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According to research published on AttendanceWorks, students who are chronically absent in 6th grade have lower achievement than their peers. Also, a student who is chronically absent in high school is 7.4X more likely to dropout. #SchoolEveryDay  Families are essential partners in addressing chronic absences.  See the handouts below for additional information.

Rosemary Beach Foundation Presents Music in Pictures Workshop

Walton County art teachers had the opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop as part of the Rosemary Beach Foundation’s 12th Annual Music in Pictures art initiative. Dr. Benjamin Sung, Associate Professor of Violin at Florida State University, presented a violin mini-concert and a session on the music selected as the inspiration for the Music in Pictures artistic renderings. Malayne DeMars, Executive Director of the Rosemary Beach Foundation, and Winky Dowdle, Chair of the Music in Pictures Program, were the gracious hosts and organizers of the workshop. We are grateful for our collaboration with the Rosemary Beach Foundation.  

Stopped by The Dog House to check on the FHS Bulldogs.  Mrs. Donna Simmons and Team remain committed to providing a magnificent place for students to attend school, be a family, and lead the way in Academics.  Smiles like these make it easy to know why they are one of the highest state assessment performing public schools in the state of Florida!



Please join Superintendent Hughes and all WCSD Staff in our commitment to promote Attendance. Absenteeism is a lost opportunity to learn.  We cannot afford to think of absenteeism as merely a lack of compliance with school rules.  Addressing chronic absence is a key component of improving graduation rates, increasing academic achievement, and giving young people a good chance for success in their adult life.  If you need assistance with attendance, please contact your school or AttendanceWorks at

Farm Bureau Speech Contest

September 6, 2022

The annual Walton County Farm Bureau Speech Contest was held September 1, 2022 at the Freeport High Media Center. We are proud of all of the students that gave speeches on the positive impacts that agriculture has on a community. The winner from Thursday's contest advances to the next round of speeches taking place in Chipley. 


August 31, 2022


On Wednesday, August 3rd, Walton County kicked off the 2022-2023 school year by hosting a district-wide event for teachers at Freeport High School. The day started with a welcome and celebration of last year’s success by Superintendent of Schools, A. Russell Hughes. Superintendent Hughes could hardly wait to share with teachers that the students of Walton County rank #3 in the state according to both proficiency across all state tested areas and school grade status. He also congratulated teachers as the Walton County School District achieved an “A” rating, for the fourth consecutive year. In addition to the district rating, all Walton County Schools achieved either an “A” or “B” status out of the “A-F” rating scale. This is a first-time feat for the Walton County School District. This portion of the program was filled with celebration, applause, and many pats on the back. The Superintendent continued his welcome by introducing his yearly theme, “Get On, Go On”, and reminded all teachers about The Walton Way, which is EPIC – Excellence, Professionalism, Innovation, and Collaboration. Superintendent Hughes ended by stating just how close the District is to achieving the vision of becoming the number one school district in the state of Florida.


The mid-morning session spotlighted a world-renowned keynote speaker, Ms. Kim Bearden, the co-founder of The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. As an award-winning educator, Ms. Bearden has been inducted into the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame, selected as a Disney American Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and honored with the Milken Family Foundation’s Award for Excellence in Education. Ms. Bearden’s message to teachers was one of hope about the difference they are making daily. While many teachers are leaving the profession, she praised Walton County’s teachers and pushed them to continue with a vision and mission of helping and educating all children. She discussed positive mindset, going the extra mile, and truly listening to families and students. Teachers were thrilled to see a mentor in education face-to-face, and all teachers were gifted with one of Ms. Bearden’s three books, Crash Course.


The remainder of the day focused on teachers learning from teachers. The day, set up much like a conference, provided time for teachers to hear from speakers who provided best practices within their grade group or subject area, as well as choice sessions on a wide variety of topics that were exciting to all. There were also guest presenters, such as an area attorney who provided best practices to coaches and Florida Department of Education representatives.  


The day provided a great way to unify the district towards the vision for the 2022-2023 school year. Those in attendance even described it as, “powerful”, “full of so much JOY”, “impactful”, “truly EPIC”, “contagious”, and “the best beginning”.


You can get a special behind-the-scenes look into this incredible event by visiting  

For more information on the Walton County School District, please visit

Superintendent Hughes challenged his Cabinet to assist the Habitat for Humanity in working toward completing a house for a local family.  The above photo shows the last piece of vinyl siding going up on the project in DeFuniak Springs.  The WCSD is proud to partner with the Habitat for Humanity-Walton County for community service.  Not only has Superintendent Hughes requested all varsity sports to complete a community service project, he has led by example by having his cabinet members and their volunteers take this on as an annual commitment.  Thank you to all of the volunteers from each department for taking part in this opportunity to give back to our communities.   EPIC!!  Get on-Go on!!

Superintendent Hughes welcomed the Walton County Sheriff's Office to the Magnet Innovation Center, thanking the WCSO for their generous donation of approximately $50,000 worth of drones. These state-of-the-art drones will help engineering and robotics students develop their understanding of and skilled work with drones, which are increasingly prevalent across most 21st-century industries. One Magnet Innovation Center student remarked, "This has made my day, my week, and probably this school year! I saw these and thought, 'What can't we do?'" 


August 29, 2022

On Friday, Maude Saunders Elementary Kindergarten students and students new to the school participated in "House Reveal Day".  The HOUSE system is a dynamic, exciting, and proven way to create a positive climate and culture for students and staff. Each student was welcomed into either the House of Grit, Respect, Leadership, Courage, or Integrity.