Tuesday (PM), November 24, 2020
Dear #RPSStrong Family,
Well, I said "flood" my inbox with shout outs – and flood you did! Thank you for sharing more than 100 beautiful messages of appreciation for our teachers, administrators, support staff, partners, families, and students. (I encourage you to read all the way to the end, as the last one is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.) I can't express how much these words of support, encouragement, and gratitude mean to the recipients. On behalf of RPS, thank you to everyone who wrote in!
Before I sign off for the holiday break, I also want to express my profound gratitude to our principals, teachers, and support staff. Since March 13, you have delivered more than 2 million meals, purchased and distributed over 20,000 Chromebooks, facilitated more than 30,000 community circles, and literally reinvented what it means to be a teacher – all with boundless love for our students and families. In short, you have demonstrated that RPS is capable of doing truly extraordinary things. This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for you.
With the deepest appreciation,
- Shout out to Mr. Mike Liggans, Office of Engagement's Senior Hub Coordinator. He has proven to be a true leader. He goes above and beyond for our families and staff. He's willing to assist with any size task, the true definition of "meeting families where they are". Thanks for all you do, Mr. Liggans.
- Every year our school counselor organizes a terrific Career Day at William Fox Elementary School. But this year, Kanika Bonaparte-Moore has made Virtual Career Day the best yet! Our entire learning community has had access to engaging presentations by a wide variety of professionals in many fields. Thank you, Ms. Moore, for the tremendous amount of work you put into creating a valuable learning opportunity for our students!
- I would like to shout out my instructional assistant, Ms. Keri Smallie, who works side-by-side with me at Amelia Street School. I couldn't do what needs to be done to ensure my students' needs are met during this new normal without her. Thank you so much, Ms. Smallie!
- I would like to give a shout out to my amazing 2nd grade teammates at Cardinal Elementary: Erin Wall-Faxon, Lathem Koerner, Lidia Cardenas, Erin Christian, Janet Dawson, Angela Morris, Krystal McKinney, Veronique Bowers-Jackson, Jacquelyn Weinburg, Gregory Gilliam, Evelyn Santa, Terrance Baker, and Catherine Mallard! I am so thankful to work with such AMAZING people and feel blessed to have them in my life! I would also like to shout out the AMAZING administrative team at Cardinal: Dr. Juvenal Abrego, Mr. Baylan Smith, and Ms. Katrine Holmes! They do so much for our school and I am so thankful to work with them and appreciate their constant support and encouragement to be the best teacher I can be!
- Please shout out Mr. Wayne Thomas for being the John Marshall Foundation's Constitutional Teacher of the Year. He received $2500 for this honor and is listed amongst the few but deserving RPS teachers who have won this award over the years.
- I would like to shout out Autumn Nabors for modeling a desire to change and improve in challenging situations and relationships. She has shown how to chart a course of positive action when tested with doing things the same old way. Thank you, Dr. Nabors!
- I would also like to shout out the REAL Richmond curriculum team for their hard work in preparing resources for our new course coming in February.
- I would also like to shout out the Academic Architects for History & Social Science for rising to the needs of each occasion.
- Lynn Bragga, Executive Director of Budget & Finance, is an amazing RPS employee! She has helped me countless times with budget issues and finance questions. She is super responsive and always has a smile on her face. It is evident even through her emails!
- Thank you, RPS Benefits Department, for the two wonderful RPS face masks!
- I would like to shout out the athletes of George Wythe High School. They were able to deliver turkey dinner baskets to at least six families from George Wythe High School. They worked hard delivering the dinners on Monday evening. Great job serving your community.
- I would like to shout out the administrative team at George Wythe High School. Dr. Pisani, Ms. Haper, Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Pitt. They have done an amazing job trying to support the students, teachers, faculty, and staff at George Wythe High School. They are dedicated leaders. They truly LEAD with LOVE, while providing GRACE to the students and staff. Thanks for guiding us through this virtual experience. I'm proud to work under their leadership!
- The Armstrong Family sends a special shout out to the Armstrong Leadership Program (Mr. Marvin Roane and Ms. Yvette Davis) for donating over 30 brand new winter travel jackets to our student activities program. #GoWildcats
- I want to say how fortunate I feel to be an employee of Richmond Public Schools during this pandemic. I have felt respected, taken care of, and never like I was alone. I also want to express my gratitude for being a part of the Oak Grove-Bellemeade family. The whole staff – but especially Mr. Gordon, the third, fourth, and fifth grade teams; the Encore team; and my LIEP partner Ms. Cardona – have made me feel welcome, valued, and like I'm part of something great. I'm thankful for you all, and I hope you enjoy a much-deserved break!
- I want to shout out "MLK's Day of Giving" that supported our families. This event was spearheaded by Mr. Murray, MLK's assistant arincipal.
- A huge shout-out to Principal Daniela Jacobs at William Fox Elementary! Throughout this terribly difficult year, Mrs. Jacobs’ weekly emails have shifted tone from straight business announcements to loving reminders of the ties that hold our community together. She has addressed so many painful topics head-on, with grace and compassion, and has shared openly of her own feelings and experiences where they would be of help to parents. Thank you, Principal Jacobs—we miss your voice and your smiling, mask-less face, but we are so glad to hear your words of kindness and wisdom.
