Welcome to the 2011-12 School Year

August 14, 2011

Teachers at New Teacher Academy

The opening of school is just around the corner. Our new teachers, 110 strong as of August 1, have completed the New Teacher Academy, focusing on learning expectations held for Albemarle students. They will be joined by over a thousand other teachers in the coming week as we all join together to prepare to welcome over 13,000 students to classrooms in 4 high schools, 6 middle schools, and 16 elementary schools. To reach your school, please visit the division’s school site for phone numbers and websites.

Checking out a new bus in the fleet

The bus fleet is ready to roll. Bus drivers and students have been assigned to routes. The bus fleet travels close to 12,000 miles daily so it’s important that each bus has been thoroughly checked and signed off as meeting safety standards. School calendars and bus schedules have been mailed to homes. If you have questions about your route, you can call 434-973-5716 to reach staff at the Transportation Office.

Stone-Robinson parking area under construction

The schools are almost ready for teachers and students. Routine maintenance and renovations in our schools, on our grounds, and to parking lots have almost been completed.  Building services staff have cleaned floors and carpet, painted classrooms and hallways, and made repairs. Repair crews have completed 2070 work orders from June to early August.  Here are some of the photos from work that’s been underway this summer as shared by Building Services staff at a recent School Board meeting.

Now that our schools are almost ready for students to return, it’s time to help students to get ready for their return to the school day. Parents often talk about the time it takes for some children to adjust from the summer vacation back to the school schedule.

Here are six tips to support our learners make the transition back into school and to build good working relationships between school staff and parents.

  • If your child has been staying up later on summer evenings, begin this week to adjust his/her sleep schedule back to school year “bedtime” hours. A well-rested child is a more attentive child in school.  In fact, the symptoms of too little sleep and attention disorders are very similar. A good night of sleep pays off for your child in school.
  • Discuss breakfast and lunch choices for healthy meals that sustain energy and that are wellness friendly. Our kids today are characterized as the most unhealthy younger generation in decades and much of that is because of diet. Diet impacts body chemistry in a variety of ways – particularly a child’s sugar, salt, and fat intake. The USDA offers a number of website resources on healthy lifestyle choices for children that address diet, wellness and fitness. School menus and other information about the school lunch program can be found here.
  • Check your school calendars for info about Open House and Back to School activities.  For younger and older children and you, going to school with you to meet teachers sends a message from the start that you to be involved as a partner with the teacher in supporting your child(ren)’s education.

  • Consider volunteering in any way you can. It models responsibility to being a part of the solution to offering the best education we can for all children and volunteerism is a civic virtue in America. Plus, we educators need you and your help –even if it’s doing one thing that you can do. We realize parents are busy people who have their own jobs, but when you can help us out we appreciate it. To find out more about volunteerism, please visit our Community Engagement website or email Gloria Rockhold at grockhold@k12albemarle.org
  • If you have questions or concerns, don’t sit on those until there’s a big problem. While all of our workloads have increased because of email and voicemail, we want to know when something is a burning question or concern. Finding the balance between waiting too long to contact the teacher and being a “helicopter” parent is important. Some things that should not wait include bullying of your child or another child, bus problems, your child feeling overwhelmed with work at home or being upset about relationships with the teacher. If your inner instinct says that something isn’t going well, it’s better to at least reach out and check in with the teacher.
  • Lastly, thank an educator for helping your child- or other children – in some special way. The many fabulous educators in our schools, just as teachers before them, work a farmers’ schedule plus. They are up early and late to bed because of their commitment to their work. I know many educators- administrators and teachers alike- who pull their own money out to pick up the educational tab for an individual child or a class. There is nothing as valued by an educator as a personal note, email, or call from you saying “I appreciated when …..”

Finally, we need you in our schools and working with us. We have a number of ways that you can get involved or connected to offer your perspectives to the School Board and staff. Our Parent Council members represent each school community throughout the year in monthly meetings with the superintendent and central staff. At meetings, parent representatives share resources, work on joint programs, and discuss questions and concerns pertinent to the school division and schools in general. We also receive feedback from other advisory groups that represent the interests of children attending our schools. These include the Special Education Advisory Committee(SEAC),  Gifted Advisory Committee, and the Health Advisory Board.

It won’t be but just a little over a week before the big yellow buses are on the road. Please remind your neighbors and friends to watch out for all our children as they wait for buses or walk to school. We look forward to the start of school and appreciate your commitment to helping us sustain the excellence  of our schools.

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