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MARCH 2022

In this Issue:


OCSD Spotlight

2nd Annual College and Career Fair

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) hosted the 2nd Annual College and Career Fair for high school students on Saturday at Beachside Community Church in Fort Walton Beach. The event brought 200 high school students and many of their parents face-to-face with 52 local businesses, colleges, and military branches. Students heard inspiring and informative presentations from Senior Director Brian Barnes of the College Board and Michele Burns from Career Source Okaloosa/Walton. The presentation from Career Source Okaloosa/Walton addressed resume building and interview skills for students. Students were also able to complete a unique interest inventory using Tratify that identified careers suited for them. Read more about this amazing event!

Ms. Karen Peek, Teacher Professional Services Program Director, Ms. Terri Baum, Certification Analyst, and Ms. Jill McNamara, Consulting Teacher did a great job recruiting new employees for the Okaloosa County School District at the 2nd Annual College and Career Fair!

OCSD Spotlight


Three years ago, Peggy Brockman of United for a Good Cause came to Superintendent Chambers with a proposal. She wanted to bring a national program called HOPE Squad into each of the Okaloosa County School District schools. HOPE Squad is a peer-to-peer youth suicide prevention program in which students and advisors participate in training to help those who feel helpless find the help and HOPE that they need. Mr. Chambers said, “YES” without hesitation.
Fast forward to the first week of March 2022- We are hosting our inaugural HOPE Week and HOPE Squad conference. OCSD welcomed Dr. Greg Hudnall, the founder of HOPE Squad, from Utah. He hosted two community information sessions in Okaloosa County and two in our neighboring Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties. On Friday, March 4th, he and Superintendent Chambers traveled to six of our schools to talk to the HOPE Squad members about their importance. Keep Reading

Human Resources

March Milestones

The following employees are enjoying a milestone this month based on their continuous service date.  Congratulations and thank you for your loyal service and commitment to excellence!

5 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Davis, Plew
  • Ms. Hayakawa, Elliott Point
  • Mr. Wojciechowski, Edwins

10 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Armor, Wright

15 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Pogue, Transportation -South

20 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Hakanson, Bluewater

25 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Allen, Transportation-North
  • Ms. Barron, Southside

35 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Gillis, Antioch
  • Ms. Noser, Destin Elementary

40 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Johnson, FWB
  • Mr. Payne, Maintenance and Facilities

Mental Health Minute

Spring is here! And so is the beautiful weather. Take some time to get outside each day as the sun can do plenty of good things for your body.  When you give your skin access to a healthy dose of the sun’s rays, you are likely to experience some tangible benefits immediately. Here are five ways the sun can affect your mental and physical health:

  1. Increase Vitamin D
  2. Improve Mood
  3. Higher Quality Sleep
  4. Stronger Bones
  5. Lower Blood Pressure

So, make sure you get outside; it can do wonders for your mental health!

Congratulations to our Newly Appointed Administrators!

Dr. Cheryl Rinita Seals

is our new No Child Left Behind Specialist (NCLB).  Dr. Seals most recently served as an Assistant Principal of Shoal River Middle School.

Mr. Marcelo Mueller

has been promoted from Dean of Students to Assistant Principal of Fort Walton Beach High School. 

Mr. Benjamin Kimbrough

has been promoted from Dean of Students at Crestview High School to  Assistant Principal of Shoal River Middle School.

Risk Management: Life Insurance

Are you taking advantage of the free services offered by The Standard Life Insurance company?
  • Make sure you assign at least one beneficiary for your $25,000 Group Term life insurance policy that the school board provides to every employee. In addition to that, we recommend you check out “The Life Services Toolkit” and see what kind of free assistance is at your fingertips. Log in to to assign your beneficiary today.
  • The Standard provides services for you and your beneficiary and it is FREE!
  • You can also find information about The Standard on our Risk Management webpage,

Retirement: Your Guide to FRS RESOURCES

The Florida Retirement System (MyFRS) has great resources available to its members.  They are completely confidential, unbiased, and FREE!
Check out the Newsletter:
YOUR Guide to FRS Resources

Are you currently in DROP and are not ready to
separate from our district?  

