Henrico County VA

Top Teachers: Stephen Worfolk

Jackson Davis E.S., third grade
Stephen Worfolk happened upon his career calling on a basketball court, while coaching a team at St. Mary’s Church.

“Even though we lost a lot of games my first year, I truly enjoyed teaching the kids how to play,” he said. “It was then I realized I would like to try my hand at teaching.”

Although he now “coaches” a classroom full of third-graders at Jackson Davis E.S., the challenges are similar in some respects.

“A large group of students come to you each year on different levels academically, emotionally and physically,” he said.  “Trying to meet each student’s needs and creating a classroom environment where each can grow can be very challenging.”

Sometimes the students, like his basketball players, need physical help and encouragement. In September, for instance, when training begins for the mile or half-mile running test in P.E., many can barely run a lap around the track. But Worfolk makes sure that the students exercise each day and run a mile at least three times a week.

Worfolk notes that one of his favorite days of the school year is the spring running test, when students who ran with difficulty in September find they can now go the distance without stopping. “It’s incredibly rewarding,” said Worfolk. “It is so neat to see students get excited about conquering a challenge they might have hated in the beginning of the year.”

A parent who observed this transformation comments, “Some kids never have – and may never again have – the opportunity or the encouragement that he provides. The physical progress for many of the kids is very inspirational.”

Parents also admire Worfolk’s “relentless” energy and concern for his students, and note that while strict, “he has a huge heart.”

To his students’ delight, he makes a point of attending their extracurricular activities and sports throughout the year. And to the delight of parents, he compiles an end-of-year show featuring photos from extracurricular events as well as from in-school activities.

Worfolk’s interest in the children as individuals, say parents, has a tremendous effect on students’ motivation and enthusiasm when it comes to school.

When it comes to enthusiasm for his students and for his colleagues, it’s hard to match Worfolk, as well.

One of his more rewarding teaching experiences involved a student who came into his class reading far below grade level.

Worfolk said the student was “incredibly hard-working,” but required help from many teachers beside himself due to being so far behind.

“I was proud to be a part,” he said, “of this amazing group of teachers . . . who helped this student with her reading to the point where she could read proudly to the rest of the class.” 
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HandsOn Day set for Oct. 17

HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.

Online tool helps identify best native plants for pollinators

Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.

Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.

The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band to perform Oct. 15

Henrico County Recreation and Parks is hosting a concert by The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band on Thursday, Oct. 15 at Henrico Theatre, 305 East Nine Mile Road in Highland Springs. This free concert will be held at 7 p.m. and will feature Soldier-Musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band.

Since its inception in 1981, The Volunteers has been telling the Army story through rock, pop, country, and patriotic music. Its members have performed for millions of listeners in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, and Iraq. This group tours more than 100 days each year, bringing a powerful message of patriotism and support to communities large and small. > Read more.


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Henrico's Top Teachers

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