Rutledge Pearson Elementary School: A Cutting-Edge Learning Hub with Innovative Design and Safety Measures


Rutledge Pearson is the first new school building completed thanks to the half-cent sales tax approved by Duval County voters in 2020. It combines students from Rutledge Pearson, Henry F. Kite, and Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary schools. Built to hold 906 students, the 100,000-square-foot, two-story building will have 738 students starting the school year, giving the school plenty of capacity for growth. There is also space for adding on to the building should additional capacity be needed. 

When the school board put the half-cent sales tax measure on the ballot in 2020, JPEF supported the measure noting that research shows that secure, high-quality facilities help attract great educators to schools and help students learn.  

As the Rutledge students and teachers return to school on Aug. 14, they’ll find several new features in their building: 

Security Measures – One goal of the half penny sales tax was to improve safety and security for every school. At Rutledge, a secure vestibule and fencing provide additional safety measures. The lunchroom – which features a stage for student performances and room for three serving lines – is also a hurricane shelter. 

Space to let off STEAM – Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) school, so among the 42 classrooms are spaces for students to learn about and practice music; create works of art, including a covered, out-door space; and a media center that has the flexibility to accommodate readers, robotics, and science fairs. 

For teachers, designated planning areas feature “Starbucks-like” atmosphere away from their classrooms to plan and collaborate with fellow educators. 

Innovation by Design Students and teachers will be greeted by a large, digital sign just inside the school that will share school updates and announcements. The district plans on incorporating innovative information technology into every new build. The hallways are color-coded to help students navigate the space and within the classrooms, safe spaces are also designated by color. To cut down on lost learning time, bathrooms are attached to the classrooms, with separate facilities for the older students. 

Rutledge Pearson Elementary School is a prototype school, meaning it serves as a model for future new builds, saving the district money and providing real-world use to improve the design.  

When JPEF supported the half-penny sales tax, we had a vision of providing all Duval County students with the chance to be educated in 21st Century learning environments. With the opening of Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School, that vision is a reality.

Read more here about how the half-cent sales tax is being used for Duval County students.




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.