Welcome back to a much-anticipated new school year in Okaloosa County! One of the greatest advantages of being in education is that we have the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and make improvements and changes in the new one. We learned a lot about what we are capable of achieving last year and plan to build upon that for the best year yet!
I appreciate the grace and compassion afforded by all students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators as we navigated the pandemic last year and continue to this year. Everyone had their share of challenges, but we made it through, setting an example to many across the nation of what could be done considering the circumstances. While we are not completely back to normal, I am proud of the efforts made to continue educating our students at the highest level possible. Our students continued to make gains and grow regardless of the unusual conditions in which we found ourselves. While we look forward to returning to normal, it should be a new definition of normal as we implement the things we learned from the changes we were forced to endure.
We have so many things to look forward to as we begin this year. Thanks to our community passing the half cent sales tax, we have made improvements to every school in the district and will continue to for years to come. Some schools have received safety updates with a single point of entry and protective fencing around the perimeter of the campus, which has been a priority of mine since day one. Others are getting much needed renovations to improve the quality of the environment whether that be more classrooms or a cafetorium to accommodate growing populations.
Parents, as we begin this school year, I want to thank you for helping your student through a difficult year. Your support at home is important and I would like to encourage you to extend that support to become connected to your child’s school. Volunteer through the School Advisory Council, booster clubs or the PTO. Your input is a valuable piece of the partnership between you and the school as decisions that impact your student are made.
Students, one of the biggest things we learned about you last year is that you are resilient. This is one of the most important character traits to possess and I challenge you to grow your resilience even more this year. Be persistent in pursuing your passions and communicate with your teachers and administrators how we can help you. You are the next generation of Okaloosa County Schools and you are the reason we are here!
Let’s work together to make this school year the best yet as we all continue to strive for excellence and be better every single day.