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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

Bay School staff and students truly appreciate our very own SRO, Deputy Banjoman. In honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, we wanted to thank him for all that he does. Thank you to all of the hard working SRO's and other men and women in law enforcement who work every day to keep us safe!!!!

BAY Appreciates SRO

BAY Appreciates SRO

BAY Appreciates SRO

BAY Appreciates SRO

Pictured from left to right: School Board member Jason Catalano;
Gabriella Coon, Paxton Middle School; Kaitlyn R Christensen, Freeport Middle School;
Milo D Rasz, Freeport Middle School;Mehgan M Rogers, Walton High School  (not pictured: Jackson V Campbell, Walton High School)

Mr. Wade Wilmoth, Maj USAF (Ret) Commander VFW Post 4437 presented the winners of the Voices of Democracy competition for high school students, and the Patriot's Pen competition for middle school students at the Walton County School Board meeting on Monday night, January 6, in the Tivoli Compex Board Room.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed, audio-recorded original essay.

The Patriot's Pen Program is a youth essay competition that gives Middle School students an opportunity to enter an essay expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme.

This year's theme for the competitions was
"What Makes America Great"

Congratulations to this year's local winners!

Voice of Democracy
1st. Kaylee M Aplin Paxton High School
2nd Meghan M Rogers. Walton High School
3rd. Jackson V Campbell Walton High School

Patriots Pen
1st. Milo D Rasz. Freeport Middle School
2nd. Gabriella E Coon. Paxton Middle School
3rd. Kaitlyn R Christensen. Freeport Middle School

Patriot's Pen winner

First Place Winner of the Middle School Patriot's Pen Essay Competition is Milo D Rasz;
Mr. Wade Wilmoth, Maj USAF (Ret) Commander VFW Post 4437
Voice of Democracy Winner
Kaylee M Aplin, First Place local winner in Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay Competition
Mr. Wade Wilmouth, Maj USAF (ret) Commander VFW Post 4437

Congratulations to Nicholas Binkowski, senior percussionist at Walton High School, for being accepted to the following Honor Bands: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University, Samford University, and The University of Alabama. To be accepted to each Honor Band, he had to complete an application and be recommended by the band director, Mr. Muller. Once at each Honor Band, he had to complete anaudition to earn a band and chair placement. At UAB Honor Band, he placed in the top band, third chair. He will be attending The University of Alabama Honor Band at the end of January. Nicholas has chosen to not attend Auburn and Samford Honor Bands so he can focus on his solo and ensemble repertoire. 

Nick Binkowski

Students from West DeFuniak Elementary School and Dune Lakes Elementary School were selected by audition to participate in the Florida Music Educators Association All-State Professional Development Conference in Tampa, Florida.  These students were among approximately 210 of the top elementary singers in the state of Floridato be selected for the Florida Elementary All-State Chorus!  The Chorus performed under the direction of Robyn Reeves Lana, Founder, Managing Artistic Director and Conductor of the award winning Cincinnati Children’s Choir (CCC), Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Under her leadership, CCC earned a gold medal in the 2012 World Choir Games coming in first in the US in their category.  She is also an adjunct professor at Xavier University where she directs the Women’s Chorus. 

The FMEA Elementary All State Chorus is a unique music education opportunity for Florida students. Elementary school students with unchanged voices in 4th and 5th grades are eligible to audition. 

The Walton County School District is so proud of the 4 WCSD students selected by audition for the Ch ensemble, and their directors! 

WDE All-State 2020

Pictured:

Back row, L to R - Alex Gartner, Accompanist; Robyn Lana, Conductor; Nathan Hight, WDE Music specialist
Front Row, L to R - Lucy George and Kinsley Craig, WDE Music students

DLE All-State Students and teacher

Pictured: 

Back Row, L to R - Corrie Sober, DLE Music specialist; Robyn Lana, Conductor; Alex Gartner, Accompanist
Front Row, L to R - Kayla Crider and Evangeline Brown, DLE Music students

FMEA All-State Elementary Chorus

South Walton High School Junior Fisher Marks has been named the Sunshine State Scholar for Walton County. Fisher is the son of Daniel and Wendy Marks of Inlet Beach.
The Sunshine State Scholar's program honors the top 11th grade students in the state in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM).
Each scholar, along with their parents, will travel to Orlando for an extraordinary two-day program designed to bring together scholars from around the state, connect them with employers that specialize in the STEM fields, and create a networking opportunity between the scholars and schools from Florida’s College and State University System.
This year’s program will bring 103 high school STEM scholars together to conduct a “think tank” on tough Florida challenges.

Congratulations to Fisher Marks for his outstanding academic performance!

West DeFuniak Elementary teachers started off 2020 with preparation for their upcoming AVID Elementary Showcase. Primary teachers learned some hands-on AVID strategies such as “Team Huddle”, “4 Corners”, “Inside, Outside”, and “Quiz, Quiz, Trade” while teachers in grades 3-5 participated in their “LETRS PLC”.  After lunch primary and intermediate teachers swapped out for more AVID strategies and LETRS PLC with district Literacy Coach, Shannon Seigler. Teachers in grades 3-5 learned about ways to incorporate “College & Career” into their lessons as well as ways to get their students in the mindset of goal setting for their futures.

WDE AVID Training

WDE AVID Training

WDE AVID Training

WDE AVID Training

WDE AVID Training