Henrico County VA
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Henrico’s Top Teachers – Theresa Kilmer

Tucker H.S., e2020 program
During any given school period, Theresa Kilmer might be teaching 18 or 19 different classes at the same time. It might be a bit much for others to track, but Kilmer seems to thrive on the constant activity.

Kilmer is J.R. Tucker High School's e2020 instructor, overseeing an online program that is designed to help students recover lost credits and get back on track to graduate on time.

Students arrive in her classroom just as they would for any other class, but once there, they each begin viewing different online lectures or taking quizzes or tests, based upon their individual needs and grade levels. The program has helped dozens of Tucker students pass courses they had previously failed – but not without a lot of hard work.

The format condenses an entire year's worth of material into an 18-week course, so students must be focused and diligent in order to succeed. That's where Kilmer comes in.

"This offers hope to kids who might not have had hope in the regular classroom," she said. "A lot of kids screw up in their freshman years. Then you're a year behind, you can't take driver's ed, and some of that puts them over the edge. This program gives them the opportunity to find success when they haven't been successful."

Students can pause or rewind lectures – but cannot fast forward them. They can take quizzes online, get immediate results and then retake them if necessary.

When students realize that they are in complete control of their future – and their ability to get back on track academically – they can regain motivation that may have otherwise been lost for good, Kilmer said.

"One particular student was able to catch up with five classes, which brought him up with his peer group for on-time graduation. With her experience with alternative education and being able to relate to her students, [Kilmer] impacts many," a nominator wrote. "This particular student shows great success because she is such a wonderful teacher. "

Often during the second semester, her classroom fills with seniors who need to make up courses in order to graduate in June.

"If they're not going to make it, they come in here and I make them make it," Kilmer said with a chuckle.

Her style isn't a complicated one.

"I get to know my kids," Kilmer said. "They come in sometimes for study hall. They know if they come in here that it's a working environment. It's relaxed. I e-mail them, text them – I'm their biggest cheerleader."

Though her background is in science (she went to college planning to become a veterinarian and later taught biology at Varina High School for a decade before spending eight years teaching math and science at New Bridge School), Kilmer has adapted to assisting students with a variety of subjects.

Eighty of her students from the first semester this year passed their courses, and 21 advanced one full grade level by doing so. More than 100 are taking courses through e2020 this semester. Kilmer offers incentives, such as nine-week completion luncheons, to keep them focused. She's even developed partnerships with businesses to help sponsor the events.

"They'll work for that," she said. "Little things like that keep them going."

Kilmer's dedication to her students is clear. One who would have graduated last year but who wasn't quite able to recoup enough credits in time wrote her a note at the end of the semester.

It read: "I will be back, and I will make you proud.”


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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