Superintendent Karen Clarke
When Alachua County Public School staff stepped up during Hurricane Irma to shelter, feed and otherwise care for people fleeing the storm, I had never been so proud to be part of this wonderful school system. I have that same sense of pride as I look back over the last several months.
Since the COVID pandemic first hit Alachua County, ACPS teachers, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers, custodians, and so many other employees have gone above and beyond to serve children and families in this community.
We are now a month into this crazy school year, and I continue to see people rising to the challenge, including employees, students and families. In the past few weeks I’ve visited both brick and mortar and online classes, and I’m so impressed at how hard everyone is working to, well, make it all work.
I’m also very grateful for the critical support that’s been provided by the Alachua County Health Department, our medical advisors from the University of Florida and so many other individuals and organizations, including the ACCPTA. We wouldn’t have made it this far without them.
Of course, we will continue to do what we can as a district to address the concerns of families, students and staff. I recently met with your leadership team, along with members of my staff, to review the results of the recent ACCPTA survey. Their input and that of others who have reached out will help us as we adjust to this new way of educating our students.
I also appreciate the ACCPTA’s amazing support for the One Mill, which is up for renewal on this year’s ballot. ACPS and districts throughout the country are facing possibly the worst financial crisis in decades. The renewal of the One Mill will help us maintain people and programs we know are important to this community—music and the arts, counselors, librarians, career tech programs, academic magnets and school nurses. It also funds almost all our educational technology, including the thousands of laptops and hotspots we’ve distributed to families this year.
If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to check out the website (yesforonemill.org) and Facebook page (@yesforonemill) that your ACCPTA vice president Megan Hendricks has put together to raise awareness about the One Mill. Most of all, I urge you to make sure your voice is heard by voting.
In the meantime, I want to thank you for your continued support of our schools, teachers and students. By pulling together, we will make it through this crisis and be stronger for it.