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RPS community walks help families prepare for back-to-school

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 3:27 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Even with summer well underway, school districts are already counting down the days until students are back in the classroom.

For the last year and a half, Richmond Public Schools students have been learning virtually. On Wednesday, the district’s Family & Community Engagement Department went door-to-door helping families prepare for the return to in-person learning this fall.

“We come out into the different communities just to provide information, to answer questions in person, during school time, troubleshoot tech issues or any problems a family may be having, we come to the door,” said Takita Brown, a family liaison for the department. “There is nothing better than being able to engage a family, whether it’s an hour-long sit-down or a two-minute, two-second conversation at the door. This is, for me, more than just work and I love it”

There are several community walks per week. Wednesday, the Northside/West End hub, made up of six liaisons, walked through the Gilpin Court neighborhood.

The Department is made up of several hubs:

  • East End Hub Schools Served: Armstrong HS, Bellevue ES, Chimborazo ES, Fairfield Court ES, Franklin Military Academy, Marsh ES, MLK MS, Woodville ES Neighborhoods Served: Brauers/Peter Paul/Woodville, Chimborazo/Oakwood/Church Hill/Union Hill, Creighton Court, Fairfield Court, Fulton/Fulton Hill/Montrose Heights, Mosby Court, Whitcomb Court/Eastview Number of Family Liaisons: 7
  • Southside Hub 1 (East of Hull Street) Schools Served: Blackwell ES, Broad Rock ES, Boushall MS, Cardinal ES, Francis ES, Oak Grove-Bellemeade ES Neighborhoods Served: Afton/Bellemeade/Oak Grove/Jefferson Terrace, Blackwell/Manchester, Castlewood/Davee Gardens/Cullenwood, Hillside Court, Lafayette Gardens/Rudd Trailer Park, Walmsley Terrace/Cherry Gardens/Hickory Hill Number of Family Liaisons: 5
  • Southside Hub 2 (West of Hull Street) Schools Served: Brown MS, Fisher ES, Huguenot HS, Miles Jones ES, Patrick Henry ES, Redd ES, Reid ES, River City MS, Southampton ES, Swansboro ES, Westover Hills ES Neighborhoods Served: Beaufont/Hioaks/Worthington, Brookbury/Broad Rock/Swansboro, Farms/Chippenham Place, Forest Hill/Westover Hills/Westlake, Midlothian Village, Southwood Number of Family Liaisons: 5
  • Northside/West End Hub Schools Served: Binford MS, Carver ES, Cary ES, Community HS, Fox ES, Ginter Park ES, Henderson MS, Hill MS, Holton ES, Jefferson HS, Marshall HS, Munford ES, Obama ES, Open HS, Overby-Sheppard ES, Richmond Alternative School/ASPIRE, Tech Center Neighborhoods Served: Battery Park/Edgewood/Ginter Park, Carver/Jackson Ward, Gilpin Court, Highland Park, Randolph/Maymont/Byrd Park, Southern Barton Heights/Brookland Park Number of Family Liaisons: 6

“Sometimes they just do not have access to the information, so coming to their door, knocking, being able to come to their door to answer the individual, personal questions the flyers don’t always answer, is important,” said Brown.

They are providing information about the district’s reopening, with details about safety measures as well as registration details for preschool and kindergarten.

Brown says there was a period of time where families were hesitant about returning in person, but they are seeing a shift to more excitement for a new year.

“We have been in the pandemic for a year and a half, but people just appreciate that personal knock, face-to-face interaction. They are appreciative to have someone visiting, especially showing that we care about their children’s education,” she said.

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