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RFM Shout-Out Entries

Richmond County Elem. School P.O. Box 213, Warsaw, VA 22572

We have a wonderful group of Children known as the Dragon Singers who perform the very best songs that are out there. Under the great leadership and direction of Mr. Washington who is the music teacher in our school. The group practices twice a week and performs various concerts for parents through the school year. They also showcase their talent each year at Kings Dominion. The beautiful thing about the program is that any 4th or 5th grader can join. He rejects no one. Everyone has the ability is his motto. The children work very hard and in listening to them, their efforts pay off. They sound beautiful and I am honored to say that my child is a part of the program. Mr. Washington deserves kudos and rightfully so.


Harrowgate Elementary 15501 Harrowgate Road Chester, VA 23831

Harrowgate Elementary School started a fun and unique program called the Word Wall Ball last year. Every child in Kindergarten earns a bead to build a necklace. Each bead signifies that they have learned a word wall word and can use it in a sentence or recognize it on a flashcard. When the necklace is complete and all of the word wall words are learned they receive a gold bead. At the end of the year they hold a ball for the children who have learned all their words. There are 31 words and the children work hard to accomplish this and wear their necklaces proudly. At the ball they have partners and actually perform a waltz for the parents. Last year was the first year for the Ball and it was a huge success. The children Waltzed and did the Macarena. The children dress in their finest gowns and suits and the staff at school makes sure that each and every child has something to wear. The children smile from ear to ear as they walk in and are announced and cross the Word Wall bridge where the King and Queen congratulate them on a job well done. This program builds so much confidence in the children and gives them a goal to work towards all year. The word wall ball is certainly an education success.


St. Christopher’s School, 711 St. Christopher’s Road, Richmond, VA 23226

Battle of the Books (BOB) is a reading and quiz competition for 3rd – 5th graders at St. Christopher’s School. Now in its 5th year, the program is immensely popular. In 2010/2011, 75% of the boys participated in the competition, which begins in October and ends in March. What’s this you say? Boys, wildly enthusiastic to read? Makes me wanna shout about it! Boys are organized into teams of ten, selected from across the three grade levels. Each team has a faculty coach, team T-shirt, and, of course, team name (example: the Macho Men of Books). The booklist consists of nineteen titles, representing a wide genre of subjects. Each boy is required to read at least three books, but most read many more. From October through March, the teams meet periodically to plot strategy, practice quiz questions, and bond with one another. The sense of community fostered by BOB is one of its most rewarding aspects. Students have the opportunity to interact with boys from other grade levels, and also to interact with teachers in expanded roles of coaches and mentors. Student enthusiasm for BOB is such that readers of all abilities participate in the competition. Even reluctant readers get into the spirit of the program and read books they normally wouldn’t. In fact, the reading lists are structured so all levels of readers will be exposed to new kinds of books. With its emphasis on reading and unique community-building spirit, BOB is an educational success worth shouting about!


Swift Creek Elementary School 13800 Genito Road, Midlothian, VA 23112

Principal, teachers, office staff, custodial staff – EVERYONE at this school is committed to the education and overall experience of the children who attend on a daily basis. From words of congratulations to concerns over an illness, the principal will pick up the phone and give parents a call. He knows EVERY student on a first name basis. Third graders worried about first time Sols? They have turned it into a school performance and museum to defuse nerves while reviewing necessary information. Fitness? Gym class and after school running programs with incentives keep the kids moving and having a great time! Clubs and enrichment programs? More than any one child could hope for and flexibility of before and after school times for the parents! Wonderful websites and email communications to keep parents in the know of all things happening in the classrooms! Fall, Winter, and Spring events to bring the children together for social experiences like the Costume Ball and Winter Carnival! Giving back to the community? In abundance! From their earthquake/tsunami fundraiser to their contributions to the Food Bank, the children understand the value of community and charity. There isn’t just one thing that makes SCES the very best, it is truly everything. My child has never had a day where he wasn’t excited to get up and go to school!


CE Curtis Elementary School 3600 W. Hundred Road Chester, VA 23831

We have an awesome group of 3rd and 4th grade students called the Curtis Conservationists who are making our school a green school! These students stayed after-school completing waste and energy audits to determine where our school could improve. They were amazed that most of our school’s waste was recyclable paper. We instituted a school wide paper-recycling program by providing each room in the building (including offices) with a recycling box. The students labeled each box with what was acceptable and what was not. The boxes were color coded to match the room’s pick up day. Each morning on the announcements the recycling color is announced so those rooms know to put out their recycling. The Curtis Conservationists pick up the recycling, check it for any contaminants, weigh it, and place it in the recycling bin outside. Did I mention this is all done during their recess time everyday? Pretty amazing for a group of 8-9 year olds. Our group collects between 20-70 pounds of recycling a week. That’s an average of 150 pounds a week of recyclable waste that was once going to the landfill! The entire school community has gotten behind our efforts and the results have been extraordinary.


