Q: Can you describe Mandarin High School’s “Mane Initiative?”
A: This is a new project for the 2022 – 23 school year at Mandarin High and it is essentially an “Adopt a Teacher” initiative, similar to the “Adopt a Mustang” program that the school does for its varsity football players. Teachers deserve appreciation and support and the school hopes this initiative helps them feel more of both this next school year. There will be a sign-up going out this summer to all current Mandarin families, but I also think this is an exciting way for the community at large to engage with one of our schools and support its teachers. Any Mandarin resident or business, large or small, may participate. Suggestions include sending the teacher little notes or coffee, helping in the classroom, or perhaps a birthday or holiday surprise — anything to communicate appreciation throughout the year. The school’s goal is for all of its teachers (more than 100) to be adopted. Contact the school at (904) 260-3911 if you would like to participate.

Q: Do you have an update on the status of the Great Heart Academy Charter School, proposed for Old St. Augustine Road?
A: This school’s application to open a charter school in the county was approved by DCPS. I appreciate the fact that this charter school application had local input and Great Heart has agreed to not locate at the Old St. Augustine Road site. This is an example of why local input is so important in the charter school process; however, the State of Florida has recently authorized a state committee to authorize future charter schools across the state, which will limit local input and the ability to intervene like we did here.

Q: Are there any middle school updates to share?
A: When middle schoolers return for the 2022 – 23 school year, they will have a five period a day schedule, which is new this year. Students will have English and math every day, as well as any accelerated class that gets high school credit. This schedule will still allow students to take electives.

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Also, all rising sixth graders will be required to take a new elective that will teach study and organizations skills and equip them with the tools to be successful in middle school.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 7?
A: Loretto Elementary School is the first school in the county to offer CTE (Career and Technical Education) for elementary students. This year, 55 students successfully completed the multi-media certification and gained skills they can continue to build upon.

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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