As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I send each of you a sincere word of thanks and my warmest wishes for a happy and safe holiday celebration with your loved ones. This is the time of year that gives us the opportunity to reflect on all the things that we should be thankful for.

We have students who are thriving in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. We have student teams earning high honors at the local, state and national levels in various competitions. We have parents who unconditionally love and support their children. We have a community that regularly pulls together in a shared commitment to our students. We have teachers, staff and administrators who work tirelessly to become better educators to uplift our students and keep our buildings safe and our systems running smoothly. As a community, we are passionately committed to preparing our students for college, careers and bright futures filled with opportunity and choice.

Our students, staff and community continue to impress me every day. I’d like to share with you a few recent celebrations and activities.

We proudly celebrated our new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) bus in October. This is a mobile lab filled with technology and workstations that support 21st-century learning with the support of technology like drones, plasma balls, robots, 3D printers and more. On this bus, elementary students will conduct hands-on experiments, build prototypes and solve real-world issues. They will learn to question assumptions, wonder why something is the way it is and brainstorm how they can make it better. This bus is a symbol of our commitment to preparing our students for bright futures.

I also want to acknowledge our talented group of student leaders, my Student Advisory Leadership Team. This improvement-focused group of high school seniors provides valuable information from their school sites each quarter. The students eagerly shared their thoughts on school improvement and innovation. Several initiatives that improve our school culture come directly from our student ambassador meetings. I always leave these meetings with a smile and gratitude for having students who are kind, caring, forward-thinking and compassionate.

In October, our school sites also completed their nominations for their Teacher of the Year. We hosted a special event to recognize these amazing teachers, and we are excited to announce the VCS Teacher of the Year in January. We have so many bright and energetic educators who are deserving of this special recognition.

Indeed, we have much to be thankful for here in Volusia County Schools. Our collective vision for an even brighter tomorrow is what keeps us focused on the daily work that we do in support of all students. The unwavering support provided to our students by their families and our community is the foundation of our success in all that we do. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Dr. Carmen J. Balgobin
Superintendent of Schools