Henrico’s Top Teachers – Judith Fitzpatrick

Judith Fitzpatrick is a 10-year, fourth-grade teaching veteran at Short Pump Elementary who has a unique teaching philosophy centered upon the individuality of each student. She works to have students discover what types of learners they are.

Fitzpatrick grew up in Washington state and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in sociology. Upon graduation she traveled with her military-based husband and taught in Washington, Berlin, Germany and Korea, but she stayed primarily focused on her family and raising her four sons.

“My different life experiences and different people I’ve met from living and teaching in different countries, and raising my children, has influenced my teaching style and what I wanted to do in the classroom,” said Fitzpatrick. “Something I really believe is it’s not what you teach, it’s who you teach, which is the individual.”

After taking a 19-year hiatus from teaching, she started working at Short Pump Elementary School and has been there ever since.

Fitzpatrick’s classroom lessons incorporate 21st century learning activities, critical thinking, problem-based learning, technology and her most favorite, outdoor experiences.

“All my students know their own learning style, so if they’re having trouble, they won’t think, ‘I’m dumb’ or ‘I can’t do it,’” she said. “Instead, they can pinpoint why they aren’t understanding it.

“Now they know themselves better and the type of learner and student they are. Our goal should be to help all kids be exposed to this so they know themselves and different ways to learn.”

Fitzpatrick combines her interest in cultures, science and nature to create a hands-on experience in the classroom that pushes her students to grow. In 2014, she was one of two recipients for the Conservation Education Teacher of the Year award for her dedication to instilling a sense of environmental stewardship in her students and the community.

“Mrs. Fitzpatrick is one of Henrico County’s top teachers because she encourages students to take challenges, and she will teach the students problem-based learning,” wrote one parent in a nomination letter. “Mrs. Fitzpatrick encouraged and motivated my daughter to do well in the school and also challenged her to do new projects, such as the pumpkin composting project.”

In September 2013, collaborative efforts between groups of passionate students from Fitzpatrick’s classroom led to the creation of The Stinger Trail, a nature and fitness trail on the school grounds that is accessible to all members of the community and encourages outdoor learning and community projects.
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Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27


The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair


Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Police to participate in ‘Tip a Cop’ Oct. 21


Henrico County Police Division and the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are participating in “Tip-A-Cop” to Support the Special Olympics Saturday, Oct. 21.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day at Red Robin, 11784 West Broad Street, members of the two agencies will be working for tips as a donation to the Special Olympics. > Read more.

Participants sought for ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’


The Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook, and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Richmond is seeking participants.

The event, one of three walks the association will hold in its service area this year (the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck walk was held Oct. 7 and the Fredericksburg walk Oct. 14) raises money to help the association fight the disease, which affects more than 26,000 people in the metro Richmond region. > Read more.

Fairfield meeting Oct. 25 to focus on cybersecurity


Henrico County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Wednesday, Oct. 25 to discuss cybersecurity.

Thornton also has invited candidates who will be seeking election to local offices on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to introduce themselves. > Read more.

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October 2017
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The University of Richmond’s 19th annual Trick or Treat Street will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Stern Plaza, located at the Quad in front of Jepson Hall. There will be a straw maze, bounce houses, train ride, face painting, petting zoo and a variety of activities, games and crafts. Carytown Burgers and Mix 98 will be on-site. Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House of Richmond; a $5 to $10 donation per family is requested. For details, visit http://www.facebook.com/TOTSUofR. Full text

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