"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras

  • RPS Direct Update - August 13, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, If you didn't get a chance to catch RPS Live! last night, I encourage you to carve out some time this weekend to do so. I was joined by four wonderful guests: Harry Hughes, our Chief Schools Officer; Cherita Sears, Principal of Thomas Jefferson HS; Latonya Waller, Principal of Boushall MS; and James Gordon, Principal of Oak Grove-Bellemeade ES. We discussed how RPS will be focusing on our students' social and emotional well-being during our virtual semester. I'm so grateful to these leaders – and the many others they represent – for truly demonstrating what it means to #LeadWithLove. With great appreciation, Jason Click above to continue reading!

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 12, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Don't forget to tune into RPS Live! tonight at 7 pm on our Facebook page. I’ll be joined by Harry Hughes (Chief Schools Officer), Cherita Sears (Principal of Thomas Jefferson HS), Latonya Waller (Principal of Boushall MS) and James Gordon (Principal of Oak Grove-Bellemeade ES) as we continue our #ReopenWithLove discussion and answer your questions. We hope you can join! Switching gears, I know I mentioned our three new schools on Monday, but I have to circle back, as I have more pictures to share! A HUGE thank you to the School Board for prioritizing these new schools in our facilities plan, to Mayor Stoney and the City Council for introducing and enacting the Meals Tax to fund the construction, and to the public for eating out. We couldn't be more grateful! With great appreciation, Jason Click above to continue reading!

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 11, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, We are thrilled to virtually welcome back our students on September 8 for the start of the 2020-21 school year! While this fall may look and feel a little different, one thing will be the same: our commitment to teaching, leading, and serving with love. Last week, we shared #ReopenWithLove, our reopening plan for the fall. I encourage you to read it and follow up with any questions you may have. You can always contact me at jkamras@rvaschools.net. Here are just a few of the most important elements: Fall meal distribution will begin on August 31 through our bus system, with over 1,095 stops daily. Most students will be able to pick up their meals between 7 am and 9 am. For K-12 students, the school day will start at 9:15 am, right after our meal distribution. For Pre-K students, it will start at 9 am or 9:15 am based on the location. Students will experience a full instructional day, including a mix of live instruction, independent work, and small group or one-on-one check-ins. Click above to continue reading!

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 10, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, It's hard to believe, but our three new schools are nearly complete! Henry L. Marsh III Elementary School (replacing George Mason ES), Cardinal Elementary School (replacing Greene ES), and River City Middle School (replacing Elkhardt-Thompson MS) are BEAUTIFUL! If you haven't driven by them lately, I encourage you to do so. I guarantee they'll put a huge smile on your face. Thank you, RVA, for eating out and funding these modern facilities that shout "We love you!" to our students. With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 6, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm thrilled to share the details of our student #ReopenWithLove Learning Kits! We're moving and heaven and earth to make sure they're ready prior to the start of the year, but please understand that a few things are out of our control (for example, COVID-related shipping delays). I'll continue to share updates as I have them. Thank you for your patience and understanding! I'm also excited to share that, starting this week, RPS staff and volunteers have been hitting the streets for a series of Community Walks to share #ReopenWithLove information with our families. You can find the full schedule here. As a reminder, for all the latest information about our reopening plans, just go to the main #ReopenWithLove section of our website. We're adding new details every day! With great appreciation,

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 5, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Please make sure to tune in for RPS Live! tonight at 7 pm on our Facebook page. I'll be discussing our #ReopenWithLove plan, and dedicating most of the episode to answering your questions. I hope you can join! To help spread the word about #ReopenWithLove, please share this link with anyone in the RPS Family who isn't receiving my daily RPS Direct emails. Thanks!

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 4, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I am beyond thrilled to share that Mr. Rodney Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, is taking on a new leadership role at RPS! As a Senior Advisor in the Talent Office, he'll be overseeing our efforts to recruit, support, and retain male teachers of color. He'll also be playing a key role in the implementation of our racial justice policy agenda and working to develop mentoring opportunities for new teachers. Click here to learn more. Please join me in thanking Mr. Robinson for taking on this incredibly important leadership role! Turning to school reopening, please note that we've launched a #ReopenWithLove section of our website, where you can find all the latest information about our virtual semester, including the full #ReopenWithLove plan. I'll be digging into all the details during RPS Live! tomorrow evening at 7 pm.

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 3, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Please join us for this evening's School Board meeting at 6 pm on our Facebook page. As a reminder, you don't need a Facebook account to watch. We'll be digging into our reopening plan, which you can view here. We're incredibly grateful to the hundreds of students, teachers, principals, division and support staff, parents, caregivers, and community members who helped craft this plan. We're especially appreciative for the feedback we've received during our weekly Reopening Committee Meetings, weekly Principal Meetings, monthly Teacher Advisory Council Meetings, and nearly daily small-group teacher and instructional specialist meetings. There's still lots more work to do, but let's pause to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped thus far!

