St. Johns County superintendent shares K-8 transition proposal

Rezoning plan outlined in email sent to parents

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County Schools superintendent sent an email to parents on Wednesday about his plan to make rezoning a little easier for some families.

In the email, Superintendent Tim Forson recommended that when two new K-8 schools open next year, the schools will only take kindergarten through sixth-grade students, then gradually add seventh- and eighth-graders.

"It will allow all students presently in grades 6 and 7 in rezoned areas to continue at their present middle school assignment," Forson wrote. 

The two new schools, KK and LL, would then become K-7 schools for the 2019-20 school year and then will remain as K-8 schools for the 2020-21 school year and beyond. 

Normally, K-8 schools open as K-7. The St. Johns County School District told News4Jax that opening as K-6 instead would make an already complicated rezoning plan easier for middle school students. 

If the plan is approved, fourth-graders at Patriot Oaks Academy, who are rezoned for Durban Creek Elementary School, will be allowed to stay at their current school for their fifth-grade year before going to Fruit Cove Middle School for grade six.

The email, Forson said, “Extracurricular activities will be based on the model for activities/programs at other K-8 schools."

But the school district said it’s too early to know which activities would be available -- something St. Johns County parent of two children, Denver Cook said, is just one of his concerns.

"Our kids won’t have opportunities to get ahead and take advanced classes as they move forward through the middle school years to gain access to the Academy Programs and International Baccalaureate programs," Cook said.

He added that the sixth-graders won’t have any older peers to look up to during what he feels is a crucial time for development in a child’s life.

The proposal is part of rezoning "Plan C," which was introduced a few months ago. The St. Johns County School Board is expected to vote on the plan at Tuesday morning's monthly board meeting.

To view "Plan C," as well as previous plans, visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/zoning.