Elmont Elementary School – Glen Allen, VA 23059

Elmont Elementary School is special for many reasons. However, one of the main reasons we love it so much is the Learning Garden we have. Mrs. Marchetti, the art teacher, has designed a beautiful garden that sits between 2 hallways of our open campus school. She planned it out on paper, but the entire school community has brought the project to fruition by coming to Elmont on Saturdays over the last 3 years to plant and tend the garden. A number of families and businesses have donated all of the materials and the kids and parents weed and freshen up the garden regularly. During the school day, classes have lessons in the garden and each grade has an area that is considered theirs to maintain. Students have been selected to design additional areas as well. There is a beautiful path of mosaic stepping stones created by each child in their kindergarten year. Perhaps one of the most special things about the garden is the areas which have been planted in memory of deceased members of our Elmont family. A tree will be planted this Spring in memory of Shyann Shane, a student of ours who recently died of cancer. The garden has brought beauty and fellowship to our small community in Hanover County. It is beautiful, enables us to have hands on learning, and has involved many parents in addition to our students and faculty.


St. Catherine’s School, 6001 Grove Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226

The girls have make St. Catherine’s special, hands down! They way the students and alumni joined together, from every corner of the globe, to show their love and support for Taylor Anderson after the tragic events in Japan, showed me, as a parent who didn’t attend the school, the girls are sisters forever. The bond St. Catherine’s girls share, regardless of in which grade they begin how many years they attend, is based around the school’s motto: “What we keep we lose, but what we give remains our own.” Friendships come and go, but sisterhood lasts a lifetime. – Courtney Jordan A real-life big sister for 34 years & Mom to a 2nd grader at St. Catherine’s.


Skipwith Elementary School, 2401 Skipwith Road, Henrico, VA 23294

Here at Skipwith Elementary, diversity makes our school special. A major highlight of the year is ourannual International Night organized by the PTA. This event is free of charge to encourage all in our community to attend. Our own Skipwith families share their culture through displays, traditional dress, on-stage entertainment and native foods. Displays from over 15 countries educate students, and the families who prepared them proudly stand by to answer their questions. Students are motivated to visit them all to have their “PASSPORT” stamped at each and earn a special prize. Live performances from students spellbind the audience and provide more insight into different cultures. On-stage entertainment in the past has included Greek, Native American and Indian dancing, a slideshow from a visit to Ethiopia, a martial arts demonstration, and a Bulgarian song. Families prepare and donate native foods allowing students and their families to taste and appreciate new foods and flavors. By experiencing our individual cultures, we have learned to appreciate our differences and have grown closer as a community…a great life lesson! We would love to have the Diggity Dudes perform at Skipwith and appreciate our diversity, too! Thank you for considering our school!


Pinchbeck Elementary School, 1225 Gaskins Road, Henrico, VA 23238

Like many parents of Henrico County Fourth Graders, I received a permission slip this year and grudgingly signed it knowing my son’s participation would ultimately end with me attending a concert, listening to squeaky recorders. Despite a few recorder mishaps earlier in the week, I realized there was little hope that I was getting out of this one. Friends and family expressed their sympathies. I resolved to make it through the evening and be proud of my son. However, the Pinchbeck Fourth Grade Recorder Concert was not what I expected (although there were still some squeaky recorders). Through the passionate teachers at Pinchbeck, the Recorder Concert was transformed into the game show “Name That Tune” – complete with teacher host (in full tux), three enthusiastic teacher contestants, a score board and applause signs for the audience. Fourth Graders provided introductive “hints” about the tunes relaying interesting information about the upcoming tune. There was even an “old favorite” remixed with a hip-hop beat and set up with some dance moves. The Fourth Graders danced, bopped, sang and, yes, played their recorders with smiles on their faces. And, although hard to believe at a Recorder Concert, the audience was smiling too. I sat there, at Pinchbeck’s Fourth Grade Recorder Concert, and choked back a tear, not because of an impending headache (as I had thought would be the case), but from being touched by the amazing creativity, thought and energy that went into planning the concert.


Pinchbeck Elementary School, 1225 Gaskins Road, Henrico, VA 23238

PInchbeck offers a unique opportunity for students to receive one-on-one help with their homework in a program called Homework Helpers. Parents, teachers and the administration have partnered together to offer tutoring services on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to fourth and fifth grade students who have been identified as needing assistance. In short, those students get the opportunity to interact one-on-one with a parent in order to complete their homework assignments for the day. Sometimes, it is all about the assignment. Sometimes, it is about quizzing the child while the material is still fresh in their minds. Oftentimes, it is about simply engaging that student, talking with them, learning their interests and making the light shine on them for an hour. This is just one of the many program where parents and teachers work together to benefit the children. Pinchbeck is an amazing school that always puts students first. I feel fortunate that our daughters have had the relationships and good role modeling that they have received there.


