Q: Do you have an update from the Feb. 13 Chat with the Superintendent that was held at Loretto?
A: This meeting went very well. Dr. Diana Greene made a presentation on the strength of schools in District 7 — all District 7 schools are A or B schools and compete with St. Johns County schools as far as student performance. Another noteworthy item she shared is that more than $1 million has been invested in extra security cameras in Mandarin High School and Atlantic Coast High School, so each school has more than 100 cameras at this time. Our middle schools also have cameras and cameras are coming soon to the elementary schools.

Q: What else do you have to share with District 7?
A: The governor has released the new standards for education, to replace Common Core: BEST, which stands for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. This will involve a three-year roll out starting in the 2020 – 2021 school year this fall. This means that 10th graders will not take the FSA, but will instead take either the SAT or the ACT (the school district decides). The state has not yet identified the score which students must attain on these tests.

Q: What are some of the highlights of BEST?

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A: BEST gets rid of the End of Course exam for geometry and returns more to basic math. There are no more Common Core math frustrations (especially for parents) as there is more of a return to memorization of basic math facts. There are also identified books for students to read and a return to cursive writing instruction, most likely in third grade. There is a heavier emphasis on civics. High school students are required to take a Florida civics literacy exam, which includes questions about major Supreme Court cases as well as questions found on the naturalization exam.

Q: How can our readers contact you?

A: They can email me at HersheyL@duvalschools.org or call me at (904) 316-3609.

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