Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Dear #RPSStrong Family,
National Voter Registration Day – Today is National Voter Registration Day! To help increase voting rates among 18-year-olds, we're partnering with When We All Vote. If you're 18 (or know some who is), please register to vote right away – it takes less than 5 minutes! And if you're a student, teacher, or administrator interested in starting a My School Votes club at your school, just email RPS Director of Advocacy and Outreach Matthew Stanley.
Hispanic Heritage Month – Starting tomorrow, September 20, at 7 am, donations to DonorsChoose projects with the header shown below will be doubled in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Funds will go fast, so don’t delay!
Special Education Advisory Committee – The RPS Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) will hold a virtual meeting tomorrow, September 20, at 6:30 pm. The SEAC needs your input for the 2023-24 family support plan. For more information and to join the meeting, please visit our website.
Teacher Open House – All teachers are invited to attend an open house at the Science Museum of Virginia on Saturday, September 23, from 9:30 am - 1 pm. Learn about educational programming, grab some free books, and of course, explore the museum! Registration is required and you can bring up to three guests for free. Please be prepared to show your teacher ID.
Road to Licensure – Join us on the RPS Road to Licensure next Saturday, September 30, from 9 am - 1 pm at Huguenot HS. Learn about the requirements for teacher licensure, participate in onsite interviews, and speak with representatives from RPS and local universities. To sign-up for this wonderful opportunity, click on the flyer or scan the QR code below with your phone's camera.
Specialty Schools Admissions Changes – I want to thank the School Board for taking a big step towards equity last night by adopting changes to the admissions process for specialty high high schools. In short, going forward, the top 3 applicants from every middle school will automatically be accepted, and we'll ensure that at least 50% of all acceptances go to the highest scoring economically disadvantaged students.
This work started several years ago with the Board-authorized Enrollment Equity Commission, co-chaired by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley and Taikein Cooper. On behalf of RPS, I want to thank both of them and everyone who served on the commission.
I also want to take a moment to reiterate the "why" of these changes. It starts with the connection between family income and student achievement – perhaps the best documented link in all of education. In short, families with higher incomes have more money and tend to have more time and social capital to invest in their children’s education. To be absolutely clear, this doesn’t mean low-income students can’t or don’t excel – they most certainly can and do. Nor does it mean low-income families care any less about their children’s education.
Rather, it simply means that, on average, they have fewer resources at their disposal to support their children’s achievement. Less money for tutoring. Less time for homework help. Less access to opportunities that expand their children’s knowledge of the world. It also means a greater likelihood of things that negatively impact student learning – food insecurity, housing instability, limited access to healthcare, and more.
Then, when it comes time to apply for anything selective – like specialty high schools – we pretend the educational race is fair. But it's not. In truth, low income children begin the race several yards behind the starting line. The changes adopted last night will make it a bit fairer by giving a small boost to the very talented low-income students who’ve been working themselves to the bone to win the race – despite starting well behind their higher income peers.
I know not everyone reading this tonight agrees with the changes we made. That's understandable given the complexity and emotional weight of this issue. My hope is that we resist the temptation to put each other into tidy, one-dimensional boxes and instead continue the hard work of seeking understanding and engaging in difficult but necessary dialogue. That's the only way we'll continue to improve as a school system and as fellow residents of this great city.
With great appreciation,
Shout-Outs – Please help us continue to inspire and uplift the RPS community as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by submitting shout-outs to email@example.com. We want to hear about the people who have made a difference for you since joining the RPS family. Entries can be submitted in Spanish or English!
Ms. Crystal Potee has been rocking as the new principal at Thomas Jefferson. Although she is a staple at TJ, she has assumed the new role with ease and the entire faculty has welcomed her with open arms. We are so blessed to have her leading the Vikings Family!
I would like to give a shout-out to Dr. Phillips, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Gilpin, and Mrs. Trickey of Amelia Street School for welcoming me with open arms into their family and for the support I have received as a new exceptional education teacher.
Shout-out to the Culture & Climate Committee at Oak Grove-Bellemeade ES for coming up with some awesome events and festivities to help us celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! We can't wait to get started and expose our students to all of the different cultures!
