Q: Can you share any insight on the new charter school proposed to be built on Old St. Augustine Road?
A: This has been on the minds of Mandarin residents. A new charter school, Great Hearts Academy, is seeking to locate on Old St. Augustine Road near the corner of Plummer Grant. This would be the first Great Hearts in Florida; the company is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona with schools also in Texas.

I’d like to thank Councilmember Michael Boylan for hosting a community meeting on April 14 to discuss the zoning exception for this school. It’s rare for a councilmember to delay a city planning meeting to give time to hold a community meeting. I appreciate his willingness to give the community a chance to learn more and give their input.

The Duval County School Board will vote on this application at the regularly scheduled meeting on June 7. If anyone wishes to address the board concerning this proposed charter school, I’d encourage them to attend the meeting on June 7.

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Q: What can you tell us about the new Consortium of State School Boards Associations?
A: As you may recall, the Florida School Boards Association withdrew from the National School Boards Association in December 2021. A new national organization, the Consortium of State School Boards Associations, has been formed as of April 2022. The Florida School Boards Association is one of 22 founding member school boards associations. Representing the Florida School Boards Association at the Founding Meeting was Beverly Slough, of the St. Johns County School District, who was appointed by the Florida School Boards Association board of directors to serve in this role.

Q: Can you share the graduation dates for District 7 high schools?
A: Mandarin High School’s graduation is scheduled for Monday, May 23 and Atlantic Coast High School’s graduation is scheduled for Thursday, May 26. We will be holding our graduation ceremonies at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 7?
A: I’d like to congratulate the Mandarin Middle School boys’ soccer team, which recently won the city championship!

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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