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Superintendent A. Russell Hughes recognized the 2018-2019 Walton County Outstanding School Volunteers at the April 16th school board meeting! Mr. Hughes spoke highly of each of our recipients, and reiterated his appreciation for ALL the school volunteers who give of their time so willingly throughout the district. "Together, we are better!"
In the Adult Category, Superintendent Hughes recognized Mrs. Margaret Aresco, submitted by Freeport Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Kristin Lewis. In the Senior Category, Superintendent Hughes recognized Mrs. Rebecca Martin, submitted by West DeFuniak Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Darlene Paul.
 

Pictured: FES Principal, Kristin Lewis; Mrs. Margaret Aresco; School Board Vice-Chairperson, Marsha Winegarner; Superintendent Russell Hughes

"Mrs. Aresco has volunteered at Freeport Elementary School for six years.  She started volunteering when her older child began kindergarten at FES.  During her time volunteering, Mrs. Aresco has helped in classrooms and with the Parent Teacher Organization.  Mrs. Aresco now serves as the President of PTO. 

As PTO president, Mrs. Aresco has been instrumental in the successful funding of several projects for the improvement of FES.  PTO does an annual Cookie Dough fundraiser, this year, the fundraiser raised $15,000. PTO has funded our Watch Dog Dads program, the program had a pizza kick off night with 146 dads, or 20% of parents in attendance.  Last year, our percentage of parent involvement for Academic Parent nights was 17%. Our school improvement goal is to raise that percentage to 25%.  Mrs. Aresco provides valuable feedback through the School Advisory Council to improve these parent events and increase attendance. 

PTO also provides classroom grants to teachers. In the past, PTO has funded take home study kits, math centers, book tastings, new playground equipment, and various other teacher requests. PTO funds the Cool Cat Reader program.  This program purchases T shirts and pays for students who reach their Accelerated Reading goal for the year to go on a field trip. 

Mrs. Aresco can often be found on the school’s campus selling school t-shirts, organizing fundraisers, the Fall Festival, Movie Night, and anything else that is needed. She is an instrumental part of our school." 

Pictured: West DeFuniak Elementary Principal, Darlene Paul; Mrs. Becky Martin; School Board Vice-Chairperson, Marsha Winegarner; Superintendent Russell Hughes

Walton County School District's Senior Volunteer recipient for the 2018-2019 school year is Mrs. Rebecca Martin, also know as "Mrs. Becky."

"Mrs. Martin has been volunteering at West DeFuniak for the past 23 years and for the past several years she has averaged 290 hours per year.  Mrs. Becky has always been willing to help where she is needed but is now found in Kindergarten every Wednesday!

Her contribution to the academic success of students is accomplished in a variety of ways.  She works weekly with ELL students on letters and sounds with games, arts and craft activities, etc. For example, when learning the letter A she assisted by cutting apples, helping students cut their letter A pictures, and completing their letter A activity all while reviewing and practicing this letter with them.

Mrs. Martin is also an Accelerated Reader program pro! She reads with students weekly and assists them in taking their AR tests.  Mrs. Martin worked with a Kindergarten class to pass a total of 1,064 AR tests. Student’s individual goals were 85% accuracy and every child scored an average of 87% or higher with a class average of 93.5. Mrs. Martin re-reads with students who have read at home with parents and then assists in their testing. However, many students don’t have someone that reads to them at home on a consistent basis, so Mrs. Martin reads and re-reads with them at school before taking their tests. The classroom teacher is unable to assist all students with reading or re-reading their AR books so without the help from Mrs. Martin students would be unable to meet their individual goals and the classroom goal. As a result, the students in the classes she volunteers in reach their individual AR goals and collectively meet their class goals with all students earning their AR shirts.

On many occasions Mrs. Becky arrives in full costume to be a guest reader. She entertains students dressing as the main character as she reads to them hoping to instill a love for books and reading.

Mrs. Martin can be counted on to chaperone Kindergarten field trips and annually volunteers to chaperone and assist with the Emerald Coast Junior League Shopping Trip for select students. Her love of children shows in her enthusiasm to give of her time in a variety of ways. 

West DeFuniak is blessed with many volunteers and community helpers, but Mrs. Becky has been around for so long she is considered a permanent fixture around here. When Wednesday morning comes around, she arrives even before most of the teachers and begins to spread her Mrs. Becky cheer.  She is as much an encouragement to faculty and staff as she is to students!

Mrs. Martin has been instrumental in the successes of West DeFuniak Elementary and we are proud to nominate her for Senior Outstanding Volunteer for the 2018-2019 School Year!"

