Clay County District Schools has announced that later this month it will celebrate the grand opening of a new military family resource center on the west campus of Orange Park High School.
WHEN: Thursday, April 20
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Orange Park High School West Campus
2306 Kingsley Avenue
Orange Park, FL 32073
The center will serve as a clearinghouse of information and resources for military families arriving in the area, from general information about the school district such as enrollment and setting up a parent portal account, to issues that affect military-connected families specifically, including counseling and other special resources available to their children in school through the U.S. Department of Defense.
“I want to extend a warm welcome to all of the military-connected families in our area to join us at this month’s grand opening. As we celebrate the Month of the Military Child in April, this resource center will showcase some of the outstanding learning experiences we are able to provide here in Clay County, and ensure military families have the resources they need to help their students be successful in and out of the classroom,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.
The event will also feature an open house highlighting the district’s STEM offerings, including computer coding, robotics, microfarms, 3D printing, and other learning tools.
“As a former military spouse, I understand the challenges of relocating a family. I look forward to providing continued support to our military families with the resources we have gathered from the Department of Defense and through our ongoing partnership with DoDEA, and to help these families feel welcome in our schools,” said Kathy Schofield, the school district’s Supervisor of STEM and Military Family Support.
If you plan to attend the grand opening, please RSVP here.
Clay County Chamber of Commerce partners with school leaders to discuss education in Clay County
The Clay County Chamber of Commerce is hosting its first Clay County State of Education Luncheon. The event will include a panel discussion with key representatives from public, private, and college landscapes, who will highlight issues shaping the current and future state of education.
Addison Davis, Superintendent of Schools, Clay County District Schools
Todd Zehner, Headmaster, St. Johns Country Day School
Dr. Anna Lebesch, Executive Director, St. Johns River State College, Orange Park Campus
“We are excited that the county is recognizing the educational system as the foundation of success in our community. These discussions are vital to spotlight important topics and maintain a clear focus of where the county is moving in the future. I am looking forward to the opportunity to take part in this inaugural event and collaborate with stakeholders as we work to improve every facet of the education system in Clay County,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.
“Education and its importance to the business community cannot be overstated. Education plays a major role in defining the county’s quality of life, preparing our next workforce to meet the growing needs of a diversifying business landscape and our ability to attract companies to locate in Clay. We look forward to our first event at Moosehaven. We invite the business community and public to sign up and hear about the State of Education.”
WHEN: Wednesday, March 29
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
1701 Park Ave
Orange Park, FL 32073
FDOT Northeast Florida, local engineering and construction firms partner to provide hands-on experiences for local students
Through the combined efforts of the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 2 and 50 local private sector sponsors, hundreds of Clay County high school students will gain hands-on experience and learn more about career opportunities in transportation, construction and engineering at the annual Northeast Florida Construction Career Day event. Click here to visit their website.
The program also makes scholarship opportunities available to students in attendance. In 2016, two students from Clay High School and four students from the Florida Youth Challenge Academy at Camp Blanding were recipients of scholarships for college and vocational/apprenticeship programs after participating in Construction Career Day.
WHEN: Thursday, March 30
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Jacksonville Equestrian Center
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221
“This is a fantastic chance for our students to learn more about career prospects in some of the most competitive sectors of our economy,” said Superintendent Addison Davis. “Partners like FDOT, along with other sponsors for this event, expose our students to new opportunities that lead to professional discovery. This experience is an important part of the rigorous and relevant instruction we provide daily to prepare students for the workforce.”
After Clay County District Schools conducted the inaugural Insight Instructional Culture Index Survey and gathered teacher feedback on critical aspects of school culture earlier this year, recently released results indicate that metrics measuring local schools’ culture meet or exceed national averages.
In a short survey distributed over two weeks in January, teachers at each Clay County school answered questions on many aspects of their school’s leadership and instructional environment, including learning environment, professional development, student growth measures, instructional planning, evaluation, workload, career progression, peer culture, retention, hiring process, and observation/feedback. The results, released at the March 2 regular School Board meeting, revealed that on average, data from Clay County schools met or exceeded national averages in 12 of 13 categories measured.
Principals from schools ranking in the top quartile, or those that have the strongest instructional culture, were honored as well.
Here’s how these schools ranked against national trends:
“The feedback I get from being observed helps me to improve student outcomes.”
Agreement among teachers at top quartile schools in Clay County: 82 percent
Agreement among teachers nationwide: 71 percent
“The person who evaluates my performance has an accurate perception of my classroom practice.”
