Q: Do you have any Back to School advice for parents?
A: Students return back to school Aug. 15. Please be mindful that this means there will be an increase in traffic flow, especially the first day of school. I recognize that school buses, crossing guards, and more cars on the road will mean that additional time is needed to reach your routine destination. Traffic can be especially heavy on Loretto and Greenland roads. I know these roads are major arteries for Mandarin and that the traffic delays can be frustrating.

Also, parents and students need to cross at crosswalks in order to ensure student safety. Please do not drop your student off and allow him/her to cross the road without use of the crosswalk.

Q: Is the school district actively hiring teachers at this time?
A: Yes. There has been a lot of coverage about the statewide and local need for more teachers. I would like to encourage anyone who holds a college degree to consider stepping in to fill the gap and become a teacher. If you have earned a bachelor’s degree you can apply for a temporary teaching certificate, which is valid for three years. Duval County Public Schools has the resources to help guide you through the steps needed to attain your temporary teaching certification, as well as help you through the process of earning your teaching certification. If you are looking to make a difference and are interested in teaching, please email Vicki Schultz: shultzv@duvlschools.org.

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Q: What can you tell us about the school safety exercise held in Mandarin in July?
A: Crown Point Elementary School was the site for this school safety exercise which emphasized parent reunification (in the unfortunate event that parents would need to be reunited with their children). Details are being ironed out and the district has an app that streamlines this process. I observed the event and was very impressed with the efficiency and thankful to all who made this exercise beneficial. 

Q: Can you share some information about the new DCPS ESports Club?

A: Students at Mandarin Middle will be one of the first middle schools in the district to have a coding and ESports lab. Esports stands for electronic sports. This form of competition allows teams to compete through the use of video game competitions. The purpose of the ESports Club is to enhance student learning through problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership, personal development, applied learning and real-world applications. I had the opportunity to tour the lab in July and I am excited about the expansion of coding and Esports to Mandarin Middle School. When the lab is complete at Mandarin Middle, that will be our first middle school eSports team.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with Mandarin readers?
A: Schools in Mandarin continue to excel and I would like to recognize our teachers, principals and staff for their hard work that promotes student achievement. Our community is fortunate to have strong neighborhood and charter schools.

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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