Guest Column

Programs of Choice a highlight of St. Johns County public school experience


Last month, the St. Johns County School District hosted more than 1,000 students, parents and business partners at our High School Showcase held at World Golf Village. The event was an opportunity for students and parents to learn more about one of the truly outstanding aspects of our highly rated public school district: the opportunity to participate in one of our many Programs of Choice.

From aerospace and biotechnology to JROTC and arts academies, the St. Johns County School District offers more than two dozen special programs of choice that provide our students with rigorous academic and engaging cultural enrichment opportunities. Together, these programs provide a well-rounded academic experience that enables students to pursue their individual interests at a deeper level.


The St. Johns County School District has long been recognized for its academically rigorous curriculum. St. Johns County was the second school district in the nation, in fact, to adopt the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) — a program that emphasizes the value of broad and balanced study for academically advanced students. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this program at St. Augustine High School, we are also offering AICE at our newly opened Beachside High School.

We also offer the International Baccalaureate diploma program, which provides highly motivated students with an internationally recognized college-level curriculum during their last two years of high school. This program graduated its first class from Nease High School in 1998 and is also available at Pedro Menendez High School.

Career Academies

The St. Johns County School District boasts nearly 30 different career academies, including such diverse offerings as aviation/aerospace, aquaculture, culinary arts, communications, engineering, environmental sciences, law/homeland security, logistics/supply chain management, information technology, business, marketing, design, future teachers, biotech, health care, veterinary, biomedical, biotech and architectural/building.
Designed to align with the workforce needs of our region, these career academies help students explore and engage in industry or career fields of interest prior to high school graduation. Each academy has an advisory board comprised of business and community partners who assist in overseeing industry-specific curriculum, trends, hands-on projects, competitions, case studies, student internships, professional education opportunities for instructors, guest speakers and support.
Career academy students have an opportunity not only to earn high school credit, but also industry certification and college credit while still in high school. What’s more, each career academy provides students with a direct route to enter the workforce and post-secondary education.

Our early college program, meanwhile, provides a pathway for students to complete an associate’s degree. We also have the early career program, offering students certain workforce industry certifications in areas such as HVAC, welding, automotive service technology and medical assisting, concurrent with their high school diploma.


For students who are interested in the arts, the St. Johns County Center for the Arts offers a preprofessional program of study in the performing and visual arts. These programs are offered in both middle and high school at RJ Murray Middle School and St. Augustine High School.

In St. Johns County, we are so very fortunate to have Navy, Air Force and Army ROTC programs. These are highly regarded JROTC units: Our Navy JROTC unit at Allen D. Nease High School, in fact, was named the 2022 Most Outstanding Unit in the Nation.

The enrollment application process for these Programs of Choice begins each January. If your child is interested in participating in one of these stellar opportunities, watch for school notices about Academy Night, when each school showcases the programs offered at their school.


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