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Dr. Dana T. Bedden

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Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden

June 2016

As the 2015-2016 school year draws to a close, we enter into a season of celebration, reflection and preparation. We celebrate the achievements of our graduates as they embark upon their postsecondary pursuits, reflect on our district’s accomplishments and opportunities of growth, and prepare for another successful school year.

This year, we will recognize over 1,200 graduates who will soon enter the workforce, college or other postsecondary paths. We are incredibly proud of our graduates and know that whatever course they have chosen they are equipped with the knowledge and abilities to succeed.

To the graduating class of 2016, you are the pride of Richmond Public Schools. Dream big and go boldly forward. In the words of American author Henry David Thoreau,

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

The academic success of our students is not only an imperative for our school district but our region as well. As a community, we have a shared responsibility to ensure our youth are afforded every opportunity to thrive in a supportive, inclusive and academically – challenging learning environment in order to become productive citizens and leaders in their respective communities. It is vital that we continue to work together toward achieving this common goal. We are grateful for the continued support of our city leaders, parents, business partners and community members in this effort..  

Ensuring the success of our students requires a strategic focus on improvement and commitment to continual progress. Every facet of our district’s operations is being aligned to support student achievement and improve the services we provide to our students and community at large. The following highlights provide a brief overview of some of the work we have collectively accomplished this school year:

Academics:  

● 10 out of 28, or 35 percent, elementary schools met the state’s standards for full accreditation; up from 28 percent last year

● 5 out of 7, or 71 percent, middle schools are partially accredited

● 6 out of 8, or 75 percent, of our comprehensive and specialty high schools met the state’s standards for full accreditation; up from 37 percent last year

● 28 out of 45 schools, or 62 percent, posted gains in English SOL scores; 9 schools demonstrated double digit gains

● 33 out of 45 schools, or 73 percent, posted gains in mathematics SOL scores; 13 schools demonstrated double digit gains

● 27 out of 45 schools, or 60 percent, posted gains in history SOL scores; 7 schools demonstrated double digit gains

● 26 out of 45 schools, or 58 percent, posted gains in science SOL scores; 7 schools demonstrated double digit gains

● The percentage of warned schools decreased by 17.8 percentage points from 75.6 percent in 201415 to 57.8 percent this year

● Six schools exited warned status Southampton Elementary, J.E.B Stuart Elementary, Franklin Military Academy, John Marshall High, George Wythe High and Huguenot High

● For the second consecutive year, Carver Elementary School earned the distinction as a Title I Highly Distinguished School by the Virginia Department of Education. Additionally, Carver Elementary, Mary Munford Elementary and Richmond Community High schools earned the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award as part of the 2016 Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) awards.

● Franklin Military Academy and Richmond Community, Open and John Marshall high schools were rated among the best in the state and nation, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools ranking.  

● MakerSpaces were created at five elementary schools through a grant opportunity with the University of Mary Washington. MakerSpaces provide tools and space in a community environment—a library, classroom, or designated space in a school—that allows students to apply their knowledge and skills to accomplish various goals and solve real world problems.

● The College Connection Academy partnership with Reynolds Community College implemented this school year supports increased access to dual learning and college preparedness opportunities for our students.

Human Resources/Operations: 

● Through a grant opportunity by Capital One, our new online learning management system, iLEAD (Learn, Engage and Develop), enables all staff to increase their professional and personal development through access to over 2,000 online courses ranging from technology to business to customer services and compliance training. Additionally, our district wide professional development sessions received an overall participant rating of 4.5/5.

●The successful integration of Gallup’s Teacher Insight and Principal Insight online systems and new human resources information system provides increased efficiency and talent management within our human resources function.

●All school buses have been equipped with the Versatrans Onscreen Routing and Planning GPS, which provides immediate access to routes as well as driver and student information.

Family & Community Engagement:

● In partnership with K12 Insight , RPS completed three surveys this year, resulting in a tremendous uptick our two way engagement efforts with the community. This year’s surveys included the Student Engagement, Employee Engagement and Community Perspectives. A fourth survey — Internal Satisfaction — is scheduled for this summer. So far this year, more than 10,000 community interactions can be attributed to our partnership with K12 Insight .

● As part of our commitment to developing and supporting a culturally responsive learning environment, our new Multicultural Services Center (MSC) helps to assist our non-English speaking families in navigating within our school system. Located within the Southside Community Services Center, MSC serves as a registration center, WIDA screening site and language support center for parents. As part of our commitment to developing and supporting a culturally responsive learning environment, our new Multicultural Services Center (MSC) helps to assist our non-English speaking families in navigating within our school system. Located within the Southside Community Services Center, MSC serves as a registration center, WIDA screening site and language support center for parents.

● Be There , a district wide parental involvement campaign, supports parent in becoming more engaged in the education of their children through everyday opportunities. The campaign focuses on helping parents transform ordinary moments with their children into extraordinary learning opportunities by connecting during daily activities.. 

On behalf of our School Board and administration, we extend a sincere appreciation to every stakeholder for your contributions.. Every success that we have made as a district is the direct result of your support and dedicated efforts. You are a valued partner in the education of our students. As we look forward to the year ahead, we will continue to focus on improvement and work toward building a better, stronger school district of which our students, staff, parents, business partners and community at large can be proud.

Sincerely,
Dana T. Bedden, Ed.D.

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