Clay County School district helps students transition to middle and high school

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — The first day of school in Clay County begins on Tuesday and for many the transition from elementary school to junior high school can be scary.

Action News Jax’s Alicia Tarancon spent the day at Lake Asbury Jr. High in Green Cove Springs.

She shows us how teachers are here to make that change a little bit easier.

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Brody Richmond is learning what it’s like to be a junior high school student at Lake Asbury Junior High School.

He’s about to start the seventh grade and has questions.

“Mostly just what can we do to be a good student,” Brody said.

In July he joined nearly 600 students here for orientation day out of a big school that houses just under 1,200 kids.

For some, the transition from elementary school less scary.

“We wanted students to feel connected, so on day one maybe they recognize a friendly (face), they know who their leadership is, our administration, teachers, other staff and that they feel like there’s someone that they can go to,” Principal Mallory McConnell said.  

McConnell has been the principal for the past three years.

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She can’t wait to see her students face to face after many spent a year learning online during the pandemic.

“We are certainly looking forward to having some more normal activities, pep rallies and other events where we get to recognize our students and invite the parents back into the building so we can get back to that community atmosphere in our school,” McConnell said.

Brody said he’s looking forward to joining the fishing club -- something he didn’t have in elementary school.

“It’s something about fishing when you had like no luck all day and you finally catch on to a big fish, it’s just exciting,” Brody said.

And of course, with a little help from his new teachers he’s ready for what the new school year will bring.

“We’ve taken a little tour around the whole school and know where everything is. I think we’ll be more confident going into junior high,” Brody said.