ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Albemarle County Public Schools kicked off the school year with a convocation. The division brought in some keynote speakers who can get the faculty ready and excited for the year to come.

Craig Jennings, the choral director at Jackson P. Burley Middle School, says he used the summer to reflect and grow. He says even after 30 years of teaching, there are still ways to evolve as a teacher. 

“This gives us an opportunity to come together as a full county staff and get the message of where the year is headed from the central office and really get enthusiastic about the job and reapplying ourselves with enthusiasm to the mission of teaching children,” he said.

Since 2020, attendance has been a struggle in each school, but Albemarle High School Principal Darah Bonham says the school is working to improve.

“Realizing that attendance is really a symptom of other things and so to really dive into what those really are, and why students maybe aren’t coming as much. It could be family-oriented, or class-oriented, it could just be something going on with the student. So, really trying to be purposeful in developing intervention programs for that,” said Bonham.

And fifth-grade teacher Will Donnelly says the most important thing is understanding each student individually and showing them what success looks like.

“So when I’m in the classroom this year, I definitely know that my role, and I hope for other teachers too, is that they're continuing to foster that peer support for every other student and make that student feel welcomed and safe in the classroom,” he said.

Albemarle County Supervisor Diantha McKeel says ACPS has the support of each supervisor.

“It really is an opportunity for me to share the message from the Board of Supervisors that strong schools make strong communities,” she said.