St. Lucie Public Schools prepares for new year

St. Lucie Public Schools prepares for new year

The St. Lucie County School District begins the 2013-2014 school year on Monday, August 19, expecting approximately 41,000 students in its 42 elementary, K-8, middle, high, and alternative schools, including five charter schools and Mosaic Digital Academy, a three-county virtual K-12 school operated by St. Lucie Public Schools.

Eleven school sites will have a Tunnel of Hope of adults who mentor students, welcoming children at the beginning of the first school day. This is an activity at Kids At Hope Schools, an initiative in its third year in St. Lucie Public Schools where the philosophy is that all children can succeed, no exceptions. Pictured is a student at one of the Tunnels of Hope

A new school choice for families this year is the Renaissance Charter School at Tradition, a K-6 school located in Port St. Lucie. The Garden City Early Learning Academy in Fort Pierce was closed in June, 2013, as part of the school district’s budget reduction strategies implemented to meet declining revenues, which totaled $11 million for the 2013-2014 school year.

“The entire St. Lucie County School District family is eager to begin this new school year with a renewed spirit of moving our community forward,” remarked Interim Superintendent Genelle Yost. “We anticipate continuing the work of the district and the upward trend of student achievement, with a sharp focus on providing each child, every day, the tools and skills needed to be successful, lifelong learners,” he added.

The district enters the third year of a pioneering five-year partnership between the St. Lucie County School Board and preeminent global educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). This bold, proactive partnership enhances educational resources for students, and advances teacher capacity and parenting skills through four major components: ensuring the success of the St. Lucie Parent Academy; professional development support for private and public early learning centers; a focused approach to science, technologies, engineering and mathematics curriculum and teacher preparation for grades K-8; and creating a public access internet “cloud” environment for textbook, reference and research materials to replace textbooks and backpacks with technologically based resources available equitably to all.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PARENTS

Information specific to each school, including locations, safe routes to school and bell times, is at http://www.stlucie.k12.fl.us/school/index.aspx. Parents should be sure to check their child’s school listed on the page, and click on the link to the school’s web page.

DISTRICT WEB SITE RESOURCES

The district’s web site, http://www.stlucieschools.org, offers easy to navigate links to a myriad of information resources. Most notable is the School Search option, which links to a map that assists parents in identifying the schools within their attendance zone as determined by the district’s open enrollment system in which parents can select from among schools close to where they live. Parents can also utilize the district’s choice system for magnet schools or those outside of their attendance zone, within specific guidelines.

Individual department web pages have detailed information for parents and students at http://www.stlucie.k12.fl.us/district/index.aspx including:
• The transportation department page, which includes links to add students to bus stops and an interactive pedestrian safety awareness program. Automated telephone calls with bus stop information will be sent to parents on Sunday, August 11 and again on Sunday, August 18. The transportation department hot line, 772.340.4849 will be activated on Monday, August 12.
• The Food Services program provides the students of St. Lucie County Public schools with nutritious, high-quality food choices to enhance their ability to learn. This page has information on how to apply for free or reduced priced meals and the prices for meals for the 2013-14 school year.

FAMILY ACCESS ENCOURAGED

Parents are also highly encouraged to sign in to the Family Access portal, for student information such as attendance, grades, health data, and communications from their child’s school. This link is found under the Parents and Students tab at the top of the district web page at www.stlucieschools.org. If parents do not have internet access at home they may use computers at schools, or at many other public locations such as libraries.

REVENUES CONTINUE TO DECLINE

The district again approaches the new school year facing extreme financial challenges, with several initiatives continuing from previous years to drastically curb expenses. Additional significant cost-saving moves for 2013-14 include, among others, reducing electricity demand, continuing to refine bus routes, and trimming administrative/support staff and departmental budgets at the district-level.

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