May 2020 Walton County Superintendent of Schools Update

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Supt Hughes

There is no question that our nation is experiencing one of the most difficult challenges of our time.  As we navigate through these uncertainties, it is important for you to know that all of us here in Walton County School District stand with you as a community, and we are here to support and encourage our children, families and stakeholders.  Our school administrations, teachers and staff are working diligently and tirelessly to ensure that our students are continuing to move forward, with no breaks, setbacks or loss of learning.  We are so proud of our Heroes at Home, our parents and caregivers, who have accepted the challenge of monitoring their students during the At- Home Learning process with grace and tenacity.

To keep the lines of communication open for questions that develop as we move forward, we have developed a new way for parents and students to reach us during school campus closures. Parents and students can text a question to 850-204-9667. Our staff will receive the text immediately and be able to get back with our stakeholder’s questions and/or concerns. In addition to texting, you can always visit the Walton County School District website and submit a written question via email and/or call our district office at 850-892-1100. We encourage you to contact us any time you have a question or concern.

When we speak of heroes, we must recognize our behind the scenes heroes who are preparing and packaging food, driving buses to distribute both food and educational materials, our school principals and office personnel who are answering parent phone calls and providing Wi-Fi in our parking lots for those without connectivity at home, all the tiers of leadership at the district level, our community and all the stakeholders of Walton County School District.  This is a massive collaborative effort, and it cannot happen without these school and community heroes!

The safety, health and well-being of our students and staff continues to be our top priority.  A major focus for us currently is the feeding of our children.  With the help of our state agencies and local partners in education we have provided over 105,000 meals to the children of Walton County.  We will continue our once-a-week Food and paper learning packet distribution each Wednesday, beginning on May 6, through the end of the month.  Please note the change in day of the week from Tuesday (April) to Wednesday (May).  Specific dates are May 6, 13, 20 and 27, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm.  Our 5 primary distribution sites will remain the same:  Paxton School; Mossy Head School; West DeFuniak Elementary; Walton Middle School; and Freeport High School.  We will continue delivering meals and paper instructional packets via our 70 bus stops on the same Wednesday dates in May, with no changes in bus routes.

As we move forward toward the close of the 2019-2020 academic school year, our At-Home-Learning Instructional Continuity Plan continues in full EPIC fashion.  Due to technical issues that may occur during the At-Home-Learning process, our two district Digital Learning Specialists have been tasked with responding to inquiries from our stakeholders. Since the first day of At-Home-Learning, our Digital Learning Specialists have assisted teachers, parents, students, administrators, district personnel, and vendors with software and hardware items related to digital curriculum. This effort has resulted in over 985 (as of 4/22) support related responses to stakeholders. ClassLink (our single sign on platform) has been launched over 50,000 times per week by users! Top 5 Apps are Edgenuity Compass (K-5), Edmentum Study Island (3-8), Edgenuity Courses (9-12), Khan Academy (3-12) and Google Classroom.

Schools and Curriculum & Instruction staff (Math and Literacy Coaches) continue to update and distribute paper packet materials. 22% of our students in grades Prek-12 are utilizing At-Home-Learning paper-based curriculum.

Over 1200 devices have been distributed to families, and 100 iPads have been provided to students for continued ESE services.  We are working to provide options for students in grades 6-12 to take their CTE industry certifications and Advanced Placement exams at home. Students may contact their teachers for more information.

 

Important Dates for the End of the 4th 9 Weeks – 2019-2020 School Year:

  • Grading Period ends Thursday, May 28, 2020
    • Paper Packets are due by May 15, 2020
    • Online Assignments Due by Mary 22, 2020
  • Grades Posted by Teacher – Friday May 29, 2020 (by 3:00 pm)
  • Report Card Distributions by Mail – Monday, June 8, 2020
  • Library books, Textbooks, and Laptop/Device Drop Off Window: Monday May 18 – Friday, May 22;                   Specific dates to be determine by each school
  • Personal Belongs Pick-Up – Monday May 18 – Friday, May 22; Specific dates to be determine by each school

Because he recognizes the importance of graduation and special activities for Seniors, Superintendent Hughes has been in contact with each of our Seniors via email, each high school principal, and their student leadership teams to obtain feedback on the student’s desires and preferences for Graduation.  Each individual high school will be working with their Seniors to make plans for celebrating, honoring and recognizing their achievement.

We are in hopes that the health situation will soon begin to improve, and life will gradually get back to a “new” normal… a normal where we are more sensitive to following best health practices every day; and a normal where we are all much more cognizant of the value and importance of family, education and community.  Superintendent A. Russell Hughes and the Walton County School District wish all of you good health, productivity, and a new outlook on life!

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