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.
School Calendar Survey - RPS would like your feedback on the 2021-22 calendar and year-round school options as we consider new approaches to post-COVID instruction. Parents and caregivers should fill out this survey and RPS staff should fill out this survey.
Family Support Helpline - Questions about reopening? Call the RPS Family Support Helpline at (804) 780-6195 and learn more about other resources available to families.
"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras
Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy Friday! Today was especially joyous for me, as I had the privilege of presiding over our first-ever Mid-Year Graduation for students from the 2020, 2019, and 2018 classes who have returned to earn their diplomas. These 25 young people have redefined what it means to persevere and we are immensely proud of them! The ceremony today is a result of more than a year's worth of work to find students who left RPS, re-engage them through new programs like Con Ganas (With Determination), and support them through every last obstacle. Please join me in thanking the RPS teachers, counselors, administrators, and support staff – along with the students' families! – for making today possible.
Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm thrilled to share that we have a new Chief Operating Officer joining RPS on March 1! Alana Gonzalez has spent her entire career helping government agencies work more efficiently and more equitably. She's coming to us from New York, where she served as Executive Director of Community Reconstruction and Infrastructure for the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. In this role, she led over 300 recovery and resiliency projects for NY communities affected by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Hurricane Lee. Ms. Gonzalez also held various roles, including Chief of Staff to the General Manager, at the New York City Housing Authority, which provides affordable housing to more than 400,000 low- to moderate-income New Yorkers.