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August Newsletter

Principal's Message

Welcome back Chimborazo families,


I want to officially welcome all of you to the 2020 - 2021 School Year! Our first day of school will be Tuesday, September 8th, and we are eager to get connected with our students! Getting connected carries a different meaning than previous school years as we begin school virtually through the 1st semester. It is hard to believe that it has been nearly six months since we have been together. I welcome our new students who will be joining Chimborazo, and I am eager to work with the students who are returning. Our teachers have been working diligently over the summer to prepare for our virtual start. This preparation includes, not only the adoption of a new math and language arts curriculum, but becoming adept in instructing virtually. This acclimation process will be something our students will also have to become adept in as they learn to navigate the tools and features associated with online learning, and they also get to know their classmates and teachers. Although our teachers and I are eager to dive into instruction, we also realize that the first couple weeks will require significant modeling and scaffolding with technology that emulate the same approaches we use in learning content. Establishing relationships and building a sense of community will also be an initial focus when we begin school as we work to provide a sense of family, consistency, and support for all of our students. As principal, I anticipate some inevitable hiccups along the way, and I embrace these as we work to refine and reflect our practices. I also encourage parents and guardians to bring solution oriented suggestions to me and our teachers, while extending grace, as we work together to ensure our children are getting the best education possible. Our circumstances will not define us, and I have, as do our teachers, carry the same expectations for our students’ educations that we have for our own loved ones.


We will continue our house system here at Chimborazo and our theme: Four Houses One Family (Cuatro Casas Una Familia): “Building the Foundation for our Future.” Each house is represented with a core value and house names which are derived from the four summits of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. The house system helps promote leadership, a sense of pride and community, and promotes good citizenship in our school. The core values Choose Kind, Speak up, Lead Wisely, and Stay Curious are more prevalent than ever as we nurture and mold the young men and women who will one day play a vital role in our community and our country.


We have several new staff members coming aboard to join our crew this year at Chimborazo. Please welcome them as they share their introductions below!


Erin Knight-1st grade-Hi, my name is Erin Knight and I am very excited to start this year at Chimborazo! This is my 6th year teaching for Richmond Public Schools. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and a Master's Degree in Elementary Education. I got married this past November and we have a very energetic Husky-Shepherd named Paua. When I am not teaching, you can find me playing volleyball, traveling, baking or reading.


Sarah Hunter-5th grade-Hi! My name is Sarah Hunter and am a new 5th teacher to Chimborazo and RPS. I have spent the last two and a half years teaching 5th grade in Norfolk Public Schools, and before that completed my undergrad and graduate degrees at VCU. I am originally from Arlington, Virginia and am really excited to be back in Richmond. I live in Church Hill with my partner and my dog and am looking forward to seeing families out and about on walks or playing basketball at the park!


Jennifer Agnor-3rd grade- Hello Chimborazo! My name is Mrs. Agnor, you may formerly remember me as Miss Pitera! I am happy to say that I will be joining the Jaguar family this year as a 3rd grade teacher. This will be my 2nd year teaching third grade in RPS. I graduated from VCU with a Bachelors and Master’s degree, and continue to expand my education through different professional development opportunities. During some downtime in quarantine, I decided to read the whole Harry Potter series for the first time! This time has given me the chance to slow down a little and re-experience some things that I always enjoyed like, reading, gardening, and cooking with my husband!


Lauren Mathew-2nd grade- This is my first year teaching by myself, and I'm super excited! I co-taught with Mrs. Campbell in 2nd grade last year as part of VCU's RTR program, and couldn't be happier to be staying with the Chimborazo family. Before that, I went to UVA for undergrad and graduated with a Bachelor's in Religious Studies. Then, I worked for Church Hill Activities and Tutoring right here in Richmond for two years and helped run the K-2 After-School Program. I am originally from the Memphis, Tennessee area, and I love going back to visit my parents there! I just got married this August to my wonderful husband Andrew. In my free time, I love reading, watching movies, playing games, listening to music, and visiting friends!


Michelle Lightfoot-Office Manager- My name is Michelle Lightfoot, and I am excited to join the Chimborazo family! I have been employed with Richmond Public Schools since 2005. I started my tenure at JL Francis Elementary and George Washington Carver. I attended J. Sargeant Reynolds and received a Career Studies Certificate in American Sign Language. I have 2 beautiful children and 2 granddaughters! My hobbies are bowling, traveling and spending time with my family! I look forward to working with each and every staff member, student and parent of this wonderful school!

