Walton County School District Superintendent A. Russell Hughes was recently named by Florida Governor-Elect, Ron DeSantis, as one of 41 advisors who will serve on the Transition Advisory Committee on Education and Workforce Development. This committee is comprised of a very diverse group of education experts, including traditional k-12 public school system leaders, education advocates, elected school board members, and current and former leaders of Florida’s college and university system. Their purpose is to advise the Transition Team as they develop a plan to implement DeSantis’ vision of “ensuring that every student in Florida has the chance to get a work-class education and develop the skills they need to get a great job and pursue their dream.” Superintendent Hughes looks forward to the opportunity to speak for public education in Florida, and to share the “Walton County Way” with members of the committee.
Graduation rates for Walton County School District are in, and the data shows a remarkable increase of 10% over the past two years, from 77% in 2015-2017 to 87% in 2017-2018! This increase is in alignment with Superintendent Russell Hughes’ plan to move Walton County School District to the top district in the state. As part of this vision, our schools have boosted guidance and support with graduation plans, mentoring programs, scholarship opportunities, SAT and ACT preparation, and college/career pathways. Overall, the school district saw increases in almost all schools’ graduation rates compared to last year. The breakdown looks like this:
Freeport High School – 93.1% in 2016-2017 to 94.2%…an increase of 1.1%
Paxton High School – 81% in 2016-2017 to 96.1% in 2017-2018…an increase of 15.1%
South Walton High School – 87.4% in 2016-2017 to 95.2% in 2017-2018…an increase of 7.8%
Walton High School – 87.6% in 2016-2017 to 93.8% in 2017-2018…an increase of 6.2%
Walton Academy – 18.8% in 2016-2017 to 25.4% in 2017-2018…an increase of 6.6%
Seaside Collegiate High School – 100% in 2016-2017 and 95.3% in 2017-2018…a decrease of 4.7%
Walton County School District graduation rate for the 2017-2018 school year exceeds the state graduation rate by 1%. This is exciting news for the students and parents of our district, and serves as a strong statement to the commitment and dedication of our superintendent, administrators and teachers to make sure our students are on the path to a successful post-secondary transition.
During the month of December, Superintendent Hughes met with senior student leaders from each public high school in Walton County School District to talk about various topics at the inaugural Superintendent’s Roundtable. The purpose of this initiative was to hear from the students and learn from their experiences before they graduate from Walton County School District. A few points of discussion were Safety & Security, changes that might help future students, and the level of rigor in core classes. Superintendent Hughes presented each student with a certificate to be included in their portfolios and resumes, as well as a special challenger coin and portable Bluetooth speaker as a token of appreciation for their participation and continued leadership. Superintendent Hughes looks forward to continuing this very special occasion each year as a “benefit to both our students and district alike.”
The 2nd Annual Walton All-County Music Series will begin with the Secondary Instrumental Concert on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 6:30 pm at the Freeport High School Auditorium, and continue with the Elementary and Secondary Choral/Vocal Concert on February 2, 2019, at 2:30 pm, also at the Freeport High School Auditorium. The concerts will feature some of the top school musicians in our district and will be conducted by high level guest directors from the Northwest Florida Panhandle region. There is no charge, and the public is invited and encouraged to attend!