Hello 5th District! April has been a busy month, so I hope you were able to get some well deserved rest over Spring Break. I’ve touched base with all of the awesome principals in the 5th district, and am so proud of the amazing work our administrators, teachers, support personnel, and staff are doing to engage with and care for our students. Notably, I want to shout out Mr. Powell and the John B. Cary Cougars 4th and 5th graders who are working with The Valentine to curate an exhibition focused on the history of the school. They invited me to a virtual meeting with First Lady Pamela Northam where the children interviewed her about her involvement in the school’s ongoing efforts to become a green campus. It was wonderful to witness all of the thoughtful questions the children asked the First Lady. I was honored to attend.
I’d also like to shout out George Wythe High School math teacher Ka Kim Fung and his student Harold Aquino, the math scholar who will be graduating this year with a grade point average of over 5.0. I’d also like to congratulate George Wythe High School’s Aissatou Barry who made history by being the first Richmond Public Schools student to place in the VHSL State Forensics Competition! Ms. Barry took 2nd place in the Prose category and was coached by Angela Moore and Lisette Kimbrough. So many great things are happening in the 5th!
Congratulations to Dr. Eileen Atkinson, Principal at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, on her upcoming retirement. We are so grateful to have been blessed with her steadfast leadership at PHSSA for the past 8 years, and we wish her well on the adventures that lie ahead. She will be missed.
The School Board has been busy at work with making sure our schools are ready for an in-person return to school in the Fall. Please check RPS Board Docs for updates on the proposed 21-22 Academic Calendar, on plans for the return to school, and on ventilation and building-level improvements that will take place before the Fall. Please look out for and follow the upcoming budget work sessions. I ask for your continued engagement and that you reach out with any questions.
On Monday, April 12th, the School Board passed a resolution that would put schools in control of building schools. This was prompted by a concern about the recent issues with the cost of new school buildings exceeding what was originally budgeted and with design and building flaws that were only revealed once the new schools were built. The rationale is that if RPS has more control over the process, such issues could be avoided, and there would be more of a chance to engage community stakeholders in the design and building process. I love George Wythe High School. I completed my teaching practicum there in 1993—it was the very first time I had the privilege to stand before a classroom. Moreover, I ran on a platform that included prioritizing the George Wythe High School community, and I plan on sticking to it!
I will be holding office hours next week on Thursday, April 22nd from 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm (see below for joining info). Hope to see you then!
Stephanie Miller Rizzi
Zoom Link for Office Hours
Thursday, April 22nd
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm