From RISC- Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities
Tonight, more than 1,200 citizens representing Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities (RISC) will pack the sanctuary at St. Paul’s Baptist Church. The largest interfaith public assembly in central Virginia will call for solutions in reading and child trauma response, which have been implemented successfully in other Virginia school districts.
The April 30 event will feature stories from students and parents, along with public requests of school officials to implement effective solutions. Richmond’s Superintendent Mr. Jason Kamras and Chesterfield’s Chief of Schools Dr. John Gordon and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Thomas Taylor have committed to attend and address the assembly.
16th Annual RISC Nehemiah Action Assembly
April 30, 2018, 7:00-8:30pm
St. Paul’s Baptist Church, 4247 Creighton Road, Richmond, VA, 23223
RISC leadership will be available for comment starting at 6:30pm.
Elementary Reading for Equity in Richmond
In Richmond Public Schools, 42% of students fail to read on grade level according to the Virginia School Quality Profiles. In February 2017, RPS and City of Richmond leaders approached RISC to work on a pilot of SRA Reading Mastery. The program promotes reading to grade level for children from disadvantaged backgrounds – with up to 58% gains in student reading over 2 years. Eight Richmond leaders have visited schools using SRA Reading Mastery to conduct research.
At the Nehemiah Action Assembly, RISC leaders will ask Richmond’s Superintendent to support and allocate resources for a pilot of SRA Reading Mastery in 2 schools, kindergarten through 2nd grade, as a core curriculum. An instructional specialist from Lancaster County, VA, which has implemented the program successfully, will also speak and share results.
RISC also continues to press Henrico County Public Schools to pilot the SRA Reading Mastery program in an elementary school unaccredited in reading. At this year’s Action, RISC members will recognize a growing group of supportive leaders in Eastern Henrico’s faith, service, and business communities determined to see all children reading to grade level.
Addressing Childhood Trauma & Suspensions
CCPS leaders have identified trauma-informed care training for staff as one promising fix for the problem of racial disparity in suspensions – as African-American students with disabilities are suspended four times as often as other student groups and CCPS had 4,300 suspensions overall last school year. However, current trauma-informed care training is voluntary and has not reached secondary schools with the highest suspension disparities.
At the Nehemiah Action Assembly, RISC leaders will ask CCPS representatives to provide an introductory training for all CCPS staff using the nationally-recognized ACE Interface Training, currently provided state-wide by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health, and to provide intensive support in schools with high suspension rates. RISC leaders believe that district-wide trauma response training for staff will also have a positive impact on the county’s increasing youth mental illness and suicide attempt rates.
Mrs. Brenita Younger, RISC Education Committee Co-Chair, (804) 489-1073
Mr. Steven Saltzberg, RISC Co-Vice President, (804) 306-5184
Please call or email the RISC Office to arrange an interview: (804) 476-0889, firstname.lastname@example.org