Message from Superintendent of Schools Sandra "Sam" Himmel

Superintendent Sandra "Sam" Himmel

Welcome Back Students & Families! 

Dear Citrus County School Families: 

On behalf of the Citrus County School Board and the staff of the Citrus County School District, I want to welcome you back for another exciting school year!  
August is my favorite month of the year. It represents new beginnings, fresh starts, new relationships and new opportunities to learn and grow as students and professionals.

There is no doubt our teachers and staff are the very best in Florida. They have been actively engaged in and taking advantage of various professional development opportunities all summer; attending training's, reviewing student growth and achievement data, strategic planning and making plans to engage your students.  
Every summer, the administrators and I spend part of our time reflecting on our goals from 2018-2019 and setting goals for the “New Year”.  As you might expect, those goals are focused on ways to ensure that each and every student in our district feels welcome, supported, and challenged to achieve their potential.  Toward that end, we are continuing our commitment to provide quality teaching in all areas along with a proactive approach to school safety and to meeting the social and emotional needs of our students.  Feel free to contact our counseling staff, teachers, or administrators at any time for help navigating the complexities of academics, peer issues, physical problems, and/or mental health concerns.  We share the common goal of raising successful students who are caring, responsible, and well-rounded individuals.
As you prepare to send your children back to school on Monday, August 12th, please do some last-minute checks to ensure a smooth transition. Check our website: citrusschools.org, for information about policies and forms that need to be signed and returned. These forms are available through our Skyward Family access which can be found by just clicking on the “parents” tab on the top right hand corner of our homepage.  And while you’re there you may notice some changes to our district website.  It’s more colorful, inviting and much more user friendly.  We hope you enjoy it! 

• Check your individual school websites which have important information from your principals. 
• While you’re browsing our new page - please update your child’s emergency contact information in Skyward.  This is something that needs to be done every year as there are additional questions that need to be answered.
• Start getting back into a routine that includes sufficient sleep and good nutrition.
• Contact your child’s school with any issues or problems. We’d like to help you solve them before the first day of school.

You should have also received your new school calendar in the mail.  Be sure to look through this as it is chocked full of information - from bus routes, lunch menus, and student testing information - it has everything you need for a successful school year.  
As in all previous years, I would kindly request PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING for the first few weeks of school as we iron out the details of our bus routes for another school year. It is not atypical to have buses run 20-30 minutes late in the a.m. and p.m. routes as we get things rolling, so please plan accordingly for the first few weeks of school.  As always, if you are concerned or have questions, please call our Transportation office at 352.726.1931. ext. 2370.

The school district will continue to invest in other areas that impact student learning as well.  The most important – safety.  I’m proud to say that we will continue to have a School Resource Officer in every public school in the district.  This is a wonderful program that has always proven to be successful.  You will also see our new school guardians on our campuses.  In addition to the 144 hours they received with their guardian certification, they also received well over 150 hours of additional training in tactics, CPR/AED, mental health and suicide training.  These highly-trained certified guardians are also ALICE instructors.  Throughout the summer, they have become very familiar with the layouts and perimeters of each of our schools and will continuously monitor our campuses for any suspicious activity that may occur.  

This layered security approach in our schools is something we are very proud of.  First with the school resource officers, next - our school guardians and finally, our safety volunteers.  If you would like to become a safety volunteer – please call Chief Buddy Grant for more information at 726-1931 ext. 2308.

As we get ready for a new school year, I want to once again draw your attention to the importance of school attendance.  Did you know missing 10% of the school year negatively affects a student’s academic performance? That’s just two days per month!  Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success – both in school and in life.  When you help us make school attendance a priority - you help your child get better grades, develop healthy life habits, and have a better chance of graduating from high school ready to successfully meet all the challenges life may have in store for them!  

Our administrators, teachers and staff will continue to work tirelessly to make our schools a safe place where your child wants to come each day to challenge themselves, to socialize, and be successful in the classroom and in their community!  We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and caring staff whose focus and priorities are all in the right places – building positive relationships with each student!  

On behalf of the incredible team of educators and support staff who serve the children of Citrus County, thank you for putting your faith in us to provide your children with a world-class education.  It is an exciting time and it is my great honor to serve as your Superintendent of Schools.  

Citrus Schools is family; there is no better place in which to learn and work. Thank you for your continued support as we strive to do our very best for our community’s children. They deserve it, and we simply cannot do this important work without you. We look forward to seeing you and your children soon.

Best wishes for an outstanding school year,
Sandra “Sam” Himmel
Superintendent of Schools