Dear #RPSStrong Family,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We continue to be in awe of your support for RPS!
Before I get to today’s updates, a quick housekeeping note: To streamline and organize the information in these messages, I’ve collapsed the Resources and FAQ sections into a revamped (and better organized) set of FAQs. I’ll keep these updated every day so they can be your go-to source for answers. Please email me at [email protected] if you feel something important is missing. Thanks!
School Closure – As I shared yesterday, RPS will be closed through Spring Break. That means we will be closed, at a minimum, until Monday, April 13. My request of the RPS Family: if you can provide childcare for someone, can you please let us know through our volunteer sign-up page? Thank you!
SOLs – I’ve gotten a ton of questions about whether students will have to take SOLs this year. Here’s the latest: The VDOE just put out a press release indicating that they are seeking permission from the Commonwealth and the Federal Government to waive testing for this school year. Kudos to Dr. Lane for taking this step! As soon as I have further information on this, I’ll be sure to share it.
Food Distribution – Again, thank you so much to RPS staff, families, and volunteers for making our food sites possible! If I may brag on our dedicated staff for a second: Los Angeles Unified, which has about 730,000 students (30 times the size of RPS) has 60 centers (just 3 times as many as RPS). No shade on LAUSD; they’re working around the clock like us all. Just want to make sure folks know that RPS staff are stepping up big-time!
Very important update: we’re launching food delivery into our neighborhoods starting tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18). RPS families can pick up food at any of the locations below, from 9:30 am – 11:00 am.
Additional food updates:
- All of our school-based food distribution sites will continue to run from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Monday – Friday. For a full list of those sites, click here.
- The Henderson MS site is now closed due to accessibility issues. Please use the Ginter Park ES site instead.
- A new site at Carver ES will open tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18).
- For emergency food support, please call the FeedMorehotline at 804-521-2500. Special shout-out to FeedMore for providing RPS with 500 (not a typo) backpacks filled with non-perishable food!
Finally, here’s a pic from Oak Grove-Bellemeade. I hope it gives you a sense of the scale of our food operations. Thank you to the amazing RPS team and all of our wonderful volunteers!
Donations – In just the last 48 hours, over 52 people have donated over $6,000 to the RPS Education Foundation. Unbelievable! These funds will help us continue to support our students and families throughout the closure. On behalf of RPS, THANK YOU!
Learning at Home – You don’t need to figure this out on your own. We have a TON of resources on our website. Big thanks to the entire academic team for pulling everything together so quickly. Check it out here! Also, have you seen some of the amazing things our teachers are doing to support their students?! If you have a shout-out for an RPS teacher you’d like me to share, can you please email me a sentence or two at [email protected]? Thanks!
Mr. K’s 30 Minutes of Math – I’ll be kicking off my 30-minute math lessons tomorrow (Wednesday, March 17). I know I said they’d start today, but the truth is I just haven’t had a second to prep. The lessons will be live-streamed every day, Monday – Friday, at 2 pm. Here’s the link to tune in. We’ll also record them and make them available on our website.
I’m not going to lie: of everything I’m dealing with right now, this is stressing me out the most. Teaching is HARD, folks – a lot harder than being Superintendent. I imagine a whole bunch of families and caregivers are beginning to realize this as they suddenly become subs. So please take a minute RIGHT NOW to call, text, or email a teacher in your life and say THANK YOU! For real, do it. Now.
Wishtree Read-Aloud – Yesterday, we kicked off a community read-aloud of the Wishtree. Click here to see me reading the first two chapters. Mayor Stoney recorded Chapter 3 and School Board Chair (and former Librarian!) Linda Owen recorded Chapters 4 and 5 (see below). Huge thanks to them both! Stay tuned to see who our celebrity guest readers will be tomorrow!
With great appreciation,
Wishtree Chapter 3 – Guest Reader: Mayor Levar Stoney
Wishtree Chapters 4 and 5 – Guest Reader: School Board Chair Linda Owen
Revised (Hopefully Better!) FAQs
- How long are we closed for?Until April 13. Keep in mind that we may need to close even longer.
- Will we need to go to school in the summer?I highly doubt it. In all likelihood, the State will waive the days we’re closed, meaning we won’t have to make them up. Once I know for sure, I’ll let everyone know.
- Are events run by external organizations that rent space at schools (like churches for Sunday services) cancelled? ALL activities are cancelled.
- Where are the food distribution centers and what are the hours?The hours are 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The locations are listed here.
- Can students pick up food without their parent/caregiver being present?
- Can parents/caregivers pick up food without their student being present?
- If I want to help in some way, what should I do?Please fill out this Google Formso we can follow up with you. Thank you!
- Who will be paid during the closure? ALL RPS employees will continue to be paid. That includes full-time, part-time, and hourly employees.
