It’s inspiring to see how well you handled the start of the school year despite all the obstacles we faced such as COVID tracing, vaccines and testing, finicky air conditioners and internet connections, and student behavior influenced by months of too much screen time and not enough socialization.
As the temperature cools, we slowly move into the groove, finding solutions to problems we could not have foreseen even a few years ago, and come together to support each other, our students. and their families.
In other words, we do what educators do.
So many Albuquerque public school workers stepped up in the first term of this grueling school year. Many of you have taken on additional responsibilities without complaint. You learned new skills, worked overtime, and applied a lot of common sense, patience, camaraderie, and caring.
I can’t even begin to thank all of you who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that our schools remain open and our children continue to learn in safe and welcoming environments. But I can – we all can – recognize at least a few of our peers and even some of our students through traditional APS recognition programs. If there’s a time for a little extra appreciation, it’s now.
How many of you even know we have Student of the Week, Teacher of the Month, and Monthly Employee Recognitions? The district even has its own recognition webpage that highlights many of these exceptional staff and students.
Like our students of the week. Ten years ago, the APS Education Foundation partnered with the Nusenda Credit Union to recognize a handful of outstanding students in the district each year. Students like Anthony Depaul, a 5th grade student at Bellehaven Elementary School who is passionate about sharks and wants to save our oceans. And Aleethia Chavez, a grade 2 student at Alamosa Elementary School, who loves to talk about the stories she reads. And Gavin Gallegos, an 8th grader at Jackson Middle School who enjoys building computers.
You know kids like that – a lot of them. The truth is, we have hundreds – no, thousands – of APS students who deserve to be recognized every week. But of course it’s nice to put the spotlight on one community every week as a representative of so many others.
The same goes for teachers. Many APS teachers go above and beyond every day, even in the most difficult times. Once again this year, starting in October, the Foundation and Pepsi will be highlighting one of these exceptional teachers each month with short videos posted on APS.edu. They promise, as always, to inspire.
Teachers cannot do it alone. They are surrounded by a support team made up of school and district staff who also deserve thanks for all they do. This is why APS launched an employee recognition program three years ago. Since its inception, the recognition has honored speech-language pathologists, wardens and yard workers, teaching assistants, principals and vice-principals, campus security aides, administrative assistants and clerks, district administrators, advisers, maintenance and operations workers. You name it! Nominated by their peers, the first winners of the 2021 school year will be announced in the coming weeks.
There are many other ways to recognize our students and staff. At board meetings, via social media and local media. On our website and in our newsletters. Students like the 32 APS seniors who were named 2022 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists – that’s the most we remember having had in a year, and La Cueva High School had the most scholarship recipients from schools across the state!
These recognitions are a small representation of the big thing happening in Albuquerque public schools. You also deserve to be recognized. Thank you for continuing with grace and determination.