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Superintendent’s Report

SR 5-25-17 Volume 6, Issue 17

The closing of the school year gives me another opportunity to offer my sincere gratitude to the many dedicated people who make our district the success that it is.

From our incredibly bright and enthusiastic children who come to school each day eager to learn, to our supportive parents and families who not only offer assistance to our schools but make sure their children arrive at school prepared to meet the challenges of each day, to our amazing teachers whose dedication and commitment are awe inspiring.

I am especially grateful to work for a district with such devoted and talented people whose focus remains steadfastly on the success and well-being of students. While there is no doubt we continue to be faced with many challenges beyond our control, I am confident in the ability of our teachers, administrators, staff members, students, parents and community to forge ahead and continue our tradition as a top-performing district.

The end of this school year is especially meaningful as I reflect on my first graduation ceremonies and first several months as your superintendent. It is an honor and privilege to serve in this capacity and there is nothing I take more seriously than the care and education of your children and young adults.

It was exciting to witness nearly 2,000 graduates walk across the stage to receive their diploma. They are now equipped with the essential knowledge, skills and strength of character to excel in the next stage of their young lives.

I also want to say special thanks to our support staff. From bus drivers, to cafeteria workers, to administrators, to clerical staff, to custodians, we have the very best. Thank you for all of the hard work you put forth for our children.

We are fortunate to have a school board who makes decisions based on a philosophy of “children first.” Their leadership during difficult times has demonstrated the true character of our board, and I am honored to work with each of them.

Best wishes for a relaxing and enjoyable summer, and I look forward to an outstanding 2017-2018 school year.

Community Relations

Instructional Television

Jim Harbin Awards

The video production team is in the midst of judging regional entries for the annual Jim Harbin student-produced video contest. St. Johns County students have produced a number of high-quality videos that will most certainly do well on the state level. Other counties from our judging region including Clay, Marion, and Flagler, have also submitted a wide array of outstanding videos to be judged alongside the St. Johns County winners.

Graduation Videos

Graduation is here and videos of the ceremonies for St. Augustine, Pedro Menendez, St. Johns Technical, and St. Johns Virtual high schools are being produced by the district. These videos will be posted online to the district video library at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/video/ which can be downloaded for free. The videos are also available for purchase on DVD for $10 each. Please contact your student’s school for more information.

Webmaster

The Community Relations Department recently launched the new website for Picolata Crossing Elementary School at www-pce.stjohns.k12.fl.us/. Also, several improvements have been made to the online Pre-employment Information Course which new employees use to learn about school district policies and procedures. The course now caters its content to four different types of new hires to ensure that they only see the information they need to complete the pre-employment process.

Character Education

Student Leadership

Recently over 300 Link Crew Leaders from Allen D. Nease, St. Augustine and Bartram Trail high schools spent a weekend at a Link Crew retreat. The goal was to train the new student leaders for this student-to-student mentoring program that matches upperclassmen with incoming freshmen. This helps new students acclimate to the high school campus, culture and routine. Aside from this valuable training, the retreat serves to form a bond among the leaders. These student leaders can now bring this spirit of togetherness back to their respective high schools for the upcoming school year.

Over 90 students from Gamble Rogers Middle School spent an entire day being trained in the Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program that will welcome incoming sixth graders to their school. The program is comprised of eighth-grade students who have applied and gone through an interview process at their school to be considered a WEB leader. These WEB leaders are eager to mentor the incoming sixth graders for the 2017- 2018 school year. Other middle school WEB trainings will take place in early August.

Pillar Patrol

The CHARACTER COUNTS! Steering Committee of St. Johns County is pleased to announce that the new CC! the Pillar mascot has arrived! “CC! the Pillar” has been active in celebrating students who display great character during their monthly school-wide recognition programs. CC! has also been spotting good character at several fifth-grade completion ceremonies encouraging students to continue to make good choices as they enter middle school.

RSVP and Volunteer Services

RSVP of St. Johns County

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) members have been very busy this year fulfilling their mission to assist students in their educational pursuits, and assist not-for-profit agencies in St. Johns County with special support. These volunteers have made a huge impact on academic achievement this year. Hundreds of students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade received literacy enhancement, tutoring, and/or mentoring services. The results were higher achievement levels and increased academic engagement. Volunteers also took part in special activities with community partners including ASSIST, St. Augustine Historical Inns, CHARACTER COUNTS! and EPIC Behavioral Services. To read more details about this active group, visit the RSVP website at www.rsvpstjohns.com.

If you want to make a difference in the life of a student this year, RSVP is looking for community members to assist once per week in the district’s summer reading or math program. Hours are flexible, and even if you are traveling this summer you can help out while you are in town. Call RSVP/Volunteer Services at (904) 547-3952 or email [email protected] for more information.

Volunteer Services

As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close, reports show that school volunteers once again gave tirelessly to students throughout the county. With more than 19,000 volunteers providing approximately 240,000 hours of service, students and staff have received support resulting in higher achievement levels as well as a culture of caring for all. There were 35 elementary and secondary schools receiving Golden School status (for community volunteer hours and volunteer coordination), and 13 secondary schools receiving Silver School status (for student volunteer service). The Volunteer Services Department would like to extend its sincere gratitude to all who gave their time and energy in the district this year.

