• Reopen With Love

    Fall 2020 Virtual Reopening Plan

    RPS is excited to virtually welcome back students and staff! This section of our website will be updated regularly with information and resources you may need and we encourage you to visit frequently.

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Daily RPS Direct Update - September 17, 2020

    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. That was certainly not my intention – but impact, not intent, is what matters most. I also want to express my profound appreciation to the individuals who reached out to me directly to share their concerns.
    It's absolutely critical that every member of the RPS Family feels embraced for who they are, however they identify themselves. It's also critical that RPS, as an institution, uses nomenclature that reflects the full spectrum of our community's voices. Towards that end, we'll be convening a group of RPS students, families, staff, and community members who identify as part of the Hispanic/Latina/Latino/Latinx community to make decisions about the terms we should use and the contexts in which we should use them. If you're interested in participating in this group, please email me at jkamras@rvaschools.net. Please also email me if you'd like to share via RPS Direct a reflection about what these terms mean to you personally. I firmly believe that the more we openly explore these issues, the stronger we become.
    With great appreciation,
    Shout-outs! – Please keep sending them to me at jkamras@rvaschools.net. Thank you! 

    • I want to know what Valentina Thompson, the Media Specialist at John Marshall High School, can't do! She is our shero and a Jacqueline of all trades! A parent reached out to me this week desperate for their child to be able to log on to their Chromebook. She had contacted everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, but, one email to Ms. V. Thompson, and she was in touch with his mother straight away and able to help this young man log on to his Chromebook within 5 minutes. And she did it all with a smile, because that's just who she is and how she does things.
    • I would like to shout out Kim Jones, who, in addition to her duties as Coordinator of Teacher Support and Retention, works for the Secondary Success Center, our dropout recovery program. Kim has gone above and beyond for our students by delivering Chromebooks, checking in with them, and even getting information for their siblings, who after the loss of a family member, needed help navigating the start of the school year! She is a great advocate for students, and we appreciate her at the Center!
    • I want to give a shout out to my Miles Jones students from the following 1st grade classrooms: Ms. White, Ms. Dennis, and Ms. Robertson. They had perfect attendance for the day and all students returned after lunch. Shout out to those classes whose students logged back in after lunch this past week: Ms. C. Smith, 4th grade; Mr. Thornton, 4th grade; and Ms. Brandon, 5th grade.
    • Our family is so grateful to have the teachers we have at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts!  We were nervous going into a virtual school experience, as this is the first time our kiddos are going to school, but the administration, staff and teachers at PHSSA have all been amazing! Our kindergartner loves his teacher, Mrs. Evans. She grabs his attention and somehow gets him so engaged over computer, that he can't wait to tell us all about it after his sessions end. Mrs. Evans keeps lessons fun and he's able to really make connections to his independent work afterwards! He is constantly calling out things around our home that begin with the letter sounds he's learning! He's feeling so proud!  Mrs. Evan's gentle, warm nature is the perfect match for our son. Our first grader is crazy about her teacher, Mrs. Emily Pendleton! She wakes on her own every morning, ready to go! Her confidence, once full of nerves, is soaring now! She feels so loved and valued by her teacher. Mrs. Pendleton has been incredibly helpful and flexible as we navigate the learning curve of virtual school and its platforms. She even eats lunch with her students every afternoon, reading to them from a chapter book, allowing time too, for friendships to be made and grown, which is so very important, especially now! We really feel so blessed at having been matched to each of these awesome teachers! And are so grateful to everyone at PHSSA!
    • I’ll like to send a massive shoutout to the kindergarten teachers, specifically the amazing Ms. Anderson, at Southampton Elementary. She has been so helpful, understanding and patient during this crazy, crazy time - and not just with the students. My husband and I both work full-time, so our child is getting virtual learning assistance through his daycare. Not only does she keep us up-to-date, she checks in with the daycare as well to answer their questions and make sure things are staying on track. "Blessed“ is such an understatement to be a part of the Kindergarten Tiger family!
    • I would like to give a shout out to Principal Hudson at Franklin Military Academy for the great job he and his staff are doing. They are willing to and go above and beyond to help students and their families. Awesome job! Major Paschall helped my son through text messages on his cell phone to ensure he understood the work and was comfortable to complete the assignment well after hours. I thank her so much. She is one of the many incredible staff members at the school. Wonderful job! I am praying for you all, as well as the RPS family.
    • I would like to give a shout out to Catherine Hendrick-Mallard at Cardinal Elementary. She has been working with me over the past two weeks and has been AWESOME to work with, helping me with keeping the students engaged. She even saved the day today when I had technology issues and took the lead in the class until I was able to get back on and get my computer fixed! She is a great team player, friend and teacher and I couldn't have gotten through the past two weeks without her! Thank you for being a ROCKSTAR with my class, Mrs. Mallard!
    • I would also like to give a shout out to Sheila Cotman at Cardinal Elementary. She has been AWESOME helping to support teachers as we navigate how to teach the Eureka Curriculum in a virtual setting and even helped teachers get signed up and linked into the various resources we have for our students (Reflex Math)! She is ROCKSTAR teacher to work with and I thank her for always having our backs and being willing to support in any way possible!
    • I want to give a shout out to Ms. Chrome, an English teacher from Richmond Community. I've had the chance to listen to her teach my daughter's first period class every morning and it's obvious she loves teaching and cares about her students. Thank you, Ms. Chrome, for your hard work and patience. It hasn't gone unnoticed.
    • Ms. Tam at Linwood Holton Elementary is doing an amazing job. She’s engaging with the students, creative when issues arise, and so quick to answer any parent questions. We couldn’t be happier to have her as our teacher.
    • I would like to shout out the entire Woodville family. I've seen so much partnership and support among staff and administration this year. A shout out to parents, too! They are showing so much grace and perseverance to ensure their kids are excelling. And finally, a special shout out to my 1st grade team: Adele Jackins, Twanya Jones, Jeanette Crosswhite, and Elizabeth Miller. There are truly great things happening at Woodville.
