J. L. Francis Elementary School

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  • COVID-19 Update - April 2, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, As I shared yesterday, we'll be rolling out the 2nd generation of our online learning plan, which we're calling "RPS@Home," on Monday. In preparation for that, I want to clarify expectations for our teachers during the closure. First let me say how thrilled I am that so many of our educators have taken it upon themselves to leverage YouTube, FaceTime, ClassDojo, and so many other online resources to stay connected with their students and support them academically and emotionally. Because of their efforts, I am prouder and more inspired than ever before to be a part of the RPS Family! I do want to be clear that these efforts – while laudable – are not required. Many of our teachers have children of their own and/or other family members to care for all day; some are sick themselves; and some are struggling with economic insecurity because their partners just lost their jobs. On their behalf, I am humbly asking for grace from our families during this very difficult time. Click above to read more.

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  • COVID-19 Update - April 1, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm excited to share that we'll be rolling out the 2nd generation of our online learning plan, which we're calling "RPS@Home," on Monday. It will have a daily schedule of lessons for just about every grade and subject, with very clear directions for students and families. We're hoping RPS@Home will provide more structure so that families have less to figure out on a day-to-day basis. I'll have a lot more information about this in my Friday message, so keep an eye out for it! One important caveat: To be able to access RPS@Home, you're going to need a computer and internet access. That's why we're asking any RPS family who needs these resources to let us know ASAP by filling out this survey. Please spread the word!

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  • COVID-19 Update - March 31, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, As I have shared previously, given our unyielding commitment to educational equity, we're working furiously to provide computers and internet access to any RPS students who need them. If your child needs these resources, please complete the survey as soon as possible. We are advertising the survey in English and Spanish via texts, robo-calls, social media, traditional media, and – starting tomorrow – in-person at our food distribution sites. Still, we recognize that these communication channels don't reach everyone, so please share this information with your networks. Shout-outs! – Please keep sending them to me at jkamras@rvaschools.net! Click above to read more.

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  • COVID-19 Update - March 30, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, As you have likely seen by now, the Governor just issued a stay-at-home order for the entire Commonwealth. I've received several emails asking what this means for our food distribution program and our efforts to help students continue to learn. In short, these activities can and will continue. Both the plain text of the order (see relevant sections below) and guidance from State Superintendent Lane have confirmed this. Click above to read more.

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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 29, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I hope you were able to enjoy the suddenly summer-like weather today. I started on some yard work this afternoon and lost track of time, so I'm a little later than usual today. My apologies! Shout-outs! – Thank you so much for continuing to email me your shout-outs – even on Sunday. Keep 'em coming! We love Mrs. Baron (4th grade inclusive classroom at Fox) so much! She has parlayed her amazing classroom teaching into daily morning Zoom meetings, lessons, and homework to keep her students engaged and learning! Click above to read more!

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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 28, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, My apologies for the delay this evening! I promised my boys I would spend some time with them on this beautiful day. We played basketball (I lost badly) and we built a mini pinball machine (I have to admit, it turned out much cooler than I expected). I hope you all got some time to enjoy the glorious spring weather with your loved ones. Since it's Saturday, I'm going with just shout-outs and FAQs. Unless there's any critical news, I think I'll do that tomorrow as well. So keep emailing me these wonderful affirmations of the extraordinary RPS team! Click above to read more!

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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 27, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, First, a quick housekeeping note this evening. I received feedback that the red color I use to highlight important or time-sensitive information is hard for color-blind people to see. I was told that orange is much better so that's what I'll be going with from now on. I also want to address a few questions I've received about our effort to close the digital divide in our community by purchasing computers for students who cannot afford them. First and foremost, this is about equity. Thousands of Richmond families do not have the resources to purchase a computer for their children. As a result, they neither have access to RPS online learning materials – which we're enhancing significantly over the next couple of weeks – nor the countless others provided by organizations around the world. Click above to read more.

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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - March 26, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Before getting to the shout-outs today, I want to talk about health – mental health. This is an incredibly stressful time for us all. I've received messages from students who miss their friends, have anxiety about their grades and graduation, and are worried about their own loved ones getting sick – all while still dealing with many non-coronavirus challenges in their lives. I've spoken to parents and caregivers who are worried about losing their jobs, paying rent, and providing 24/7 childcare for their children. And I've heard from countless teachers and staff who have expressed how hard it's been to cope with the abrupt separation from their students while also dealing with their own family struggles. Sadly, things are likely to get even harder over the next several weeks. Given this, I have an urgent request: if you need mental health support, reach out. And please do so now. As I've shared before, there have been times in my life when I've needed such support. No shame in that. The only shame is not asking for help when you need it. Towards that end, I want to draw everyone's attention to three resources:

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