"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras

  • RPS Direct Update - September 25, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy Friday! Make sure to read all the amazing shout outs today; there are nearly three dozen! To close out the week, see below for a few pictures of our students' "classrooms" that families have shared with me. They've put a huge smile on my face, and I hope they do the same for you. With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 24, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'd like to begin this evening by acknowledging the pain coursing through our community yet again in the wake of the decision yesterday by a Kentucky grand jury not to charge any of the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor with homicide or manslaughter. Outcomes like this only tear at the unhealed wounds borne by so many within the RPS family. Please check on your colleagues, friends, and loved ones this evening. Please recognize that they may need extra time and space to process this latest injustice. And please be there for them, in whatever capacity they need. Thank you. I also want to take a moment tonight to express my profound gratitude to Karla Ramos (Manager, Office of Multicultural Affairs for the City of Richmond), Fernando Rodriguez (Communications Director, Richmond & Henrico Health Districts), Jannette Duhart (RPS Bilingual and EL Coordinator), and Yahusef Medina (RPS Bilingual Family Liaison) for a candid, insightful, and educational discussion on RPS Live! yesterday about the Hispanic/Latin-American/Latino/a/x community in Richmond and RPS. A big thank you as well to Carlos Hernandez, our interpreter for the evening. If you missed this episode, I strongly encourage you to check it out here. With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 24, 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. The individual is a staff member at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School and was last at the school on 9-3. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School 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

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 23, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, A huge thank you to everyone who submitted public comment about our schedules for Monday night's School Board meeting, and to the REA leadership for providing feedback directly to Dr. Epp today. We're using all of this input to make a few more adjustments to the draft schedules we shared on Monday. I'll circle back soon with updates. In the meantime, please feel free to continue reaching out to me with any additional thoughts. Don't forget to tune in for RPS Live! tonight at 7 pm on our Facebook page. I'll be joined by Karla Ramos (Manager, Office of Multicultural Affairs for the City of Richmond), Fernando Rodriguez (Communications Director, Richmond & Henrico Health Districts), Jannette Duhart (RPS Bilingual and EL Language Coordinator), and Yahusef Medina (RPS Bilingual Family Liaison) for a discussion of the heritage, culture, and diversity of the Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx community in Richmond. With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 22, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I am devastated to share that we lost two RPS students last night – one from Franklin Military Academy and one from Richmond Alternative School – in two separate tragedies. The students had connections to a number of other schools, including Henderson Middle School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, Chimborazo Elementary School, and Huguenot High School. All of these communities are grieving this evening; please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. On behalf of RPS, I want to extend my deepest condolences to both students' families. As a parent, I can't bear to imagine the pain they are experiencing right now. I pray that the RPS family will do whatever is necessary to provide them with a glimmer of light amidst the darkness they now face. With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 21, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Quick reminder that we have a School Board meeting this evening at 6 pm, which you can watch on our Facebook page. We'll be discussing a number of topics, including draft proposals for adjusted schedules (see pages 9-16 here). We crafted these proposals based on all the feedback we received over the past week or so. I personally read hundreds of your emails (thank you for sending them!) and tried to guide our team by synthesizing everything I heard. Please note that they are, by no means, final. I humbly ask for your grace as we continue to refine these drafts with additional feedback. (Dr. Epp, our Chief Academic Officer, will share more tonight about the ways we're hoping to get additional input.) Click above to read more!

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 21, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that two RPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. One of the employees is a staff member at Fox Elementary School and was at the school on 9-3. The other is a staff member at Henderson Middle School and was at the school daily until 9-15. Both are now in quarantine, per CDC guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at Fox Elementary School or Henderson Middle School 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.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 18 (PM), 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, To all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, RPS wishes you a "Shanah Tovah Umetukah," a Good and Sweet Year! In my family, brisket is the go-to food for this holiday. Mine's been cooking all day; can't wait to hear the boys' verdict :). Thank you again for all the feedback about our virtual instruction. As I shared yesterday, we're drafting some adjusted schedules based on your input. We'll have details at Monday's School Board meeting. In the meantime, feel free to keep emailing any thoughts you have! As you have likely seen from my special RPS Direct messages, we've had a number of positive COVID-19 cases recently. These cases are a reminder that the coronavirus is still very active in our community, and we all need to take every precaution. A few reminders for RPS employees:

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 18, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that two RPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. One of the employees is a staff member at Henry L. Marsh, III Elementary School. This individual was at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School on 9-11. The other employee is a member of the Transportation Team and was at the Belt Boulevard Transportation Office on 9-17. Both employees are in isolation, per CDC and local guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School or the Belt Boulevard Transportation Office 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.

