Submitted by Dr. Kathy K. Burns
December 7, 2018
A Year in Review – November 2017 through November 2018
November 2018 wrapped up year two for me as Superintendent. It is an honor to serve as Nassau County’s Superintendent of Schools. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, set goals, and strive for excellence for our students, our future. Time has moved quickly as we’ve worked diligently to improve instruction, comply with state and federal mandates, ensure safe schools, and increase learning opportunities for students. The challenges and opportunities for educational leaders at every level continue to grow and this year was no exception.
Listed below are a few highlights from the past year!
ACADEMIC AND STUDENT SERVICES
- “A Rated School District”
- Career and Technical training opportunities continue to expand for our students with the addition of a new Apprenticeship program as well as an entrepreneurship program.
- Opened VyStar Branch and Yulee High School as another career training opportunity for students
- K-8 Reading Initiative continues for the second year.
- Reverse Job Fair – Students participated in the District’s first reverse job fair. This provided an opportunity for students to interview potential employers. Many students were hired on the spot.
- The following schools were recognized as Schools of Excellence by the Florida Department of Education:
Emma Love Hardee
Fernandina Beach High School
- The District once again celebrated a graduation rate of 91.3%
- Strategic Planning – For the first time since 1999, the district engaged in Strategic Planning. District leaders, principals, community members, students, and teachers met in April to identify needs. Participants identified focus areas and began the work of creating a strategic plan. The board recently approved the district’s 2018-2021 strategic plan.
- Project Search – Our first class of students with disabilities aged 18-22 graduated from Project Search. Project Search is an opportunity for students to learn job skills and train for future employment. Baptist Nassau has partnered with us in this program.
- Professional learning opportunities at every grade level
- Exceeding Expectations – Title I schools exceeding expectations and showing great progress improving student achievement:
Callahan Intermediate School
Bryceville Elementary School
- The School Year kicked off with our second annual Teacher Convocation event.Our theme for this year is “We Are Nassau!”
- Teacher Planning – Additional half days were added to the district calendar to provide more planning time for teachers.
- Teacher Recruitment Fair – The district held our first teacher recruitment fair in April with over 100 attending from around the country. We are making plans now for our second annual event.
- Recruiting teachers as well as school and district leaders continues to be a challenge. The district established the “NFL” Nassau’s Future Leaders Academy for current assistant principals and aspiring leaders in our district.
- Teledoc – District employees now have the opportunity to access medical consultations via technology
- The district participated in out of state education career fairs in several states.NOTE: The district hired 158 new teachers for the 2018-19 school year.
- Social Media Presence – The District continues to expand our media presence with newspaper articles, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, You Tube and the Nassau Notebook.
- Superintendent Spotlights – Every school board meeting begins with a spotlight on positive people and activities throughout the district.
- Established the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council
- Assistance to Holmes County and Blountstown following Hurricane Michael.Students and schools worked together to provide Thanksgiving meals, school supplies and clothes.
- Planning “A Day in the Life” series spotlighting the work of our team members.
- Teaming with Barnabas to provide services to Westside families.
TECHNOLOGY SERVICES and INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY
- Implemented electronic Medicaid billing.
- Robotics teams throughout the district
- Technology – Every middle and high school student now has access to a technology device.
- Our Technology Team supports over 11,750devices daily.
- Implemented Office 365 – This project included an email migration from First-Class Outlook.
- All teachers now have interactive technology (interactive projector of panels) in their classrooms.
- Secondary teachers and all school administrators received new laptops.
- Began the installation of security cameras on all campuses.
- Started the implementation of new network hardware district-wide.
- Redesigned report cards for elementary, middle, and high schools.
GROWTH MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS
- Enrollment – current enrollment of over 12, 000 students
- Established a Land/Growth Committee
- The District Financial Services migrated to a new financial management system – Skyward.
- Began a major renovation project at Fernandina Beach Middle School.
- Added Grab and Go Breakfast Carts at multiple schools.
- Created outdoor seating/shaded areas for students.
- Food Service Department developed a “Going Green” initiative.
- Food Service Department added a Registered Dietician to their staff.
- Hired a District Safety Specialist.
- Established the Nassau District Schools Department of Student Safety (Law Enforcement Agency).
- Completed a district-wide threat assessment review.
- Established Threat Assessment Teams at every school site
- Began the process of hiring District Safety Officers and Guardians for all Elementary School campuses. NOTE:We currently have Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Resource Officers and City of Fernandina Beach Police Officers at all middle and high schools.
- Completed restricted access entry at ALL schools.
Our theme for this school year is “We Are Nassau!” We are all members of an outstanding team, working for the success of students and the improvement of our schools. We are thankful to our families and communities for their continued support and look forward to exciting, successful days ahead.