SR 1-25-16 Volume 5, Issue 12

Congratulations go to our five district Teacher of the Year finalists. I know you will join me in me in applauding these teachers who are the best of the best! The finalists are Courtney Fenner of John A. Crookshank Elementary; Brian Elmore of Ketterlinus Elementary; Laurie Zentz of Switzerland Point Middle; Jennifer Sparks of Durbin Creek Elementary; and Catie Grimes of Patriot Oaks Academy.

This is just a small sample of the individuals we are so fortunate to have teaching our children. Each year I am amazed at the love, dedication and professionalism of our teachers. It will be my honor to recognize these exceptional finalists, and all of our Teachers of the Year, at the 36th annual Teacher of the Year Celebration.

The overall winner will be announced at the celebration on Tuesday, January 26 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. The winner’s name will be included for consideration as the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year 2016.

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

Executive Cabinet Update

Human Resources Update

Substitute Teachers

Currently the district has a pool of over 500 substitute teachers with 150 of those hired in the fall of this school year. In the total pool, over 150 are certified teachers and available for long-term teaching positions. Another 35 recent graduates from teacher preparation programs will be trained as substitute teachers in February 2016.

On the Horizon

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

The fourth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com.

History Fair

This year’s History Fair will take place on Tuesday, February 23 at First Coast Technical College (FCTC) beginning at 9 a.m. The awards presentation will be Wednesday, February 24 at FCTC at 6 p.m. Viewing of the projects is from 5-6 p.m. Contact 547-7733 for more information.

Status Report

District Spelling Bee

Sreeniketh Vogoti, a seventh-grade student at Fruit Cove Middle School, won the 2016 St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Spelling Bee held earlier this month at the Fullerwood Learning Center. He won by spelling the word “reprieve” correctly. It took 49 rounds for the winner to be determined. Runner-up was Mary Kathryn Reynolds of Ocean Palms Elementary School. Sreeniketh will be recognized at the regular School Board meeting on Tuesday, February 9.

Celebrate Literacy Week

Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! is a week-long celebration from Jan. 25 – 29, 2016, to raise awareness for literacy programs and projects offered by the Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! office, and its partner agencies and organizations. The eighth annual Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! focuses on civics, and reminds students of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the impact an individual can have on their community. The theme this year is “Literacy Changes Our World.”

The week’s events are made possible by these participating sponsors: Florida Lottery; Scholastic; Legoland; and the Florida Education Foundation. The Department of Education actively works with community groups and volunteers throughout the state to make reading a priority in students’ lives. For more information about Just Read, Florida!, visit www.justreadflorida.com.

 

Did You Know…?

  • St. Johns County School District employees have a unique opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree through the Public Administration Program at Flagler College.  It is exceptionally affordable, high quality, and conveniently scheduled.  Thanks to the Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG), which all Florida residents qualify for, the total out-of-pocket tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year was only $550.  Tuition is expected to be similar for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Flagler College offers this opportunity as a community service, and it allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree in just five semesters. The college accepts working professionals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have an A.A. or A.S. degree, or who have 60 transferable college credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university. For information on the curriculum and faculty, or to register, please visit www.flagler.edu/PAD.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

~Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929 – 1968)

SR 1-12-16 Volume 5, Issue 11

I am pleased to report that the state Board of Education voted on January 6 to accept the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) cut scores as recommended by Commissioner Pam Stewart. School board members and superintendents were unified in their support of these recommendations and I am grateful that the State Board listened to parents and practitioners. In spite of what may have been reported, these are not relaxed standards. To the contrary, the Commissioner’s recommendations represent an appropriate and challenging raising of the bar for Florida’s Standards.

The State Board also confirmed the Commissioner’s recommendations for school grading benchmarks. While they were statutorily restrained from our request to hold grades in abeyance this year, these benchmarks represent an appropriate starting point that can be built upon in the future.

I want to personally thank all of those who contacted the state board members on this very critical issue. I firmly believe your involvement made a difference in the outcome. This decision is a victory for the children in the state of Florida and for our accountability system.

If you are interested in continuing your advocacy efforts, the 2016 Legislative Session begins Tuesday, January 12 and will end on March 11. The St. Johns County School Board approved our district’s legislative platform on October 13, 2015 for this upcoming session. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the items relating to funding, assessment and instructional materials, charter school accountability and school safety as we work to make change to ensure the vitality of our district. The legislative platform can be found at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/gr/.

I am looking forward to a wonderful remainder of the 2015-2016 school year and wish you a very Happy New Year.

Executive Cabinet Update

Operations Update

Planning and Government Relations

The School District is in the planning stages for three new schools to be constructed and open for the 2017-2018 School Year.  K-8 schools will be constructed in both the Aberdeen and Nocatee communities, along with an elementary school in the World Golf Village area.  These schools will be constructed from prototype architectural designs.  Two of the schools will be funded by the half-cent sales tax recently approved by the voters of St. Johns County.  One school will be funded by a combination of School Impact Fees and School Concurrency Proportionate Share Mitigation payments made by developers.

On the Horizon

District Spelling Bee

The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Fullerwood Building, located at 10 Hildreth Dr., St. Augustine.

Science Fair

Science Fair will be on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School from 9-11:30 a.m. The Science Fair Awards Night is also on January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School at 7 p.m. The viewing of projects will be open at 6:30 p.m.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The 36th annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of young people.

The celebration will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards presentation.  Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.

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

The fourth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 16, 2016, to guarantee a run t-shirt.

Status Report

 

Sunshine State Scholar and Elaine Crutchfield Scholarship Recipients

The Sunshine State Scholars (SSS) Recognition Program for high school students was initiated in 1997 to recognize excellence in mathematics and science. It has evolved into a program designed to recognize Florida’s top high school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students and recruit them to pursue their postsecondary education in Florida. This year’s St. Johns County recipient is Zachary Villaverde from Bartram Trail High School. As the St. Johns County Sunshine State Scholar, Zachary is the recipient of the annual Elaine Crutchfield Math and Science Scholarship of $100. Elaine Crutchfield worked for the school district for 29 years serving as both a math and science teacher before being named the district curriculum coordinator. Adam Snowden from Ponte Vedra High School was selected as the district alternate and is receiving a $75 scholarship.

The other school nominees are receiving $50 scholarships. They are Jacob Posey from Creekside High School, Malavika Nair from Allen D. Nease High School, Kara Landing from Pedro Menendez High School, Philip Schnotalla from St. Augustine High School and Madalena Marselli from St. Johns Virtual School.

This year, the Elaine Crutchfield Scholarship funds are being sponsored by Matthews Design Group.

All of the Sunshine State Scholar students will be recognized at the School Board meeting Tuesday, January 12 at 6 p.m.

Jim Harbin FAME Student-Produced Media State Winner

Congratulations to Matthew Warren, who placed third in the state in the Grades 3-5 Animation category, for his video named CST-100 while he was a fifth-grader at Julington Creek Elementary School last year. Teacher sponsor was Ingrid Jones and the Media Specialist was Lori Gallaher. Matt Keene of the SJCSD Community Relations Department is the regional chair for the Jim Harbin Awards.  The annual Jim Harbin Awards are presented to students for outstanding student-produced media presentations.  The award is named in honor of a former consultant with the Florida Department of Education who originated the idea of a student festival. The Student Media Festival is sponsored annually by the Florida Association of Media in Education (FAME) to encourage students to communicate through media production and to recognize outstanding presentations. Matthew, Ms. Jones, Ms. Gallaher and Mr. Keene will all be recognized at the School Board meeting Tuesday, January 12 at 6 p.m.

Did You Know…?

  • The 36th Matanzas 5K & Fun Run is January 30, 2016. 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! For race entry, race Expo and sponsorship information, please visit www.matanzas5k.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Matanzas5K.

“Whatever your grade or position, if you know how and when to speak, and when to remain silent, your chances of real success are proportionately increased.”
~Ralph C. Smedley, American founder of Toastmasters International (1878-1965)

SR 12-17-15 Volume 5, Issue 10

On behalf of the school board and staff of the St. Johns County School District, I want to wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons.

This is a wonderful time of the year in our schools. Happy students, teachers and staff working hard every day while eagerly anticipating a well-deserved break. I will always be grateful for your dedication.

For me, the most rewarding aspect of the holiday season is the spirit of giving. The support for our ASSIST Program, our homeless children and their families has been at an all-time high. It is gratifying to see such unselfish support for those in need, especially at this time of year.

Of the many reasons to be thankful, I am most appreciative of the dedication and love demonstrated by our teachers and support staff toward our children. I am constantly thanked for the wonderful work you do and I graciously accept on your behalf.

Thank you again for the privilege of serving as your Superintendent and I wish you a restful holiday. May the peace of the season cover us all and renew our faith.

Sincerely,

Joe

Executive Cabinet Update

Community Relations Update

 

Volunteer Services/Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

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 7, 2016.  These amazing volunteers represent over 20,000 volunteers in our school system who provide support to schools throughout the district.