- We are so thankful for Ms. Moesta at Mary Munford! Her unending patience, creativity, helpfulness, and enthusiasm make for a wonderful learning environment for both her students and their parents!
- Bekima Brown and Mark Saunders at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary for the culture of family that they promote within their classroom. I always enjoy my time in their classroom. They promote academic learning as well as foster caring and kindness for all. They challenge their students to do more and be more and to increase their independence. I am thankful for Ms. Brown and Mr. Saunders!
- Cierra Bradett and Anna Wampler, exceptional education teachers, at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts. They have been invaluable resources to me as I have learned my way around VA IEP, Google Meet, Google Classroom, and all the virtual things. They are always willing to answer questions; and if they don't know the answer they are quick to find the answer together as a team. Ms. Bradett and Ms. Wampler have a passion for helping students that is refreshing and infectious! I am immensely thankful for Ms. Bradett and Ms. Wampler!
- Mr. Zachary Grant, occupational therapist, for his kindness, insight, and willingness to go the extra mile for his students and colleagues. He demonstrates a wealth of knowledge in how to practically help students increase their success within the virtual classroom. He is a true team player and I am thankful for Mr. Grant.
- Tavaris Turner at Woodville goes above and beyond for his students. He shows incredible patience and never fails to answer every single question his students have. Whenever I overhear his classes, it is evident how much his students appreciate and respect him. Mr. Turner, thank you for all you do!!
- Megan Crowe is truly one of the most wonderful educators and leaders I know. Megan consistently blows me away with her care for the students, the teachers, and every individual she interacts with. I've had the privilege of working with Megan in a few different capacities and her kindness never goes unnoticed!
- Anita Davis at Chimborazo is a saint! Her enthusiasm, genuine love for teaching and her students, and care is absolutely astounding. She approaches every day as a new opportunity to shine and that's exactly what she does! Ms. Davis never fails to find something wonderful in each of her students, her parents, and all caregivers. She is always there to answer questions and motivate her students.
- Ms. Agee-Wade and Ms. Mallory-Cobble are the dream team. The two of them inspire me to invest more in every child I work with - truly understanding their needs and what I can better do to support them. These two individuals work hard every day to shower their students with love. They push their students to be the best learners they can be and the results speak for themselves! They have a wonderful class and it's a privilege to be able to listen in on their teaching when I have the chance.
- The incredible Nutrition Team that drops food off at 908 Oliver Hill Way. They show up with smiles each and every day. We are so grateful for them!
- I would like to give a shout out to Dr. Darlene Currie and the ITRT Team. Dr. Currie is a fantastic leader for the ITRTs. She is supportive of us and our best advocate. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a talented team of dedicated educators.
- Here’s to the World’s Greatest School Social Worker!!! Yes, none other than G. H. Reid’s Shawmika Wright!! Mrs. Wright is ……sweet and supportive, open-hearted and open-minded, caring and creative, inspiring and impactful, absolutely amazing and accessible, leading with love, well-informed and well-planned, on-target and outstanding, resilient and resourceful, knowledgeable and kind-hearted, expeditious and extraordinary, respectful and reassuring. Mrs. Wright is so dedicated to our school. From attendance to finding the needed resources for our students and their families, she is always giving a helping hand. Mrs. Wright, we love you and thank you for all of your hard work and the time you give to support the entire G. H. Reid community. You are simply the best!!!
- Shout-out to the entire RPS Family. We are all in this together! A special shout-out to the Bellevue teachers and staff. Peace and blessings!
- I wanted to shout out Ms. Primus, Ms. Perez, Ms, Gorno, and Ms. Buffo, the 3rd grade teachers at FCES. They have worked collaboratively all year and truly done an amazing job. The Jeopardy tournament they hosted grade-wide today was engaging and exciting for all. They truly work as a team and the students are benefiting from it.
- I would like to shout out Ms. Morrison at FCES for her diligence and patience as she leads us in academic excellence – for always having high expectations and working to assist all staff and students in reaching our potential.
- I would like to shout out Ms. Wright at FCES for leading us with excellence and balancing it with patience as we navigate through the virtual world – and for her innovation in our virtual awards assembly and grade-wide Jeopardy tournament, which made learning fun and relevant.
- Mrs. Laura Mueller and Mrs. Marsha Williford show so much empathy for their first graders and their families at Westover Hills Elementary! They are so diligent about monitoring the kids’ emotional health and making sure everyone is keeping up and has the support they need. They go above and beyond with calls to home and after-hours help. We are so thankful for them!
- Ms. Aaliyah Hoye is a kindergarten teacher at Westover Hills Elementary, and she wears so many hats! Just this week, she was the first friendly face greeting families at our Wednesday evening supply pickup, spent Saturday morning doing a socially distanced 5k with the new Girls on the Run team that she coaches, and today she’s popping in to all the virtual classrooms to take class photos for the yearbook. She goes above and beyond every day, and is a huge part of what makes our school feel like a big family. Stronger Together!