Linwood Holton Elementary 1600 West Laburnum Road, Richmond, VA 23227

Holton is an amazing school; everyone from the Principal Mr. David Hudson, the teachers and the staff is fantastic. They know the names of the children and their parents and the PTA at the school well I don’t know if there is one word that can describe the level of the parental involvement at Holton. My husband and I were hesitant to enroll our daughter in a city of Richmond PUBLIC school (gasp) we had heard horror stories about the schools in the city. From our first visit to the school, we took a tour of the school, which was conducted by the Principal and sat in on the VPI and K classes; we loved the atmosphere and the dedication of the teachers. We are so glad that we live in this area, the school playground is open to the community and community events are frequently held at the school. The PTA at the school is responsible for the after school enrichment programs which allow the students to take a number of classes – pottery, baseball, tennis etc (9 weeks is the duration) for about $20 – $40. When an email for parent volunteers goes out, we generally have more volunteers than we need. I think winning this would be an awesome way to say thank you to the Holton staff, teachers, parents and students. I really could go on and on about our school HOLTON ROCKS!


Pinchbeck Elementary School 1225 Gaskins Rd., Richmond, VA 23238

Rays Reaching Out to others in our School, our Community, our Nation and our World! Pinchbeck Elementary School is a kind, caring, generous community. We believe that showing compassion towards others has a role in our children’s education. With this in mind, the PTA & SCA joined efforts to create Rays Reaching Out, which provides opportunities for our school community to reach out to others through voluntary participation in various service projects. A listing of service projects is distributed at the beginning of the school year. This enables our families to decide which project(s) they would like support. This year families donated school supplies to Laburnum Elementary students, coins to the African Well Fund, canned food to the Henrico Christmas Mother, healthy snacks to Mrs. Clayton’s Cupboard (Pinchbeck), books to Books On Wheels, stuffed animals to the VDA Mission of Mercy, and shoes to Walk in My Shoes. We also supported service men and women & children in war-torn areas through participation in AdoptaPlatoon & Operation Crayon, participated in the St. Jude’s Math-a-Thon, and donated to relief efforts for the earthquake victims of Japan. The Rays Reaching Out Club was formed this year in order to give students an active role in Rays Reaching Out. 52 students in Grades 3 – 5 meet after school on a monthly basis to prepare for upcoming service projects. Club members write their own morning announcements, create and distribute posters, and tally donations. We are extremely proud of these students and our Pinchbeck community!


Gayton Elementary School, 12481 Church Road, Henrico, VA 23233

Gayton Elementary School is a very special school. The teachers are fantastic and so enthusiastic. I am especially impressed with their “After School Enrichment Program”. These classes are offered in the fall and again in the spring. They are usually 5-week sessions. My daughter has taken “Fun Foods” and “Fun and Games”. In the “Fun Foods” class, the children were shown how to take ordinary foods and make creative designs and shapes out of them. Of course, the kids really enjoyed eating their creations, some of which included fruits and veggies. In the “Fun and Games” class, the physical education teacher led the groups of children in various stations that involved physical activity. One of these was to use your imagination and make a design out of swimming pool noodles. My daughter and her partner made a pair of pants with a belt and belt buckle. The kids got some exercise while they had lots of fun. Some of the other classes offered were martial arts, running club, science lab, and drawing. These classes were so much fun that my daughter didn’t even know she was learning. The teachers put so much effort into making these classes a success. We can’t wait to see what will be offered next year!


Shady Grove Elementary 12200 Wyndham Lake Dr., Glen Allen, VA 23060

Shady Grove Elementary School 4th grade teachers as well as the music and art teachers wrote anenthusiastic and entertaining historical play covering 400 years of Virginia history from the beginning to the present. It took several weeks and endless efforts by all to create and perform this one hour costumed production. Each year it is a favorite of 4th grade students who speak, sing and dance to bring history to life. As 5th graders these students are invited to see the next year of 4th graders perform and review the 400-year history lesson again. Eight dedicated teachers who took the initiative to make learning fun made all this possible!


Shady Grove Elementary 12200 Wyndham Lake Dr., Glen Allen, VA 23060

New Student Mentor Program. Ever been the new kid to a school? It can certainly be intimidating. This valuable program was designed to ease the transition for the new student to Shady Grove Elementary School. Existing students are asked to be New Student Mentors. These students go through a training program for guidance in welcoming and befriending incoming students for the entire year. The year starts with school counselors having picnics with new students to make them feel comfortable. The student mentors enthusiastically welcome, befriend and guide the students through the school and the day’s activities. The first day a warm welcome card is placed on the student’s desk. Establishing friendships with classmates, finding their way to the correct bus in the afternoon, and identifying where to bring lunch money are a few of the wonderful jobs of the student mentors. Thanks to the efforts of many teachers and students the incoming students feel welcomed in their new learning environment.


