Superintendent’s Weekly Check-in, October 5

Superintendent Matthew HaasDear Colleagues:

A thought for next week: “Education is the new currency of the 21st Century.” — Joe Madison

Good Morning, everyone, and happy Friday!

On behalf of the School Board and our students and families, thank you for a terrific first month of school! I greatly appreciate all the hard work you are putting into each day and night for our children.

Christine Thompson is working on getting copies of The Other Wes Moore out to the first 10 people who emailed her last week. There was a great deal of demand for copies of the book, and fortunately, Amber Roberts and Erica Thorsen at AHS emailed me to say that any educators in the county who would like to borrow a copy of the book may do so through the AHS Library by emailing Erica. Amber has 50 paperback copies of the book that are available for circulation this fall. Enjoy!

Speaking of Albemarle High School, I spent time there this week walking about the school with Jesse Turner, the principal. We sat in on a school safety review, a program developed by Nick King (our Director for Student Services) to review data pertaining to school climate and to conduct a “dry run” of the school’s crisis management plan. Teachers, administrators and counselors were in the meeting, and administrators from other schools participated as well. As Dr. King would say, school staff spend a great deal of time preparing for an emergency and, fortunately, the plans do not get used. Having said that, reviewing and testing the plans in a non-emergency situation reveals opportunities for improvement before they are tested in a crisis.

Dr. Turner and I enjoyed meeting up with several teachers and students while walking the halls. We stopped in to see Terry Midolo in the gym and checked in with Malik Poindexter with the Culinary Arts students. We spoke with World History Teacher Devin Gentry as well. Devin was showing us a thoughtful approach for teaching students about the caste system. They had a hard time grasping it conceptually until he asked them to rank brands of athletic shoes based on surface characteristics. The caste system clicked after that. While visiting with Emily Millirons and her class, I asked about the secret to her success with helping students learn, and she responded, “I just love them.” All the students in the class concurred!

One final note: I think one of the best medicines for a student feeling lonely is for an educator to say (and mean!), “You belong here.” Megan Wood from Sutherland Middle School sent me a link to the article, The Importance of Belonging. It talks about the research behind statements such as, “You belong,” and their impact on loneliness.

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.