April 2021 WCSD Superintendent’s Update

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Supt Hughes

Walton County School District moves closer to ending the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers have worked hard to maintain normalcy and create environments that support student achievement.  Students will soon showcase their academic achievement during the upcoming testing period.  Third grade students will participate in FSA Reading exams while fourth through tenth grades will take FSA Writing exams in April. Parents are encouraged to make sure their child is prepared to do their best by sending them to school well rested and having had a healthy breakfast.  Superintendent Hughes values community and says, “Our community support for the work of the Walton County School District is unmatched!”

It’s hard to believe, but Walton County Schools are entering the last nine weeks of the year!  May 26, 2021 is the final day of the second semester and the end of the academic year. Students are excited to be nearing their summer vacation!  Graduating seniors are busy choosing rings, ordering caps and gowns, and making continuing education choices for career or college. We congratulate all students on their perseverance and adaptability this year!   Our District Mission is: Preparing the whole child for a life of Success,” but learning isn’t only for students!  During the month of March, our maintenance staff participated in a training on Bloodborne Pathogens, Mandatory Reporting and Student Safety.  Under Mr. Hughes’ leadership there are no exceptions when considering student safety and safe schools; only high expectations!

Superintendent Hughes, Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Jennifer Hawthorne and Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor, Crystal Appel were selected by Florida Association of District School Superintendents (F.A.D.S.S.) to present to Florida Superintendents at their quarterly conference.  Each of these district leaders shared information regarding our successes in preventing learning loss and acceleration achievement during the COVID Era.

The Walton Republican Women Federated welcomed an update from Superintendent Hughes in March at the Sandestin Hyatt conference room at Grand Boulevard.  Members of the Federation were informed on the response of Walton County School District to campus closures which included:

  • Educating 10,700 students from home during 9-weeks time, with only 1 week of planning
  • Distributing 1,100 computers for home use assisting student with virtual learning
  • 22% of students completing paper-based “At-Home Learning” assignments
  • Providing breakfast and lunch during last 9-week period  -236,318 total meals
  • On average, between 2,300 – 2,900 children were served each week, provided at school sites & on buses

Superintendent Hughes shared with the group of women that we were only able to accomplish this with the E.P.I.C. work of Bus drivers, food service workers, custodians, plant managers, guardians, non-instructional staff, ESP’s, nurses, administrators, and many district staff members working tirelessly to ensure our students lost minimal hours of academic instruction.

In recognition of Women’s History Month which is highlighted yearly during the month of March, Superintendent Hughes acknowledged two leading ladies who are making a difference in the Walton County School District.  Ms. Jill W. Smith, serving as Director of Facilities and Maintenance and Ms. Michelle Doggett, serving as District Facilities Planner were selected for this honor.  Jill Smith was selected to lead as Director of Facilities and Maintenance for Walton County School District in July 2019.  Ms. Smith has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies – Policy from the University of West Florida and is currently completing a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University. Ms. Doggett has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.  These ladies are taking our District facilities forward in E.P.I.C. fashion!