"RPS Direct" Emails from Supt. Kamras

  • 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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  • RPS Direct Update - July 10, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy Friday! I know I said my next RPS Direct would come on Monday, but I felt it was important to circle back about school reopening after our Board meeting last night. First off, I want thank Dr. Danny Avula, Dr. Romesh Wijesooriya, Dr. Emily Godbout, and Dr. Bergen Nelson for joining us to provide an update on what the medical community has learned about COVID-19 over the last four months. See below for screenshots of a few of the most salient slides from their presentation. As soon as we get the whole document posted to our website, I'll share the link in my RPS Direct.

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 9, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Please note that we have a School Board meeting this evening at 6 pm, which you can watch live on our Facebook page. The main topic tonight is our draft school reopening plans. If you can't tune in this evening – or if the discussion goes until the wee hours of the night and you don't last – don't worry! I'll make sure to provide a summary of where things are headed in my Monday RPS Direct (RPS is closed tomorrow).

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 8, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Please note that we have a School Board meeting tomorrow evening at 6 pm. You can watch it live on our Facebook page. As I shared yesterday, we'll be discussing two possible school reopening plans: Plan A A fully virtual option PLUS A hybrid option that includes 2 days of in-person instruction and 3 days of virtual instruction each week PLUS 5 days of in-person instruction each week for students with greater academic needs (e.g., certain students with IEPs and certain English Learners) Plan B A fully virtual option PLUS A fully in-person option Please note that the Board will not be voting on these plans tomorrow. They'll just be reviewing and discussing them.

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 7, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I hope you all had a restful July 4th weekend! I had the chance to do some hiking along (and in) the James River this weekend with my sons. Hands down, it was one of the best experiences we've had since moving to Richmond. To navigate the current in a particularly tricky spot, my eight-year-old grabbed my hand as the water rushed around our legs. After we both wobbled our way through, I said: "I'm not sure if I was helping you or you were helping me." To which he replied: "We were helping each other, Daddy." Indeed. Because RPS is never far from my mind, I immediately thought of the many difficult decisions we're facing about how to reopen this fall. At the end of the day, no matter what path we take, we're going to need to help each other through it.

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 3, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Since we're closed today, I wasn't planning on sending an RPS Direct, but I wanted to clarify what's happening with meal distribution on Monday, July 6. The RPS distribution will be closed, but the city's Parks and Rec meal distribution will be open (RPS will be open again on Tuesday, July 7). Please see below for locations and times of the Parks and Rec program. With great appreciation, Jason Click above to view meal schedules!

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 2, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, This morning, I had the opportunity to tour the new River City Middle School on the Southside with Mayor Stoney, School Board Chair Owen, and School Board Vice Chair Burke. The school is stunning – and huge! See below for pictures of the main atrium, one of the science labs, the media center, the auditorium, the full-service kitchen, and the athletic fields. I'll admit I was borderline giddy when I walked through River City today. It's beautiful, full of all the amenities our children deserve, and primed for 21st Century learning. Our students will know that we love them very much when they walk through the doors this fall. Click above to read more!

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  • RPS Direct Update - July 1, 2020

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, What a historic day in Richmond! Enormous gratitude to Mayor Stoney for taking decisive action this afternoon to remove the Stonewall Jackson statue from Monument Avenue. As the skies darkened and the rain poured, it seemed for a moment as if the Lost Cause was staging one final campaign to preserve the past. But the removal crew – and the hundreds of cheering supporters – remained. And in the end, the statue came down and the skies cleared. As I shared when we renamed J.E.B. Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary, changing names and removing statues doesn't eliminate any of the injustices encoded in our laws and policies – but these actions matter nonetheless. Click above to read more!

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