District officials hear from staff, parents at Orange County school meetings

22 additional meetings scheduled to get feedback on district schools

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The new superintendent for Orange County Public Schools held a town hall Monday evening to hear from parents in the district.

Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez held the meeting inside Edgewater High School to focus on parents of students in the area.

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Staff and teachers were also able to attend a meeting prior to the meeting with parents, so they can address concerns among colleagues.

“Sometimes, it’s not just about getting the information, but it’s about truly engaging with them and having a true conversation,” Vazquez said. “Education has changed. We have so many competing factors now and not just coming out of the pandemic. We had Hurricane Ian. We have families that are dealing with job losses, economic issues because the cost of living has increased so much, and we really need to work together.”

Parents were able to give feedback on issues they think OCPS should improve on and what they think is working well.

For parents of Lake Silver Elementary and College Park Middle Schools, their main concerns stemmed from student behavioral issues, how parents are notified of an issue and efforts for the district to retain quality educators.

“We do have concerns our schools could do better. We want to make sure all students are provided for equally with equal accessibility, and that’s not necessarily happening even in our local community,” parent Crystal Holic said. “Our teachers are fabulous, and they care about our students, and I want to make sure that remains an option for our students.”

Parents said it’s important to participate in these types of meetings in order to find a solution for issues happening at their children’s schools.

“Behavioral issues and the lack of education growth in schools, especially the elementary and the middle schools in our area. And now that we have our new superintendent, we are super excited for her to hear our concerns and hopefully make some changes for us and our children,” parent Holly Halladay said.

The next parent town hall with Dr. Vazquez is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. inside Dr. Phillips High School.

There are an additional 22 meetings scheduled. Here’s a link to the full meeting schedule. https://www.ocps.net/superintendent/town_hall_community_meetings

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.