As we open the schoolhouse doors on a brand new school year, Atlanta Public Schools continues its journey of transformation into a culture with a child-centered mission and vision. Our goal is to make an even deeper connection with our students, our parents and caregivers – our families.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Joel Carstarphen.

We need all of our APS families to join with our teachers, principals and staff in focusing on preparing every single student for college and career. That begins by getting students to school on the first day and every day of the school year. Every day is a day of instruction, an opportunity to learn.

We are making great progress on this journey. Last year, we finished our first full year with all of the transformational components in place — a year that saw more than 2,400 beautiful students walk across the stage with their high school diplomas in hand, more than any year in recent history. We also saw significant gains in academics, as shown in our Georgia Milestones results, where about two-thirds of our schools – 17 more than the previous year – saw gains.

We must strive to achieve even more student outcomes in this new school year.

As we continue on this journey of transformation together, I pledge to continue to do my part to work diligently to foster a transparent, collaborative environment for our families and stakeholders. I look forward to being your partner in helping to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our children.

Meria Joel Carstarphen is superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.