1099 Tax forms to district vendors.

Budget Department

Budget Preparation
Beginning each February, the budget department turns its attention to the next school year.  Preparations are being made to build school operating budgets including FCTC.  District department budgets are formulating now as well.

Food and Nutrition Services Department

Summer Food Service
Food and Nutrition Services is preparing for the USDA Administrative Review scheduled in April.  This is a comprehensive review of the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and After School Snack Program.  The department is also planning for summer food service which serves breakfast and lunch to children 18 years of age or younger.  There are two types of feeding sites, closed and open.  Closed sites serve children enrolled in a sponsor’s program, and open sites serve anyone 18 years of age or younger as walk-ins. Sites are determined by geographical need and will be determined closer to the end of the school year. Site information is available on the Summer BreakSpot website at www.summerfoodflorida.org.

Purchasing Department

Furniture Purchase
The purchasing department, in partnership with the principals for Elementary School “M” and Allen D. Nease High School, is working with multiple vendors to meet the furniture needs of the new elementary school and the high school expansion. Delivery and installation will be early summer.

Bids
Since January 1, 2017, over 15 competitive solicitations have been released by the district, and interested parties are encouraged to participate.  For more information on how to do business with the district, please visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/purchasing/.

 

On the Horizon

 

The Character Cup

The Character Cup is a student-centered event highlighting physical education which links academics and character education through athletic competition.  In 2016, 200 student-athletes representing 20 elementary schools participated, and this year’s event looks to be even bigger and better.

The 2017 Character Cup will take placeWednesday, March 22 at St. Augustine High School.  Parents, teachers, administrators, school mascots and community members are strongly encouraged to come out in support of these hard-working students. The Character Cup Trophy will once again be awarded to the winning team for display at their elementary school during the 2017-18 school year.

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School Saturday, May 13.  The purpose of this event is to encourage and celebrate student interest in STEM, with the primary goal to promote student use of these subjects to solve real-world problems.  Student representation will be decided at the school level.  Teachers, parents, administrators, and community members are welcome to attend.

Job Fairs

The district will be hosting four different Job Fairs in the coming months. The SJCSD is looking for men and women to join the ranks of Florida’s #1 public school district. Job Fairs will be held throughout the spring and summer on the following dates:

Invitational Teacher Recruitment Fair (By invitation only)
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Location: Sebastian Middle School

Non-Instructional Job Fair
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Associate Teacher Expo
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Status Report

Shriner Jeans Day Fundraiser

On January 20, the St. Johns County School District held its second annual “Love to the Rescue” jeans day. The day’s efforts raised $1,305.25 donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa.

Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialized care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, regardless of their financial situation. More information can be found on their website at www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.

 

Did You Know…?

  • Congratulations to Sreeniketh Vogoti, an eighth-grade student at Fruit Cove Middle School, who gets a second chance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He won the 73rd annual Florida Times-Union Regional Spelling Bee for the second year in a row Saturday in a record 51 rounds. His final correctly spelled word was “facade.” Sreeniketh represented North Florida in 2016 and was one of the final 10 spellers in the Scripps championship round.

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
~Mark Twain

SR 2-10-17 Volume 6, Issue 11

It is my pleasure to announce two personnel recommendations that I will be making at next Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

I will be recommending Jud Strickland, current principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary, as the new principal at Elementary “M” and Kirstie Gabaldon, currently assistant principal at Sebastian Middle School, as the next principal at Switzerland Point Middle School.

Mr. Strickland is a dedicated instructional leader who is focused on building relationships with the staff and community.  His prior background as a regional superintendent, principal and having opened a new elementary school makes him a great candidate.  He has my utmost confidence and respect as he begins his work to prepare for the opening of Elementary “M” in August.

Mrs. Gabaldon brings experience in both middle and high school settings as well as serving as a high school registrar. Along with her wide ranges of experiences in ESE, MTSS, scheduling, PLC’s and building relationships within a school community, it was very clear to me that Kirstie was a perfect match for the school and will take the school to the next level of excellence.

We will begin the selection process by creating a principal profile for Cunningham Creek in the next few weeks.

 

Academic and Student Services

ACCOUNTABILITY AND INTERVENTION SERVICES

Early Childhood Services and District Assessment Development 

The Early Childhood Service Department is offering applications for three programs, Summer Voluntary Pre-K, Voluntary Pre-K, and Head Start for the 2017-2018 school year.

St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Summer VPK Program is offered May 30 – July 21, 2017, five days a week from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with instruction provided by certified SJCSD teachers. Summer VPK offers small class size with kindergarten readiness activities. To be eligible, children must be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2017.

In addition, parents can begin enrolling eligible students for the 2017-2018 VPK program.  To be eligible, a child must be age 4 on or before September 1, 2017.

To be eligible for the SJCSD Head Start program, a child must be 3 or 4 on or before September 1, 2017, and be income eligible.

Each program offers a tuition-free full school day at an SJCSD facility with regular elementary school hours. All teachers are Florida certified providing an engaging curriculum and kindergarten readiness activities.

Families may apply at the Early Childhood Service Department located at 102 Martin Luther King Avenue, St. Augustine. Contact the Early Childhood Services Department at (904) 547-8965 for more information. Enrollment for all programs is limited and placement is based on a first come, first served basis.

Exceptional Student Education

St. Johns County families with one or more siblings who have developmental disabilities and are ages 8 – 13, now have a program that’s just for them called Sibshops. On February 17 and March 20, they will have a chance to meet other kids whose brothers and sisters have special needs and talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sibling with a disability. Most important, they’ll have fun! This wonderful program is offered at no cost to families.  Registration is required.  For February 17, please register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sibshops-a-program-just-for-brothers-and-sisters-of-kids-with-special-needs-this-program-is-brought-tickets-29053298197.

For March 20, the registration link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sibshops-a-program-just-for-brothers-and-sisters-of-kids-with-special-needsthis-program-is-brought-tickets-29054244026.

Federal Programs

In collaboration with Title I and Title II, Early Childhood Services has hired an iInstructional literacy coach (ILC) to support all early childhood classrooms. The new ILC will provide instructional support to Pre-K ESE, Head Start, and VPK. Additional collaboration between Title I and Early Childhood Services has provided funding to four additional VPK classrooms at John A. Crookshank Elementary and The Webster School.

Planning, Accountability and Assessment

As the spring assessment season is quickly approaching, school testing coordinators are busy training staff and scheduling students for practice testing.  Instruction is at the forefront while there is a great deal of preparation that is taking place behind the scenes. The department always does its best to implement all of the state assessments with fidelity, while keeping the disruption to the daily school schedule at a minimum.  The ability of the St. Johns County educators to conduct this process so seamlessly is one of the many reasons this district continues to be such a leader in student learning and achievement.

CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Instructional Resources and Media Services

On January 30, the SJCSD held a parent review of the social studies instructional resources currently up for adoption. Interested parents joined Instructional and Media Services in the Fullerwood auditorium to review student materials including access to computer hardware and software as required. Participants also had the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.

Instructional Services

Science Fair

The 38th annual St. Johns County Science Fair was held at First Coast Technical College (FCTC) on February 1.  The 123 projects on display represented eight middle schools, two private schools and six high schools.   Students were selected to represent St. Johns County at the State Science and Engineering Fair that will take place March 28-30 in Lakeland.  Adam Snowden of Ponte Vedra High School was selected to represent St. Johns County at the International Science and Engineering Fair that will take place May 14-19 in Los Angeles, California.

Spelling Bee

Sreeniketh Vogoti, an eighth-grade student at Fruit Cove Middle School, won the 2017 St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Spelling Bee January 18 at First Coast Technical College. He won by spelling the word “fatuous” correctly. Sreeniketh is the son of Padamja and Balasubramanyam Vogoti.

Thirty-three elementary and middle school students from 28 public and five private schools competed for the honor of representing St. Johns County in The Florida Times-Union Regional Spelling Bee Saturday, March 4 at the Jacksonville Main Public Library. If for any reason the winner is not able to attend, runner-up Jackson Willis of Liberty Pines Academy will represent the county.

It took 37 rounds for the winner to be determined. The participants were congratulated by School Board Vice Chair Bill Mignon, School Board Member Kelly Barrera, Deputy Superintendent for Academic and Student Services Brennan Asplen and Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dawn Sapp.

Laurie Hays, program specialist for Elementary Language Arts, served as the Spelling Bee coordinator and the pronouncer was Linda Villadoniga, retired SJCSD teacher. Judges for the event were Jay DiMartino, SJCSD Language Arts and World Languages program specialist; Cheryl Freeman, SJCSD volunteer coordinator; and Sandy Waldeis, community representative.

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

Guidance and Programs of Choice

Controlled Open Enrollment

Controlled Open Enrollment (COE) is a new process that allows parents to apply to out-of-zone/county schools for their students where there is capacity available.  St. Johns County has four schools that meet the capacity criteria for the 2017-18 school year:  Durbin Creek Elementary, PVPV/Rawlings Elementary, The Webster School, and R.J. Murray Middle School.  Applications for the upcoming school year will be available February 13 to March 10.   Applications for COE will only be accepted during the application window. Once the window has closed, all applications will be randomly numbered with the assistance of a computer program. Complete details and applications can be found at http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/coe/.

Health Services

School nurses worked with the Professional Development Department to include non-instructional staff for training/certification in CPR/AED and First Aid.  On the planning day in January, 57 employees from various areas such as Transportation, Food Service and Maintenance participated in a five-hour program to become certified in these lifesaving skills.  This training helps staff to recognize different emergencies so appropriate intervention can take place. It also provides schools with an additional layer of safety and protection for students, families and staff members on school campuses across the district.

Student Services 

More than 130 food baskets were distributed during the holiday season to SJCSD families in need.  In addition, more than 600 children received holiday gifts.  Our sincere gratitude is extended to the following organizations that donated food and/or gifts: A.S.S.I.S.T.; Bartram Trail High School National Junior Honor Society; Firefighters for Families; the Furyk Foundation; the Hollis, Howze, Sutton and the Brindle families; Hugs Across the County; K-Kids at John A. Crookshank, Ketterlinus elementary schools; Timberlin Creek Elementary; The Webster School; Liberty Pines Academy PTO; Lucy’s Kids; the Masonic Lodge; The St. Augustine Catholic Church; the St. Augustine Police Department; St. Johns Cares; the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office; the Tax Collector’s Office; Somebody Cares 4 Kids and the Sunrise Rotary Club. Please contact Kim McNickle, homeless liaison, or Jan Caban, family services facilitator, at (904) 547-7598 to donate or request services.

INK!

National Mentoring Month

January was is National Mentoring Month, and this year, Take Stock in Children (TSIC) is celebrating 15 years of mentoring offering quality mentoring opportunities connecting more young people with caring adults.  A Mentoring Month proclamation was read at the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners of meeting January 17. On January 25, at the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s office, TSIC program staff participated in a joint mentor recruitment event with Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Johns County and the St. Johns County RSVP Program. To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit www.ink-stjohns.org.

Tools for Schools and The Bailey Resource Depot

Thank you to Kristopher Rule and his high school class at Gaines Alternative and The Transition School for filling all the teacher orders for Tools 4 Schools as a service learning project.  Also thank you to Jennifer Piniarski and Dustin Ducher, teachers at Gaines Alternative and The Transition School, for delivering the teacher orders to the schools.

Five Learning Years (FLY) attended Giving Tuesday at Flagler Hospital and distributed information as well as attained volunteers.  FLY was also given a $3000 donation by a private donor and has hired an additional tutor for the spring semester.

School Services

Out of Zone Transfers

Recently, the district disseminated a district-wide message to all parents and SJCSD employees regarding hardship and employee transfer requests.  The window to apply for an employee transfer opened on January 17 and will close on February 10.  Current hardship requests may be submitted between January 23 and February 10; first-time hardship requests may be submitted beginning March 20.   Attendance zone changes for the 2017-2018 school year, as well as information regarding transfers, can be found on the district website at http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/.  Parents and employees are reminded that transportation to and from their requested school is the responsibility of the parent if approved.

School Safety

Annually, each school reviews and updates its Emergency Operation Plan and holds safety team committee meetings.  In addition, schools hold lockdown drills and review evacuation procedures.  The district continues to work closely with local law enforcement to improve emergency preparedness, communication and enhance safety for all students and staff.

New AED machines will soon be ordered and distributed to each of our schools over the next few months.

Athletics Department

Congratulations to all of the fall and winter sports teams on successful seasons.  At the end of the fall season, state championship titles were earned by the Bartram Trail High School Girls Swim Team and the Creekside High School Boys Cross Country Team.

The spring sports season will soon be underway at our district high schools.  Look for spring schedules for baseball, tennis, lacrosse, track/field, softball and weightlifting on each of the high school’s websites.

On the Horizon

Chocolate and Beyond

Chocolate and Beyond, a celebration of chocolate, desserts, and other delectable culinary treats, will be held on Saturday, February 25 from 2 – 4 p.m. at First Coast Technical College, CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center in St. Augustine.  Guests will enjoy tasty samples from some of the area’s finest restaurants and specialty shops.  A silent auction and contests will also be part of this fun and exciting afternoon.

