Q: Can you give some background on Senate Bill 1048 dealing with standardized testing, which Gov. DeSantis signed into law on March 15?
A: This bill has strong implications as it eliminates the FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) and shifts to progress monitoring to measure students’ growth. The FSA tests are taken at the end of the year and are a backwards look with no opportunity for remediation. The three progress monitorings will be spread throughout the year and will allow teachers, who will get results in a couple of weeks, the opportunity to help any struggling student during the school year. 

This year will be the last year with FSA. Progress monitoring will begin with the 2022-23 school year as a benchmark year with no school grades given and then the school grades will return in the 2023-24 school year.

Q: What are your thoughts on this change?
A: The good news is that the big, cumulative annual test that causes so much stress is eliminated. We do progress monitoring in St. Johns County now. There’s so much left to do, including the fact that it has not been identified which product the state will choose for its progress monitoring exams. But in concept, I think this is a good change.

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Q: Do you have an update on the Shearwater K – 8 School “NN?”
A: The school board approved the plans for this new K – 8 school in early March. The construction bid is now out and we will have special meetings to approve a bid as soon as possible once the bids come back, which is scheduled for the late March/early April timeframe. Time is of the essence as this school is scheduled to open in fall 2023.

Q: How is Beachside High School coming along?
A: At the same school board meeting in early March, we learned from our facilities manager that some portions of Beachside will be delayed. We were assured that teaching and learning will be able to happen when the school opens in August as all academic areas will be open. The auditorium and some other ancillary facilities might be delayed due to an inability to get materials in a timely manner.

Q: What are the school district’s COVID protocols at this time?
A: After the students returned from Spring Break, all COVID protocols were lifted. We will now allow 100 percent capacity at sporting events and parents can come to the school to have lunch with their student or to volunteer.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 1?
A: I want to highly encourage the early registration, going on now, of new students to the St. Johns County School District, especially kindergarteners or those who were homeschooled or virtual learners who are now coming back to the classroom. This can be accomplished online at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/student/enrollment/ or by visiting the student’s assigned school website. We’ve struggled all year with a teacher shortage and we need to start early with hiring teachers for next year.

Q: How can our readers contact you?
A: They can email me at beverly.slough@stjohns.k12.fl.us or call me at (904) 547-7510.

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