Volunteers from RSVP played a major role in the St. Augustine Tour of Inns on December 12 and 13, which benefits the Betty Griffin House.  A holiday recognition breakfast and veteran pinning ceremony was held for RSVP on December 14.  Local dignitaries joined in taking part in the pinning ceremony included School Board Chair Patrick Canan; School Board members Beverly Slough and Bill Mignon; St. Augustine City Mayor Nancy Shaver; St. Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline; and St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClure.

Mark your calendars for Chocolate and Beyond, a delicious and exciting fundraiser for the RSVP program.  This will take place Saturday, February 27 at First Coast Technical College from 2 – 4 p.m.

On January 27, 2016, there will be a mentor fair at the Fullerwood Auditorium, located at 10 Hildreth Drive in St. Augustine.  Any community member interested in mentoring is encouraged to drop by between 8 a.m. and noon.  Leaders from mentoring programs in the school district, as well as individual school representatives, will be on hand to share information about the program and how just an hour per week can make the difference in a young person’s life.  Mentor training will also be available.

For information regarding the mentor fair, as well as opportunities for reading to preschool students, literacy tutoring and/or math tutoring for students of all grades, contact the RSVP office at 547-3945.

Instructional Television

The video productions team has been busy updating a large amount of Career Academy videos these past few weeks as well as assisting schools with school-based productions. Specifically, in collaboration with Gamble Rogers Middle School, the team has completed a video that details and explains their Professional Learning Community (PLC) among their teachers and how collaboration has aided the effectiveness of curriculum and student learning overall.

Also, with Jim Harbin right around the corner, there has been an increased effort to touch base with student filmmakers in the county. Recently the team has visited Patriot Oaks and Liberty Pines academies, Gamble Rogers Middle School, Pedro Menendez High School, as well as Durbin Creek  and Mill Creek elementary schools in order to instill good production habits and techniques.

Website Updates

Since the beginning of the school year, the district has been transitioning all websites to the new “responsive” designs which automatically reformat their content to be easy to read and navigate on a wide variety of screen sizes. Roughly 60 percent of district and school websites are now utilizing responsive designs. The most recently updated websites include the Career Academies at http://academies.stjohns.k12.fl.us, the RSVP of St. Johns website at http://www.rsvpstjohns.com and St. Johns Virtual School’s website at http://www-sjvs.stjohns.k12.fl.us. All St. Johns County School District websites will have responsive designs by May 2016.

Also this school year, many school-based webmasters have enhanced their school websites with photo slideshows, school news video broadcasts, and calendars of events. These features have been made available through the district’s standard content management system, WordPress.

On the Horizon

District Spelling Bee

The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the District Administrative Building, located at 40 Orange Street.

Science Fair

Science Fair will be on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School from 9-11:30 a.m. The Science Fair Awards Night is also on January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School at 7 p.m. The viewing of projects will be open at 6:30 p.m.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The 36th annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of young people.

The celebration will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards presentation.  Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.

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

The fourth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 16, 2016, to receive a run t-shirt.

Status Report

Liberty Pines Academy Teacher Selected for Fellowship Program in Northrop Grumman Foundation Teachers Academy

The Northrop Grumman Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association announced that four out of 25 educators chosen as Teacher Fellows in the 2015-2016 Northrop Grumman Foundation Teachers Academy are from Florida. Congratulations to Mr. Stephen Kirsche, of Liberty Pines Academy, who was among teachers selected from targeted areas across the country. The Teacher Fellows  will participate in a year-long immersion in a host of science-, technology-, and engineering-related activities and professional learning opportunities.

Placemats Donated to the Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home

Placemats were delivered in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday to the residents of the Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home. The placemats were made by students from Patriot Oaks and Valley Ridge academies. If your school would like to know more about participating in this wonderful opportunity to give back to those who gave so much, please contact Sonja Willets in Student Support Services at (904) 547-7724 or [email protected].

PlacematsLassen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know…?

  • The 36th Matanzas 5K & Fun Run is January 30, 2016. 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! Entry fee is $20 before January 11, 2016. For race entry, race Expo and sponsorship information, please visit www.matanzas5k.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Matanzas5K.

“Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered . . . just one kind word to another person.”

~Fred Rogers, American educator and TV host (1928-2003)

SR 12-8-15 Volume 5, Issue 9

An important vote will be taken by the State Board of Education on January 6, 2016.  This vote will impact every child in every public school in the state of Florida.  The State Board will vote to accept or modify the recommendation of Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart regarding state cut or passing scores for the new Florida state assessment given to students last spring.

Without going into too much detail, the cut scores will play a role in determining promotion, graduation, school grades and sanctions to name a few.

Superintendents in Florida have given their support to the Commissioner Stewart’s recommendations.  I have attached a letter we sent to the chairman of the State Board of Education, which details the reasoning behind our support of the commissioner’s recommendation.

Several reform groups across the state are lobbying the state board members with the message that aligning the passing score with the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) will be in the best interest of the children in Florida.  The letter below will explain in detail why this is a poor idea; ultimately assigning those cut scores would label between 60-70 percent of the children in Florida as failures.

I have also provided the names and email addresses of all state board members below.

I encourage you to read the letter, educate yourself on the issue, and if you feel compelled, share your opinion with the state board members.

Please feel free to call me if I can clarify anything for you regarding this important issue and thank you for your continued support of the children in St. Johns County.

SBE Chair Letter

State Board of Education Contact Information 

To contact a member of the Board please call the Office of the State Board of Education at 850-245-9661 or by mail:

State Board of Education
325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1520
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Mrs. Marva Johnson Chair, State Board of Education
State Board of Education, Member
Winter Garden, Florida
[email protected]

Mr. John R. Padget
Vice Chair, State Board of Education
Key West, Florida
[email protected]

Mr. Gary Chartrand
State Board of Education, Member
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
[email protected]

Mrs. Rebecca Fishman Lipsey
State Board of Education, Member
Aventura, Florida
[email protected]

Mr. Tom Grady
State Board of Education, Member
Naples, Florida
[email protected]

Mr. Michael Olenick
State Board of Education, Member
Palm City, Florida
[email protected]

Mr. Andy Tuck
State Board of Education, Member
Sebring, Florida
[email protected]

On the Horizon

District Spelling Bee

The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the District Administrative Building, located at 40 Orange Street.

Science Fair

Science Fair will be on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School from 9-11:30 a.m. The Science Fair Awards Night is also on January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School at 7 p.m. The viewing of projects will be open at 6:30 p.m.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The 36th annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of young people.

The celebration will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards presentation.  Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.

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

The fourth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 16, 2016, to receive a run t-shirt.

Status Report

Outstanding Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

Kyle Dresback, principal of Allen D. Nease High School (NHS), has been selected as the St. Johns County School District’s nominee for the 2015-2016 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership. He has been employed with the St. Johns County School District since 1996 and is in his seventh year as principal of NHS. The Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership was established in 1988 to recognize exemplary principals for their contributions to their schools and communities. The program honors principals who have spearheaded initiatives to increase student performance and promote safe learning environments, often through establishing partnerships with parents and community members.

Kirstie Gabaldon, assistant principal at Creekside High School (CHS), has been selected as the St. Johns County School District’s nominee for the 2015-2016 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award. This annual award honors assistant principals who have utilized teamwork paired with leadership skills to increase student performance, promote safe learning environments, and establish partnerships with parents and community members. Ms. Gabaldon has been employed in her present position at CHS since 2010.

Mr. Dresback’s and Ms. Gabaldon’s nominations have been forwarded to the state level.  The overall winners will be announced early next year.

Did You Know…?

  • The 4th Annual Santa Suits on the Loose 5K, to benefit St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS), is a walk/jog/run that will be held on December 12 starting at the St. Augustine Beach Pier Park at 8 a.m. The race follows a flat 3.1 mile course through St. Augustine Beach neighborhoods.  Just imagine 500 Santa’s heading out for a run – it’s a wonderful sight to see! Registration begins at 6:30 a.m.  Entry fee is $35 per person. There is a choice of a Santa Suit or Santa-inspired T-shirt.  Go to www.sayskids.org/santa for more information. SAYS, a residential therapeutic group home for boys ages 6-17 who have experienced emotional trauma or abuse, is celebrating 26 years of serving children. For more information or to register online, visit www.racesmith.com or email [email protected] with any questions.

 

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

~Aesop, Greek fabulist (fl. 6th century B.C., possibly legendary)

SR 11-18-15 Volume 5, Issue 8

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

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, to naturalization ceremonies, to clothing and food drives for those less fortunate, are a testament to the great work our schools do in teaching gratitude.

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. The recent passage of the sales tax initiative is a shining example of the trust our community places in our school district, and I am very grateful to all those who worked so hard during the campaign. Ultimately it is our children who will benefit, and it says a great deal about the priority of our community. We are so fortunate to have people rise above the external challenges to meet the needs of our children and exhibit great character throughout the county.

Next 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!

Executive Cabinet Update

Elementary Schools Update

John A. Crookshank

Work on the 22-classroom building is underway at John A. Crookshank Elementary School (CES), and the CES media center renovation is complete. This month a fire prevention program; Character Counts Awards ceremony; “Celebrating our Veterans” program;  First Quarter Honor Roll Ceremony; College and Career Day; “Parent Education Night: Social Media and Your Family” presented by Resource Officer Deputy Butler; and the monthly Kiwanis Kids Club meeting are all taking place.

