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Congratulations to Superintendent A. Russell Hughes upon being formally recognized for completion of the Chief Executive Officer Leadership Development Program (CEOLDP) during the joint meeting of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) and the Florida School Boards Association in Tampa!

CEOLDP is a leadership development and performance compensation program that is comparable to chief executive officer development programs for corporate executive officers. The intensive program includes two phases. Phase I is a content-knowledge-skills phase which is a formalized training program that focuses on information and skill development. Phase II is a competency acquisition phase which provides a structured opportunity for participants to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in Phase I for the continuous improvement of the school district. Additionally, each participant engaged in Phase II designs and implements Learning Projects to address the improvement needs of their school district.

“The CEOLDP training is a stringent program that requires an immense time commitment and I applaud these education leaders and lifelong learners upon achieving this accomplishment,” states FADSS CEO and Florida Senator Bill Montford.

School Board Member Jason Catalano presented Superintendent Hughes with a special award certificate at the December 17, 2019 school board meeting at South Walton High School.

Walton County School District is extremely proud of our Superintendent, and of the integrity, vision and values he demonstrates as he leads our district into the future!

Supt Hughes CEOLPD recognition

Supt Hughes

5th Grade students earned a VIP educational experience at Sea World in Orlando January 16 and 17.  They were able to enjoy an overnight outing while exploring nature up close.  They were also able to enjoy a full day of Sea World shows, rides, animal attractions and educational programs. 

Mossy Head 5th gd at Sea World

Mossy Head 5th gd at Sea World

Mossy Head 5th gd at Sea World

Mossy Head 5th gd at Sea World

Freeport Senior Adelle Strickland was honored prior to game time as the 2020 recipient of the Taylor Haugen Trophy. The trophy and accompanying $1000 scholarship is awarded in conjunction by the Taylor Haugen Foundation and All Sports Association and is given in memory of Niceville Eagle, Taylor Reid Haugen, who tragically lost his life following an injury sustained as a high school athlete. Addie was chosen over other applying senior athletes in Walton, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties for best exemplifying the Taylor Haugen spirit in her balance of academics, athleticism, leadership, community service and Christian faith. Area high schools may only submit one applicant and Addie certainly represents these characteristics as well as the best of Freeport and Freeport High School. Congratulations to Addie and her family on this prestigious honor! She will be officially awarded at the annual All Sports Association FCA breakfast in February.

Freeport Middle School art students studied and painted abstract art.  They enjoyed the process of planning and the freedom of abstract painting.  

FMS Abstract art

WCSD Instructors, Nurses, and Guardians participated in Stop the Bleed Training this afternoon at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Todays training allows each participant to now go back and train their school faculty on the Stop the Bleed skills and techniques. We would like to thank Ascension Sacred Heart for providing the Stop the Bleed training today to our staff members. 

Stop the Bleed

Stop the Bleed

Freeport Middle School art students created Heart Hands art for Hands at the Florida Capitol.  FMS students were excited to be able to participate in such a large cooperative project with the rest of the students in the state of Florida.

FMS Hand Art

https://childrensweek.org/event/celebration-of-the-hands/

"Thousands of people passionate about children’s rights gather in Tallahassee once a year for Children’s Week to celebrate children and family. During this event, tens of thousands of “hand art” are hung throughout the Capitol Rotunda, creating an amazing display of children’s art.  The “hand art” is decorated by children and their teachers, and collected at child care centers and schools across the state. The hands hang in the Capitol Rotunda as a reminder to legislators and advocates that we must take care of our most precious commodity – our children." (ISFNet.org)

Under the visionary direction of Principal Jason Campbell and Assistant Principal Scott Hulion, Walton Middle School strives to offer ALL students an abundance of academic, elective, and extracurricular opportunities, some of which were showcased at the school's most recent Title 1 parent training night.  On Thursday, January 16th, WMS welcomed families for its first ever "Learning Expo."  The event began in the lunchroom, where free dinner was served to all.  After eating together, families rotated through three fun and informative twenty-minute stations.  
 
In the gym, the PE coaches spotlighted their endeavors this year to teach character education in conjunction with physical education, helping students to become healthy, successful, and kind citizens.  After explaining their department's philosophy about character building, the coaches led families in a fun four corners game, awarding a prize to the winner of each round.  
 
Later, down the math and science hallway, families could choose to participate in one of two stations.  Mrs. Vanessa Black designed and led a math escape room, in which families worked together to solve math problems to crack codes to a locked box.  Just down the hall, Mr. Stephen Byrd and Mrs. Sandy Thorson's after-school LEGO League club led a session highlighting their City Shapers' endeavors and how they've prepared for their upcoming competition.  These sixth grade LEGO Leaguers spoke articulately about their club's core values, their community improvement project design, and the coding involved in programming their LEGO robots so they can complete complex missions--STEM learning at its finest.  
 
