Walton County School Schools A+ Rating for 2017-18 School Year

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The Florida Department of Education released their Annual Accountability Report on Wednesday, June +27, and the Walton County School District has officially received an “A+” rating for the first time since 2014! Our very proud Superintendent of Schools, A. Russell Hughes stated, “It will take continuous attention to students, instruction and leadership to maintain this status but with what I know about our stakeholders, we are up for the challenge!” For a more complete report, including individual school grades, you can access the Florida Department of Education Accountability Report at: http://www.fldoe.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/index.stml

In the beautiful panhandle of Florida, summer is synonymous with vacations, beaches, and fun in the sun! Our dedicated Walton County teachers and administrators are spending long summer hours in specialized training to make sure we are up to date on cutting edge technology, learning strategies, and Florida educational standards. WCSD Administrators recently had the opportunity to participate in a coaching and feedback workshop led by Dr. Rosemarye Taylor at the University of Central Florida using TeachLive – a mixed-reality classroom simulator with avatars. This cutting-edge classroom/conference simulator provided administrators, supervisors and coordinators with opportunities to practice and strengthen their coaching skills in closely realistic settings.

After several years of declining breakfast and lunch participation, Walton County School District Food Service’s Department was facing some challenges entering the 2017/18 school year.  The food services staffing plan is driven by federal revenues resulting from reimbursable breakfast and lunch participation. Employed hours exceeded hours earned resulting in high labor costs and staffing hour overages. As a result, multiple jobs were on the line. These issues made it imperative for Superintendent Hughes to develop a strategy to improve the food and nutrition program and participation.

In an effort to be highly accountable and fiscally responsible to all the stakeholders of the Walton County School District which includes the students, parents, board, employees, and taxpayers, Superintendent Hughes developed a plan of action that started with the hiring of a new Food Services Director. Robert Martin, a lifelong resident and an experienced business owner in the restaurant industry was tasked with bringing Superintendent Hughes’s vision, goals, and expectations to reality as 2017/18 school year took effect.

Under Superintendent Hughes’s direction, Mr. Martin’s leadership, the food services staff from all the schools, and school administrators, the 2017/18 school year was a success. It was an EPIC success where excellence, professionalism, innovation, and collaboration were all used to achieve the goals set forth by the Superintendent and meet the demands of our priceless asset, the students of Walton County by providing both delicious and nutritious meals.

The three main goals of Superintendent Hughes were increased participation, improve the presentation of food, and create a more inviting atmosphere. We collaborated with students, encouraged their feedback, and maximized our resources to provide higher quality lunches with fresher ingredients and more exciting recipes. Some popular food items were the General Tso’s chicken, boneless buffalo wings, yogurt parfaits and the kids loved the fresh fruit cups and carrot sticks with ranch dipping sauce. In the end, we were able to save at least seven jobs, increase breakfast and lunch participation by 15.9% (after years of negative growth). This growth allowed for the staffing plan to close the gap between food hours employed and hours earned.  Based off of current information, Walton County School Food Services WILL NOT have to be supplemented by the General Operating Fund. A goal that has not been accomplished in some years.

We value the feedback from students and parents. If you have any questions, comments or needs, you are encouraged to contact Robert Martin, Food and Nutrition Services Director. We look forward to new improvements and meeting new demands for the upcoming school year.

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