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Superintendent's News

Posted: August 5, 2020

Sending Grace: A Back-to-School Message for APS Employees

Interim Superintendent Scott Elder welcomes teachers and school staff on their first day of the 2020-2021 school year.

I wanted to be among the first to welcome back our teachers, our educational assistants, our nurses, counselors, secretaries, and everyone else who returned to work today.

What this first day looks like depends on your situation. You may be kicking off the 2020-2021 school year in your classroom or office, wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from your colleagues, and applying plenty of hand sanitizer.

Or you may be starting the school year from home, sitting in front of a computer in a spare bedroom, or maybe at your dining room table.

Even as I welcome you back today, I know that the work actually started days, weeks, even months ago in preparation for this bizarre school year. I sincerely want to thank all of you who have put in the extra time and effort.

Though we begin this school year in the red (remote learning), I know many of you are already rearranging classrooms and schools in preparation for a shift to yellow (a combination of remote and in-school learning), maybe in September, maybe later.   

Our M&O crews also are working to make schools safe for students and staff, including putting together 7,500 totes for every one of our classrooms filled with masks, cleaning supplies, thermometers, and other safety tools.

Our technology team has partnered with schools to get Chromebooks or iPads into the hands of every one of our students and to make sure families have internet connectivity.  

Our dedicated troop of food workers handed out more than 50,000 grab-and-go meals this week to make sure our students are fed, even when they’re not in school.

Our special education department has been reviewing IEPs, assessing student needs, and getting ready for virtual home visits with students and families, as will all of our teachers in the coming weeks.

Every one of us is climbing a steep learning curve – we’re building the plane while it’s flying. But we’re doing it together. It’s nice to have each other to lean on.

And so, on this first day back for so many of you, I wish you a healthy, happy school year. Be innovative and courageous. Don't be afraid to take risks, try new things, share thoughts and ideas. And most importantly, don't forget who we work for and why what we do is so important -- our students. They are anxious to meet you and get this school year started. Remember, as much as we need each other, they need you.