Shout-out to Mrs. Judith Stallings at the marvelous Miles Jones Elementary. Mrs. Stallings is a remarkably gifted guidance counselor, and her lessons are beautiful and effective. Students love the engaging lessons she teaches, and they benefit from them every day! We love you, Mrs. Stallings!
I want to shout-out AP Leecost at Henry L. Marsh, III Elementary School! She is an angel in disguise! Everything she touches, she leaves 10x better than before! She listens to understand, not just to respond. Whenever I have questions about lesson plans or things in general; she makes time to explain, elaborate, and to provide me with clarification. I am truly thankful for AP Leecost and her dedication to the Marsh family! Keep glowing, AP Leecost!
Let's recognize the incredible dedication and compassion of Ms. Tranelle Pollard and Mrs. Kanika Bonaparte-Moore, our school counselors at Dogwood Middle School! During National Suicide Prevention Week, they went above and beyond, engaging our students in activities to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Your commitment to the well-being of our students is truly commendable. Thank you, Ms. Pollard and Mrs. Bonaparte-Moore, for making a positive impact on our school community!
- Shout-out to the administration here at George W. Carver Elementary School. We want to thank you for all the hard work and support you have given to all the teachers here – we appreciate you. Shout-out to Dr. Anderson, Dr. Harris, and Mrs. Mayfield. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.
Shout-out to Mallory DeWind, speech pathologist! She works so hard to ensure her students have what they need to succeed. She is also consistently thinking of new ways to encourage communication, and has amazing rapport with her students. I love seeing what fun and interesting activities she uses. Ms. DeWind is such an asset to RPS!
Reminders from Previous RPS Directs
Hispanic Heritage Month Swag – Check out the RPS love store for newly added swag available in English and Spanish. All proceeds and additional donations will be directed to local racial justice non-profits that support Hispanic and Latino youth and families.
RPS Advisory Councils – We've extended the deadline to submit applications to join my 2023-24 Parent/Caregiver and Interfaith advisory councils to Tuesday, September 26 – Teacher Advisory Council applications are due by October 24. These groups advise me and the RPS leadership team, advocate for RPS, and help us achieve our goals. This year, our advisory councils will play an important role in helping develop our new strategic plan, Dreams4RPS 2.0 (more details on that process soon). Please visit our website for additional information.
School Immunizations – RPS Health Services has scheduled a series of school-based immunization clinics. If you would like for your child to be vaccinated at this or any of our upcoming events, please return the completed consent form to your school nurse in English or Spanish. These immunizations are mandated by Virginia law so please make sure to take care of them ASAP.
Teach With Love at RPS – We hire all year long so if you know of a great teacher who might like to join the RPS team, please tell them to apply now. We're offering bonuses of up to $12,000!
Nominate an RPS Principal! – Nominations for the R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership are now open! Don't miss this opportunity to recognize an amazing RPS principal who demonstrates every day what it means to lead with love. The winning leader will receive a $10,000 award and an additional $20,000 for their school. Submit your nominations by Thursday, November 2 at 5 pm.
Student Wellness and Mental Health Support – Please note the resources below and remember that we love you here and you are not alone.
Students who need emergency mental health support should call the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority at (804) 819-4100 or the ChildSavers Immediate Response line at (804) 305-2420 (or send a text to 741741).
Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center provides education, advocacy, and support to Spanish-speaking individuals affected by violence. The 24/7 hotline in Spanish is (888) 969-1825.
The Trauma Healing Response Network is a coalition of grassroots, community-based organizations and mental health partners that provide support services to families and communities impacted by gun violence. The network can also facilitate the distribution of emergency relief funds to help those in crisis. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- RPS employees in need of emergency support should contact the Cigna 24/7 Crisis Line at (833) ME-CIGNA, or (833) 632-4462. Additional counseling and support services are also available through the Cigna Employee Assistance (EAP) program by calling (800) 544-6931.
Health and Wellness Links
Manage your preferences | Opt Out using TrueRemove™
Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.
View this email online.
301 N 9th St 17th Floor | Richmond, VA 23219 US
This email was sent to .
To continue receiving our emails, add us to your address book.