- Ms. Grace Oliver, 1st grade teacher at Linwood Holton, is an outstanding teacher! She always has creative, engaging instruction. She makes virtual learning a dream. Thank you, thank you, thank you from some deeply grateful parents!
- I would like to give a shout-out to the ladies who bring us breakfast and lunch everyday on Bus 172 on the Northside Route. Their bright and warm faces greet us each morning as we pick up food from the bus. They're always looking out for us by reminding us to come on Fridays for the extra meals, and to register for the meals for winter break. We're very thankful for the service that they're providing for our family as I have recently been furloughed from my job for an extended period of time, and this is a major help for our family. Thank you so much!
- Shoutout to AP Murray at MLK, Jr. Middle School for organizing the Day of Giving, where MLK staff stopped by the school on Monday to drop off loads of basic needs donations for MLK families, including coats, blankets, couches, bed frames, and way more for an RPS family who lost everything in a house fire.
- I would like to give a shout out to the staff at Boushall Middle School for contributing to and delivering (socially-distanced) Thanksgiving baskets to our families. Grace is more than a word, it's an action. We love and support our village.
- I would like to shout out Lucas Hostetter. He is the best when it comes to answering the hard questions about registration, and he is always available to help with every situation. I appreciate him for that.
- I want to give an enormous thank you to Anna Martinez and Kristin Anderson at J.L. Francis! They have been so welcoming, supportive, and genuinely invested in helping me navigate a new curriculum and a new school. Your hard work and your dedication does not go unnoticed!
- Shout out to Ms. Behsudi and Ms. McKay at Lucille Brown Middle School for making math come alive with breakout rooms! They are the gold standard for collaborating on mathematical content.
- With a thankful heart, I appreciate Ms. Barbara, Ms. Virgil, and Ms. Quarles at Lucille Murray Brown Middle School for delivering more than food. They greet children and families by name, offer kind words, and always have a smile to share. This is love. Also, shout out to the behind the scenes cafeteria staff for making this outreach possible. Well done.
- Bravo to every student who participates in this virtual world, especially Lucille Brown Middle School 6th Graders: Alredo Hernandez Aquilera, Nilaja Johnson-Thomas, Brian Jones, Durie Lightner, Melvin Alvarado-Lopez, Hannah Leslie, and Mahki Basquiat. Awesome contributions this week in class.
- I want to thank these people from Mary Scott Preschool for being great listeners to all my issues, business and personal: Lindsay Brown, Melissa Smith, S. Bryd, and P. Bonner. Thanks for these sisters, the most important in my life today. And thank you to the one who keeps me moving forward daily, Ms. C. Wynn.
- I would like to shout out the amazing staff at Chimborazo! Since coming here in July, all of the staff, and especially the administration, have made me feel like family. I am truly thankful for such a caring team of individuals and wish them all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!
- A huge shout out to Tyra Harrison, Director of Academic Programs and Supports, for her incredible support, leadership, and innate ability to bring people together! Her infectious enthusiasm and love are why our team works the way it does!
- Shout out to Dr. Tracy Epp for having the courage to ask tough questions when it comes to the "status quo." Her transformative leadership guides us as we work together for the BEST for all of our RPS students!
- Shout out to the Fairfield Court Elementary School K-2 teams for an awesome virtual awards ceremony today. It was very exciting! Thank you for ALL that you do!
- A huge shout out to our middle and high school principals for their recommendations for existing (and proposed) alternative programs. Their guidance is invaluable in making decisions for students. Thank you to Mr. Solomon Jefferson and Mr. James Brown for their support!
- I would like to shoutout Ms. Fulford's 5th grade class at J.H. Blackwell Elementary. Ms. Fulford's class always comes to Encore ready to participate and is engaged in the material from the start of class to the end. I really appreciate their hard work and they are such a delight to be around. Thank you, Ms. Fulford's class!
- A huge shout out to Bonnie Blake who helped organize the distribution today for our Instructional Assistants (so they could receive computers and teaching kits!). And a big thanks to those who supported, including Damone Harris, Dennis Lampley, Tyrone Carter, Tyra Harrison, Jennifer Romero, Damia Thomas, and Marquetta Bagley!
- I want to thank the greatest team in the history of teams: Boundless Bland, Bodacious Berry, Efficacious Evans, Glorious Green, Brilliant Buck, Kinetic Kenneth, Loving Logo, Tactful Turnage, Magnetic Meyers, Brainy Barna, Protective Pfister, Resourceful Rew, Loyal Leid, Reasonable Rosenthal, Valiant Verdi, Witty Wenberg, Whimsical Wood, Superb Smith, Agreeable Aida, and Captivating Currie.
- I would like to shout out the J.H. Blackwell Elementary School administration. Thank you, Dr. Anderson, Ms. Anderson, and Ms. Smith, for prioritizing the health and safety of your staff and for working so hard this year to create a positive school climate. You're awesome!
