Dedication, Innovation, and Vaccination

Can you believe we’re already more than one week into the 2021-22 school year? I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting 21 schools since August 5th, and I’m going to reflect on that, but first…

#VaxUp and #GetCOVIDTested

Did you know we began our middle and high school vaccination clinics this week? Thank you to all of the eligible APS students and staff who had their first shot! Second shots will be administered the week of August 30th. If you were unable to take advantage of this week’s clinic, you may sign up to receive an initial shot at your school’s second clinic event. 

This opportunity would not be possible without our partnerships with Fulton County, the Fulton County Board of Health, and their partner, Georgia CORE. Thank you for helping APS make getting vaccinated more convenient for our community. (And thank you to our surveillance testing partner, Viral Solutions.)

#Innovation

I want to share an exciting announcement that will have a large-scale impact on our schools, our teachers, and ultimately on our student outcomes. APS has partnered with Ed Farm to train 100 Innovation Fellows (our instructional technology team, including media specialists) on future-forward technology in learning. I can’t wait to share examples of what we will be implementing and cultivating at APS schools. Stay tuned, because there is much more to come with Ed Farm and APS.

#APSDayOne and Dedication

APS students, families, teachers, administrators, and staff, I want to thank you for the work and attention to detail it takes to reacclimate to in-person learning while keeping our health and safety protocols in place. 

You may have seen some of the great photos and social media posts showcasing our 21 recent school visits (locations listed below) via @APSupdate and @drlisaherring. I have more positive highlights, observations, and reflections than one blog can possibly hold. But for now, I want to talk about dedication.

The moment I saw school staff arriving at Bunche Middle School in the very early pre-dawn, I had an overwhelmingly positive feeling about Day One. I am certain this was the scene at every one of our school campuses. Why? Because the dedication of educators is unparalleled. My early morning observation provided a forceful reminder about the level of dedication it takes to run a school building. 

And, I recall the tearful student at Finch Elementary (where we began our building tour as students were arriving) who was so caringly and expertly assisted by staff members. They knew just what to do to help this young lady get her bearings and feel more comfortable in her surroundings. We have all been that tearful student at least once, and we all know how kindness and empathy make all the difference. 

It’s just one example of the many moments of meaningful and helpful hallway interactions I saw throughout my visits. It is powerful to see our educators in those “unsung hero” micro-moments, helping students transition throughout the day in the in-betweens of in-person learning. Your dedication is seen.

I am intentional about balancing time in my office with time spent out at our schools interacting with students and staff. You are the reason for all of my work, and your success means everything to me. I am committing to visiting our schools this year, because this has always been my commitment to my practice. My dedication to you and to the success of this district is unwavering. 

I will reiterate that we are prepared to have a successful academic year for our students as the nation continues to weather pandemic-related health challenges. We will update our website’s Health Information section to keep up with emerging information, and we’ll push out updates as frequently as needed to all of our staff, parent/family, and community communications channels.

With all of you by my side, I’m looking forward to a great year! 


P.S. Here’s where my visits took me. Don’t see your school on this list? I invite you to follow me on Instagram and Twitter as I continue to visit our schools this year!

Carver Cluster

  • Finch Elementary – Principal Taylor
  • Carver STEAM – Principal Muhammad
  • Sylvan Hills Middle School – Principal Blasingame

Douglass Cluster

  • FL Stanton Elementary – Principal Earls
  • Usher Collier Elementary – Principal Parker

Jackson Cluster

  • Benteen Elementary – Dr. Lovett

Mays Cluster

  • West Manor Elementary – Principal Lawrence
  • Young Middle School – Principal Garlington (thank you for hosting our vaccination event

Midtown Cluster

  • Springdale Park Elementary – Principal Harness
  • Morningside Elementary – Principal Sofianos
  • Midtown High School – Principal Bockman

North Atlanta Cluster 

  • Brandon Primary – Principal Small

South Atlanta Cluster

  • Dobbs Elementary – Principal Ragin
  • Crawford Long Middle School – Principal Hill

Therrell Cluster

  • Deerwood Elementary – Principal Perry
  • Bunche Middle School – Principal Snowden

Washington Cluster

  • Herman J. Russell West End Academy – Principal Crooms
  • Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy – Principal Weems

Districtwide

  • Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) – Principal Washington
  • BEST Academy – Principal Jones
  • The Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron New Beginnings Academy – Dr. Robinson

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