Shady Grove Elementary 12200 Wyndham Lake Dr., Glen Allen, VA 23060

Destination Imagination Parent managed, student volunteer teams of students at Shady Grove Elementary School compete in challenges designed to stimulate creativity and resourcefulness. The current team of 3rd and 4th graders was challenged with solving a technical infrastructure problem in delivering materials up and down six stories of a building. This group was able to come up with an idea, make equipment, create backdrops and props, and write plays demonstrating their understanding and solutions to the problem. This annual challenge is designed to build self-confidence and teamwork. The current group has won regional and state level competitions and is headed to global finals in Tennessee.


Swift Creek Elementary School, 13800 Genito Road, Midlothian, VA 23112

What makes Swift Creek Elementary PTA so great? Our volunteers! This year over 200 volunteers donated more than 4000 hours to help with programs and school activities. Our students reach out to the community! Kindergartners will collect blankets to be donated to local animal shelters. First graders will plant seedlings in small decorated cups that will be delivered to local nursing homes and hospitals. Second graders collected toys for the “Too Many Toys” book and project, and donated them to the Richmond Ronald McDonald House. Third graders will write letters to an official to promote arts in the school. Fourth graders wrote letters to veterans, who have since become pen pals. Fifth graders are creating books and cards to be delivered to a local children’s hospital. The recycling group continues to collect and upcycle juice pouches and chip bags (2000 and counting!). We have collected over 45 lbs of crayons to be recycled saving the waste from going to the landfill. Over 250 students participated in one of 14 classes during our After School Enrichment. We honor our teachers and staff with support, luncheons and a financial donation to each classroom. Fundraising efforts continue to provide family events such as the Winter Carnival, Bingo Night, Talent Show and others. We can also provide our school with vital school equipment/ supplies which the current budget can no longer fund.

Oak Grove Elementary School Ingram Ave., Richmond, VA 23224

Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary is building a new school to be completed in 2012. The bigger dream, however, is to construct much more than a new building. Area corporations, churches, Richmond City, civic and arts organizations, and individual volunteers are partnering with residents of the school’s Hillside Court/Oak Grove/Bellemeade neighborhoods to make this dream possible. While individual mentors buddy up with the small students to strengthen reading, math and self esteem, organizations provide enrichment programs and activities for kids and their families. Holiday dinners, a fall festival and many “open” programs encourage community involvement and pride in the progress of their youngest scholars. Volunteers go door to door for discussion with residents, building trust and understanding of new possibilities for the area and its children. The existing building was built in 1913 at a time when the neighborhood was open, friendly and growing. Early residents have positive recollections of a simpler and more supportive environment where families interacted and collaborated to make the most of opportunities for themselves and their children. As these memories are rekindled, support and excitement is building for constructing far more in this South Richmond neighborhood than bricks and mortar. The diverse organizations and individuals who champion this cause are setting aside conflicting agendas to construct a new present and future for this area of our city. Individual volunteers, who are passionate about the potential and lovability of the children they mentor, continue to uplift and cheer on the effort one student and family at a time.


Springfield Park E.S., 4301 Fort McHenry Pkwy, Glen Allen, VA 23060

What makes our school special? It’s the support of the PTA! From volunteering in the copy room & cafeteria to being “Watch DOG” role models, our parents are actively engaged in making our school a better place to work and learn. Being a parent and teacher myself, I understand the importance of the partnership between home and school for student success. Aside from monthly meetings, our PTA sponsors a variety of activities to encourage student & family involvement, including “Somethin’ Pumpkin” & “Trunk or Treat” in the fall, “International Night” in the winter, “Talent Show” and “Spring Carnival” in the spring, and “May Picnic & Ice Cream Social” towards the summer. The PTA also reaches out to greet families new to the S.P.E.S. community and assists those dealing with crisis situations or financial hardships. The PTA provides programs for students that enhance the curriculum such as school assemblies and “Kids Club” classes after school. They also care about recognizing student achievement by supporting the Accelerated Reader program and Reflections program. To support teachers, the PTA organizes parent volunteers to assist with planning & implementing special activities. Recently they remodeled the teacher’s lounge as a surprise for “Teacher Appreciation Week.” They also generously supplement teacher’s budgets and purchase items such as classroom supplies and new equipment for the playground. These are just a few ways the PTA makes a big difference in our school, and why I think SPES is the best kept secret in the west end!

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