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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially extended its summer meal waivers for the entire 2020-21 school year. 

The USDA waivers, which will now be in place through June 30, 2021, allow schools to waive meal pattern requirements and serve meals to all children under 18 at no charge. The waivers also enable meals to be served outside of the typically required group settings and meal times, and permit parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children. 

The previous extension of these waivers was originally set to expire at the end of December. Earlier this month, however, Congress passed a continuing resolution bill that granted authority and funding for further extensions, which was later signed into law.

The School Nutrition Association has been advocating for the waiver extensions, saying that they are vital for students and their families who may be struggling with food insecurity due to COVID-19.  

“These waiver extensions are great news for America’s students and the school nutrition professionals working so hard to support them throughout this pandemic," School Nutrition Association President Reggie Ross said in a statement. “Families struggling to make ends meet can be assured that their students will have access to healthy school meals, whether they are learning at home or in school. School meal programs can remain focused on safely meeting nutritional needs of children in their communities without having to worry about burdensome regulations.”  

SWHS Boys Golf

October 19, 2020

SWHS Boys Golf won their district championship over Pensacola Catholic.  The team advances to Regionals in Jacksonville on Monday.

Superintendent Hughes was Supercharged after another visit at The Magnet Innovation Center (WCSD’s 1st STEM School).  WOW!!!!!  The level of instruction, Instructional Instruments and resources being used to provide cutting edge Innovative Learning for students in the 21st Century.  A quick observation of what Mr. Kamando and Mrs. Dickerson was facilitating in Introduction to Engineering and Pre-AP ELA was phenomenal.  EPIC is truly The Way; Hang On and Gain On!!!!!

Dune Lakes Elementary Art Instructor, Kathleen Whaley and Media Instructor, Rachel Gonzalez blend their Kindergarten curriculum to bring alive the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.  

The Dot is rellistic fiction children’s book that explores overcoming self-doubt through the simplest of measures.  Vashti, the story’s main character is a reluctant learner who, through making a single dot on a page, learns that she can draw and ultimately be an inspiration to other new artists.  With the simple encouragement from her teacher “Just make a mark and see where it takes you!” Vashti is set on a path to explore something new with confidence. 

Dune Lakes Elementary Kindergarten students read The Dot in both art class and in their media class. In their art class, each student created two dots. Look where it took them – a beautiful collaborative installation between all Kindergarten classes and two special classes.

Dune Lakes is keeping it EPIC in special classes and Kindergarten! 

FHS Homecoming

October 19, 2020

Our FHS Bulldogs are ready to celebrate Homecoming tonight, 10-16-20 against Jay!  Let’s Go DOGS!  Coach Arntz, the Team, Band, Cheerleaders, community, and Superintendent has that Bulldog Spirit!  Congratulations to the VB Team for winning District last night!

This week, Mrs. Chest's Civics class used the AVID strategy Socratic Seminar to conduct a civil conversation on current issues. They were able to examine multiple perspectives on many different issues.

Moving and Learning in Civics at WMS

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October 12, 2020

Classrooms and schedules look very different this year as WMS has had to modify many of its tried and true practices to meet guidelines to keep students safe.  In one effort to social distance, WMS adopted a block schedule, meaning that classes last twice as long as they have in years past.  Though the new schedule has worked out well so far, students do get restless sitting for nearly two hours straight.  To combat seat fatigue, hardworking seventh grade civics teachers Mrs. Katie Williams and Ms. Regina Messer have put their heads together to create movement and engagement opportunities for students.  This week while reviewing symbolism, bias, and propaganda for nine weeks tests, the teachers got students out of their seats to get their blood flowing.  The teachers created a review game called “Name That Communication” that required students to show their answers by standing up and acting them out.  When a definition or example of bias appeared on the screen, students tapped their heads or pointed to their brains.  For symbolism, students made signs (like peace signs, hearts, or thumbs up ) or struck meaningful poses (like salutes) to represent the term.  And for propaganda, which always prompts people to take action, students had the most fun, either running in place or dancing behind their desks.  The learning activity took place after students had been sitting and learning for quite some time, so it was a welcome opportunity to stand up, stretch, move, and think.  Undoubtedly, 2020 has brought new challenges to education, but WMS teachers are rolling up their sleeves and creating fun solutions to keep minds engaged.



