UR, VCU conference to examine educational equity in region
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education and the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies Graduate Education Program and Center for Leadership in Education will co-host a conference to discuss possibilities for advancing educational equity and excellence in Richmond area schools March 13-14. Meetings will be held in the VCU Sports Medicine Building at 1300 West Broad St. and UR Jepson Alumni Center at 101 College Rd. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at http://www.richmond.edu/movingforward.
The two-day conference “Looking Back, Moving Forward: Race, Class and School Boundaries in the Richmond Region,” will convene 20 national and local researchers, policymakers, educational practitioners, advocates, community members and students.
It will mark the 40th anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling — Bradley v. School Board of Richmond, Va. — that blocked the consolidation and desegregation of Richmond city, Henrico County and Chesterfield County schools, a decision that continues to affect regional educational opportunities.
“The decision meant lost opportunities for many thousands of students and their schools,” said invited speaker Gary Orfield, professor emeritus of education, law, political science and urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-director of the Civil Rights Project. “This conference can help us explore ways to increase opportunities for future generations of school children and support stable diverse communities.”
Conference organizers cite more than half a century of social science evidence that confirms the academic and social benefits for students of all races that come from carefully structured, diverse learning environments. Another extensive body of research indicates racially and economically isolated schools are linked to a variety of factors — including fewer highly qualified teachers, high rates of teacher turnover, inadequate curricula, excessive discipline and low graduation rates — that negatively impact educational outcomes.
“As the Richmond region grows more diverse, we need to think and talk about how to best educate all of our children for the changing and connected world they'll experience as adults,” said Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an assistant professor in the VCU School of Education Department of Educational Leadership.
“The conference will be a great opportunity for UR and VCU to collaborate on such an important topic: race, class and opportunities in school divisions of Greater Richmond,” said Thomas J. Shields, an assistant professor and director of the UR School of Professional and Continuing Studies Center for Leadership in Education.
The conference will focus on the scope and impact of Richmond area school segregation, with a goal of generating regional solutions for advancing high quality, diverse learning opportunities.
Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.
YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.
The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.
The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.
As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.
The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.
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