Walton County School District makes list for Highest Academic Performance Districts in Florida

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 10:37 PM CST
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Walton County School District has gotten an A+ grade for the 2021-2022 school year from the Florida Department of Education.

It is also one of the 14 districts in Florida to make the list of High Academic Performance.

“We’re proud to be the number 3 ranked school district in the state of Florida out of 67,” Superintendent A. Russel Hughes said.

All 67 Florida school districts are evaluated and graded on test scores, student-to-teacher ratio, class sizes, and budgeting.

This is the fourth consecutive year the district has been graded an A+ by the Florida Department of Education, and educators say it takes a village.

“Our teachers, our staff, our students... Everybody works extremely hard to accomplish the goal of getting better, just making gains every day,” Donna Simmons, principal of Freeport High School, said.

Staff says a big part of helping students excel goes beyond the classroom.

“We don’t leave who we are at the bus ramp when we get here. If a student is having a bad day, if a student is struggling with something, they can’t focus on their academics,” Ted Missildine, a teacher at Freeport High School, said. “Everyone from the lunchroom staff, the custodial staff, to the faculty and administration… we focus on what is going to help that student achieve not just in the classroom, but in life.”

Helping students be the best they can be.

“We have our saying ‘we want to be number one’. And not for status, not for our own accolades, but we believe children deserve it,” Hughes said. “And when we think children deserve it, we also believe that they can do it.”