Jeff Reaves, director of teaching and learning for Flagler Schools, has been an educator for 18 years. Prior to his 2022 appointment to his current post, he served as principal at Palm Coast’s Matanzas High School. He addressed a couple of questions regarding recent changes and events that have affected students in the district this school year (2022-23).

Jeff Reaves
Jeff Reaves

Q: How is Flagler Schools handling transitions from elementary to middle, middle to high, and what are the tools provided in the schools to aid that?

Reaves: This year, Flagler Schools rezoned our district and moved our sixth graders from elementary to middle school. The overall experience has been very positive for students, families and the campuses. The incoming sixth graders (as well as the new seventh graders) have been eager to learn their new environment and to get involved. The principals and staff have seen a wide-ranging interest in sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities. Communication has been the key to success so far as faculty and staff help students transition to middle school.

For the high schools, they provide multiple opportunities to meet and greet in the transition from middle to high school. Pirate (Matanzas) and Bulldog (FPC) nights on the campuses, events in the community and visiting the middle school, just to name a few. Each high school provides the potential new students and families with experiences and opportunities to ease the transition. The high schools provide engaging sessions for students and families to consider advanced programs like Advanced Placement, Cambridge AICE, Dual Enrollment and International Baccalaureate courses and diploma options, as well as vocational options through Career and Technical Education opportunities.

We also focus on the important transition from VPK/Pre-K to kindergarten. This is often a family’s first interaction with our schools. We want to create a positive, informative transition to school. Each school creates a video to share with families what they can expect as they enter our elementary schools, and of course, they are available to answer any questions.

Our school and district websites provide a wealth of information to aid parents and students in their transitions throughout the educational experiences as they enter elementary to middle to high school and beyond.

Q: How is Flagler Schools filling the post-COVID gaps and bringing kids back up to speed?

Reaves: Flagler Schools recognizes that students are working through various learning gaps as a result of the pandemic. Our school leadership teams, along with our Federal Programs and Teaching and Learning Departments, are working closely together to enhance the educational experiences of our students and provide instructional support for the staff. Professional learning on instructional strategies, after-school tutoring and summer learning opportunities for students are some of the ways we are helping students. Communication is important with families so that they can take advantage of the strategy that best fits their student and family needs.