- Shout out to the HVAC technicians who keep our schools warm or cold during the winter and summer days, the plumbers, the handyman crews, as well as the grounds people. All of them have been working extra hard to have everything fixed and running well for our students and teachers whenever they come back.
- Virtual hugs and shout out to Mr. Johnson, music teacher at Bellevue, and to the talented student singers. His Veterans Day video is bringing so many smiles and so much warmth to all my family and friends I can’t be with this Thanksgiving. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
- Thank you to the Mary Scott Rising Star Family of students, families, staff, teachers, and administrators. Though this is a dark time in our nation, the Mary Scott Rising Star continues to shine and illuminate the darkness!!! We stay shining!
- Shout out to Ida Jones-Belton and Sara Bird for being two phenomenal women to work alongside! Together we are a dynamic trio!!!
- Shout out to Ms. T. Gerald at Southampton Elementary. She is so attentive and engaged with her students. My child loves her.
- I would like to shout out Mr. Alvin Trent for volunteering to assist with Chromebook distribution at John Marshall. He was a tremendous help and I truly enjoyed his company!
- Ms. Sterling is a second grade teacher at Oakgrove-Bellemeade Elementary. She is an amazing teacher who goes above and beyond. Every morning through afternoon I sit in the living room and listen to her teach my daughter and her classmates. Ms. Sterling is always very calm even when the kids are on the loud side or not focusing. She has the coolest way of getting them back on track without missing a beat. She definitely deserves a fabulous cup of coffee and some chocolate. But what has really got me with her is how she truly cares for my daughter and her reading and sight words...When we talk on the phone you can hear the care she has for her students in her voice and you can hear it in how she teaches...Ms. Sterling, you are truly a gem.
- I would like to shout out all of RPS staff and administration for showing up and showing out during this pandemic. Especially those at Bellevue Elementary. Principal Hines lead an extraordinary team.
- Special thanks to Martha Dove and her team as well as Ellen Eaton and Coach Carter. I'd also like to thank the IT team for their expertise.
- The Mary Scott Preschool Staff has been sharing with the community the importance of being thankful for what we have and caring for others. As a member of this preschool family, I cannot say enough about my colleagues. Truly, they are innovators, who have embraced the virtual teaching experience and made it their own. In addition, through intense collaboration, the Mary Scott Preschool Family has banded together to support our students and parents through socially distanced supply distributions, welcome events, and a harvest festival. Regular calls, messages, and social media posts are used to keep families informed and encouraged. However, it does not stop there. Well after work hours are over, staff members have taken the time to anonymously provide extra food, furniture, and fun items for families in need. Through it all, when problems arise, with words of comfort, praise, humor or smiles, support is given with the understanding that "We're all in this together!" I am thankful to be a member of the Mary Scott Preschool 'Rising Stars' Family.
- I would like to shoutout all of the preschool office associates (Wilonette, Keisha, Adriean & Deborah). Ladies, we don’t get the opportunity to collaborate and share like we used to, but know that I miss you all, and you all are important to the learning process of RPS.
- Shoutout to Teresa Hicks, Sara Bird, Tracee Ellis, and Sue DeBruckyer – the Mary Scott Preschool Mavericks – for your dedication and diligence in maintaining our social media accounts. You ladies are doing a phenomenal job.
- Shoutout to all the faculty and staff of Mary Scott for coming together and collecting, filling, and distributing Thanksgiving Baskets to families in need during this time. You guys are a true reflection of our theme this year, "We’re All In This Together." Your thoughtfulness provided 7 families with a Thanksgiving dinner. Way to go, Rising Starts
- Shout out to Jakeeta Lee of Mary Scott Preschool for your infectious smile every morning, which brings me so much joy and hope.
- Shout out to Kent Williamson for holding it down and being so helpful at Mary Scott.
- Shout out to Vincient Johnson, custodian at Mary Scott Preschool, for all that you do, seen and unseen. We appreciate you.
- Shout out to Michelle Hudacsko for being the most efficient, hands-on, and communicative Chief of Staff who gets it done ALL the time!
- Shout out to the parents of the Mary Scott Preschool Rising Stars who make certain their children are online and ready to learn every morning. Special KUDOS to the 95 parents who came through Friday to pick up their children's supplies.
- Special shout-out to the Mary Scott Social Worker, Dr. Joy Matthews, for being on top of it! She checks in with us EVERY day, reaches out to parents who express any sort of need, and makes certain all student absences are addressed.
- Shout out to Ms. Sonata Koger for all her hard work in making certain the front office runs smoothly and that the teachers have what they need. She is my right hand and puts in long hours both in the building and at home.
- Special shout-out to Marlo Callahan, VPI Coordinator, for all her hard work in getting our students enrolled in a timely manner and keeping everyone up-to-date on VDOE guidelines and Creative Curriculum Cloud.
- Lastly, many, many thanks to Mrs. Michelle Johnson-Fisher of United Real Estate who has adopted Mary Scott Preschool. She provided the pumpkins for every student to receive one during our drive-through Harvest Fest. She gave gift cards and calendars to the staff, solicited a landscaping company to take care of the grounds, and continues to look for different projects to help improve the building and boost morale of students, parents and staff! Kudos, Michelle!
