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Just because it's summer doesn't mean teachers in Walton County stop thinking about their own learning and how it can impact their students.  A group of committed educators from Maude Saunders Elementary, Walton Middle School, and Walton High School chose to join together for a local AVID professional development experience hosted by WMS.  On June 15th and 16th, these teachers gained new knowledge and shared insights about the schoolwide AVID program, whose mission is to close the opportunity gap by accelerating student learning.  AVID believes that if educators can improve the likelihood that kids can go to a four-year college, then they can change the trajectory of students' lives.  By investing in the AVID philosophy and schoolwide WICOR strategies, teachers help students see possibilities, no matter their circumstances.  Through rigor and relationships, teachers equip students to envision their own potential.  In the two-day training session, facilitated by Gaby Brown (WMS), Jana Currid (WDE), Olivia Garrett (WDE), Lynne Martin (WCSD), and Kristen Nelson (WMS), teachers collaborated to gain more strategies and ideas for giving students the essential tools for clearing their paths of obstacles and setting themselves on the road to success.

 

What an amazing accomplishment and event for our students and WCSD.  Both Freeport and Mossy Head Elementary Schools made it to The World Level Competition’s in Odyssey of the Mind!  The student created, authored content, and set designs team presentations were extraordinary.  Teacher/staff sponsors were phenomenal and acutely facilitated!  Talk about a worldwide education for our students and community.  These teams competed with teams worldwide and the experience provided exposure for our students that will remain for a lifetime!  Thanks to the schools, parents, and teachers who made it happen, and of course, to our Superintendent who detoured his training trip from Tampa to Orlando to see the teams compete or prepare to compete.  As usual, the students were excited to see Superintendent Hughes who likewise was excited to see them represent our district!  EPIC on Full Display at an international event!

The WCSD believes in the importance of providing continuing education opportunities related to current and relevant topics to assist our school counselors in the performance of their job tasks.  The trainings are planned with interactive content and so they are immediately implementable.  During the 2020-2021 school year, trainings on topics such as Social Emotional Learning, Trauma Informed Classrooms, MTSS and Early Warning System Data and many more were provided to the WCSD school counselors. These topics were chosen based on input from the counselors, as well as, state and district initiatives. We are very proud of the dedication, collegiality and professionalism of our school counselors.

With proactive mindsets, eighteen Walton Middle School teachers joined together and rolled up their sleeves on June 9th and 10th to tackle data head-on to seek solutions to accelerate student learning. After a straightforward but inspiring pep talk by Principal Jason Campbell, teachers analyzed and interpreted K12 Lift data reports, looking for schoolwide, grade level, subject area, classroom, and individual student trends. In activities facilitated by instructional coach Kristen Nelson, WMS teachers from all content areas used the wise words of Maya Angelou to guide their thought work over the course of the two days: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” As teachers gained knowledge from data and research, they charted it on a giant “Know Better” poster on the front wall. Then as they learned and brainstormed ideas and actions they could take to accelerate student growth, they noted those insights on a “Do Better” poster. Yellow post-it notes full of statistics, quotes, and ideas abounded throughout the room. Teachers collaborated about challenging but meaningful topics centered around one essential goal—setting ALL students on the path to success. Through the “think tank” style professional development session, teachers offered one another powerful and research-based ideas for school improvement in the 2021-22 school year. As Assistant Principal Scott Hulion thoughtfully listened, teachers explored how the data can now drive their professional learning, parent involvement, deliberate practice, classroom instruction, and curriculum decisions and initiatives as they move forward. Though students weren’t in the school building this week, they remained the beating heart of their administrators’ and teachers’ work. Though the summer is still young, the Warrior tribe already looks forward to the upcoming school year.

WHAT is STEM Discovery Expedition 2021? • FREE, three-day VIRTUAL event during which students take part in hands-on STEM expeditions online from any location! Students will work with instructors during live online sessions. • Opportunities to build, design, problem solve, write code, analyze materials, and get creative, all while learning and doing STEM with amazing presenters! • The majority of hands-on activities will require that students use items they already have access to at home. • At least thirty learning sessions, each an hour-long, from which to choose. Students may attend as many as they wish. • Learning will occur in a secure environment in which student identities will be hidden and chat comments will not be public; instead, they’ll go directly to a teacher who is managing the meeting room.

HOW do I join the expedition? • REGISTRATION OPENS THURSDAY, MAY 27. 2021. • Go to http://www.paec.org/STEMDiscoveryExpeditions2.0/ • Click on the “create an account” tab at the top of the page. • Complete the account information. • You will be able to see the complete list and descriptions of Expeditions and register for those in which you want to take part.

Click the link below for more information.  

Dune Lakes Elementary School celebrated their fifth graders in a promotion ceremony on Monday, May 24th. Students and guests were welcomed to an outdoor ceremony on the school’s north lawn and basketball courts where each student was presented a certificate of promotion to sixth grade. 

Fifth grade student Levi Peterson read poem “Let No One Steal Your Dreams” by Paul Cookson, the school choir, the Sandpiper Singers, sang a piece from their Spring Concert.

 An extra special thank you to Sandpiper Boosters who secured Epic Photo, Co. to provide a complimentary photo for each student with their family. 

Principal Chavers left students with thoughtful remarks like “look up” from your device or screen to be present in life happening around you and to be kind to one another. 

While the 2020-2021 fifth grade class was the second to promote to sixth grade from the new campus, opened in 2019, it was the first to be formally recognized in an on campus ceremony.  

Our Dune Lakes family is so proud of this fifth grade class and wish them the very best as they prepare for middle school!  

All school year, WMS seventh grade Civics teachers Mrs. Katie Williams and Ms. Regina Messer have worked hard to impart a strong civic education to their students. Throughout the year, students developed the following key understandings: the principles, functions and organization of government; the origins of the American political system; the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizens; and the methods for actively participating in our political system. To review all of these essential concepts at the end of the year, Mrs. Williams and Ms. Messer designed a variety of collaborative learning opportunities for students, allowing them to put their heads together to think deeply about real world applications of their learning. At the beginning of May, seventh grade Civics students demonstrated their knowledge and understanding on the Civics end-of-course exam (EOC). Thanks to their teachers’ dedicated preparation and the students’ hard work, WMS seventh graders were well equipped for success on not only the EOC but also for their futures as United States citizens.