11 new, renovated schools welcome students in Orange County

Schools feature safety upgrades, new technology

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools, Central Florida's largest school district, welcomed students to an additional 11 schools on the first day of the year. 

The district has had massive growth and approved the building or renovation of 130 schools since 2002.

Superintendent Barbara Jenkins toured Sally Ride Elementary School as part of her first day rounds. The school focuses on aviation and aerospace and, like all of the new schools, has state-of-the-art equipment.

She spoke about security concerns and a continued initiative to use metal detector wands at random in middle and high schools. She said the wands are being used at the urging of law enforcement experts.

“While we appreciate everyone's input, and we had our experts look at every suggestion, we have to go with what our experts recommend,” Jenkins said.

Other security measures in place will be more heavily armed deputies, more school resource officers, fences, card readers, locked classroom and locked building doors.

Money was allocated to the district for the additional resource officers needed, but Jenkins said it wasn't enough and they had to use other funds. An additional $11 million was also given to the district by the state for mental health counselors, social workers and more training.