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Superintendent’s Message

It is hard to imagine that in less than two weeks one of the most unusual, trying and challenging school years that I have faced in my 30 years as an educator will come to an end. To say the 2020-2021 school year was abnormal would certainly be an understatement! This year was hard, demanding, arduous, strenuous and grueling at the very least. The unknown and everchanging during more than a year of dealing with COVID19 was frustrating and complicated at best.

As a source of therapy, I found reflection eased my stress and anxiety. Often, I think seriously about the last hour, last day, last week or last month in order to confirm that administrators are doing everything we can for the students, staff, parents and community members we serve. After much thought and deliberation with myself, I began to smile. I understand it is easy to focus on the negative or develop a very pessimistic attitude, especially when facing the adversity and turmoil of the last 14 months; but, on a particularly difficult day, I forced myself to remember the positives and what we have accomplished as a school community during this pandemic. And that more than anything is what I will remember most about this past year.

RCPS was one of the first school divisions in the Commonwealth to open in-person learning in a hybrid format. In order to do this, we had to meet all of the required mitigation and variance strategies required by the CDC, Virginia Health Department and Virginia Department of Education. Simultaneously, we developed a robust remote learning platform for our students and families who needed this option. Throughout the year, there were hiccups. We had to close, reopen, close and reopen. As soon as we began extra-curricular activities, we had to shut down a few or postpone other games, events or activities. Our entire school community provided us with the grace, patience, flexibility and willingness to change at the drop of the hat in order to ensure that the safety of our students and staff continued to be our top priority.

As we move closer to graduation on Friday, May 21st and the last day for all students on May 28, please know that the 2020-21 successes occurring in the middle of world-wide pandemic are due to the combined efforts of our wonderful students, a courageous and skilled staff, and an extremely caring community, all unified and
committed to doing what is right in the face of instability and disorder. I hope you, too, will reflect on the school year 2020-2021 and realize that you were part of something very, very special. Thank you all for everything you have done to make this year a great success! I am proud to be a part of such an outstanding school division and community! Go Bobcats!
Robert F. Graham