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RPS Direct Newsletter

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Recent RPS Direct Updates

Dear #RPSStrong Family,

As you have likely heard by now, the trial for the Monroe Park shooting has concluded with a guilty plea from Amari Pollard, the young man who killed Huguenot graduate Shawn Jackson. Chair Rizzi and I shared the following statement earlier today:

"June 6 was intended to be a joyful day for Richmond graduates. Instead, it ended in a senseless tragedy that took two lives, and destroyed countless others. We continue to mourn the loss of Shawn Jackson and his step-father Lorenzo Smith, and pray that Mrs. Jackson-Smith finds some closure and peace with the conclusion of the trial. We encourage any students or staff retraumatized by the legal proceedings to seek support from a family member or friend, a trusted colleague, or a healthcare provider. 

Far too many children in our community continue to be impacted by gun violence every day. We plead with all of Richmond to continue working, by any means necessary, to eliminate this devastating epidemic and its root causes. We owe that to Shawn, and to all the children and youth of this city." 

Many of you may not realize that Shawn and Amari were childhood friends. They even played at each other's homes as young boys. Now one is dead at the hand of the other, and both families are forever destroyed.

I long ago lost count of the number of RPS students lost to gun violence. I can tell you with certainty that it is more than 50 since I've become superintendent. Like many of you, I have become weary – depleted really – by the anguish, the heartache, and the trauma.

At times like this, I often look to others for words of inspiration. Though I avoid quoting religious texts given the separation of church and state, I hope you will indulge me this one time with the words of Isaiah, a prophet revered in many faiths. Chapter 40:30-31 says: "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even the young grow tired and weary, and the young stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

As we move forward from this tragedy, may we all find strength and not be faint. May we continue to  rise up against the forces of history that conspire to keep our students down. May we give lift to our children's dreams and help them soar like eagles.


With great appreciation,


Read More about RPS Direct - February 29, 2024 (opens in new window/tab)

Dear #RPSStrong Family,

Tonight's updates:


Generation Dream Showcase – Tomorrow, from 6 - 8 pm at Martin Luther King, Jr. MS, join Drums No Guns and the Richmond Peace Education Center for the "Generation Dream 15" showcase. The program will feature student performers honoring heroes of the long fight for social justice. Many of the pieces are original, inspired by the personal experiences of the performers. 

Read More about RPS Direct - February 28, 2024 (opens in new window/tab)

Dear #RPSStrong Family,

Tonight's updates:


Calendar Update – Fortunately, we've had a relatively mild winter, which means we haven't used most of our snow days. Given this, we've decided to make FridayMarch 29 (Good Friday), a Wellness Day for our students and staff. All schools and offices will be closed. Also, as a reminder, TuesdayMarch 5, will be a Teacher Work Day (no school for students) due to the primary election.


BHM Spotlight – Today, we're celebrating Amir Beasley, a remarkable 3rd grade student at William Fox ES. Described by his teacher as "intelligent, charismatic, and athletic," Amir excels in math and has shown remarkable growth as a reader this year. Beyond academics, Amir's kindness toward others and sense of humor bring light and joy to his class!

Read More about RPS Direct - February 27, 2024 (opens in new window/tab)

Additional Division Announcements

FridayMarch 29 (Good Friday), will be a divisionwide Wellness Day for our students and staff. All schools and offices will be closed

Schools will be closed to students Tuesday, March 5, 2024 due to the primary elections. RPS will observe a Teacher Work Day. View the division calendar here. We will resume normal school hours on Wednesday!

Our revised calendar is available for downloading! Click here to access PDF versions in English, Spanish, and additional languages.

Join the RPS team in teaching, leading, and serving with love next year! We're thrilled to offer sign-on bonuses and paid training for select positions. View our current job openings and apply today!