News from the Superintendent

Posted: March 20, 2020

Thanks to All Who Are Helping

In her weekly message, Superintendent Reedy acknowledges the many people on the front line during the coronavirus battle.

In ordinary times I’d be writing to you about test preparation,  the end of the grading period and the start of spring activities like baseball and prom. As we all know, these are not ordinary times. The daily growing threat of the coronavirus has left many feeling frightened, isolated and confused. Still, every day, you give me cause to be hopeful.

So, above all today, I want to thank each and every courageous Albuquerque Public Schools employee who continues to report for duty to support our students, their families, and our entire community. I want to especially recognize our food workers, bus drivers, custodians, EAs, principals, and dedicated childcare workers who compassionately provide care for working parents so they can continue to keep their families whole.

There are others outside APS who deserve our appreciation and praise, like our health care providers, first responders, and grocery store employees. I can’t possibly list every category of hero out there today, but we see you and we are eternally grateful.

As you’ve likely heard most of our APS staff is teleworking, but our essential employees are still in their offices. We will make sure your paychecks aren’t interrupted, your benefits are accessible and you stay well informed on APS coronavirus updates.

The national health emergency created by the global pandemic is unprecedented, but we’ve all come together to serve the critical needs of our students, staff, and families. Below is a summary of district responses to the  current health threat:

  • Meal distribution – To date, more than 62,000 free meals have been distributed at 88 sites to school-age children in every corner of the city. Participants don’t have to be APS students to benefit from the Grab & Go breakfast and lunch service.
  • Transportation – APS bus drivers have adapted to new work schedules to ensure Grab & Go cold and hot meals are safely delivered to distribution sites in a timely manner.
  • At-Home Educational Resources – Supplemental learning resources and opportunities for students during the closure have been posted at APS.edu. We are also working on paper copies of resource materials to be available at Grab and Go meal sites to provide options for engaging and exploring learning possibilities outside the classroom.
  • Enhancing Partnerships to Provide At-Home Resources – APS is collaborating with PBS New Mexico to produce television learning programming for the near future for students. More on this soon.
  • Child Care Centers – Under guidance from the Public Education Department and our governor, child care remains available at several school sites. In some instances, we’ve expanded hours and enrollment. We are not opening new child care sites and have to comply with strict enrollment caps.
  • Deep Cleaning of All Facilities – District custodians are relentlessly deep cleaning and sanitizing our schools to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
  • APS Employee Mental Health Assistance – For APS employees, the Employee Assistant Program continues to provide services as needed.
  • Food Pantries – Some  APS campuses continue to offer food programs through the Roadrunner Food Bank.
  • Weekend Snack Packs – Some APS schools continue to offer weekend snack packs with the Feed New Mexico Kids organization.
  • Keeping Communication Lines Open with Lawmakers – The loss of pre-K -12 instructional hours across the nation will have major and long-lasting implications for public education. APS is sharing important information with lawmakers and relaying your concerns so we’re well-positioned to begin our post-emergency recovery plan when the time comes.
  • Continuous APS Updates – The Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health are the experts to turn to for health-related news. APS  will continue to provide district-related updates to the rapidly changing coronavirus status.

Of course, it’s impossible to list all the pandemic responses the district has initiated, so please accept my apology if your efforts weren’t singled out. We are appreciative of all the forward-thinking suggestions so many of you have offered, the supplemental virtual educational lessons teachers are creating, and all the offers of help from businesses and the community.

No one knows what this will look like once the coronavirus threat is over, but I know this much: You have all proven that educators belong in that prestigious list of “essential” personnel. Everyone receiving my letter today contributes to the educational process, and I couldn’t be any prouder of you.