Ellis Island comes to life at WDE! From 1892 to 1954, over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island, a small island in New York Harbor. Second grade students at WDE had the unique opportunity to experience life as an immigrant. This included choosing a foreign country, new name, and reason for immigrating to America. Students experienced waiting in a long line to enter Ellis Island, going through a medical exam, and a questioning session with an Ellis Island official who determined whether or not they could enter the United States for a better life. Special thanks to Mrs. Jennifer Schovan for becoming the Statue of Liberty, and to Becky King who did a wonderful job taking pictures. Submitted by Jessica Dawkins

  

Chris Holyfield spoke with FES 2nd-4th graders yesterday. Our students and faculty enjoyed hearing him speak against bullying. He visited several classrooms for high-fives and stories. Submitted by Laurie Campbell 

Chris Hollyfield

Representatives from Children in Crisis presented the top three fundraising schools with a special recognition plaque at the Walton County School Board meeting on Tuesday night, April 16, 2019. Making the presentations were Allie Noah, Mary Jane Ross, and Kitty Johnson.

Walton High School was recognized for raising $1,623.43
Maude Saunders Elementary was recognized for raising $1023.53
Emerald Coast Middle School was recognized for raising $855.21

Accepting for Walton High School was Principal, Janet Currid. Accepting for Maude Sauders Elementary was Principal, Pam Jones. Accepting for Emerald Coast Middle School was Principal, Todd Drake.

The mission of Children in Crisis is, “Providing Homes and Establishing Hope” for the abused, neglected and abandoned children of Northwest Florida. Children in Crisis is a local, non-profit charity that has provided a home to over 700 children since opening in 2008. The Children’s Neighborhood provides an emergency shelter for young children and the family foster homes help with the severe shortage of foster homes in our community.

Congratulations to these schools, and all schools in Walton County for their assistance and generosity!

MSE Recognizes Volunteers

As part of Volunteer Recognition week, MSE recognized our many   “helping hands” by displaying one hand for every hour donated to our school. MSE currently has 26 registered volunteers who have served over 700 hours. Our Volunteers are always needed and forever appreciated.

Submitted by Krisy Spence

SHREK the MUSICAL is here! This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 18, 19 & 20 at 7:30 pm in the South Walton High School auditorium, 645 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach! The students have worked SO hard and this show is SO much fun, so we hope EVERYBODY will try to come out for it!. Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for adults-children under school age get in free. You don't want to miss it!!!

WCSD is extremely proud of our Walton Academic Team for their success in the Commissioners Academic Challenge 2019, hosted by Walt Disney World in Orlando!!   They came in 2nd in the state in their category!  The competition was incredibly tough, and our students represented well!  

The Commissioner's Academic Challenge is a highly academic statewide high school tournament inaugurated in 1986. The districts are placed in three divisions based on the fall FTE summary provided by the Florida Department of Education. Each team consists of six members (a maximum of four players during each of the three rounds and two alternates) and a coach. A maximum of six teams may compete in one competition round. 

This is not a quick response, trivial pursuit contest. Instead, it is a slower-paced tournament in which players are asked questions from the areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, the fine arts, world languages (French and Spanish) physical education, health, and technology. The questions are written by educators from high schools throughout the state.

Pictured (standing) - Co-coach Jeffery Patrick (WHS); Griffon Murphy (WHS); Fisher Marks (SWHS); and Coach Carla Griffith (FHS)
Pictured (sitting) - Gabriel Garrett (FHS); Bladen Ward (WHS); Joshua Permenter (WHS); and Sophia Bock (SWHS)

The "tag wall" is a reserved space for students of the month. Each month teachers vote for 2 students. Administration does not vote, unless there is a tie in the votes. Teachers take into account the whole child when voting. This includes but is not limited to how each student adheres to the In"10"sity principles: compassion, accountability, desire, effort, time, determination, respect, initiate, victory and esteem.

After the students have been selected they receive a baseball cap as a symbol of their "crowning" achievement for the month, have their picture taken for the student of month wall and "tag" the wall to the entrance of the school. The "tag" consists of the student's initials and the initials remain on the wall for the entire year.

Students in Mrs. Amanda McKee's Kindergarten Class at West DeFuniak Elementary had a fantastic time exploring living and non-living things. They used real gummy worms and fishing worms to investigate!

Students pictured left to right are: Raylan Sheehan, Melody Mellica, Anthony Serrano, and Paige Robinson. 
Submitted by Jessica Dawkins

Thursday evening, April 11, approximately 60 parents and students joined together to create their own original art piece under the guidance of the In"10"sity art instructor, Ms. Jamie Ramsey. EPIC2 collaboration!!!