RPS Superintendent's Update
August 26, 2022
Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year
Dear RPS Community,
I hope this message finds you and your family well rested and rejuvenated as we close out a fun filled, relaxing summer and get ready for a new school year. This is my 46th year heading back to school (starting with kindergarten), 29th as an educator. For students and educators alike, each year comes with a healthy balance of anticipation, excitement, and nerves. A new school year also brings hope and possibilities for new and renewed relationships, impactful learning experiences, and a sense of belonging, positive growth and achievement for all students. I am proud to tell you that the District Leadership Team and countless RPS staff members have been hard at work throughout the summer to ensure that all of our learning community members will have a successful start to their school year.
I would also like to recognize our custodial and maintenance staff who have been hard at work all summer preparing our buildings and grounds for the upcoming school year. This team is small in numbers, but strong in skill and dedication.
I cannot wait until next Wednesday, August 31st, when our schools will once again be filled with the youthful energy of our students and the instructional expertise of our educators. I look forward to visiting classrooms and seeing teaching and learning in action. I also look forward to listening, observing, and learning as much as I can, as thoroughly as possible, about our school district in an effort to best serve our students by providing them with an educational environment that reflects the world they live in and prepares them for the world that lies ahead.
Superintendent’s Entry Plan
As I begin my first year as your Superintendent, my work will be guided by an entry plan that is intended to provide an inclusive framework for me to collaborate with school and community stakeholders to identify areas of strength as well as areas in need of improvement in an effort to develop a new Strategy for District Improvement that will guide our work and help us define and reach our long-term goals. I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders and aim to remain positive, adaptive, and focused on providing the best educational environment possible for our students. It is my hope that we will work together in the best interest of all of our students and provide them with the highest quality education possible so that they will be prepared to make a positive impact on their community and world.
Here is a link to my RPS Superintendent's Entry Plan.
This year, the leadership team and I will be developing a communication plan that will outline the procedures and tools that will be used to support our efforts to communicate transparently and consistently with all RPS stakeholders. The first action taken has been for each school and central office to use the smore platform for all of our newsletters/updates. Each school will send out a weekly update to families and I will send out a monthly update. I encourage you to follow me on Twitter @Mark_Branco as I will be communicating in this manner as well. Be on the lookout for additional updates as we continue to work on our communication efforts and plan.
While COVID-19 is still impacting our world, it is important to note that, as Commissioner Riley recently stated, “with COVID-19 vaccines readily available, treatments accessible to those at higher risk for severe disease, and widespread availability of self-tests, DESE and DPH have continued to evolve our support for schools in collaboration with the medical community and in line with the most recent CDC guidance…The Commonwealth is not recommending universal masking requirements, surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing, or test-to-stay testing in schools. Districts and schools are reminded that there is no longer any statewide masking mandate in schools (other than school health offices) and there is no testing requirement for schools.” We will continue to focus on cleaning procedures, ventilation systems, and air purification as necessary. As Commissioner Riley also stated, “school nurses have an important role in monitoring and supporting the health and safety of students and school staff and supporting safe in-person learning.” The leadership team will continue to work closely with our school nurses to ensure that all members of our learning community are safe and cared for.
Commissioner Riley also stated that “it is important to note that vaccines continue to be the best way to protect individuals against the effects of COVID-19…In addition to recommending the COVID-19 vaccine, it continues to be essential that the educational and public health communities, as well as cities and towns, work together to ensure that as many children and adults as possible receive flu vaccines. This will reduce the number of students and staff who need to stay home due to illness.”
Students and staff should follow the updated (8/15/22) isolation and exposure guidance issued by DPH, in alignment with recently issued guidance from CDC.