Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

First School Bell — Albuquerque Public Schools

posted: August 12, 2022

First School Bell

Superintendent Scott Elder writes a weekly message to employees, which is also shared with the public on the APS website. This week’s topic: the first day of school.

There’s something really cool about the first bell of the school year.

I was in the courtyard of Garfield STEM School when it ranked Wednesday, immediately sending sixth, seventh, and eighth graders streaming into the building. You could feel excitement, anticipation, and even a little anxiety in the air. Fortunately, plenty of nurturing teachers and staff were on hand to welcome and guide students to class.

I visited several campuses during the first days of school, and the scene was similar and familiar: hugs from family members, bags filled with school supplies and tissue boxes, wide eyes, hushed voices, shy smiles.

The first day of school may be the quietest of the year as students, some new to campus, get their bearings. Once they feel comfortable and safe, their learning can commence.

Thanks to all who made our students feel welcome and wanted this week. Let the learning begin!

It’s been a rough couple of years for our students, their families, and our staff. As much as we tried to stay focused on teaching and learning, the health crisis and other matters, including school safety and societal ails, tugged at our attention.

The sense of normalcy on Albuquerque Public Schools campuses this week has been a relief.

Of course, we will continue to deal with outside forces this school year. I expect we’ll see some COVID outbreaks at our schools. Fortunately, we have a plan to deal with them in the least disruptive way.

The fences surrounding our schools constantly remind us of the potential dangers that lurk outside our campuses. But the vestibules, ring systems, door locks, cameras, training, personnel, and other safety measures we have invested in over the years have made our schools safer than ever.

Now, it’s time to reset and refocus on the essentials: high-quality instruction for every student. Equity and engagement. Literacy and mathematics. Collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Social and emotional learning. Effectiveness and efficiency.

Do what you do best, teaching and supporting students, and I promise it will be a good school year.

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