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Walton County is well represented this year at the Dr. Brian Dassler Leadership Academy!  Janet Currid, Kristin Lewis and Cindy Neale are participants.  Meredith Spence returned to the BDLA this year as a Cohort Facilitator.  Photo includes Cohort 1 from the Panhandle representing Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties with Dr. Betty Webb leading the year long professional development for school administrators.

Submitted by Meredith Spence

Seventh grade students in Mrs. Rachel Jones' AVID class at WMS made a commitment to their future during a recent EPIC contract signing ceremony.  AVID is an elective college preparatory program that prepares students to attend a four-year college upon high school graduation.  Principal Jason Campbell expressed his support for the program, its teachers, and their students by first giving a motivational pep talk, then signing his own contract.  WMS students are undoubtedly committed to their learning and success.

Submitted by Kristen Rhodes


On August 21, 2017 a solar eclipse was visible in many parts of the United States. The last total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire United States happened in 1918. WDE second grade students celebrated this historic day by learning about this rare event.  Mrs. Kristin Peak’s Kindergarten at WDE class enjoyed learning about the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Students made solar eclipse hats! First grade students in Mrs. Sconiers's class at WDE enjoyed learning about the Solar Eclipse and new "space words" on August 21. Using the Clear Touch board in their classroom, the girls and the boys had a friendly competition to solve a Solar Eclipse word search (pictured). The students worked hard to find each of the new words, and they liked competing against their classmates. Submitted by Jessica Dawkins.

WDE Solar Eclipse

WDE Solar Eclipse

WDE Solar Eclipse

WDE Solar Eclipse

WMS Sixth grade AVID students recently read and signed their AVID contracts, making a personal commitment to strive to meet their independently determined goals.  Afterwards, students made graduation caps that said, "I commit to AVID because..."  These sixth graders are keeping their eyes on the prize as they work toward their academic and personal goals. Submitted by Kristen Rhodes.



Mrs. Solomon used the solar eclipse and seized the opportunity to bring the real world into her 6th Grade Language Arts class at ECMS! Her lesson creatively linked history, science and language arts and made use of multiple sources to keep the students actively involved in learning! Through modeling how a solar eclipse occurs, showing a video explaining how Newton and Einstein used eclipses to prove their theories, reading an article about how Christopher Columbus used a total lunar eclipse to save him from disaster and watching a live video feed of the solar eclipse, Mrs. Solomon’s students experienced a true educational treat on the historic day of the total solar eclipse!!!

Submitted by Candy Bodie

As part of a partnership between the Walton County Board of County Commissioners, Charter Communications, and the Walton County School District to help bridge the digital divide, Charter Communications made a donation of 5 computers each to the Students Participating in Community Education after-school programs (S.P.I.C.E) at Maude Saunders Elementary School and West DeFuniak Elementary School in DeFuniak Springs. Guest speakers included Brad Swanson, President and CEO of Florida Cable Telecommunications Association; State Representative, Brad Drake; Walton County School Board Member, Jason Catalano; Walton County Commissioner, Sara Comander; Rick Wilson, Walton County Special Projects Manager; Leah Brown, Director of Government and Community Strategies for Charter Communications.

As part of the presentation of the donated computers to the School System, Charter Communications hosted an Ice Cream Social on Monday, August 21st, at Maude Saunders Elementary School.  Students in the S.P.I.C.E. program excitedly joined the Ice Cream Social at the end of the presentation. 

The St. Joe Community Foundation recently made a donation for the purchase of 1,050 Peripole Halo Recorders to supply each student participating in the Sinfonia Gulf Coast Carnegie LinkUp program with their own recorder to utilize during music class, and the concert performance.  These recorders will include a Halo Hanger to suspend around the neck, a vinyl zippered case to house the recorder, and a self-adhesive “thumb spot”. 

LinkUp pairs orchestras across the country with schools in their local communities by inviting them to learn about orchestral repertoire through a year-long hands-on music curriculum.  This year’s curriculum is titled “The Orchestra SWINGS.”  District music teachers will begin working with their third, fourth and fifth grade students utilizing the curriculum materials that are provided free-of-charge by the Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.  Students are currently participating in active music making in the classroom, and will begin performing the repertoire on recorders and voice.  The culmination of the yearlong program is a live performance in which students have the opportunity to play recorders or sing along with the Sinfonia Gulf Coast Orchestra.   



Submitted by Keitha Bledsoe