Flagler April 2021

The Camp Issue

Flagler April 2021
The Camp Issue
April 2021

View Contents

St. Johns April 2021

The Camp Issue

St. Johns April 2021
The Camp Issue
April 2021

View Contents

Volusia April 2021

The Camp Issue

Volusia April 2021
The Camp Issue
April 2021

View Contents

From the Volusia County School Board

One of our family’s favorite travel adventures was taking the Amtrak Auto Train to Washington, D.C.

Our girls were students at New Smyrna Beach High School then, and we had so much fun playing games on board and seeing the countryside from the train. It was fabulous!

Once we arrived in the nation’s capital, we visited the memorials and toured the Smithsonian museums. I still fondly remember the malt shop in the basement of the National Museum of Natural History.

Now that Spring Break is behind us, and we’ve started the fourth quarter, summer vacation for students is not far off. With coronavirus precautions still in place, there are limitations on travel again this year.

But there are still plenty of outdoor summer fun opportunities! Families can explore state parks, go camping, and take day trips to attractions and museums where health and safety guidelines are in place. April is the perfect time to start making your plans!

Children (and often, their parents) learn from enrichment activities and new experiences. You can make a game out of asking questions about what each family member enjoyed the most – and something each person learned.

A great way to unplug and unwind is camping. Whether it’s a family trip or a stay-away camp through a youth organization, camping is a great way to experience nature up-close. Camping builds family bonds – some of the best conversations happen around the campfire!

Florida offers many fantastic camping choices through state and county parks and private campgrounds. Be sure to make your reservations early – camping is popular year-round here.

Parenting tip: Involve your kids in planning your summer travel and camping adventures. Give them options and let them make some of the choices. Allow each child to pick one activity or attraction during your summer trip. This approach reinforces in children that adults value their input and are willing to trust their decisions.

On a different topic, do you have a student entering kindergarten? It’s time to get them registered! Our Kindergarten Roundup registration will be done through the VCS website: www.vcsedu.org. To begin kindergarten, a child must be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2021. Additional information about the documents needed is available on the VCS website. We look forward to welcoming your little ones to Volusia County Schools!

You may also like:

From the St. Johns Superintendent

This month, Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship, all six CHARACTER COUNTS! pillars are celebrated. I encourage you to engage in activities where you and your children can display and focus on any of the pillars. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a reflective exercise with principals and it resulted in some further reflection on my part. This year has been like no other and we have all worked with challenges and unexpected roadblocks like never before. It is early in the second semester and we still have three months of work ahead of us, so I would like to share some of what I have witnessed this school year.

Custodians do not simply clean floors, desks and tables. They have been maintaining sanitary, healthy schools while still wearing a smile and supporting children by making them feel welcome. Foodservice workers are not simply preparing and distributing food. They are greeting children and staff members and providing nourishment when children need it the most. Secretaries, clerks and support personnel are not only fulfilling the many tasks that help a school run smoothly, they are also the connection students and parents need when there seem to be so many barriers that separate us. Teachers have stayed on pace with instructional lessons as expected. They have also continuously checked on students to be certain they are doing well and their needs are being met. Sometimes the teaching has nothing to do with the standards because the immediate need of a child or class may be far greater. School leaders have managed schools well and made sure everyone is kept as safe as possible during this pandemic. They have designed and redesigned schedules and plans to help teachers and students. District staff have done not only their work but whatever needed to be done at any given time. Bus drivers, maintenance workers and technology staff have been making sure kids get to school and schools have what they need. I have also watched employees drive up to homes of our students and help families with technology or instructional materials. Our School Board has gone about the business of responding to the needs of the school district. Each of them has also personally invested in the schools and their staffs to be of service and provide the resources to support children.

This year was another historical year as we celebrated and recognized all of the School-Related Employees of the Year. These employees are so important in fulfilling the mission of our district. The applications for the distinct honor varied in skills and abilities, but the love for children resonates in them and makes a very daunting task for the judges. This year’s St. Johns County School District School (SJCSD) Related Employee of the Year is John D’Attoma, lead operator for the Transportation Department. 

Mr. D’Attoma has over six years of experience in operating a bus in the school district. He arrives at work ready to transport hundreds of students each day with a smile on his face and excitement for the school day. In the SJCSD safety is paramount. As a school bus operator, Mr. D’Attoma is not only responsible for safely transporting students to and from school daily, but he also conducts daily pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the bus to ensure proper operating conditions, adherence to prescribed DOT standards and compliance with proper safety standards. In his role as a lead operator, Mr. D’Attoma is responsible for training, developing, coaching and mentoring over 30 fellow bus operators assigned to his region. Mr. D’Attoma has been instrumental in the department’s efforts to provide supplies, technology and support to students and families during the pandemic. COVID-19 provided an opportunity for him to serve others in ways that he would not normally be involved. His commitment to go beyond getting the job done is what makes him an excellent employee.  


