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Superintendent Kamras Delivers 2019 State of the Schools Address

Jason Kamras Superintendent Jason Kamras delivered his first State of the Schools Address, marking his one-year anniversary as the Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools. 

Speaking to students, parents, community members and city leaders at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, Superintendent Kamras shared the district’s most recent accomplishments and next steps to advance the work of the strategic plan, Dreams4RPS

“I want to begin with two very simple words: Thank you,” said Superintendent Kamras. ”I am starting with these words because I am filled with immense gratitude and love this week for our extraordinary students and families, our amazing teachers and support staff, and our wonderful RVA community. I can't imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else.” 

 

Superintendent Kamras shared some of the highlights from his first year, including:

 AP for All, an initiative that ensures each of the comprehensive high schools will offer AP
Spanish, AP Biology, AP Calculus and AP Literature
 Restorative justice pilot programs
 Fewer teacher vacancies at the start of the school year
 Decreased chronic absenteeism
 Additional ESL and bilingual positions
 A partnership with VUU to provide scholarships for 50 students
 Groundbreaking for three new schools


“RPS has gained a lot of positive momentum this year - from a decrease in chronic absenteeism to breaking ground on three schools to creating our new strategic plan – I am excited about what’s to come,” said School Board Chairwoman Dawn Page. “The RPS School Board is committed to ensuring that Dreams4RPS becomes a reality for our students and families.” 

The Superintendent also recognized that the year was not without its challenges and was transparent in naming the very real obstacles that RPS must confront head-on. 

“We’ve accomplished quite a bit and we have a lot to be proud of, but at the same time we have to be honest about the challenges that face us,” said Superintendent Kamras. “Here are two brutal facts: Less than half of our schools are accredited and we have the lowest graduation rate
in Virginia.”

Acknowledging the challenges and the work ahead, Superintendent Kamras remains optimistic about creating a more equitable, inclusive and inspiring path for all RPS students. 

“If I were to sum up the state of our schools in one word, I would say that we are ‘rising’,” said Superintendent Kamras. “We are rising together and nothing will stop us.” 

Present at the address was Mayor Levar Stoney, who offered his support and commitment to RPS.


“As we heard from Superintendent Kamras, there are truly some wonderful things happening in RPS,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “When I reflect upon all that has happened this school year, from the $150 million we raised to break ground on three new schools, to our expansion of access to after-school programs, I’m proud of the collaboration between the city council, school board and our community partners that allowed us to make these overdue investments in our children. Each time I visit one of our schools, I see our future sitting in those classrooms. My administration remains committed to supporting the education of our children, and we’re excited for the future of our great city.”

To view the livestreamed broadcast of the State of the Schools address, click here.