RPS teachers and principals prepare for return of students Monday

At J.L. Francis Elementary on Richmond’s southside, teachers and staff are preparing for the return of about 550 students next week.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 3:14 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At J.L. Francis Elementary on Richmond’s southside, teachers and staff are preparing to return about 550 students next week.

“We’ve been working hard setting up our physical space all week, and we’re really excited about being able to be back in the classroom in small groups so we can do collaborative learning,” said Shannon Nguyen, J.L. Francis Elementary Teacher.

This year, masks are still required, but no more COVID-19 space restrictions inside city public schools. 3,000 teachers and staff returned this week, with about 22,000 students expected back on Monday.

“Our kids came in after 18 months of not being in our care for a pandemic. We had lots of concerns about COVID restrictions, and then there was lots of learning loss. But we came in. We were determined that every kid would grow, and guess what, they did,” said Kecia Ryan, J.L. Francis Elementary Principal.

While SOL scores district-wide are in the tank, J.L. Francis’s students have seen dramatic growth in reading and math.

The principal says they saw a 56% growth rate in reading and 75% in math.

“That’s the number of kids who after 18 months actually made 400 or better. But then when you look at our kids who grew from like you had a 225 to a 395, you didn’t make that 400 but look at how many points that kid grew over the school year,” said Ryan.

Principal Ryan says they are still celebrating that growth and hope to see it continue this academic year.

They want reading and math proficiency rates to come up.

They stand at 43% and 46% proficiencies for the school, respectively.

This year, J.L. Francis’s new motto is “Soaring into our Greatness.”

“My focus is not always academics first. It’s more about social and emotional learning. Making sure they’re ready, and then the academics normally fall right into place,” said Nguyen.

Meanwhile, superintendent Jason Kamras confirmed that RPS would have a licensed teacher or long-term sub in every classroom on day one.