CES held two ceremonies recognizing veterans so that students at both the Crookshank and Sebastian, so both campuses could participate. Among the distinguished guests was WWII Veteran Don Carragher, 90 years old, who was honored for his participation in D-Day at Normandy Beach.  Also in attendance was Col. James Lord, who spoke to the students about the importance of symbols in the military, and Brian Pavluchuk who gave a presentation to Grades 4-5 on his tours of duty.  Approximately 30 other veterans related to our students attended and were honored. The students created a Wall of Honor, posting certificates for all the veterans they know; the second graders performed several patriotic songs; an American flag that flew over Iraq was raised by our Leader Patrols. In addition, kindergartener students from Ms. Wolfe’s class prepared personal notes and treats for all the veterans!  The students at John A. Crookshank Elementary cannot thank our veterans enough for answering the call to serve us and our country – to keep our country “the land of the free!”

Durbin Creek

On November 10, Durbin Creek Elementary School (DCES) hosted its 11th annual Veterans Day Program.  Service members from all branches of the military were recognized for their service to our country.  The program consisted of two parts and included a main program held in the cafetorium.  The event was led by DCES students and included a reading of a presidential proclamation, singing of the Military Anthems and other patriotic songs, the playing of Taps by Jennifer Draper (DCES teacher), and an observance of a moment of silence to honor those who have lost their lives.  At the conclusion of the main program, guests were directed to the different houses in the school where veterans were recognized by each grade level with cards, letters, and songs. DCES was proud to honor our military personnel for the sacrifices they have made for our country!

Hickory Creek

Hickory Creek will present, for the 10th year in a row, The Polar Express on December 8 and 9. Band, chorus and dance students come together to share an amazing story of holiday enchantment. The public is invited for this special event at 7 p.m. each evening. The holiday shop for students also runs during this time.

R.B. Hunt

All R.B. Hunt Elementary School students and families are invited to attend the “Exploring STEM” Night (promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) on Thursday, November 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Hands-on activities with local professionals from Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, GTMNE Research Reserve, St. Augustine Lighthouse, Children’s Museum of St. Johns, St. Johns Water Management District, Hidden Wolf Books, a computer programmer, SAHS Ground School, SAHS Astronomy Club, Flagler education students, and R.B. Hunt Staff will be available for an evening of fun and learning.

Julington Creek 

Julington Creek Elementary School (JCES) has recently completed its fall fundraiser and students and their families raised over $48,000 for technology for classrooms! We are so grateful to our community for their help and support. JCES will be purchasing 40 iPads for primary classrooms and 44 laptops for intermediate classrooms. We were also blessed to have a small contingent of Marines come to JCES to retire the colors in honor of Veterans Day. All students and staff were in attendance and the procession was very moving. Fourth-grade students have veteran projects displayed in front of the school to honor those who have served our country. During this Thanksgiving season, JCES is very grateful for its community that offers support and safety to us all!

Ketterlinus

Costume Parade, Bullying Prevention, Fire Safety, Character Counts, and community service projects…these were the events that were observed during the month of October at Ketterlinus Elementary School (KES). The students learned fire safety and had the opportunity to tour a St. Augustine Fire Truck. They also received valuable curriculum on bullying prevention and learned how they can be part of the solution, and were recognized for their outstanding character.

On October 30, fire fighters, police officers, fairies, fictional characters, along with many more “characters” displayed their costumes during the annual costume parade. Students paraded around our bus loop while parents lined the sidewalks to cheer them on.    Fourth grade spearheaded a project to provide new socks the county’s homeless population, residents in local nursing homes and patients in hospice care for the cooler months ahead.  KES also collected new bars of soap to be donated to Clean the World, an organization that distributes soap to domestic homeless shelters and to developing countries suffering from high death rates due to acute respiratory infections and intestinal diseases. Ketterlinus Kids have heart and we are so proud to see them becoming caring members of our community.

On November 6 KES recognized students for showing exemplary examples of the character of responsibility.  Parents and family members filled the cafeteria to watch each student recognized with the reading of the nomination form describing why they were chosen by their peers.  Later that evening, families enjoyed a PTO sponsored Fall Festival.  Cotton candy, popcorn, face painting, games, food, and fun were enjoyed by all. It is great to be a Ketterlinus Dolphin.

Liberty Pines Academy

This month Liberty Pines Academy (LPA) hosted its annual Liberty Parade honoring veterans. On December 3 and 4, LPA presents its play, Little Women, at 6 p.m., and on December 10, the PTO Vendor Night of the Arts/Sciences will be held at 6 p.m. On December 17 LPA celebrates its Leader of the Pack/Character Counts students at 7:30 a.m.

Mill Creek 

On November 10, Mill Creek Elementary School held its annual Veterans Day program honoring the military members of our school and community. This year the veterans were asked to join the presentation and sit on stage. Following the program, the veterans and their families were treated to refreshments.

Ocean Palms 

October drew to a close at Ocean Palms Elementary School (OPES) with 2,000 personal care items collected and donated to Home Again St. Johns through a community service project sponsored by second-grade students and teachers.  On October 29, over 500 people enjoyed a family meal and played Bingo at the fall book fair.  Over 800 students and several staff members celebrated literacy on October 30 by dressing as their favorite book character and showing off their creative costumes during the annual OPES Literacy Parade.

On November 3, 26 students showed off their musical talents during a recent Music Therapy Open House. This is a grant-funded program provided by the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach and under the direction of Board Certified Music Therapist Candice Sirak.  On November 9, approximately 743 pounds of candy were delivered to the Mayport USO thanks to the generous donations of students, parents, and business partners, and on Tuesday, November 10, 250 audience members, including over 50 Veterans, were honored during a Veterans Day tribute produced by Music Director Jen Schlechte that included 60 show choir members, 20 Fun Friday Music Club members and 17 grade level guest speakers.  This month we reflect on the countless acts of service and generosity provided by our school family and community.

Osceola

Osceola Elementary School (OES) has been busy hosting professional development opportunities to teachers and district personnel by partnering with the Center for the Collaborative Classroom in Being a Writer and Making Meaning.  OES students participated in the Character/Vocabulary Parade and have had “Hats off to Character”, “Sock it to Character” and were “Universally You” for CHARACTER COUNTS! Week.  Wildcats were also busy decorating classroom doors to depict a college for AVID, they participated in fire prevention safety presentations, had dental visits, and vision screenings, and were entertained by “Men in Plaid” where they learned how to be energy efficient.  Staff, students, parents and community volunteers helped clean up the campus in “Make a Difference Day.”  OES will be hosting a Jump Rope for Heart in December where we are well on the way to meeting the donation goal to the American Heart Association.   Great things are happening every day at Osceola!

Palencia

Palencia Elementary School (PES) has started to implement a new foreign language program by utilizing Rosetta Stone.  PES has also expanded the garden learning centers to include hydroponic gardens.

Patriot Oaks Academy 

October was a busy month at Patriot Oaks Academy (POA)!  Kindergarten and first grades had a visit from the fire department.  POA middle school boys and girls volleyball teams both ended a successful season.  The PTO led the first annual Chargerthon raising over $30,000.  In the area of service learning, all grades participated in “Socktober” collecting socks for the needy in St. Johns County.  Students took a stand against bullying by wearing orange on Unity Day with POA placing first in student participation!  The last week of the month POA celebrated Red Ribbon Week with a variety of fun activities supporting healthy choices ending in our Character Parade for grades K-2.

A CHARACTER COUNTS! celebration took place on November 5 honoring those students nominated for both Fairness and Responsibility.  All students attended an assembly on the November 10 honoring veterans with special music by the POA band and a guest speaker.  November 12, there is a Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A and the Fall Variety Show for middle school students is on the November 19.  

PVPV/Rawlings 

PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School (PVPV/RES) has installed six new water hydration stations at both campuses. These stations are modified water fountains that include a sensor dispenser for water containers. These stations keep count of how many bottles have been refilled. PVPV/RES has been encouraging students and staff to bring in bottles of water because keeping hydrated is critical to good health. This new system has prevented the use of 2,597 water bottles so far this year.

South Woods

South Woods Elementary School (SWES) has been busy this year promoting student leadership, character and student achievement.  There is a monthly CHARACTER COUNTS! assembly recognizing one student per class who represents the monthly pillar.  Students earn special beads to attach to their lanyards for excellence in academics, exemplifying good character and acting as role models for other students.  The SWES student morning news show encourages students to be in school and work hard each day.  On the show a school administrator recognizes students who earn an “eagle egg” for their positive actions.

Academics are always a priority and students are excited to participate again this year in the Principal Math Club that encourage math fact fluency with regular drills.  Students eagerly participate to try to become a member of the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division math clubs.  SWES strives to continue the positive and nurturing school climate to help students be successful!

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) celebrated Veterans Day with a community event and presentation on November 5.  The VRA band and choir preformed while 3rd through 5th grade students gave speeches and read letters written about the meaning of Veterans Day.  Current and retired members of the Armed Forces were recognized and thanked for their service. Special thanks to Aletha Dresback and Rachel Sandler for all of their hard work organizing the event.