Nichole Gross-Assistant Principal- Ms. Gross is a former 8th grade IB and Collaborative English teacher at Fairfield Middle School in Henrico, VA where she also served as an Administrative Aide and Athletic Director. She was named the Henrico County Public Schools' Gilman Teacher of the Year in 2018. In 2018, she also received an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence by the Community Foundation of Greater Richmond. This award included a $12,000 grant that she will use to travel to London, Paris, Spain, Italy, Morocco and Ghana where she will explore the culture and landscapes that have influenced world literature. Her experiences during her 12 years in the classroom have included teaching 6th and 7th grade reading and RtI Tier 2 & 3 on 6th, 7th, and 8th grade levels. She has also served as a Mentor Coordinator, overseeing new teachers, and she has also served as a School Committee Leader for the Coalition of Equitable and Inclusive Communities within Henrico County Public Schools. In 2005, Ms. Gross received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Virginia State University. She earned her Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Reading and Literacy from Capella University in 2016. In August of 2019, Ms. Gross received an endorsement in Administration and Supervision through Longwood University. She holds a postgraduate professional teaching license with endorsements as a Virginia Reading Specialist, Secondary English, and K-12 Administration and Supervision.

Mrs. Sandra Ramirez Martinez-Spanish Teacher-Hola! My name is Ms.Ramirez. I will be the new Spanish Teacher this year at Chimborazo. I'm from Colombia, and I've been living here for 20 years now. I previously worked at ESH Greene Elementary School (Cardinal Elementary) for nine years, also teaching Spanish. My family is tiny. I'm a mother of two girls, 14 and 19 years old. I'm very excited to join the Chimborazo family and teach an essential language.






Please note the logistical information below to ensure the school year runs smoothly.



School start time will be at 9:15am daily. It is strongly suggested that students log on 5 minutes beforehand to navigate any technological issues. Attendance will be taken daily.




School meals will continue at the designated distribution sites outlined on the district website. They will be delivered throughout the school year. Please refer to for more information. RPS will have 8 routes and 21 stops in the East End for the first run and 6 routes with 180 stops for the second run. The first run will be from 7am to 9am and the second run will be from 11:30am to 1:30pm.



General: Our programs each year are exciting and structured to ensure that all our kids continue to receive a well-rounded and challenging education. Despite starting the year and first semester virtually, our standards and expectations remain high! As always, our number one goal is providing our students with a quality educational experience. All our teachers are fully credentialed and have been working extremely hard this summer! Our curricular program is aligned to the Virginia Standards of Learning. We will be implementing a new language arts curriculum, EL Education this year and all grade levels will be implementing Eureka Math.



RPS and our superintendent have been gracious enough to provide student supply kits for all our students. These will be distributed the first week of September. There was a supplemental supply list added to what the district provided. This is located on our school website and was also posted on our Twitter and Facebook pages. Please let me know if you need any help furnishing the supplemental supplies for our students. More information will be forthcoming on the date and time for this distribution. Chromebooks and hotspots, for those without internet access, are also essential supplies to starting the school year. Every student should get an RPS Chromebook. Mrs. Lightfoot, our office manager, has made calls to inquire about devices. If you are without an RPS Chromebook and hotspot, and have not received a call from her, please call the school so we can ensure you are accounted for.



Teachers and students will be using Google Classroom this year and meet through Google Meets for virtual instruction. Instruction will occur both synchronously (live with the teacher) and asynchronously (where work is assigned and students work independently). If possible, it is strongly suggested students and parent go on Google Classroom beforehand to get acclimated with the platform. Teachers have received their rosters and will be reaching out to each student before the school year begins.



We strongly encourage all of our families to join our Parent Teacher Association. We are pleased to announce our PTA officers for this year.


Ronda Valentine-President

Nicole Fields-Vice President

Megan Rickman Blackwood-Secretary

Justin Carpenter-Treasurer


Fundraising is paramount to the success of Chimborazo, and we hope you will help support our programs and events this school year. When a fundraising event surfaces please consider supporting it as it helps support our number one priority: our children. Please consider visiting for a wealth of information on how to get involved and support PTA and our school!


I encourage you to follow our school on Twitter @ChimborazoES, and on Facebook. We also recently started an Instagram account and this can be followed at Chimborazo_es. If you wish to receive occasional reminders of important Chimborazo events and activities, please use the Remind app and text @7e3dh7 to 81010. This will allow you to receive these reminders. Additional operational procedures, protocols, and resources are outlined in our Chimborazo parent handbook. Please also ensure your contact information is up to date. If any changes are made to numbers or addresses please call the school at 804-780-8392, so we can update this information. The superintendent has been keeping all RPS parents and stakeholders up to date with the RPS direct newsletter. If you do not receive these, you can get access by signing up at .If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at the school or contact me by email at I look forward to engaging in our education endeavors together and, not only teaching our students core competencies, but helping them gain a level of technological proficiency that they will carry for years to come!


Mr. David T. Peck

Principal- Chimborazo Elementary