You may qualify for a DROP extension!  
Call 850-833-5811 or email

Planning to retire at the end of this school year?
Call 850-833-5811 or email to make an appointment.

Half Cent Sales Tax Update: Citizen's Oversight Committee

Safety Related Half-Cent Sales Tax Construction Projects Continue
School safety is a priority of our Superintendent and School Board. Work is ongoing in the area of school safety as the district is in the final stages of single point of entry and perimeter security projects funded through the Half-Cent Sales Tax. The remaining schools are scheduled to be finished this summer. Also, construction should begin this summer on multi-purpose buildings at our high schools, including Baker. The order in which those projects will begin has not been finalized. The bid process for the remaining construction projects (classroom additions and cafetoriums) will occur over the next few months. All of the construction projects are competitively bid and pricing is subject to third-party validation. 
The Citizens’ Oversight Committee regularly receives information to track expenditures and to stay apprised of the status of projects on the schools’ sales tax lists. For more information, visit the Capital Projects Dashboard at  



The Next Generation of OCSD

We are in the process of preparing FOCUS, our new Student Information Software, Finance, and Human Resources hub, for an official launch in the Fall of 2022!  Our Registrars currently have access as they are registering new students for the 2022-2023 school year. Administrators got a sneak peak at last week's Principals Meeting.  Trainings will begin this summer so keep an eye on Frontline to sign up!

Curriculum and Instruction

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Middle School i-Ready Diagnostic Celebrations!

The second i-Ready diagnostic is in the books, and there is cause for celebration!  Schools around the district are getting creative in acknowledging students’ growth.  Melissa Bowell, principal of Meigs Middle School, credits her Math and ELA department and grade-level chairs with the idea of providing an ice cream truck for students showing growth on both diagnostics.  Bowell says, “IT was a BLAST today!”  The administration at Destin Middle School pushed carts around the school delivering treats to students based on typical or stretch growth.  Bruner decided to forgo the calories and schedule a 4-Square Tournament while Davidson teachers select from incentives ranging from a note or call home or Panther Praise tickets as rewards. Fridays in February at Davidson include extended cell phone privileges for students achieving 70% or higher overall growth. What ingenious ways to show students that progress matters!

Promoting Students' Self- Efficacy
Self-Efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to achieve an outcome or reach a goal. This belief, specific to a task or an area of knowledge or performance, shapes the behaviors and strategies that help one pursue their goal. How are you promoting self-efficacy as we continue to prepare students to take the FSA or i-Ready Diagnostic Assessments (D3 is April 4-May 6)? We can do this by promoting a safe environment for learning and empowering students to take ownership of their learning.

Spotlight Instructional Strategy- The Think Aloud


(All Grades and Subjects) 

A think-aloud is a powerful teaching tool. It is an activity in which the “expert reader” (the teacher) demonstrates for students the thinking that occurs as they construct meaning from a text. The expert reader makes visible to the students the thinking, questioning, predicting, reflecting, connecting, and clarifying that occurs during reading. A think-aloud allows the student “to see” the reading strategies an “expert” reader uses.

After setting the purpose for reading, Wilhelm (2001) suggests following these steps:

  1. The teacher chooses a high-interest short piece of text at the students’ instructional level.
  2. The teacher explains and identifies the reading strategies being used. (i.e., text-marking, annotating) 
  3. Tell students to listen for the strategies the teacher is using as he/she thinks aloud.
  4. The teacher reads the text aloud and thinks aloud as he/she reads.
  5. Read the text slowly and frequently stop to “think-aloud” — reporting on the use of the targeted strategies — “Hmmm….” can be used to signal the shift to a “think-aloud” from reading.
  6. Students underline the words and phrases in the text related to the strategy modeled. 
  7. The teacher asks students to identify other situations where they could use these strategies.
  8. When students are comfortable with the procedure, they can “help” the teacher as he/she does the think-aloud. 
  9. Eventually, students should be able to do think-alouds independently while working with partners or in small groups. 


