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Eighth Annual Character Counts! Run/Walk

CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk on February 1st

January 27, 2020 - 

Eighth Annual Character Counts! Run/WalkThe CHARACTER COUNTS! Steering Committee is calling all walkers, runners and fitness enthusiasts to participate in the CHARACTER COUNTS! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 9 a.m. The run/walk will begin and end at Palencia Elementary School located at 355 Palencia Village Drive, St. Augustine.

Walkers and runners will enjoy a course running through the neighborhoods of Kensington and Las Calinas and can choose to participate in the 6K (3.73 miles) or 3K (1.86 miles) distance. Registration fees are as follows:

6K-$25 before January 1, $30 January1-January 31, $35 on Race Day
3K-$20 before January 1, $25 January1-January 31, $30 on Race Day

Registration forms and more information are available online.

Race proceeds will support CHARACTER COUNTS! initiatives throughout the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). 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 to five schools with the most registrants. All race registrants will receive a tech t-shirt and lots of other goodies from area businesses and organizations. At the finish line, each race participant will receive a commemorative dog tag which is the fifth design in its series.

This event is produced by the CHARACTER COUNTS! Steering Committee and is presented by Beaver Toyota with support from businesses and community groups.

The SJCSD, along with area businesses, youth organizations and civic groups, selected the national character education program of CHARACTER COUNTS! as a countywide initiative to instill positive character traits in young people throughout the county. Additionally, the SJCSD became the first school district in Florida to implement Pursuing Victory With Honor in all of its athletic programs. Character education is an important part of every School Improvement Plan and a major component of the Student Code of Conduct and the school district’s Strategic Plan.

Teacher of the Year 2020

January 13, 2020 - 

The Teacher of the Year Finalists were recently surprised by the Ink St. Johns Prize Patrol Team,  Superintendent Tim Forson and School Board Chair Bev Slough. Congratulations to Julie Durden of Palm Valley Academy, Aletha Dresback of Valley Ridge Academy, Julie Haden of Freedom Crossing Academy, Lori Price of The Webster School and Evan Tisdale at the Transitions School.

Program of Choice Booklet designer poses with booklet

Program of Choice Showcase 2020

January 10, 2020 - 

Program of Choice Booklet designer poses with booklet
The Annual Program of Choice Showcase for middle and high school students and their parents was held on Thursday, January 9th at the World Golf Village Convention Center. Joseph Faranda of the Nease High School Communications Academy designed the front cover of the Academy/Program of Choice booklet that was distributed during the event. Nice work, Joseph!

Pictured from left to right are Career & Technical Education Director Emily Harrison, Nease High School student Joseph Faranda, and Executive Secretary for Career &Technical Education Theresa Dodd.

Celebrating 150 Years

Celebrating 150 Years

December 10, 2019 - 

Celebrating 150 Years

To celebrate St. Johns County School District’s 150 year anniversary, we will be highlighting historical facts about our school district during our regular School Board Meetings this year and on our website.

Celebrating 150 Years

Celebrating 150 Years

December 10, 2019 - 

Celebrating 150 Years

To celebrate St. Johns County School District’s 150 year anniversary, we will be highlighting historical facts about our school district during our regular School Board Meetings this year and on our website.

FEMA Required Public Notice

December 9, 2019 - 


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice to the public of its intent to reimburse eligible applicants for eligible costs to repair or replace facilities damaged by Hurricane Dorian beginning August 28, 2019 until September 09, 2019. This notice applies to the Public Assistance (PA) and Hazard Mitigation Grant (HMGP) programs implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207.

Under a major disaster declaration FEMA DR-4468-FL signed by the President on October 21, 2019, the following counties have been designated adversely affected by the disaster and eligible for PA Categories: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G including Direct Federal Assistance: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Martin, Osceola, Nassau, Palm Beach, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, and St. Lucie.

Additional counties may be designated at a later date without further public notice. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is available statewide.

This public notice concerns activities that may affect historic properties, activities that are located in or affect wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain, and critical actions within the 500-year floodplain. Such activities may adversely affect the historic property, floodplain or wetland, or may result in continuing vulnerability to flood damage.

Presidential Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 require that all federal actions in or affecting the floodplain or wetlands be reviewed for opportunities to relocate and are evaluated for social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Where there is no opportunity to relocate, FEMA is required to undertake a detailed review to determine what measures may be taken to minimize future damages. The public is invited to participate in the process of identifying alternatives and analyzing their impacts.