    • I’d love to make a shout out to first grade teacher, Mrs. Oliver at Cardinal Elementary. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her teach every day – she is wonderful!! Her ability to stay calm, with a positive attitude, dancing and smiling every day, has helped me feel the same, and definitely her students, too! Thank you, Mrs. Oliver, for being so awesome!!
    • Inett Dabey, Felicia Coleman and Clifton Murray deserve a humongous shout-out for being our leaders extraordinnaire! They are the grass roots of leading with love ALWAYS! A am so proud to be part of the MLK family. Thank you for your kick bottom guidance! Love love.
    • I would like to give a shout out to an incredible teacher, Mrs. Parker at Maymont Preschool Center.  She has created a virtual classroom environment that is rich in language development and high quality learning activities for her students. The wonder in their eyes and level of engagement speaks to her commitment in making sure this will be a successful year.
    • I would like to give a shout out to the amazing teachers, Ms. Riddick and Ms. Jordan, at Maymont Preschool Center. I was astonished at the replica Ms. Riddick created of her classroom wall at Maymont to give the feel of a classroom setting. I'm in awe at the level of investment both of them have made to ensure the students are in a high quality learning environment and having fun. The students demonstrated excellent listening, thinking and language skills. They are off to a great start to the school year.
    • I have to brag about my son’s awesome 4th grade teachers at Miles Jones Elementary: Mrs. Agee-Wade & Mrs. Mallory-Coble! They have been so patient with all of the children and they are great at explaining things so that everyone understands. They have been committed to doing one-on-one sessions, small group for math, and even coming to the house to help with computer issues if necessary. I am so glad that my son has them for 4th grade!
    • I would like to give a shout out to Andrea Bryant at Lucille Brown Middle School. Anything that I have asked her to help me with, she is, without hesitation, willing to do. Thank you so much, Ms. Bryant!!!!
    • I would like to shoutout Ms. Leid at Cardinal Elementary. She has reached out before school started to ensure my son had a tablet and has continued to keep me updated about when he can get a laptop. She made visits to all of her students' homes today to make sure they had everything they needed and to hand out all the passwords we need. Ms. Leid is already our favorite teacher ever! I am so honored to have her teach my son for his 3rd grade year!
    • I would like to give a shout out to Mr. Moorhouse and Ms. Lenkiewicz at Armstrong. I have watched them get my child and her classmates excited by using virtual classes to teach from different locations in what I understand they are calling Wandering Wednesdays. We watched last week as they taught from the National Air and Space Museum and created a video this week on COVID that had me and my daughter laughing. But I will bet my daughter will remember it.
    • As I was listening to a podcast about some particular racial injustices in America with my 8th grader in the car, he said, "oh yeah, I already know about that, because Major Metcalf teaches us real history, not the watered down version of the textbooks." Shout out to this amazing FMA teacher for including a more full presentation of American history and civics than the one I was taught in school.
    • I would LOVE to shoutout my hard-working LIEP Team at Boushall Middle SchoolCierra Sowers and Meghan Mcpherson are always going above and beyond for our ELL students. They worked throughout the quarantine delivering food to the communities. They are beyond dedicated to the purpose of Boushall and RPS. Their work ethic so far this school year, their creativity, and their willingness to go above and beyond again and again makes me so lucky and proud to be their Department Chair. I’m super excited to see all of the virtual Hispanic Heritage events this month, that they mainly planned. They help keep me sane. Better than all of this.....we love to talk and laugh together outside of school. Boushall team #LIEPLOVES rocks!
    • Thank you, Dr. Abrego of Cardinal Elementary, for your leadership and guidance for the staff and students. Thank you for creating a safe and welcoming online environment for students and teachers at Cardinal!
    • Principal Massenburg and Bernita Williams at RCHS are GEMS!!! These ladies work so hard daily to keep us parents informed, the students on task, and they go ABOVE and Beyond! There is not a day that passes that Mrs. Massenburg doesn't tell the students how much she loves them, how they are in this together, and how they will prevail despite these uncertain times. She greets them every morning with exuberant passion, energy, and always encourages them to do their best. Ms. Williams never complains about all the requests she gets daily and pours into the students. Thank you, ladies, for giving my now SENIOR the best high school experience by modeling and implementing the mission of EXCELLENCE daily! RCHS teachers are a reflection of your leadership and they all ROCK!!!
    • Shout out to Ms. Sonata Koger, Office Associate at Mary Scott Preschool, for going above and beyond her duty in preparing the student kits for all our students. She utilized the services of "King's Rubies," a group she mentors. They made our event one of their outreach service projects. Shout out to Ms. Sholonda Bibbs, one of our newest teachers at Mary Scott Preschool, for the outstanding Google Classroom she has developed, and for all her hard work in preparing for our students long before virtual school began. Shout out to all the Teachers and Instructional Assistants at Mary Scott Preschool who made the kit distribution such a huge and happy success! Shout out to Marlo Callahan and Kara Williams, VPI and Headstart Coordinators, for working diligently around the clock to ensure all our students were properly entered so they could be moved to ASPEN and set up in Google classrooms. Mr. Antonio Hernandez, Owner/Operator of Allstate Landscaping, volunteered to manage the grounds of Mary Scott Preschool for the entire school year as a part of his community outreach. Mr. Antonio and his crew provide the maintenance for Mary Scott on Sundays. In the almost 7 years I have been at Mary Scott, I have NEVER seen the grounds look so fantastic! Mrs. Barbara Crump and Volunteers of Richmond Virginia Reads for their book donations to the student kits and for agreeing once again to work with all our preschool students in providing both virtual and pre-recorded story telling. Ms. Michelle Hudascko for ALWAYS handling any challenge, whether it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or SUNDAY! She is on it!
    • A special loving shout-out to Ms. Poindexter at River City Middle School. When some of our students were unable to pick up their learning kits, she loaded up her Santa Sleigh and made deliveries so they would be ready for class tomorrow.  Ms. Poindexter is brilliant both in the classroom and in life. Thank you, P!
    • Shout out to Ms. Samantha Aprile at Overby-Sheppard Elementary School for figuring out how to keep kindergarten students engaged in the virtual environment! She rocks!! Ms. Aprile maintains her classroom and keeps her eyes on the students to make sure they are engaged and participating. She's a rock star!
    RPS Live! Recap – Many thanks to Dr. Epp and Kieasha King for joining me on RPS Live! last night. If you missed it, just click here to watch.

