St. Johns County schools see 4% increase in students on first day, with more students to come

St. Johns County student returned to schools on Wednesday. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 43,000 students attended the first day of school in St. Johns County on Wednesday, according to numbers released by the district.

That total student count, 43,409, is a 4% increase when compared to last year’s first-day numbers, 41,744.

And those numbers will continue to rise in a school district where the rapid growth has put a well-documented strain on resources.

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The count only includes approximately 34% of all kindergarten students since schools stagger the kindergarten start date over a three-to-four-day period. The elementary school population totaled 12,042 on day one.

The count also does not include the more than 1,000 students expected to attend the new Beachside High School which had to push back its opening until Monday because of construction delays.

A spokesperson said the district will get a better idea of its true student population when it completes the 20-day count next month. The school district finished last school year with 48,816 students. That was a 7% increase from the previous school year.

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The district said staff will continue to monitor attendance numbers, balance classrooms and refine bus routes in the coming weeks.

“The preparation from administration, teachers and support staff to welcome students on the first day was amazing,” Superintendent Tim Forson said in a new release. “As I visited schools it was wonderful to see the excitement of students as they greeted school staff, engaged with friends and started getting acquainted with their teachers. Transportation, food service, custodial and maintenance staff are making an exemplary effort in handling their responsibilities and supporting our students. The St. Johns Sheriff’s Office, St. Augustine Police Department, Public Service Assistants and Crossing Guards are supporting our operations and adding another layer of safety and security to our campuses. Lastly, I am grateful to our parents for their support as we manage the beginning of the school year.”

The high school student count on the first day this year was 13,601 with 2,260 students at Bartram Trail High School, 2,383 at Creekside High School, 1,371 at Pedro Menendez High School, 2,119 at Allen D. Nease High School, 1,863 at Ponte Vedra High School, 1,615 at St. Augustine High School and 1809 at Tocoi Creek High School. There were also 181 students in attendance at St. Johns Technical High School.

Middle school attendance totaled 7,136, with student headcounts ranging from 634 at Sebastian Middle School to 1,382 at Pacetti Bay Middle School. The other first-day totals were Alice B. Landrum Middle School with 1,090, Fruit Cove Middle School with 1,182, R. J. Murray Middle School with 641, Gamble Rogers Middle School with 835, and Switzerland Point Middle School with 1,372.

The district’s K-8 schools totaled 10,262. Liberty Pines Academy had a first day headcount of 1,581, Patriot Oaks Academy with 1,298, Valley Ridge Academy with 1,188; Freedom Crossing Academy with 1,775, Palm Valley Academy with 1,363, Mill Creek Academy with 1,691 and Pine Island Academy with 1,366.

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