Happy last day of school! I wanted to share this message via video, but my voice isn't quite up to it yet. Thank you for your understanding.
This is my 26th year in education and, without a doubt, it was the hardest. I've heard the same from countless teachers, administrators, and support staff – here in RPS and from around the country.
We opened the year with joy – finally back in person after over 500 days away. But it quickly became apparent that this year was going to be anything but normal.
The social-emotional impacts of the pandemic immediately became visible in our classrooms, creating untold stress for students and staff alike. Then Delta hit. We managed our way through the fall surge, arriving at the holiday season with some hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
And then came Omicron. January was nothing short of brutal. Hundreds of staff fell ill or needed to quarantine, as did thousands of students. We nearly collapsed. But everyone stepped up to keep our doors open – one of our finest moments as a division.
As we headed into February, Omicron was waning and we were once again getting our feet under ourselves. And then I got the call about the fire at Fox. Once again, the RPS family rallied. Over $100K in donations materialized in a matter of weeks. First Baptist offered up their classrooms. Clark Springs was renovated in record time. And Fox teachers supported and loved their students through it all.
Spring arrived with its message of rebirth and rejuvenation. The warmth of the sun and the freshness of the air seemed more invigorating than ever before. Some of us even began to enjoy the outdoors without our masks for the first time in two years. We felt safe again. And then the news from Uvalde ripped our hearts open and made us feel vulnerable once more.
This has been a very hard year.
But every time we got knocked down, we dusted ourselves off, got back up, and kept pressing forward. Why? Because we share a solemn commitment to teach, lead, and serve our students with love. As it is written, "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Thank you for loving our students, our staff, our families, and our community. I pray you find peace, rejuvenation, and joy this summer. Come the fall, we start anew.
With great appreciation,
- A big shout-out to all the teachers in Richmond Public Schools who finish their school year today. Many have worked without a lunch break or any break, as their planning time has vanished when the resource teachers cover classes. They have spent their days wearing masks and doing everything they can to keep themselves and their students safe. They have taught with love and care students who arrived last fall woefully behind in basic skills as well as those who are on point and ready to fly. Kudos to you all! I hope your summer is restorative and that next year will be different and that you all come back. Thank you!
- Woo-hoo to bus drivers! (Go #40!!) Without y’all, I could not have supported my family as a solo working parent this year, and my child is usually terrified to walk away from me but they ran to get on the bus with you! Thank you!!
- We would like to send our shout-outs to John B. Cary Elementary School, to Principal Michael Powell for his leadership, and to Ms. Jones for always smiling and helping to direct calls, students, and support parents and teachers. Big shout out to the great teacher Ms. Majer in 2nd grade, Ms. Sickinger in 3rd grade, Ms. Green and Ms. Atkeson in 4th grade, and shout-out to Ms. Hepner, Ms. Kay, and Ms. Linton in 5th grade!!! You are all awesome and have loved on our students and family. You have all made a difference in our family’s lives. Thank you!
- I would like to give a huge shout-out to everyone at J.B. Fisher Elementary! My first grader had her very first in-person year and we cannot be happier about what an amazing year this was for her. The school is like one big family! The thoughtfulness of the staff and teachers and the dedication to their job are just mind-blowing. From welcoming and greeting students with a big smile in the morning, an exciting learning program throughout the day with loving and attentive teachers, and an enriching after-school program (thank you, “Y”!!!). Every day is so much fun and we feel welcomed and included. The PTO rocks, there were so many amazing events this year for our students. You all are the reason my daughter wakes up and can’t wait to go to school each morning. Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe summer and can’t wait for next year!!!
- I’d like to give a shout-out to Mrs. Kawugule and Mr. Caldwell at Fox Elementary so they know they are seen and appreciated! They are excellent teachers and even better people. My two boys came through the tough second half of this year because of them and I thank them endlessly for that. Dana Fox should be recognized too! She has worked very hard to make sure Fox is represented well before the board and seen for the emergency it is. I’m thankful.
- Shout-out to Albert Hill Middle School. Thank you, Principal Ivy and Mrs. Davidson, for the warm greetings and support of our son. Thank you, Ms. Woodson and Ms. Mack, for stirring the desire to learn about science, and Ms. Fortune and Ms. Volmer, for celebrating student creativity and expression. Cameron loved your theater arts class!!! Thank you all staff, teachers, and administrators at Albert Hill MS for loving our students!
- Sending a huge thank you to all of the experienced teachers who volunteered to serve as buddies and mentors to all of the new teachers joining RPS! Your generous sharing of experience, procedures, best practices, and guidance has been vital! What would we do without each other? Thank you! Thank you
- I’d love to extend a major shout-out to Coach Burton at J.B. Fisher Elementary for an incredible field day! Everything ran perfectly smoothly, and students, teachers, and parents alike had an amazing time! Thank you as well to all of the families and former students who volunteered with us!
- I would like to thank Tyra Harrison and Sidney Gunter for always responding to my calls, texts, and emails as we continue to examine the data and plan ways to build self-efficacy in our staff and students. Impacting through growth!!
- I'd like to shout-out the Kinder Squad at Westover Hills Elementary School. Ms. Hoye, Ms. Greene, Ms. Bridges, and Ms. Smith did a wonderful job planning and hosting the Kindergarten Moving Up ceremony this week.
- Shout-out to the Westover Hills Elementary School 5th grade team who planned and hosted a touching 5th grade Moving On ceremony. Ms. Harris, Mr. Nichols, Ms. Verdin, and Ms. White organized and hosted a joyous celebration!
- I'd like to shout-out Alana Hayes at Binford Middle School for planning the edible cell lesson last week. My son was so excited to plan and make his edible cell. I love to see him excited about school and learning. All of the staff at Binford Middle School have been incredible this year. We hope the Binford staff have a relaxing and rejuvenating summer.
- To my friends and family at Miles Jones Elementary. It has been an awesome run. Thanks for everything you have done for me over the years. We had a special time together. Thanks.
- What an amazing 2022-23 school year at Fairfield Court Elementary! To all teachers, staff (custodians, cafeteria, lunch monitors, Communities in Schools, Child Savers), business and church partners, parents, and volunteers, we appreciate all the support and love in earning and growing our students! We are soaring to greatness! We appreciate the "village".....Teamwork makes the Dreamwork!
- I'd like to give a shout-out to Natasha Thomas, ICC at Southampton ES. She exemplifies professionalism and dedication by ensuring families and students have the support they need. She consistently works side by side with teachers and administration in addition to her own responsibilities. Thank you, Ms. Thomas!
- I wanted to commend the effort and hard work I saw in the Linwood Holton Elementary staff this year. It’s been challenging but the teachers were strong role models for their students. Both my kids have commented that they will miss school over the summer. Quite the compliment for Ms. Tam and Ms. Darby!!!
- I need to give a huge shout-out to Ms. Keo, Ms. Glover, Ms. Mosely, and Ms. Stringfield for supporting J.B. Fisher's Tech Collection today! Thank you in advance to Ms. Boehm for finalizing the collection! Additionally, thank you to all of the classroom teachers for having the carts ready to go and reaching out to families so we can collect those last few missing devices! You are all so appreciated and I look forward to working with you all again next year!
- We had our field day at Broad Rock Elementary today and it was a huge success thanks to our physical education teachers Molly Ruggeri and Matt Lowery. The event was incredibly well planned, organized, and a blast for students and staff alike! Thanks to everyone that was a part of the day, especially the volunteers!
- I would like to shout-out Ms. Sandra Wilkins from E. D. Redd Elementary for being so loving and supportive to my class at Richmond Virtual Academy.
- We would like to acknowledge Michelle Hudacsko who is always responding to our requests with her team and supporting us with new projects aligned with safety. It is truly appreciated.
- I would like to send a shout-out to the entire staff at E.D. Redd Elementary. Working with them has been a wonderful experience; they are truly my family and I will miss them so much!
- Fairfield Court Elementary would like to shout out Meredith Hill and Christie Barford for always responding, answering questions, and making the mission possible. It is truly appreciated!
- Special shout-out to my SPACE friends and colleagues. Thanks for all you have done for me. A special shout-out to Lynn Pleveich, Pat Woodberry, Tiffany Floyd, and Tiffany Barksdale. It has been a great run and I couldn't have done it without your support.
- Shout-out to Ms. Coleman of RVA for her tireless work to ensure scholars had everything they needed this year! Hoot Hoot! Happy Summer!
- Shout-out to Ms. Braxton of RVA for all of her efforts in RVA it did not go unnoticed. Hoot Hoot. Happy Summer!
- Shout-out to Ms. Pillard the dean of students of RVA. She is accountable and holds the scholars accountable. Hoot Hoot! Happy Summer!
- Shout-out to Dr. Robinson and Mr. Gail of RVA for being an OWL-some servant leaders! Bravo! Hoot Hoot!! Happy Summer!
- Shout-out to all RVA scholars, staff, and administrators! You all are OWL-some and appreciated! Hoot Hoot! Happy Summer!!
- Shout-out to all RPS employees, scholars, school board members, and leadership for a stellar school year filled with many challenges that we all were able to overcome. We made it! Happy Summer! Hoot Hoot!
- Happy last day of school, Ms. Angles and Ms. Schick! Thank you so much for loving on my child this year. You two are a real dream teaching team. You know your students, are super communicative, and I don't know how you did it, but she loves to read. Just yesterday she came home and read an entire chapter book, just sat down after school, and wouldn't stop. I'm literally amazed at what you all have accomplished as teachers this year. You deserve and long and restful break, enjoy every minute of it. Southampton ES is lucky to have you both as teachers, thanks for a great year!
RPS Preschool and Kindergarten Enrollment – RPS preschool and kindergarten enrollment is happening now! Enroll your 3 and 4-year-olds in our free, high-quality preschool program, and your 5-year-olds in kindergarten. Please also remember, if your student is currently in RPS preschool, they will still need to enroll in RPS kindergarten.
RPS Summer Fest 2022 – We're thrilled to announce our second annual RPS Summer Fest on Saturday, July 23, at George Wythe HS! We hope you'll join us for free food, games, music, a visit from the Lit Limo, enrollment assistance, and much more. Be sure to mark your calendars – you won't want to miss this!