ESOL Courses for Florida Compliance


The following slate of OCSD ESOL courses began on March 14, 2022. Registration is open in Frontline for the following: 

  • ESOL Cross-Cultural Communication and Understanding – 60 points
  • ESOL Applied Linguistics – 60 points
  • ESOL Methods of Teaching – 60 points
  • ESOL Curriculum and Materials – 60 points
  • ESOL Testing and Evaluation – 60 points
  • ESOL 18-Hour Overview – 18 points - Only available for teachers of specific electives or designated staff positions. Email for permission to enroll.

Is there a fee for OCSD ESOL courses? Are in-person meetings required?

OCSD ESOL courses are free to OSCD employees and are offered online through the OSCD Canvas platform. Before the course starts, instructors will email participants a welcome letter and instructions for accessing the course.

What if I took an ESOL course in college? Will that credit automatically count toward my Florida requirements? 

The Florida Department of Education provides strict guidelines on the verification of previous college credits. Email transcripts to for review. She will provide confirmation of any credits which count toward your Florida ESOL requirements. 

How many ESOL points do I need?

You may review the Florida ESOL requirements based on your job or teaching assignment at the following link: For additional questions or assistance with course registration, please contact

I have already completed the required courses for ESOL endorsement. Who do I contact about updating my teaching certificate?  

Please contact Terri Baum at for the information and application to add the endorsement to your teaching certificate.

I have a temporary certificate. May I register through Frontline for an OCSD ESOL course? 

No. Employees with a temporary certificate should contact Sharon Duron at for additional information and specific course requirements.

Civics in OCSD

The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship provides teachers, students, and parents with a standards-based civics curriculum, online instruction, and EOC assessment practice modules. If students are absent from Civics class, they can access lessons on the websites provided by clicking on the flyer. 


The We GROW / Career Experiences Class at Okaloosa Technical College is designed for students with Unique Skills to gain employability competence necessary to transition from High School to the workforce. The students participate in simulated employment while developing soft skills to prepare them for future careers in the community. The students have the opportunity to earn school-based certifications in Auto Detailing, Landscaping/Groundskeeping, Culinary Arts, Office Assistant, and Hotel/Motel Housekeeping. The students also participate in several school-based enterprises, including Auto Detailing, Landscaping, School Store, and a Christmas Woodworking Shop. The program assists students in obtaining gainful employment after exiting the program. 

Finding TIME in the Day

Teachers are busy maximizing valuable time to address learning loss. Below are multisensory teaching ideas from Scholastic that you can incorporate into your day to teach students to tell time. 

  • Reading Time: To help students practice math while reading, use engaging read-alouds like What Time Is It? A Book of Math Riddles, by Sheila Keenan; Pigs on a Blanket: Fun with Math and Time, by Amy Axelrod; or A Second, a Minute, a Week with Days in It: A Book About Time, by Brian P. Cleary.
  • Full-Body Workout: Have kids create times with body clocks! Draw a large clock shape in chalk outdoors, or create an outline with tape in your classroom and have them use their bodies to display a time. They could also show elapsed time by moving around the clock.
  • On the Go: Have students calculate elapsed time throughout the day. For example, they can keep track of the time that passes as they walk from their classroom to the lunchroom, from recess back to the classroom, and so on.                            

Below are two images from the “We Are Teachers” website that help students identify which hour the minutes should be associated with when the minute hand is between hours. Look at their site for other visual, kinesthetic, and tactile strategies to support telling time.

Engage with Elementary Mathematics

Mrs. Heather Koontz (right), along with hundreds of OCSD elementary math teachers, participated in virtual professional development sessions which included topics such as the B.E.S.T standards, math literature, student discourse, conceptual understanding, and data-driven small group instruction. Teacher Created Materials (TCM) provided a gift card to be awarded to one lucky teacher. Ms. Karen Osborn (left), Walker Elementary Math Coach, presented and surprised Heather with the $250 TCM gift card to use for her class. We know that she and her students will benefit from this generous donation. #EngagewithElementaryMathematics

Material Adoptions

The Okaloosa County School District is currently examining materials for adoption to be used in elementary, middle, and high school math classes. Links and login information are available on for teachers, parents, and members of the public wishing to review the materials being considered.
Copyright © 2022 Okaloosa County School District, All rights reserved.

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