Q: Can you give an update on Beachside High School?
A: The school’s mascot was just announced: the Barracudas. People are excited and can’t wait for the merchandise to make an appearance.
Educator and staff positions are in the process of being filled. We always accept internal transfers first and then hire from the outside. Since Bartram Trail High School will get the most relief with the opening of Beachside, we expect a number of teachers to transfer from Bartram Trail to Beachside.
Q: What academies will be available at Beachside?
A: Beachside will offer an Academy of Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management, an Academy of Information Technology, and our first ever Academy of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. We are pleased to be able to offer more choices for our students. Beachside will also offer a brand new AICE program, like the one at St. Augustine High School. An interesting note is that St. Augustine High School was the first to offer AICE in the state. They will be able to provide a wealth of information and support to the program at Beachside.
Q: What is the latest on the high school application academy process for next school year?
A: We unfortunately had to cancel our annual in-person High School Showcase at World Golf Village as a precautionary measure. Each school will continue with its own Academy Night so students can make selections as to where they want to go. The application window for all Programs of Choice and Career Academies closes at 5 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2022. Complete details are available at https://cte.stjohns.k12.fl.us/.
Q: Can you give us a recap of the Town Hall meeting you held at Freedom Crossing Academy?
A: Growth is definitely an issue in our part of the county. Freedom Crossing Academy is a school built for 1,750 students and it recently topped out at 2,200 students. Students from RiverTown and Aberdeen are both zoned for this school and both communities are still growing. Soon, the district will have to make a decision as to where to build the next K-8 school; sites are available in both Shearwater and RiverTown. For next year, though, we will have to look at some spot rezoning to provide relief. It is always our goal to make sure any zoning will last at least three years if possible. Freedom Crossing Academy does still have room for additional portables, so this remains an option and partial solution.
Q: Will this proposed K-8 be funded by the half cent sales tax?
A: Two of the promised components of the half cent sales tax are an expansion of South Woods Elementary as well as a new school in the south part of the county. The State Road 207 corridor is also experiencing a lot of growth. Although the half cent sales tax has generated more money than we anticipated, we have to spend the money on what was promised before shifting funds to new projects.
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