School Superintendent New Year Update!

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Okaloosa County Superintendent Marcus Chambers:
As we move into the second semester, beginning January 26th, keep in mind that students can continue in the mySchool Online (MSO) program or transition back to their brick and mortar school. Before the holidays, the parents of struggling MSO students received a letter, phone call, or both, requesting that their student return to the brick and mortar setting where they would have more direct support. Parents of struggling students do have an option to opt-out of a return to the school building.

IMPORTANT: Students will be able to work in their MSO courses through midnight Sunday, January 24th. After that, access to first semester courses will be closed.

The second i-Ready Diagnostic began January 7 and will continue through February 5. The i-Ready Diagnostic is not a “test,” but is intended to be taken like one to serve as a baseline of knowledge. Students take it independently, and the results show their teachers what they already know and what they need to learn. This is for all elementary students—K-5 in ELA and Math—and middle school students in grades 6-8 English and Math (excluding Algebra I and Geometry), Intensive Reading and Intensive Math.

Breakfast and Lunch are being provided to all students at no cost to families for the rest of the school year. The National School Lunch Program has authorized this across the country in response to the COVID pandemic to support families. IMPORTANT: We need families to complete the application for Free/Reduced Lunch to ensure federal funding for needed programs in the future. Apply at www.okaloosaschools.com, or parents can request a paper copy from their school.

The Okaloosa County School District has earned the distinction of being named a Highly Performing School District again! The district’s first designation was in 2008-09 (the program was established in 2007) and we have received the honor all but two years since! To be awarded this distinction, a school district must earn an “A” for two consecutive years, have no district-operated schools earn an “F,” must comply with all class size requirements, and have no discrepancies on their annual financial audit.

Walton County Superintendent Russell Hughes:
Walton County School District is moving into the second semester of school as teachers returned to work after the Christmas break on January 4. The 2020-21 district goal has been to “Hang On, Gain On” regarding student progression and performance. Classroom educators are working steadily to ensure we meet this expectation, especially as state assessments are upcoming.

On Dec. 9, Walton School board members and 300 school board members, superintendents, and education leaders throughout the state attended the 75th FSBA/FADSS Annual Joint Conference for three days of leadership development training and networking. The Conference was a joint planning effort of the Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) was the first to be held virtually. Other participants included the Florida Education Legislative Liaisons (FELL), Florida Education Risk Management Association (FERMA), Florida School Boards Attorney Association (FSBAA), and the Sunshine State School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA). FSBA/ FADSS chose to focus on public education as an economic driver during this year’s gathering.

January marks National Mentoring Month, and we encourage community members, businesses, and parents to partner with us as mentors. Your partnership is an essential contribution to the success of students throughout our District. If you are interested in mentoring or volunteering, complete the online application on our District webpage under the “Community” tab.

Walton County Schools will observe 2021 Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida, January 25-29. The theme for this year’s celebration is Humanity tells a story: What’s your chapter? Schools across the District will engage students in meaningful literature and participation in class activities relative to the theme, highlighting literacy’s importance.

Remember, as your children return to the classroom and resume regular schedules, please continue practicing all safety measures put in place by the District and your child’s school.