"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras

  • RPS Direct Update - October 30, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, By far, what I miss the most this fall is face time (not FaceTime!) with our amazing students. Fortunately, I had the opportunity this morning to connect with a few Obama ES Stars when the Lit Limo and meal delivery bus stopped by. It was easily the highlight of my week :). I know I've said it before, but we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the individuals on our food and transportation teams. They get up well before the sun rises to prep and deliver meals at more than a thousand bus stops – every single day. While I'm at it, can we please give it up for our teachers? I'm in awe of how creative, thoughtful, and determined they are with virtual instruction. Take, for example, the educators at Overby-Sheppard ES. They've arranged to have real-life authors visit their virtual classrooms to read to our students, discuss the writing process, and describe what it's like to be an author or illustrator. I just love that!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 29, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Last night's episode of RPS Live! featured a wonderful conversation about our new Community Hub model for family engagement. We have three hubs (Southside, East End, and Northside/West End) with 23 "family liaisons" who spend nearly all of their time IN neighborhoods – talking to families, checking on students, and providing support. Joining me for the discussion were Dr. Erin Brown, our new Director of Family Engagement, Chasity Rodriguez, our Southside Hub Coordinator, and Doron Battle, one of our East End Family Liaisons. I encourage you to watch this episode if you missed it! Switching gears, I invite you to show your love for our amazing school leaders by nominating them for an R.E.B. Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The nomination window closes Thursday, November 5, so don't delay! Speaking of deadlines, I want to remind RPS employees that tomorrow, Friday, October 30, is your last opportunity to make any benefits changes for 2021.

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 28, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Earlier this year, CoStar Group donated 90,000 masks to RPS families and announced the Mighty Mask Design Challenge for K-8 students. Today, the winners were announced. Congratulations to the following students! K-2: Peter Yeager, 1st grade (Holton ES) 3-5: Iyaan Reavis, 4th grade (Marsh ES) 6-8: Kamini Mason, 8th grade (Binford MS) Grand Prize: Meredith Crider, 8th grade (Binford MS) Meredith's design (in the image below, it's in the top row, third from left) is called “We’re all in this together.” It will go on an additional 90,000 masks that CoStar Group will donate to RPS. The company is also giving an art supply kit to each of the winners, and a monetary award to their schools. Thank you, CoStar Group, for your continued partnership and for highlighting our amazing students! Don't forget to tune in for RPS Live! tonight at 7 pm on our Facebook page. I'll be joined by Dr. Erin Brown, Director of Family Engagement, Chasity Rodriguez, Community Hub Coordinator, and Doron Battle, Family Liaison, to discuss how we're engaging families through our new Community Hub model. You can also join the conversation in Spanish during RPS en Vivo tomorrow at 5:30 pm on the RPS en Español Facebook page. Finally, check out the 3rd grade science "Chicken Cam" at Broad Rock ES. I can't wait to see these little guys hatch! With great appreciation, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 27, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Great news! About 7,000 Chromebooks from our June (!) order of 10,000 have shipped and are scheduled to arrive later this week! Once they're here, our technology vendor will configure them for student use and then deliver them directly to schools. If all goes smoothly, this means we should be able to begin swapping out tablets late next week. Please keep an eye out for distribution details from your student's school. Thank you for your patience! I also want to take this opportunity to thank the many teachers, principals, and families who reached out to share their very thoughtful concerns about using letter grades at the elementary level during our virtual semester. I'm happy to share that I'll be recommending to the School Board on Monday that we switch to E (Exceeds Expectations), S (Satisfactory), N (Needs Improvement), and U (Unsatisfactory) for K-5 students during the first semester. I'll share more details about this at our meeting on Monday. Again, thank you for the very helpful feedback. Enormous gratitude also goes to Senator Tim Kaine for speaking to a George Wythe government class today about his RVA roots. He charged our students to get involved and make their voices heard, especially right now. He also shared how important bilingualism has been for his work (he's one of only 3 Senators who are fluent in Spanish). We're so grateful to Senator Kaine for his leadership and his support of RPS!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 26, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Three quick reminders tonight: The portal to apply for specialty schools and out-of-zone schools is open through December 1. For more information, please visit rvaschools.net/enroll. We also encourage you to join one of the three remaining virtual information sessions. Just click on the following links to register: October 28 (4:30 - 6 pm), November 5 (5:30 - 7 pm), and November 19 (5:30 - 7 pm). The Benefits Open Enrollment season will end this Friday, October 30. For more information, please visit the benefits section of our website. Don't forget that we are closed for students and staff next Tuesday, November 3, for Election Day! RVA, get out there and VOTE! With great appreciation, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 26, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that an RPS employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual works at the Seddon Way Transportation Office and was last there on 9-16. Though the employee was last at this site over a month ago, we still encourage anyone who was present at this location on the date listed above to monitor their symptoms and reach out to their primary care provider if they have any concerns. Individuals can also contact RCHD’s COVID-19 hotline at (804) 205-3501. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Richmond City Health District to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community. If you have any questions, as always, please don't hesitate to contact me. Best, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 23, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, My apologies for the technical glitch that held up my RPS Direct last night! Here's what was supposed to go out: I just finished participating in the Policy Pathways 2020 Awards Ceremony, which honored Governor Wilder and six area youth, including Terri Lee from Franklin Military, Jazz Miles from Richmond Community, and DeJia Graham from Franklin Military (see bios below). Policy Pathways is an innovative education program whose mission is to prepare young people to lead in the policy sector. This evening's celebration was incredibly inspiring, and that's in no small part due to the visionary leadership of Dr. D. Pulane Lucas, President and CEO of Policy Pathways. I also want to recognize School Board Member Dawn Page, who serves on the organization's Board of Directors, and School Board Vice-Chair Cheryl Burke, who nominated all three of the RPS students who received awards tonight. Click above to read more!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 22, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that an RPS employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual works at Linwood Holton Elementary School and was last there on 9-22. Though the employee's presence at this RPS site occurred nearly a month ago, we still encourage anyone who was at this location on the date listed above to monitor their symptoms and reach out to their primary care provider if they have any concerns. Individuals can also contact RCHD’s COVID-19 hotline at (804) 205-3501. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Richmond City Health District to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community.

