Superintendent’s Weekly Check-in, August 3

Superintendent Matthew HaasDear Colleagues:

A thought for next week: “We must accept the societal change in the mission of our schools.” — Rick Stiggins

Good morning, everyone! I hope you had an enjoyable July! This week, I had the opportunity to check in on the teacher leadership program, an intervention workshop, and threat assessment training, all out at Western Albemarle High School. I am very proud of our teachers for their desire to learn and grow through these professional development opportunities!

Your school administrators and operational department heads met on Wednesday and Thursday of this week for our annual fall leadership team retreat at AHS. Kate Acuff, our Board Chair, and Steve Koleszar, our 20-year representative for Scottsville, both addressed the team (Kate on Wednesday and Steve on Thursday) and talked about the ACPS strategic priorities:

  • Create a culture of high expectations for all.
  • Identify and remove practices that perpetuate the achievement gap.
  • Ensure that students identify and develop personal interests.

One of the things I really want to work on this year is being a better communicator about these priorities, as they should impact all of our work. In turn, we can make small changes in our practices to support students and each other.

I want to give a shout out to all of our custodian crews, both day and night, for the Herculean tasks they undertake to make sure our schools are ready and as comfortable as can be for children and staff on August 22. It seems like every year, each school is taken apart and put back together with investments in infrastructure and aesthetics, and it only works with the leadership of our custodians.

Last Wednesday night, I was walking out of the cafeteria at AHS after a community listening tour session, and on the back porch, I was greeted by the night custodian crew—Jeremy Katina, William Bradley, Nar Gurung, Andre Lewis, Nar Mangar, Doma Monger, Norman Pudell, Reggie Scott, Prem Sharma, As Man Tamang, Frank Workman, Surja Mongar, and Chhabi Mongar. They were on their “lunch break” at 8 p.m. There was a misty rain in the gloaming. The night was very quiet, and I was so happy to see these key members of our organization taking a break before the next task. We all shook hands and thanked each other for being here for kids.

I’m not assuming you haven’t, but please make sure you go out of your way to thank our building services staff when you see them out and about in the schools. Their work is imperative if often invisible.

One final note: Our school cafeteria workers play a critical—and often under-recognized—role in the health of children. Nutritional food with a caring touch increases esteem and an appetite for learning.

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.