Congratulations to the VRA Middle School Boys Volleyball team for winning the District Title in only their second season! Stellar work and a big thank you to Coach Pam Shattles and her team for their hard work and amazing progress!

We are excited to welcome Theatreworks on November 17 for a performance of “Tortoise and the Hare” for our 1st and 2nd grade students.  Thank you to the Ponte Vedra Public Education Foundation for sponsoring the event.

November and December are busy months at VRA with several upcoming events such as Boys and Girls Soccer Games; the kindergarten Thanksgiving play on November 20; 5th – 8th Grade Technology Night and STEAM Showcase on November 20t; the VRA Winter Band Concert on December 8; and the VRA Variety Show on December 10. Please visit our website at http://www-vra.stjohns.k12.fl.us/ for more events and information.

Finally, the Administration at VRA would like to invite you to join us for monthly Communication Cornerstone Community Outreach on November 19. The Communication Cornerstone is a chance for the community to hear about the vision and ongoing initiatives at VRA followed by a PTO-led tour for those new to the area. The hour long presentation begins at 9:00 am in the cafeteria and we look forward to seeing you there.

Wards Creek

Wards Creek Elementary School (WCES) just celebrated its fifth annual Leadership Day, and welcomed educators from all over Florida who came to spend time with student leaders.  The day included ambassador-led tours, musical performances, historical museum, leadership in literature, student leadership notebooks, and special class presentations throughout the school.

Our Denim & Diamonds Mother/Son Event took place on November 6.  The evening was filled with dancing, games, and cowboy treats.

To celebrate Veterans Day, WCES students visited a local veterans’ home to sing and deliver well wishes and thanks.  The students created a digital presentation as well as drawings and letters. Patriotic songs filled the air as musicians performed for our honored veterans.

The Webster School

Success for all, no excuses! This is the motto at The Webster School (TWS) this year. Students and staff are working together to set goals and have a growth mindset. Webster students are off to a great start with AVID. They are working on organization, collaboration and higher level thinking.  Students are using their organizational tools to keep themselves organized and on track. Recently TWS held its first Celebration of Champions where students were recognized for accomplishments in academics and social skills. We were very excited to have Dr. Joyner, Mr. Asplen, Mr. Spaedt and CC! the Character Pillar join us for the CHARACTER COUNTS! awards.

The Webster School PTO held its annual Fall Festival on November 10 and families enjoyed a night of fun, games and togetherness.  More than 350 people attended this enjoyable and exciting event.

Students are also working hard in their after school enrichment programs like, Webster Wind, a choral ensemble and Strings Alive, a strings ensemble.  TWS is proud to support its basketball team which is in its fourth year. It is very exciting to have other schools coming on board to join this program and forward to games and performances in the near future. TWS is again hosting Camp Champion. This is an after school tutoring and enrichment program for grades 3-5. Last year 159 students were able to participate. This program is made possible through help from Beaver Toyota and INK! The program will run January through March.

Academically, the school is focusing on Being a Writer and improving literacy across the school. Teachers are working hard to have every student grow and achieve to their highest potential. As always TWS thanks the countless volunteers who come and assist every day to make a difference in the lives of students.

Secondary Schools Update

Middle Schools

Fruit Cove

Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS) students have excelled in the arts, academics, and athletics.  Two 8th-grade students will be representing FCMS in the Allstate Middle School Band: Dagny Noce on the euphonium and Henry Van Boskirk on the piano. Three 7th– grade students took top honors in the Betty Griffin House Calendar Contest: Shailee Kothari won $100 for first place in poetry, Malina Hanson won $25 in artwork, and Gabe Northcut won $25 in poetry. In addition to these honors, National Junior Honor Society inducted 79 new members, FCMS cross-country boys and girls teams placed first, and nine football players made the district all-star team – JT Surrency, Emmett Schultz, Steven Approbato, Earl Thresher, Jalen Hines, Shane Calhoun, Matthew Nguyen, Hunter Hartsell and Cody Thompson.

One final note was the kick-off of the B6 Club at FCMS. The club is focused on developing the Six Pillars of Character in the school environment by engaging students in fun meaningful projects and activities.

Gamble Rogers

Students and staff at Gamble Rogers Middle School (GRMS) are embracing AVID school-wide.  At the beginning of the school year, 6th and 7th-grade students were given the opportunity to purchase a ready-made AVID binder, full of color-coded supplies for each of their core classes.  As a result, all 6th and 7th-grade students are currently using an AVID binder and finding great organizational success.  Some of the other school-wide changes are that each grade level team has chosen a team name that reflects a college or university in the state of Florida, students in the AVID elective have designed t-shirts for each of the three grade-levels at GRMS, WICOR strategies are abundant in all classrooms on campus, AVID elective students will participate in the GRMS Fall Festival- displaying college projects and providing carnival type games for attendees to enjoy.  All of these happenings are adding to the college and career ready atmosphere.  AVID elective students, as well as other interested students will be traveling to Orlando on November 21, 2015 to visit the Amway center.  While there the students will take part in a college fair, hear motivational speakers, enjoy dinner and an Orlando Magic basketball game.  Later in the school year, the AVID elective students will take part in college visits, beginning with a trip to St. Augustine’s own Flagler College.

Sebastian

Sebastian Middle School (SMS) recently received a $1,500 NFL Play 60 Challenge Grant for their 6th-grade PE program thanks to Coach Cheyenne Lightsey. This offer was limited to 35 public schools throughout the five county area (Duval, Clay, Baker, Nassau and St. Johns).

National research has shown that increased physical activity and healthy eating habits contribute to students doing better in school.  The PLAY 60 Challenge program targets these issues and encourages 6th-grade students to set personal goals and take responsibility for their actions.  PLAY 60 was designed for the NFL by the American Heart Association as a turn-key program that provides teachers with easy activities and lesson plans that any classroom can use to promote up to 30 minutes of physical activity each day during the school day.  The students are also encouraged to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity after school hours for a total of 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Switzerland Point 

Switzerland Point Middle School (SPMS) received a grant for $22,500 from Voya Financial to purchase 30 computers for a new computer lab. These computers be used by 8th-graders next year to take a computer course covering web design, gaming, programming, and logistics.

SPMS was selected by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to receive four underwater robot kits to participate in the 2016 National SeaPerch Competition.  The students will have to build and test the robots for the competition this spring.

High Schools

Creekside High School

Congratulations to the Creekside High School (CHS) Boys Cross-Country Team who were recently crowned 2015 State Champions!

To observe Veterans Day, three US Military Veterans (two Vietnam Vets and one Naval Aviator) presented to CHS students their reflections during their time of service.

CHS recently hosted the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) District Conference. Three CHS students were elected: Natalie MacDougall – President; Nina Sizemore – Vice President; and Zach Mengel – Parliamentarian. Currently, Sydney Ford (CHS) is completing her term as District President.

The Academy of Engineering & Environmental Sciences sponsored a Project GREEN competition. This Competition features student innovative models and expressions of their ideas in presentation form. CHS winners will now compete in the district level competition. Project GREEN provides a wonderful opportunity for students to think “outside the box” and develop presentation skills.

CHS Athletics partnered with the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy. Thirty upperclassmen are learning about Servant Leadership, presented by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. John Quincy Adams stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Professional Development initiatives: Teachers are gaining valuable understanding in John Hattie’s Visible Learning and Rick DuFour’s Professional Learning Communities.

Pedro Menendez   

The Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS) Falcons football team is going to the state playoffs for the first time since 2009.  After breaking school records finishing second in the 500 free with a time of 5:12.79 and a 58.53 in the 100 butterfly at the swim regional’s in Panama City Beach, Madolyn Aucremann will be representing PMHS at the Swimming State Championships.

Kara Landing, has been named as the PMHS Sunshine State Scholar and Meagan McKinney is the November Kiwanis Student of the Month.

The PMHS Student Council raised over $1,500 for Jeannie Blalock’s Buddy Check 12 to purchase wigs for chemotherapy patients.

Thanks to those PMHS academy students have served our community by participating during Make a Difference Day, Pink up the Pace and the Flagler Hospital mass casualty drill.

Congratulations to Kate Neff, PMHS Media specialist for receiving the Florida Power-Library award at the Florida Association of Media in Education (FAME) conference in Orlando last month.

Allen D. Nease

Wonderful things are happening at Allen D. Nease High School (NHS) this fall. All NHS fall sports teams have had student athletes participating past the district level. This includes Golf, Swim, Cross Country, Volleyball and Football. The Nease Panthers hosted the football 6A Regional Quarterfinals on November 13. The NHS Marching Band earned a Straight Superior Rating at their Music Performance Assessment at Fleming Island High School. Finally our #1 rated NJROTC unit gave out the Legion of Valor of the United States of America Bronze Cross to one of their Battalion Commanders Michaela Heinrich during their first quarter promotion awards ceremony. This was the only award of its kind given in Navy Area 12.  We are Nease!

Ponte Vedra

Madison Toonder, a freshman at Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS) who attends the Academy of Biotechnology and Medical Research, has won 2nd place in the Broadcom MASTERS STEM competition and will be donating her $1,000 prize to the academy.

Madison is the first-ever Broadcom MASTERS top 30 from St. Johns County.  She was awarded an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco for a week to present her research at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley to leading scientists and researchers as well as the public for a chance to earn additional awards.