 

On the Horizon

Summer Reading and Algebra Programs

The Summer Reading Program is required for third graders who are reading below grade level and are at risk of retention. The Summer Reading Program provides an additional 96 hours of reading instruction in June and July.  At the end of the program, third-grade students may be promoted if they pass a test or qualify for other Good Cause Exemptions specified by the state.

The Summer Algebra Program is available for students who have completed Algebra I but did not pass the state End-of-Course (EOC) assessment.  Algebra students attend the program for 68 hours and re-take the EOC.  Students who complete the Summer Algebra Program receive a .5 elective credit.

Summer program locations are:

Summer Reading Program
June 12 – July 14
8 a.m. – noon p.m.
Summer Algebra I Program
June 28 – July 21
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
John A. Crookshank Elementary Bartram Trail High
Cunningham Creek Elementary Creekside High
Ketterlinus Elementary Allen D. Nease High
Osceola Elementary Pedro Menendez High
South Woods Elementary Ponte Vedra High
Valley Ridge Academy St. Augustine High
Wards Creek Elementary


Summer Food Service

The St. Johns County School District will be participating in the Summer Food Service Program for Children June 5-July 28.  There will be a break in service on July 4 as the school district will be closed for Independence Day.

Nutritionally balanced meals will be provided to all children regardless of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin during summer vacation when school breakfasts and lunches are not available.  All children 18 years old and younger are eligible for meals on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.  The programs are approved for geographical areas of need where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free and reduced-price meals during the school year.

Summer feeding sites that are located at schools provide meals to all children in the immediate vicinity in addition to those enrolled in summer school; however, meals are only served during the identified meal service times.

Please see the news release for additional details at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/press/2017/05/18/summer-food-service-2/.

Summer Energy Savings Program

Beginning the week of May 29, business hours for all schools and district offices will be 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and will operate on a modified consolidation program with administrative teams and custodians remaining at their home schools. Summer school academic programs have been assigned to geographic areas of the district based on need. All schools and district offices will resume regular business hours beginning Monday, July 31.

 

Status Report

American Youth Character Awards

Congratulations to 39 seniors and 56 juniors who were honored last month at the annual American Youth Character Awards (AYCA) for exemplifying the Six Pillars of Character. Students and their families were invited to Anastasia Baptist Church for a banquet dinner where the honorees were able to highlight a mentor who has helped them develop into a person of good character. Each of the 39 seniors received a scholarship check provided by CHARACTER COUNTS! of St. Johns County. In addition, three special awards were presented. The David Macaulay Mathis Pursuing Victory With Honor Award and $1,000 scholarship to a student-athlete for outstanding character in athletics was awarded to Derrick Leroy Jr. of St. Augustine High School. The Tucker McCarty Memorial Scholarship was established to honor a student of good character who makes the world a better place. This year’s recipient of the $1,000 McCarty Scholarship is Charles “Hal” Swan of Ponte Vedra High School. The Dr. Joseph Joyner Sportsmanship Award for leadership in ensuring athletic programs mirror a high standard of ethics, sportsmanship and good character was awarded to J. Randy Johnson, principal of Creekside High School.

 

Did You Know…?

  • The first day of school for 2017-2018 is Thursday, August 10. The Superintendent’s Report will resume publication in August.  Have a great summer!

“Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

~Thomas Paine

SR 5-9-17 Volume 6, Issue 16 – Updated

Several principal appointments have taken place recently within the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). Superintendent Tim Forson has named these appointments which are effective pending School Board approval.

“I look forward to working with the following group of talented leaders,” said Superintendent Mr. Tim Forson. “Their varied skill sets will serve them extremely well in these new positions. They all possess great character and the experience to take on these new opportunities, and I could not be more pleased.”

Edie Jarrell, principal at Wards Creek Elementary (WCE), has been named the new principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary (CCE). She will replace Principal Jud Strickland who was named the principal of Picolata Crossing Elementary School.

Jarrell has nine years of experience in St. Johns County, serving as the assistant principal of CCE and principal of WCE. Previously, she has served as a teacher of all elementary grade levels as well as a Media Specialist and Assistant Principal in Duval County. She is certified in Exceptional Education, Information Studies and Library Science, Educational Leadership, and School Principalship.

Jarrell holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida and master’s degrees from UNF and Florida State University.

Kelly Jacobson, assistant principal at Bartram Trail High School (BTHS), has been named the principal of Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS). She will replace Lynn O’ Connor who is retiring from the SJCSD at the conclusion of this school year.

Jacobson started her career in 1997 in Pinellas County Schools first as a teacher and then acting assistant principal before she joined the SJCSD in 2005 as a dean at Switzerland Point Middle School. She has also served as an assistant principal at Pacetti Bay and Alice B. Landrum (LMS) middle schools before joining BTHS in this capacity in 2014.

Jacobson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree from National Louis University.

Traci Hemingway, principal at Timberlin Creek Elementary (TCE), has been named the new principal of Liberty Pines Academy. She will replace Principal Judith Thayer who is retiring from the SJCSD at the conclusion of this school year.