 
Hosted by The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of St. Johns County, proceeds from Chocolate and Beyond are utilized to recruit, train, and recognize senior volunteers in the St. Johns County School District as well as other locations around the county.  Tickets ($20 for adults, $10 for children under 12 years of age) can be purchased on the RSVP website at www.rsvpstjohns.com, at Whetstone Chocolates (139 King Street and 13 Anastasia Blvd in St. Augustine), or by calling RSVP at (904) 547-3945.
 

The Character Cup

The Character Cup is a student-centered event highlighting physical education which links academics and character education through athletic competition.  In 2016, 200 student-athletes representing 20 elementary schools participated, and this year’s event looks to be even bigger and better.

The 2017 Character Cup will take placeWednesday, March 22 at St. Augustine High School.  Parents, teachers, administrators, school mascots and community members are strongly encouraged to come out in support of these hard-working students. The Character Cup Trophy will once again be awarded to the winning team for display at their elementary school during the 2017-18 school year.

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair

The St. Johns County Elementary Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School Saturday, May 13.  The purpose of this event is to encourage and celebrate student interest in STEM, with the primary goal to promote student use of these subjects to solve real-world problems.  Student representation will be decided at the school level.  Teachers, parents, administrators, and community members are welcome to attend.

History Fair

This month the fifth annual St. Johns County School District History Fair will take place, giving students the opportunity to present their extensive research and creative projects.  The theme for this year’s event is “Taking a Stand in History.” Students in grades 6 through 12 researched primary and secondary sources related to this theme. The fair allows them a forum to present their findings in one of the following methods:  a historical paper, an exhibit, a documentary, performance, or website.  The Judging is February 15 from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center at First Coast Technical College (FCTC).  There will be a public viewing in the FCTC conference center, February 16 from 6-6:30 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony.   

Job Fairs

The district will be hosting four different Job Fairs in the coming months. The SJCSD is looking for men and women to join the ranks of Florida’s #1 public school district. Job Fairs will be held throughout the spring and summer on the following dates:

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Location: St. Augustine High School

Invitational Teacher Recruitment Fair (By invitation only)
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Non-Instructional Job Fair
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Associate Teacher Expo
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College

Status Report

St. Johns County School District Teacher and Rookie Teacher of the Year

Rookie Teacher of the Year

The St. Johns County Rookie Teacher of the Year is Kaley Still from Creekside High School. Ms. Still believes that if a student has a hard time with a specific skill then it is the teacher’s responsibility to come up with a different way of presenting the information to achieve success. She teaches ESE for grades nine through 12 for students with intellectual disabilities. Her classroom is one where her students are rewarded for following the rules because she believes that the learning environment should be one where students are motivated to behave and respect not only the teacher but each other.

Teacher of the Year

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Teacher of the Year is Dana Kelly from Cunningham Creek Elementary School. Mrs. Kelly teaches first grade at Cunningham Creek Elementary School. She has 13 years of teaching experience, all within the SJCSD. Since 2010 she has been at Cunningham Creek, most of which has been spent serving first grade. Prior to joining Cunningham Creek, she taught third and fourth grades at Osceola Elementary.

Ms. Kelly’s students become “world changers” while in her classroom striving to make positive impacts in their classroom, school, community and the world. For 180 days, her students are known as the “Pirate Crew” and set sail on the seas of learning. She credits her professional development in Gifted instruction as having a significant influence on her students’ achievement in academics and socio-emotional growth. Earning her Gifted Endorsement taught her that this instruction is simply highly effective teaching for all students. Her first graders take ownership of their learning by helping to select their reading and writing goals helping her to maximize the potential of each student. Lessons on perseverance, teamwork and building confidence have also positively impacted her students’ achievement.

Did You Know…?

  • St. Johns Virtual School (SJVS) has two upcoming opportunities for the community to help support the school. Just make a purchase at Panera Bread, 600 Tingle Ct. in St. Augustine, Wednesday, February 22 from 4-8 p.m. and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to SJVS. Please show the SJVS Fundraising for Panera on 2.22.2017 to participate. On Tuesday, February 28, from 4-8 p.m. Chipotle at 1753 US Highway 1 S. in St. Augustine will host an SJVS Spirit Night. Show the SJVS Fundraising for Chipotle on 2.28.2017 on your smartphone or tell the cashier you’re supporting the cause to make sure that 50 percent of the proceeds are donated to SJVS.

“If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.”
~Dolly Parton

SR 1-17-17 Volume 6, Issue 10

As I experienced my first few days as superintendent I am very grateful for the support and well wishes I have received. Our focus as a district will always be the children and families we serve, but I also put great stock in our work family. People are our greatest asset and we are blessed to have an amazing team throughout the district. I look forward in the coming weeks and months to spending time in our schools and getting to talk with not only students, teachers and administrators, but also support personnel and school staff.

Children are why we do what we do and I will never lose sight of that. Dr. Joyner has sustained an exceptional school district for 14 years and has left me with big shoes to fill. I look forward to growing as a leader and as a district over the years while we prepare our students for the future. I am honored to serve as your superintendent and look forward to working together to prepare every student for the future.

My second day on the job was filled with celebration as I had the pleasure of surprising the five finalists for St. Johns County Teacher of the Year. I know the judges had a very tough choice this year so please join me in congratulating the best of the best: Jennifer Cooper of Pacetti Bay Middle School, Dana Kelly of Cunningham Creek Elementary, Lauren Tate Wade of Ocean Palms Elementary, Ryan Sirak of St. Johns Technical High School and Anje Newbold of Otis A. Mason Elementary.

This is just a small sample of the individuals we are so fortunate to have teaching our children and I am forever amazed at the dedication and professionalism of them all. It will be my honor to recognize these exceptional finalists, and all of our Teachers of the Year, at the 37th annual Teacher of the Year celebration Monday, January 23 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. The overall winner will be announced at this banquet and will then be included for consideration as the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year 2018.

The Rookie Teacher of the Year will also be announced at the awards banquet. This is the 10th year for the rookie award, in which eligible teachers must have taught fewer than three years.

Don’t forget to register for the CHARACTER COUNTS! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk Saturday, February 4 at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School. This event provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the great character in our community. Online registration is available at www.racesmith.com/races/CHARACTERCOUNTS.html.

Race proceeds support CHARACTER COUNTS! initiatives throughout the St. Johns County School District. The run/walk is open to all ages, and the top three winners will be awarded in each of the age categories as well as the overall male and female finishers. A cash donation will be awarded to the top three schools with the most registrants. Race participants who preregister will receive a tech t-shirt and other goodies from area businesses and organizations. At the finish line, each race participant will receive a commemorative dog tag which is the third design in its series.

