Tag Archives: schools

Volusia’s Chitwood on back-to-school Monday: ‘Slow down and pay attention’

Slow down. Pay attention. Those are among the messages from local officials in preparation for Monday, the first day of the academic year for public schools in Volusia County.

Your work-week driving routine will change, even if you don’t have kids in the school system.

More than 70 schools are reopening across the county, meaning school zones are returning and thousands of students, parents, teachers, administrators and support staffers are hitting roadways and sidewalks.

Extra deputies will be deployed to enforce traffic laws and ensure students’ safety.

Drivers must slow down in school zones and stop at stop lines when children or crossing guards are in crosswalks, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Avoid school zones if possible. Remain alert. Avoid distractions.


“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it can’t happen to you,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a statement. “The moment you look down at your phone might be the moment an innocent child steps into the road. Don’t make a mistake you have to live with for the rest of your life. All we’re asking you to do is slow down and pay attention.”

Don’t text and drive. The same goes for pedestrians. Distracted people, whether drivers or walkers, are dangerous.

James T. Russell
Volusia County Superintendent of Schools

“Students may think a driver sees them, but if the driver is distracted or the student darts in front of the vehicle, the result can be tragic,” Volusia County School Superintendent Tom Russell said in a statement. “As a community we must be more aware of students traveling to and from school and exercise caution in school zones.”

Other safety reminders include:

  • Deputies are cracking down on speeders and crosswalk violators.
  • The law prohibits passing school buses on undivided roadways if the vehicles are stopped to load or unload children.
  • Drivers don’t have to stop if they are moving in the opposite direction of the bus on a highway divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States
  • Twenty-five percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
  • Following the rule s of drop-off/pick-up area are schools
  • Be prepared to stop at all times.

“Be especially careful in areas with parked vehicles on the side of the road. Children crossing between vehicles may be difficult for you to see,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Check out the Volusia County School District calendar for 2017-2018.

Volusia 2017-18 School Calendar

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Volusia school buses getting free Wi-Fi

Do your kids complain about not having enough time for homework? You might consider this response: Do it on the school bus. It has free Wi-Fi.

Under a pilot program launching Monday, students on Bus Route 131 in northeast Volusia County will get free Wi-Fi and, district officials hope, more time opportunities assignments.

“Five additional bus routes will be added later this spring,” the school district said in a statement. “By providing a structured roll-out of Wi-Fi on school buses, the district will be able to extend learning beyond the classroom walls and close the ‘homework gap’ that is present for students who do not have access to Wi-Fi at home.”

Bus Route 131 serves about 80 students who attend Pine Trail Elementary, Hinson Middle and Mainland High schools.

They will be able to “access to digital classroom materials and complete assignments online through the BYOT network while on the school bus,” the district said.

In Volusia County, which about the size of Rhode Island, some students are on school buses for as much as an hour one way.

“Students end up spending hundreds of hours on the school bus during the school year,” the district said.

The goal is to make that time productive.

The district will measure the pilot program by:

  • Collecting monthly information on bus-related behavior referral data
  • Counting the number of students accessing the network
  • Tracking student completion of digital assignments and “time-on-task” for students accessing digital curriculum.

Under the pilot program, students will have to abide by these rules:

  • Students must use their own technology. No sharing or passing around devices.
  • Students must use their own earbuds/earphones for any online activity that has sound.
  • Students must not be engaged in any bullying behavior that involves the technology.
The benefits of the technology may extend beyond the daily commutes.
Student athletes traveling to away games or students on field trips could “take advantage of travel time and extend learning beyond the classroom,” the district said.


Volusia officials: Be safe on Monday

Volusia officials are reminding drivers and students to use caution as school resumes Monday.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office will be cracking down on speeders, crosswalk violators and drivers who ignore school-bus laws.

“We need to look out for our children,” Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said in a statement.


Officials are reminding drivers that it is illegal to pass a bus on an undivided roadway if the bus is stopped to load or unload children.


“If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant said in a statement.

Drivers are urged to avoid school zones in Volusia, which has 70 public schools, if possible.

“Be prepared to slow down at school zones and keep an eye out for unpredictable children,” Gant said. “When children or crossing guards are in a crosswalk, drivers must stop at the marked stop line. If you’re not picking up or dropping off a child at school, avoid school zones if possible.”

Read more safety tips here.bus-878697_960_720

Lizzie Sider: Teen country-pop artist spreading bullying-prevention message at Volusia schools

A 15-year-old country-pop music artist touring the country with her bullying-prevention message will continue performances at Volusia County schools on Wednesday.

Lizzie Sider’s  the “No One Has the Power to Ruin You Day” Tour arrives at Volusia Pines in Lake Helen on Woodward Elementary in DeLand on Wednesday.

More stops in Central Florida are planned this month.

Lizzie Sider, 15-year old emerging Country-Pop music artist will be continuing her Bully Prevention Assembly tour of schools making several stops in Central Florida on select dates in February
Lizzie Sider, 15, brings bullying prevention message to local schools.

“As someone who understands what it is like to be bullied, I am on a mission to be that voice to help anyone who thinks no one is listening,” Lizzie is quoted as saying in a news release.

Lizzie encourages kids to help prevent bullying by recounting her own personal journey as someone who was teased and ridiculed in school.

She co-wrote the song “Butterfly” about her experiences and how she overcame teasing.

Check out this cool video:

This is her schedule for February:

·         (Feb. 5) Volusia Pines – Lake Helen

·         (Feb. 5) Woodward Elementary – Deland

·         (Feb. 5) Umatilla Elementary – Umatilla

·         (Feb. 6) George Marks Elementary (2) – Deland

·         (Feb. 6) Southwestern Middle – Deland, FL

·         (Feb. 26) Tavares Elementary – Tavares

·         (Feb. 27) Sorrento Elementary – Sorrento

·         (Feb. 27) Seminole Springs Elementary – Eustis

·         (Feb. 27) Windy Hill Middle (2 shows) – Clermont

·         (Feb. 28) Challenger 7 Elementary – Port St. John

·         (Feb. 28) Enterprise Elementary – Cocoa,

·         (Feb. 28) Discovery Intermediate – Kissimmee

Volusia half-cent sales tax: $480 million in new revenue for 15 years

Should Volusia’s half-cent sales tax for schools get  a reboot — and with it nearly a half billion in revenue?

The Volusia County School Board says yes.

Members are scheduled to chat on Tuesday about about the proposed 15-year extension.

The question goes to voters Nov. 4.

The topic is on the agenda for the School Board meeting that starts at 4 p.m. at the school district’s headquarters at 200 North Clara Ave.,  DeLand.

If approved by voters, the tax extension would kick in December 2016, ensuring a seamless transition from the existing tax period to the next.

This one would raise $480 million for a range of projects.  Check out a list of proposed projects here.