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A piece by Chris Suarez on RVA Open Source tells a bit of the history of Kennedy High School and Armstrong High School, and has the details on a historical marker planned to commemorate Kennedy HS:
Established in 1968, JFK opened as a state-of-the-art school facility for the East End’s various neighborhoods including – but not limited to – several housing projects. Located at 2300 Cool Lane, Kennedy was built within a mile of Armstrong High School.
“In my heart, it’s still the landmark high school in the city of Richmond.” said former Kennedy faculty member, Pernell Taylor, “I’ve been to a lot of high schools throughout Virginia and it ranks with the best. I’m so proud to have been a part of it.”
A former basketball, track and football coach and physical education teacher at JFK Kennedy for 30 years, Taylor says he was one of the original teachers offered a position at the new Kennedy school which included two gymnasiums, an auditorium with a balcony, a greenhouse and air conditioning (an unprecedented luxury at the time for most Richmond Public Schools).
“I think it’s critical we don’t lose this history,” said 7th District School Board Representative and Chairman Donald Coleman. “I know it’ll bring joy to a lot of people who believe they lost something. Kennedy is a significant part of Richmond history. It was part of a critical transition period for Richmond Public Schools and African-American people.”
Northside Coalition for Children has announced a Back-to-School Rally for August 9th at MLK Middle School.
The Richmond City Health District has immunizations and physicals available now, with dated for vaccinations in August and September. In addition, vaccinations, Tdap shots, and physicals will be available at a special event on August 22nd.
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The agenda for the June 16 meeting of the City Planning Commission has a few items of local interest:
The subject property is a 26,582 square foot corner lot, which is situated on the northeast side of the intersection of N and North 31st Streets. Situated on the property is a 71 space parking area that currently serves the Thirty First Street Baptist Church. The applicant proposes to provide parking for the proposed school located across the intersection at 3015 N Street. The subject property is located in the R-6 Single-Family Attached Residential zoning district, which only allows parking areas as an accessory use serving principal permitted uses. The parking area currently serves a church use that is located on the adjacent property. The applicant would like the parking area to serve a proposed school located across the intersection from the parking area. The parking area serving a use not located on the subject property constitutes the parking area as a principal use, which is not permitted in the R-6 zoning district. Therefore, the applicant has requested a special use permit.
The new building will be single story with an area of 22,097 gsf building to accommodate 260 students in pre-school ages 3 through 5.
The folks at CHAT have posted a *great* set of photos from the recent Field Days at George Mason and Chimborazo Elementary Schools.
Come out and say hi to the little ones:
Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 10) Bellevue Elementary School will do their annual walk to Chimborazo park for Field Day.
At 9:30 am the lower grades will walk east to the park and at 11:30 am they will walk west back to the school.
At 12:30 pm the upper grades will walk east to the park at 2:30 pm they will walk west back to the school.
Please come out and say hello, wave and cheer them on. Please think about keeping dogs, especially barkers, inside or visibly on-leash.
It is such a rarity that the Bellevue kids walk the streets of our beautiful neighborhood. Thank you for making them feel welcome.
An RTD article by Zachary Reid says that 7 Richmond schools will have new principals next year, including Chimborazo Elementary and Woodville Elementary.
The new leaders chosen for four of the city middle schools are all from outside of Richmond Public Schools. The new elementary school principals have not been named yet.
This school year marks Cheryl Burke’s 19th year as principal of Chimborazo Elementary. Woodville has been led this year by Interim Principal Kara Lancaster-Gay.
This follows an early February emergency principal change at Martin Luther King Middle School where Rickie Hopkins replaced 3rd year principal Dr. Valerie Harris.
“Bellevue Elementary School is the proud owner of it’s very first portable basketball hoop!!! Thank you so very much to our amazing Church Hill neighbors who made this dream a reality!”
A group calling themselves “Anonymous MLK Teachers” emailed the following letter to media and school officials this afternoon:
State of MLK Middle School
Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School very often accepts conduct that is unacceptable and violates acceptable codes of conduct. We the teachers of MLK can and will not tolerate the irreprehensible actions that are being committed by the administration and students. Here are a few examples of what really goes on at MLK:
Students are disruptive in their classes and administration refuses to enforce any level of discipline.
