Break time is over Clay County students, it’s your turn to go back to school! 

This can be an exciting time getting to reunite with friends, or it can be lonely, especially if you don’t know anyone.

“We want to make sure we have a focus on wellness, a focus on connectiveness,” Clay County superintendent Addison Davis said.

Davis says that’s where the buddy bench comes in.

“If a student is at recess and their friends aren’t there or they’re feeling lonely, they can go to the buddy bench," Davis said.

Davis says it’s a new initiative for students to meet each other, fostering a happier learning environment.

“We know that mental health is a huge part of our success," Davis said.

The buddy bench is just one thing Davis says he’s excited about for this year in Clay schools.

“Additionally, we are expanding school choice in Clay County," Davis said.

Parents can expect to find Pre-AICE accelerated programs in the elementary schools and junior high, a new visual performing arts school, and a STEAM school.

“Lot of opportunity for our children to find pathways where they can feel successful within the learning environment," Davis said.

Davis says for the first time since 2012, the district received a double A grade. He says there are also less than 20 teacher vacancies. It’s also the first year they’ll have resource officers at every school.

“We have launched our new police department, we have 47 officers that will stand ready to go to protect and serve our children, and just ready for another great school year," Davis said.

Davis says those 47 officers went through field training, a psychological assessment, de-escalation training, and active shooter training to prepare for their roles in protecting the students.