Yikes! Can it really be 2020? Yes, it is. The good news is with the start of each year comes the opportunity to embrace new beginnings. January is the ideal month to kick start a positive attitude. Resolve to make things better for yourself, your family, and your work place.

I am proud to say the Volusia County School District recently took a giant step in making public education even better by hiring its new school superintendent, Dr. Ronald Scott Fritz. Dr. Fritz began his career as a paraprofessional, teacher and principal in Hillsborough County. He was promoted to the position of assistant superintendent in Orange County where he worked for five years. Most recently, he was again promoted to the position of deputy superintendent in Osceola County where he worked for the past three years.

Clearly, new beginnings are taking place in our school district and these are exciting times. Change is inevitable and as a policy maker, I am ready to support all recommendations to provide more opportunities for our students to graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful adults. One of our major goals is to improve our graduation rate by engaging students in career paths for which they have demonstrated aptitude and interest.

One of the best things parents can do to help their children in school is to make them aware of careers. A child’s interest usually indicates a child’s strength. Parents need to notice what their children love to do and relate this activity to jobs and the world of work.

No later than the middle school years, students need to learn the connection between what they learn in school to what they want to achieve and do after high school graduation. Start this year by having a conversation with your children or grandchildren about school in relation to jobs and careers, not grades and homework. Make it fun!

Remember, new beginnings start with fresh thoughts about the future. Shake off the old bad habits and ways of thinking. Speak in positive ways and model what you want your children to become. Indeed, parents are their children’s first and most important teacher. So get going to make 2020 the best year ever!

Carl Persis

Chair, Volusia County School Board