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Messages from the Superintendent

Message from the Superintendent – September 11, 2018

Dear Parents and Families,

I recognize that there has been some feedback and concern regarding the school safety videos that have been shown to all students and staff at our schools. I sincerely apologize for any stress or uncertainty that you may have experienced in anticipation of this activity.  I do feel the videos are a vital instructional tool to help our students and staff be prepared should an emergency ever occur in one of our schools.

I would like to briefly share the purpose and structure of the videos. The SJSO worked with school district staff during the development and production of the active shooter videos to provide consistency of delivery throughout the district. These videos were used during a presentation by the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) and the school district on school safety.    There were four videos designed to be age appropriate as well as a video specifically designed for school district staff.   The videos instruct students and staff on ways to respond if there is an active shooter on campus.  They include the “Always Rules” that have been posted on the district website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/schoolservices/safety/ and the importance of staying as calm as possible.  Also on the district website are resources for talking to your children about tragic events www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/gpc/ if the conversation continues at home or in other settings.

Other elements of the videos I feel should not be shared as they were recorded in our schools, with our students and describe steps to be taken by students and staff.  The need to keep them secure does not imply that SJSO or the school district wants to be secretive and not transparent.  It does reflect our commitment to the highest level of safety possible and the need to protect our emergency operation plans. I want what each of you want, safe schools and well developed plans for responding to emergencies.  I wish the need for these plans and activities did not exist, but in today’s world they are a necessity.

Please know your feedback is important as it relates to refining the training and information provided to our students and staff.  I appreciate your continued support as we work to keep your children as safe as possible while in our care.

Sincerely,

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools
St. Johns County School District

Message from the Superintendent – March 20, 2018

Good Evening Parents and Families,

The recent tragic events of school shootings have shaken the comfort and confidence of school communities and citizens nationwide. In response, within our school district, we have spent a great deal of time listening to students, parents, teachers and our community members before making final decisions about tactics to enhance safety in our schools.

Most disappointing has been recent prank messages and statements of bomb threats and school shootings. It is disruptive and endangers the community every single time resources are diverted to respond to fake threats. As a school district we will continue to enforce our disciplinary actions in alignment with our Student Code of Conduct. As your superintendent, I will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate these incidents and will encourage prosecution when warranted. I cannot and will not tolerate this selfish, irresponsible behavior.

While we live in a time of instant news feeds and rapid information, as a school district we must protect the communication related to student information which sometimes includes discipline received. I hope that you will trust in the process and procedures we have in place to deal with these situations and the consequences set forth.

We must be a community that supports one another and speaks up when we see inappropriate behavior. Lives are being put at-risk because of the poor actions and decisions of others. I encourage you to speak with your children about reporting behaviors that could be threatening to others. I am committed to enhancing safety within our schools and appreciate your continued support in this task.

Sincerely,

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools
St Johns County School District

Message from the Superintendent – February 15, 2018

Good afternoon, this is Tim Forson Superintendent of St. Johns County schools. Today our hearts go out to the families impacted by the tragic school shooting in Parkland, FL. Unfortunately, these events serve as a reminder of why it is so important that we constantly review and evaluate the safety of our schools. I have been in contact with Sheriff Shoar, together we are committed to continuing our work to ensure the highest level of safety for our schools. Please know that school safety is an integral part of the daily operations.

We have placed on our school district website resources that may be useful when talking to your children about this type of event. Our schools are also prepared to assist students that may need support and our school guidance counselors are available to speak with any student or parents in need.

In closing, we ask that you and your children focus on situational awareness. When children or adults are faced with the decision on whether or not to tell law enforcement about something that seems suspicious, it is imperative that we always think about our safety and the safety of others first.

Thank you very much for your continued support of our schools.

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools
St Johns County School District

Superintendent’s Message on K-8 Openings

Dear Parents and Families,

The 2018-2019 school year will begin with the opening of two new K-8 schools in northern St. Johns County.  Pending School Board approval of Zoning Plan C, I am recommending that both schools open as K-6 schools for the 2018-2019 school year (SY), adding grade 7 in 2019-2020 SY, and grade 8 in 2020-2021 SY. This will allow all students presently in grades 6 and 7 in rezoned areas to continue at their present middle school assignment.  These students will continue to receive the same transportation as currently provided.

This proposal will provide educational, social and emotional stability during pivotal transition years for these students.  Extracurricular activities for middle school students will be based on the model for activities/programs at other K-8 schools.  School district middle school sports of volleyball and basketball will be available although some modifications may need to be made in the first year of the school.  The district will work with the St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association with respect to the new school assignments.  Performing arts programs such as band and chorus will be developed at an appropriate pace based on the students enrolled.  The district will support the new schools to ensure the middle school experiences for students in the first three years of operation meet the range of student needs.

Additionally, present Patriot Oaks Academy (POA) 4th grade students who are rezoned for Durbin Creek Elementary will be allowed to stay at POA for 5th grade and then move to Fruit Cove Middle School for grade 6.

Specific programs such as pre-K or other specialized exceptional education programs will be determined after the rezoning has been finalized and school student populations are reviewed.

In the second semester of this school year, the principals (who have not been recommended yet) assigned to the new schools will begin a process of school community building that will focus on such tasks as PTO, SAC, school naming recommendations, colors, mascots, etc.

Thank you for your continued engagement in this process. Should you have any comments or concerns to share on this proposal, please email them to [email protected].

 

Sincerely,

Tim Forson
Superintendent
St. Johns County Schools