    Community Walkshops – Due to the rain, our Community Walkshops scheduled for today were rescheduled to Monday, September 21. Changes have been noted on the flyer below and at www.rvaschools.net/training.

    From the Desk of 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson – “The bottom line of why things haven’t changed is because there is no love for black boys.” – Sharif El Mekki, Director Center for Black Educational Development. This is one of the opening lines from "Black Boys," a film executive produced by Malcolm Jenkins, President of the NFL Players Coalition. The film explores America’s treatment, or better yet, mistreatment, of black boys. It contains painful and honest testimony from athletes, journalists, educators, students, entertainers, mothers, and black boys trying to survive in a country that puts them “at the bottom of America’s unofficial caste system.” The movie defends black boys and challenges the viewer to do better in your support and everyday interactions with them. More importantly, it challenges you to love black boys.
    It has three main themes. The first is BODY and how the black body has been controlled and monetized throughout history and the psychological effect that has on black boys. The second and most powerful section is MIND, which focuses on education and how black boys are treated in America’s education system. The third is VOICE, which focuses on life and death and how black boys are “crying for help and people are deliberately not listening” to our cries.
    This film is a must see for all Americans, especially educators who teach black boys. It’s currently being provided free on the Internet and on the Peacock (NBC’s streaming service). I have included the link below. I have also included links to articles by several teachers to help you process the film as an educator. Hopefully, after you watch, you will not only challenge and change your misconceptions and beliefs, but become empowered to challenge others and their treatment of black boys in America. I would love to hear your comments on the film. You can email me at rrobins4@rvaschools.net if you would love to discuss it. I welcome all thoughts on the subject.

