Atlanta Public Schools is only hours away from opening its doors on another exciting school year. As we move into the 2017-2018 school year, APS continues its journey of transformation into a culture with a child-centered mission and vision. More than ever, we need a real connection with our students, parents, caregivers … the entire family!
Just as our teachers, principals and staff focus on preparing every single student for college and career, we need all of our APS families to continuously strive for that mission. It starts with getting students to go to school on the first day and every day of the school year.
Every day is a day of instruction, an opportunity to learn. Research is clear that absences hurt achievement. One report traces students’ struggles to master reading in the third grade to missed days in kindergarten. Another shows students’ chances of graduating high school are severely limited by days missed in middle school. Simply put, every school day counts.
Behavior also matters on the journey. Many of our students don’t come to school with the skills to set goals, overcome obstacles, develop healthy relationships and self-monitor behavior – abilities necessary for success in school, work and life. By focusing on development of the whole child – with a focus on social emotional learning skills – our kids will not only have the smarts, but the hearts, to be better people than we can ever be.
Most importantly, the education of our children matters as they get the academics they need to remain on course and grade level to graduate with their class and on time.
For the journey, we have made school-based decision-making, flexibility and engagement a priority especially as we work within our new charter system operating model. And as we continue on this journey together, I pledge to continue to do my part to work diligently to foster a transparent, collaborative environment for our families and stakeholders.
I will continue to visit schools to hear from students, teachers, parents and the school communities directly about their experiences and what we all can do to make APS better. I look forward to being your partner in helping to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our children.
Again, as APS families, you play a critical part in the journey, and we have adopted a district-wide strategy to empower you to become even more engaged in your children’s education. It starts on Day One, and I encourage you to connect with your schools and the district.
Welcome back and have a great school year!