Q: Do you have an update on the school board’s audit advisory committee that you mentioned in last month’s column?
A: Yes. A Mandarin resident, Paul Numbers, reached out to me after seeing my request for a community member to serve on this committee in last month’s column. Paul is a Navy veteran and has a strong financial background. In addition, he is active in the community and his children attended Mandarin schools. I believe he will be an asset to the committee and represent District 7 well.

Q: Can you give some insight into the newly created Read Jax program?
A: One of the priorities for the school board’s strategic plan is literacy and in March we are kicking off Read Jax. This initiative is in partnership with the Kids Hope Alliance, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and Read USA. It is a city-wide effort, chaired by Superintendent Greene and Mayor Curry, to increase and improve literacy for all ages in Jacksonville

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 7?
A: The Northeast Florida Builders Association had its Construction Career Days in March, which provided opportunities for high school students in NE Florida to participate in hands-on experiences to learn more about the variety of career opportunities in the construction industry. For example, students were able to drive heavy equipment, make asphalt, and operate a model that mimicked raising the Main Street Bridge as well as the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine. This partnership we have with the Northeast Florida Builders Association is essential for the career and technical education offerings in Duval County. I think it’s important for the community to know that this is available to our high school students.

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Also, did you know that Mandarin High School offers a program where students can earn certification to fly drones? This program is offered in partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and there are job opportunities right out of high school.

Q: How can our readers contact you?
A: They can email me at HersheyL@duvalschools.org or call me at (904) 390-2375.

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