Suwannee County Schools

LIVE OAK, Fla. — In determining names for Suwannee County’s three reconfigured elementary schools, school district officials didn’t have to look far.

Rather, they looked around the county for inspiration.

At last week’s meeting — the first in its new district office — the Suwannee County School Board unanimously approved Suwannee Pineview Elementary, Suwannee Riverside Elementary and Suwannee Springcrest Elementary as the names for the Pre-K through 5th grade schools starting next school year.

“We didn’t want names that would have emotional ties,” Janene Fitzpatrick, the district’s assistant superintendent for instruction, said following the Nov. 19 meeting. “So we looked at Suwannee County and what’s Suwannee County known for? The springs, the pines, the river.”

Suwannee Pineview will be the arts-themed magnet-type elementary school, with Suwannee Riverside the innovation school and Suwannee Springcrest will be the leadership/careers school.

The district, though, still hasn’t attached any of the names — or themes — to a specific school — Suwannee Primary, Suwannee Elementary or Suwannee Intermediate. That is still depending on the enrollment piece of the reconfiguration puzzle. When parents and students are able to select the specific school they prefer — which Fitzpatrick said the district hopes will be available no later than January — the district will then select which facility will be which school based on the interest levels for which themes. The program with the most support will be placed in the largest of the three schools.

The school board approved in June moving forward with the plan on reconfiguring the three elementary schools around the 21st Century magnet-type themes. Currently, Suwannee Primary holds Pre-K through first grade with second and third graders attending Suwannee Elementary while Suwannee Intermediate houses fourth and fifth grades.

Through surveys with teachers and parents, the district then settled on the three themes of arts, innovation and leadership/career.

Other names the district considered and discussed at its Nov. 12 workshop were Suwannee Create Elementary, Suwannee Innovate Elementary and Suwannee Elevate Elementary.

Board members expressed again at the Nov. 19 meeting their continued support for the plan and what they believe it means for the district.

“I think this is a new era of Suwannee District Schools as as far as K-5 education is concerned,” Jerry Taylor said. “To say my heart is full is an understatement to see these things come to fruition. “This excites me. I think it’s going to be great. I know it’s going to be great for our district.

“There’s going to be some bumps in the road, so please be patient. We all know there is going to be transition and bumps in the road. It’s not all going to be smooth sailing as we make this transition. But I know in my heart, because I’ve watched and I’ve listened, I know our staff and our superintendent are working to make sure there’s not as many bumps in the road.”

Ed daSilva, the board chairman, agreed.

“It’s just amazing,” he said about the quick process. “This is going to be tremendous.”

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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