The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring Week of August 24

Good day, Atlanta Public Schools!

I’m Dr. Lisa Herring, Superintendent. Welcome back to “The Week” where we provide you with a video summary of the news and information you need most from Atlanta Public Schools.

After weeks of preparation for an unconventional, unfamiliar school year, students, teachers, and staff all over Atlanta returned to teaching and learning on Monday, August 24.

I absolutely love … and I mean love, love, love! … the first day of school, and I absolutely treasured my first day of school in APS … even though much of it was in a virtual space.

I started my day at the legacy school of David T. Howard Middle School, where once walked Kings, future Mayors, Olympians, NBA stars, and business leaders.

The transformational efforts to bring this former APS school back into the educational fold defies description. The engaging classrooms, the cafeteria with its enormous windows, the bright new media center, a preserved classroom where a King may have learned, and the restored gymnasium, … every square inch of Howard … inspires much like the school’s famous alumni do today.

I also visited the brand new Atlanta College and Career Academy, now complete at the Dr. Michael E. Maze campus. The state-of-the-art labs and workrooms sparkled with equipment ready for our scholars.

This week, we also visited Humphries and Hutchinson elementary schools in the South Atlanta cluster, which re-opened this summer after months of extensive renovations. I cannot say enough about the new STEM labs and all of the updates at both schools. Amazing work!

These visits show that everything is in place. Well … one thing was missing … and that’s our scholars. We miss you. We miss the interaction with you and your eager, smiling faces. But in due time … a safe time … we will have our scholars back in all of our school buildings, not just the beautifully renovated ones.

For the rest of my week, I met with teachers and hundreds of students virtually. Remember … I see you Sutton Middle!

I see you Therrell High and KIPP Soul!

I see you Usher-Collier Heights and West Manor!

I see you W.T. Jackson and Carver High!

Ni Hao, King Middle!

I see you Sylvan Hills!

I see you Young Middle and North Atlanta!

I see you Dunbar and Mary Lin!

I can hardly describe the stellar and exemplar modeling of virtual learning that I saw from teachers when I jumped into their Zoom and Google classrooms. Some created such immersive and engaging classes that you would think they have been teaching online for years!

And the students … they exhibited a great spirit and involvement in their learning. And some actually asked me candid, but fair, questions about returning to in-person learning and understood that we would be back in class again when health conditions allowed.

But there are so many people behind the scenes – the amazing APS support staff – who have worked 24/7 to not only ensure we reach 1:1 with devices, applications, and access but providing assistance in using them well. We actually have, if you didn’t know, a technology “situation room” that has been both invaluable and phenomenal during these challenging times. Thank you, every single one of you for making sure that we are successful!

And thank you to the entire APS community for coming together for a successful start to a new year.

As I prepare to close, I would like to acknowledge one of my virtual visits. Mr. Lundy’s class at North Atlanta High school where, at the close of class, several students shared there “I Am” poems. I want to thank them for your boldness and your willingness to share.

As you listen, remember: We are bold. We are brave. We are curious. And most importantly, we are One. Enjoy the poems.

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