Richmond mayor says terminating school superintendent would be catastrophic for division

With two-thirds of all Richmond Public School students failing in history, science and writing, school board members are now holding an emergency meeting to fin
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 2:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With two-thirds of all Richmond Public School students failing in history, science and writing, school board members are now holding an emergency meeting to find a way forward.

“We’re going to address the organizational chart in a significant way, and I’m referring to personnel. We will make significant personnel changes,” said Jonathan Young, a Richmond City School Board member.

Young says those changes are meant to minimize the amount of micromanagement he says is happening in the division. SOL results for the division were devastating.

“The facts are what they are currently, and as a team, we must address together the needs of our students and staff. As a team, RPS will work together to pursue a plan of upward trajectory of student outcomes, positive culture and climate, and address teacher retention,” said Dr. Shonda Harris-Muhammed, School Board Chair.

School board members also say they expect significant policy changes to the curriculum.

“The new curriculum is fairly scripted, which doesn’t give teachers a lot of flexibility in terms of their approach to the unique needs in their classrooms,” said Kenya Gibson, Richmond City School Board.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said the SOL scores from the division are alarming.

But, he also says the school board should not consider terminating superintendent Jason Kamras as the solution.

“So when I hear about the potential of terminating our superintendent, a week out before the day the academic year starts, that could be catastrophic for our students,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, City of Richmond.

The superintendent is expected to present an overall view of the SOL scores during the meeting. He will also review data for expected high school graduation rates this year, and the board wants an update on teacher retention efforts.

“Teacher working conditions are one in the same as students learning conditions,” said RPS Teacher Beth Almore. “So we need to improve teacher working conditions and all workers’ situations in our schools.”

She hopes the collective bargaining process continues to progress no matter what happens.

Kamras declined a request to speak about the concerns.

The school board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at John Marshall High School.