By Martie Thompson

The minivans, bikers, and walkers are back, in addition to a sea of yellow buses. School started on Monday, Aug. 12 in St. Johns County and according to School Board representative for District 4 Kelly Barrera, everything went according to plan.

“We had a few hiccups with buses, but that’s typical for the first day,” Barrera said. “There is a wonderful energy surrounding back to school.”

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No new schools were added this year and the only administrative change in the northeast part of the county was at PVPV Rawlings, which welcomed a new principal, Dr. Jesse Gates. He was previously the assistant principal at Landrum Middle School.

“It’s very exciting that he can bring all his middle school knowledge to PVPV Rawlings,” Barerra said. 

The first day student count for the St. Johns County School District was 39,159, an increase of 2,240 students or 6 percent over last year’s first day number of 36,919. St. Johns County continues to be one of the fastest growing school districts in the state.

The high school student count was 12,213, which included 2,669 students at Allen D. Nease High School and 1,780 at Ponte Vedra High School.

Middle school attendance totaled 7,238, with a student headcount of 1,154 at Alice B. Landrum Middle School.

The district’s K-8 schools totaled 7,965; Valley Ridge Academy reported 1,246 students and Palm Valley Academy reported 1,623.

The elementary school population totaled 11,108. This count only includes approximately 25 percent of all kindergarten students since schools stagger the kindergarten start date over a four-day period. 

“The hard work and dedication from administration, teachers and support staff to make opening day the very best resulted in smiling students engaging with their friends and eager to learn,” said Superintendent Tim Forson. “I am so proud of our students and staff. It was wonderful to be out in the schools to share in the excitement of the first day.”


Photo courtesy Lynn Damm

Savannah Bishop waves goodbye to her mother as she boards the bus for her first day back to school. 


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