To participate in Broadcom MASTERS, 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students must complete an independent science or engineering project, then compete in their local SSP-affiliated science fair. The top 10 percent of these students, a total of more than 6,000 in 2015, may be nominated by the fair for Broadcom MASTERS.

Nominees complete the Broadcom MASTERS application. Entries are judged during the summer, and in the fall, SSP and Broadcom announce the top 300 national semifinalists.

From among the semifinalists, 30 students are then selected as finalists for an all-expense-paid trip to showcase their projects, compete in teams and visit historical sites and organizations that celebrate innovation through science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

St. Johns Technical High School

The following events have taken place at St. Johns Technical High School this fall:

  • Silent Auction Fundraising Event- October 26
  • “Wig Out for Cancer” – October 30
  • Coins for the Cure during the month of October – $453.92 raised by students
  • Jacksonville Armada Visit- November 10 (Book Chat and $500 check presentation to SJTHS)
  • Fall Into AVID Celebration (Positive Behavior Support) – November 13
  • First Quarter Honors Social- November 13 ([email protected]:30 / [email protected]:15)
  • AVID Kick-Off Trip- at Orlando Classic (Positive Behavior Support) – November 21
  • SJTHS Blood Drive- December 2
  • SJTHS Science Fair- at 10 a.m. on December 7

On the Horizon

District Spelling Bee

The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the District Administrative Building, located at 40 Orange Street.

Science Fair

Science Fair will be on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School from 9-11:30 a.m. The Science Fair Awards Night is also on January 20, 2016, at Sebastian Middle School at 7 p.m. The viewing of projects will be open at 6:30 p.m.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The 36th annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of young people.

The celebration will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards presentation.  Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.

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

The fourth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 16, 2016, to receive a run t-shirt.

“A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

~Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. President (1743-1826)

SR 11-4-15 Volume 5, Issue 7

I want to sincerely thank all of those who worked so hard in the recent half-cent sales tax campaign.  The passage of this critical vote is gratifying not just for the resources that will be made available to our children, but in the obvious trust our community has placed in us.

We all owe a great deal of thanks to Mark and Alecia Bailey, and the entire Better Schools, Better Economy, Better Future committee, who worked tirelessly to advocate for our students. It was uplifting to see the community rally around our schools toward a positive future for our children.

I want to also recognize Tim Forson, deputy superintendent for Operations; Beth Sweeny, coordinator of governmental relations; Nicole Cubbedge, executive director for Planning and Government Relations; Christina Langston, chief of Community Relations and Michael Degutis, chief financial officer, who worked incredibly hard to educate our community of the need for additional capital funding. It was clear that we had presented an urgent need to the public and I salute the hard work of all of our staff. I also want to thank the leadership of the SJEA and the SJESPA for their dedication and support.

To our parents who spread the word and supported our work throughout our community, I say a heartfelt and sincere thank you. I firmly believe that the efforts of our parents and staff, along with the grassroots momentum of the advocacy group, made the difference in this election.

I have never seen a community so committed to its public schools and so determined to ensure its success than ours. Your unselfish dedication to our children is heartwarming and I am honored to serve as your superintendent.

CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast

CHARACTER COUNTS! of St. Johns County held its annual Community Breakfast to honor school business partners and sponsors of the CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative on October 21 at First Coast Technical College. The following eighth-grade students were recognized for exemplifying the Six Pillars of Character.

  • Fruit Cove – Cody Thompson
  • Alice B. Landrum – Lydia Merete
  • Liberty Pines Academy – Kelsey Zweibohmer
  • J. Murray – Tayler Shugart
  • Pacetti Bay – Savon Brooks
  • Patriot Oaks Academy – Amirah Ghany
  • Gamble Rogers – Drew Prill
  • Johns Technical – Anthony McKenzie
  • Johns Virtual – Chase Gatchell
  • Sebastian – Dylan Clark
  • Switzerland Point – Mansi Gopu
  • Valley Ridge Academy – Caitlin Belland
  • Beacon of Hope Christian School – Michael Kelly
  • Cathedral Parish School – Grace Tredik
  • Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
    • Blind School – Brandon Rounds
    • Deaf School – Ashley Jean-Babtiste

The CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Service Award was presented to Beaver Toyota Scion for their generous support of CHARACTER COUNTS! and their continued support of the school district. Christina Langston, chief of Community Relations for the St. Johns County School District, was presented with the Marjorie Davidson Individual Service Award for her unwavering dedication and leadership to CHARACTER COUNTS! in St. Johns County.

Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Awards

Barbara McClain and Smiley Sturgis were each presented with the 2015 Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award on October 23 prior to kickoff at the football game between Pedro Menendez and Ridgeview high schools. The awards were presented by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner and School Board Members Kelly Barrera and Bill Mignon. Lifetime Achievement recognition is given annually to former St. Johns County public school student athletes who have returned to the area and dedicated their time and talents to serving their community.

Executive Cabinet Update

Academic and Student Services

 

ACCOUNTABILITY AND INTERVENTION SERVICES 

Exceptional Student Education

The Parent Advisory Committee kicked off the 2015/2016 school year with representatives from NEFEC/FDLRS and Special Ed Connection®.  Representatives provided parents and community members with a wealth of information to enrich and enhance the education of exceptional students.  If you missed the first meeting, please take a moment to access the resources below:

Special Ed Connection

Gain a better understanding of special education processes and learn how to help your child benefit from special education services by accessing Special Ed Connection®.

The Florida Department of Education is proud to provide access to Special Ed Connection® at no cost to families of individuals with disabilities who are enrolled in special education programs.  To request access to this valuable resource contact your local FDLRS Center by calling (386) 329-3811 or emailing the Center Manager at [email protected].

FDLRS/NEFEC

The Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System (FDLRS) offers an array of services, trainings and resources for parents of exceptional students.

To access, go to www.nefec.org, click “Find a Service” green box at top left, click “FDLRS/NEFEC” from blue menu on right, click “Parent Services” from menu on right.

Planning, Accountability and Assessment

Dual Enrollment

District schools have completed the first round of Discovery Education progress monitoring. The second round will begin on November 2.

EOC and Fall Retakes

The fall EOC and retakes for the NGSSS reading and the FSA ELA will finish this week.

FSA Reports

The Parent Reports reflecting the T scores and percentile scores for the FSA testing have arrived. Most schools sent them home with report cards last week.

Proctors

Schools are recruiting proctors for the semester 1 exams and the spring FSA writing component.  Anyone interested in volunteering at a school is encouraged to contact the school testing coordinator.

Early Childhood Services and District Assessment Development 

Early Childhood Services has relocated to The Excelsior Museum and Cultural Center at 102 Martin Luther King Avenue.  Head Start, Voluntary Pre-K and the Pre-K Clinic services are all available at the new location.

CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Instructional Services Elementary & Secondary Education

Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) Parent Information Nights

The Instructional Services Department has been conducting FSA Information Nights at various schools across the county over the last several weeks. Each session focuses on English language arts and math and includes several resources that can be used at home to help children prepare for the assessment. The final FSA Information Night will be on Thursday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Patriot Oaks Academy. The presenters will be recorded at this session and the video and all resources will be available on the SJCSD website for parent access.

Being a Writer for All Elementary Students

All elementary schools and K-8 academies are implementing “Being a Writer” in kindergarten through second grade. “Being a Writer” helps to build foundational writing skills, positive social interactions, and the love for learning in all students as teachers implement best practices in teaching writing. Many grade level teams of teachers worked collaboratively to study methods and results. Feedback from teachers, administrators, and students about “Being a Writer” has been very positive.

Parent Resource Guide 2015-2016

The Parent Resource Guide is the document that answers many frequently asked questions for parents.  It is written in parent-friendly language and has a section for each grade level K – 12, that explains what the student will be learning, how parents can help, and what state and district assessments the student will be taking.  Just a few of the additional topics include:

  • What are the Florida Standards?
  • Testing
  • Advanced Academic Opportunities in Elementary, Middle and High School
  • Programs of Choice
  • Promotion Requirements and Grading
  • Graduation Requirements
  • Summer Programs
  • What Parents Can Do to Help
  • Available Resources

The Parent Resource Guide is available from the district homepage under “featured links”:  www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/

Community Education Update

The St. Johns County School District has offered Community Education classes since 2009 to provide evening lifelong learning opportunities to people of all ages.  Some classes are designed for adults and others are more suitable for young students or families. The revenue from the program provides additional opportunities for students in arts and academics.

The fall session is currently offering classes at six district sites: Mill Creek, R.B. Hunt and Osceola elementary schools, Patriot Oaks Academy, Gamble Rogers Middle School and the Fullerwood Learning Center. Among the 15 classes that are being taught are photography, Microsoft Office and Excel, real estate, sewing, cooking, drawing, painting, Spanish, belly dancing, yoga, guitar, ukulele, and bluegrass string band. Classes typically meet once or twice a week for two to eight weeks and cost from $8-$10 per class hour. The instructors include district employees and community members who have a talent and expertise that they want to share.

