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School Superintendent Woods’ Letter to Georgia Teachers ‘You are valued, you are appreciated, and you are seen’

May is Teacher Appreciation Month in Georgia.

Georgia teachers,

I know it’s been hard. And I know it’s been hard for what seems like a very long time.

I want you to know that when you’re driving to and from school, or when you’re sitting there in silence in your classroom after a long day, you are seen.

I see you. 

I saw how you stepped up and stepped in time and again for your students. You held strong from the first cases of COVID — through rolling quarantines and shifting instructional models — to today, trying to address learning gaps and finish this school year strong.

I see the strength you show every day for your students, even though you’re tired; the dedication you show your students, even though you have your own children and family members to tend to; and the calling you answer, even though everything seems to pull you from it. 

I see you. 

When all of this started, there was no pandemic playbook already written up, sitting dusty on a shelf. But there was you – your compassion, dedication, skill, and love for students.

What you and I already knew, others began to see too. There wasn’t a teacher evaluation system out there that could capture the level of the teaching you were doing. The sum total of your efforts, of how you met the moment, couldn’t be measured by any test. A letter grade or a CCRPI score couldn’t fully capture all the demands placed on you, your classrooms, or your schools. 

We cannot and must not forget those lessons learned and these truths.

Though we’re ending this school year, we cannot end our commitment to the teaching profession. On the foundation of raising pay and reducing testing, we must continue to push for even more progress in building up the teaching profession — our profession.

You have my commitment to see it through. 

Sincerely,

Richard Woods
State School Superintendent

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