There are several other events occurring in the coming weeks which highlight the accomplishments of our students. The St. Johns County Spelling Bee is Wednesday, January 18 at the First Coast Technical College (FCTC) CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center; the High School Showcase at the Renaissance at World Golf Village is January 19 from 3:30-7 p.m. and the school district’s annual Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1 at the FCTC CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center from 9 a.m.-noon.

Cabinet Update

Human Resources

 

EEE (Empowering Excellence in Educators)

Did you know that every teacher in the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) takes the time each year to reflect upon the effectiveness of their instruction and create a Deliberate Practice Growth Plan in which they select targeted areas of teaching to hone in order to better meet the needs of their students?  Teachers create specific goals and monitor their progress multiple times throughout the year in order to determine if they are meeting the goals or they need to adjust them.  This process provides for opportunities for teachers to collaborate and learn from one another. In addition, teachers can work as a team to disaggregate student achievement data in order to focus lessons and strategies that will have the greatest impact on student learning.

The Human Resources Department would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the dedicated teachers of St. Johns County for the time and effort they put into growing professionally and updating their craft to stay abreast of current, research-based practices to create a truly student-centered learning environment.

Leadership

Leadership development/learning sessions continue to inform, provide opportunities for interaction and develop the capacity of all participants. Ongoing session topics include facilitative behaviors in the workplace, communication skills, understanding of the SJCSD strategic plan, mission and vision, a focus on character and ethics in the workplace, the culture of SJCSD and leadership skills which support the principles of Servant Leadership. Leadership academy participants discussed the book GRIT and the importance of professional perseverance and passion in the school and district setting.

Leadership session participants discuss the skills necessary to manage change and engage in courageous dialog around their work. These conversations are inspirational as we collaborate to learn from each other.

Professional Development

The SJCSD kicked off the New Year with a day dedicated to planning and professional learning.  On January 4, while students enjoyed the last day of Winter Break, teachers across the district spent the work day entering second quarter grades, reviewing data and planning lessons for the third quarter.  For support staff such as clerks, secretaries, paraprofessionals, etc., a district-wide day of professional learning was held with over 400 non-instructional staff members attending sessions across the district.  Skill-building sessions included Website Design, Excel Spreadsheets 101, Records Management Procedures and Outlook Tips and Tricks as well as school safety and interpersonal sessions such as CPR/First Aid, Managing Difficult Conversations and Professional Crisis Management.  In addition, some support staff participated in sessions designed to increase knowledge of existing district initiatives including AVID Elementary:  What’s our Focus? and CHARACTER COUNTS! in the Workplace.  A meaningful day of learning and planning helped all SJCSD personnel prepare for the return of students on January 5 and a great start to the third quarter.  The next teacher planning/non-Instructional in-service Day will be held on Monday, March 20.

Job Fairs

The district will be hosting four different Job Fairs in the coming months. The SJCSD is looking for men and women to join the ranks of Florida’s #1 public school district. Job Fairs will be held throughout the spring and summer on the following dates:

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Location: St. Augustine High School
Time:  TBD

Invitational Teacher Recruitment Fair (By invitation only)
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time:  TBD

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time: TBD

Non-Instructional Job Fair
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time:  TBD

Associate Teacher Expo
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time:  TBD

Mark your calendars and plan on attending. If you know of any teachers or non-instructional personnel who will be moving into our area in the near future, we encourage you to pass along this information. Registration information will be available on our school district’s website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/recruitment/ as we get closer to each Job Fair date.  All attendees are strongly encouraged to complete an online application prior to attending a fair. Please visit the SJCSD recruitment website listed above for more information.

On the Horizon

 

District Spelling Bee

The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 18 at 9 a.m. at First Coast Technical College (FCTC), CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, located at 2980 Collins Ave., St. Augustine.

High School Showcase

The High School Showcase is Thursday, January 19 at the World Golf Village Convention Center from 3:30-7 p.m.  The showcase will exhibit all programs of choice the district has to offer.  Seventh- through 10thgrade students and their parents will have the opportunity to speak with school representatives, business partners and obtain information on programs of choice in order to make better decisions about their academic choices and future career opportunities.

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 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.

Science Fair

The Regional Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1 at FCTC, CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, 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 FCTC.

CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk

The fifth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 4 at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 14 to guarantee a run t-shirt.

Status Report

 

New Community Education Classes Starting

The St. Johns County School District invites you to join us in another exciting session of Community Education adult evening courses that are available at five different school sites. You can enroll in courses in Microsoft Office and Excel, retirement planning, memory improvement, sewing, photography, art, Spanish and French languages, guitar, banjo, song writing, bluegrass string band, yoga, bellydance, and improvisational theatre. To register or for information on course prices, dates, and locations visit our website at http://communityed.stjohns.k12.fl.us/courses  or call 547-7565.  Courses are starting soon, so don’t delay; sign up today.

Did You Know…?

  • The 37th Matanzas 5000 5K and Fun Run is January 21. Proceeds from this event go to support cross country teams at St. Johns County high schools and middle schools. The Matanzas 5000 has raised over $100,000 for running programs in St. Johns County schools! Early registration for $25 through January 1st. New this year – a long sleeve tech shirt for first 1,200 registered. For race entry, Race Expo and sponsorship information, please visit www.matanzas5k.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Matanzas5K.

“In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.”

~Stephen Covey

Letter from Superintendent Tim Forson

Happy New Year and welcome back!  I hope you enjoyed your holiday break with family and friends. As I experienced my first few days as superintendent I am very grateful for the support and well wishes I have received. Our focus as a district will always be the children and families we serve, but I also put great stock in our work family. People are our greatest asset and we are blessed to have an amazing team throughout the district. I look forward in the coming weeks and months to spending time in our schools and getting to talk with not only students, teachers and administrators, but also support personnel and school staff.

Children are why we do what we do and I will never lose sight of that. Dr. Joyner has sustained an exceptional school district for 14 years and has left me with big shoes to fill. I look forward to growing as a leader and as a district over the years while we prepare our students for the future. I am honored to serve as your superintendent and look forward to working together to prepare every student for the future.

My second day on the job was filled with celebration as I had the pleasure of surprising the five finalists for St. Johns County Teacher of the Year. I know the judges had a very tough choice this year so please join me in congratulating the best of the best: Jennifer Cooper of Pacetti Bay Middle School, Dana Kelly of Cunningham Creek Elementary, Lauren Tate Wade of Ocean Palms Elementary, Ryan Sirak of St. Johns Technical High School and Anje Newbold of Otis A. Mason Elementary.

This is just a small sample of the individuals we are so fortunate to have teaching our children and I am forever amazed at the dedication and professionalism of them all. It will be my honor to recognize these exceptional finalists, and all of our Teachers of the Year, at the 37th annual Teacher of the Year celebration Monday, January 23 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. The overall winner will be announced at this banquet and will then be included for consideration as the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year 2018.