Re-opening Update for Parents 10/9/20

Believe it or not, today marks the end of the first 9 weeks of school!  We are now one-fourth of the way through the 2020-2021 school year!  This year has been a success because of all of you – students, parents, and school district employees.

With 86% (over 9,000 students) returning to school through the traditional setting, Walton is one of the highest brick and mortar learning districts in the state.  We appreciate the confidence you have in our district, and we are proud of the low number of COVID-19 situations that we have experienced during the first 9 weeks of school.

In the spirit of transparency, I would like to share the Walton County School District’s COVID-19 data.

COVID-19 Statistics

Today’s Data



Overall Data to Date

(8/17/20 – 10/9/20)

Positive COVID-19 Cases

of School District Students and/or Employees




Quarantined Due to On Campus Exposure

of School District Students and/or Employees




Quarantined Due to Off Campus Exposure (Community/Family Exposure)

of School District Students and/or Employees




Schools Involved in Positive Cases and/or Exposure




Parents, please know you will be notified if your child has been directly exposed to COVID-19.  The definition of exposure is being less than six feet for more than 15 minutes with a person who has tested positive.  If you have not been notified, then your child has not been directly exposed.

We believe our current success is two-fold.  First, we have stayed the course by following CDC guidelines.  We want to thank school employees, especially bus drivers, custodians, and food service workers, who have followed strict guidelines in cleaning and safety procedures.  Thank you to school nurses and front office staff who have been diligent in checking temperatures and screening students, parents, and employees.  Teachers, teacher aides, and coaches have adjusted to new teaching models while keeping classrooms clean, checking on sick students, and modeling proper protocols.  And finally, we thank school administrators who have provided leadership in balancing safety procedures, academics, extra-curricular activities, and more. 

Second, we believe our success has a lot to do with you as well!  Parents, thank you for being a team player during this pandemic!  Thank you for screening your child at home and for keeping your student home when sick.  Thank you for encouraging your child to wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask, when appropriate.  It has been a team approach, and all members of the team are recognized and appreciated!

As the second 9 weeks begins on Monday (and last until December 18th), please know the WCSD will remain vigilant and consistent with CDC guidelines.  Even though the state has moved into Phase 3, we will continue our slow and steady approach, because we believe it is working.  We will base decisions, such as when to welcome volunteers back, on the safety of our students and employees.  

Regarding academics, parents please stay in close contact with your child’s teachers this year.  If your child did not maintain their reading skills and/or math fluency skills during the last 9 weeks of school or over the summer, there may be some catch up that needs to be done.  Please talk with your child’s teacher about where your child stands academically.  Every child in the district has recently completed their first progress monitoring test (STAR), which provides a grade level equivalent score and percentile, in both ELA and Math.  In addition to STAR, please make sure you are aware of your child’s grades and attendance in our FOCUS app or on your child’s report card, which will arrive home on Thursday, October 15th.  

For Innovative Learning Digital Academy (ILDA) parents, thank you for supporting our schools and your teachers.  I have been in classrooms and observed our youngest children attending virtually.  I can’t imagine the discipline it takes to make ILDA a success.   I want to thank both our parents and teachers for working together to make this new modality effective.  Parents, as you look over the COVID-19 data we shared, please remember that ILDA students are welcome back in brick and mortar classrooms at any time. 

Finally, I am thankful for the normalcy that school brings, and I hope you and your family are enjoying school routines and events as well.  It has been great to attend fall sports and enjoy our cooler weather!  It has been great to see pumpkin decorating contests in pre-K, Homecoming activities being planned, and school pictures starting to take place.  As we transition to the second 9 weeks, please know we will continue to make the best decisions for your children and our employees, and we hope school can be the bright spot in your families’ lives.