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


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

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.


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.


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


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

A plethora of additional math resources assessments is available to help your students prepare for the state assessments at

State EOC guides for Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Biology are available on our website

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



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

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

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.

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.


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

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.


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 ( 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 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.


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.



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

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:  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

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

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