FEMA has determined that for certain types of facilities there are normally no alternatives to restoration in the floodplain or wetland. These are facilities that meet all of the following criteria: 1) FEMA’s estimate of the cost of repairs is less than 50% of the cost to replace the entire facility and is less than $100,000; 2) the facility is not located in a floodway / Coastal High Hazard Area; 3) the facility has not sustained major structural damage in a previous Presidentially declared flooding disaster or emergency; and 4) the facility is not critical (i.e., the facility is not a hospital, generating plant, emergency operations center, or a facility that contains dangerous materials). FEMA intends to provide assistance for the restoration of these facilities to their pre-disaster condition, except where measures to mitigate the effect of future flooding or other hazards may be included in the statement of work. For example, a bridge or culvert restoration may include a larger waterway opening to decrease the risk of future washouts.

For routine activities, this will be the only public notice provided. Other activities, and those involving facilities that do not meet the four criteria, are required to undergo more detailed review, including study of alternate locations. Subsequent public notices regarding such projects will be published if necessary as more specific information becomes available.

In many cases, an applicant may have started facility restoration before federal involvement. Even if the facility must undergo detailed review and analysis of alternate locations, FEMA will fund eligible restoration at the original location if the facility is functionally dependent on its floodplain location (e.g., bridges and flood control facilities), or the project facilitates an open space use, or the facility is an integral part of a larger network that is impractical or uneconomical to relocate, such as a road. In such cases, FEMA must also examine the possible effects of not restoring the facility, minimizing floodplain or wetland impacts, and determining both that an overriding public need for the facility clearly outweighs the Executive Order requirements to avoid the floodplain or wetland, and that the site is the only practicable alternative. The State of Florida and local officials will confirm to FEMA that proposed actions comply with all applicable state and local floodplain management and wetland protection requirements.

FEMA also intends to provide HMGP funding to the State of Florida to mitigate future disaster damages. These projects may include construction of new facilities, modification of existing, undamaged facilities, relocation of facilities out of floodplains, demolition of structures, or other types of projects to mitigate future disaster damages. In the course of developing project proposals, subsequent public notices will be published if necessary as more specific information becomes available.

The National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. Those actions or activities affecting buildings, structures, districts or objects 50 years or older or that affect archeological sites or undisturbed ground will require further review to determine if the property is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (Register). If the property is determined to be eligible for the Register and FEMA’s undertaking will adversely affect it, FEMA will provide additional public notices. For historic properties not adversely affected by FEMA’s undertaking, this will be the only public notice.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the civil rights of persons with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by the federal government, federal contractors, and by recipients of federal financial assistance. Any recipient or sub-recipient of federal funds is required to make their programs accessible to individuals with disabilities. Its protections apply to all programs and businesses that receive any federal funds. This applies to all elements of physical/architectural, programmatic and communication accessibility in all services and activities conducted by or funded by FEMA. FEMA intends to comply with the Rehabilitation Act in all federally conducted and assisted programs in alignment with the principles of whole community inclusion and universal accessibility.

As noted, this may be the only public notice regarding the above-described actions under the PA and HMGP programs. Interested persons may obtain information about these actions or a specific project by writing to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency – Region IV – EHP, 3003 Chamblee Tucker Rd, Atlanta, GA 30341-4112 or via email to [email protected] Please include in the subject line of the email, “DR-4468-FL EHAD”. Comments should be sent in writing at the above address within 15 days of the date of this notice.

St. Johns County Spelling Bee Champion

December 5, 2019 - 

Manischa Wijayawardhana, a sixth-grade student at Switzerland Point Middle School won the annual St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Spelling Bee held December 4 at First Coast Technical College CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center. She won by spelling the word “ascension” correctly. Manischa is the daughter of Charles and Aloka Wijayawardhana.

It took 12 rounds for the winner to be determined. The participants were congratulated by Deputy Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt, School Board Member Bill Mignon, and Associate Superintendent Dawn Sapp.

Forty-six elementary and middle school students from 31 public and five private schools competed for the honor of representing St. Johns County in the First Coast Regional Spelling Bee scheduled for Thursday, February 27 at Jacksonville University. If for any reason the winner is not able to attend, runner-up Himaschi Wijayawardhana, a fifth-grader from Timberlin Creek Elementary School will represent the county.

