Loudoun County’s new school superintendent promises to restore trust with the community and move the school system forward after a tumultuous couple of years that included the firing of his predecessor.
“My overall message to parents is, I’m really looking forward to this new school year. It’s going to be an outstanding year. It’s my goal coming in from day one to be building relationships with parents, our community, relationships with our staff, relationships with our incredible partners. We know that for some we need to rebuild trust, and we’re going to be working on that. But I also want to show parents that the incredible experiences that their children are having in our schools are continuing,” said Aaron Spence during a Tuesday meeting with reporters.
Spence said the relationship between teachers and parents is key.
“To me, the most powerful and important relationship in education has always been the relationship between classroom teacher and their parent. I’ve never known a place where a teacher or a parent couldn’t have a conversation about how their child’s doing and what their child’s learning,” he said.
For there to be success, he said teachers need to know each child’s needs.
“You start in the classroom level with this. What does this specific child need? One of the things people will hear me say a lot is we don’t have to be great for 83,000 students a day. We have to be great for one student a day, 83,000 times,” he said.
“Our goal is to make sure every student thrives.”
Spence plans to talk with the school board about the Youngkin administration’s policies related to transgender students. The Youngkin administration has directed school systems to roll back some accommodations and notify parents about discussions involving gender identity.
“It’s going to start with a conversation with our school board and with our student services committee, and we’re going to make sure that we’ve done a full legal analysis of those policies,” Spence said.
“We need to analyze the policies in their whole, and see where they are compliant with state and federal law. If they’re compliant with state and federal law, we will implement them. If there are any issues with that, we need to work with our school board through those issues to figure out how do we make the spirit of what may be in the model policies without violating state or federal law.”
Spence met with the Loudoun County School Board Tuesday after talking with reporters.
During the meeting, the board adopted its budget. It was adopted outside of the traditional budget cycle because of a lack of a state budget. The county board of supervisors provided an extra $16.3 million in funding to handle gaps left at the state level.
The $1,668,345,179 budget includes a 5 percent raise for eligible employees, funding for support advisers at 17 high schools, more elementary school counselors, a new math intervention pilot program, and the elimination of athletic frees for students taking part in Virginia High School League sports.
Feature image courtesy Loudoun County Public Schools
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