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School News: School Board adopts three-year strategic plan | - FlagSpin

School News: School Board adopts three-year strategic plan |

The Volusia County School Board has adopted a three-year strategic plan to guide the school district in five critical areas: high-quality instruction, employee recruitment, learning environment, resources/operations and communication/community engagement.

Developed with input from School Board members, Volusia County Schools staff, employee unions, families and community members, the plan is built around the vision statement to “Create lifelong learners prepared for an ever-changing global society.” It includes a new mission statement: “Volusia County Schools will ignite a passion for learning in all students to be productive citizens.”

If your student has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), Volusia County Schools and the Florida Department of Education would like to hear from you for the annual ESE Parent Survey. The survey is open now through May 31.

Paper copies were distributed and sent home with your student, or parents can complete the survey online at

The survey will gather information on how well parents think their student’s school is partnering with parents of students with disabilities. Responses will help guide efforts to improve services and results for children and families.

This survey is for parents of students with an IEP, receiving special-education services during the 2021-22 school year. All information provided will remain confidential.

Volusia Online Learning and Volusia Live students may request the paper survey from Volusia Online Learning or their school’s assistant principal or designee, or the survey may be completed online. For more information, call 386-734-7190, ext. 21979.

Spring Holiday is on everyone’s mind. There will be no school Friday, March 19, which is a Teacher Duty Day/Student Holiday, marking the end of the third grading period. Spring Holiday begins Monday, March 22, and students return to class Monday, March 29.

Enterprise Elementary School

Each month, the Volusia County School Board puts the spotlight on one school during the board meeting. The most recent spotlight was on Enterprise Elementary School. The Enterprise Rockstars sang “Together in This” from The Jungle Book. Principal Alicia Douglas presented a video on the history of the school, school personnel’s commitment to academic excellence and families, and how they are rising above the challenges of the pandemic.

Spirit Elementary School

Volusia County Schools recently had a School Bus Safety Poster and PSA Contest, sponsored by the Volusia Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, which strives to improve student transportation and promote school-bus-safety awareness. Two of the three PSA contest winners were from Spirit Elementary School in Deltona. Jack Elliot, a third-grader, took first place, and David Elliot Roberts, a fourth-grader, took second.

River Springs Middle School

The Volusia County School Board has appointed Nathaniel Anderson as assistant principal for River Springs Middle School in Orange City.

DeLand High School

The Daytona Beach News-Journal has announced the Medallion of Excellence recipients for the Class of 2021. Three DeLand High School students, Caitlin Lauer, Georgia Lee and Josh Whittaker, are among the recipients in the Volusia-Flagler area.

Lauer is in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and holds a 4.61 GPA. She ranks 12th in her class and is the president of the French National Honor Society, as well as a member of the National Honor Society and the French Club.

Lee has a 4.56 GPA while taking dual-enrollment classes at Daytona State and Advanced Placement courses on the DHS campus. She has played basketball all four years, while also running cross-country and track. Lee organized a free prom dress event for students who could not afford a prom dress.

Whittaker is in the IB program and holds a 4.61 GPA. He is the president of the local Junior NAACP chapter, and is an active member of the DeLand High School Marching Bulldogs and the Air Force JROTC Program.

The latest edition of The Growler, the DHS student newspaper, is out. The editors include Sophia Hazzard, news; Sara Keller, opinion; Courtney Folsom and Natalia Pena, entertainment; and Christian Lott, sports; with teacher April Sniffen serving as the adviser.

The staff includes Logan Buscher, Veronica Eissler, Erika Foti, Sabrina Giles, Cora Hamilton, Izzy Helfrich, Anna Kolin, Marina Meretz, Sydney Neira, Nick Rios, Mahala Shearer, Regan Sloan, Izzy Svolto and Clara Wait.

Avant Garde, a dance group, earned straight superiors at this year’s Volusia County Dance Assessment, with seven members being selected for the All-County Dance Team. These are Kaiya Morgan, Kylie Flowers, Lydia Barnard, Lilyana Vargas, McKenzie Williams, Leanette Negron and Clayvia Gonsalves. The group is advised by teacher Heather Gleason.

DeLand High School Athletics

At the East Coast Classic Track Meet at Flagler Palm Coast, Jiya Hastings and Kevar Williams took first-place finishes among the 20 schools represented. Hastings won the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 5.25 inches, while Williams won the 100-meter dash at 10.99 seconds. Hastings also took third in the 100 and fourth in the 200.

The DeLand boys took third in the distance medley relay, while the boys’ 4X400 relay team took seventh, with the girls’ 4X400 relay team taking eighth. Sydney Neira was seventh in the 800 meters.

The DeLand baseball team picked up its first win of the season by stopping Deltona Trinity Christian, 15-0, while losing to Orangewood Christian, 9-3, Winter Park, 9-2, and West Orange, 10-1.

The DHS athletic calendar is highlighted with the Big “D” Relay track meet taking place on the DeLand High oval at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 13. The junior-varsity baseball team travels to Atlantic at 10 a.m.

Monday, March 15, has the baseball team traveling to Deltona Trinity Christian for a 4 p.m. game.

On Tuesday, March 16, the girls’ flag-football team will go to New Smyrna Beach for games at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the Lady Bulldog softball team hosting New Smyrna Beach at 4:30 p.m. on the campus field, and the baseball team heading to Deltona High for games at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 17, has the boys’ weightlifting team going to Spruce Creek at 4:30 p.m., while the flag-football team goes to Seabreeze at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

On Thursday, March 18, the softball team travels to University High, with the varsity playing at 4 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. junior-varsity game. The baseball team will travel across the county to New Smyrna Beach for a 7 p.m. game.