The winter/spring session will offer classes from January- April. Courses will be posted for registration on December 15. For information on registering for, or teaching a class, visit the Community Education website http://communityed.stjohns.k12.fl.us or contact Tommy Bledsoe at 547-7565 or Miriam Testasecca at 547-7503.

Career and Professional Education

In collaboration with the Information Technology Department, Career and Professional Education is in the process of developing a new Career Academy and Programs of Choice application System.  The new system will enable students to apply online though the Home Access Center (HAC) with their login and password.  Email notifications will be sent throughout the process.  Students who apply to a program and are accepted will automatically be registered to attend that program. Training on the new system will occur at the academy nights at each respective school.

Eleven schools received STEM2Hub grant funds to support a robotics club.  The grant will purchase a First Lego League kit or First Tech Challenge kit and cover fees to compete in a regional competition.

Instructional Resources and Media Services

Instructional Resources and Media Services has been busy ensuring students and teachers have the resources needed to continue the tradition of academic excellence in St. Johns County. This includes print materials and digital resources. Visit the website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/media/ and use the links to explore media resources and educational technology.

Dual enrollment courses allow students to earn college credit while enrolled as high school students.  Students may take courses on their school campus, on the college campus or virtually.  Student materials for dual enrollment courses taken on the college campus are checked out from the Media Services Department located at 10 Hildreth Drive.  Fall course materials are due back to by December 15 to avoid late fees.  For more information on dual enrollment, please visit www.sjrstate.edu/dual.html.

A tremendous thank you goes out to the Fraser family for hosting all St. Johns County School District media specialists in September at the Fountain of Youth.  The Fraser family generously donated three copies of “A Story of Unbroken History & Enduring Spirit” by Michael Francis to each school’s library in honor of the 450th celebration.  Please be sure to visit the Fountain of Youth to show your appreciation for local connections and a supportive community.

Professional Development

The Professional Development Department hosted a grant-funded summer institute in July in which teacher leaders from several schools were trained as trainers in four dynamic areas; High-Yield Instructional Strategies, Blended Digital Learning, Balanced and Content Literacy and Math Literacy.  The feedback has been enthusiastic and positive as the first quarter ends.   The summer institute participants have been able to train their colleagues and support the implementation of these research-based teaching and learning strategies with students.  This has been an effective way to build professional development capacity across the district and plans are in place to support teachers as they continue to learn and collaborate throughout the school year to positively impact student achievement.

EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES

All the administrative teams for each school have been involved with inter-rater reliability (IRR) rounds.  This allows each team to practice and converse among themselves about the science and art of good teaching strategies found within the Empowering Excellence in Educators (EEE) evaluation system for teachers.  This is beneficial professional development as administrators delve deeply into what makes learning successful for kids.  By viewing teachers in the classroom, discussing the powerful elements witnessed, and then sharing those strategies with others, administrative teams are able to support growth in teachers and subsequently in students.

To help support new principals and assistant principals, Education Support Services has paired each with a seasoned administrator within the county and who will attend monthly mentor trainings.  Discussions will take place on how the academic culture of St. Johns County has proven to be so valuable in student progress and also how administrators practice servant leadership while emulating the Six Pillars of Character.  The Phase II Leadership Academy assistant principals are also learning about the culture and practices of the St. Johns County School District by observing presentations by each of the district’s departments on how their teams work.  Part of the presentation is sharing how each district leader traveled through their leadership journey which led them to their positions today.

INK

The Educational Foundation has a new name – Investing in Kids (INK).  INK just completed a very successful fundraiser to support our students.  Please visit their webpage at www.ink-stjohns.org where you can read about the efforts of INK to support initiatives that enhance public education.  INK’s programs and events strive to provide the tools and resources that are necessary to help each child reach their full potential.  Since 1994, INK has led the effort to cultivate success for students and teachers through funding, initiatives, and inspiration.

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

School Services

The School Services staff members will begin school visits this month.  The purpose of these meetings is to review student discipline and discipline statistics for the past couple of school years.  The goal is to provide school administrators with data that can assist in the development of strategies to reduce discipline incidents at individual schools.

All of the secondary school deans of students are participating in professional development the first Wednesday of each month.  Over the past two months, the deans have received professional development in the areas of school-wide online discipline referrals, bullying investigations and Baker Acts.  They are also participating in a book study focusing on restorative discipline.

Sgt. Mike Strausbaugh of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) has recently met with all of district principals and has shared programs that the SJSO can provide to students, PTO’s and School Advisory Councils, etc.  Many of schools have currently reached out and have shared some tremendous feedback.

Health Services

In August, school nurses began screening all kindergarten, first-, third- and sixth-grade students for deficiencies in vision, hearing and growth and development.  Additionally, all sixth-grade students are screened for early detection of scoliosis.  These early detection screenings help to ensure that students have no impediments that interfere with learning abilities and academic success. Nursing students from Chamberlain College of Nursing and physician assistant students from Nova Southeastern University graciously assist the Health Services Department in accomplishing the health screenings as part of their curriculum in community health.  Currently, 8,641 students have received health screenings.

Student Services

The annual Aid and Support for Students in Sudden Transition (ASSIST) fundraising dinner and silent auction was a great success. Over $10,000 was raised and 150 people showed their support by attending this worthwhile event. To date, there are 450 homeless students of which 103 are unaccompanied youth.

Student Services staff continues to address mental health needs by referring families to appropriate resources. Numerous trainings are being held as the department continues to educate school district personnel and strive to increase mental health awareness.

Once again Student Services will sponsor food baskets for needy families for the upcoming holidays. Last year 70 baskets were distributed for Thanksgiving and 50 baskets for Christmas. Contact Jan Caban at 547-7587 if you are interested in assisting to achieve this goal. Student Services also refers families who are in need of holiday gifts for their children. Contact Kim McNickle at 547-7593 if you are interested in participating in this valuable project.

October marked the first Children’s Behavioral Health Summit in St. Johns County. The registration count for the October 23 event was 191 participants. The goal of this summit was to develop a strategy to identify and increase mental health resources. Participants included many school district employees, health care providers, and staff from various agencies that deal with mental health issues.

Guidance and Choice

The district has an active crisis team available to meet the mental health needs of all members of the St. Johns County school community when a death or other crisis occurs. The team provides crisis counseling and support for students, faculty and staff. The department of Guidance and Choice is responsible for the district crisis team coordination and Dr. Phyllis Ingram is the team leader. A number of school and mental health counselors, school psychologists, social workers and district staff have been identified as having the skills and desire to serve in this capacity.  On Friday, November 6, a full-day training will be provided using the School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum, which is developed by the National Association of School Psychologists. As future crisis situations arise, team members may be called upon to respond based on the specific need.   The district could not provide the level of care and help schools and families need during these difficult times without the continued support of the school district and volunteer responders.

Virtual Education

The open enrollment period for second semester full-time and part-time St. Johns Virtual School (SJVS) is November 20, 2015 through January 4, 2016.

Although the application will not be available until the enrollment window is open, information regarding options and requirements can be found at www-sjvs.stjohns.k12.fl.us/ or by calling the SJVS office at 547-8080.

Student Leadership

The SJCSD hosted its first CHARACTER COUNTS! training in over 10 years at Pacetti Bay Middle School October 19 – 21.  The 46 participants included district office employees, school-based employees, community members and business partners.  Carrie Davis Marchant, a certified trainer from the Josephson Institute, led the group through a variety of activities including group discussions, PowerPoint presentations, creating commercials, making posters, watching videos and even doing the six pillar shuffle!  Every participant was reminded of the importance of modeling the Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship – in everything he/she does. Feedback from the training has been very positive and attendees are now certified to provide trainings at their own locations to pass on the importance of good character to as many people as possible throughout the county. For more information on the CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative, please contact Bill Spaedt at [email protected] or 547-7623.

On the Horizon 

Liberty Pines Academy Annual Liberty Parade

Liberty Pines Academy will be hosting its annual Liberty Parade and celebration to honor veterans and service men and women on Friday, November 6 at 9 a.m.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The 36th annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of young people.

The celebration will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards presentation.  Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.

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

The fourth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at www.racesmith.com. Register by January 16, 2016, to receive a run t-shirt.

Did You Know…?

  • The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park hosts the 2015 Maritime Fun Fest from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 14 and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 15. This year’s festival will showcase the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation’s boatyard, complete with hands-on maritime activities and a newly christened, 16th century utility workboat called the San Agustin.  Events include the Quick and Dirty Boat Building Competition and Race, educational exhibits, craft vendors, book signings, lecturers, the Astillero de Perro Dog Agility Contest, and children’s maritime education corner with hands-on activities.  Daily admission, includes entry to the Fountain of Youth, is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $9 Children 6 – 12, Under 5 free. St. Johns County Residences & Active/Retired Military with ID for adults $5, senior (50+) $4, child 6-12 $3, ages 5 and under free. Proceeds from the festival support the Foundation’s Maritime Heritage Scholarship Fund.  11 Magnolia Ave., St. Augustine. 904-599-3800 http://staugmaritimeheritage.org.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

~Mohandas Gandhi, Indian nonviolent civil rights leader (1869-1948)

SR 10-19-15 Volume 5, Issue 6

This year, October 19-23 is national CHARACTER COUNTS! Week and every year millions of kids in dozens of countries participate. This character building initiative has a very strong presence in our schools and our community.

