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April 2021

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!


Best,
Stephanie Miller Rizzi  

Zoom Link for Office Hours
Thursday, April 22nd
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Upcoming School Board Meetings:

April 19th 6:00pm School Board Meeting
April 27th 5:30pm-6:30pm Finance Committee Meeting
May 3rd 6:00 pm School Board Meeting
 

Agendas, Minutes, and Public Documents available here: https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/richmond/Board.nsf/Public
 
To watch School Board meetings live, visit facebook.com/RichmondPublicSchools

Comments may be sent to speakers@rvaschools.net, and will be read aloud if submitted prior to 1:00 pm on the day of the meeting.

RPS 2020 - 2021 School Year Calendar: https://www.rvaschools.net/domain/1563

RPS 2020 - 2021 Calendario del Distrito: https://www.rvaschools.net/Page/7189

#ReopenWithLove Page for all information related to virtual learning, food distribution and family support: https://www.rvaschools.net/Page/7698 

Food Distribution Schedule: https://www.rvaschools.net/meals   

Lit Limo Schedule: https://www.rvaschools.net/lit-limo 

Family Support Helpline - Call (804) 780-6195 and learn more about other resources available to families

Ka Kim Fung


What is your position and experience with RPS?

I am the mathematics department head at George Wythe High School and I teach Computer Science, Mathematics, English, and History. This is my sixth year working with Richmond students.

What do you love about the 5th District and RPS?

One of the things I love about working in Richmond City Public Schools is the flexibility I am able to utilize when working with students. I can introduce ideas to help move students forward and I will know that my building level administrators will listen and take me seriously and support me in my endeavors. This is something that I truly appreciate about George Wythe High School and the fifth district as the passion to help students succeed is authentic. Even though a lot of my ideas can seem “crazy” or impossible to achieve, I have peace in understanding that fellow faculty, families, and the students will take me seriously so that I can better serve our students to allow them to grow and make the “impossible” definitely possible to achieve. 

What is your vision and hopes for RPS?  How might they be achieved?

My vision for Richmond Public Schools is to serve our students with the best opportunities possible. It is my hope that RPS offers all the students dual enrollment opportunities to earn an associate degree (and one day bachelor’s degrees) in computer science, mathematics, engineering, science, in addition to social sciences and liberal arts. This can be done by taking advantage of our existing partnership with Reynolds Community College and utilizing our RPS teachers who already hold master’s degree level credentials to be able to offer dual enrollment college courses. By shifting the focus of academic opportunities to dual enrollment, we can better adapt to the needs of our students while also making them college and career ready. 

This is where Advanced Placement programs are limited. Students who want to study mathematics beyond single variable calculus can’t under Advanced Placement (the highest level College Board offers is AP Calculus BC) but they can under dual enrollment (Reynolds offers Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, and Topics Courses). Without offering dual enrollment, student skills learned can atrophy because they were not offered an advanced level version of the course that they took previously. This applies to any other fields like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering, Technology, English, History, etc.

By offering dual enrollment with high school teachers already in the buildings, RPS can also cut down on the net cost of dual enrollment per student immensely. The cost savings could then be used to offer more students the opportunity to complete college dual enrollment courses and give a lot more students the ability to graduate with an associate degree in in-demand fields and have their choice between colleges and careers. 

 Stephanie Rizzi
(804) 929-6930 - for text or calls
srizzi@rvaschools.net

5th District Schools:

Full School Directory: https://www.rvaschools.net/Page/7910 

School Locator Map: https://www.croppermap.com/richmond/ 

John B. Cary Elementary (804) 780-6252 http://www.rvaschools.net/jces 

Maymont Preschool Center (804) 780-6263 http://www.rvaschools.net/preschool 

Swansboro Elementary (804) 780-5030 http://www.rvaschools.net/ses 

Binford Middle (804) 780-6231 http://www.rvaschools.net/bms 

Open High (804) 780-4661 http://www.rvaschools.net/ohs 

George Wythe High (804) 780-5037 http://www.rvaschools.net/gwhs 

Amelia Street (804) 780-6275 http://www.rvaschools.net/as 

Patrick Henry School of Arts & Sciences (804) 888-7061 http://www.rvaschools.net/phssa 

Richmond Career Education & Employment Academy (804) 780-4332 http://www.rvaschools.net/rceea 

RPS Main Phone Number:
(804) 780-7710
 

Stephanie Rizzi serves as Richmond School Board Member in the 5th District. Views on this page are her own and may not reflect official positions of the body.
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