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  • 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

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 16 (PM), 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, It's National Arts in Education Week and we're thrilled to celebrate, as we know the arts aren’t extra, they’re core - for every child, in every neighborhood of our city. We're fortunate to have an amazing team of fine arts teachers across the division who bring their expertise and passion to their (now virtual) classrooms every day. Just take a look at this video created by Sharon Russell, the Art teacher at Albert Hill Middle School! As a reminder, don't forget that we're launching RPS en Vivo tomorrow at 5:30 pm on the RPS en Español Facebook page. I hope to see you there! Finally, please make sure to read the latest contribution from Rodney Robinson (see below) about the film "Black Boys." He's included links to some powerful articles that I encourage every RPS educator to read.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 16, 2020

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share that three RPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of the employees were already in quarantine as a result of an earlier positive case at the Seddon Way Transportation Office. One of these individuals was last at that site on 9-3 and the other was last there on 9-14. A third employee from John Marshall High School, who has not been at the school for several months, was at the Vatex Building on 9-15. All three employees are in isolation, per CDC and local guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at the Seddon Way Transportation Office or the Vatex Building on the dates listed above to monitor their symptoms and reach out to their primary care provider if they have any concerns.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 15 (PM), 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Thank you so much for all the feedback about our first week – and, in particular, about our schedule length. Please keep sending your thoughts – about what's working and what's not – by emailing me at jkamras@rvaschools.net. Based on what I've heard so far, it looks like some adjustments are necessary. We're working through the details and I'll have more information soon. Again, thank you for the feedback! Switching gears, today is the start of LatinX Heritage Month and we're thrilled to honor the history, culture and contributions of the LatinX community in Richmond and beyond. Before going any further, I want to acknowledge the differing perspectives on which term to use when referring to the LatinX community. At RPS, we use the term "LatinX" because it's considered by many to be the most inclusive, as it's gender-neutral. That said, we recognize and respect that others prefer Latino, Latina, or Hispanic.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 15, 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. The employee was present at Thomas Jefferson High School on 9-4 and is in isolation, per CDC and local guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at Thomas Jefferson High School on 9-4 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. In addition, per RCHD protocol, contact tracers will reach out to anyone who likely had significant exposure to this staff member (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes). Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 14 (PM), 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I hope you all had a restful weekend! As we head into Week 2, I invite you to share feedback about what's working well and what can be improved with our virtual semester. I've already received some feedback about the length of our schedule in certain grades. I'd love to hear more about this from our families and teachers, especially those in the East End and Southside, whom I haven't heard as much from. Feel free to email me at jkamras@rvaschools.net about this or any other issue. Thank you! Two quick reminders: First, we have a School Board meeting this evening at 6 pm, which you can watch on our Facebook page.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 14, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm reaching with a special RPS Direct to share that five RPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Three of the employees were present at the 2015 Seddon Way Transportation Office over the past two weeks; one was present at MLK Middle School on 9-3; and one was present at Fox Elementary School on 9-3, 9-4, 9-5, and 9-10. All five employees are in isolation, per CDC and local guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage anyone who was present at the Seddon Way Transportation Office, MLK Middle School, or Fox Elementary School during the time periods 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.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 12, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm reaching out with a special RPS Direct to share that an RPS employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was present at Broad Rock Elementary School during Learning Kit preparation on 9-3 and 9-4, and distribution on 9-5 and 9-8. This individual is in isolation, per CDC and local guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage all individuals who were present at Broad Rock Elementary School during these events 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. In addition, per RCHD protocol, contact tracers will reach out to individuals who likely had significant exposure to this staff member (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes). 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

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 11, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'd like to begin this evening by remembering all those we lost on 9-11. I was a middle school math teacher in DC then and I'll never forget seeing smoke rise from the Pentagon through our school's windows. The DC school system lost three teachers and three students that day on one of the airplanes; they were on their way to a geography competition. Please join me in a virtual moment of silence to remember them and the nearly 3,000 other individuals who died that harrowing morning. From darkness, let's now move into the light. This past week was one of the finest ever for Richmond Public Schools. I have never been as proud of our teachers, principals, and support staff as I am this evening – YOU made it possible for us to truly #ReopenWithLove.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 10, 2020 (PM)

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, This evening, I'm thrilled to shine the spotlight on members of the RPS team who #ServeWithLove outside the typical school setting. First up is Lakeisha Allen (far left in the picture below), a member of our new Center for Families in Transition (C-FIT), led by Erika Schmale. In partnership with Housing Families First, the C-FIT team helps some of our highest need families find and move into stable housing. Since its launch in June, C-FIT has connected 15 RPS families with a place to call home. I had the pleasure of visiting two of those families today, including the Artis Family. Ms. Artis (center in the picture below) is truly an inspiration. C-FIT also supports families with basic needs like food, clothing, and toiletries. If you or a family you know is experiencing a housing transition, please complete C-FIT’s online housing survey or call C-FIT at 804-780-6288 for support. RPS is here for you. Many thanks to Henry Graff from NBC12 for covering this story

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 10, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm reaching out with a special RPS Direct to share that four RPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The employees were present at Henderson Middle School and the 2015 Seddon Way Transportation Office over the last two weeks. They are in isolation, per CDC and local guidelines. At the direction of the Richmond City Health Department (RCHD), we encourage all individuals who were present at Henderson Middle School or the 2015 Seddon Way Transportation Office over the last two weeks 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. In addition, per RCHD protocol, contact tracers will reach out to individuals who likely had significant exposure to any of the four staff members (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes). Finally, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to reschedule this afternoon's Learning Kit distribution at Henderson MS. Thank you for your understanding.

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