September 2, 2019 - Welcome to 2019-20 School Year

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Hello AAPS Students, Staff, Families and Community,

We are so pleased you have chosen the Ann Arbor Public Schools and we are delighted to welcome you to a new 2019-20 school year!

I invite you to take a moment to click on the above photo and view our brief 2019-20 welcome video.

As we look forward to this school year, we are focusing on these critical words from our AAPS equity plan as they represent our shared commitment to each child and family this year: Every child will be known by name, by strength, by story, by need, and by culture, and every child will be connected to a caring, committed and competent adult at school.

Tragically, we don’t have to look far beyond the headlines of the day to recognize the forces at work that can devalue our children.  In the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we understand the important value each child brings and our critical mission of serving Every Child on Every Day. We are committed to this fundamental core value, both as educators and as members of our Ann Arbor community.

We are aware of the profound impact that our daily work can have on students and on each other, not just for today, but far into the future. We thoughtfully consider the ways we deliver a consistent message of hope and optimism, ensuring that our classrooms and our schools are safe and welcoming spaces for all. We understand that there are students who are living in challenging circumstances and may experience concerns with: social-emotional issues, immigration, LBGTQIA, special needs, poverty, second language, physical differences, family trauma or other situations. Whatever their circumstance, ALL children are welcomed, embraced and served with love.

Clarification on Immigrant and Refugee Students

In light of ongoing national developments, today is an important time to publicly communicate and clarify our position regarding immigrant and refugee students in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

The AAPS remains deeply committed to supporting ALL our students and their families, regardless of national origin or immigration status. We stand strong in support of our immigrant and refugee students and their families. Our school teams work every day to ensure that all children are welcomed, embraced, and valued as important members of our AAPS learning community in each of our classrooms and schools; this value, commitment and practice remain firm today.

In the AAPS, we view diversity as our strength, we are privileged to work and live in a diverse, international school environment and we understand this as a gift that enriches our community. Within the AAPS, we benefit from the richness of experience and perspective, language, culture, and cognitive connections that diversity brings to learning within our classrooms, schools and across our Ann Arbor community. We know the multicultural learning experience within our classrooms better prepares all our children for the globally connected world that is their future. 

We understand that many of our children and families are experiencing fear as a result of continuing national developments, and we will continue to reassure all within our community of our ongoing engagement and support. As memory, emotion, and cognition are located from the same place in our brains, we know that the best thinking and learning can only occur when all our children feel safe and protected. Our school teams, teachers, support staff and principals remain ready to support our children and families who are experiencing distress.

Specifically,

  • We will continue in our commitment and daily practice that a child’s immigration status will have no impact whatsoever on his or her education in the AAPS.
  • We reiterate the ideal that children have a constitutional right to equal access to education regardless of their immigration status or their parents’ status.
  • The fundamental right to access public education is constitutionally protected, and cannot be taken away by state or federal legislators.
  • In the AAPS, we will not ask about a child’s immigration status at school. Public school districts have an obligation to enroll students regardless of their immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

In addition, we will continue to partner and coordinate with our many excellent Ann Arbor community organizations and resources to connect additional support for our families beyond the school setting. We encourage anyone in need of assistance to reach out to your teacher, school principal or call (734) 994-2200 and we will respond with information and support.

For more detailed information, please see the AAPS Immigrant Students FAQ, and "Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff" from Teaching Tolerance. These support documents are also available on our website a2schools.org.

We want everyone to know that in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we will see, stand with, and remain #A2gether in support of each and every one of our children, understanding that each of our more than 18,000 students brings a unique and beautiful presence to our classrooms.

Every child known, and every child connected: this is the collective promise we make to our students, to their families, and to our Ann Arbor community. Our precious children are valued in our classrooms for who they are and we remain committed that all our children will continue to experience the safe haven of a warm, welcoming, and supportive classroom environment on each and every day at school.

Whenever we can assist you in any way, please call on us. We recognize that you have options when selecting a school for your children and we thank you for choosing the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Welcome, and we wish you an excellent 2019-20 school year!

Sincerely,

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Jeanice K. Swift

Superintendent of Schools