September 11, 2014
Dear APS Families:
Welcome to a new school year! I am honored to be your new Superintendent. I am 10 weeks into my new job, and I am delighted to share that we are off to a better start. Our students answered the “Day One: Be There.” call by coming to school on the first day, and in fact, over 25,000 APS students had perfect attendance during the first month of the school year!
As we continue our attendance campaign this year, I am asking for your help to ensure your child is in class and ready for instruction everyday this school year. In APS, we have students—especially at the high school level—who miss one day every two weeks. That adds up to one month of missed instruction every year. Over five years, it adds up to about half a school year of missed instruction. If students miss school, they can’t learn and they will not be ready for the new Georgia Milestones test, a far more rigorous test that is replacing the CRCT and EOCT this year.
This week also marks another Big 10 - the 10th anniversary of our Atlanta Public Schools State of the Schools celebration. It was my first one and if you were unable to attend on Tuesday, I hope you will go online to hear the update on the state of our district at http://new.livestream.com/k12aps/events/3374824.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit many of our schools in APS. I have been energized by some of the best teaching I have ever seen, and I remain optimistic about what the future holds for us. At the same time, I am very clear that we have much more work ahead of us if we are going to deliver the excellent education that your children deserve.
While our students and staff have been hard at work, our Atlanta Board of Education members and I also have been working. As we chart a new course for Atlanta Public Schools, we have drafted a new charge (mission and vision) for the district. This is what we do every day and what we aspire to be:
• Our Mission: Through a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every APS student will be ready for college and career.
• Our Vision: A high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators work to inspire, parents are engaged, and the community has trust in the district. We welcome your feedback on our work at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/draftvisionmission.
As we embark on this journey together, I am working diligently to foster a transparent and collaborative environment for our families. To that end, I want to encourage you to get involved this year. Whether by volunteering at your child’s school, participating in the important decision-making process around selecting a school system operating model and flexibility option, or participating in one of our new citizen advisory or oversight committees, I hope you will get engaged! You can learn more about these opportunities and see more of what we have been up to these past few weeks by visiting www.atlantapublicschools.us or following my blog at www.atlsuper.com.
I looking forward to being your partner in helping to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our children. Welcome back and have a great school year!
Meria J. Carstarphen