Tim Forson, Superintendent of Schools,
St. Johns County School District

You may also like:

From the Editor

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

Spring has sprung, and with it we begin to dream about summer days.  Camps and travel headline this issue as we dream of a summer where our families get to have adventures outside the home and our children get to have adventures with their friends again.

Together this month, we will explore virtual day camps, how to prepare your preschooler for day camps, tips and locations for the families wanting to dive into camping and road trip tips.  We also have included an article on how to help your kids handle disappointment, because if the last 13 months have taught us anything, it is that plans change and things don’t always turn out like you have planned.

We hope you have a wonderful April.  Get vaccinated, stay safe and enjoy our world continuing to open up!  We wish you health and happiness!

Join us in May for our Mom’s issue!  

With a Spring in my Step,

You may also like:

Smart sleep: Your child’s struggle to snooze may affect more than their dreams

There’s nothing sweeter than a sleeping child. But did you know those hours of shut-eye (or lack thereof) can impact much more than your little one’s mood?

Sleep apnea, a condition where a person has trouble breathing while sleeping, is noted for its trademark nighttime noise: a loud snore. Around 1% to 4% of children suffer from the condition, which can cause more than an interruption to a good night’s sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when an airway becomes narrowed and physically blocked. If the back of the nose or throat becomes completely obstructed, individuals with OSA can even stop breathing.

According to Gary Josephson, MD, pediatric otolaryngologist (ENT) with Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, researchers have discovered these brief breathing pauses could have major effects on many aspects of a child’s life, including poor performance at school.

Rest is best

A study from Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Pediatrics evaluated two groups of children: one group had OSA and the other did not. Using MRI technology – a special type of imaging test that looks inside the brain – as well as sleep studies that measured breathing patterns, researchers were able to come to a striking conclusion.

The children who had severe OSA had lower IQs and cognitive function than those who did not. The breathing interruptions caused by the condition can reduce the amount of oxygen the body takes in and increase the amount of carbon dioxide retained, potentially damaging the brain and altering a child’s intellectual potential.

“If left untreated, pediatric OSA can cause memory issues and even decrease performance at school,” Dr. Josephson said. “A good night’s sleep is essential for healthy childhood development.”

Snoring is just one symptom of OSA. The condition can be completely silent and jolt children awake when they stop breathing, with the only sign being hyperactivity while awake due to sleep deprivation.

“Kids often don’t show tiredness in the same way adults do,” Dr. Josephson said. “OSA can be misdiagnosed as ADHD if there are no visible indications, such as making unusual noises during the night.”

Other signs of OSA include:

• Bedwetting
• Excessive sleepiness during the day
• Mouth breathing
• Waking up with a gasping or choking sound

Tiny tissues, big issues

According to Dr. Josephson, in most cases, a tiny patch of tissue in the nose or throat is to blame.

Tonsils and adenoids are groups of tissue that sit at the back of the throat and nose, respectively. They help defend against viruses and bacteria that try to enter the body, but may cause health issues if they become infected and swollen.

Swelling in these tissues is the most common cause of OSA in children. If an ENT decides surgery is needed, both the tonsils and adenoids are usually removed at the same time.

“Around 85% of all tonsillectomies [a procedure during which the tonsils are surgically removed] are performed to correct sleep issues,” Dr. Josephson said. “Removing the tonsils and adenoids resolves OSA completely in most cases and can greatly improve a child’s quality of sleep and quality of life.”

The following conditions may also be risk factors for developing pediatric OSA:

• Abnormalities in the skull or face, such as a deviated septum
• Allergies
• Cerebral palsy
• Down syndrome
• Family history of obstructive sleep apnea
• Low birth weight
• Neuromuscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy
• Obesity
• Sickle cell disease

If you have a concern about your child’s school performance and suspect OSA as a factor, you can seek a referral to a pediatric ENT for a full airway evaluation. This assessment will determine whether your child has OSA, the cause of the condition, and potential treatment options.

Source: National Institutes of Health

You may also like:

Book Nook - April 2021

Kindergarten-Third Grade

The Great Indoors 

By Julie Falatko; illustrated by Ruth Chan

In this mischievous comedy, as the humans leave in a camper van, bears, beavers, deer and skunks move into their house. The deer bring a karaoke machine; the beavers take over the kitchen; etc. The animals’ week of excess leads to chaos before they all depart, cheerfully promising to return next year. Expressive cartoon illustrations play up the outlandish humor inherent in forest creatures vacationing indoors. (Review courtesy of Horn Book Guide) Interest Level: K-3; To purchase this book, click here.


Third-Sixth Grade

Song for a Whale 

By Lynne Kelly

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him but he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter

Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves. Interest Level: 3-6; To purchase this book, click here.