The winner of the regional spelling bee will advance to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled in May in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Rebecca England, SJCSD program specialist for Elementary Language Arts, served as the spelling bee coordinator and the pronouncer was Dr. Carl Williams, professor and chair of the education department at Flagler College. Judges for the event were Jay DiMartino, SJCSD secondary language arts program specialist; Cheryl Freeman, director of the retired and senior volunteer program; and Karen Porter, English language arts K-12 curriculum specialist Flagler County.

The Spelling Bee will be broadcast Friday, December 6 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, December 8 at 11 a.m. on SEA TV channels 99 or 262.

L-R: Dawn Sapp, associate superintendent SJCSD, Winner Minischa W. and Bob Ellis of WJXT

L-R: Winner Manischa Wijayawardhana and Dawn Sapp, associate superintendent SJCSD


R. J. Murray Middle School "Top Dog" Photo

MMS “Top Dog Students of the Month”

December 2, 2019 - 

Members of the R. J. Murray Middle School faculty recently made surprise visits to students’ homes to honor them as the “Top Dog Student of the Month” for the month of November. This award is given by the school for exemplary character and academics.

Dining with Dignity

Feeding the Homeless

December 1, 2019 - 

Students from the St. Johns Technical High School Academy of Culinary Arts under the direction of Chef Coleman fed the homeless of downtown St. Augustine on Thursday, November 21st.

150 Years of Excellence in Education

150 Year Celebration

November 26, 2019 - 

150th Invitation FylerThe St. Johns County School District will celebrate “150 Years of Excellence in Education” on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 8:00 a.m. at the School Board’s Main Office located at 40 Orange Street in St. Augustine, FL. The public is invited to attend.

The event will include a social gathering at 8:00 a.m. and a presentation at 8:30 a.m.

Florida Department of Education Logo

Student Survey about Career and Technical Education

November 7, 2019 - 

FLDOE Student Survey on CTESt. Johns County School District Families,

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) is seeking student input on Career and Technical Education (CTE) as it is offered in the State of Florida.

The survey offers middle and high school students an opportunity to provide input about a their participation, experiences and opinions on CTE programs.

Public school students in grades 6 through 12 can take the 10-minute survey whether they are in a CTE program or not. Responses will remain completely confidential. Names and other identifying information will not be requested and all the results will be analyzed by FLDOE in such a way that responses will not be linked to an individual. You may participate in the FLDOE survey using the following link:

Katie Bohatch

THE PLAYERS Make A Mark Award Winners

October 19, 2019 - 

The Make a Mark Award is a special award honoring teachers in St. Johns County that encourage their students to make their mark on the world. When a teacher invests in their students they can inspire them to persevere and not give up! A winner will be chosen each month from an elementary and a secondary school by students & community business partners.

Katie Bohatch is the September 2019 Make a Mark Award Winner for Middle School

Katie Bohatch is a wonderful middle school teacher at Valley Ridge Academy who teaches 7th grade ELA. She is warm and caring to her students while also expecting the very best in her classroom each and every day. We have had the pleasure of her class for both of our children. Katie has the ability to “mold to the child”….accommodating each child’s learning style and unique skills. She makes these young adults feel confident and she shows them how to enjoy reading! Her unit on the Outsiders is amazing. She reaches these kids….at an age when almost nothing can spark them….she ignites in them the love of books and how these stories can teach them to grow. I have seen Katie herself grow as a teacher and strive to be the very best in her career. I can see how the students respect her and look up to her. She leads by example and I couldn’t be more proud of my children’s growth and of Katie!


Jennifer Peters-Smith is the September 2019 Make a Mark Award Winner for High School

Jennifer Peters Smith graduated from Pedro, went to college at Flagler and went back to teach at Pedro. She is constantly thinking of her students- working often nights and weekends on projects and goals for her classroom. The students are always on her mind. She has spent summers in Uganda helping teachers there expand curriculum and sponsored a teacher from Uganda to live with her here and shadow teach. She has innovative ideas and tries to make her class relevant and interesting to her students. She lives and breathes teaching and so deserves this recognition.

Celebrating 150 Years

In 1926, recess was implemented in all schools, known as supervised play.

To celebrate St. Johns County School District’s 150 year anniversary, we will be highlighting historical facts about our school district during our regular School Board Meetings this year and on our website.