Students are allowed to come in and leave their classes at any time without teachers having any authority to do anything.
Students have made threats towards teachers and those students have been allowed to remain in the teachers classrooms.
The administration made a rule that prevents students from being removed from class, no matter how disruptive or disrespectful the students may be.
There are several classrooms that exceed the Department of Education’s guidelines for Special Education classrooms.
Students are able to walk the halls during class without any reproach.
Students are allowed to bully other students, while teachers and security have been forbidden from intervening.
One particular administrator consistently cites the failures of the school as teachers lacking behavior management.
Students can fight one another and return back to class.
Administration is not filing nor recording referrals being written by students. They are either being destroyed or sent back to the teachers. This is presumably done to reduce the number of documented disciplinary actions.
Administration has cited the fact that behavior problems have declined, this is not so, we merely have an administration that refuses to suspend and discipline children. This is why the disciplinary numbers do not represent an increase in behavioral issues.
We as teachers understand that every form of adversity cannot be avoided; however, we cannot teach in an environment where we do not feel safe, are not given our proper resources, and where teachers are constantly cited as being the reason behind so many school failures. MLK can best be referred to as a hostile environment. Students do not feel safe at our school. The environment is not conducive to learning.
Our specific demands are as follow:
We want students held accountable. Students who fight, disrupt class, and disrespect staff and students should be disciplined accordingly.
We want administration to work with teachers in resolving the schools issues, not putting the blame on the teachers.
We want to come to work in a safe environment that is conducive to learning.
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According to the school and system report cards on the Virginia Department of Education site, Richmond Public Schools reported 11,997 school safety violations system-wide for the 2012-2013 school year (PDF), 7,776 of which were for Disorderly or Disruptive Behavior Offenses.
MLK Middle alone was responsible for 3,082 of these school safety violations (PDF), or 25.6% of all in RPS last year. In addition, MLK was responsible for 2,539 of the Disorderly or Disruptive Behavior Offenses reports, or 32.6% of the system total.
For some further context, there were 198 total offenses at Richmond’s Albert Hill MS (93 for Disorderly or Disruptive), 113 at Chesterfield’s Robious Middle School (35 for Disorderly or Disruptive), and 443 at Henrico’s John Rolfe (144 for Disorderly or Disruptive).
Rickie Hopkins took over for Dr. Valerie Harris in a rare mid-year principal swap this past February, a situation 6th District School Board representative Shonda Harris-Muhammed described as “a sense of emergency.”
Bellevue ES students washed teachers’ cars yesterday for Teacher Appreciation Day.
Report of a Chimborazo student taken to the hospital after being hit by a car this morning.
Come out tonight (Tuesday April 22) from 5-7 PM to George Mason ES to check out the language arts and mathematics textbooks up for adoption in Richmond elementary schools:
The Elementary Textbook Adoption committees for reading/language arts and mathematics will hold a community meeting to review textbook materials up for adoption.
Textbook materials and resources from state-listed publishers will be on display in the George Mason Elementary School Media Center. Parents and community members are invited to review the materials and offer feedback.
A message from Bellevue ES PTA President Christina Mastroianni:
Thank You! With your help the Bellevue PTA has raised over 66,500 points since September of 2013 for the Farm Fresh 123-4 the community program. But the campaign is not over!
You have until May 31, 2014 to drop off your receipts. Simply shop, tear off the bottom of the receipt and drop it in the black mail box labeled “Farm Fresh Receipts” outside the school. Our goal this year is 100,000 points!
I am interested in sending my 4-year-old son to the preschool at Chimborazo Elementary starting in September. The school day ends at 3:00, and unfortunately, the after school program run by Parks and Recreation at the school is only for kids in Kindergarten and up.
I work until 5:00, so I will be in need of after school care from 3:00 to about 5:30, Monday through Friday.
If anyone is interested, or knows a reputable after school program in the area that could pick him up, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We gave this project a shout-out on Twitter and bumped an old post a few days ago, but it needs a full push:
Ms. Bohman at Chimborazo Elementary School has a Donors Choose project to get reading materials for her kindergarten class.
Over the past 3 days over $900 has been pledged to bring the total to $1,859, but the listing expires on Sunday and right now still needs $348 to get funded. This is an easy way to directly support a teacher in a neighborhood classroom.
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