Q: Can you share any insight on the first day of school in St. Johns County?
A: Everything went well. I do have some statistics to demonstrate the growth we are seeing in our county. As of the fourth day of school this year, we have 48,384 students. Last year, on the fourth day of school, we had 45,369 students, which is an increase of 3,015 students in just one year or a 6.65 percent increase.

Q: Have you visited the new Beachside High School?
A: I did visit Beachside High School early in the week before it opened on Aug. 15. They were working on punch list-type items as well as getting internet working. Also, they have been having trouble getting supplies of asphalt, so they were still working on the parking lot. It looked to me at the time like they still had a lot to do. But work continued all weekend and they were able to open the doors on Aug. 15, as planned (still after the Aug. 10 start date of the other schools in the district).

I traditionally visit all the schools in my district on the first day of school, but this year was unable to do so. I plan to visit them during the second week of school. 

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Q: Can you tell us what changes have been made and what directions given to teachers with regard to compliance of the newly signed HB 7?

A: Yes, directions have been given to our teachers from the district and they are aware of these new requirements. I can say that I sympathize with the teachers, as it appears to me that they are somewhat on edge about what they can and cannot say. This is a vague law that offers unclear direction.

Q: Have school libraries removed any books as a result of HB 1467?
A: There hasn’t been a lot of direction on this to our educators because the Department of Education is heading up the process and will be training the state’s media specialists themselves later in the school year. At this time, the acquisition of new materials is on hold; we’ve asked the media specialists not to order any new titles. Any removal of titles is happening through the committee process already in place.

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

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