RICHMOND, Va. – Less than one week after being sworn in as the new superintendent of Richmond Public Schools, Jason Kamras presented his 100-day plan to the Richmond School Board, focusing on the three core education principles: engagement, equity, and excellence.
“I believe that all children deserve to be loved and nurtured, to have their unique identities affirmed and celebrated, and to be engaged in rich and rigorous learning every single day. We must all commit to work together to ensure our students receive the education they deserve so they can pursue their greatest aspirations,” said Superintendent Kamras. “I am honored to be entrusted with the extraordinary responsibility of leading Richmond Public Schools and ask you to join me in this important work.”
During his first three months on the job, Kamras will focus on engaging families and the community by listening to and learning from them.
Kamras will hold meetings with students, staff, and school board members. He also announced he will hold neighborhood town hall meetings in all nine districts, citywide town halls, and intimate meetings with families throughout the city.
To ensure proper representation for all parties, Kamras said he will also create advisory cabinets to represent students, parents, teachers, and principals.
Also, among his top priorities is meeting with city leaders along with the Virginia Assembly delegation.
The 43-year-old educator's resume includes more than 20 years in education, first as a middle school math teacher and most recently as Transitional Chief of the Office of Equity for Washington, D.C. Public Schools.
The Princeton and Harvard graduate created and implemented programs for D.C. schools to recruit, develop, and retain teachers.
Kamras said his second major focus is equity, to ensure that all Richmond Public Schools students realize their capacity for greatness:
- Work with an external partner to conduct an “equity audit” of all RPS functions. The plan will ensure that all RPS high school students are offered at least four Advanced Placement (AP) courses,
- Establish a task force to make recommendations on embedding restorative justice practices as well as teacher development on trauma-informed care practices
- Emphasize recruitment of excellent teachers committed to serving in the division’s highest poverty schools.
The third and final phase of Kamras’ plan is excellence, not only for the students, but the educators as well. He emphasized that educators must strive for excellence in every aspect of their work.
During his first 100 days, Kamras has committed to:
- Launch a strategic planning process for a new 5-year vision for Richmond Public Schools.
- Establish a philanthropic effort to support the new strategic plan.
- Building on work with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to chart the path to 100% accreditation by 2023.
Last week, Kamras promised to achieve accreditation for all Richmond schools within five years. According to the Virginia Department of Education, the City of Richmond has 19 fully-accredited schools, six partially-accredited schools, and 19 schools that were denied accreditation.
- Establish a task force that will focus on ensuring that all schools are fully-staffed for the 2018-2019 school year.
- Provide all new RPS managers with training, and launching recognition initiatives centered around highlighting excellence in RPS schools and offices.
School Board Chair Dawn Page said she believes the plan is an “excellent start” and she hopes it will lead to immediate impacts over the next 100 days.
“The key to building the school district that we all want is to engage the community while striving for excellence and ensuring equity for students,” said Page. “As a native Richmonder and a graduate of RPS, I feel confident that this plan represents a great first step in the work we need to do together on behalf of our schools.”
At the conclusion on the 100 days, the school board is expected to submit a report on the status of Kamras’ commitments.