A Program of Choice is defined as a multi-year, specialized program that is potentially available to eligible students in St. Johns County School District who apply and are accepted to the program.
Student must be a resident of St. Johns County
- Acceptance into a Program of Choice automatically provides an out-of-zone waiver for students to attend a school other than their zoned school. No separate actions need to be taken to receive an out-of-zone waiver.
- Completed applications must be submitted by the established due dates.
- Each school will determine the number of student seats available in each Program of Choice and may deny entry solely based on seats available. A lottery system is available to ensure students have equal access to a Program of Choice if seat capacity is met. Students may be placed on a waiting list. Out-of-zone students can be taken off the waiting list and be placed into a Program of Choice up until July 1. In-zone students can be taken off the waiting list and be placed into a Program of Choice up until the first day of the next school year.
- Rising 11th and 12th grade students currently in the school district are ineligible to apply for and obtain an out-of-zone waiver to a new Program of Choice. 11th and 12th grade students moving into the district may be eligible if they have been in a similar program in their previous school district and there is room in the program to which they wish to apply.
- Each Program of Choice sets expectations for academic progress, attendance and behavior. Should an out-of-zone transfer student not meet such expectations the following actions will ensue:
- The principal of the out-of-zone Program of Choice school may initiate action to rescind a student’s out-of-zone waiver for failing grades, excessive school absences or tardiness and/or recurrent discipline problems.
- Prior to rescinding a student’s out-of-zone waiver, the principal or designee shall notify the student’s parent/guardian in writing citing the reason for potential revocation the out-of-zone waiver.
- The parent/guardian shall be permitted a reasonable time and opportunity to address or correct the situation.
- If not corrected in a reasonable amount of time, the principal will make a recommendation to the Department of Career and Technical Education for revocation of the student’s out-of-zone waiver. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Director for Career and Technical Education and a letter submitted to the family with the outcome of the review, at which point the decision will be final. In most instances the revocation will be effective at the end of the semester after grades have been awarded.
- Escalated infractions (for example Level 3 or 4 infractions) may result in immediate removal from a Program of Choice/Career Academy.
- Mid-Year transfers to a new Program of Choice are not allowed.
- In the event that a student opts to drop out of, or ceases to be enrolled in, a Program of Choice for which an out-of-zone waiver has been approved, the student will be required to return to his/her home zoned school at the start of the new semester once credit has been awarded.
- Students may apply for multiple programs of study; however, students may only attend academies and or programs of choice at one school.
- Students who are denied entry to a Program of Choice may request a review of the decision with the Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction by June 1. The Associate Superintendent will convene the review committee to consider the issue and make a recommendation to the Superintendent. The decision of the Superintendent is final.
- Students may not apply for a Program of Choice at an out-of-zone school if the program exists at the student’s zoned high school. (Programs that are replicated in the district: International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Allen D. Nease and Pedro Menendez OR Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Program at St. Augustine High School; VyStar Academy of Business and Finance at Bartram Trail and Pedro Menendez; ROTC programs at Bartram Trail, Nease and St. Augustine, Academies of IT at Bartram Trail and Ponte Vedra.) This policy went into effect December 2015.
- The parents/guardians of students attending an out-of-zone school are required to provide transportation for the student to and from the out-of-zone school. There is an exception for students attending St. Johns Technical High School.
New Students entering the St. Johns County School District
Any student entering 9th or 10th grade not previously enrolled in a St. Johns County public school within the prior school year is eligible to apply for any Program of Choice in the St. Johns County School District up until the student’s first day of entry. Applying does not guarantee acceptance into the Program of Choice. Students entering the St. Johns County School District enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade who were previously enrolled in an equivalent Program of Choice at his/her previous school may apply for the equivalent Program of Choice, regardless of school zone, up until the first day of entry.
New Controlled Open Enrollment Law
Under Controlled Open Enrollment, which is outlined in Florida Statute 1002.31, a parent may enroll and transport his or her child to any public school in the state that has not reached capacity in the district, subject to maximum class size.
Due to rapid growth in St. Johns County, there are only four schools the district has determined meet its definition of capacity. No St. Johns County high school currently has available capacity for students to transfer to under COE.
Additionally, in accordance with COE statute, the District will maintain existing academic eligibility criteria for public school choice programs, including Career Academies and other focused programs of choice such as IB, AICE and JROTC.