The Rookie Teacher of the Year will also be announced at the awards banquet. This is the 10th year for the rookie award, in which eligible teachers must have taught fewer than three years.

Don’t forget to register for the CHARACTER COUNTS! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk Saturday, February 4 at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School. This event provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the great character in our community. Online registration is available at www.racesmith.com/races/CHARACTERCOUNTS.html.

Race proceeds support CHARACTER COUNTS! initiatives throughout the St. Johns County School District. The run/walk is open to all ages, and the top three winners will be awarded in each of the age categories as well as the overall male and female finishers. A cash donation will be awarded to the top three schools with the most registrants. Race participants who preregister will receive a tech t-shirt and other goodies from area businesses and organizations. At the finish line, each race participant will receive a commemorative dog tag which is the third design in its series.

There are several other events occurring in the coming weeks which highlight the accomplishments of our students. The St. Johns County Spelling Bee is Wednesday, January 18 at the FCTC CHARACTER COUNTS Conference Center; the High School Showcase at the Renaissance at World Golf Village is January 19 from 3:30-7 p.m. and the school district’s annual Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1 at the First Coast Technical College (FCTC) CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center from 9 a.m.-noon.

SR 12-20-16 Volume 6, Issue 9

On behalf of the School Board and staff of the St. Johns County School District, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday seasons.

This is a wonderful time of year in our schools, happy students, teachers and staff working hard every day while eagerly anticipating a well-deserved break.

For me, the most rewarding aspect of the season is the spirit of giving.  As you can see from the story below, The Hugs Across the County organization involved multiple schools and filled close to 250 food bags for those in need.  Additionally, the support for our ASSIST Program, which helps to support our homeless children and their families, has been at an all-time high with district staff raising over $9,700!  It is gratifying to see such selfless support for those in need, especially at this time of year.

Since this is my last message in this publication as superintendent, I want to once again thank the School Board, parents, teachers, support staff and community members who have allowed me to serve as superintendent.  Our school district is in excellent hands with Tim Forson, and I am certain that his tenure will be as personally rewarding as mine has been.

St. Johns County is a very special place because of all of you, and I will be eternally grateful for the honor of serving as your superintendent the last 14 years.

May the peace of the season cover us all and renew our faith.

Pooh

Sincerely,

Joe Joyner

Hugs Across the County

The goal of Hugs Across the County was to make winter break food bags for 160 students identified by guidance counselors and the ASSIST program who are especially vulnerable this time of year. These are all students who are not already receiving assistance from other organizations. Thanks to so many caring people in the school district, that goal was exceeded and close to 250 bags were filled!

The food bags, chock full of kid-friendly breakfast and lunch items, were delivered for students at W.D. Hartley, Hickory Creek, Palencia, Durbin Creek and Otis A. Mason elementary schools, Switzerland Point, Gamble Rogers, and R.J. Murray middle schools, Bartram Trail and Ponte Vedra high schools as well as ASSIST.

In addition, so much extra food was collected, that Hugs Across the County was able to fill a room at Gamble Rogers Middle School so that weekend food bags could be filled for 54 of its students.

Special thanks to everyone who helped collect, bag and distribute food to some of our neediest students during this holiday season.

Cabinet Update

Operations

Planning

The district continues to monitor enrollment numbers for the 2016-2017 school year.  Currently, there are 38,666 students enrolled in the district.  This represents a growth of approximately 5.6 percent.  The district also achieved compliance with the Class Size Amendment for all core classes for the established limit based on grade level (Grades KG-3:  18; Grades 4-8:  22; and Grades 9-12:  25).

Attendance Zone Changes

At their December 13 meeting, the School Board approved changes to the attendance zones.  There was one change for the 2016-2017 school year that is effective immediately.  This action rezones the townhouses known as the Palisades at Durbin Crossing from Patriot Oaks Academy to Durbin Creek Elementary and Fruit Cove Middle School.  These units are not yet occupied.

The School Board also created an attendance zone for Elementary M and adjusted the zones at several area elementary schools to balance enrollment and better address growth for the 2017-2018 school year. The schools affected are Mill Creek Elementary, Wards Creek Elementary, Palencia Elementary, Ketterlinus Elementary and The Webster School.  Detailed information on these changes is outlined on the district website.  Please visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/zoning/.

Governmental Relations

Following the November 8 election, more than 60 new representatives and senators were sworn into office in the Florida State Legislature.  In preparation for the 2017 Regular Legislative Session, committee membership has been announced, trainings have been taking place for new members, and the first week of interim committee meeting took place in the Senate the week of December 12.  To view a complete calendar of committee meetings and session dates, as well as find committee membership lists, contact information and additional advocacy resources, including a copy of the district’s legislative platform, please visit our website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/gr.

As the district prepares for what is sure to be a tight budget year for the state and competing priorities between the House and the Senate, your involvement in the process is more important than ever.  Governmental Relations has also been working to involve more administrators, teachers and parents in advocating for the district.  If you have a group of faculty or a PTO who would like more information on how to effectively communicate with elected officials and advocate for the priorities of the district, please contact Beth Sweeny, Coordinator for Governmental Relations, via email at [email protected] or telephone at 547-7673 to set up a presentation.

On the Horizon

Winter Break

Wednesday, December 21 is a regular early release day, Elementary at 1:50 p.m. and Middle at 1 p.m.

High schools will dismiss at 11:25 a.m. due to the exam schedule.

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.

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.

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.

Science Fair

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.

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.

Status Report

 Health Clinic Enrichment at R.B. Hunt Elementary

Three fifth-grade students approached School Nurse Jean Drayovitch, RN, BS, about doing an enrichment program with the school’s health clinic. The five-week program covers topics on 911 Skills/Dispatch, Food Labels/Nutrition Eat This-Not That, Playground Safety, First Aid Kits, and Basic First Aid review.  In a demonstration of leadership, proactive initiative and dedication, the three students gave up recess time to participate. Nurse Drayovitch and the students wrote to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and invited a dispatcher as a guest speaker in their classroom. 911 Disptacher Stephanie Phelps spoke to Ms. Cleary’s fifth-grade class to review 911 skills and play a Q&A game to win 911-themed goodie bags and prizes. Students learned the importance of what/where/when for giving information, the skill for identifying the address where you are staying/visiting/living and best practices for what to do if you accidentally dial 911. The students were also introduced to new technology available for texting to 911.

Nurse Drayovitch   911 Dispatch

Did You Know…?

  • The 37th Matanzas 5000 5K and Fun Run is January 21, 2017. Proceeds from this event go to support cross country teams at St. Johns County high schools and middle schools. The Matanzas 5000 has raised over $100,000 for running programs in St. Johns County schools! Early registration for $25 through January 1st. New this year – a long sleeve tech shirt for first 1,200 registered. For race entry, Race Expo and sponsorship information, please visit www.matanzas5k.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Matanzas5K.