Hemingway has been with the SJCSD for over four years serving as the assistant principal at Pacetti Bay Middle School and the principal of TCE. She also has more than 15 years of experience spent in Fairfax County, VA; Pasco County, FL; Fulton County, GA and St. Tammany Parish, LA. She began her career as a teacher and served as a literacy coach, reading specialist, curriculum coordinator and an assistant principal.

Hemingway holds a bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University in GA, and a master’s degree and certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida.

Steve McCormick, principal of Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS), has been named the new principal of Creekside High School. He will replace Principal Randy Johnson who is retiring from the SJCSD at the conclusion of this school year.

McCormick has been employed with the SJCSD since 1995 and spent seven years as the principal of FCMS before becoming principal at PVHS. He also served as dean of students at BTHS and Allen D. Nease High School and as assistant principal at LMS and BTHS.

McCormick holds a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at Cortland, a master’s degree from Indiana State University and a certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.

The next step will be to gather input from staff and the community for the new principals of WCE, TCE and PVHS.

Academic and Student Services Update

ACCOUNTABILITY AND INTERVENTION SERVICES

Early Childhood Services

Summer VPK

St. Johns County School District is offering the 2017 Summer Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK) program at Osceola and Durbin Creek elementary schools.  Children must be age 5 on or before September 1, 2017.  The program begins Tuesday, May 30 and continues until Friday, July 21, and closed on July 4.  The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Parents can call the Early Childhood Services office at 547-8965 to reserve a spot.  Parents need to register their children for VPK online with the state and obtain the Certificate of Eligibility.  The website is www.ecs4kids.org.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Donna Fenech at Early Childhood Services at 547-8959.

Exceptional Student Education

Transition services for students with disabilities ages 18-22 continue to grow in St. Johns County.

  • Project Search is a new program for the 2017-2018 school year that will provide a unique, business-led, one-year school-to-work program that takes place entirely in the workplace at the district’s host business, The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations for students with developmental disabilities who have completed high school graduation requirements.
  • Life Work is a program designed to provide young adults with significant cognitive disabilities an opportunity to develop self-determination, independent living, and employability skills. The program began in August 2015 and has been based at St. Augustine High School. Beginning in August 2017, Life Work students will be based at First Coast Technical College with peers their own age.
  • Johns Community Campus is a charter school affiliated with The Arc of the St. Johns that provides a vocationally focused opportunity for students with developmental disabilities to prepare for gainful employment and practical life skills upon graduation.

For more information on any of these programs, contact Leigh Ann Hale, ESE Program Specialist, 904-547-7678 or [email protected] .

The SJCSD Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) team has partnered with the Lion’s Club of St. Augustine to offer two amazing events for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and their families. At the end of April, an annual fun-filled family picnic will be held for all families of students who are part of the DHH program. This exciting day includes lunch, entertainment, games and great opportunities for families and students to get together and form supportive relationships.

In May, the DHH team will host the second annual DEAFinition, a vocabulary contest for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing to show what they know! Students have been working all year for this event by studying middle and high school vocabulary words that coordinate with state and district testing. This event is open to middle and high school students in surrounding counties as well.

Federal Programs

The Federal Programs Department has now completed ACCESS testing for all English Language Learners (ELLs) and making sure accommodations are being met for testing season throughout the end of the school year. A final ELL parent informational meeting was held at Valley Ridge Academy on April 19 to review present school year and survey needs for the upcoming year. Summer options for ELLs were also be shared at this meeting.

For the 2016-2017 school year, the Title I Program helped fund two additional full-day VPK classes at The Webster School and John A. Crookshank Elementary School.  For the 2017-2018 school year, Title I will be expanding the district VPK program by adding an additional two classes to Osceola Elementary School. There will be a total of six VPK classrooms funded through Title I and VPK.

Planning, Accountability and Assessment

The Planning, Accountability and Assessment (PAA) department is currently overseeing the administration of state and district exams throughout the schools in our county. Data from these exams is used in for many purposes, including final exams for the grade book, teacher evaluation, and raising student achievement.

School administrators will participate in accountability and assessment trainings this summer during which they will learn how to best use data to help students succeed. A new data reporting platform, called data dashboards, was created in-house by the PAA department and will be available for all schools to use as a means to review data. The data dashboards provide schools with district, school, and student level data to help drive instruction and make educational decisions.

CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Career and Technical Education

Spring is the season for competitions among the student organizations associated with career academies.  Competitions are usually held at the local, regional, state and/or national levels.  These events enable students to apply skills learned in class and compete against students in similar programs around the country.  Listed below are some of the outcomes of spring competitions to date.

DECA, a business-oriented student organization at Bartram Trail High School, has 19 students who received awards at the state competition and then competed in the national competition in California in late April.

Future Business Leaders of America at Ponte Vedra High School had 18 award winners at this year’s state competition in Orlando in March.  Nationals will be held in California in June.

Thirteen students from the communications academy at Allen D. Nease High School attended the Student Network Television national competition in California in March.  One team came in first place in the morning news category.

