The new school year is now in full gear. First and foremost, I want to warmly welcome our returning families and those joining our school community for the first time. We are thrilled to embark on a journey of learning, growth and discovery with your children, and we look forward to another successful year of partnership between home and school. I wanted to take a moment to share our enthusiasm and a few updates regarding our enhanced security measures.

In our continuous commitment to student and staff safety and well-being, we have implemented measures to reinforce our already robust safety protocols. Our goal is to create an environment where your children can thrive academically and socially, knowing that their safety is our top priority.

These enhanced security measures include:

Access Control: The SJCSD continues to add and upgrade access control at many of our schools. The newer generation of access control integrates with our camera system. It allows the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) to unlock doors in an emergency, thus making the response to an incident faster.

Security Personnel: We continue to contract with the SJSO and the City of St Augustine Police Department, which allows us to provide a certified Deputy Sheriff/ Police Officer at each of our public-school campuses. This year we have added two new Threat Management Deputies to the contract. These deputies will work with our Threat Management Coordinator and school-based threat management team to evaluate any threats made toward our schools, students or staff, allowing us to quickly determine the level of the danger and take quick action to ensure the safety of all our students.

Surveillance: The SJCSD has added and updated new surveillance equipment throughout our schools over the summer. These new cameras are connected to the SJSO Real Time Information Center and are available for quick access in an emergency. This partnership ensures all responders have the necessary information to keep our facilities and students safe.

Emergency Communication: In the case of extreme weather or a hurricane impacting the area, the SJCSD works with the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center to communicate during an emergency or as needed to distribute up-to-date information.

Collaboration with Local Authorities: Our School Safety Specialist meets with first responders annually to tour all our SJCSD schools. These tours are vital to a quick, efficient response from first responders allowing them to know our schools before any emergency. The SJCSD partnered with the SJSO E-911 to complete a mapping project of all our schools over the summer. This mapping project gives our first responders aerial views of our facilities, thus allowing them to distribute their resources faster during an emergency.

While we recognize that these measures may change the landscape of the school experience to some extent, please rest assured that they are designed with the utmost care and attention to your children’s safety. We aim to balance providing a secure environment and maintaining the warm and nurturing atmosphere that the St. Johns County School District is known for.

Your support is vital in ensuring the success of these security measures. We encourage open dialogue and invite you to reach out with any questions, concerns or suggestions. Together, we can create a safe and empowering learning environment for all our students.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as your superintendent. I cannot thank our parents and families enough, who help us further exceptional learning and provide support in classrooms and throughout our schools. We are excited to embark on this new school year journey with you and your children. Thank you for entrusting us with their education, growth, and well-being. Here’s to a fantastic year filled with learning, laughter, and shared achievements. Have an amazing 2023-2024!

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools