Superintendent’s Weekly Check-in, November 2

Superintendent Matthew HaasDear Colleagues:

A thought for next week: “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” — C.S. Lewis

Happy Friday! I am so excited that today is Making Connections day in Albemarle County Public Schools! Yes, I am excited that our educators have signed up for informative and engaging sessions with visiting presenters in fields that will help us keep getting better and better in this noble work we do. In addition, I am grateful to all of our staff for helping put together such a top-tier program. Anywhere around the state, you will not find a better schedule of professional development in one division on one day with so much choice and variety of programming. During my listening tour, professional development opportunities were cited as a bright spot for ACPS, and Making Connections is the crown jewel.

And it’s all about you. The whole day is all about “making connections” with you! You are the most important part of the day, and your colleagues are going to be so happy to see you and talk with you and spend time learning with you. I am so glad that you are attending! In fact, while you are at the session(s) you choose to attend, please look for me, Debbie Collins, Clare Keiser, Bernard Hairston, Jenn Sublette, or one of these Central Office staff members:

Albemarle High School: Alison Dwier-Selden and Cyndi Wells
Henley Middle School: Michele Castner
Jouett Middle School: Maureen Jensen
Monticello High School: Mike Craddock, Robby Munsey, Angela Stokes
Sutherland Middle School: Natalie Farrell
Western Albemarle High School: John Hobson and Jay Thomas

We each will have 50 raffle tickets. Please ask for one from the person you meet. You only get one! We will have a random drawing, and if your ticket is chosen, I will come and be your substitute for pretty much any one day you choose during the month of February or March. You can even choose a Friday, and I promise I will follow your plans and make sure it’s not a lost day, even if I have to get help! I will announce the winning number in the November 9 Check-in.

Henley Middle School is on the move! It’s a great school with wonderful traditions that is also embracing change. What more can we ask? Sometimes my energy is pretty low on a Monday morning, but when I entered the Henley and Brownsville parking lot this past Monday, the atmosphere was already electric with activity from both buildings. Henley appeared extra busy because of the construction going on out front. I came in through the side door, checked in with John Williams, and sat down to chat in the “temporary” office with Alissa Layne and Sandy Conley. Pretty soon, I was roaming the school with Beth Costa. I had a chance to see Becky Fisher! Students and teachers were in Advisory Period all across the school. Cherie Thomas was working through the peer nomination survey with her students, and Chris Booz’s advisory was doing some organizing for the future, including snack responsibilities! Dr. Costa explained to me that Henley is even doing silent-sustained reading and writing time during the advisory time slot. Excellent!

I enjoyed meeting Mr. Myers as his broadcast students came to work with him, and the last place I checked out was the large math space that is collaboratively used by Brandi Stauffer and Jennie Hamner: What a great team!

One Final Note: In 1845, the United States Congress chose a single date for all national elections in all states. The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was chosen so that there would never be more than 34 days between Election Day and the first Wednesday in December. Election Day is held on a Tuesday so that voters will not have to vote or travel on Sunday.

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.