- I’d like to shout out Oak Grove-Bellemeade’s math coach, Sebrina Davis. She is a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to help, no matter when or what she is asked. She is such a hard worker and dedicated to helping all students.
- I want to shoutout to Dr. MJ and all my co-workers at Mary Scott Preschool. This has been a hard but productive semester for us all, but we are Rising Stars and are reaching for the sky. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
- A big thank you shout out to PHSSA 5th grade teachers, Ms. Coleman, Mrs. Hamlet, Mrs. Price, and Mr. Burke, for working so diligently with the students.
- Thank you shout to Mrs. Marunde, 2nd grade teacher at PHSSA, for just being so awesome with the kiddos!
- A special thank you shout out to the food distribution ladies on Bus #359 and the Lit Limo at Castlewood & Courtland!!!!
- Lastly, a huge special shout out to Mrs. Henderson at G.H. Reid for going above and beyond with helping students not even in her classroom. Thank you, it's greatly appreciated!!!!
- Thank you also to the teachers and staff of the Next Up program: Ms. Haas (Maker Space Monday), Ms. Kathrine Cuellar-Moreno & Ms. Melissa (Tech-Connect Tuesday/Thursday), and Coach Nan & Coaches (Game On Girl Wednesday). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
- Shout out to Ms. K. Brown at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School, who is a first-time grade level chair and is doing an awesome job modeling excellence in leadership!
- Shout out to Ms. Linda York from Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary, who consistently listens to teachers' needs and calmly gives sound advice to help navigate the situation.
- I would like to send a shout-out to Ms. Elaine Williams and Mrs. Londeree of River City Middle School. They go above and beyond trying to give us the information we need to be successful in the Math Department, and we truly appreciate them.
- I would like to shout out Loretta Mickens and Robert Williamson, the two best instructional assistants a teacher ever had. They are innovative, kind, and caring when working with our students at Mary Scott Preschool. They not only listen to the students but they are a wonderful support to our parents. They make teaching virtually a team effort every day. I'm so glad they are part of my team.
- I would like to send a shout out to Mrs. Stovall of River City Middle School. She is always willing to step into our meetings when our AP has a conflict in scheduling. We truly appreciate her.
- I would love to shout out Mary Scott Preschool's IT person - Ashley Bland. She is amazing! Technology has been sometimes difficult to figure out and no matter when I message her with a question, she always answers quickly with simple, easy-to-follow instructions. She is a technology rock star and we appreciate her so much!
- Shout out to House Apollo and our House RAD teachers at Binford Middle: Mr. Regan, Mr. Self, Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Wyatt, Mr. Trache, Ms. Perkinson, Mr. Vollmer, Ms. Sadler, and Señora Mitchell. Their love for our kids shows through every day and they bring amazing creativity, fun, and warmth to their teaching & interactions. Middle school is marvelous at Binford, even in a pandemic. We feel lucky and grateful!
- Thank you, Ms. Holoman, for getting people to share their voices and sing at a time when everyone's spirit needs to be lifted. Thank you for modeling support when the teacher's video wouldn't load and you stepped in and pulled it up for her on your screen. These small acts of support have a huge impact on the team. Have a great Family Day!
- I would like to give a shout out to the entire PHSSA team for working so hard to keep things running smoothly. I would especially like to thank the first grade team and resource teachers, most notably my daughter's teacher, Ms. Drieling. They have worked diligently (and successfully!) to keep the kids engaged and excited to learn. Ms. Drieling's care and concern is evident, and I'm so pleased that my daughter has formed an attachment with her despite never having been in an actual classroom together. I am extremely grateful for everyone's creativity, extra effort, and patience during these extraordinary times.
- I want to give a shout out to my kids' teachers at Henry Marsh, Ms. Baily and Ms. Tillam. I really appreciate everything y’all do for my babies, and my babies love y’all so much. Thank you!
- I would love to give a huge shout out to Brittany Council, from RVA 4H, for being an amazing community partner over the years. She has continuously made embryology (as well as many other programs) available to our RPS students of all ages. Brittany didn’t bat an eye when I approached her about doing embryology virtually and has gone above and beyond the call of duty. We are super thankful for her.
- As a practice in focusing on things in life that are good, I’d like to give a shout out to my son's teacher, Ms. Foley. What a wild first year of a teaching career. When I listen in, I’m truly amazed at her ability to keep the kids excited and engaged, especially considering the unprecedented challenges that come with a child’s first public school experience being on the computer. She is intentional about giving safe space for feelings. She provides a comforting amount of “classroom” structure, and she truly sounds as excited as all the kids to be learning something new. My son respects her very much.
- I would like to give a huge shout-out to the entire Math Department at Albert Hill Middle School. I am a brand new teacher this school year, and my fellow teachers (Ms. Patrizia, Ms. Flores-Santiago, Ms. Bradford, Ms. Tsapatsaris, Ms. Fortune, Ms. Medley, Ms. Shenk, and Ms. Russell) and department head, Ms. Newkirk, have all been absolutely amazing in their support. I have learned a great deal from them all!!!
