Dear HCPSS Families:
Just a few days remain until your children return to school. Our schools are ready and our staff is eager to welcome your child. I am eagerly counting off the days until school doors open on Monday, and I know that my excitement is shared by students, staff and parents all over our county.
We are ready and I'm very optimistic about the year ahead. The state's requirement to return to fully in-person instruction means we are finally returning to what I firmly believe is best for nearly every student. We have taken considerable precautions to ensure that our schools are welcoming and safe learning environments for students and staff. I encourage you to view my recent video message where I explain more about our comprehensive COVID mitigation strategies.
My optimism is well-founded, because by leading with grace, compassion and empathy, our system has emerged resilient through the many stresses of the last 18 months. We continue to respond to the impacts of COVID while confronting the other pandemics of poverty, racial inequality, political strife, anger, exclusion and a mental health crisis. While adapting our instructional model, we have responded to basic needs for access to nutrition and technology, established an equity policy, strengthened mental health supports, and continued to emphasize that everyone is welcome in our system.
We are now a much different school system than we were before the pandemic. By building on our increased capability and lessons learned, we are ready to advance even further in closing gaps in academic achievement and graduation rates, addressing mental health issues and other challenges through a heightened focus on inclusion and breaking down barriers. We will continue to show love in the face of intolerance or hatred, and always take positions that protect and support students.
As always, we need the collaboration of every family, staff and community member to ensure that what is best for students is always our highest priority. Our children are always watching how we interact and care for each other.
I extend my warmest welcome to every student, family and staff member and my best wishes for a rewarding and healthy new school year.
Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.