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Posted: January 28, 2016

Shine Spotlight on Our Schools during Choice Week

Supt. Reedy encourages schools to show off what they have to offer during National School Choice Week Jan. 24-30.

Dear Colleagues,

One common thread weaving through my conversations with families as part of the Superintendent’s Listening Tour is the lingering impact of first impressions. These families remember fondly the kindergarten teacher who warmly welcomed their now teenager, the principal who greeted them on that first day with a handshake and a smile, the secretary who answered their questions, the student leader who gave them a tour of the school.

An open door and gracious greeting goes a long way in setting the tone for a school, and sometimes for the entire school experience of a child and family.

We can all relate. Think about your own encounters in cold, stark waiting rooms or with rude sales clerks or waiters. Those adverse experiences more than likely impacted your feelings about those places, those people. And there’s a good chance you shared your negative impressions with family and friends, affecting their impressions as well. Word of mouth, after all, is very powerful. 

On the other hand, friendly, helpful service in a warm, comfortable setting very well may bring you back again and again, and often result in glowing recommendations, too.

I hope you’ll keep this in mind next week as families begin exploring their educational options as part of National School Choice Week.  This is a chance to celebrate our schools and programs, to show off what we’re accomplishing, to welcome visitors and maybe even future students and families to our schools.

The purpose of School Choice Week, according to the national website, is “to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for every child.” I’d love that spotlight to shine on our schools, teachers, staff and students. Let’s fling open our doors and invite people in. There is a lot of fantastic, innovative teaching and learning going on in our schools, so why not toot our own horns. If choices are what these families are looking for, no education system in the state offers more than APS.

And don’t forget about those first impressions. Clean up your lobbies, put smiles on your faces, answer your phones with a cheerful greeting, decorate your walls with wonderful student work. Make your schools warm and welcoming, and show those families who are searching for the best options for their children just what you have to offer. I think many will be pleasantly surprised. And you just might see a lot of new, happy faces in your classrooms next year.

Kind regards, 

Raquel  Reedy
APS Superintendent