- Just want to shout out the bus drivers who are delivering food! They are always so friendly when I walk or run by them in the morning!!
- A huge shout out to AP Nicholas Lereche at Thomas Jefferson High School. I have a rising 9th grader and had questions concerning open enrollment at Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Lereche answered all of my questions and gave me some encouraging words. He made sure I understood the complete process as well as how the curriculum is structured at Thomas Jefferson. Thank you, Mr. Lereche. You continue to be a beacon of light for my son and myself.
- I’m a teacher at JB Fisher. I want to shout out my students. They are incredibly resilient and have shown me such grace. It feels so special meeting them in their homes and spending time with them in such an intimate setting. I’ve really grown to appreciate this virtual setting, even with all its challenges. Shout out to Mrs. Ross’ class! Love you guys!
- Shout out to Dr. Sharon Woodson, Coordinator of Exceptional Education! Dr. Woodson is incredibly deserving of her recent promotion, and we are so happy that she was selected for this position! Not only is Dr. Woodson extremely knowledgeable, she always makes herself available to lend her support. Dr. Woodson leads with love, dedication, and compassion, all day, every day, because she truly cares about our students and our staff. The exceptional education department is blessed to have Dr. Woodson in this leadership role. She is simply a great person who does great things every day!
- Shout out to Tikisha White, Coordinator of Systems and Processes for the Exceptional Education Department! Ms. White (aka the "preacher"!) is an inspirational leader who, in her short tenure with us, has effected great change. Ms. White has strengthened our department through her development of relationships, her focus on and support of increasing staff members' professional capacity, and by her contagiously positive personality! We are thrilled to have Ms. White as a member of our RPS family!
- I would like to shout out my colleagues in Rm. 101 at Mary Scott Preschool! They are working around the clock to give our students and families all they've got. On top of that, they inspire me to stay positive when everything gets overwhelming. Thank you, queens!
- I would like to send a big shout out to the RTR residents who are co-teaching in many schools in RPS. They are doing a wonderful job of quickly learning virtual teaching and showing love and care to their students. Thank you to all of the teachers and schools working with the residents in the district. They are teaching future teachers who will continue to make a positive impact for years to come.
- My son would like to give shout outs to two of his many wonderful teachers at Albert Hill. First, his algebra teacher, Ms. Russell. In his words, “She is nice and incredibly smart. She is serious about teaching but also funny at the same time. She explains complex ideas in simple to understand ways.” Thank you, Ms. Russell! He would also like to send a shout out to his English teacher, Ms. Porter. He says, “She is always nice and kind. She has a lot of patience and is always encouraging the students. She always tries to include all of the students.” Thank you, Ms. Porter!
- My daughter would like to give a shout out to her 3rd grade teacher at Mary Munford, Mrs. Dunn. She would like to thank Mrs. Dunn for being “kind, pleasant to talk to, respectful, funny and understanding." She would also like to give a shout out to her music teacher Mrs. Bacon. Mrs. Bacon is “kind, musical, beautiful, understanding and a great singer!” Thank you to these wonderful teachers!
- I would like to give a massive shout out to Mrs. Baughan at Mary Munford. She has made virtual kindergarten fun and exciting and my daughter loves logging into her calls each day! Thank you, Mrs. Baughan - you’re the best!
- I would love to shout out the parents of the 5th graders at J.B. Fisher Elementary! Thank you for everything you do and for all of your support!!
- I would like to thank the best teacher in the world, Mrs. Stafford, a 2nd grade teacher from Overby-Sheppard ES. Hearing your voice every morning with the burst of bright energy encourages us, and by us I mean our entire family from oldest to youngest! My favorite teacher! My whole family loves you!
- We are so thankful for our child's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Marshall, at Mary Munford. She is always smiling and positive. She works tirelessly to keep these young kids engaged and is helping them develop friendships over Zoom - no easy feat! Technology issues do not discourage or hinder her. She is the best kindergarten teacher in the entire universe!
- I want to shoutout Veronica Reid, the new RPS Language Justice Coordinator. She has been a daily source of positivity, empathy, and grace for her team members, colleagues, and most importantly every single family and staff member that she serves in managing the district's language support services, a critical service that eliminates language barriers with our Hispanic and Latino students and families. She leads with love, without fail, every single day. Her ability to identify gaps, connect caring individuals, and inspire everyone around her is magical. She also won't ever let me forget how thankful we should all be for the clean water that flows from our taps :) I've never met a more thankful soul and wish her the happiest Thanksgiving.
- I would like to shout out my kid's teacher, Mrs. Kathy Johnson at Woodville Elementary School. Thank you so much for all you do for the students in your room. I see everyday that you teach that it comes from a place of love. The students in your class as well as the parents appreciate your hard work. During this difficult time you still make sure our kids are learning and understanding the material that is being taught. Again, thank you so much for all you do.