In 1998 the St. Johns County School District, along with area businesses, youth organizations and civic groups, selected the national character educational program of CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) as a countywide initiative to instill positive character traits in our young people. Each fall during the national observance, we honor area businesses that have contributed to the CHARACTER COUNTS! effort. This year, along with the CC! Community Breakfast, we also sponsored and produced the third annual CC! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk and the 15th annual American Youth Character Awards program to celebrate and recognize our efforts on creating students of good character.

The St. Johns County School District was the first school district in Florida to implement Pursuing Victory With Honor in all of its athletic programs. Character education is an important part of every School Improvement Plan and a major component of our Strategic Plan.

CHARACTER COUNTS! is an immersive program connecting staff and students through a shared language and framework of values called The Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. It fosters a positive environment that has been shown to improve overall attendance and test scores while reducing negative incidents such as bullying and discipline referrals.

As adults we are responsible for modeling appropriate behavior, which has been proven as the best way to teach character in others.

Executive Cabinet Update

Information Technology

Security Awareness

Security of the district’s data, systems, staff, students and networks continues to be a challenge in an ever-changing digital landscape.  The district Information Technology (IT) Department publishes “Security Awareness Notes” throughout the school year to inform staff on security procedures and practices.

In an effort to increase security awareness, the IT Department will begin emailing security tips and updates to Security Awareness Notes to employees.  The Security Awareness Notes are listed under the IT Department on the InsideSJCSD website.   These procedures cover security-related topics such as how to handle sensitive data, how to protect your password, password rules and more.  Please contact the IT Department or your school Technical Support Specialist (TSS) immediately to report a network, data, system or hardware security-related incident.

 

On the Horizon

CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast

CHARACTER COUNTS! of St. Johns County will hold its annual Community Breakfast to honor school business partners and sponsors of the CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative on Wednesday, October 21 at First Coast Technical College. Selected eighth-grade students will also be recognized for exemplifying the Six Pillars of Character. The CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Service Award and the Marjorie Davidson Individual Service Award will be presented at this time.

Liberty Pines Academy Annual Liberty Parade

Liberty Pines Academy will be hosting its annual Liberty Parade and celebration to honor veterans and service men and women on Friday, November 6 at 9 a.m.

Status Report

2016-2017 Calendar Survey

The St. Johns County School District is seeking comments on the proposed 2016-2017 school calendar.

A survey link is now available on the school district website for community members to provide input on the calendar. The survey link can be accessed at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/calendar/proposed/ or under “Featured Links” on the school district home page. Individuals are encouraged to submit any ideas, suggestions or concerns about the proposed calendar. Feedback will be collected through Friday, October 23.

The final proposed calendar must be approved by the School Board.

Did You Know…?

  • What is FSA?
  • Did FCAT Go Away?
  • What is on the EOC for Algebra I, Geometry or Algebra II?
  • How can I help my child?

If you’ve asked any of these questions, please plan to attend an FSA informational presentation. Each program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude by 8 p.m., and will consist of an ELA/writing session followed by a mathematics portion. Time for questions will be built into the process. For more information call 904-547-7503. Visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/families/fsa-meetings/ for meeting dates and locations.

 

“The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet very little.”

~Michel de Montaigne, French essayist (1533-1592)

SR 10-6-15 Volume 5, Issue 5

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion on the issuance of school grades and the new state assessment.  Superintendents, myself included, believe in the need for a strong accountability system that accurately measures student performance and helps to guide instruction.  In a press release disseminated last week by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) it was made clear our continued support of increased rigor and high academic standards for our students.

Unfortunately, our accountability system has been politicized and the focus has been taken off of what is best for students.  While we are fortunate to be able to mitigate any negative consequences for students and teachers I am concerned about utilizing benchmark data on first-year tests for high-stakes consequences.  The decision to issue school grades with missing, incomplete or questionable student data is a wrong one.  The complete absence of growth measures, an essential element of our system, nullifies viable school grades.  Our schools, our children and our teachers are much more than a letter grade.  I hope to join my fellow superintendents in opening the dialogue with policy makers.

This week marks the annual School Improvement presentations where each school has the opportunity to share with our School Board their accomplishments and challenges along with plans for improvement. I continue to be amazed at the innovative, comprehensive and thoughtful approach our principals use to engage students and keep teachers and support staff motivated to be the very best.

We are off to a great start, keep up the good work!

Executive Cabinet Update

Business and Fiscal Services

Accounting, Payroll and Accounts Payable Departments

Employees nearing retirement or current SJCSD retirees who may have questions regarding the Florida Retirement System, DROP, Bencor and tax-sheltered annuities can call 547-7681 for information or to set up an appointment with the district retirement facilitator. 

Budget Department

The Final Public Hearing for the purpose of adopting the 2015-2016 millage and budget took place on September 15.  Budgets have since been updated for carry-forward funds, and the department is now in the review process.  The budget book as approved by the School Board can be accessed on the district’s transparency web page.

Food and Nutrition Services Department

The Food and Nutrition Services Department has begun the verification process for income eligible students on October 1.  This process randomly chooses a sample of income eligible lunch applications for verification of submitted financial information.  Currently, there are approximately 8,800 students who receive free or reduced-priced meals with the majority of students qualifying through the direct certification system.   Directly certified students are qualified through the Florida Department of Health and are not subject to verification.  The National School Lunch Program is up for reauthorization this month in Washington, and the department is awaiting the results of this congressional session to help plan for the future.

Purchasing Department

Each year property inventories are completed throughout the district.  Property delegates have been identified at each school and department, and inventories will take place this fall.

Bids, requests for proposals and formal quotes provide a resource for our schools and departments to maintain and enhance our classrooms and facilities.  To obtain the best value for various goods and services the district has released over 40 competitive solicitations in 2015.

In addition, the department is currently pursuing a reverse auction option to maximize value for district expenditures.  This is in accordance with 2015-2016 School Board goals.

On the Horizon

CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast

CHARACTER COUNTS! of St. Johns County will hold its annual Community Breakfast to honor school business partners and sponsors of the CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative on Wednesday, October 21 at First Coast Technical College. Selected eighth-grade students will also be recognized for exemplifying the Six Pillars of Character. The CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Service Award and the Marjorie Davidson Individual Service Award will be presented at this time.

Liberty Pines Academy Annual Liberty Parade

Liberty Pines Academy will be hosting its annual Liberty Parade and celebration to honor veterans and service men and women on Friday, November 6 at 9 a.m.

Status Report

Betty Griffin House “A Day Without Violence” Calendar Contest Winners

Each year, the Betty Griffin House sponsors “A Day Without Violence” calendar art and poetry contest. Judges look for art and poems that make a positive statement about a world without violence. The purpose of these activities is to interrupt what otherwise may become a generational cycle of domestic violence. Madison Lucchino and Sadie Silverstein, both of Alice B. Landrum Middle School, won first and second place, respectively for their artwork. Shailee Kothari, Fruit Cove Middle School won first place for her poetry and Courtney Toelle of Bartram Trail High School earned second place in the poetry category. These winners, along with the Honorable Mention recipients, will be recognized at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, October 13 at 6 p.m.

Did You Know…?

  • Saturday, October 10 through Sunday, October 18, Barnes & Noble Booksellers is holding its fall Educator Appreciation Days. During this time, Educators save 25 percent off classroom and personal items.  Please present your Educator Discount Card to the cashier for your savings. Certain restrictions apply.  To obtain an Educator Discount Card, bring in your current school ID or paycheck stub and a valid driver’s license.

 

“You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

~Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President (1809-1865)

SR 9-21-15 Volume 5, Issue 4

Eight young St. Johns County students had the exciting opportunity to meet His Majesty King Felipe VI and Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain during their royal visit to St. Augustine on Friday, September 18. The students created a beautiful obelisk while in fifth grade at Wards Creek Elementary School (WCES) last year which was presented to the king and queen as a gift from the City of St. Augustine. The king and queen were so taken with the obelisk that they requested to meet the student artists, their art teacher Amy Tarmey and Principal Edie Jarrell so they could thank them in person.

The Wards Creek obelisk is one of 28 four-foot obelisks designed by young artists throughout our district which have been on display as part of the Obelisk Art 450 project. This project is titled “Compassion through the Eyes of Children” and was put together by Compassionate St. Augustine, and facilitated by K-12 Fine and Performing Arts Program Specialist Tommy Bledsoe and Maxwell Vinzant an art teacher at Otis Mason Elementary School.

The students who worked on the project were Kirsten Arndt, Mia Bradley, Marissa Cannegieter, Sydney Carns, Kaylan Fields, Caitlyn Gillette, Iyahna Hagan-Willis, Halima Cagnani and Carina Ortiz.

I am very appreciative for the efforts of City Manager John Regan to provide our students this once in a lifetime opportunity in such a short timeframe. This experience is something they will always remember, and I am so proud of their accomplishment.

