FAQ – New K-8 Schools
Both of the new schools include high quality learning areas which feature movable walls between two classroom teams as well as extended learning areas for collaboration opportunities. Each facility includes state of the art technology and excellent core facilities that include a media center, cafetorium, playgrounds and physical education fields.
The design being used for both K-8 schools is a modification of Patriot Oaks and Valley Ridge Academies with the addition of a third floor that will house 8 classrooms, three science labs, ESE classrooms, a Technology Lab, Business Lab, Skills Lab and Resource Room. The planned capacity for these two schools is approximately 1,490 per school.
By using existing prototype designs for these new schools, the School District will save both time and money.
Palm Valley Academy
2135 Palm Valley Road
Ponte Vedra, FL 32081
Freedom Crossing Academy
1365 Shetland Drive
Saint Johns, FL 32259
Who will attend the new schools?
The School District conducted an intensive process of community collaboration, which began with three Town Hall Meetings in September of 2017. After much community input and the development of multiple plans, the School Board approved the attendance zones for new K-8 Schools KK and LL and adjusted the attendance zones for Otis A. Mason Elementary School and Sebastian Middle School on November 14, 2017. K-8 Schools KK (Northeast) and LL (Northwest) are scheduled to open for grades K-6. Students, who were rezoned, but are going into grades 7 and 8 will continue to attend their current school. Detailed information on these changes is outlined on the District website. Please visit http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/zoning/
As a result of the new School Choice legislation, will these schools have capacity/controlled open enrollment?
In accordance with the District’s controlled open enrollment procedures, new schools will not be eligible until the completion of the third year of operation.
Will the Nocatee Duval County students be able to attend the new K-8 school to be located in the Twenty Mile Village?
At this time students residing in the Duval County portion of Nocatee can only attend St. Johns County schools through the controlled open enrollment process. K-8 School KK will not be eligible for controlled open enrollment for the 2018-2019 SY.
Will the rising 5th and 8th graders attending these schools be allowed to stay at their current school? Will my child be able to finish at their current school? Will transportation be provided?
The Superintendent has determined that both schools KK and LL will open as K-6 schools for the 2018-2019 school year (SY), add 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 plan 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. 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. All current 4th graders who were rezoned to either KK or LL will transition to the new school as as 5th graders.
Jessica Richardson, principal at Ocean Palms Elementary School (OPES), has been selected by Superintendent Tim Forson to be the principal of K-8 school “KK” currently being constructed at 2135 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra, 32095.
Richardson started her teaching career in St. Johns County 18 years ago and joined Ocean Palms as principal in 2014. Prior to this she served as the assistant principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary. She also taught second, third and fourth grade and served as an instructional literacy coach. Before joining CCES she worked at PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School and Ocean Palms Elementary School, where she held her first position with the district as a third grade teacher.
Meeting the social, emotional and academic needs of each student, every day is paramount to Richardson. Creating and cultivating a school environment where students can find personal success and embark on educational experiences that will shape their future is a priority of her service-oriented leadership model.
Richardson was named St. Johns County Assistant Principal of the Year in 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University.
Allen Anderson, principal at Palencia Elementary School (PES), has been selected by Superintendent Tim Forson to be the principal of K-8 school “LL” currently being constructed at 1365 Shetland Drive, St. Johns, 32259.
Anderson has been the principal of PES since the 2013-2014 school year and has more than 20 years of experience within the SJCSD. Prior to PES he served as principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary (CCES), assistant principal at Mill Creek Elementary and Durbin Creek Elementary schools, a curriculum coordinator at Switzerland Point Middle School and a teacher at CCES.
PES has expanded its digital instruction and student use under Anderson’s leadership. He has made maintaining a positive school culture a high priority and ensures that state and district mandates are communicated in a way that supports the school’s mission and vision. He is extremely supportive of his staff and always lauds their successes, even when they won’t.
Anderson was recently chosen as the 2017-2018 Principal of the Year for St. Johns County. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree from Jacksonville University.
What will be the start and end times for the new schools?
The start time for the new schools will be the same as current elementary schools and other K-8 schools. School will start at 8:30 a.m. and release at 2:50 p.m. There will be a one-hour early release on Wednesday at 1:50 p.m.
What academic programs / Pre-K programs / ESE services/ Extended Day/ Advanced programs will exist at the new schools?
Each of our schools provide high quality academic programs and our new schools will be no exception. Advanced programs are offered at all schools. With respect to Special Education services, the School District serves all students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. All schools have the following services available based on student need: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sign Language Interpreting, Hearing Itinerant, Vision Itinerant, Speech/Language Therapy (including Pre-K walk-in services.) These services will be provided through consult/in-class support/resource models. Gifted services will be provided by either a blended, resource or consult model. There will be no self-contained classrooms at the new K-8 Schools KK and LL. There will also be no Pre-k program at either school.
The new schools will also have Art, Music and PE programs. They will offer Interscholastic Sports and Student Clubs. The schools will form both a Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and Student Advisory Committee (SAC).
An Extended Day program will be provided, however, the details regarding its formation and operation is a school-based decision and will be determined in the Spring by the school principal.
What technology will be available in the classroom?
There will be a presentation system including a document camera to display and magnify and sound enhancement technology in every classroom. In Grades K-5, there are also approximately four devices for student access to technology. Grades 6-8 will have access to fixed or mobile computer labs.
Will students be able to bring tablets (laptop computers) from home?
Yes. Students bringing devices from home will sign a technology waiver form and must use the tablet/computer according to teacher/administrator guidelines.
Will we have e-books or textbooks?
Our students will have traditional textbooks in addition to online learning resources.
Will there be a character education program?
SJCSD uses Character Counts! as the foundation for our character education programs.
How will student leadership be developed?
The development of student leadership is a goal at all SJCSD schools.
The principal determines the appropriate strategies and initiatives to implement at their school.
How will the 6th graders participate in sports?
Current middle school and K-8 administrators will work together this spring to coordinate 6th grade games into the 18/19 (volleyball, basketball) schedule when competing against the new K-8 schools.
What resources will be available in the media center?
The media center will have a collection of both traditional books and eBooks.
For additional information on the St. Johns County School District, please visit our District Facts web page.