Superintendent’s Letter, Spring Newsletter

It doesn’t seem right to mention ‘Spring Break’ and ‘state testing’ in the same sentence, but the fact is that right after the break Alachua County students, including my son, will begin taking the first round of Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) for this school year.  That includes the 3rd grade reading test and the 4th-10th grade writing tests.

Then in May students will be taking more state tests, including reading, math and science tests, and a variety of end-of-course exams. Which tests they’ll take depends on their grade level and the courses they’re taking. You’ll want to pay close attention to the information about the testing schedule that will come home from your child’s school.

Testing days can certainly be stressful for students (and, of course, for parents and teachers!) We can make things a little easier on our children by ensuring they get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, and get to school on time without being rushed. Most of all ,we can be positive and let them know that while there may be questions on the test they can’t answer, they should not become discouraged. (Yes, I know, easier said than done!)

On a very different topic, you should have received a message from the district about active threat drills at our schools. The state requires that they be conducted every month. Beginning in April, we’ve standardized the process for notifying parents about the drills. If you’ve opted in to our School Messenger texting system, you’ll get a text from your child’s school about five minutes before the drills. You’ll also get an email message the day of the drill.

If you want to get the text messages but haven’t yet opted in to the system, you can do so by texting ‘yes’ or ‘y’ to 67587. Be sure to use a cell phone number on file with your child’s school, or call the school if your number has changed.

Finally, you may not be aware that the district’s calendar for the 2019-20 school year has been revised. After our initial calendar was approved in February, the University of Florida announced that Homecoming will be on October 5 this year. That means the district’s annual Homecoming holiday will be Friday, October 4. You can find the full calendar on our website at:

I hope you and your children enjoy your Spring Break!

Karen Clarke

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