Q: Can you share any insights from the first day of school on Aug. 16?

A: I thought the day went surprisingly well, with just a couple of small hiccups. I visited all the schools in District 4 on either Monday, Aug. 16 or Tuesday, Aug. 17 and observed student drop off and pick up as well as lunch in the cafeteria. Schools just really come alive when there are students in the building. The first day of school is when you see everyone’s hard work come to fruition. 

Q: What can you tell us about Pine Island Academy’s first day?
A: It is a beautiful school. There are still some minor construction projects being finished, like some flooring in the hallways and they were still working on painting over the weekend prior to the first day of school. Although not completely finished, the school was very welcoming and there was a lot of ambiance. 

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I actually ran into Superintendent Tim Forson at both Pine Island Academy and Ocean Palms Elementary. It’s his tradition to be out in the schools over the first two weeks of school. He was very pleased with the preparation that went into getting our schools ready for the first part of the school year.

Q: Can you give an update on High School III?
A: The tilt walls have started going up, so that’s always an exciting time. Everything is on schedule so far. The school’s principal, Greg Bergamasco was actually helping out at Landrum Middle School on the first day of school.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 4?
A: I’d like to spotlight the BRAVE program, which provides counseling and behavioral health services and support for our school families. Via a gift from THE PLAYERS, along with Flagler Health+ Care Connect, services in the BRAVE program are provided at little or no cost. For the 2019 – 2020 school year, 951 appointments in the school district were made and attended; for the 2020 – 2021 school year, 2,090 appointments were made and attended. To see our community really embrace and utilize this program is very rewarding.

Also, I’d like to congratulate and say thank you to Northrop Grumman, our Business Partner of the Year for St. Johns County Schools.

Q: How can our readers contact you?

A: They can email me at kelly.barrera@stjohns.k12.fl.us or call me at (904) 547-7510.

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