If a global pandemic over the past year has revealed anything, it is this: People need kindness, they crave kindness, and they DESERVE kindness.
While kindness does not generate the kind of headlines that politics, tragedy, and heartbreak garner, I think we all want to see more stories about people helping others and actually feel safe and comforted whenever we experience others displaying friendliness, love, and generosity.
This week, we celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Week, when everyone is encouraged to show at least small acts of kindness. As superintendent and a former school counselor, I am thrilled that the week has become tradition for APS, where social emotional learning has become not only a district priority but a model for other school districts.
I am also pleased that we joined the authors and illustrator of Mirror Face: A Book on Self Love for the launch of a global social media movement they are calling #MirrorFaceChallenge. During a special program this week, we talked about how to teach children to love themselves independently of the opinion of others and how to build their inner voice of confidence through a simple self-affirmation: “I love you, Mirror Face.”
I encourage you to watch the program (click here!) and join us in making sure that random acts of kindness continue week after week.
Reminder of Intent to Return Declaration
This week also saw the return of more of our students in Grades 3-5 back into our schools, marking the completion of the second phase of our Return+Learn plan to phase students back into our buildings.
As reminder, we launched a new Intent to Return declaration period on Wednesday, Feb. 17th. With this latest Intent to Return declaration, our families will choose a learning option through the final nine-week quarter. If you don’t complete the form by Monday, March 8th, your student will remain in their current instructional learning model. Please update your form as soon as possible.
Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations
Finally, APS is actively preparing for Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations—the phase that includes eligibility for educators. We know that vaccinating as many staff members as possible will be critical for continuing to open our schools safely. As such, our district is working with the Fulton County Board of Health on future vaccination events for APS employees once Phase 1B is launched.
In order to be able to accommodate thousands of APS educators who will take the vaccine, APS will need hundreds of volunteers—both medical professionals who will be able to administer the vaccine as well as non-medical volunteers to help staff the events.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you are a medical professional and are willing to help us vaccine our educators, please consider signing up! To determine if you have the authority to vaccinate, please visit Get Vaccinated APS.
If you are not a medical professional, we still need your help to serve at the events. While we do not yet know dates of these events, all volunteers must pre-register as this process will help us be ready to go as soon as Phase 1B is launched. We are asking any interested volunteers to proactively register on servga.gov for the organization: Fulton County, Medical Reserve Corps.
Remember, our Return+Learn plan moves forward because of the successful implementation of our COVID-19 mitigation strategies, which also includes testing. More details of those efforts are available on the District’s website at www.atlantapublicschools.us/COVID-testing.
Thank you for watching. That’s “The Week” for this week. As always, stay healthy and please be well.