Friday, March 19, has the track team going to Spruce Creek at 8 a.m.

Pine Ridge High School

Pine Ridge High School in Deltona is selling Pine Ridge face masks for $6. They can be purchased in the Activity Office during lunch or by paying online via the school website Click on Pay Online on the home-page, select Pine Ridge High School, and on the last page will be the PRHS masks.

Students are reminded to reserve their 2020-21 yearbooks before the price goes up after Spring Holiday. There will be preorders only, with no extra yearbooks to be sold.

Pine Ridge congratulates Deidre Jones on earning the Girl Scouts Gold Award. She is the first Girl Scout in the Deltona area to earn a Gold Award, which is given to less than 5 percent of Girl Scouts. She also took 17th in the FHSAA State Weightlifting Championships.

Science teacher Megan Paytas has been selected as Pine Ridge’s First-Year Teacher of the Year.

Senior Zech Baker has signed his national letter of intent to continue his education and football-playing career at Warner University in Lake Wales.

The December Student Panther of the Month for freshmen was Alma Reyes.

Pine Ridge would like to welcome language-arts teacher Carey Davis.

Administrative-staff honorees of the week include ESE teacher Kathryn Buday and Media Clerk Sharon Smith.

The boys’ weightlifting team won a meet with New Smyrna Beach, 44-31. Josiah Robinson, Clayton Wilks, Nate Brazel, Dominique Gorham, Sinsear Small and Jagger Brockhaus took first place.

The Pine Ridge chorus gave a moving performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to celebrate Black History Month.

Taylor Middle-High School

Students Jahira Gonzales, Jennifer Mendoza and Emily Schanz of Taylor Middle-High School in Pierson took third place in the School Bus Safety PSA Contest.

University High School

The track team from University High School in Orange City recently competed at the East Coast Classic Track Meet. Angel Lebron took fourth place in the boys’ triple jump; Kiley Stahlman was fifth in the 100 hurdles; Royce Eggert and Lavant Byrd earned seventh-place finishes in the 3,200 meters and 110 high hurdles, respectively; and Briahna Martin was eighth in the 300 hurdles.

At the Deltona Developmental Track Meet, the following University Titan athletes took first place: Byrd, Eggert, Caroline Sholar, Anthony Atanda, Hailey Theodore, Shelby Witschey, Justin Martinez, Brandon Amoah and Morgan Northey.

Stetson University

The Stetson University Gillespie Museum has launched a free virtual Armchair Geology Science Series. The first of these took place Feb. 24, with Dr. Ben Tanner of Stetson’s Environmental Science and Studies Department and four of his student researchers discussing “Coring 101: Everything the Armchair Geologist Needs to Know.” This can be found at

Other presentations will be 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, with Dr. J.P. Gannon; 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, with Dr. Cheryl Waters-Tormey; and 5-6 p.m. Thursday, April 15, with Ethan Fagan.

Participants can register for the Science Care Series: Armchair Geology and receive the Zoom link and information after sending an email with Armchair Geology in the subject line to the Gillespie Museum, at

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University women’s rowing team has been selected to finish third in the Metro Atlantic Conference preseason poll. The teams selected include Marist, Jacksonville University, Stetson, Drake, Robert Morris, Canisius, Fairfield, Manhattan, Sacred Heart and Iona.

The Hatter baseball team stopped Florida A&M, 3-1 and 6-0, then UCF, 7-0, and North Alabama, 8-3, to hand head coach Steve Trimper his 600th career victory.

In the win over UCF, Eric Foggo hit a home run, as did Andrew MacNeil, Nick DiPonzio and Jorge Arenas against North Alabama. MacNeil also had four RBIs.

The Stetson women’s basketball team topped Kennesaw State, 64-53, with Yazz Wazeerud-Din scoring 20 points. Maddie Novak and Kiya Turner each made 11 points, and Megan Vincent made 10.

Jackie Fiacco has been selected as the ASUN Women’s Soccer Player of the Week.

The Stetson volleyball team was stopped by North Florida, 3-2, and then bounced back with a win over the Ospreys, 3-0, with scores of 25-19, 29-27 and 25-17.

The men’s tennis team defeated Mercer, 6-1, with the women stopping Florida A&M, 5-2.

The Hatter men’s basketball team was narrowly stopped by North Florida, 79-74, with senior Christiaan Jones scoring 34 points, and making five rebounds and two steals. Freshman Chase Johnston had 17 points, and Mahamadou Diawara scored 14 points, along with six rebounds and one blocked shot.

The Stetson athletic calendar has the baseball team at Alabama at 7 p.m. Friday, March 12, with the lacrosse team hosting Gardner-Webb at 3 p.m., and the men’s tennis team greeting Furman.

On Saturday, March 13, the women’s soccer team hosts Jacksonville at 7 p.m., and the baseball team plays at Alabama at 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 14, has Georgia State facing the men’s tennis team at 2 p.m. on the Stetson courts, and the baseball team faces Alabama one more time at 2 p.m. that day.

Tuesday, March 16, sends the baseball team to USF at 6 p.m.

On Friday, March 19, the baseball team returns to Melching Field to face Wichita State at 6:30 p.m., and the men’s and women’s tennis teams host Kennesaw State.

Saturday, March 20, has the men’s soccer team on campus to face Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m., with the baseball team greeting FIU at 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday, March 21, the baseball team hosts FIU at 3:30 p.m., and the men’s tennis team faces North Florida at 3 p.m. on campus.

College honors

Matthew Lind, of DeLand, has been named to the dean’s list at the University of Florida.

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Travis Burnett

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