Henrico’s Top Teachers – Laila Marshall
Shady Grove E.S., exceptional education
Laila Marshall always has enjoyed the special satisfaction that comes from helping children with special needs. As a high school student, she worked with a group of them in a day care center adjacent to her school, furthering interaction with youngsters that began with babysitting experiences at age 11.
"I guess I've always enjoyed working with them and helping and watching them grow," she said.
So when she entered the teaching profession in 1997 in Florida, it was hardly a shock that she would end up in exceptional education. She moved to Central Virginia in 2004, taught for two years at Highland Springs High School, took a year off, and then moved to Shady Grove Elementary. There, she has served as the lead exceptional education teacher for the past five years.
In her role, she works with students in all grades except fourth in individualized and small group settings to hone social skills and core skills alike, so that they eventually can return to mainstream classes when possible.
"I work with students who have very high intelligence but need help communicating," she said. The key to reaching a child? Building a relationship with each one.
"With every behavior, there's a reason behind it," Marshall said. "If you can figure out the reason, you can change the behavior."
One of her students often panicked when he was greeted or asked a question by someone while walking in the hallway. He found himself uncomfortable and unable to communicate. So Marshall created a set of flashcards printed with several common phrases that he could carry with him and show when the situation occurred in the future.
The solution eased the student's fears and alleviated a major issue in his daily routine.
"They're individuals with personalities, also," she said of her students. "Sometimes people tend to not give them enough credit for what they can do. They're very capable – they're just like every other kid. They're kids first."
Marshall's efforts have paid significant dividends for many children.
"Mrs. Marshall has really fostered my son's self-esteem," one nominator wrote. "He has Aspergers and can be a perfectionist at times – so much so that it used to be if he thought he couldn't do something perfectly, he would not even attempt it. She got him to try things even if he couldn't do them perfectly. He learned that it's okay and that he doesn't have to feel bad about himself if something isn't perfect from the start.
Assisting children with special needs is a team effort, Marshall said, describing how the school's exceptional education teachers work collaboratively to address each situation.
"Maybe I'm observing from outside a situation and I can see things that someone inside can't," she said. "I ask the same thing of other teachers, too."
Watching, or hearing about, one of her students or former students succeed "makes any frustration worth it," Marshall said. "I just had a parent come talk to me about how successful her child is in middle school. Those are the types of things that make you keep going."
The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.
Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 09/15/2014
Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.
Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.
As part of its 30th anniversary year and partnership with the Children's Museum of Richmond, Commonwealth Parenting will present a six-part RVA Parents Forum Series to address some of the toughest issues confronting parents.
Parenting experts and family educators will tackle topics ranging from bullying to alcohol, sex to divorce, and technology and stress. Parents will learn how to identify potential problems.
"We're excited about bringing this much-needed forum series to parents in central Virginia. Through our valuable partnership with Commonwealth Parenting, we can have a deeper impact in the community through parent and caregiver education," said Karen Coltrane, president and CEO of the Children's Museum of Richmond. > Read more.
Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Inspirational football movie tries too hard for its own good
When the Game Stands Tall is based on a true story – an unbelievable true story that takes the word “inspiring” about as far as it can go.
It’s a film about Bob Ladouceur, coach of the De La Salle High Spartans, a California high school football team with 12 consecutive undefeated seasons (a staggering 151 games won in a row).
Along the way, Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel) faced the kind of hardship most football coaches (thankfully) can only imagine – suffering a near-fatal heart attack, the death of a star player, and rebuilding the team after that 151-game streak came to a humiliating end. > Read more.
Enjoy political comedy at its finest with The Capitol Steps at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Methodist and Baptist churches unite for the fourth annual Mission Footprint 5K, taking place at Trinity UMC. Or in honor of Grandparent’s Day on Sunday, treat them to A Grand Family Affair or maybe a movie – the 1978 film “Superman” is at the Henrico Theatre. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarOak Hall Baptist Church, 1877 Old Hanover Rd. in Sandston, will host a free community block party from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be children’s activities, a bounce… Full text