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 21, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Don’t forget to tune into RPS Live! tonight at 7 pm on our Facebook page and RPS en Vivo on tomorrow at 5:30 pm on our RPS en Español Facebook page. We’ll be joined by Luke Hostetter, RPS Director of School Planning, to answer all your questions about applying to specialty and out-of-zone schools. As a reminder, the application portal goes live tomorrow morning! To learn more, please visit the enrollment section of our website and/or email your questions to enrollrps@rvaschools.net. Turning to Election Day, please remember that we will be closed for students and staff. Because parent-teacher conferences were originally scheduled for that day, we're moving them to Wednesday, November 4, and Wednesday, November 11 (after class ends). The division-level and school-based professional development previously set for those days will be rescheduled. Please look for more specifics about parent-teacher conferences from your student's school.

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 20 (PM), 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, It's hard to believe, but the season to apply for specialty schools and out-of-zone schools is almost upon us. The application portal officially opens this Thursday! This year, we've made a number of adjustments to the process to make things easier and more equitable for students and families. For example, there's just one deadline for all school types – December 1. We've also created a common application for all specialty high schools, and even developed sample essays to guide families who are applying for the first time. We're also launching an Enrollment Equity Commission to develop policies to address racial inequities in the way this process plays out across RPS. I'll share more information about this commission soon. For now, you can learn more about the application procedures by visiting the enrollment section of our website and by tuning in for RPS Live! and/or RPS en Vivo this week. You can also join one of the virtual information sessions scheduled for 10/26, 10/28, 11/5, and 11/19, and/or email us questions at enrollrps@rvaschools.net.

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 20, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that an RPS employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual works at Martin Luther King, Jr. Preschool and was last there on 10-12. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at this site on the date listed above to monitor their symptoms and reach out to their primary care provider if they have any concerns. Individuals can also contact RCHD’s COVID-19 hotline at (804) 205-3501. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Richmond City Health District to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community.

