Welcome to the 2019-20 School Year! Staff have been hard at work preparing for Sept. 3, and we cannot wait to see our students on Tuesday. Our partnership with you is invaluable and the key to making sure your child is learning and growing. This year promises to be an exciting one for the Arlington Public Schools (APS) community, as we open new schools and welcome new and returning staff, students and families.
I am truly honored to serve APS as your Interim Superintendent and thank you for the genuine support you have extended to me as I transition to my new role. As an educator for more than 30 years – most of that time spent in Arlington as a teacher, principal and administrator – I have a deep commitment to continue to strengthen the educational opportunities we provide all students.
The photo to the right was taken of me marching into our recent Administrative Conference with our students from the Wakefield marching band. This is the spirit with which I am heading into the new year! As you can see, I love being in our schools and surrounded by students, and I look forward to forging new connections with you to ensure every student has the support they need to succeed. I truly believe that when we are together, side-by-side and heading toward the same goal, there are no limits to what we can achieve for our students.
Throughout the upcoming year, we will continue to advance the work of the APS 2018-24 Strategic Plan toward our mission – to ensure all students learn and thrive in safe, healthy and supportive learning environments. In addition, the School Board and executive leadership team have identified three performance objectives to serve as core areas of focus for our work.
- Increasing achievement for all student groups. This is performance objective #1 in our plan for a reason, and we’re putting the people, resources and practices in place to support increased achievement for all student groups toward eliminating the opportunity gap.
- Supporting student well-being and mental health. Mental health and social-emotional growth is as important to our students’ success as preparing them academically. APS will continue to promote mindfulness and mental health in our classrooms to best support our students. This includes making sure that students know they have access to resources in their schools, including school counselors, psychologists and social workers.
- Ensuring all students know they have an advocate in APS. Our students’ success depends on strong school communities, and it’s a priority to ensure every child can identify at least one school-based adult who supports and encourages their academic and personal growth. We instill in our staff the importance of those bonds – that they may be the reason a student comes to school every day.
I also want to remind you that APS is a safe place and a second home for our students. We are committed to ensuring all students are safe, secure and feel welcome, included and valued. Their safety is our number one priority because we know that when children feel safe and cared for, they are at their best and can focus on learning.
With that in mind, please review safety guidelines with your child before Tuesday and discuss steps students should take to stay safe when travelling to and from school. I also encourage you to develop an emergency plan with your student and ensure you share your current emergency contacts with your child and your school, in case they cannot reach you in an emergency.
Finally, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our school-based and central office staff for their hard work and dedication. It takes many hands to plan and prepare for a new school year, and they have worked throughout the summer to ensure our schools are ready to open.
Thank you to our families for your engagement in our schools, and for joining in and providing the support necessary to create a promising future for your child and all APS students. I will be out and about visiting schools across the division throughout the year and look forward to connecting with you soon.
Have a wonderful school year!
Arlington Public Schools