Richmond Public Schools
Richmond Public Schools is a school district located in the independent city of Richmond, Virginia. It is occasionally described locally as Richmond City Public Schools to emphasize its connection to the independent city rather than the Richmond-Petersburg region at large or the rural Richmond County, Virginia which is located in the state's Northern Neck region considerably northeast of the city. The school district is currently governed by an elected school board, with one member from each of nine districts. The current superintendent is Jason Kamras.
|Richmond Public Schools|
|Schools||25 elementary schools, seven middle schools, five comprehensive high schools and three specialty schools|
|Students and staff|
- Barack Obama Elementary School (formerly J. E. B. Stuart Elementary School)
- Bellevue Elementary School
- Blackwell Elementary School
- Broad Rock Elementary School
- Fairfield Court Elementary School
- George Washington Carver Elementary School
- Ginter Park Elementary School
- John B. Cary Elementary School
- J. L. Francis Elementary School
- Linwood Holton Elementary School
- Mary Munford Elementary School
- Overby-Sheppard Elementary School
- E. D. Redd Elementary School
- G. H. Reid Elementary School
- Summer Hill Elementary School
- Swansboro Elementary School
- Westover Hills Elementary School
- William Fox Elementary School
- Binford Middle School
- Thomas C. Boushall Middle School
- Lucille M. Brown Middle School
- Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School
- Thomas H. Henderson Middle School
- Albert Hill Middle School
- Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School
Alternative high schools
Richmond did not have public schools during much of the 19th century, only private institutions funded by user fees or charities. From 1906 until 1962, the city of Richmond segregated its public schools by race, and schools serving African American Virginians received less funding and poorer facilities, which led in part to the U.S. Supreme Court's two decisions in Brown v. Board of Education in beginning in 1954. Defiance of those decisions by the Commonwealth of Virginia led to the Massive Resistance crisis in the state which lasted more than a decade. One of the people involved in eventual peaceful desegregation of Richmond's public schools was Elinor Parker Sheppard, who began her public involvement with the Parent-Teacher Association of her children's school in the Ginter Park neighborhood. In 1954, "Mrs. Sheppard" became the first woman elected to the Richmond City Council, and she became the city's first female mayor in 1962, and served in the Virginia General Assembly for a decade. The Richmond School Board acknowledged the crisis in part by naming an elementary school to honor her and one of the school district's first principals of African American descent, Overby-Sheppard Elementary School.
The Richmond School district partly resolved the Massive Resistance crisis in its jurisdiction by eliminating racial terminology from this school district's official reports in 1962. Another important person in resolving the crisis was Virginia native and Richmond lawyer Lewis F. Powell, Jr., who served as Chairman of the Richmond School Board from 1952 until 1961. Powell did not take any part in his law firm's representation of Prince Edward County, Virginia in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, which became one of the five cases decided under the caption Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. The Richmond School Board also lacked authority at the time to force integration, since beginning in 1958, the state government assumed control over attendance policies. Powell later became president of the American Bar Association and an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Academic struggles and improvements
In October 2009, the Richmond Times Dispatch printed an editorial entitled "Dropping In," briefly outlining a program meant to reduce the number of high school dropouts in Richmond's public school system. In this article it was revealed that Richmond's dropout rate was "hovering around 15 percent". It was also stated on the Richmond Public Schools' website that the four-year-cohort dropout rate was 14.8 percent for the 2005-2009 cohort, declined from its 16.2 percent rate for 2004-2008.
While the percentage is declining, dropout and late graduation rates are still an issue. In October 2009 in a News Release about Richmond Public Schools, it is stated that "the latest data for students in the 2005-2009 cohort indicate that nearly 69 percent (68.7) of Richmond's students graduated on time." This is an increase from the 2004-2008 cohort rate of 65.8 percent and it is well below the state average of 83.2 percent.
Dropout Prevention Initiative
While high dropout rates in the school system are a problem, positive action is being taken, as of 2009. On October 21, 2009, the superintendent of Richmond City Public Schools, Yvonne W. Brandon, unveiled a plan called "Dropout Prevention Initiative" (DPI). The objective of this program is to continue to decrease the school system's dropout rate.
There are a few objectives to the DPI. The first is to find high school dropouts and convince them to return to high school to graduate through mentoring programs, Individual Learning Plans (ILP), and partnerships with others in the community. These "others" include higher education institutions, elected officials, as well faith-based and community-based organizations. One of the most appealing aspects of the DPI is that it requires no additional funding and is solely a redistribution of resources.
There is a district-wide mentoring program as a part of DPI that encourages Richmond Public Schools employees and students to serve as mentors once the recovered students return to school. There are also mentors provided by the higher educational institutions and the faith- and community-based organizations with which the DPI has partnerships.
A unique aspect of this program is that recovery specialists within the DPI literally walk door-to-door to the homes of students who have dropped out to talk with them about and encourage the possibility of returning to school. Once the student does return to school, he/she will be assisted by the DPI Intake Counselors, who work with recovered students to help the student re-adjust to being in school. Upon his/her return, the student will also receive an ILP. The ILP is, as stated by the Richmond Public Schools website, "an online educational plan for students that helps pair students' career goals with academic and career and technical courses needed to accomplish their future interests".
The program also recognizes at-risk students and works on preventing student dropouts, rather than only trying to reverse it. Richmond Public Schools have implemented "Extensive Mandatory Professional Development" for staff on how to effectively identify and help at-risk students. There is also a new "Get In – Stay in" media campaign on the radio and television to help encourage attendance among students.
- Two of Richmond's public school facilities are physically located slightly outside the corporate limits of the independent city in the East End. They are Armstrong High School located in the former Kennedy High School complex, and Fairfield Court Elementary School. Each is located in a small portion of Henrico County adjacent to Interstate 64 which was isolated geographically from the rest of the county when the Interstate highway was built in the 1960s.
- "Virginia School Drops Confederate General's Name in Favor of Obama's". Retrieved 2018-06-19.
- Dropping In. (2009, October 23). Richmond Times Dispatch , pp. A-10.
- Richmond Public Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2010, from http://richmond.k12.va.us: http://www.richmond.k12.va.us/indexnew/sub/DPI/fastFacts.cfm
- Brandon, D. Y. (2009, October 20). NR26_OnTimeGraduation_10202009.pdf. Retrieved February 19, 2010, from http://www.richmond.k12.va.us: http://www.richmond.k12.va.us/pdfs/NR/NR26_OnTimeGraduation_10202009.pdf
- Slayton, J. (2009, October 22). Richmond targets school dropouts; Superintendent unveils plan to get students back into their classes. Richmond Times Dispatch , pp. B-02.
- Richmond Public Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2010, from http://richmond.k12.va.us: http://www.richmond.k12.va.us/indexnew/sub/DPI/index.cfm
- Gabay, Barry (2015-10-16). "SOCIOECONOMIC INTEGRATION AND THE GREATER RICHMOND SCHOOL DISTRICT: THE FEASIBILITY OF INTERDISTRICT CONSOLIDATION" (PDF). University of Richmond Law Review. 51: 397–438.