APS superintendent discusses importance of getting students back into classrooms this year

ATLANTA — Families across Georgia are getting ready to go back to school and Atlanta students are preparing to start Monday.

Channel 2′s Linda Stouffer spoke with the superintendent about the importance of getting more students back into classrooms this year.

Signs are up and classrooms ready at a separate ninth grade academy for Frederick Douglass High School, which is new this year.

“They have a unique experience that pours into their high school development,” Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said.

Herring told Stouffer that personalized learning is a big effort districtwide as they launch an attendance push, telling students -- you matter.

“I’m excited about what will be an extraordinary year for our scholars and one in which we’re not talking so much about mitigation but about coming back and preparing them for the future,” Herring said. “Advancement, new school year, next grade level, bringing on new friends, past friends and new teachers. When I share that for a student or new parent who might be watching, we’re excited for that experience we’ve all been waiting for.”

The district also said it’s listening.


“You asked teenagers what they thought of you and their schools. What did they tell you?” Stouffer asked Herring.

“They are our main consumer, our scholars, end client,” Herring said. “We have a student advisory council at APS -- extraordinary league of students -- and they were very thoughtful about surveys to peers and giving us that feedback.”

They have opinions, and tied to those recommendations, like more technology integration and mental health support.

That’s something APS is continuing to expand.

“Counselors, therapists, partners, after-school partners, mental health agencies and telehealth, which is much more accessible,” Herring said.

Herring said one of the biggest keys to success for the upcoming year is that teachers must see students in person.