Agreement among teachers at top quartile schools in Clay County: 87 percent
Agreement among teachers nationwide: 67 percent
“My school leaders make it clear to teachers how our actions contribute to school goals and priorities.”
Agreement among teachers at top quartile schools in Clay County: 92 percent
Agreement among teachers nationwide: 76 percent
This data will be used to plan how to address areas of greatest need in Clay County schools, according to areas of strength and opportunity revealed by the report. It will also be used to execute these action plans, drawing support from examples of best practices locally, district resources, and the Teacher Talent Toolbox provided by TNTP, the organization that makes the survey available to school districts. The district has identified four specific goals to work toward using this data:
“The Instructional Cultural Index Survey has provided Clay County Schools with relevant and rich data sets that allow the district and school-based administrators to identify and review cultural priorities linked to desired outcomes. While the focus in Clay County is for our leaders to become instructional leaders, we must focus building their capacity to become culture and climate builders along with talent managers. Our survey results are generated from the voice of our teachers, which is real and provides a pathway to collective problem-solving and elevating the instructional culture experiences,” said Addison Davis, Clay County’s superintendent of schools.
“These results are indicative of the quality schools we have in Clay County. Our teachers have never been asked to fill out such an in-depth survey on school culture. I am delighted to have data that shows what everyone in Clay County already knows,” said Renna Lee Paiva, Clay County Education Association President.
Clay County Superintendent of Schools Addison Davis will travel to Tallahassee this week as the 2017 Florida legislative session begins to support Senate Bill 964, which aims to reduce assessments, authorize an alternate assessment in high school and the use of paper/pencil assessments, protect instructional time for teaching, and repeal the value-added models used by the Florida Department of Education to measure the contributions of a teacher or school on student learning.
“In January, I took action to protect instructional time for our teachers and students by suspending county assessments effective immediately. The feedback from that decision has been overwhelmingly positive: teachers, parents, and students agree that we must maximize time in the classroom to be used for learning. Working with our legislators, I am committed to protecting educational opportunities for our students and the professional integrity of teachers,” said Superintendent Davis.
Superintendent Davis will have media availability on Wednesday with Florida Senators Montford, Garcia, Lee, Stewart, and Mayfield, who are introducing the legislation.
WHERE: Senate Chamber Doors
WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
Media availability at 1:00 p.m.
Some of the legislation’s highlights include:
Fewer and Better Assessments
The legislation limits annual assessments to what ESSA (new federal legislation) requires. Effectively, this will repeal all required end-of-course assessments (EOCs) except Algebra I and Biology I. Geometry, Algebra II, U.S. History and Civics EOCs would no longer be administered or required. It would also:
Test Administration and Reporting
Performance Evaluations of Teachers and Administrators
School Grading and Accountability
Clay County schools will join thousands of libraries and schools across the country in celebrating Teen Tech Week, held annually during the second week of March. This year’s theme, “Be the Source of Change,” raises awareness about how secondary school libraries create a space to extend teens’ learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create and share content.
Teen Tech Week is a national initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technology, especially the nonprint resources offered through libraries, such as e-books, e-readers, databases, audiobooks, and social media.
Teen Tech Week encourages teens to take advantage of the technology at libraries for education and recreation, and to recognize that their school media specialists and media technical assistants are qualified, trusted professionals who can help them achieve greater digital literacy.
On Monday, Ridgeview High School will open its new “makerspace” and Retro Tech exhibit in celebration of Teen Tech Week.
“A makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using a variety of tools and materials,” explained Julie Miller, one of the media specialists at Ridgeview. “With a mixture of high-tech and low-tech resources available, we are able to encourage ingenuity and resourcefulness in our students, qualities that will help them succeed in college, career, and life.”
“The Retro Tech exhibit allows students to explore technology from days past, such as a record player, a 16mm projector, and a typewriter,” said Darlene Goodier, also a media specialist at Ridgeview. “Our goal is to help students achieve a more powerful appreciation for the technological progress we have made as a society, and inspire discussion about the direction we will take for future technological advancement.”
“While our teachers, media specialists, and media technical assistants collaborate with and educate students about technology throughout the year, Teen Tech Week is a special opportunity to highlight the importance of digital literacy,” said Addison Davis, Clay County’s superintendent of schools. “I look forward to celebrating the opening of these exhibits and joining the dialogue about how to help our students lead in technological innovation and literacy.”
WHERE: Ridgeview High School Media Center
466 Madison Ave.
Orange Park, FL 32065
WHEN: Monday, March 6
8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Anne O’Renick, a civics teacher and the social studies department head at Orange Park Junior High, completed the Justice Teaching Institute held annually at the Supreme Court of Florida. Mrs. O’Renick joined 24 other teachers from 17 school districts across the state for the prestigious institute.
