Letter: Volusia County Schools Superintendent Tom Russell is "all in"
The 2018-19 school year is officially upon us, and we have so much to look forward to in Volusia County Schools. Our theme for the upcoming school year is “All-In,” which highlights the outstanding teamwork and partnerships that keep our district moving forward in a positive manner.
A new school year always comes with high levels of excitement and anticipation. The beginning of each year allows us to re-focus on our vision statement, which is to “ensure all students receive a superior 21st century education.” In order to do that effectively, we understand that a safe learning environment must be provided for our students.
In keeping with the law, all schools will have an armed guard on campus this year. Most elementary schools will be assigned an armed School Guardian, while middle and high schools, as well as the elementary schools in Daytona Beach and South Daytona, will have a School Resource Officer or Deputy.
As these security measures are instituted, it is just as important for us to train our staff and students. Through the Sandy Hook Promise, these three “age appropriate” training programs will be implemented:
- See Something, Say Something – focused on how to look for warning signs, signals and threats of violence, especially on social media;
- Start with Help – focused on how to be more inclusive, kinder and connected to each other;
- Signs of Suicide – focused on how to identify, intervene and obtain help for at-risk individuals. Social workers, counselors, psychologists, nurses, mental health crisis teams will be in place to do this important work.
Each school will have a school-level threat response team and will work directly with the newly-hired school safety specialist. All students and staff will also be trained on our new safety and security standards twice a year.
We take the safety and security of our students and staff very seriously. We have had a very good security plan in place and believe these additional measures will only enhance it. We are thankful for the partners we have in our community and know our students will benefit. We are excited for the school year, and look forward to seeing how our students, staff, and administrators grow and learn together.
We are “All-In!”
James T. Russell, Superintendent