Executive Cabinet Update

Human Resources

Hiring Summary

In preparation for the 2015-16 school year the Human Resources Department coordinated the hiring of 629 employees.  Of those 629 persons, 161 were hired from within the district.  These individuals moved from one school to another school or moved jobs within the school (e.g. clerk moving to a computer operator position).  The remaining 468 persons are new hires to the district with over half for instructional positions.

On the Horizon

ASSIST Dinner

The Annual Aid and Support to Students in Sudden Transition (ASSIST) fundraising dinner and silent auction will be held on Friday, September 25 from 6:30–9:30 p.m. at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport Conference Center. This event celebrates and supports the perseverance of these families.  For further information and registration please visit www.ink-stjohns.org/assist/.

Community Education Classes

Community Education classes are being offered by the St. Johns County School District this fall.  Classes will begin in September and offerings include classes in topics covering Arts and Crafts, World Languages, Computers and Technology, Health and Fitness, Music and Community Interests.

Classes are appropriate for all ages, including young learners. Prices range from $8-10 per class hour and are appropriate for leisure hobbyists as well as those who would like to develop workforce skills. Community education teachers have extensive practical and educational experiences in their fields and a passion for sharing their expertise. Program proceeds support extracurricular programs at the host schools. Visit the Community Education website at http://communityed.stjohns.k12.fl.us for course descriptions, locations, fees and registration or call 547-7565 or 547-7510 for information.

Status Report

National Merit Semifinalists

Eighteen St. Johns County seniors have qualified as National Merit Semifinalists for 2016. These students placed among the top 1 percent of all students in the country taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test given annually to high school juniors. As 18 of approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide, they are now eligible to advance to the finalist competition to vie for 7,400 scholarships worth more than $32 million.

The semifinalists are Evan Armstrong and David Damiani from Bartram Trail High School; Rowan Blalock-Bassett, Samantha Hayes, and Noah Kathe from Creekside High School; Noah Ari, Sanjana Bhargava, Patrick Farrar, Alexander Jasper, Divya Mahesh; Abigail Prohofsky and Samuel Still from Allen D. Nease High School; Wilson Erickson; Yooree Ha; Meijia Li; John Richter and Cullen Smith from Ponte Vedra High School; Michael Whittaker from St. Augustine High School.

These students will be recognized at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, October 13 at 6 p.m. in the School Board Administration Building auditorium at 40 Orange Street.

Did You Know…?

  • Investing in Kids! (INK!) is holding its Boot Scootin’ Bar-B-Q, a cow-poking fundraiser that benefits teachers and students in St. Johns County, on Saturday, October 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the St Augustine Rod & Gun Club. This western-themed event features good old-fashioned BBQ by local pitmasters including Woodpeckers Backyard BBQ, Mojos BBQ Old City, and Smokin D’s BBQ, with late night sliders from One Twenty Three Burger. Listen to your favorite country and classic rock renditions by Paper City Hustlers.  Saddle up on a mechanical bull lassoed by Old City Life Magazine, test your aim at the virtual shooting range, and give us your best cowboy pose in a photo booth by Leonard’s Studio. There will be an opportunity to bid on auctions, win prizes and much more! This is an adults only event. Discounted tickets are available for educators and SJCSD staff. Please visit www.ink-stjohns.org/boot-scootin-bbq/ to register.
  • CHARACTER COUNTS! Pillar t-shirts are available for purchase through the Community Relations Department. Shirts are available in both youth and adult sizes and are $10 each or all six pillars for $50. Contact Danielle Cook at [email protected] to purchase.

 

It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, civil rights advocate (1884-1962)

 

SR 9-10-15 Volume 5, Issue 3

The St. Johns County School District announces the schedule of 2016 graduation ceremonies for St. Johns County high schools and First Coast Technical College (FCTC).

Thursday, January 21

7 p.m.             First Coast Technical College        Bldg. C, FCTC Campus

Wednesday, May 18

4:30 p.m.       St. Johns Virtual School                District Administrative Building

Wednesday, May 18

7 p.m.             St. Johns Technical High School  St. Augustine High School Auditorium

Thursday, May 19

7:30 p.m.       Pedro Menendez High School      St. Augustine Amphitheatre (SAA)

Friday, May 20

7:30 p.m.       St. Augustine High School            SAA

7:30 p.m.       Allen D. Nease High School          University of North Florida (UNF)

Saturday, May 21

1 p.m.            Bartram Trail High School             UNF

4:30 p.m.       Creekside High School                   UNF

7:30 p.m.       Ponte Vedra High School              UNF

Tuesday, May 24

7 p.m.            First Coast Technical College        Bldg. C, FCTC Campus

Executive Cabinet Update

Operations

Transportation 

The Transportation Department safely transported 19,500 children daily aboard 171 school buses during the first three weeks of the 2015-2016 school year. The transportation operators and attendants are working hard to get to know the students and parents. The routing team continues to refine school bus routes as the district experiences actual riders versus those who are eligible. The department remains focused and passionate about safely and effectively transporting students throughout the school year.

Energy Management 

The Energy Conservation Program did well this summer even without consolidating as in past years. Overall, the district did a commendable job staying out of the 3-6 p.m. peak demand time avoiding significant additional energy charges. The Energy Management Department will be recording the electric bills in order to evaluate and present the results.

Building Code Administration

Portable classrooms previously located at John. A. Crookshank Elementary School have been relocated to Sebastian Middle School and are being repurposed for administrative offices. Safety/State Requirement for Educational Facilities (SREF) inspections, required at all schools, have begun.  

Maintenance

The Maintenance Department has been busy this summer completing over 200 projects at various schools throughout the district. Summer projects include replacement of carpet and tile, painting, pavement rehabilitation, HVAC duct cleaning, indoor air quality baseline testing, HVAC chiller replacement and HVAC upgrades at various locations. In order to prepare for the start of the 2015-2016 school year, a total of 73 relocatable classrooms were installed at Cunningham Creek (4), Mill Creek (4), Ocean Palms (10) and Wards Creek (2) elementary schools; Patriot Oaks (12) and Valley Ridge (20) academies; Pacetti Bay Middle School (10) as well as Allen D. Nease (4), Ponte Vedra (2), St. Augustine (1) and St. Johns Technical (4) high schools.

On the Horizon

Community Education Classes

Community Education classes are being offered by the St. Johns County School District this fall.  Classes will begin in September and offerings include classes in topics covering Arts and Crafts, World Languages, Computers and Technology, Health and Fitness, Music and Community Interests.

Classes are appropriate for all ages, including young learners. Prices range from $8-10 per class hour and are appropriate for leisure hobbyists as well as those who would like to develop workforce skills. Community education teachers have extensive practical and educational experiences in their fields and a passion for sharing their expertise. Program proceeds support extracurricular programs at the host schools. Visit the Community Education website at http://communityed.stjohns.k12.fl.us for course descriptions, locations, fees and registration or call 547-7565 or 547-7510 for information.

ASSIST Dinner

The Annual Aid and Support to Students in Sudden Transition (ASSIST) fundraising dinner and silent auction will be held on Friday, September 25 from 6:30–9:30 p.m. at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport Conference Center. This event celebrates and supports the perseverance of these families.  For further information and registration please visit www.ink-stjohns.org/assist/.

Status Report

Coaches of the Year

Eight St. Johns County coaches were honored with the Jeff Holt Coach of the Year Award for Pursuing Victory With Honor. The Jeff Holt Coach of the Year Award for Pursuing Victory With Honor is named for Jeff Holt, an incredible educator, coach and dear friend within the school district. Mr. Holt was someone who epitomized what Pursuing Victory With Honor stood for and was a leader in the classroom as well as on the field and court.

The coaches are Pete Peaver, Bartram Trail High School; Rick Marabell, Creekside High School; Melissa Fraum, Allen D. Nease High School; Kiara Williams, Pedro Menendez High School; Zane Guile, Ponte Vedra High School; Jim Mathisen, St. Augustine High School; Josh Braum, St. Joseph Academy; and Travis Homewood, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.  All of the recipients were recognized at the School Board meeting on Thursday, September 10.

Pedro Menendez High School Power-Library

Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS) has earned the prestigious Florida Power-Library School Award from the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Association of Supervisors of Media, in collaboration with the Florida Association for Media in Education for having a high performing school library media program.

Recipients of the FPLS award are selected through a competitive application process. Statewide recognition is awarded to schools that nurture focused, systemic change through involvement of the entire school staff in developing and implementing a plan that integrates the library media program with teacher collaboration and student achievement. PMHS was recognized at the School Board meeting on Thursday, September 10.

Did You Know…?

  • Johns County residents can enjoy free admission to the following tours and attractions during the month of September. Not valid September 4-12 (Labor Day weekend and the 450th Celebration Week) Other restrictions apply. Valid with a resident ID: Florida driver’s license or voter registration card. Utility bills, leases, rental contracts, etc. will not be accepted. Must request at ticket booths:

Old Town Trolley Tours
The St. Augustine History Museum
The Authentic Old Jail
Potter’s Wax Museum
The Oldest Store Museum Experience

  • CHARACTER COUNTS! Pillar t-shirts are available for purchase through the Community Relations Department. Shirts are available in both youth and adult sizes and are $10 each or all six pillars for $50. Contact Danielle Cook at [email protected] to purchase.

 

It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, civil rights advocate (1884-1962)