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 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.


The Community Relations Department recently launched the new website for Picolata Crossing Elementary School at 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

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.

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