Dear James H. Blackwell Community:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share my excitement about being at James H. Blackwell Elementary School. I am a native North Carolinian, a product of an outstanding K-12 public education and have been an educator for twenty-one years.
This year, I look forward to having the opportunity to get to know each and every one of you virtually. I know this is not a traditional opening to school, however my commitment to students, faculty, and teachers is unwavering. We will provide a quality education for your child. Our first day of school is Tuesday, September 8, 2020, at 9:15 AM. We realize these are unprecedented times for all educators across all nations.
As we move into virtual learning I ask that you provide yourself, your child, and us some grace and compassion as we navigate this new platform for learning. In addition, as your child’s partner in education, we look forward to working together, speaking the same language, and carrying the same focus and message throughout our year together, I am excited to present the four E’s:
Equity – Are all children in our schools receiving the attention they need to grow to their full potential? How can we at James H. Blackwell ensure that students are not falling behind because of unequal access to support and resources? Have we provided the professional development and training to ensure that all of our teachers are successful?
Energy – With all that is asked of us as parents, teachers, and administrators it is easy to let our energy flag not shine! Yet it is essential that we find the strength to rekindle our passion for our work, our children and use our energy to motivate and stimulate those around us. A school that hums reflects ownership of learning and success.
Expectations – What expectations have we set for ourselves, our students, and our school? Without setting high standards, there is little chance of ever reaching them. Have we fostered an environment that celebrates a proactive behavior? Are our expectations clear and are they based on data, input and participation? Can we all articulate our expectations and do our expectations focus on the needs of students and their success in the 21st Century?
Ensemble – No one can create a great school on one’s own. It takes a dedicated group of people whose talents and interests are being tapped in the right way. Remember that just as each individual child needs to be nurtured in order to grow and develop, so do we as a faculty, parents and students.
I will be in the office at James H. Blackwell on Monday and Wednesday, so please feel free to call 804.780.1570 or email BlackwellElementarySupp@rvaschools.net. Our door is open for parents, students, and community members by appointments only on Monday (9:00 AM – 2:00 PM) and Wednesday (12:00 PM – 5:30 PM). When you visit us please make sure you wear a mask, utilize our hand sanitizer, and maintain 6 feet distance in the office area.
Student hours in K- 2nd grade is 9:15 AM – 3:00 PM and 3rd -5th is 9:15 AM – 3:30 PM. Every Wednesday all students will be dismissed at noon.
Our theme this year is better together, however, we are stronger and better with all of your support. Please enjoy the rest of your summer and know we are working hard to make 2020-2021 a GREAT year!
Teresa K. Anderson, Ed.D.
#ReopenWithLove - For the latest information on fall reopening plans and resources for families, visit the #ReopenWithLove section of our website. It includes the most current information about meal distribution, technology distribution, school supply kit distribution, and other critical information.
Family Support Helpline - Questions about reopening? Call the RPS Family Support Helplne at (804) 780-6195 and learn more about other resources available to families.
New Student Enrollment - RPS is enrolling all new students for the 2020-2021 school year! Head to the Enroll RPS portal for more info & online enrollment. Contact your zone school if an appointment is needed for in-person support. Note - this process is NOT for transfers within the RPS system (i.e., students moving to a new school because of zoning changes or a change of address). If you have questions, email email@example.com.
"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras
Dear #RPSStrong Family, Thank you to those of you who've sent feedback about our virtual instruction so far. I can't tell you how much we appreciate it! As I shared earlier in the week, it's clear we need to make some adjustments for students and teachers alike. Our Academic Office is working on some updated schedules as we speak and we'll have something concrete to share at the School Board meeting on Monday. In the meantime, please keep sending me your feedback about this, or any other, aspect of our virtual instruction. Thank you! Turning to my RPS Direct from Tuesday, I want to apologize to members of the Hispanic/Latina/Latino/Latinx community who felt overlooked, erased, or whitewashed by my comment that, "At RPS, we use the term LatinX" for this highly diverse community
Dear #RPSStrong Family, It's National Arts in Education Week and we're thrilled to celebrate, as we know the arts aren’t extra, they’re core - for every child, in every neighborhood of our city. We're fortunate to have an amazing team of fine arts teachers across the division who bring their expertise and passion to their (now virtual) classrooms every day. Just take a look at this video created by Sharon Russell, the Art teacher at Albert Hill Middle School! As a reminder, don't forget that we're launching RPS en Vivo tomorrow at 5:30 pm on the RPS en Español Facebook page. I hope to see you there! Finally, please make sure to read the latest contribution from Rodney Robinson (see below) about the film "Black Boys." He's included links to some powerful articles that I encourage every RPS educator to read.