Henrico’s Top Teachers – Brian DelCorso
Lakeside E.S., third grade
Brian DelCorso's love of basketball helped lead him to two other great loves in his life – teaching and his students.
DelCorso served as a manager for the VCU basketball team while in college and parlayed some connections into an assistant coaching position with a Dutch professional team after grad school. The experience abroad didn't pay much but gave him an opportunity to live a dream and experience a new world.
As part of the job, he regularly assisted with basketball clinics in local schools to get children interested in the sport. Many of the students were fascinated by America and peppered him with questions. His own future began to crystallize.
"I would have never thought I'd have been working with kids before that experience," he said.
Energized by his time in Holland, DelCorso returned to the U.S. and earned his teacher's certification at the University of Richmond. When a third-grade teaching position opened at Lakeside Elementary School midway through the 2005-06 school year, he was hired. He's been in the same classroom ever since.
DelCorso, who was a finalist for an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011, mixes classroom exuberance and a booming voice with patience and understanding. Mostly, though, he tries to be himself.
"I learned that a long time ago from my coaches," he said. "Even elementary school kids, they can spot a fake. They know when you're not being yourself. It's kind of the way I'm wired, to have fun, to be energetic."
DelCorso particularly enjoys teaching third-graders because they are impressionable and anxious to learn – even if it can be difficult at times for him to see the learning process taking form.
"Sometimes you'll teach something and come to the realization that you must be doing it wrong" because students don't seem to grasp the concept, he said. "But that presents the chance to have a magical moment when they do get it."
DelCorso regularly tells his students that he loves them, well aware that many at Lakeside lack prominent or consistent father figures in their lives. Sometimes, students aren't sure what to make of the pronouncement, he said, because they equate the word with feelings reserved for boyfriends and girlfriends or mothers and fathers.
But two years ago, one student suddenly understood.
"You love us like you love your mama," the boy blurted out.
"Parents have told me, 'You are my child's male role model,'" DelCorso said. "That's a heavy thing to have on your shoulders." But it's something that he readily accepts and embraces. He begins each day with a "family" meeting in his classroom, during which he discusses a life lesson with his class and engages students in a discussion.
Proof of its effectiveness comes sporadically, such as when a student returns from recess to tell DelCorso that he invited a lonely classmate to participate in a game with others.
The learning process continues after school hours, too. Each year on the first weekend of winter break, DelCorso takes his students to the Freedom House in Richmond to make and distribute meals for the homeless.
"They may not realize it right now, but one of the things that keeps me energized is that some of the life lessons that I teach them, they're going to remember for the rest of their lives," he said. "Hopefully these are lessons that they will keep with them long after they've forgotten a lot of the content I teach."
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.
Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.
Henrico County Recreation and Parks is hosting a concert by The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band on Thursday, Oct. 15 at Henrico Theatre, 305 East Nine Mile Road in Highland Springs. This free concert will be held at 7 p.m. and will feature Soldier-Musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band.
Since its inception in 1981, The Volunteers has been telling the Army story through rock, pop, country, and patriotic music. Its members have performed for millions of listeners in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, and Iraq. This group tours more than 100 days each year, bringing a powerful message of patriotism and support to communities large and small. > Read more.
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CalendarHenrico County Public Schools’ Family and Educator Resource Center will sponsor a Bullying-Prevention Workshop Oct. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Godwin High School, 2101 Pump Road. Representatives… Full text