Henrico’s Top Teachers – Laila Marshall

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."
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McEachin to host Henrico town hall meeting


U.S. Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-4th District) will host a town hall meeting Aug. 29 at the Eastern Government Center, 3820 Nine Mile Road in Henrico. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. McEachin will address issues raised by attendees and provide details about services available through his office. > Read more.

Nonprofit awards $38k in book scholarships


The KLM Scholarship Foundation awarded more than $38,000 in book scholarships to 36 students during its 2017 Book Scholarship Awards Ceremony at Linwood Holton Elementary School in Richmond Aug. 5. The students will attend 14 Virginia colleges in the fall. Each has excelled academically, maintaining a 3.0 GPA or better, while demonstrating strong community leadership qualities.

WWBT/NBC12 Raycom Media Vice President and General Manager Kym Grinnage was the guest speaker. > Read more.

Dave Peppler, pastor


Dave Peppler, pastor of Chamberlayne Baptist Church, remembers the epiphany he had on a cold afternoon in northern Ohio when God gave him a sense of direction, after he had been wondering what life had in store for him. It was then that he knew that he wanted to become a pastor and serve God.

Peppler, a Delaware native who grew up in Ohio, was ordained in Brownsboro, Ky. in 1998, but his education didn't end there. > Read more.

International goals


A group of youth soccer players – most from Henrico – and local soccer coaches spent a week in Kazakhstan this month as part of a VCU Center for Sport Leadership program.

The group's trip to Astana, Kazakhstan was made possible by a $700,000 grant awarded to CSL Executive Director Carrie LeCrom by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs through its Sports Diplomacy Division. > Read more.

Henrico promotional company changes name


Henrico-based brand merchandising company NewClients, Inc. has changed its name to Boost Promotional Branding.

The company is one of the nation's largest in the branded merchandise industry. Founded in 1981, its serves more than 5,000 clients – including many Fortune 500 companies – nationwide. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

August 2017
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Get in on the #RVARocks craze from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Tuckahoe Library. RVA Rocks is a fun way for families to be creative and get outside. Paint a rock, go to a local park and hide it. Search for other rocks and post on Facebook. Rocks, acrylic paint and paint brushes will be supplied. For details, call 501-1910 x4 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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