Q: Do you have any updates for the second semester?
A: We are pleased that the State of Florida has approved our second semester plan as pertains to our learning options. The main change from the first semester is we will not allow as much movement back and forth between distance learning and brick and mortar. For the integrity of the classroom and the continuity of learning, we are trying to keep movement to a minimum. Dual platform learning has also gone away as much as possible, especially at the elementary level, because it is so difficult for teachers. It still exists mostly in some secondary classrooms by necessity. 

Q: What is the breakdown of students in the different learning styles?
A: We presently have only about 10 percent of students taking advantage of distance learning; nearly 90 percent of students have returned to brick and mortar classrooms. The flip side of that is we have seen an uptick in COVID cases and quarantines, especially since the holidays. Fortunately, in these cases, students can take advantage of distance learning and teachers can still deliver instruction even if they are in quarantine. We just get a sub for the classroom to provide supervision. It’s not ideal, but we have certainly learned to be flexible.

Q: Have teachers been able to take advantage of the newly available COVID vaccine?
A: Yes. I’d like to give a shout out to Flagler Health+ which has worked with us for our population of teachers and staff over the age of 65. They have made appointments available for these employees and most received their first shots in mid January.

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Q: Do you have any school board news to share?
A: At our meeting in early January, we approved the annual collective bargaining agreement for teachers and support staff. We were delighted to be able to get very close to the governor’s recommended compensation with the money we had available. Everyone at least received a 2 percent raise and many received bonuses. This extra money is retroactive to July 1 and should be in teachers’ and support staff paychecks very soon. 

Q: What can you tell us about High School III, to be constructed off of County Road 210?

A: I drove by the site very recently and saw them moving dirt and getting ready to begin construction. The new principal for this school is to be named in just a few weeks and then we will start the zoning discussions and meetings. The school is on schedule to open at the start of the 2022 -23 school year. 

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 1?
A: Online applications for our Academies are now available with a Feb. 5 deadline for all applications for Programs of Choice. These Academies give our students so many great options; high schools are now more like colleges with the variety of courses of study offered. I’m very proud that we have myriad opportunities for our students.

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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