Henrico’s Top Teachers – Christine Guise

Encouraging middle-schoolers to become enthralled with English can be about as simple as teaching a family pet how to manage mutual funds.

But Christine Guise takes a simplistic approach to engaging her sixth-grade English students at John Rolfe Middle School.

“We read, we think about what we're reading, and then we write about what we're thinking," she said.

Many students lack true inspiration, she said, but reading can help provide that in spades.

“We talk about what connections they can make between the stories that they are reading and their own stories,” she said. “We all have stories to tell – you just have to know how to tell it and be brave enough to tell it.”

Guise, herself a product of Henrico’s public school system (with two years at a private high school mixed in), felt a calling to work with students who might need some extra support. The fit at Rolfe, whose student body includes some at-risk children, has been ideal during her five years there.

“The fewer people that students have in their lives to help them get turned in the right direction, the more difficult it is for them,” she said. “If I can be that person, then sometimes that's all they need. “

This year, as a way to help connect a love of reading and writing not only to her students but to their families as well, Guise has implemented a parent book club that meets monthly at the Varina Area Library to discuss some of the same books her students are reading.

“These students don’t just need the support of a teacher,” she said, “they need the support of a community. I started the book club so that the parents would be reading some of the same things their students would be reading, to help give them insight into how to talk to their kids.

“We've loved it – you never know which direction the conversation is going to go in.”

Guise has attempted to dispel the notion held by many students that books can only make them book-smart.

“Books make you street-smart,” she said. “If you can read about the mistakes that others make, for example, then you can avoid making them yourself.”

Several nominators praised Guise for her creativity and devotion to her students.

"She keeps in touch with her students long after they have left her," one wrote. "She is amazing and well loved by all of her students."

Guise makes it a point to keep in touch with former students for a simple reason.

“It’s the whole relationship thing,” she said. “It’s not enough for a child to be told that they are valued – they have to feel valued. When you turn anything – knowledge, relationships – into a long-term thing, that's when kids learn what is valuable.”

Because of Guise’s involvement and dedication in the classroom, “I feel that I can make the world a better place for everybody,” one of her students wrote in a nomination letter.

“Mrs. Guise is a rare jewel,” another nominator wrote. “She is dedicated to teaching, she cares greatly for the students and it shows she enjoys her job. She is committed to teaching the children and making sure they actually understand and can properly apply what they have learned. It's evident she surpasses a teacher going through the motions of completing her lesson plans.”
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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May 2017
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The 2017 Central Virginia Corks & Taps Festival will take place rain or shine from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Innsbrook Pavilion. This year’s event will showcase 10 wineries and seven craft breweries and cideries from around the Commonwealth, live music, food and beverage concessions, specialty-item and arts and crafts vendors and more. Proceeds will benefit the general scholarship and endowment funds for the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. For details and to purchase advance tickets, visit http://www.centralvirginiacorksandtaps.com. Full text

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