It was so wonderful to welcome all of your children back to school in Volusia County recently. Only a few weeks into the school year, there is such a feeling of excitement and renewed energy in the air, as well as an eagerness around all of the fresh possibilities a new school year brings.

As I visit schools in these opening weeks, it is such a joy to see our students reconnect with old friends and extend a warm welcome to new ones, to see our teachers smile as they begin to educate a new class of young minds and prepare them to change the world and to celebrate the start of so many new initiatives this year, such as expanded career and technical offerings, language programs, advanced programs and early learning opportunities.

Here are a few first-day statistics I want to share:

  • Over 63,600 students were enrolled across 87 schools.

  • We had 4,017 classroom teachers, including 418 new VCS teachers.

  • Over 390 School Way Café workers provided 8,114 breakfasts (up 9.7% from last year) and 27,080 lunches (up 3.5% from last year) to students.

  • Bus operators drove 9,000 students to school across 159 routes.

As you can see, we have a dedicated team at Volusia County Schools working to make sure your children are receiving an outstanding education in a clean and safe learning environment, as well as getting the proper nutrition to fuel their minds.

Beyond traditional academics, there are many other elective and extracurricular opportunities, such as career and technical programs, athletics and arts, that we are excited to offer your children.

As we celebrate the arts in this edition of Parent Magazine, it’s a great time to draw attention to the importance of art in its many forms and the variety of opportunities your child has to participate and succeed in programs that unlock their creativity, whether in or outside of school.

It is truly awe-inspiring to see so many talented students in Volusia County – singers, dancers, musicians, artists and more – who are recognized across the state, country and even across the world for their achievements.

Participating in arts programs is such a wonderful and integral part of a well-rounded education. Not only do students learn their chosen art, but they also gain confidence and communications skills, practice teamwork, improve critical thinking skills and enhance their academic performance, all desired qualities as students and as they build careers after graduation.

I cannot wait to see what this year brings, as I’m sure your children will have so many accomplishments to celebrate in the arts and beyond. We plan to cheer them on each step of the way as we look ahead to achieving excellence together this year.

Dr. Carmen J. Balgobin
Superintendent of Schools