Classes begin at St. Johns County's newest elementary school

Picolata Crossing Elementary opens to students Thursday

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – More than 550 students will walk into a brand new St. Johns County school  Thursday morning.

Children who live in and around World Golf Village will now be able to attend Picolata Crossing Elementary School, off Pacetti Road

It not only directly impacts kids there, but also the students at Mill Creek, Wards Creek and The Webster School by alleviating crowding on those campuses.    

Principal Strickland of Picolata Crossing is excited about the new space, goals and expectations of the new school.

“All K-2 students will be downstairs and all third, fourth, and fifth graders will be upstairs,” said Strickland.  “One of the things that’s different about the school than most others is we have interactive TVs. They look like big screen TVs here that are actually computers in their own right.”

All 11 classrooms also have common areas- a shared space where students can work together. These areas may also be used for recess-which is now mandated in all state elementary schools.

Strickland wants the kids to play outside, but on rainy days, the common areas will be a good option.

“(It) just feels open and bright and I think it makes adults and children feel even more energized,” said Strickland.

The Principal says his objectives this year include making sure all teachers- some of whom are from outside the district and the state- have a strong grasp of the curriculum and standards. He’ll also focus on character.

“We want to be good examples for students and our interactions that we have with the public,” said Strickland.

While Tommy Allen, St. Johns County School Board chairman, appreciates all the new bells and whistles Picolata Crossing offers, he said there are two things parents can do to help their child succeed this year.

“Read. Research shows reading at home in general and increasing reading volume and makes all the difference to a student,” said Allen. “How important is parent involvement? It will make or break us to be honest.”

It’s true regardless of whether your child attends school in St. Johns or somewhere else.

Strickland says he's also excited about a new computer program the district is adopting. It's called ‘I-READY’ and it helps students learn math and reading comprehension.

It's the same program used in Duval County and Clay County is also starting it this year as well.

Two new K through 8th-grade schools will open next year in St. Johns County. These will be located in the Aberdeen area and in Nocatee. The superintendent said parents will soon be receiving information about rezoning in those areas.

“Parents need to pay attention and be a part of that and help us make good decisions about who will attend the new schools and how much relief needs to be given to some of our existing schools as well,” said Tim Forson, St. Johns County superintendent.

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