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Superintendent's News

Posted: August 19, 2022

Good Impressions: A Message from Supt. Elder

In his weekly message to employees, APS Superintendent Scott Elder writes about first and lasting impressions.

It had been a long time since I attended a Boo-Hoo breakfast. My sons are now in their 20s, but I still remember their first day of kindergarten and the accompanying coffee, pastries, and tissues provided for misty-eyed parents watching their precious babies head to class for the first time.

I saw a familiar apprehension on the faces of the young moms and dads at Osuna Elementary School as they gathered in the cafeteria for what the school called a Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo breakfast. There were treats, tissues, hugs, horns, and chocolate kisses for families entering a new phase in their lives. As students lined up behind their teachers, I could see how hard it was for parents to let go. What helped was knowing their children were in the capable hands of a caring, professional staff.

A staff that made both students and families feel welcome and wanted.

A staff that made a very good first impression. 

I want to commend the teachers, principals, and support staff across Albuquerque Public Schools who made good first impressions on students and their families during the first days of school. The feedback has been positive, and I myself witnessed much grace and kindness during several early visits. Friendly smiles, sincere greetings, helpful directions, and encouraging words go a long way in setting the tone for a school year and sometimes for the entire school experience.

Now, let’s commit to making good second, third, and one-hundredth impressions as well. I want our students and their families to feel as welcome on the eightieth day as they did on day one.

Even as exhaustion sets in, and inevitably it will, and we run into challenges, which assuredly we will, we need to prioritize making our schools safe havens for students to learn, develop, and flourish without fear of judgment or ridicule. And their parents, grandparents, and family members need to know that our doors are always open, even if they must ring a buzzer first to enter the school for safety’s sake. We want to hear from them. We’re here to help.

The beauty of public education is you get what you give. As a teacher and principal, I remember how tired I felt at the end of the school day. Heck, I’m dang tired at the end of each day as superintendent, too. But it’s a good kind of tired. The kind you feel when you know you’re making a difference.

We started this school year in a good place. Keep up the momentum, and we will end it successfully. How do I know? Because you made a very good first impression.