Spring 2021 Newsletter — Up Next In Public Education

Throughout the pandemic, we have added our voice to the chorus calling for policies in education and beyond to not return to “normal” as more people are vaccinated and return to their previous way of life. If we are to move into a reimagined future, we must have objectives in place, goals we want to reach through rethinking and reinventing. I would offer four: to make sure students are safe, happy, loved, and learning.

These goals remain regardless of what type of school that students are learning in, or whether students are learning remotely or in person. The role of families, educators, and local leaders is to mitigate these risks and to create environments — wherever they might be — where students are in position to learn. With some students out of school buildings for one full year, it is imperative that we come together as a community around these types of goals, these types of universal aspirations that can unite families, educators, and policymakers who have been riven by the school reopening debate.

Speaking of educators, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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January Newsletter – So We Must Advance

Following the close of one of the most extraordinary years in our country’s history, we have started 2021 with a stunning month, a month when the most monumental events bear repeating, even as they are still fresh in our memories.

This month, this month that is still not over, Georgia elected its first Black U.S. Senator and its first Jewish U.S. Senator. The United States faced an insurrection as domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol Building in Washington. The former President was impeached for the second time. And then, two weeks after the insurrection and one week after the impeachment, the United States inaugurated its first woman, its first Black woman, its first South Asian woman as Vice President. All the while, more than 60,000 Americans have died of Covid, just this month.

Amidst all these tectonic shifts, it would be understandable to look for stability in some of the cornerstones of our communities, like our schools. It feels natural, to grasp for some familiarity in a time of such uncertainty. But in education, and in so many parts of our society, we cannot go back to what once existed. It is only by reimagining, by rethinking, by reinventing, that our country will move forward. Here locally, where families in Atlanta Public Schools are once again adjusting to a slowed pace of return to in-person learning, reimagining is our focus.

December Newsletter — Pushing Forward

Before the new year finally arrives, I’d like to take a moment to share some reflections on 2020.

Across Atlanta and beyond, it has been a traumatic year. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on people’s health, livelihoods, and education, with Black and brown communities feeling the greatest impact. Amidst that landscape, like many of you, redefinED atlanta has sought to meet this moment, even as members of our team grappled with working remotely, taking care of our children, and looking after our loved ones. Looking back, I am proud of the work we led to support students, families, and communities across the city.

Read more to see some of our accomplishments:


October Newsletter — Innovation Fund Grants Available

This has been a roller coaster of a school year. Families that desired an in-person option for their students in pre-K through fifth grade anticipated today as the date of reentry. With in-person learning now postponed until January 2021, the city’s education community centers our focus on the overarching priority: ensuring we’re meeting students’ academic and socio-emotional needs.


September Newsletter — Equity & Innovation for Public Schools

At long last, it’s fall. The season when we’ve typically settled back into our school routines, started itching for Fall Break, and begun discussing Halloween costumes. This year, traditions and routines are in limbo. We’re more than a month into the school year, and the local conversation is still dominated by how and when students will return to their school buildings. It appears that the defining feature of 2020 — uncertainty — will continue to hover over us the remaining months of this year.

August Newsletter — Putting a Stake in the Ground

The 2020-21 school year is unlike any we’ve seen in modern history. As we continue through this time full of unknowns and uncertainties, it is our duty to advocate for equity being at the center of every decision made on behalf of students and families of Atlanta Public Schools (APS). We believe that equity-centered leadership will face some resistance because change is never easy, but in time, it will unite our district and provide the foundation for every school to be stronger throughout the pandemic and beyond.

July Newsletter — We Go Further Together

Summer is often a carefree time, a season associated with less stress than the others. The sun shines for longer, and kids can do what they do best: play.

This summer, of course, is shaping up much differently. Let’s be honest. We’re tired, scared, angry, frustrated, and every emotion in between. Today, we woke up to the news of a triple shooting that injured a 9-year-old victim, and the sickening deaths of Ahmaud Aubrey just outside of Atlanta and Rayshard Brooks here in the City of Atlanta are still fresh in our mind. People are losing jobs and homes, COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and people are still dying from the pandemic. This past weekend, Secoriea Turner, an 8-year-old girl and Atlanta Public Schools (APS) student, was killed in the backseat of her mother’s car, and our mayor (who recently tested positive for COVID-19) is left pleading once again to try to stem the violence.

June Newsletter — In Service to Community

With schools closed for summer and our district in heavy planning due to uncertainties in the wake of COVID-19, we are grateful for the opportunity to reflect on our mission and the ways we show up in and for the community we serve. When students go back to school this fall, they will return impacted by the compounding effects of bearing witness to protest brought on by racial injustice and heightened inequity worsened by the pandemic.

May Newsletter — Forging Ahead in the Time of COVID-19

As many of us continue to adjust to the impact of the pandemic, much has changed and yet many things remain the same.

High school seniors across our district completed their last day of school last Friday, but not at all like they intended when the school year began. Students with plans to embark on their college careers this summer and those with intentions of going straight into the workforce are all facing uncertainty.

April Newsletter — Our COVID-19 Response Efforts Now and Later

Atlanta is facing an economic and educational crisis like none we have seen in recent history. Sadly, but not surprisingly, we find historically marginalized communities suffering the most. Many of the same structural conditions that already disproportionately and negatively impact these families are causing a racial gap in COVID-19 illness and death rates, and there’s an alarming disparity in the ability of families to meet the academic and social needs of their children during school closures.