Superintendent’s Weekly Check-in, September 21

Superintendent Matthew HaasDear Colleagues:

A thought for next week: “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.” — T.S. Elliot

Here’s a sequel (maybe a prequel) to the story I shared last week. Cheryl Harris at Sutherland emailed to tell me that she taught the Ms. Haas who is teaching my former student’s third grader in Virginia Beach. As Cheryl sublimely stated, “What a circle of positive relationship!”

On Monday, I visited Crozet and Brownsville elementary schools to see the great work you all are doing with our students. With Jason Crutchfield, I sat in on Kelli Crickenberger’s 5th-grade class. Most students were engaging in chosen learning tasks while she worked with individual groups on vocabulary study. Students told me it was a good way to warm up and get ready for the week. I also checked out Sarah Hartman’s 2nd graders as they studied, created and explained pictorials about the past, present and future. One young lady told me that in the future, “we will teleport.”

At Crozet, Gwedette Crummie and I found a couple of new teachers hard at work. Katharine Werner, a collaborative teacher, was mixed right in with a group of students practicing word power strategies. Jessica Morrone, a Florida recruit teaching 5th grade, explained a project-based learning approach she and her team were taking with their students to understand every facet of the Rivanna River, from its sources and management to its confluence with the James. She called it “riffle?”

On my way back through the office, two students in school nurse Debbie Hajek’s office caught my eye as they sat looking a bit forlorn. When I asked her how the day was going as she handed them crackers and water, Ms. Hajek said it was fine so far and that the two students just needed a little time and attention this morning. Her warm smile and eye contact toward them in turn engendered their smiles to show themselves: beautiful.

One final note: According to the Digest of Education Statistics, during the fall of 2018, about 56.6 million students will attend elementary and secondary schools in the U.S., including 50.7 million students in public schools and 5.9 million in private schools. The current U.S. population is 326.8 million.

OK, one more final note: I’ve just launched my Superintendent Listening Tour Survey, and I’d really appreciate it if you’d each take a few moments to respond before it closes next Friday, September 28. Your input is valuable and will significantly help me prioritize my work moving forward. Thanks!

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.