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.”
The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.
Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.
The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.
Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.
The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.
Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.
But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.
That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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