Q: Can you give an update on the new technology in elementary schools that we discussed briefly last month?

A: Loretto Elementary and Greenland Pines Elementary will both receive upgraded technology throughout the school this fall as both schools were selected as pilot schools. Gone will be white boards and smart boards, to be replaced with even more interactive technology.

It’s exciting that Loretto, since it is the Technology magnet school for the district, will receive even more in depth technologies. The school will be the first to offer the Career and Technical Education (CTE) exam at the end of the year for the upper grades, in an effort to provide STEM continuity between elementary, middle, and high schools.

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Q: Is there a way for community members to learn more about this?
A: The community is invited to learn more about these exciting enhancements on Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. at Loretto Elementary. I hope to see you there!

Q: What is the latest on the proposed swimming pool at Atlantic Coast High School?
A: At the Jacksonville City Council meeting in June, the council passed a resolution which included pools at Atlantic Coast High School and First Coast High School. I’d like to thank members of the Atlantic Coast High School swim team and their parents for showing up at the meeting, as well as extend my thanks to the city council members. The swimming pools are now a proposed part of the mayor’s budget, which will go to the city council for approval.

These pools will be a joint partnership between Duval County Schools and the City of Jacksonville, with both paying for a portion of the construction costs. There are no public pools in City Council District 11, so the one at Atlantic Coast will provide the opportunity for the public to utilize it in the summer months. During the school year, the swim teams from both Atlantic Coast High School and Twin Lakes Academy Middle School will swim in it. 

Q: Do you have an update on the half penny sales tax?
A: All schools throughout the district will start getting security updates this fall. Students and parents will see changes upon entering the school.

Q: What are your thoughts on the new school year?
A: The first day of school is Aug. 10. Welcome back! We will see a more traditional start to the school year. [As of interview date of July 16], masks will be optional and there will be no temperature checks. I’m sure parents are looking forward to being able to volunteer again and we are looking forward to having them back, too. 

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 7?
A: First, a reminder that the Florida Back to School sales tax holiday will run through Aug. 9.

I’d like to give a shout out to Michelle Moultrie, former softball player at Mandarin High School, who is now a member of the US Olympic Women’s Softball Team. Please join me in cheering on the softball team in Tokyo! 

Q: How can our readers contact you?

A: They can email me at HersheyL@duvalschools.org or call me at (904) 316-3609.

[Editor’s note: Be sure to check the Duval County School District’s prevailing safety protocols and standards as of the first day of school, due to the fluidity of the COVID situation. Visit www.duvalschools.org for more information.]

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