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 19, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm thrilled to recognize National School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Transportation Employees Appreciation Day (10/21) in honor of our amazing transportation team! We've seen these unsung heroes step up in so many ways to make sure our students have access to healthy meals throughout the pandemic. They continue to go above and beyond the call of duty (remember the story about Ms. Brown, who personally delivers food to an RPS grandmother?) and we are truly grateful for their dedication. That's why the Board approved a pay raise last spring to make our bus operators the highest compensated in the region!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 16, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, To warm your heart on this rainy Friday, check out how the incredible team at MLK Middle School hasn't let the pandemic stop them from celebrating their September Students of the Month! To honor the five young people who most exemplified MLK's core values – being respectful, responsible, and kind – the MLK team brought certificates and treat baskets to the students' homes (see picture below). Congratulations! We're so proud of you! Click above to read more!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 16, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that an RPS employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual works at Lucille M. Brown Middle School and was last there on 9-3. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at this site on the date listed above to monitor their symptoms and reach out to their primary care provider if they have any concerns. Individuals can also contact RCHD’s COVID-19 hotline at (804) 205-3501. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Richmond City Health District to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community. If you have any questions, as always, please don't hesitate to contact me. Best, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 15, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Enormous gratitude to Angela Jones (Director of School Culture, Climate, and Student Services) and Kari O’Connell (Senior Behavior Specialist) for participating in a very important discussion on RPS Live! last night about what we're doing to keep our students safe while they're online. One of the great resources they highlighted is internetsafety101.org. I strongly encourage you to check it out. Also, if you're a parent or caregiver, please take a few minutes to discuss online "guardrails" – to use Angela's term – with your student/s. This is no less important than discussing your expectations for them in the physical world. As Angela and Kari noted, at the end of the day, the most important step we can take as parents, caregivers, and educators is to keep the lines of communication open with the young people in our lives. Click above to read more!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 14, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Our students are simply amazing! RVA, meet Ta'Dreama McBride, a ninth grader at Open High School, who helped design the mural below. She's also IN the mural (that's her in the second picture below). This beautiful and powerful piece of art is at 3rd and Broad, and will be officially unveiled on November 6. When it's finished, it will have lights and interact with your smartphone. We're so proud of you, Ta'Dreama! Before you close out for the evening, don't forget to tune in for RPS Live! at 7 pm on the RPS Facebook Page. We also have RPS en Vivo tomorrow at 5:30 pm on the RPS en Español Facebook Page. Tonight, I'll be joined by Angela Jones (Director of School Culture, Climate, and Student Services) and Kari O’Connell (Senior Behavior Specialist) to discuss how we're working to keep students safe while they're online. Hope you can join! With great appreciation, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 13, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Big thanks to Morgan Moses of the Washington Football Team for joining a group of fourth and fifth graders at John B. Cary Elementary School this morning to kick off the 2020 Washington Team Reads program. Mr. Moses read to the students and surprised them with all sorts of educational supplies. I love seeing all those smiles in the screenshot below! Click above to read more!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 13, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that an RPS employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual works at the north campus of the Richmond Technical Center and was most recently there on 10-8 and 10-6. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at this site on the dates listed above to monitor their symptoms and reach out to their primary care provider if they have any concerns. Individuals can also contact RCHD’s COVID-19 hotline at (804) 205-3501. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Richmond City Health District to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community. If you have any questions, as always, please don't hesitate to contact me. Best, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 12, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy Indigenous People's Day! As I was reading through some materials today to learn more about the first inhabitants of the area we now call Virginia, I came across something I felt was important to share. Many Virginians are familiar with the history of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which created a legal definition of "whiteness." It reads: "For the purpose of this act, the term 'white person' shall apply only to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian; but persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic blood shall be deemed to be white persons." To preserve this definition of whiteness, the act banned interracial marriage in the Commonwealth. This prohibition remained in effect until the US Supreme Court struck it down in Loving v. Virginia in 1967. Click above to read more!

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display
  • RPS Direct Update - October 9, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, As I shared earlier today, I am devastated to report that one of our transportation team members from the Belt Boulevard site has passed away from COVID-19. Please keep this individual's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. Though I know our virtual instruction has been difficult for many, if not all, families and staff, we made this decision to keep everyone safe. As today's tragic news indicates, the pandemic is still very active in central Virginia, which is why we must remain vigilant in our fight against it. Please wear your mask, wash your hands, stay six feet apart, and avoid large gatherings of any kind – for your own health and for that of our community. Please also hold those who are dearest to you close this evening, and let them know how much you love them. I wish you a peaceful, joyful, and safe weekend. With great appreciation, Jason

    Comments (-1)
    No Headlines to display