STUFF THE BUS is now a CCEF project. Mark your calendar for July 29th, 2017 and bring your donated school supplies from 10:00am through 2:00pm. Let us thank CCEF’s STUFF THE BUS partners Winn-Dixie , Publix ,and Walmart!

NO MORE VAM for teachers in Citrus County Schools

samp18ef1863c879eff0NO MORE VAM for teachers in Citrus County Schools

I was proud today to ask our board for support in removing VAM (Value added Model) from the teachers’ evaluation process in Citrus County.  VAM was put into law under SB736 in 2011 by the then Florida Legislature and tied teachers’ pay to students’ grades.  While we may not have desired everything in the controversial recent HB 7069 law that Gov. Scott signed. One part of HB 7069 was it made VAM optional.

I have opposed VAM and the use to students’ grade being tied to teachers’ salaries, bonuses and steps from the beginning.  I was pleased at today’s school board meeting to ask my fellow board members to support the immediate process to remove VAM from Citrus County School Board policy.  There was unanimous support of the entire board.

This will not be an overnight process as policy revisions never are, but the change has now begun.  Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel shared during the meeting that our Research and Accountability department would be developing and presenting at an upcoming meeting alternative replacements to VAM for teacher evaluations.

This I believe is a small, but good step in the correct direction.  Many more steps are still needed.

Chronicle Editorial Board gives kudos to Citrus Schools

Chronicle Editorial Board gives kudos to Citrus Schools

40960-16v2This week the Citrus County Chronicle Editorial Board again give high marks for the recent reports of all three Citrus County public high schools included in the Washington Post’s 2017 America’s Most Challenging High Schools list, and Lecanto High School was named in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best High Schools in the U.S.

The Chronicle stated, “Another example of the excellent work being performed in our school district“.  The Chronicle went on to say, “The take on this recognition is Citrus County students will be better prepared for college and success in their careers and lives after school.”

The Chronicle concluded with, “We appreciate the dedication to high standards by the district and individual schools; our community is made stronger because of your commitment to excellence.”

Read the whole article at

National Merit Finalists solves Rubik’s Cube in 15 seconds

National Merit Finalists solves Rubik’s Cube in 15 seconds

Today at our School Board meeting we recognized Citrus’s National Merit Finalists (top 1% in nation). One of these young men, Sasank Desaraju (Lecanto High School), has a unique talent that I asked him to share. He can solve a “mixed up” Rubik’s Cube in less then 15 seconds!

Citrus Schools Summer Break Spot Program

Citrus Schools Summer Break Spot Program

Free summer food service

ev15736_dAS8f_FI_Summer_BreakSpot_iconCitrus County School’s Food and Nutrition Services will again participate in the Summer Food Service Program during the months of June and July. The Summer Food Service Program, also called the ‘Summer Break Spot’ in Florida, is a federal nutrition program that nonprofit groups and schools use to make sure that children in their communities don’t go hungry during the summer when school is out.

Nutritionally balanced meals will be provided free to all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability during summer vacation when school breakfasts and lunches are not available. All children 18 years old and younger are eligible for meals at no charge at an open site and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

There will be four open sites throughout the county: Lecanto Middle School, Inverness Middle School and Crystal River Middle School. The open sites will be open Monday through Friday from June 1 through July 25. Citrus Springs Elementary School and Rock Crusher Elementary will be open Monday through Thursday. Meal serving times for breakfast are 8-8:45 a.m. and lunch will be served 11 a.m. to noon. All meals must be consumed on site.

The upcoming Summer Break Spot schedule will be available soon on the Citrus County Schools Food and Nutrition Services website at The menus will be available to view on For more information, call Lora Fredrikson at 352-726-1931, ext. 2451.

Washington Post: Citrus’s High Schools are AGAIN among America’s Most Challenging High Schools 2017

Washington Post: Citrus’s High Schools are AGAIN among America’s Most Challenging High Schools 2017

Today we learned that all three of our high schools in Citrus County were again recognized by the Washington Post as “America’s Most Challenging High Schools”. In addition, all our high schools also saw and increase in their ranking.

Of the approximately 22,000 high schools in the US, about 2,323 are recognized. Rankings are based on the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests, and college level coursework given in a school year divided by the number of seniors who graduate in May. The schools that earn this challenge honor are among the top 12% of schools in the US.

The Washington Post has shared with Citrus County School District’s Director of Research, Amy Crowell how Citrus continues to excel nationally. The publisher shared how Citrus continues to gain the attention Washington Post’s for continually being an outlier with student success with the challenges of being in a rural community with a high number of economically disadvantage households.

Sandra “Sam” Himmel, Superintendent of Citrus County Schools stated, “I am honored to serve for such an outstanding school district. Citrus County schools consistently work to provide the most rigorous curriculum and learning opportunities for all our students. This prestigious recognition is a testament to the continued combined efforts of our elementary and secondary school teams.”

Lecanto High School is now ranked 599 out of 2,323 awarded schools (increase of 213 from last year), Crystal River High School is 1,341 (increase of 335 from last year), and Citrus High School is 1,515 (increase of 646 from last year).

Read Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel Press Release

Follow this link to read more about America’s Most Challenging High School go to: