Superintendent’s Weekly Check-in, July 20

Superintendent Matthew HaasDear Colleagues:

A thought for next week: “The world cannot be understood without numbers. And it cannot be understood with numbers alone.” — Hans Rosling

Good morning, everyone! I hope you have had a fine week.

Wednesday morning this past week was special. After the rain storms the previous evening, I noticed the weather was a bit cooler and more pleasant than earlier in the week. I let our dogs out back and sat with them for a few minutes enjoying the break in the heat before moving on to the day. The morning was really special, though, because I stopped by Greer Elementary School for a community gathering. When I arrived, there was a great mix of teachers, students, parents, and support staff. Jill Lee, the new principal, and Wendy Eckerle, the new assistant principal, were mingling with all, and retiring principal Robyn Bolling was there for support. Greer has a well-designed, activity-oriented breezeway, and children were scattered about, drawing, playing and talking. It was a wonderful, community-building social event.

We had three more Listening Tour sessions this week: two comprised of all teachers and one with CoderDojo students. I greatly appreciate your ideas about bright spots in our schools, opportunities for improvements, and your advice for me. There will be more sessions offered for teachers in August. I hope you can make it!

Another event I had the chance to attend this week was the A-Tech Open House at Seminole Place, what used to be Comdial, on Monday night. Last fall, we leased space in Seminole Place to test drive the “center model” on a small scale by housing our technology and school nutrition departments alongside and overlapping with school space to provide a new learning opportunity for students starting this fall. The space is still under construction, but we are almost ready! Our goal through this model is to eventually reduce the enrollment at AHS and create more room there, while helping students develop work and career skills in a center that is accessible to community business partners. We also will have a large professional development space at A-Tech, so I’ll bet that during the course of the year, you will have a reason to stop by and check it out. I hope you do!

On another note, I recently heard from some teachers that the wording of the opening questions we used in the teacher leave survey we launched back in May felt disrespectful. I apologize for that. Our intent was to share some facts about the impact of absenteeism, but when I read the items from your point of view, I certainly understand how they could be upsetting. I’m glad it did not keep several hundred of you from completing the survey and providing a lot of commentary on the topic. I appreciate it, and next time, we will do better with our approach.

You, as an educator, are so important to society in ways that cannot be measured. What your students learn from you at a young age will most likely stay with each one in some way for life!

Just checking in,


Matthew S. Haas, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Your mission and my mission every day is to establish a community of learners and learning, through relationships, relevance and rigor, one student at a time.