Perhaps you heard the story of the mother shouting to her son, “You are going to be late. Get out of bed and get ready for school. Her son, with his face buried in a pillow, sluggishly replied, “Nobody likes me. I don’t want to go to school!” To which his mother answered, “What did you expect? You’re the principal. Now get up and go to school.”

As a former elementary and middle school principal, I can say the start of every school year is both exhilarating and exhausting. This holds true for parents, school district employees and of course, students. The adrenaline pumping through the school staff provides the high energy necessary for the professional meetings and interactions with students and parents.

This year, the Volusia County School Board extended the elementary school day by thirty minutes to make sure the state required twenty minutes of unstructured daily recess would be a benefit to our students without decreasing the total amount of daily instructional time. Research clearly shows children need unstructured time to learn social skills, gain confidence, and demonstrate their creativity.

The Board also approved the purchase of new elementary instructional materials for reading and mathematics. Teachers attended training sessions throughout the summer and are excited to have these textbooks for their students. I always say,

“Happy teachers make happy students, who make happy parents.”

As a parent, I know there is not anything more important than the safety of your children. I am very proud of the increased security measures in place at all of Volusia County’s public schools. Our schools have professionally trained guardians or law enforcement personnel on site all day, every day. Schools are fenced to prevent unwelcomed access and designed to create single points of access. Cameras and new technology to provide visibility to everyone who needs to know about a potential threat on campus are being installed. The District is fully committed to providing a safe, secure, and friendly environment for our students, staff, and visitors.

When parents and teachers work together great things happen for students. So let’s continue to work together to support our teachers and make this the best year ever for every child.