The student chapter of Florida Future Educators of America at St. Augustine High School won Best Chapter in Florida for the fourth straight year at the competition in Orlando in January.

For more information about exciting happenings in the career academies, check out our homepage at http://academies.stjohns.k12.fl.us.

Instructional Resources and Media Services

Instructional Services Elementary

The St. Johns County Elementary Science STEM Fair

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

Third Grade Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program is required for third-graders who are reading below grade level and are at risk of retention.  The Summer Reading Program provides an additional 96 hours of reading instruction and takes place from June 12 through July 14.  At the end of the program, third-grade students may be promoted if they meet requirements specified by the state.

Instructional Services Secondary

Exams

The district is now in the state assessment window for English language arts and math, 8th-grade science, and End-of-Course (EOC) exams which count 30 percent of a student’s final course grade (7th-grade civics, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Biology and U.S. History).  For courses that do not have a state assessment, district final exams will be given during the last 10 days of school and those will be 10 percent of the second semester grade for middle and high school students.

In addition, the instructional services secondary education department has Year-at-a-Glance resources for language arts, math, science, social studies and world languages, grades 6–12.  These pacing guides provide week-by-week topics and resources for parents, students and tutors, and would be a great place to identify areas of strength and possible needed growth for students.  They are available at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/year-at-a-glance/.

A plethora of additional math resources assessments is available to help your students prepare for the state assessments at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/smath/fsaeoc-resources/.

State EOC guides for Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Biology are available on our website www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/isse/

Summer Algebra Camp

Passing the Algebra I EOC is a graduation requirement for all students.  If you child is enrolled in Algebra I and does not earn a passing score on the EOC this spring, help is available.  Each high school site will offer Summer Algebra Camp to prepare students for a retake of the Algebra I EOC on July 19 and 20.  The program runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 28 – July 21, except July 4. Transportation is provided.  Students who complete the Summer Algebra Camp earn a half-credit elective and may qualify for grade forgiveness as well.  For more information, contact your school counselor or assistant principal.

State Science and Engineering Fair

St. Johns County students recently attended the 62nd State Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland. More than 850 projects were presented by students all over Florida. We are excited to share the honors earned by our students. The best time to get students thinking about a project is now – they have the summer to begin their research.   Did you know that there is a math category for projects?

School Category
Landrum MS Special Award in Animal Sciences (Junior)
Ponte Vedra HS Special Award in Animal Sciences (Senior)
Ponte Vedra HS 4th Place–Cellular/Molecular Biology
Fruit Cove MS 4th Place–Plant Sciences
Fruit Cove MS 3rd Place-Physics
Landrum MS 3rd Place-Intelligent Machines, Robotics, Software Systems
Landrum MS 3rd Place-Chemistry
Valley Ridge Academy 2nd Place-Engineering

 

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

Guidance and Programs of Choice

Controlled Open Enrollment

The St. Johns County School District had four schools with capacity available for the Controlled Open Enrollment (COE) application process for the 2017-2018 school year which closed on March 10.    A total of 163 applications were received during the application period.  A random lottery was conducted for applicants from the schools with more applications than available seats on March 13.  All applicants were notified regarding their status which was either an open seat or being placed on the wait list and given 10 days to accept or decline the option.  Once the parent/guardian accepted the seat for their student, registration information was sent to them and future communication was directed to the school.  Any seats that were declined were then offered to the next student on the wait list.  The district now has only one COE school, Durbin Creek Elementary, with a wait list of 30 students.  After the first day of the 2017-2018 school year, the wait list will be discontinued.  There is no appeal process for COE as it is based strictly on a lottery procedure.  For more information regarding the district’s COE Plan, please visit http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/coe/.

St. Johns Virtual School

The St. Johns Virtual School (SJVS) Open Enrollment window for the 2017-2018 school year began April 10 and will run through July 10.  The district operated virtual instruction program and the Florida Virtual School franchise is accepting applications for their K-12 full-time programs.

Currently enrolled district students may make individual course requests for the 2017-2018 school year by contacting their school counselor and visiting the SJVS website for instructions.  SJVS also welcomes Home Education students.

Full-time SJCSD virtual teachers are now available to more fully serve their students during the school day in addition to after school. Applications, course registration and additional information may be found at www-sjvs.stjohns.k12.fl.us/

Health Services

Health Services has been working with Flagler Hospital’s Life Institute to provide professional development training to all school nurses.  The Life Institute hosted an all-day education series for the district’s nurses at Flagler Hospital on March 20.  Providers from surrounding agencies such as St. Johns County Fire Rescue, UF Health, Trauma One, Orthopedic Associates, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital along with Flagler Hospital presented at the event.  These community partners view the school nurse as a frontline health care provider for children and see the need for resources and education updates as vital to pediatric health.  Education topics covered concussions and trauma, sports and bleeding injuries, asthma, 911 calls, and Florida Kidcare enrollment.  All nurses received eight continuing education units toward licensure from Flagler Hospital free of charge.  The ongoing partnership has become an integral part of the Health Services Program.

