Community partnerships are paramount to student success in the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). In the summer of 2018, 32 organizations gathered to discuss various opportunities to collaborate with the SJCSD through an event called From Hearts to Hands. Throughout the school year, over 200 needs were met through the work of these partnerships. We look forward to additional collaboration efforts presented this summer through From Hearts to Hands, which will allow us to plan and collaborate with one another to benefit and enrich the school community.
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Community Relations Department News
The PLAYERS have become a Champion level sponsor for the CHARACTER COUNTS! program. Through their generous contribution, the CHARACTER COUNTS! Steering committee has been able to award $82,523.86 in grants to further the expansion and enhancement of character education within the SJCSD through projects, programs, and new or existing clubs and athletics. The PLAYERS have also become the presenting sponsor at the Character Cup that is a student-centered, Olympic-style event highlighting physical education and CHARACTER COUNTS! teaching students that Character Builds Champions.
The American Youth Character Awards banquet took place in April, which honored 55 juniors, 30 seniors, 8 athletes and 1 coach for displaying the Six Pillars of Character at their high schools. Scholarships totaling $17,200 were awarded to senior honorees.
Over the last 20+ years, CHARACTER COUNTS! has served as a countywide initiative to instill positive character traits in our young people. This school year has been a year of rebranding for the CHARACTER COUNTS! Initiative. Rebranding has provided new banners in all schools with the updated logo as well as a newly designed website to better communicate with schools and community.
Link Crew and Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) are student leadership programs designed to help incoming students feel comfortable throughout their first year of their middle and high school experience. Built on the belief that students can help their peers succeed, Boomerang Project’s proven middle and high school transition program trains older students to mentor others through various leadership roles. This training process teaches fundamental leadership skills linked directly to the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. This past semester we have been able to provide funding through grant opportunities and business partnerships to send nine additional adults to become trained coordinators in their schools, which helps to expand the programs in all middle and high schools throughout the district.
The District Webmaster recently worked with the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department to launch a redesigned version of their website at https://cte.stjohns.k12.fl.us to replace their old website at https://academies.stjohns.k12.fl.us. With a new department logo and modern mobile-first interface, the updated CTE website puts all of the information about our school district’s programs of choice and career academies right at your fingertips.
Our video production department has begun graduation filming and is looking forward to another year of highlighting our exceptional graduates from around the district. We will be producing graduation videos for St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS), St. Johns Virtual School (SJVS), St. Augustine and Pedro Menendez high schools graduation ceremonies as well as graduate photos for SJTHS and SJVS.
Along with graduations, the Spotlight, which highlights outstanding students/employees of SJCSD, has featured Danny Erb, the SJCSD 2019 Teacher of the Year winner. Mr. Erb believes in connecting with his students on a personal level in order to connect with them on an educational platform. Mr. Erb is truly one of our best in the county. Check out our current and past spotlights on the SJCSD Vimeo channel.
The 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 2, 2019 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-February 1, $35 on race day
3K-$20 before January 1, $25 January 1-February 1, $30 on race day
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. Last year these schools were Ocean Palms Elementary, Alice B. Landrum Middle and Valley Ridge Academy. 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. Action News Jax CBS47/FOX30 is the official media sponsor of this run/walk.
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.
Community Relations has received a total of 197 public record requests to date and 15 subpoenas. Our department also coordinates the monthly School Board performances and CHARACTER COUNTS! speakers. In addition, we review and approve all Peachjar flyers received to send to individual schools for their approval and posting.
The District Webmaster is preparing to update the look and feel of our school and district websites with new site design templates. The templates will follow the principles of material design and will improve the user experience on mobile devices. Additionally, training materials are in development to help teachers and staff across the school district work with new and improved website editing tools.
A Web Accessibility Committee has also formed to improve the accessibility of our school and district websites. The committee brings together leaders from several departments including Community Relations, Information Technology and Exceptional Student Education Department to solidify accessibility guidelines for our websites and respond to the needs of our diverse user community.
We all hold fond memories of favorite teachers. Perhaps you had an English teacher whose animated personality brought literary characters to life? Or did you have a math teacher who explained the problem in just the right way, leading to an “aha” moment? These teachers exist throughout our hallways and classrooms embodying the heart of our schools, working long after the last bell rings tutoring students, running after-school clubs and always looking for new ways to teach a lesson. There are thousands of teachers in St Johns County who work hard to maintain the standards of excellence that keep SJCSD performing at an “A” level.
This year we want to congratulate the finalists for Teacher of the Year 2017-2018.
- Amy Grimm, 1st grade teacher at Julington Creek Elementary
- Jonathan Higgins, IB Psychology teacher at Pedro Menendez High School
- Kathleen Hunting, 2nd grade teacher at Osceola Elementary School
- Chassity Johnson, 8th grade mathematics teacher at Sebastian Middle
Each year, INK! celebrates the outstanding teachers in the district. Commemorate the magic with us on January 24, 2018, at The World Golf Renaissance Center from 6-9pm. Tickets are available at www.ink-stjohns.org.
With the upcoming New Year upon us, we are currently gathering and scheduling our SEA-TV programming to span until the return from break. The department plans to include holiday season events including the St. Augustine High School choral performance as well as the holiday edition of the Superintendent Spotlight video. These videos will also reside on the front page of the district website for viewing if you do not have access to cable television.
The Jim Harbin Video Contest will be taking entries soon and we’re very excited to get a look at this year’s entries! Last year, we had seven teams place on the state level with their videos and we have a strong feeling that we’re poised for more success this year. This video contest is a student-centered competition and these videos they produce are completely done by the students. No parent or teacher participation is allowed. This media festival is in full swing soon and to get more information, go to https://www.floridamediaed.org/jim-harbin-student-media-festival.html.