Young Adult

Wild bird 

By Wendelin Van Draanen

Fourteen-year-old Wren Clemmens is awakened by cops at 3:47 a.m. and forcibly delivered to a wilderness therapy program in the southern Utah desert. It’s no surprise that she is filled with anger, bitterness, and resentment-at her parents, her tattle-tale older sister, and the world. Wren had become caught in a downward spiral of drinking, drug abuse and shoplifting, and her parents found themselves without other options. Now Wren is forced to confront the unforgiving elements and the stark results of her actions. Gradually, however, she lets down her

defenses and learns who she wants to be. This is a strikingly raw and emotional story about making poor choices, facing the agonizing consequences, and ultimately experiencing the joy of getting a second chance. This first-person narrative perfectly captures Wren’s cynical yet vulnerable teen voice. The protagonist’s transformation is slow but realistic. Flashbacks flow naturally through the book, eventually revealing how Wren arrived at this point. The author deals with some heavy issues but never crosses the line into sensationalism. VERDICT A hopeful novel that demonstrates that people can change. (Review courtesy of School Library Journal) Grade 8 & Up. To purchase this book, click here.

You may also like:

Community Service Spotlight

Boys & Girls Clubs Volusia/Flagler Counties (BGCVFC) saves and changes the lives of children and teens, especially those who need us most, by providing a safe, positive and engaging environment and programs that prepare and inspire them to achieve great futures. We have 8 Clubs in Volusia and Flagler Counties: DeLand, Deltona, Lake Helen, Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Holly Hill, and Palm Coast.

Our Rymfire Boys & Girls Club, located at Rymfire Elementary School in Palm Coast, served 100 youth in 2020.  92% received free/reduced lunch, and 66% come from single family or non-traditional homes.  Because of COVID-19, we re-aligned how we offered our programs and services, and we stayed open to serve the children and families that need us most.  We suspended our fees in order to help families deal with the uncertainty and financial toll during this challenging period, but many local businesses helped support our mission by partnering with us.  Partners include AdventHealth, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ross, Michaels, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Bank of America, and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

BGCVFC serves 1,000 youth annually.  Our goal is to deliver programs that create happy and healthy children today, while building a foundation of success for tomorrow.  We strive to provide safe environments that keeps kids engaged and active in the hours after school and throughout the summer. Research shows that during periods of idleness and boredom, kids are vulnerable to peer pressure, violence and other risky activities. The risks are even higher for children from disadvantaged circumstances. We minimize those risks by engaging young people in activities with positive adult role models and peers, enabling them to learn powerful life skills.

BGVFCV has to raise over $1 million dollars each year.  We welcome the support of those in the Flagler area to broaden our partner base in order to continue to provide great futures to the kids who need us the most.

The Home Depot is a valued partner, providing in-kind and financial support.

Long-term supporters, AdventHealth and Bank of America, have been instrumental in providing the Club with PPE.

Michaels stores are generous partners, providing art supplies and other tremendous Club support.

Members from the Club visit their friends at Ross to say thank you for their partnership.

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, business leaders and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.

In Flagler County, three Rotary Clubs participate in service projects aimed at solving some of our world’s most persistent issues. Rotarians believe that the best way to find solutions is through service projects because service changes not only other people’s lives but also our own.

This month, the Rotary District 6970 Alumni Association, in partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Flagler Beach, Flagler County, Daytona Beach West and Downtown Ormond Beach, is holding two “Rotary Feeding Heroes” events that will provide 600 appreciation lunches to frontline Covid-19 healthcare workers at AdventHealth Palm Coast and Halifax Health Medical Center of Port Orange.

Rotary Club of Flagler Beach is an especially active club when it comes to serving our most vulnerable neighbors. Its service projects include: monthly groceries for 400 families in need, Christmas gifts for 1300 children, free books for children ages 0-5 in the 32136 zip code, scholarships for high school and adult ed students, water safety and surf camps for foster and at-risk children and the purchase of cribs to prevent SIDS in Flagler County.

Rotary forms partnerships with local businesses to strengthen service projects and find solutions. Rotary Club of Flagler Beach would especially like to recognize Hoyle, Tanner and Association, GAI Consultants Inc., Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering, AdventHealth, A1 Reliable Air Conditioning, Inc., Coast Title Insurance Company, Flagler Septic Services and KMI Design Group LLC for being major sponsors of last month’s Race of the Runways 5k – the club’s largest fundraiser of the year.

The Club provides bikes and toys to children.

The Swim and Surf program provides water safety and surf camps for foster and at-risk children.

Rotarian Cindy Dalecki at work at the Club’s monthly food distribution program.

The Rotary’s Flagler Flag Project supports many of the Club’s charitable projects.

You may also like: