Superintendent’s Update: Jan. 11, 2023

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Dear APS Families,

Following the school shooting in Newport News last week, our thoughts are with the injured teacher and the entire school community. The safety of our APS students and staff is always our top priority, and in this year’s legislative package, we are advocating for stronger laws to keep guns out of the hands of children.

Here is some information for those seeking support in addressing these difficult topics with students, as well as other updates:  

Resources for Families: The National Association of School Psychologists provides a resource for talking to your students about violence. Additional resources are available on the APS website including the school support line, 988 resources and a list of mental health services. As I mentioned in my message last week, reaching out for help is a sign of strength. We are all in this together.  

Attendance Notification Changes Take Effect Next Week: Beginning Tue, Jan. 17, APS will send text and voice notifications to all families regarding unverified absences beginning at 11 a.m. This is a shift from the 5 p.m. notices currently in place. Additionally, all middle and high school families will receive three additional text message alerts at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to notify them if a student has an unverified absence for a specific period. This change will help keep families informed of student attendance throughout the day and identify possible safety concerns or other issues.  

FY 2024 Budget Process: The process is underway to develop the FY 2024 budget which will take effect for the 2023-24 school year. My budget will continue to prioritize essential investments in our schools, maintaining excellent staff and continuing services that directly support our students’ academic success and mental health. View the FY 2024 Budget Calendar for key dates, including the presentation of my proposed budget at the Feb. 23 School Board meeting.

Congrats to our MLK Literary and Visual Arts Winners: Thank you to all who participated in the annual MLK contest. We received nearly 700 entries from talented students at every grade level and announced the winners last week. View the winners and a gallery of their submissions. We will honor them at the Jan. 19 School Board meeting.

Thank You, Principals!: Virginia School Principal Appreciation Week is Jan. 16-20, and I encourage everyone to thank and honor your principal next week. We will be celebrating them throughout the week in person and on social media using #ThankAPSPrincipals. Principals provide the leadership our schools need to create welcoming, safe and supportive learning environments. Let’s show them how much we appreciate all they do!

We are closed on Monday, Jan. 16. Enjoy the long weekend as we observe the MLK holiday. Have a great week.


Dr. Francisco Durán