The Institute, now in its 20th year, provides a unique opportunity for Florida teachers to experience the state courts and the administration of justice using a case study approach. Teachers begin the institute on opening night by participating in a simulated Supreme Court oral argument activity serving as attorneys and Justices. Later, they explored the Florida Constitution through a scavenger hunt activity and quiz show, learned about the differences between state and federal courts, and examined the selection processes for trial and appellate court judges.
Teachers also observed a mock motion to suppress hearing in the circuit courts as well as a real oral argument in the Supreme Court. They explored the jurisdiction of the various levels of the courts and the role of the courts in interpreting and applying the law. Throughout the institute, teachers were divided into groups and assigned roles as part of a culminating appellate exercise. Upon graduation from the institute, all teachers received certificates signed by the Justices and were designated as Justice Teaching Institute Fellows.
The institute is funded in part by the Florida Bar Foundation and has received the highest evaluations for its practical, substantive, and engaging sessions. Staff from the Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc. assisted with implementation and faculty assistance throughout the institute.
For additional information about the program and this year’s teacher participants, contact Annette Boyd Pitts at email@example.com.
Clay County-based elementary fitness program named Road Runners Club of America’s 2016 Outstanding Youth Program
The Road Runners Club of America, the oldest and largest national association of running organizations in the United States, has named the Florida Striders Children’s Run/Walk Program their 2016 Outstanding Youth Program.
The Florida Striders Track Club in Orange Park supports more than 50 elementary school Run/Walk Clubs in Northeast Florida, with the first club established in Clay County over 20 years ago. The network of Run/Walk Clubs now includes 22 schools in Clay County.
“Participation-based youth running programs that engage kids early in life have a profound impact on lifetime attitudes toward physical activity and will directly combat the obesity epidemic,” explained Erica Gminski, RRCA Youth Programs Coordinator. “Our goal with Kids Run the Nation is to have a youth running program in every school in the U.S. The Florida Striders Children’s Run/Walk Program is but one example of a successful partnership between the running community and local school systems, and we are excited to support them this year through the Kids Run the Nation Grant Fund and to recognize them as the RRCA’s 2016 Outstanding Youth Program.”
In November, the Florida Striders’ program was named one of 47 Kids Run the Nation grant recipients. Read the RRCA’s news release announcing the grant recipients here.
“It is a great honor to have the Road Runners Club of America recognize the Florida Striders Children's Running Program with this award.” said Carol MacDougall, a physical education teacher at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary, and the Children’s Running Coordinator for the Florida Striders. “It's amazing to me to see how the program has grown over the years and continues to grow. It makes me very happy to see mileage shirts on children when I am out in town and to know that I was involved in them receiving that shirt.”
The school-based programs encourage students to set personal distance goals, which parent volunteers help track. The Florida Striders provide marathon medals to students who have run/walked the distance of a marathon, as well as awards and shirts to celebrate their distance goals at 25- and 50-mile increments. They distributed 5,289 marathon medals during the 2015-2016 school year. The club also hosts five free “fun runs” for students to participate in, and offer start-up assistance for schools that want a run/walk program of their own.
“Sports are important for a healthy lifestyle,” said Stephanie Holeton, a parent at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary and a Run/Walk Club volunteer. “This program is so valuable to our students for so many reasons. For one, the students are able to focus better in class after exercising. Also, it teaches them discipline by letting them set goals and rewarding them when they achieve it. This program introduces students to running who may not be introduced to the sport by another way.”
“I am happy to see the valuable partnership and support that the Florida Striders has invested in our schools over the past two decades recognized on a national scale. They have taught our students lifelong lessons: the importance of physical fitness, and the inherent reward of setting and meeting your own personal goals. I look forward to supporting the health and well-being of our students through our continued partnership, and congratulate the Florida Striders on this award,” said Addison Davis, Clay County’s superintendent of schools.
“I am so pleased to see the Florida Striders’ Children’s Program recognized. For less than $10 per child per year, we can help children’s academic performance, focus, behavior in school, self-esteem, and their physical fitness. I have never found a program that can accomplish so much for so little money per child,” said Bob Boyd, past president of the Florida Striders, and a longtime supporter of the Children’s Run/Walk program.
CORRECTION (Feb. 14): An earlier version of this news release identified the founder and location of the first run/walk club in Clay County as Carol MacDougall at Paterson Elementary in 1998. We have since learned that at least one other run/walk club was founded in the early 1990’s at Lakeside Elementary School by physical education teacher Kim Tracanna-Breault.