Hands-Only CPR

St. Johns County Fire Rescue will be wrapping up their Hands-Only CPR training for all graduating seniors this month as they visit their last high school, Creekside.  When the program is complete, they will have trained 2,500 of the district’s students this school year in the life-saving measures of CPR and AED use.  The program was initiated in 2012 and by the end of the 2016-2017 school year approximately 10,000 students will have participated.  This community outreach is unique to the St. Johns County School District and shows great investment by St. Johns County Fire Rescue Department in empowering students with the ability to intervene in an emergency situation.

Student Services

April has been proclaimed Child Abuse Awareness Month by the City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County, and the St. Johns County School District. By working together as a community, we all can play a part in promoting children’s emotional well-being and strengthening families.

Three early kindergarten registrations have been held so far this spring, resulting in more than 670 early registrations.  One more district-wide registration date is scheduled for May 15, from 1-5 p.m., at each elementary school with the exception of our new Elementary “M” which will be held at Pacetti Bay Middle School.  Please visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/press/2017/02/02/early-registration-2/ for registration requirements or contact your zoned school.

Juniors and seniors in the A.S.S.I.S.T. program had the opportunity to tour First Coast Technical College on April 13 and St. Johns River State College on April 27. The tours provided assistance with applying for financial aid, course selection, enrollment and other important information.

INK!

Five Learning Years (FLY)

The FLY program, supporting early literacy initiatives, is finishing its school-based program for the school year. The program will conclude with just over 200 students this year and continues to grow. Testing of students has begun and we look forward to another year of great results!  FLY is also developing a six-week summer program at Woodlawn Terrace. There will be an end-of-summer event held July 28 for the children of that community. In addition, FLY has recently recorded two short videos about the program and its teachers, which will soon be available at www.ink-stjohns.org/.

Take Stock in Children (TSIC)

The Investing in Kids’ Take Stock in Children (TSIC) Program held its annual Bright Beginnings Celebration April 6 at the Fullerwood Center. The event recognizes the achievements of graduating seniors and welcomed new inductees into the program. Eight seniors were recognized for their participation in the program and academic achievements. Nine new students took their TSIC Agreement Oath led by the Honorable John Alexander. Guest keynote speaker Colby Keefe, Esq. shared her experience as a TSIC scholar and the importance of grit and determination in reaching goals. The event was attended by students, their family, mentors, donors and district staff and administration. The program was made possible through donations from Leonard’s, Chick-fil-A and G.I. Associates of St. Augustine.

Tools-4-Schools

INK’s Tools-4-Schools delivered over 750 orders to teachers all across St. Johns County this school year! This was made possible through the combined help and support of The Bailey Group, teachers and students from Gaines Alternative & Transition School, as well as many others.  The upcoming annual supply drive will run from July 24 until August 11. The website (ink-stjohns.org) is currently closed for inventory and will re-open for teachers on September 5. (Summer school teachers who need supplies, please send an e-mail to [email protected].)

Thank you for all contributed for the 2016 – 2017 school year!

School Services

The School Services Department has been working its way through the Hardship Out-of-Zone Transfer Applications received to date.  The online and paper applications are available on the website at http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/schoolservices/transfers/ and must be submitted annually.  Parents are encouraged to complete and submit the application as early as possible.  With over 2,000 applications being processed last year, the department has already received a little over half of the anticipated applications.

The Student Code of Conduct is being reviewed for updates and revisions for the 2017-2018 school year.   Suggestions have been gathered from our district administrators, school principals, assistant principals and deans of students, our schools’ SAC teams, and the district’s legal counsel.

Athletics

Recently, our middle school girls were invited to attend the Flagler Education Day at Flagler College. Approximately 160 middle school girls attended the program, where a tour of the educational area, as well as the athletic complex, gave many of these students a comprehensive look at a college campus.  The girls also attended a collegiate softball game.  Attendance at this type of event directly supports the department’s Title IX goal for increasing female participation in high school athletics.

School Safety

New AED machines have recently been delivered to every school and district office building in the county.

 

Operations

Planning and Government Relations

New School Construction

The St. Johns County School District continues to prepare for the opening of Elementary School “M” for the 2017-2018 School Year.  Elementary “M” is located at 2675 Pacetti Road in the central portion of the county near World Golf Village.  After reviewing community input collected by Principal Jud Strickland through meetings and a survey, the School Board discussed potential school names at the School Board Workshop on April 25.  The school was officially named Picolata Crossing Elementary School at the May 2 School Board meeting.  A community committee will meet to select school colors and a mascot now that the school name has been chosen.  For more information on the attendance zone for this new school, please visit the following link to the school district website www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/zoning/.

A two-story building addition to house classrooms, a media center and an administrative area is in the final stages of construction at Allen D. Nease High School.  It will also open for the 2017-2018 School Year.  Additional site improvements will be completed this summer.  Renovations to a number of existing pods will be planned for a future project phase.

Two K-8 Schools are also currently under construction.  K-8 School “KK” is located in the Nocatee community in Northeast St. Johns County and K-8 School “LL” is in the Aberdeen community in the Northwest.  These schools will open for the 2018-2019 School Year.  The process to develop their attendance zones and solicit community input will begin in the later part of August, after the start of the 2017-2018 school year.  Additional information will be provided as August approaches.

