ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Students across the First Coast head back to school next week, and several hundred in Clay County will be walking through the doors of a brand-new school.
Discovery Oaks Elementary School in Orange Park will house around 800 students and 52 teachers. The kindergarten-through-sixth-grade school is one of the first STEAM schools in Clay County.
Principal Tracy McLaughlin said it goes beyond an acronym; the school will embed science, technology, engineering, the arts and math into all aspects of education.
“So [students] can begin to develop those critical, real-world problem-solving skills,” McLaughlin said. “And to be independent thinkers. And to see themselves as scientists and mathematicians across the board, and artists and musicians.”
Clay County Superintendent Addison Davis toured the school Wednesday, seeing the classrooms, labs and playgrounds first-hand.
Davis also addressed safety. The school was under construction when tragedy struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, so they were able to reassess and firm up security measures.
While he couldn't speak to specifics, Davis outlined some of the safety precautions.
“Making certain that we have single points of entry, making certain that we have the internal locks that will lock every single door internally and externally as well,” Davis said. “Make sure we have the barriers and perimeters that are closed out to our school and to our students.”