January Update from the Walton County Superintendent of Schools

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It has been one year since I assumed the office of the Walton County Superintendent of Schools. It has been the honor of a lifetime. During that time numerous programs have been realigned with new vision, and new initiatives are underway. Here are a few of the top projects and accomplishments of 2017.

Audit reports for the Walton County School District (WCSD) demonstrate that we are good financial stewards on behalf of the citizens of Walton County. We are actively automating business processes and we are proactive in cost management while delivering quality services. An improved financial standing has resulted in an increased credit rating.

The WSCD has enhanced broadband width between all schools and the central office fivefold, from 500 Mbps to 5 Gbps. Collaboration in this effort with the Walton County Board of County Commissioners has saved the taxpayers approximately $20 million dollars. The results of this collaboration and installation enable improved capacity for 21st century classroom installations with innovative technology to maximize student achievement.

In order to meet the demands of a growing population and in our efforts to actualize our vision, two major construction projects are underway in South Walton County. Architecture of a ten classroom addition has begun at South Walton High School and will be completed in the fall. The largest construction project is the addition of a new elementary school site on Highway 98 east of Emerald Coast Middle School. This new school will greatly reduce overcrowding at Bay and Van R. Butler Elementary Schools.

We are proud to report that WCSD ranked sixth overall in the state based on Florida-assessed student achievement results. WCSD students ranked first in the state in Algebra I, third in Civics, fifth in Biology, and increased overall achievement in Reading, Math, Acceleration and Graduation Rates. These accomplishments would not be possible without students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders collaborating to maximize outcomes by addressing the needs of all students.

The 2017 Florida Legislature created a recognition program titled Schools of Excellence. A school is designated as a School of Excellence if the school’s percentage of possible points earned in its school grade calculation is in the 80th percentile or higher for at least two of the last three school years. WCSD has the distinction of having five schools selected as Schools of Excellence: Emerald Coast Middle, Freeport High, Seaside Neighborhood, South Walton High and Van R. Butler Elementary Schools. These schools will retain this recognition for up to three years.

To hear more about our accomplishments, visit the WCSD website (www.walton.k12.fl.us), join us on Twitter and Facebook and view the Superintendent’s monthly update on YouTube. These and other communication efforts allow us to keep parents and the community informed and to be transparent in our actions.

We will continue to share exciting events and accomplishments in monthly updates in South Walton Life.

Future topics include:

  • Growth within Emerald Coast Technical College
  • Growth in K-12 Career and Technical Education programs
  • Increased innovative technology equipment and training
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) initiatives
  • Population growth and job growth demands