- Are long-term subs included?Yes!
- Where do I find the “Learning at Home” section of the RPS website?Just click here.
- Will students receive official grades for the work they’re doing while we’re closed?
- Will students need to take SOLs this year?The VDOE just put out a press release indicating that they are seeking permission from the Commonwealth and Federal Government to waive testing for this school year. As soon as I have further information on this, I’ll be sure to share it.
- What should I do if I want to access online learning resources, but I don’t have internet? Please call Comcast at 855-846-8376 (English) or 855-765-6995 (Spanish) to get 60 days of FREE internet. In addition, Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country are now FREE. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, just select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch any browser.
- What is the RPS website address? rvaschools.net
- Can anyone receive my daily RPS Direct emails? ANYONE can sign up here.
- Are these messages available in other languages? They’re all posted on our website, which has an auto-translate function for dozens of languages. The translate button is on the top right of the menu bar.
- Does RPS have any guidance on how to talk about the coronavirus with children? Please click herefor a number of resources.
Information for RPS Employees
Nothing new to report today! As a reminder, if you have questions about your benefits, please call 804-780-7859. And if you have any other concerns, please reach out to me directly at [email protected]. I want to make sure you have all the information and support you need during this difficult time!
Must-See RVA! — Cokesbury Building
A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.
- 415 East Grace Street
- Built, 1921
- Architects, Carneal & Johnston
Once there was this trendy little bookstore in the heart of the downtown shopping district.
This building was built for the Methodist Publishing House and designed by Garnett & Johnston. Its design clearly is related to the Mosby Store at the corner of Jefferson and Broad Streets, by Starrett & Van Vleck.
That design was, in turn, related to McKim, Mead & White’s Gorham Building in New York, a modernized version of an Italianate palazzo with an arcade at the base of the building and a heavy projecting cornice at the roof.
This design was felt to be a particularly successful blending of traditional and modern features, most appropriate for a modern shop.
The Cokesbury Building is designed carefully and well detailed. The first floor arcade was glazed fully, but is now closed partially.
The interior vaulted ceilings have been removed, but the building is otherwise well preserved. The reason for the popularity of this building type is seen easily. It is simple, dignified and impressive. [ADR]
The Cokesbury Building, with the Cokesbury Bookstore on the first floor, was an outgrowth of the Methodist Episcopal Book Concern. Created in 1789, this organization was established to religious materials for the Methodist church. It would eventually expand to include books and religious supplies and rebranded as the Cokesbury Press in 1925. By 2012, there would be 57 Cokesbury Book Stores nationwide, one of which used to be on Grace Street.
But in that same year, Cokesbury announced the closure of their brick-and-mortar stores, and today they’re online only. The Grace Street location had long been abandoned by that point, having relocated to Tuckernuck Square shopping center in 1992. A loss, really. They were more than just religious books and often had unusual or hard to find titles, back in the days before Amazon.
Today, it’s the Cokesbury Building Apartments.
(Cokesbury Building is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)
- [ADR] Architecture in Downtown Richmond. Robert Winthrop. 1982.
Must-See RVA! is a regular series
appearing on rocket werks – check it out!
Suspects Sought in Credit Card Fraud
Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individuals in the attached photo, who are suspected of using a stolen credit to make fraudulent purchases last week.
On Monday, March 30, the victim was notified that their card had been used at the Farm Fresh located in the 2300 block of East Main Street. Surveillance footage shows two females buying food and cigarettes worth over $400 with the victim’s card. They were last seen leaving the store in a silver convertible with a black top. A photo of the vehicle is attached.
Detectives determined the card was also used at the McDonald’s located in the 1800 block of East Broad Street.
Anyone with information about the identity of these suspects is asked to call First Precinct Detective J. Mitchell at (804) 646-0569 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
Billy Jack’s Shack Closing for Good
Unfortunately, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be writing about a restaurant not being able to re-open.
Billy Jack’s Shack the local spin-off of the Westend’s Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint at 5810 Grove Ave. will not survive the economic downturn of COVID-19. According to this Richmond BizSense.com article on the closure, Jack Brown’s is doing alright for now considering the situation.
Owners Jason Owenby, Mike Sabin, and Aaron Ludwig made the announcement on Billy Jack’s Shack Facebook.
It is with heavy hearts that we make the unfortunate announcement that Billy Jack’s RVA will be closing down permanently. While our time here was brief, the relationships and memories we’ve made are eternal. We appreciate everything that y’all have done for us, especially those of you in the Bone Club. These are difficult times for everyone involved and if you would like to support some of our staff who are now facing employment uncertainty, please feel free to donate at the link below. We can not properly express how much this decision pains us and how bad we are going to miss everyone. Please message with any further questions and stay tuned to our Instagram page for some trips down memory lane