Welcome to the 2021-22 school year in Rio Rancho!

I am so excited about what is ahead for our RRPS community as we transition through, and hopefully out of, the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have worked hard over many months to ensure the right things are in place to re-open schools.

As we embark on a new year, it is wonderful to be fully open!

For those attending in-person, we are glad to see you back.

As I visited schools last week, it was great to see the excitement and smiles of students and staff.

Buildings have received a thorough cleaning, and the district installed advanced air filters to help with air circulation.

There are water-bottle filling stations, isolation rooms, temperature-check devices, hand-sanitation stations and many other safety precautions.

We commit to maintaining a strong effort to make schools as safe as possible.

Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent Sue Cleveland.

While most students selected in-person learning, RRPS continues to offer virtual options for families preferring their children to learn at home.

Last year, we began identifying teachers with strong skills in delivering online lessons and a passion for remote learning.

We recruited them for our new K-5 virtual school, the SpaRRk Academy. (The school’s mascot is a rocket!)

RRPS has provided a virtual option for grades 6-12 for 15 years. Rancho Cyber Academy offers two options.

The first is a blended model where students work from home most of the time but receive in-person tutoring and support at school. This model has produced great results.

RRCA also offers a completely remote option that began last year, with all support online.

Our goal is not to return to the pre-COVID world, but to focus on making things even better.

Many new opportunities and experiences await our students as we open more services, programs and school activities.

We would like to highlight one key change: We are pleased to welcome SFE as the new RRPS food-service provider.

SFE is committed to providing nutritious and tasty menus, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.

If there is any unseen benefit from the challenges RRPS faced last year, it is a renewed commitment to address the needs of the whole child.

This commitment includes delivering quality classroom instruction (with a focus on literacy), addressing the social and emotional needs of students and providing rich electives and extracurricular activities.

We have expanded the number of nurses, counselors and social workers to promote the well-being of students and their families.

The district has added a Student Support Center to provide extra help for middle and high school students.

We are continuing tutoring services and credit-recovery efforts that produced positive results last spring and summer.

The goal of identifying and eliminating barriers to student success is at the center of everything we do.

We are committed to achieving our mission of “Igniting Student Potential” for all students.

This community has a long history of supporting RRPS staff and students. Let us pull together to make this the best year possible for our kids.

Thank you, Rio Rancho! All of us at RRPS appreciate you!

(Sue Cleveland has been Superintendent of Rio Rancho Public Schools since the district’s inception in 1994.)