 

  • 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.

“Your character will be what you yourself choose to make it.”

~John Lubbock

SR 12-9-16 Volume 6, Issue 8

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!

Cabinet Update

Information Technology

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.

BusinessPlus Upgrade

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
Osceola ES

 

Community Relations

Instructional Television

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.

Web Services

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.

School Partnerships

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.

CHARACTER COUNTS!

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.

Science Fair

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.

Status Report

Winter Break

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…?

 

“Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success.”

~John Hays Hammond

SR 11-22-16 Volume 6, Issue 7

Thanksgiving always reinforces the gratitude I feel at being able to serve with so many caring and selfless individuals. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to work for an institution whose sole purpose is to serve children and every day I am reminded of acts of kindness by a teacher or member of our support staff.

I hold a firm belief that gratitude should – and must – be taught to children. The countless examples of programs honoring veterans, the clothing and food drives for those less fortunate, and the donations that poured in following Hurricane Matthew, are a testament to the great work our schools do in teaching gratitude. The recent dedication of our principals and all of our amazing staff who worked so tirelessly at our school shelters during the hurricane is an example of the trust our community places in our school district, and I am very grateful for their work. We are so fortunate to have people rise above during challenging times to meet the needs of our children and families and exhibit great character throughout the county.

We never take for granted the outstanding parents, teachers, staff, school board members and students who make this school system the great place it is to work and learn, so thank you for all you do.

This week ushers in the “holiday season” for schools and it is my favorite time of the year.

May God bless all of you and your families this Thanksgiving, and may you have a safe and restful holiday!

Joe Joyner

Schools Update

Elementary and K-8 Schools

John A. Crookshank

Crookshank School Community for Veterans Day Remembrance and Building Dedication Ceremony

Crookshank Elementary School (CES) hosted 25 veterans of foreign wars joined by 880 preschool through fifth-grade students earlier this month to honor the men and women who serve in our armed forces and protect American freedoms. All veterans in attendance were introduced to the children and several chose to speak about their experiences, including a World War II veteran who was present at the D-Day invasion. Members of the safety patrol respectfully raised a flag that flew over a Iraq and led all students and visitors in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The CES chorus sang the national anthem and the patriotic song, “American Tears.” The 2016 Veterans Day observance was the school’s largest to date.

Following the Veterans Day celebration, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner and School Board Chair Patrick Canan spoke to students about the decision to build a new 22-room building at CES. The building more than doubles the interior space at the school. Students were invited to participate in drawing and essay contests and the winners shared their pictures and essays with the crowd. With two buildings now on campus, a contest to name each of the buildings was held and a vote taken. The historical 1959 building was named the “Cub Den” and the new intermediate building, the “Cougar Den.” Everyone enjoyed refreshments and tour after the ceremonies.

St. Augustine Artist Manila Clough Creates “Starstuff” Mosiac for Crookshank Students

St. Augustine Artist Manila Clough has spent a good part of the last two years creating a large porcelain and stained glass mosaic for the Crookshank student body. The mosaic is titled, “We are Made of Starstuff” a Carl Sagan quote meant to inspire wonder about our experience of life. The afternoon of the Veterans Day/Building Dedication ceremonies, Mrs. Clough’s mosaic was unveiled and children and adults marveled at the beauty and intricacy of her work. Manila will be volunteering as an artist-in-residence at CES during the second semester. All of us are very grateful for her special interest in our students.

Durbin Creek

The Durbin Creek Elementary School (DCES) chorus will be performing at the Jacksonville airport Tuesday, December 13 at 11:30 a.m. They will also be performing for friends and family at DCES Thursday, December 15 at 6 p.m. The school’s annual Wonderland Gift Shop will be open for students to purchase holiday gifts the week of December 5.

W.D. Hartley 

The students and staff will be busy at Hartley Elementary School (HES) the next two months.  On November 14 the HES food drive began.  The winners from the Kids Clothes Closet fundraiser received their reward of Lunch in a Limo on November 17.  December 1 is the first day of the Student Council Wishing Tree, ending on December 16.  Just in time for the holidays, the HES book fair will be ongoing from December 11–16.  At the next PTO meeting Thursday, December 15 at 7 p. m., the kindergarten classes will be performing a holiday program.

R.B. Hunt

R.B. Hunt Elementary School (RBHES) students in Ms. Paolini’s fourth-grade class recently worked with Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve (GTMRR) and Flagler College to conduct research on growing smooth spartina, commonly known as cordgrass, for use in shoreline restoration. Students participated in creating barges for spartina to be grown in the school’s pond throughout the year. Students will gain STEM-related skills and actively participate in conservation-based research to increase their knowledge and awareness of plant physiology and anatomy, sustainable growing techniques, fresh water chemistry and environmental engineering skills. The spartina barges were built using a frame of tubing and webbing with spartina blooms placed in biodegradable coconut fiber. These barges were constructed by Ms. Paolini’s class under the direction of Kenneth Rainer, education director at GTMRR and professor of Life Science and Science Education at Flagler College along with three Flagler College science students; Britta Messler, Meagan Cooke, Kaley Steinghner.  The RBHES students will monitor the growth of the spartina, discuss the variables that would impede growth and chart the statistics.  The goal is for the root system in the spartina buds to weave around the coconut bedding and create a large bloom that can eventually be planted along the sea shore.  When planted these plants serve as protection from erosion, provide an environment for a several animals as a nursery and acts as a filter for the water.

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Julington Creek 

Food Drive and Angel Tree

The Julington Creek Elementary School (JCES) community will be conducting a food drive throughout the months of November and December. Students are encouraged to donate food to benefit people affected by Hurricane Matthew in the St. Augustine and Jacksonville areas. JCES students and their families can “adopt” some of our school’s families in need from the Angel Tree and donate gifts to make their holidays a little brighter.

Holiday Events

The JCES PTO presents the Winter Wonderland Night of Lights on December 1.  This is a magical evening event for families that features yummy treats, movies, and lots of fun! Volunteers from Creekside High School’s American Sign Language (ASL) classes have been teaching JCES students ASL.  These students will present an ASL holiday program, highlighting different songs that they have learned to sign, on the morning of December 8.  JCES kindergarten students will be presenting a holiday program for family and friends on the evening of December 8. The talented JCES chorus will entertain students, families and friends, at multiple holiday concerts on December 13.  Their many hours of hard work and practice have led up to this special concert presentation.

