Years ago, my daughter accidentally imprinted a fall scene, complete with corn stalks, scarecrow and sunset, onto our garage floor while painting a cloth backdrop for the school fall festival.

It remains today as a constant reminder of the joys of fall – fall festivals, homecoming, football, marching band, pumpkin-spice treats, cooler temperatures and glorious blue skies! We welcome a new holiday season starting with Halloween and look forward to family time during the holidays.

Homecoming is an especially nostalgic time for me each fall, and I’m so thankful our students will be able to celebrate this year with the first dance of the season, school spirit week and the big game.

Fall is also a serious time for students and parents. We’ve settled into our school routines, and October 15 is the end of the first grading period. Mid-term reports and the first report cards are the initial indications of how well your students are performing in all subjects and whether they are behaving appropriately and attending classes on time.

I encourage you to schedule a parent-teacher conference to review any areas of concern. It’s important to provide extra support to make sure your child is off to a strong start for a successful school year. Likewise, please reach out to your child’s teacher if there is anything occurring at home that might have an impact on your student’s school experience. Having parents and teachers on the same team benefits the child.

This year we have scheduled a student holiday/teacher duty day for Monday, October 18, to allow teachers to post the grades and prepare for the second quarter. Some other big occasions we plan to mark this month include Hispanic Heritage Month, Unity Day and National Bullying Prevention Month, Red Ribbon Week, National School Bus Safety Week and National School Lunch Week. Please follow our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) for coverage of the fun and learning.

Speaking of school lunch, I want to make sure everyone is aware School Way Café is serving meals (breakfast and lunch) to all VCS students attending in-person classes at no charge this school year. Even so, we ask everyone to please complete the free/reduced meals application to receive the letter of eligibility and to help VCS qualify for federal education funding. The application is available on the Volusia County Schools website and can be completed online.

I also want to give you a preview of our upcoming School Choice Fairs (for elementary and middle) and High School Showcase. We hope you will join us to explore the best educational options for your children. Save the dates!

The East Volusia schools’ Choice Fair will be 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, November 4, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach; and the West Volusia schools’ Choice Fair will be 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, November 30, at the Sanborn Activity Center in DeLand.

This year’s High School Showcase will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 2, at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.

Thank you for doing everything you can to stay safe but also to have as normal a school year as possible. Volusia County Schools is committed to providing a safe, healthy environment and to engaging all students in high levels of learning every day. We must all be flexible and remain positive and ready to learn.

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