Superintendent's Message 1-22-21
To Our VCS Community:
Today (January 22) is the end of the second grading period – we are halfway through the school year! We will have a Student Holiday on Monday, January 25, and begin our second semester on Tuesday, January 26. I am proud of our students for working so hard through this unusual year, and I want to thank our teachers, administrators, and staff for their creativity, innovation, and flexibility in providing our students a high-quality education during the pandemic.
Our focus groups are still meeting regularly so that we can quickly address issues that arise. As more students return to in-person instruction, we will be adjusting schedules for elementary Volusia Live students as the second semester begins. Instead of having small Volusia Live classes for each elementary school, we will transition to regional remote classes. That will allow us to reduce the number of in-person classes spanning multiple grade levels and improve student learning overall. We are hopeful this will be the last schedule adjustment for remote K-5 students this year.
I recently visited Champion Elementary with News-Journal Editor Pat Rice.
Teacher of the Year:
This weekend we will be celebrating our 71 Teachers of the Year and announcing the district Teacher of the Year! VCS and the FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools will co-host the socially distanced celebration at the Ocean Center. We are grateful to Presenting Sponsor AdventHealth; Vehicle Sponsors Diamond Motors & Marine, Daytona Kia, and Daytona Mitsubishi; and many other wonderful sponsors for supporting our amazing teachers. Most of all, we congratulate the Teachers of the Year. They exemplify the best in our profession, and we are excited to recognize them. Please watch the ceremony live at 4 pm Sunday, January 24.
Leaders for Life:
I am excited to announce that Volusia Take Stock in Children scholar Veronia Sadek, a senior at Spruce Creek High School, is one of six statewide recipients of the Leaders for Life Fellowship. L4L recipients demonstrate strong leadership skills, moral character, and academic success, and the fellowship provides a scholarship of up to $40,000. Veronia plans to become a trauma surgeon.
CTE Logo Design:
Also this week, Deltona High School senior Robert Hylton, who plans to become a professional graphic designer, won the Career & Technical Education (CTE) logo contest. Students in CTE programs at eight high schools submitted 23 logo designs, and the public was invited to vote for the winner. The new logo will be used to refresh CTE’s visual brand.
We have distributed laptops to all of our high schools and, this coming week, will be distributing laptops to our middle schools as we prepare to transform to a full Technology 1-to-1 school district this summer. Every student will have a laptop (grades 3-12) or iPad (grades Pre-K to 2) starting next school year, which will give our student's technology equality and enhance their learning environment.
Graduation Rate Increase:
Our big news at the high school level is our graduation rate. We received our data for the Class of 2020 this month, and our graduation rate increased 3.2% – improving for the 10th straight year! We had even bigger gains in our subsets broken down by race, the economically disadvantaged, and at-risk students. Our graduation rate is the highest ever. We have worked very hard on this. Our strategy focuses on providing individualized support to seniors, close monitoring of seniors’ credits and grades, more career technology programs, more advanced programs, and intensive remediation for students who need it. It is a major team effort.
We are always looking for new ways to share the VCS story, and we now have social media accounts for our School Board Members! Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:
- Linda Cuthbert, Chair – @VCSCuthbert
- Jamie Haynes, Vice-Chair – @VCSHaynes
- Anita Burnette – @VCSBurnette
- Ruben Colon – @VCSColon
- Carl Persis – @VCSPersis
I’m also on social media at @VCSBalgobin, and we will soon launch accounts for Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz.
Dr. Fritz Returns:
Dr. Fritz will return to the helm of the district on February 1. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as superintendent during Dr. Fritz’s medical leave.
We will kick off our second semester next week with Celebrate Literacy Week, followed by Black History Month in February. Let’s learn and grow together. Remember, Together, We Are Stronger!
Dr. Carmen J. Balgobin
Superintendent, Volusia County Schools