On the Horizon

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

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

Did You Know…?

  • Flagler College is now accepting applications for students to start in August in the Public Administrative Degree program.  If you have a friend or co-worker who is interested, please encourage them to apply now.  The deadline for all application materials to be received for a student to start in August is Friday, July 14. Due to the Florida Resident Access Grant, which you will qualify for by being a Florida resident, total out-of-pocket tuition is only $600 for the entire 2017-2018 academic year. Flagler College offers this opportunity as a community service. Students can complete their bachelor’s degrees in just five semesters. The College accepts working professionals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have their A.A. or A.S. degrees or who have 60 transferable college credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university.The Public Administration Program teaches the subjects and skills needed for success.  For information on our curriculum and faculty, please refer to the Program’s web page:  www.flagler.edu/PAD.  The Public Administration Degree program is widely recognized for its value to the region by elected officials and agency administrators.To apply, please complete the online application at https://my.flagler.edu/ICS/Admissions/Home.jnz?portlet=Pubic_Administration_Online_Application.

Feed the Need 5K

  • 4th Annual “Sprint For Students”- Feed the Need-Race us to the finish line of hunger. Join us for a great cause to feed hungry kids in Putnam County. The course is through the beautiful and historic downtown Palatka! The course starts and finishes at the Riverfront Park right beside the scenic St. Johns River. Also, join us for the Kids Fun Run.
  • All proceeds go to our “Weekend Snack Pack” program that sends food home with students of Putnam County Schools.
  • Professionally chip timed by Ultimate Racing Inc. utilizing RFID technology.  T-shirts guaranteed to the first 200 participants. Awards to top male and female overall. Age-group awards will be presented to the top 3 finishers in each of the following male and female age groups: 10 and under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & over.

Event details and schedule

  • Early Packet Pickup
  • Friday, May 12, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., District Office 200 Reid Street
  • Day of Registration
  • May 13, 6:45 a.m. – 7:40 a.m.
  • Race times
  • 5k at 8 a.m.
  • Fun Run at 9 a.m

Register at www.active.com/palatka-fl/running/distance-running-races/feed-the-need-5k-2017-29349146.

“Our true nationality is mankind.”
~H.G. Wells

SR 5-9-17 Volume 6, Issue 16

Several principal appointments have taken place recently within the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). Superintendent Tim Forson has named these appointments which are effective pending School Board approval.

“I look forward to working with the following group of talented leaders,” said Superintendent Mr. Tim Forson. “Their varied skill sets will serve them extremely well in these new positions. They all possess great character and the experience to take on these new opportunities, and I could not be more pleased.”

Edie Jarrell, principal at Wards Creek Elementary (WCE), has been named the new principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary (CCE). She will replace Principal Jud Strickland who was named the principal of Picolata Crossing Elementary School.

Jarrell has nine years of experience in St. Johns County, serving as the assistant principal of CCE and principal of WCE. Previously, she has served as a teacher of all elementary grade levels as well as a Media Specialist and Assistant Principal in Duval County. She is certified in Exceptional Education, Information Studies and Library Science, Educational Leadership, and School Principalship.

Jarrell holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida and master’s degrees from UNF and Florida State University.

Kelly Jacobson, assistant principal at Bartram Trail High School (BTHS), has been named the principal of Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS). She will replace Lynn O’ Connor who is retiring from the SJCSD at the conclusion of this school year.

Jacobson started her career in 1997 in Pinellas County Schools first as a teacher and then acting assistant principal before she joined the SJCSD in 2005 as a dean at Switzerland Point Middle School. She has also served as an assistant principal at Pacetti Bay and Alice B. Landrum (LMS) middle schools before joining BTHS in this capacity in 2014.

Jacobson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree from National Louis University.

Traci Hemingway, principal at Timberlin Creek Elementary (TCE), has been named the new principal of Liberty Pines Academy. She will replace Principal Judith Thayer who is retiring from the SJCSD at the conclusion of this school year.

Hemingway has been with the SJCSD for over four years serving as the assistant principal at Pacetti Bay Middle School and the principal of TCE. She also has more than 15 years of experience spent in Fairfax County, VA; Pasco County, FL; Fulton County, GA and St. Tammany Parish, LA. She began her career as a teacher and served as a literacy coach, reading specialist, curriculum coordinator and an assistant principal.

Hemingway holds a bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University in GA, and a master’s degree and certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida.

Steve McCormick, principal of Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS), has been named the new principal of Creekside High School. He will replace Principal Randy Johnson who is retiring from the SJCSD at the conclusion of this school year.

McCormick has been employed with the SJCSD since 1995 and spent seven years as the principal of FCMS before becoming principal at PVHS. He also served as dean of students at BTHS and Allen D. Nease High School and as assistant principal at LMS and BTHS.

McCormick holds a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at Cortland, a master’s degree from Indiana State University and a certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.

Forson will gather input from staff and the community for the new principal of WCE, TCE and PVHS.

Important Message from the Superintendent

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your superintendent and there is nothing I take more seriously than the care and education of your children and young adults.

