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Nine Youth Leadership and 1 Agriculture student came together on August 28, 2018, at Freeport High School to compete in the Florida Farm Bureau speech competition for Walton County.  Three students from Freeport High School, South Walton High School, Walton High School and One Agriculture student from Paxton High School competed in the competition.  The topic for this speech was "How has the introduction of agriculture mobile apps impacted the agriculture industry?"

First place went to Sarah Thompson of Paxton High School, second place went to Anne Sophie Grobe of South Walton High School and third place went to Gary Kelly of Freeport High School.  Sarah Thompson will move on to the Regional Competition on September 14, 2018.  Congratulations to these students and Good Luck to Sarah at Regionals as she represents Walton County.

Pictured left to right are Andrew Taylor (judge), Gary Kelly (FHS- 3rd place), Sarah Thompson (PHS-1st place), Anne Sophie Grobe (SWHS- 2nd place), and Michele Carter (judge).

A special thank you to all of the students who participated.  Submitted by Crystal Appel

Just a reminder to all that Friday, August 31st is an early release day for students while teachers participate in professional development activities. Please see release times for schools below. Subject to change

Also, Monday, September 3, 2018, all schools and district offices will be closed in observance of Labor Day.

Freeport Elementary School had a huge turnout for the Kickoff of their Watch Dog Dads Program. Over 330 students and dads attend the Pizza Night for students, fathers, and father-figures!!

"The WATCH D.O.G.S.® program was created by a group of parents and educators in a single school in 1998, and has since grown to one of the largest and most respected family and community engagement initiatives in the country.

Each year thousands of schools across the country utilize the WATCH D.O.G.S. ® program to reach out to the fathers and father-figures of their students and invite those men to take at least one full day off work during the school year and spend that entire day volunteering in their child’s school. Each year WATCH D.O.G.S. ® generates millions of in-school volunteer hours in support of our students and educators across the country.

Program benefits 
• Students gain a positive male role model. Some students do not have a father-figure present in their home and the number of male teachers has been steadily declining in recent years. More positive male role models are needed in the school setting.
• Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of WatchDOGS (Dads Of Great Students) can increase a sense of security at the building for students and staff, and it helps create an environment conducive to learning.
• Fathers and father-figures can spend meaningful time with their students in the school setting and gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s life, just by being a ‘dad’.
• When WatchDOGS invest a day at school, they can learn how better to partner with the school to meet the educational goals of students."

Freeport Elementary is excited to begin this program for their school and community! 
Submitted by Laurie Langford

Superintendent Hughes stopped in Ms. Adkins science class at ECMS to observe a lesson; one portion emphasized the difference between Quality and Quantity. Took time to take a selfie with EPIC2 students! They were making it POP! #ProgressOnPurpose

Students in Mr. Joe Proffitt's agriculture classes at Walton Middle School will soon have all the tools they need for their edible garden this year, thanks to many gracious donors. On Friday, August 24, 2018, Mr. Proffitt created an Edible Garden Grant through the "Donors Choose" website, requesting $600 to buy a wheelbarrow, loop hoes, rakes, shovels, and pitch forks. Mr. Proffitt, his students, and their families shared the project across social media over the weekend. Amazingly, within just two days, community members, and even complete strangers from Texas, Kansas, and New York, had donated enough money to fully fund the program, with an additional $150 to buy extra equipment. Not only has Mr. Proffitt been teaching his students how to grow healthy gardens, but he has also been emphasizing the importance of having healthy hearts as well--teaching students about the bounty that can grow from random acts of kindness. Therefore, Mr. Proffitt and his students were humbled by the generosity of so many kind individuals and will use their donations well to make their class garden grow.
 
Pictured L to R: Tomas Valerio, Gavin Rhodes, Gage Pickron, Tanner Poole
 
Submitted by Kristen Nelson

Superintendent Hughes stopped in Ms. Adkins science class at ECMS to observe a lesson; one portion emphasized the difference between Quality and Quantity. Took time to take a selfie with EPIC2 students! They were making it POP! #ProgressOnPurpose

On August 24, 2018, Dr. Jennifer Hawthorne, WCSD Specialist – School and Leadership Development, shared her vast knowledge and expertise with current and future school leaders across the Florida Panhandle as she facilitated the Principal Convening Workshop at PAEC in Chipley, Florida. The topic of the workshop was “Putting People First”, and Dr. Hawthorne concentrated on five key areas: Set High Expectations, Allow People to Do Their Jobs, Inspect What You Expect, Lead Conversations that Foster Growth and Show People You Care. The participants were actively engaged throughout the day and left with some valuable strategies to carry back to their schools!  Submitted by Candy Bodie

Working diligently to ensure the safety and security of all WCSD students and staff, Charlie Morse, newly appointed WCSD School Safety Specialist, met with all district Principals on Thursday, August 23, to discuss the new safety plan for the District. Tom Ring, Professional Standards, Walton County Sheriff’s Office described the plan as “a complete, comprehensive, and intentional plan that is compatible with all schools throughout the District.” Also present were James Pittman, Lieutenant, School Resource Deputy Program, and Steve Hough, Site Safety Inspector.

Walton County School District is grateful for the EPIC collaboration between the school district and the Walton County Sheriff's Office.  

WMS offers SEAPERCH, a STEM/engineering course facilitated by Mrs. Greer Harvell, as an elective option for students.  This week, students designed small vehicles powered by the snapping action of a mousetrap.  Students' vehicles must cover a flat distance of five meters.  Upon completion, each team member documented their learning with a written summary of their research on automotive engineering and mousetrap racers.  Through teamwork, SEAPERCH students rose to meet the cognitive demands of the complex challenge.

Students in Picture 1:  Chloe Cumby, Kristen Meeks, Cienna Derruisseaux

Students in Picture 2:  Ethan Austin, Alicia O'Daniels

Submitted by Kristen Nelson