- I want to send a shout out to Mr. Johnnie Jones at Binford Middle School for all the support he provides to not only our students and families, but to his teachers as well! Thank you, Mr. Jones!
- Shout out to Stacey Crochunis, reading specialist and literacy coach at E.D. Redd. Stacey is tireless and relentlessly positive in her efforts on behalf of both teachers and students. She aims high and usually hits her mark. Few people at Redd have positively impacted more lives. And she’s about to start some well-deserved leave time, so we all wish her the best.
- The RPS online open enrollment portal is fantastic! What a huge and timely improvement over the disjointed systems of the past. Really great job!
- A huge shoutout to Ms. Shayla Riggs, 1st grade, William Fox Elementary School. She is a gifted teacher who moves seamlessly throughout the morning from activity to activity with enthusiasm and joy. She has created a community of learners who support and care for each other. I have seen our first grader take risks to try new things and put herself out there with confidence which has led to much growth. We are thankful for Ms. Riggs, Ms. Crowder, all the Encore teachers, Ms. Jacobs and the rest of our friends at Fox who we miss so much. We wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
- I would like to shout out Emily Stanford, the compliance coordinator at Thomas Jefferson High School. She is great! Her love for children and their education is evident in every meeting. She is a team player in every aspect. Emily rocks!
- I would like to shout out Denise Monroe, the office associate at Thomas Jefferson High School. Mrs. Monroe is the glue that keeps us together. Her warm spirit and smile instantly makes you know that everything will be just fine and she will always find a solution.
- I would like to shout out Heather Kennedy, TJHS Future Center director! She is always going the extra mile for our students' future! Ms. Kennedy works diligently and never complains! Her hard work and dedication is admirable.
- I would like to shout out Tess Short, instructional specialist for secondary school counselors! Since coming on board in August, she has not missed a beat. She sends positive messages daily, she is understanding and compassionate. Her energy is contagious! School counselors are very fortunate to have her as a coach.
- I would like to shout out Ms. Charlene Alexander-Taylor. Ms. Alexander-Taylor is the best! She is committed to Thomas Jefferson's scholars' success. Ms. A is an overall great teacher, but more of a mother to many students. Her students adore her.
- I would like to shout out all RPS employees! Each and every day you show up and show out. You give 200% in teaching, planning, collaborating, consulting, and counseling. There are so many days that you sacrifice for our students and for that alone each of you is a true superstar! This is a different year, but your love of education and children remains the same. Hats off to each of you for being top notch.
- I am a first year teacher at Carver Nation and I have to give a huge shoutout to my third grade team: Mrs. Gragg, Mr. Graves, Ms. Joynes, Ms. Mankus, Ms. Evans, Mr. Ellis, and Ms. Clayton. Never forget that you all are amazing teachers and co-workers. Thank you for all of the love and support that you have given me this year.
- I would like to thank all the staff that showed up to the virtual staff celebration at J.L. Francis! Ms. Calloway, Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Demlein, Ms. Zulauf, Ms. Wright, Ms. Lemus, Ms. Chambers, Mrs. Wyatt, Mr. & Mrs. Miles, & Ms. West! (Sorry if I missed someone!!) It was great to come together and play games & laugh! I felt the love!
- Thank you to Ms. Floyd for being dedicated to all of our students in our class, and willing to go above and beyond to make sure all of our students get what they deserve while I go out for maternity leave! I am very lucky to have you as a co-teacher and our students are very lucky to have you as their educator!
- Ms. Lewis at Holton Elementary is a tremendous talent! I am so grateful for her dedication to what is right and good. She does not shy away from challenges and she makes a difference every day!
- Shout out to secretary Tracy James at Huguenot High! She is always so professional and respectful to our parents and community. She puts so much effort into her job and working with her is a privilege.
- Shout out to all the parents, students, teachers, staff, and community partners who logged on to the Oak Grove-Bellemeade Teddy Bear Huddle on Monday night! It was so awesome to see everyone come together to celebrate the awesome things happening at The Grove! You are world changers!
- This shout-out is one full of thanks to the Holton team. We are exceptionally thankful for Ms. Robinson's grace, patience, and love for teaching.
- Shout out to Mrs. Crews, principal of Southampton, along with Ms. Travis, assistant principal, have been rocking and rolling this school year. They have continued to support staff each and every day.
- Elementary school counselors: You all are simply the best. You have been implementing Second Step with ease and make recording videos look so easy.
- Monique Yates and Nick Cammararo, thank you for assisting me with my email address concern. You have helped make my work life so much easier now.
- I owe a million shoutouts to Tori Pierson at River City Middle School. She is an amazing teacher, an incredible leader, and a tireless advocate for our ELL students. Tori has a lot on her plate this year but she consistently looks for ways to help her team. She always has time to answer questions or just listen. In addition, she knows that our ELLs make our school brighter and stronger, and she embodies that mindset every day. I look forward to continuing to work with and learn from Tori! She was born to lead with love.