Finally, in the LMC, Mrs. Alex Parker and Mrs. Michelle Seay led a close and careful reading with balanced group discussion roles for text-dependent questions.  Parents experienced the types of deep reading and thinking tasks their children participate in regularly in ELA classes, hopefully appreciating the rigor students experience, which makes them more successful critical thinkers.
 
And while parents participated in each station with their WMS students, younger children had a blast in the childcare station, full of games, coloring, and cartoons.
 
WMS graciously thanks each and every family who took time out of their busy schedules to attend.  The school also thanks the student volunteers from Walton High School's Mu Alpha Theta and Anchor Clubs, who assisted in rotations, in the hallways and lunchroom, and in childcare.  And finally, the event would not have been possible without the teachers who assisted in all facets of the event--from designing activities, to leading rotations, to cleaning the lunchroom after dinner.  It takes a village, and the WMS "We, Not Me" spirit was alive and well at WMS' recent Learning Expo.
 
WMS Learning Expo         WMS Learning Expo     WMS Learning Expo
WMS Learning Expo     WMS Learning Expo     WMS Learning Expo
WMS Learning Expo
WMS Learning Expo      
WMS Learning Expo
WMS Learning Expo
WMS Learning Expo
Mrs. Diana Gillis takes notes about Mrs. Makala Ellenburg's seventh grade math instruction.
"The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other.  Without collaboration, our growth is limited by our own perspectives."  ~Robert John Meehan
To kick off the second semester, Walton Middle School teachers participated in their second round of peer-to-peer observations, stepping out of their own classrooms and into those of their peers.  While observing their co-workers, teachers took note of practices they could take away and implement with their own students.  They also pondered questions to ask to better understand the lesson and gave suggestions about ways to enhance the learning.  After being observed, teachers spent time reflecting on their feedback to determine nuanced ways to build upon their practice.
Many teachers expressed how much they benefited from the opportunity, as it provided them the opportunity to move beyond the four walls of their own classroom to glean unique ideas from their neighbors.  For instance, AVID teacher Mrs. Gaby Brown observed sixth grade reading teacher Mrs. Emily Kent teaching different ways authors convey relationships between ideas in text, while Mrs. Kent observed Mrs. Brown teaching students the AVID tutorial process.  After observing one another, their heads were spinning with fresh ideas.  These two teachers have decided to merge future lessons, even bringing the sixth grade social studies department on board.  In coming weeks, AVID students will pair up with reading students, teaching them how to complete a collaborative study guide form, while the reading students will practice the activity using social studies content.  Through this partnership, students will be deeply engaged with texts and will gain skills to equip them to become reflective about their learning.  This approach might never have been born if these teachers had not stepped out of their own classrooms and into that of their peers.
Across campus, eighth grade reading teacher Jade Tucker was especially impressed by Mr. Dennie Smith's approach to interactive bell ringers.  Mrs. Tucker learned how Mr. Smith incorporated Microsoft Teams into his routine, posing a question related to a novel students were reading, requiring them to respond via the online platform.  Students then read and responded to each other's thoughts.  Mrs. Tucker was impressed by Mr. Smith's ability to incorporate reading, writing, and discussion tasks with technology, keeping students productively engaged in their learning.
In professional learning communities this week, all teachers will share insights from their peer-to-peer experiences, continuing the collective learning process.  Before the school year ends, WMS teachers will participate in one more round of these observations, continuing to strengthen their practice together so their students can reap the rewards.
Peer to Peer student groups WMS
Mrs. Jade Tucker leads a small group while Mr. Dennie Smith observes.
Peer to Peer student groups WMS
Mr. Dennie Smith gains fresh ideas by observing not only his fellow teacher Mrs. Jade Smith but also her students.

Superintendent Hughes took a neighborhood walk today and greeted these students as they exited their bus after a day at school. District Employee Jamie Mitchell was riding by and captured this photo. They were happy to see the Superintendent and the Superintendent was ecstatic to see them.

Supt at bus stop

Every month, Mr. A. Russell Hughes, Walton County, Florida Superintendent of Schools, will share a video message with an update on the exciting things happening in the Walton County School District, Walton County, Florida. Check back often to stay informed on all the activities, events and accomplishments of teachers and students in the Walton County School District.
This month's video was filmed at the Walton County Initiative for Success in Education Center (W.I.S.E) in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Superintendent Hughes welcomes our staff and students to the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, and shares some important information regarding upcoming events and activities. Our guest for this update is Mr. Jonathan D'Avignon, Administrator of the WISE Center VPK and Magnet programs.

https://youtu.be/5yQSLW1B2PU