Our community is one built on collaboration and trust. This is why I feel it necessary to share my concern over the state education budget up for vote on Monday afternoon. This budget is not one filled with hope and promise for our students. This budget hurts your children and our schools by decreasing the funds that create programs for students and the funds that compensate teachers for their hard work.  This budget reduces the Base Student Allocation (BSA) by $27.07 per student from $4,160.71 last year to $4,133.64 and will require us to make cuts that have the potential to impact service to students.

Collectively, we take great pride in being a top-performing district. Our strong student performance coupled with high expectations for teachers and staff is the foundation of our success.

We are dependent on funding and support from the legislature to ensure that we can continue the level of service we provide and you expect.

I urge you to make your voice heard by contacting our legislators and let them know this budget is not acceptable and that it negatively impacts your children.  Visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/gr/ for contact information for the Governor’s office and Legislative Leadership.

Here are the facts and stats for the proposed 2017-2018 budget:

o   The increase in total funds for K-12 funding statewide is $241,293,414 or 1.2%.  These dollars fund an additional 23,919 students entering Florida’s public school system in the upcoming school year.  When looking at additional dollars available per student, the budget provides for a mere $24.44 or less than a 1% (.34%) increase over last year’s budget. 

o   In Florida schools are funded on a per-student basis through a formula called the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). 

o   The FEFP is comprised of the Base Student Allocation (BSA) and pots of money called categoricals which are reserved for specific purposes such as Transportation, Instructional Materials, ESE Guaranteed Allocation (services for disabled students) and Safe Schools (funding for school resource officers).

o   Any increases in funding in categoricals cannot be used for general operating expenses or to increase teacher pay.

o   The BSA are the only flexible dollars school districts have access.  They are used to fund teacher’s salaries and benefits or to add new programs for students.

o   While St. Johns County will receive a small increase in funds in overall per student funding, all of the increase is reserved for specific purposes.

o   In 2007-08, St. Johns County received $7,202.43 per student. Ten years later, St. Johns is being funded at $7,067.20 per student, a DECREASE of $135.23 per student.

o   This year’s budget cuts the Base Student Allocation (BSA) $27.07 statewide from $4,160.71 last year to $4,133.64.

o   In a fiscal year where the state has a budget surplus, we cannot support a budget that cuts the BSA for the first time since the great recession.

o   The budget agreed upon in conference is predicated on a $535.1 million reduction in the FEFP resulting from a .316 rollback of the Required Local Effort millage or 6.7%. Outside of the FEFP, $213 million is being provided for Best and Brightest Teacher bonuses and $200 million in incentive funds to attract out-of-state charter operators (Schools of Hope).

o   Even if districts are given access to some of the $200 million in charter incentive funds, St. Johns County will not receive a penny of these funds due to our academic success because they are only for persistently low-performing areas.

o   If these funds were instead redirected to the FEFP, it would result in over a 2% increase in funds per student.

SR 4-25-17 Volume 6, Issue 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schools Update

W.D. Hartley

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

Hickory Creek

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

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

Julington Creek

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

Liberty Pines Academy

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

Osceola

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

Upcoming Events

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

Otis Mason

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

Patriot Oaks Academy

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

South Woods

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

Valley Ridge Academy

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

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

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

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

Wards Creek

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

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

Middle and High Schools

Gamble Rogers

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

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

Pacetti Bay

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

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

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

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

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

Creekside

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

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

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

 

On the Horizon

 

American Youth Character Awards Banquet

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

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

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

Did You Know…?

  • Flagler College is now accepting applications for students to start in August in the Public Administrative Degree program.  If you have a friend or co-worker who is interested, please encourage them to apply now.  The deadline for all application materials to be received for a student to start in August is Friday, July 14. Due to the Florida Resident Access Grant, which you will qualify for by being a Florida resident, total out-of-pocket tuition is only $600 for the entire 2017-2018 academic year. Flagler College offers this opportunity as a community service. Students can complete their bachelor’s degrees in just five semesters. The College accepts working professionals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have their A.A. or A.S. degrees or who have 60 transferable college credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university.The Public Administration Program teaches the subjects and skills needed for success.  For information on our curriculum and faculty, please refer to the Program’s web page:  www.flagler.edu/PAD.  The Public Administration Degree program is widely recognized for its value to the region by elected officials and agency administrators.To apply, please:
  • Complete the online application at https://my.flagler.edu/ICS/Admissions/Home.jnz?portlet=Pubic_Administration_Online_Application
  • Pay your $30 application fee online by following the instructions that will be emailed to you when your application is submitted.
  • Order official transcripts from ALL colleges where you have completed coursework and request that they are sent to the address below.
    Office of the Chancellor
    Flagler College
    74 King Street
    St. Augustine, FL 32084

Feed the Need 5K

  • 4th Annual “Sprint For Students”- Feed the Need-Race us to the finish line of hunger. Join us for a great cause to feed hungry kids in Putnam County. The course is through the beautiful and historic downtown Palatka! The course starts and finishes at the Riverfront Park right beside the scenic St. Johns River. Also, join us for the Kids Fun Run.
  • All proceeds go to our “Weekend Snack Pack” program that sends food home with students of Putnam County Schools.
  • Professionally chip timed by Ultimate Racing Inc. utilizing RFID technology.  T-shirts guaranteed to the first 200 participants. Awards to top male and female overall. Age-group awards will be presented to the top 3 finishers in each of the following male and female age groups: 10 and under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & over.