- I am very thankful for the acts of kindness from different RPS members, staff members, directors, principals, co-workers, families, and students. I am very appreciative for being employed at an organization that strives for leadership and empowerment! I am thankful for my team, and for the opportunity to overcome challenges, and develop new skills. I am thankful to be part of the RPS family! I absolutely LOVE working in RPS. Many thanks to absolutely every employee, student, and family that makes RPS so unique and amazing!
- Third and fourth graders at J.L. Francis created cityscapes inspired by the artist James Rizzi. I want to shout them out for producing some incredible artwork. Thank you to Ms. Lecia Miles for facilitating this project with our budding artists! I know it was hard work but it was worth it. Beautiful!!
- I am a 1985 RPS grad (RCHS '85), 52 years old now. I have done well in life, professionally --- am very dedicated to our community --- and am a step-Mom and a grandmother through marriage. However, I never birthed my own children and, in all of my life, I have never seen a live birth, of any kind. So when I saw the RPS e-blast about the chickens almost hatching, I was riveted! It was late at night. There were two little chicks (one black, one yellow) running around the incubator, and another that appeared dead, with its shell half on and half off. It wasn't moving. I felt really sad! And then, I saw the tiniest movement in that little one!! It wasn't dead, after all! I kept watching, thinking maybe I could see it fully hatch. I kept my eyes glued to the screen...for hours. You will laugh at me, but as a city girl, I didn't know ANYTHING about birthing chickens! I had no idea how long it would take. It got later and later into the night. The chick would periodically twitch and then grow still. I kept thinking it would pop out at any time, and I had already waited so long to witness this! Hours passed. I Googled to see how long it takes for chicks to hatch (b/c, dang, I was tired and wanted to sleep, but I did not want to miss it, lol!). I learned that it can often take 7-12 hours, and that they have the little bursts of movement and then become still, letting their lungs strengthen and adjust. I kept watching. I wondered what chicks ate, and how they were cared for ... so I Googled more and more to learn about something I'd never even thought about until your RPS Direct drew me in. And when I saw the sun rise that morning (and had to work in a few hours), I tore myself away to get a few hours sleep. I've been watching the teacher's Live Cam link ever since! It touches my heart to think: Here is RPS STILL TEACHING ME, 44 years later! Thank you for this opportunity to learn and to marvel. You enticed me with the opportunity, stimulated my curiosity, and (thanks to RPS), I know how to consult resources to keep learning, even 44 years after I first walked through the doors of RPS. You're right, those little chicks ARE so cute! And I hear the teacher, too, in how they often knock over their dishes (so frenetic and awkward in their movements, lol!). In all these decades of my life, I've never gotten to see this and it's been marvelous! THANK YOU, RPS!!! For all you all are doing to care for our kids these days, for all the heart you bring to education, and for sharing it with our community... THANK YOU! #RPSStrong #YOUMATTER!
Winter Break Meal Packs – All RPS schools will be closed for Winter Break from December 21 through January 1. Because we will not have meal distribution during this time, we're taking pre-orders for FREE 5-day meal packs. Each pack will include 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches, and families can order one or two packs. Here's how:
- Online: English or Español
- Phone: (804) 780-6195
- In-Person: At all meal drop-off locations
The deadline to order is November 30. Please visit our website for additional information.
Open Enrollment – Don't forget that the deadline to apply for out-of-zone schools and specialty schools is December 1 at 4:30 pm. To learn about the different programs at our schools, check out our Virtual School Tour. Please also take a look at our Enroll RPS videos in our Family Academy Virtual Library.
DonorsChoose Bonus – On Tuesday, December 1 (Giving Tuesday), donations to DonorsChoose projects will be DOUBLED. So a $20 donation instantly becomes a $40 donation! Whether you need books or educational software, now is a great time to create a project on DonorsChoose. For community members who would like to support RPS projects on Giving Tuesday, please consider donating here!
Civic Voices Town Hall – Please join us via the RPS Facebook page at 6 pm on Wednesday, December 2, for our next RPS Civic Voices Town Hall. The event will be moderated by our very own Mr. Rodney Robinson and will feature RPS educators, community leaders, and advocates engaging in a discussion about recruiting and investing in male teachers of color.
Flu Vaccinations – The Richmond City Health District is hosting its next flu clinic on Wednesday, December 2, from 1 - 4 pm, at Huguenot HS. Please see the flyer below for additional information.
Facilitated Learning Centers – As a reminder, there are still seats available at the "facilitated learning centers" serving RPS students. See below for details.
- Peter Paul Development Center is running a facilitated learning center at MLK MS for 2nd-8th grade RPS students. The full-day option goes from 9 am until 6 pm, and is completely free for low-income families. To learn more, click here.
- The YMCA is is running facilitated learning centers at Miles Jones ES, Holton ES, and Huguenot HS for K-8th grade RPS students. The full-day option goes from 7:30 am until 6 pm, and is completely free for low-income families. To learn more, click here.
- There are also many other facilitated learning centers not housed in RPS schools across the city. To learn more, click here.
RPS Love Store – Show your RPS Love and help us raise money for RPS families in need and local racial justice non-profits by ordering something today from the RPS Love Store!