    VPM Equity in Education Panel – As part of VPM’s new series, "Racism: Challenging Perception," the network is hosting a panel on Equity in Education featuring our very own Rodney Robinson. The discussion will be held via Zoom on September 17 at 6 pm. Additional information about this event and registration details can be found here.
    Chosen Name Practice – Last month, I shared an important step we've taken to support our transgender and non-binary students this fall: making sure that their chosen name shows up in Google Classroom when they log into their classes. If you still need a name change in our system, please contact our Chief of Staff, Michelle Hudacsko, at mhudacsko@rvaschools.net. Many thanks to David Tran of RVA Magazine for highlighting our chosen name practice in his article last week!
    COVIDWISE – COVIDWISE is Virginia's free exposure notification app that helps protect our community by quickly notifying users who have likely been exposed to COVID-19. Please join us in slowing the spread in a free, safe, and easy way! Learn more and download the app here.
    Mighty Mask Challenge – This summer, CoStar Group donated 90,000 masks to RPS students as a part of our 3rd Annual Ultimate Backpack Supply Drive. They're going to donate an additional 90,000 masks later this year, featuring the winning designs from the Mighty Mask Design Challenge. Students in grades K-8 are encouraged to submit a mask design that represents what they love the most about RPS. Masks designs can be submitted at:

    The deadline to submit your design is Sunday, September 27. For more information, please reach out to Christie-Jo Adams (cadams2@rvaschools.net).

    Advisory Councils – I'm excited to share that we're now accepting applications for the 2020-21 Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council and Teacher Advisory Council. All meetings will be held virtually until schools reopen, and will take place monthly during the early evening hours beginning in October. Applications for both Advisory Councils are due by Sunday, September 27.

    NextUp RVA – NextUp RVA, one of our partners for quality out-of-school-time programming, is offering live, online enrichment classes to RPS middle school students. These classes are free and designed to expand our students’ learning beyond the school day. Registration for the Fall Session is September 14 - 25, and classes begin on October 5. You can learn more at www.nextuprva.org. To start the registration process, just click here!
    Tech Tip – A "hard reset" can be helpful for your Chromebook if there is an error that is blocking the Internet connection or if some keys on the keyboard have stopped functioning. To do a hard rest, first power off your Chromebook. Then press the arrow-in-a-circle key (refresh key) and keep this pressed while you power on the device. When you see the regular white screen come on, let go of the refresh key and log on as usual. This should reset the Chromebook. See picture below:

    Still Need Help Logging On? – Take these steps!

    1. Watch this tutorial and review the accompanying slide deck from Instructional Technology Resource Teachers (ITRTs) Nicole Pfister and Ashley Bland.
    2. Email the Help Desk at HelpDesk@rvaschools.net. When you email the Help Desk, please include the student's name, school, date of birth, and student ID number (if you have it). This will help speed things up tremendously. Thanks!
    3. If none of this works, please email me at jkamras@rvaschools.net!

    RPS Tech Website – We have a ton of tech support resources in English and Spanish. To access them, just go to rpstech.org
    RPS Love Store – We've already raised nearly $2,000 for RPS families in need through the RPS Love Store. Show your RPS Love and help us raise even more by ordering something today!
    Important Links – I'll note in orange when there have been additions/updates so you you won't miss anything.
    #ReopenWithLove Links
    Local, State, and National Public Health Links
    Local, State, and National Public Education Links

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  • Traducir nuestro sitio web | Traduire notre site Web | ترجمة موقعنا | Tafsiri Tovuti yetu

    Please see below for instructions in multiple languages for how to access the translation functionality of our website. 

    English: To receive updated information in your native language and to learn where you may receive assistance during this time away from school, visit rvaschools.net and select the "translate" option at the top of the page.

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    Arabic: لمعرفة المكان الذي قد تتلقى فيه المساعدة مثل الطعام أثناء إغلاق المدرسة ، حدد خيار "الترجمة" في أعلى الصفحة.

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    Swahili/Kiswahili: Kupokea habari iliyosasishwa katika lugha yako ya asili na kujifunza wapi unaweza kupata msaada kama chakula wakati wa kufunga shule hii, tembelea rvaschools.net na uchague chaguo la "kutafsiri" juu ya ukurasa.

    Additional Language Resource: If you use the website browser, Chrome, you can also add a Google Translate extension that will translate any page on the internet.