Liberty Pines Academy

Earlier this month Liberty Pines Academy (LPA) hosted its annual Liberty Parade honoring veterans. On December 1 and 2, LPA presents its play, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” at 6 p.m., and on December 6, the PTO Holiday Vendor/Night of the Arts will be held at 6 p.m. On December 15 LPA celebrates its Leader of the Pack/Character Counts students at 7:30 a.m.

Otis A. Mason

Otis A. Mason Elementary School (MES) held its annual holiday luncheon for all MES families November 17. MES is well into the holiday food drive and is busy collecting non-perishable food items.  The donated items, along with a turkey, will be provided in Thanksgiving food baskets to MES families in need. In addition, the MES PTO will be hosting a holiday toy drive during the month of December to support MES families in need.

Mill Creek 

Mill Creek Elementary School (MCES) student council kicked off the year with “Mill Creek Gives Back” campaigns. These campaigns promote giving back to families through clothing donations and a food drive. MCES students are growing up in a world full of data. Counting, graphing and interpreting information around them will continue to be a necessity in their lives. Students have incorporated math with giving back to the community in a way that helps them become confident, selfless, and happy mathematicians. We look forward to the positive influence these lessons will provide throughout the building and the community this year.

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Osceola

Circle K Gas Donation

Osceola Elementary School (OES) Osceola has partnered with Circle K Convenience Stores (formerly Kangaroo) in the “Fueling Our Schools” program during the 2016-2017 school year. For one day in October, Osceola had a designated gas pump at the State Road 312/207 store in St. Augustine. For every gallon of gas that was pumped at any of their pumps during that time frame, 10 cents was donated to OES. There will be four of these special dates this school year and for each date, OES is eligible to earn up to $2,500. In addition, every day during this school year on every gas pump at this location, Osceola will receive 1 cent per gallon pumped. This is an easy way to earn much needed funds, so please share this information with family and friends to support OES school.

Girls on the Run

At Girls on the Run, girls learn about their local community and that one way to show gratitude is by helping others. This season, the OES Girls on the Run want to make a huge impact on the Daniel Organization. Daniel is a multi-service agency that assists more than 3,000 abused, neglected, and emotionally troubled youth and their families. Osceola Girls on the Run is collecting items for children within the foster care program including new pajamas (age 12-18); new undergarments (age 12-18); new socks (age 12-18) ; non-perishable food items; toiletries; coats and sweaters All donations are due by Friday, December 2. OES Girls on the Run will present all donations to representatives from Daniel at their end of season 5K on Saturday December 3. Thank you for all of your help and generosity.

Patriot Oaks Academy 

Chargerthon

On November 22 the Patriot Oaks Academy administration and a couple faculty members will be “slimed” in front of the student body. This was part of the incentive to raise money during our Chargerthon fundraiser which raised over $50,000. A percentage of the money raised was donated to Student Services in an effort to support those impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

Upcoming Events

  • November 28- School Spelling Bee
  • December 7 and 8 – First and second grade evening winter concert
  • December 15 – Band concert

South Woods

South Woods Elementary School (SWES) is one of two schools in St. Johns County School District in the process of developing a community school.  The Community School directors have been identified and will soon begin reaching out to the community to identify priority needs. SWES is also continuing growth as an AVID school. Students and teachers are focusing on developing student organizational skills and preparing then for future college and careers.

Timberlin Creek

Timberlin Creek Elementary School (TCES) happy to spotlight its CHARACTER COUNTS! Breakfast celebration that was started this school year. Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Alone, each of these attributes is considered exemplary; together they form the Pillars of Character that are a part of the culture at TCES.  Each month students who show exemplary qualities of the character trait for the month are nominated by their teachers. TCES faculty and administration hosted its second CHARACTER COUNTS! Breakfast on October 27 to recognized students and their parents for showing excellence in Responsibility. TCES is proud to honor these students and to celebrate with their families. 

Valley Ridge Academy

Valley Ridge Academy (VRA) will be hosting its middle school CHARACTER COUNTS! celebration Thursday, December 1 and Friday, December 2 for pre-k through fifth grade.

Wards Creek

Wards Creek Elementary School (WCES) will be hosting second-grade Data and Donuts, student-led parent conferences as well as the kindergarten Poem and Pies that includes a student concert, recitation and desserts on Tuesday, November 22. On Wednesday, December 21 WCES will have its school-wide Winter Wonderland featuring STEM centers related to winter and the holidays.

Middle and High Schools

Middle Schools

Gamble Rogers

The band students at Gamble Rogers will be performing their Winter Band Concert on December 8 at 7 p.m. The concert will take place at the school. On December 17 the Jazz Band will be performing at the Nights of Lights at 6:30 p.m. at the Night of Lights Trolley Station located at the Visitor Information Center.

Murray Middle School

Holiday Greetings from R.J. Murray Middle (MMS) School Center for the Arts! As students begin to work toward a successful semester, many events and activities are taking place at MMS. The National Junior Honor Society is sponsoring the annual Thanksgiving food drive. All donations will stay local and help support MMS families during the holiday season.

Reading Plus and the Jacksonville Jaguars have generously donated 20 tickets to MMS to be used as an incentive for the Reading Plus program.  These tickets are for the December 11 game between the Jaguars and the Minnesota Vikings.  Three teachers will accompany students to the game and transportation will be provided. In order to participate in the contest, students will need to earn as many combos as they can between now and December 8.  Students achieve a combo by scoring 80 percent or higher on two consecutive See Reader lessons.  Each time they earn a combo, students will earn a chance in the drawing. The drawing will be held on December 8 and winners be announced at the end of the day.  There is no limit to how many times a student’s name can go into the drawing. This wonderful incentive program is an excellent way to motivate and engage your child to improve their silent reading comprehension, vocabulary, and reading fluency.  All MMS students are eligible to enter the drawing.

MMS dancers performed to standing room only shows at Pedro Menendez High School November 9 and 10. Over 225 students participated in the performances. The advanced chorus and jazz band performed at the Cathedral Basilica on the evening of November 14. It was a beautiful evening with outstanding performances by the students. The MMS chorus will perform on December 5 at St. Augustine High School (SAHS) and the band will perform at SAHS on December 15. Both performances begin at 7 p.m. The drama students traveled to New York City to attend a workshop and performances on November 16. Productions and rehearsals for “James and the Giant Peach” are also underway for a spring performance.

 Pacetti Bay

Pacetti Bay Middle School band hosted a concert for the community and veterans.  Approximately 15 veterans attended in wheelchairs from the Lassen Veteran Nursing Home on SR 16.  They recognized all veterans during the performance and handed out flags to all.

Sebastian

Sebastian Middle School (SMS) will be hosting a “Art’s Night” on November 30.  This is a great opportunity to come and see the progress of our students.  On December 2, SMS will be hosting an eighth-grade career fair.  This will provide the eighth-grade students the ability to inquire about careers that they may want to pursue in their future.

