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UR, VCU conference to examine educational equity in region

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education and the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies Graduate Education Program and Center for Leadership in Education will co-host a conference to discuss possibilities for advancing educational equity and excellence in Richmond area schools March 13-14. Meetings will be held in the VCU Sports Medicine Building at 1300 West Broad St. and UR Jepson Alumni Center at 101 College Rd. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at http://www.richmond.edu/movingforward.

The two-day conference “Looking Back, Moving Forward: Race, Class and School Boundaries in the Richmond Region,” will convene 20 national and local researchers, policymakers, educational practitioners, advocates, community members and students.

It will mark the 40th anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling — Bradley v. School Board of Richmond, Va. — that blocked the consolidation and desegregation of Richmond city, Henrico County and Chesterfield County schools, a decision that continues to affect regional educational opportunities.

“The decision meant lost opportunities for many thousands of students and their schools,” said invited speaker Gary Orfield, professor emeritus of education, law, political science and urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-director of the Civil Rights Project. “This conference can help us explore ways to increase opportunities for future generations of school children and support stable diverse communities.”

Conference organizers cite more than half a century of social science evidence that confirms the academic and social benefits for students of all races that come from carefully structured, diverse learning environments. Another extensive body of research indicates racially and economically isolated schools are linked to a variety of factors — including fewer highly qualified teachers, high rates of teacher turnover, inadequate curricula, excessive discipline and low graduation rates — that negatively impact educational outcomes.

“As the Richmond region grows more diverse, we need to think and talk about how to best educate all of our children for the changing and connected world they'll experience as adults,” said Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an assistant professor in the VCU School of Education Department of Educational Leadership.

“The conference will be a great opportunity for UR and VCU to collaborate on such an important topic: race, class and opportunities in school divisions of Greater Richmond,” said Thomas J. Shields, an assistant professor and director of the UR School of Professional and Continuing Studies Center for Leadership in Education.

The conference will focus on the scope and impact of Richmond area school segregation, with a goal of generating regional solutions for advancing high quality, diverse learning opportunities.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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Opportunity Toastmasters will meet from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Shoney’s Restaurant, 7101 Staples Mill Rd. Meetings are held the first and third Mondays of each month. For details,… Full text

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