Okaloosa County School District

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School resource Officers Jerry Hooks and Eddie Duran have spent the last few years patrolling the hallways of Choctawhatchee High School. But their work goes beyond being the eyes and ears of the school. They're also the masterminds behind the Choctaw Clothing Closet, a free resource for students that offers gently-used clothes and shoes. 

The program has expanded to every school in the Okaloosa County School District. 

It all started two years ago when Deputies Hooks and Duran noticed some students weren’t wearing weather-appropriate clothes. 

School Cents Make Sense

 

Okaloosa voters on Election Day will decide on a half-cent sales tax that could boost School District revenue for the next 10 years.

With an estimated forecast of $256 million, the half-cent tax would provide needed revenue for long-overdue projects throughout the district. Newly elected Superintendent Marcus Chambers said his top priorities include safety initiatives, new AC units, and roofs. 

Schools in Okaloosa County will start Aug. 31 after the county School Board unanimously approved the updated 2020-2021 school year calendar at the board meeting Monday night. 

Schools have been pushed back from Aug. 11 to Aug. 31 to allow teachers and staff to prepare for another school year during the pandemic. 

Okaloosa County School District

 

 

The Okaloosa County School District has solidified plans for honoring its graduating seniors. True walk-across-the-stage ceremonies are set for July. In addition, starting today (Thurs), the taping begins on a professionally produced video for each senior.

 

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Local school districts are making plans on the fly as the response to the coronavirus continues to evolve. If there was any good news for local school superintendents it’s that this week was already a scheduled week off for spring break.

"The plan was always to use our custodial staff this week to completely deep-clean all the classrooms,” said Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

Pensacola High School

The Florida Department of Education has released graduation rates for 2019. Statewide, there was a slight increase of .08 percentage points to 86.9%.

With one exception, there also were gains in graduation rates in school districts across region.

“Well, the news is that for 2019 our graduation rate for on-time graduation is 84.8%,” said Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas. This marks a 4.1% increase of 2018, when the rate was 80.7%.

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In the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida, school safety and security has been pushed to the forefront.

The February 2018 shooting in Parkland left 17 people, students and staff, dead. Seventeen people were injured.

With the new school year now underway, district officials here in Northwest Florida provided an update on some of the measures they’ve taken to improve campus safety.

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Summer is over for students in Northwest Florida, as they head back to class Monday for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

There is a lot of optimism for the new year, and offiials have been checking off a long list of things that had to be done to get ready. 

Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended Okaloosa County School Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.

The governor made the announcement during a short news briefing this Friday morning in Tallahassee.

“As you remember there have been several grand jury reports that have been very scathing about her conduct and her dereliction of duty,” said DeSantis in reference to the investigation into Jackson’s handling of a 2016 report of alleged child abuse involving a six-year-old autistic boy at Kenwood Elementary School.

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Education officials across Florida are digging into the details of their school and district grades for the 2017-18 school year to see where they can make improvements when classes resume this fall.

The Florida Department of Education released the grades on June 27.

Florida now has more than 1,000 “A” schools (1,027 schools) up from 987 in 2017 and 763 in 2016. The percentage of schools earning an "A" increased to 32 percent, up from 30 percent in 2016-17.

Classes resume this week and next in public schools across Florida’s western Panhandle, with the usual challenges that a new school year brings the districts. In the first of our three-part series “Back to School,” Dave Dunwoody spoke with Okaloosa County Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.

It’s a busy start to the new term. The biggest challenges, says Jackson, are getting rid of 160 portable classrooms on campuses; and 770 more students than in 2016-17 and growing at the rate of 100 per day. That brings the district’s total student population to more than 31,000.  

  The race for School Superintendent in Okaloosa County will be decided on primary day this year. Earlier this year, the Okaloosa County School District was one of only three districts in the state with an “A” grade. There are two candidates vying to lead the district for the next four years. One is current Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, who is seeking a second term after defeating Alexis Tibbits in 2012. She says voters should judge her on her actions not her words. "In the last four years we've moved academically from number 11 to number 2 in the state.

Photo via Flickr// Allan Chatto / https://flic.kr/p/9PBUZ3

High School graduation rates in Florida for the class of 2015 were the highest in 12 years, according to figures released by the state Department of Education.

That 77.8% statewide graduation mark is up more than 18 points since the 2003-04 school year, and nearly two percent higher than last year. The Escambia County district's 2014-15 graduation rate came in at 72.7%, up from 66.1% in 2013-14, and 15 points from 2010-11.