Back To School

August means back-to-school time, and for Marion County Public Schools, this translates to tons of new leaders, new decisions, new directions and talented enthusiasm to make the district an “A” school district.

School grades dramatically increased this year: 40 percent of schools improved their report cards, and three schools even improved two letter grades. This means one in every three schools is an “A” or “B” school. As a district, Marion County missed a “B” grade by just one point!

Here’s a look at highlights for the upcoming 2017-18 school year.

New Principals 23 Schools


  • Anthony – Lisa Coy
  • College Park – Laura Burgess
  • East Marion – Suzette Parker
  • Greenway – Jamie North*
  • Hammett Bowen Jr. – Traci Crawford
  • Madison Street – Ryan Bennett
  • Maplewood – Lamar Rembert*
  • Marion Oaks – Shay Guynn*
  • Oakcrest – Diane Leinenbach*
  • Ocala Springs – Cassandra Boston
  • Reddick-Collier – Joelene Vining*
  • Shady Hill – Deb Riedl
  • South Ocala – Stephanie Callaway
  • Stanton-Weirsdale – Cynthia Brodie
  • Sunrise – Dr. Anna DeWese
  • Ward-Highlands – Regina Dickey


  • Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks – Don Maier*
  • Liberty – Melissa Forsyth* (2008 Rookie Teacher of the Year)
  • Osceola – Melissa Kinard


  • Dunnellon – Wade Martin*
  • North Marion – Elizabeth Brown*
  • Vanguard – Troy Sanford
  • West Port – Ginger Cruze*

 *first-time principals

As well, 55 assistant principal changes now take affect at 37 schools.


Calendar Highlights

Aug. 10  |  School Starts

Sept. 4  |  Labor Day (no school)

Oct. 16-17  |  Teacher Work Days (no school)

Nov. 20-22  |  Fall Break (no school)

Nov. 24-25  |  Thanksgiving Break (district closed)

Dec. 20-Jan 2  |  Winter Break (no school)

Jan. 2  |  Teacher Work Day (no school)

Jan. 3  |  Classes Resume

Jan. 15  |  MLK Jr. Holiday (district closed)

Feb. 19  |  Presidents Day (district closed)

March 12-16  |  Spring Break (district closed)

March 23  |  Teacher Work Day (no school)

May 24  |  Last Day of School

May 25  |  Teacher Work Day


By The Numbers

$519 million: 2017-18 proposed budget

$22.2 million: college scholarship dollars earned by Class of ’17 grads

7 million: square feet of floor space

$110,000: price of a new school bus

43,150: projected students

40,000+: number of phone calls daily district-wide

31,000+: number of networked computers

2,900: projected teachers

462: number of portable classrooms (not all used for academics)

286: projected buses daily

81.8%: graduation rate

67%: students eligible for free/reduced meals

31%: teachers with master’s degrees

17: consecutive annual highest ratings for government transparency

0.6%: drop-out rate

Class Ratios:

K-3 | 1:18

4-8  | 1:22

9-12 | 1:25 (core classes)


Mandatory Recess

In addition to the 150 minutes of physical education required by the State of Florida, elementary students will enjoy 20 minutes of uninterrupted recess time each day of school.  And, recess cannot be taken away for discipline reasons.

No More Everyday Homework

Thanks to recent research, elementary students will no longer have everyday homework assignments. That’s a relief to parents who struggle with understanding new standards and subjects. Instead, the district wants parents to read inspiring texts their kids choose for 20 minutes every evening. This energizes a child’s imagination, builds bonding time and gives teachers more time during the day to do what they do best—teach—instead of grading homework assignments. However, students will have occasional homework for things like science fair projects, book reports, historical biographies, and more.

Family Access

Parents,  you can update your contact information and communication preferences by logging in to this online service giving parents complete access to grades, test scores, attendance, contact info, lunch balances and so much more. To register, simply visit your child’s school with a valid photo ID. You can register all your children at one time at just one school.

Health Updates

Listen up, seventh-graders, get your shots now! Don’t wait until school starts. In addition to all other compulsory vaccinations, state law requires incoming seventh graders to receive an additional dose of the T-DAP vaccine for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis. Schools must have appropriate paperwork on file by the first day of class; otherwise, students are not allowed in class until the family resolves the issue. Last August, this happened to 391 seventh-graders.

Going Green with Peachjar

All schools use the Peachjar service, a platform putting e-flyers in the palm of your hand. Parents, subscribe with your email address (via Family Access mentioned earlier) and download the free app on any mobile device. You will then receive automatic alerts and links to the latest e-flyers approved by schools and the district. Last year, Peachjar avoided more than 200,000 pieces of paper and saved more than 127 trees.

Communication Channels

  • Teachers
  • Principals
  • Skylert® (phone, email, text)
  • Family Access (online)
  • Twitter @MarionCountyK12
  • School Web pages
  • School Twitter accounts
  • SchoolWay mobile app
  • YouTube (MCPSmedia channel)
  • “k12 connect” weekly video program
  • Marion Education  Channel
  • Local media

Crisis Information

  • DO expect a notification from the school/district with a Skylert® phone and/or text message when the school is able to provide accurate information or the incident is resolved.
  • DO cooperate with school and/or district directives.
  • DO consult, Twitter @MarionCountyK12, School Way app, local media and other communication channels for updates.
  • DO NOT call the school–phone lines are busy and restricted for emergency use.
  • DO NOT go to the school–roads may be closed, doors locked and campuses off-limits to anyone other than authorized personnel.
  • DO NOT call your child’s cell phone–they may not be able to answer and ring tones could give away their location.


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