Event details and schedule

  • Early Packet Pickup
  • Friday, May 12, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., District Office 200 Reid Street
  • Day of Registration
  • May 13, 6:45 a.m. – 7:40 a.m.
  • Race times
  • 5k at 8 a.m.
  • Fun Run at 9 a.m

Register at www.active.com/palatka-fl/running/distance-running-races/feed-the-need-5k-2017-29349146.

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

Save

SR 3-30-17 Volume 6, Issue 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Technology

BusinessPlus Upgrade

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

Some of the new features include:

  • Ability to delete attachments in purchase orders
  • More control over the timecard review process for Timekeepers
  • Ability to multi-thread workflows to produce faster processing
  • New workflow notification for alternate approvers when primary user is “out of office”
  • For Employee Online, the system will detect when a browser is unsupported and advise the user that “not all features will be available”

School Wireless Upgrade

Thirteen schools have been selected for wireless upgrades this school year.  These upgrades include new high-speed cabling, new GB network switching and new high speed wireless 802.11ac access points for classrooms.  Because this project covers three technology areas and multiple schools, it is slated to take most of this school year to complete.   Here are the schools on this project list:

Bartram Trail HS Ocean Palms ES
Ponte Vedra HS PV-Rawlings ES
Nease HS Wards Creek ES
St. Augustine HS  Hartley ES
Pedro Menendez HS  RB Hunt ES
Liberty Pines Academy  Otis Mason ES
Osceola ES


eSchoolPlus Upgrade

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

On the Horizon

Outstanding School Volunteer Reception

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

American Youth Character Awards Banquet

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

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

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

Status Report

Character Cup
 

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

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

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

Did You Know…?

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

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

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SR 3-15-17 Volume 6, Issue 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Resources

Recruitment Efforts Underway

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

College and University Visits

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

Job Fairs

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

Saturday, April 1

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

Saturday, April 29

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

Saturday, May 20

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

Wednesday, July 26

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

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

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

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

Critical Needs Positions Identified

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

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

Job Postings

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

Department Location

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

 

On the Horizon

 

The Character Cup

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

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

Outstanding School Volunteer Reception

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

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

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

Status Report

School-Related Employees of the Year

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

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

2016-2017 School-Related Employees of the Year

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


Did You Know…?

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

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

SR 3-3-17 Volume 6, Issue 12

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

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

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

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

Operations

FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS

Transportation

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

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

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

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

Building Code Administration

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

Energy Management

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

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

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

Facilities and New Construction

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

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

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

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

Maintenance Services

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

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

BUSINESS AND FISCAL SERVICES

Accounting, Payroll and Accounts Payable Departments

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

Budget Department

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

Food and Nutrition Services Department

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

Purchasing Department

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

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

 

On the Horizon

 

The Character Cup

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

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

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

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

Job Fairs

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

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

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

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

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

Status Report

Shriner Jeans Day Fundraiser

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

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

 

Did You Know…?

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

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

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SR 2-10-17 Volume 6, Issue 11

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

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

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

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

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

 

Academic and Student Services

ACCOUNTABILITY AND INTERVENTION SERVICES

Early Childhood Services and District Assessment Development 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exceptional Student Education

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

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

Federal Programs

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

Planning, Accountability and Assessment

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

CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Instructional Resources and Media Services

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

Instructional Services

Science Fair

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

Spelling Bee

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

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

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

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

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

Guidance and Programs of Choice

Controlled Open Enrollment

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

Health Services

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

Student Services 

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

INK!

National Mentoring Month

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

Tools for Schools and The Bailey Resource Depot

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

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

School Services

Out of Zone Transfers

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

School Safety

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

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

Athletics Department

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

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

On the Horizon

Chocolate and Beyond

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

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

The Character Cup

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

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

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

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

History Fair

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

Job Fairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Status Report

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

Rookie Teacher of the Year

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

Teacher of the Year

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

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

Did You Know…?

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

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

SR 1-17-17 Volume 6, Issue 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cabinet Update

Human Resources

 

EEE (Empowering Excellence in Educators)

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

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

Leadership

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

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

Professional Development

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

Job Fairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Horizon

 

District Spelling Bee

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

High School Showcase

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

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of students. This year’s theme is “All Star Teachers.” The sports-themed celebration will be held on Monday, January 23 from 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards. Register or sponsor via the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.

Science Fair

The Regional Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1 at FCTC, CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, located at 2980 Collins Ave., St. Augustine. Exhibit Hall viewing will be February 1, 2017. Parents are welcome to view projects/take pictures between 8:15-8:45 a.m. prior to the start of judging.  Project pick up is February 1, 2:30-4:30 p.m. or after awards on February 2. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. All events will be held at FCTC.

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

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

Status Report

 

New Community Education Classes Starting

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

Did You Know…?

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

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

~Stephen Covey