On November 15, the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members hosted The Great American Smoke Out event in the cafeteria for the staff.  This is a chance for the students to reverse their roles and advise the staff what they have learned about living tobacco free.

Switzerland Point 

Community Help

At Switzerland Point Middle School (SPMS), service projects are a huge focus this year. Throughout the second quarter, students at SPMS have been busy demonstrating the Six Pillars of Character by leading a variety of service projects. The SPMS B6 Club spent the month of October collecting treats for troops overseas, designing posters and advertising the collection drive on the daily morning news show, collecting enough candy to send more than 300 bags to soldiers overseas. Meanwhile, students in the Dreams Come True Club got a head start in reaching their goal to help a deserving young child in need by turning leftover Halloween candy into a school-wide fundraiser. The SPMS PTSO helped students organize a highly successful children’s book collection drive in October. Over 1,600 books were donated to students at South Woods Elementary School. Finally, in early November, students and staff participated in our annual food drive, donating hundreds of nonperishable items for those in need in our community.

SPMS Noetic Math Team Prepares for National Contest

This November, a team of 30 SPMS seventh-grade students will compete in the Noetic Learning Math Contest (NLMC), a semiannual problem-solving contest for elementary and middle school students. The goal of the competition is to encourage student interest in math, to develop problem-solving skills, and to inspire students to excel academically. During the contest, students are given 45 minutes to solve 20 problems designed to challenge and enrich problem-solving experiences. In the spring of 2016, 30,000 students nationwide competed in this contest. Using past contest questions, the SPMS team, with the help of their sponsor, seventh-grade math teacher Tracey Lyons, have been practicing for several weeks. Accolades team members are striving for include a Team Winner Medal for the top team score, National Honor Roll Medals for the top 10 percent of all participants in each grade nationally, and Team Achievement Plaques for the top 10 percent of teams nationally.

High Schools

Allen D. Nease

It is the most wonderful time of the year when the Nease Band and Chorus come together to perform their winter concert.  The performance will take place on December 6 at 7 p.m.

St. Johns Technical High School

There a lot going on with the students at St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS).  On November 10 at 8:45 a.m. SJTHS ROTC students participated in raising the flag to honor Veterans Day in the First Coast Technical College courtyard.

Congratulations Chef Sherri Gaynor and the culinary students for doing such a great job in organizing the serving of Thanksgiving Dinner to migrant families in the community of Armstrong on November 14. The United Way Board Members were very complimentary of the students’ professionalism and work ethic.

 On December 9, SJTHS will be hosting a Silent Auction and Parent Night from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Teachers will be informing parents of the upcoming semester exam schedule, studying tips using AVID strategies, introduction to Schoology, and the collaboration between the Culinary and Water Academies’ service learning project, “Grease.”  Dinner will be served and items will be available for silent auction.

JEA Wastewater Treatment Plant field study for Water Academy students will take place on December 13.  Lunch will be provided.

B6 Club students will be reading to children and wrapping presents at Barnes and Noble on December 16. A percentage of sales will go to SJTHS Media Center for purchasing books.

SJTHS is pleased to offer a second collection day for used cooking oil just for St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) employees.  On Wednesday, December 14 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., SJCSD employees may drop off their used cooking oil in closed containers at the SJTHS campus.  For more information, please contact Linda Krepp, career specialist.

On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, residents of St. Johns County can drop off their used cooking oil in closed containers, from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at two convenient locations in the County, Francis Field in St. Augustine and the St. Johns County Utilities Wastewater Treatment Plant on Anastasia Island.  Sorry, no motor oil can be accepted.  This event is planned after the holidays so please start collecting your used cooking oil in closed containers now to help with this drive.

On the Horizon

Thanksgiving Holiday

All schools and district offices will be closed Wed. – Fri., November 23-25 for the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition, Wednesday, December 21 will be a regular early release Wednesday: Elementary at 1:50 p.m., Middle at 1 p.m. and High at 2:45 p.m.

Status Report

FCTC High School Showcase

Over 400 students from St. Johns, Clay, and Putnam county high schools, along with other non-public and non-traditional schools, participated in the second annual High School Showcase held at First Coast Technical College (FCTC) at the St. Augustine campus November 15. Students were invited to visit two career and technical education programs of their choice and interact with current students and program instructors. Additionally, each program was set up with stations and activities for the visitors to experience what it is like to be a student in the program. The annual showcase is designed to give prospective students a tour of the campus and programs, as well as for current students to share their experiences with visitors.

The next step for interested students is the Career Connect Night on December 6 from 5-7 p.m. On that night, students are invited back with their parents and family members to visit their program of choice at one of the FCTC campuses in St. Augustine or Palatka. Students interested in attending cosmetology, LPN, or welding programs in Palatka will visit the Putnam County Campus and those interested in programs in St. Augustine will visit the main campus. Students interested in fire fighting, paramedic, or EMT will visit the Public Safety Campus in St. Augustine.  On the Career Connect Night parents and family members have the opportunity to learn about their child’s program choice and get other school-related information including financial aid.

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Did You Know…?

  • Congratulations to Blake Dellenback, of Switzerland Point Middle School, who recently received a $100 gift card, a pen with a flash drive and certificate of achievement from InvestWrite. InvestWrite is a contest that accompanies The Stock Market Game, a virtual investment program. Students work in groups investing virtual money in the stock market with fees and rules they must follow. They track their investments over multiple weeks competing with other students nationwide. The Stock Market Game offers many lessons to use prior to beginning the game that gives the students necessary background information about investing, stocks, bonds and how the economy works. InvestWrite is a summative writing opportunity for students to talk about their experience with the stock market with specific items students need to address such as supply and demand, production, marketing, reasons why this stock will improve etc.  One of the stocks Blake’s group invested in was Northrop-Grumman. This was the stock that he chose to write about.

 

  • Stay Strong St. Augustine magnets are now available for a $10 donation. These beautiful magnets are 6 inches round, laminated and UV resistant for year-round outdoor or indoor use. 100 percent of the profits will be donated to the St. Francis House and Ayla’s Acres, a no-kill animal rescue. The magnet was designed and drawn by Ella, an 11-year-old artist and student at R.J. Murray Middle School Center for the Arts. Magnets are available at the following locations:
    • LYMI Oddities, 305 A1A Beach Blvd, St Augustine, FL 32080
    • Metalartz Gallery, 58 Hypolita St., St. Augustine, FL 32084
    • The UPS Store at Cobblestone Village, 135 Jenkins St., Ste. 105-B, St. Augustine, FL 32086
    • The Red Sable, 72 South Dixie Highway, St. Augustine, FL 32084

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“Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in bonds of fraternal feeling.”
~Abraham Lincoln