Henrico’s Top Teachers – Theresa Kilmer

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.”
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Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.

McAuliffe vetoes 6 more bills; GOP calls him ‘disengaged’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed six bills, including three Republicans said would help prevent voter fraud but the Democratic governor said would create barriers to voting.

McAuliffe has now vetoed 37 bills from the General Assembly’s 2017 session – and 108 during his four-year term as governor, surpassing any of his predecessors.

Republican legislative leaders say McAuliffe has broken his promise to be bipartisan, calling his office “the most disengaged administration we have ever worked with.” > Read more.
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Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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Innsbrook will host its 8th annual St. Paddy’s Palooza from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be live music all day long, as well as Celtic dancers, the Henrico Federal Credit Union hot air balloon, and a Kids Zone with face painting, climbing wall, petting zoo, pony rides and more. Festive green beverages – for adults and kids – are available, as well as many food options. And, as always, the main attraction – watch volunteers have their heads shaved to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that supports finding cures for childhood cancer. For details, visit http://www.innsbrook.com. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/richmond. Full text

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