Tony Tussing
Tony Tussing

Most everyone knows that students entering kindergarten and seventh grade need to have certain immunizations before entering that grade level. The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County offers no-cost immunizations for these students.

The Department of Health is offering extended back-to-school hours at its Daytona Beach and Orange City locations Tuesday-Thursday, Aug. 8-10. During these three days, the Health Department will be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (its normal hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). The Orange City location is at 775 Harley Strickland Blvd., while the Daytona Beach location is at 1845 Holsonback Drive. Appointments are strongly suggested by calling 386-274-0509.

The Florida Department of Education has released the 2023 spring-assessments results, including FAST (Florida Assessment of Student Thinking) reading and math scores, statewide science-assessment scores and end-of-course exam scores in all other subjects. The 2022-23 school year was the first year that the FAST progress-monitoring system was in place. As a result, the state is not releasing grades this summer to ensure time to correlate the new metric with the previous assessment. Instead, school grades are expected to be released this fall.

Volusia County Schools is pleased to share the following summary-level data:

The percentage of students in grades three, four and seven who scored at or above the proficiency level in English Language Arts (ELA) increased compared to last year. Students maintained or closed the achievement gap in ELA compared to the state in five out of eight tested grade levels. The percentage of students in grades three through five scoring at or above the proficiency level in ELA ranked in the top four among all 11 districts in the Central Florida Coalition.

The percentage of students scoring at or above the proficiency level in math increased in all grade levels three through eight compared to last year.

In grade five, the percentage of students scoring at or above proficiency level in science is 10 percentage points above the state average. Students maintained or closed the achievement gap compared to the state on three out of five end-of-course assessments.

In geometry, Volusia County Schools maintained proficiency, while five of the 11 districts within the Central Florida Coalition of schools decreased.

Volusia County Schools has announced current administrative appointments and transfers. The transfers include Sylvia Garcia-Wolff as assistant principal at McInnis Elementary in DeLeon Springs, Amy Richardson as assistant principal at Herbert Street Alternative Education Center in Daytona Beach, and Christopher Rushing as assistant principal at Turie T. Small Elementary in Daytona Beach.

The appointments include Widalis Camacho as principal of McInnis Elementary in DeLeon Springs, Dr. Tamara Baker-Drayton as director of secondary curriculum grades six-12, Allie Johnston as assistant director of exceptional student education, Nathaniel Anderson as coordinator of student services, Eleeta Hopkins as coordinator of exceptional student education (ESE), Racheal Luebbert as assistant principal at Forest Lake Elementary in Deltona, Julie Murray as assistant principal at Freedom Elementary in DeLand, and Carol Richards as assistant principal at Volusia Pines Elementary in Lake Helen.

DeLand Middle School

DeLand Middle School student Mia Portillo is the recipient of the prestigious State of Florida FFA Star Discovery Award. She was one of 25 finalists for the Star Award and one of four in her category.

DeLand Middle FFA students also brought home the Premier Chapter, National Chapter, 100 percent Membership and the Belinda G. Charson Legacy awards.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School Band Camp will be taking place Monday-Tuesday, July 24-25, for percussion, guard and leadership; Wednesday-Thursday, July 26-27, for new members, percussion, guard and leadership; and Monday, July 31, through Friday, Aug. 4, for the entire band.

DeLand High student Ginger Johnson placed fourth nationally and first in Florida at the Adobe U.S. Nationals. Contestants were given content and tasks to create promotional materials for a nonprofit organization. They had eight hours to complete everything using Adobe Photograph, Illustrator and InDesign software. Johnson is a student of Vickie Perri.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High School swim teams will have a fundraising car wash 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, July 30, at Tom’s Pizza, 140 E. Rich Ave. in DeLand. The link to buy a ticket in advance or to make a donation is Tickets cost $10. Proceeds will help pay for the swim teams’ use of the West Volusia Family YMCA pool.

Stetson University Athletics

Five Stetson University student-athletes from the men’s rowing team were named Empacher-IRCA Scholar Athletes by the Intercollegiate Rowing Coaches Association: Matthew Franks, William Hubbard, Gabriel Laverde, Vincent Leffler and Lucas Quinby.

Stetson baseball player Christian Pregent has been named one of the ASUN Spring Winners for Life 2022-23. The Winners for Life team honors a campus citizen who is respected as one who shares and/or demonstrates the ASUN core values, which are education, honesty, student-athlete experience, fairness, health, ambition, respect, diversity, inclusion, leadership, responsibility and sportsmanship.

College honors

George Daley Jr., of Deltona, has earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Castleton University in Vermont.

Callie Ward, of DeLand, has earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Genesis Betancourt, of Deltona, has earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from Valdosta State University in Georgia.

Jacob Clayton, of DeLand, and Elizabeth Gooch, of DeBary, have graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Bradley Sisk, of DeBary, has earned the distinction of Faculty Honors for the spring 2023 semester at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

William Rodriguez, of DeLand, and Angelise Sanchez, of DeBary, have been named to the dean’s list at Keystone College in Factoryville, Pennsylvania.

Lauren Fantone, of DeLand, a senior majoring in accounting, and Courtney Taylor, also of DeLand and a senior majoring in film and media arts, have been named to the dean’s list for the spring 2023 semester at The University of Tampa.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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