Message from the Superintendent - 12/11/2020
To Our VCS Community:
It’s been such a delight seeing the holiday spirit come alive for our students as we move closer to Winter Break! From festive outfits and drive-through events, to visits from Santa, and winter-themed stories, our schools are making the season special. Teachers, staff, and families are collecting non-perishable food and gifts for their neighbors in need. The outpouring of love and excitement are just what we all need as we continue to navigate school and life in these pandemic times.
As we prepare for the break, I wanted to provide you with important information about Winter Break and update you on some exciting news including our plans for the second semester that begins January 26.
Santa and Mrs. Claus visited students at Chisholm Elementary
Winter Break for the students will be Monday, December 21, through Monday, January 4, with classes resuming Tuesday, January 5. School Way Café will be providing a special curbside meal service for children for Winter Break – 10 free breakfasts and lunches. The deadline to sign up is today, December 11, so be sure to sign up using this form. During the break, our custodial contractor will be doing deep cleaning and disinfecting to ensure a fresh start in the New Year.
School Board Member Ruben Colón, Director of Elementary Curriculum Dr. Cristina Raimundo, and Superintendent Dr. Carmen Balgobin visit Discovery Elementary.
Spring 2021 Education Plan
Before we break for the holidays, we will be submitting our Spring 2021 Education Plan to the Florida Department of Education. This plan outlines our commitments and responsibilities for providing students with continued opportunities for both in-person and remote instruction for the remainder of the school year. Although we have faced so many challenges this year, we are focused on academics, and our students are learning and enjoying school!
Volusia Live will continue to be available for students who are making adequate progress. We will be surveying families currently enrolled in Volusia Live in early January to determine whether students plan to continue in Volusia Live for the spring semester.
Our Spring 2021 Education Plan focuses on closing achievement gaps, providing targeted outreach to struggling students, and providing interventions and supports to those transitioning out of Volusia Live. We will continue to offer professional development to teachers and increase our outreach to VPK and kindergarten-eligible students to ensure kindergarten readiness.
VPK Pilot Program
Early childhood literacy is critical to success for students. That’s why we are especially excited to announce VCS has been approved to participate in a state pilot program for kindergarten readiness – giving our 23 VPK sites a new way to prepare our youngest students for a successful start to their education! Our VPK program will participate in the VPK Progress Monitoring Pilot using Star Early Literacy starting in January. The state will provide a computer or iPad to all 32 VPK classrooms, in addition to new instructional resources for teachers.
School Board Chair Linda Cuthbert and Assistant Superintendent for High Schools Gabriel Berrio help surprise Veronia with the honor.
I am also pleased to share with you two recent awards that make us #VCSproud! Volusia Take Stock in Children scholar Veronia Sadek, a Spruce Creek High School senior who would like to be a trauma surgeon, has been selected as one of 12 statewide finalists in the annual Leaders for Life Fellowship scholarship. We are also honored that the Florida Department of Education has selected Heritage Middle School’s Family Fun Night as winner of its 2019-20 Family & Community Involvement Award. Congratulations to Veronia and the Heritage Middle team!
CTE Logo Contest
I am also proud of our Career & Technical Education students for designing 23 logos under consideration for the department’s new logo. CTE is asking for our help in selecting the winning design. Voting is available online until 5 p.m. Tuesday, December 15, so be sure to review the entries and vote by the deadline.
Sharing Sad News
As we prepare for holiday time with our families, I ask everyone to keep the family, friends, and colleagues of Tom Russell, our former Superintendent of Schools, in your thoughts as we mourn his passing. Mr. Russell had a 28-year career at VCS, starting as a teacher at Galaxy Middle School and rising through the ranks. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Julie, his children, and grandchildren, as well as so many of our former students and the teachers, administrators and staff who worked with him over the years.
I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. I am looking forward to seeing you in the New Year. Remember, Together, We are Stronger!
Dr. Carmen J. Balgobin
Superintendent, Volusia County Schools