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 30, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, It's hard to believe, but today is the last day of our virtual summer school, RPS SummerCamp@Home. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who made this innovative and exciting programming possible – from our incredible Academic Programs and Supports team to the wonderful partners we have at the YMCA and NextUp RVA. From all the feedback we've received, it sounds like RPS SummerCamp@Home hit the spot! But don't take my word for it. Listen to one of our parents, Meaghan West, who's this week's RPS Voice. Thank you for making the time to share you reflections, Ms. West! With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 29, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Don’t forget to tune in for RPS Live! tonight at 7:00 pm on our Facebook page (you don't need a Facebook account). I’ll be joined by Autumn Nabors, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Judy Deichman, Instructional Specialist for Library Media Services, as we chat about building RPS students' love for and proficiency at reading. Hope to "see" you soon! With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 28, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, At Monday's School Board meeting, we'll be sharing additional details about how our virtual semester will work. We'll be discussing food, technology, academics, and much more. In advance of that meeting, though, I'd like to address one question I've received from a number of teachers: namely, whether you'll be able to teach from your classrooms. After considering feedback from dozens of RPS educators – including those on our Reopening Task Force – I've decided that we will not be allowing this. Please allow me to explain. First, opening our buildings for staff to use would undermine our commitment to doing everything humanly possible to safeguard the health and safety of our employees. It's quite possible that allowing in-classroom teaching would lead to several dozen adults being in a building at the same time. This would increase the risk of transmission precisely at a time when everyone is making extraordinary sacrifices to lower it. Second...

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 27, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! As you can see, we have quite a few shout-outs today, which always puts a smile on my face. Let's keep them coming! Please take a minute this evening to submit a shout-out to someone in the RPS Family who's made a difference in your life. It will only take a minute, but it will have a huge impact! With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 23, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'd like to begin this evening by expressing my deep appreciation to the RPS students who organized, moderated, and participated in this afternoon's discussion about police in schools. Please join me in thanking Jazz Miles for leading this effort, Asia Goode and Kamari Branch for co-moderating, and Victoria Allen, Tanner Archer, Chaunte Early, Claire Hedburg, Nick Pollard, Corey Stuckey, Jordan Walker, and Deon Wright for sharing their perspectives. If you didn't get a chance to watch, I urge you to to do so as soon as possible. You'll find yourself inspired, informed, and challenged by these future leaders of our city. I was deeply affected by our students' comments. Their concern about having police in our schools wasn't about the individual officers, many of whom are beloved. Rather, it was about the institution of policing in schools. As one participant noted: "as Black and Brown students, we feel like we're seen as criminals before students." Click above to read more!

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 22, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I want to express my profound appreciation to everyone who's emailed me with suggestions regarding our upcoming virtual semester. We're sifting through all these great ideas as we craft our comprehensive reopening plan, which we'll share at the next School Board meeting on August 3. Thank you also to everyone who's submitted questions. They've helped push our thinking in a number of important ways. So...please keep sending your ideas and your inquiries. Leveraging the collective wisdom of the RPS Family is how we'll craft the best possible plan for our students, families, and staff! Click above to read more!

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 21, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Don’t forget to tune in for RPS Live! tomorrow evening at 7pm. I’ll be joined by Dr. Tracy EPP, our Chief Academic Officer, who will give a demonstration of, and answer questions about, our virtual instruction for the fall. Please also note that we'll have our fist student-led panel on policing in schools this Thursday, July 23, at 3 pm. I'm thrilled to share that RPS students Kamari Branch, Asia Goode, and Jazz Miles will be co-facilitating the conversation. Make sure to check it out on our Facebook page. As a reminder, you don't need to have a Facebook account to watch! With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 20, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Don't forget that we have a School Board meeting this evening at 6 pm. To watch, just go to our Facebook page. In addition to providing updates on our virtual opening, we'll be discussing RPS's relationship with RPD. As an extension of this discussion, we'll have our fist student-led panel on policing in schools this Thursday, July 23, at 3 pm. I'm thrilled to share that RPS students Kamari Branch, Asia Goode, and Jazz Miles will be co-facilitating the conversation. Please make sure to tune in! I also want to note that the next several editions of RPS Live! will focus on our virtual opening. This Wednesday, I’ll be joined by Dr. Tracy EPP, our Chief Academic Officer, to give an overview of, and answer questions about, our virtual instruction for the fall. I hope to "see" you there! With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 16, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Thank you so much for the emails/texts/calls of support and encouragement - we deeply appreciate them! Understandably, I've received quite a few questions over the last 24 hours about how our virtual fall will work. I don't have all the answers yet, but I do have some. Here goes: Format – Our virtual semester will be much more like our summer programming (RPS SummerCamp@Home) than our spring programming (RPS@Home). For those of you who aren't familiar with our summer initiative, allow me to explain. In short, our virtual instruction this fall will involve a lot of "live" teaching (called "synchronous" in edu-speak). This will be supplemented, as appropriate, by what we're calling "playlist" ("asynchronous") instruction. Click the link above to continue reading!

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 15, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, It's with a very heavy heart that I share some devastating news this evening. Last night, three RPS students – ages 15, 6, and 3 – were injured in two different shootings. The 15-year-old tragically succumbed to his wounds. In a third horrific incident, a mother of seven RPS students was shot and killed. Please keep the families of last night's victims in your thoughts and prayers. Click the link above to continue reading.

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 14, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Thank you once again for all the feedback about reopening! In the last 24 hours, I've received several hundred emails, texts, and phone calls – and I truly appreciate every last one of them. If you have the time, I encourage you to tune in for tonight's School Board meeting at 6 pm on our Facebook page. Click the link above to continue reading.

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 13, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'd like to begin this evening by thanking the hundreds of teachers, support staff, parent/caregivers, and students who have reached out to me over the last 72 hours with feedback about school reopening. I'm grateful for your questions, your ideas, and your personal stories about how the coronavirus is affecting you and your loved ones. You still have time to share your thoughts before tomorrow night's Board meeting. Just email your public comments to speakers@rvaschools.net before 1 pm tomorrow or email me directly at jkamras@rvaschools.net. As a reminder, here are the five plans the Board will be discussing tomorrow:

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