St. Johns County Schools Fall 2023 Update


Lisa Barton



St. Johns County Schools Fall 2023 Update

I had the pleasure of meeting with the St Johns County School Board Chairperson, Kelly Barrera, last week. Kelly had lots of information to share about the updates and changes in the school district. A number of exciting status changes have occurred since we last sat together for our Discover Ponte Vedra series interview on the school district!

Here are a few highlights:

The student body continues to grow - and we know that families with children are moving specifically to St Johns County so their children can attend public school here. Right now, the student body has 51,000 students which is an increase from 49,000 students last school year.

Budget strains are an everyday reality for the district and the school district relies on parent, business and community support.

St Johns County has earned a solid reputation for being a high-quality school district. Each year students in every school district in the state of Florida are tested on 21 different categories. Last year, our district ranked first in the state in 16 areas. This is something to celebrate, especially considering the tremendous pressure the huge growth in the student body has put on the school district!

A new K-8 School (currently being called “NN”) is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024. This school will serve students living in Shearwater and surrounding communities. A second school “OO” is being built in the Beacon Lake community on Twin Creeks Drive. Both schools are built to green building standards, encompass 190,000 square feet and will accommodate 1500 children. The school district is moving forward on another K-8 academy “PP” in the Rivertown community, which is expected to open within the next two years.

Nationwide there is an educator shortage and the St Johns County School District, as a growing school district, is not immune from this challenge. The starting pay for a teacher in our county is $48,642 and the school district is providing extra support to those who are entering education as a second career. The school district prioritizes recruiting and retaining educators, exceptional student education paraprofessionals, and transportation operators year around.

“Career Academies” continue to be a popular option for high school students who have a particular passion or interest for a subject area in a career theme. The academies offer opportunities that may not be available at other high schools and provide deeper study tracks in specific elective areas. Within the career academies, students can earn college credit and industry certifications. The academies are open to all district students entering 9th or 10th grade.

Students must apply for admittance and are chosen through a lottery system. There are career themed courses, as well for middle school students. The school district also offers other programs of choice including the Early College Program, the Early Career Program, the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education, the International Baccalaureate Program, the St. Johns County Center for the Arts, JROTC programs for the Air Force, Army, and Navy.

With the growth of our school district, two regional superintendent positions have been created to provide additional support for our schools. One for the high school and middle school level and a second for support for our K-8 academies and elementary schools. These positions allow for the administration to be in close contact with school leadership, teachers, staff and students.

Barrera is proud of our school district and the excellent education provided to our students. She emphasized the school district is special because of the dedicated, hard-working education staff. It is important that our community continues to honor and value the important work our educators provide our students each and every day. “We need to love our educators. They are working so hard and the last three years with the pandemic and after effects of the pandemic have been particularly challenging!”

Lisa Barton

Lisa Barton

Lisa Barton, the owner of Lisa Barton Team Ponte Vedra Beach - Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners, is a top real estate agent in Ponte Vedra Beach and the surrounding communities. Lisa specializes in luxury real estate sales, including gated communities, waterfront properties, and estate homes. A graduate from the University of Florida and George Mason University, Lisa currently resides in Sawgrass Players Club with her husband.

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