New Huntsville schools superintendent gives first State of the S - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New Huntsville schools superintendent gives first State of the Schools address

Superintendent Matthew Akin delivers the State of the Schools address for Huntsville City Schools. (Source: WAFF) Superintendent Matthew Akin delivers the State of the Schools address for Huntsville City Schools. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The new Huntsville City Schools superintendent made his first State of the Schools address Monday night.

Matthew Akin stood before parents and educators, outlining his ideas for the future of the school system in the Huntsville High School auditorium.

Akin said it's not enough to invite parents to be a part of their kids' educations. The school system must also reach out to them.

"A lot of times I hear, 'Well, parents just don't come out.' It can't be that parents don't come out. We have to go to parents if that's what it takes, because the true success of every kid depends on parent support," he said.

Before the address, some parents said they want to know how the district will build on successes. Others were eager to find out how the school system may change.

"We need to get back to basics. I think we've done a lot of 'shiny bobble, the cat chasing the ornament on the tree' type of programs. I just want to get back to basics. Practice reading. Practice writing. Practice math," said Deb Stern, who is the mother of a 10th grader at Huntsville High School.

Preeti Francis, who is president of the Huntsville City Schools Council of PTAs and the parent of two students, said she looked forward to hearing about Akin's plans to advance progress the school system has made.

"His vision for our school district. How he's going to help us continue to excel. We'd also like to hear about the successes of our school district," she said.

Akin emphasized that one size doesn't fit all, that each student needs the opportunity to learn by using the technique that fits them.

"We teach for the average student, but I think that has to change. We need to meet students academically where they are. So whether they're below average or above average, we ought to personalize that learning for each student," he said.

Akin also said he places high value on pre-K and LENA programs for children 3 years old and younger and working with local industries and colleges with programs to help students move toward their goals for the future.

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