Student teachers took tours of the impoverished neighborhoods that feed into the schools where they will teach as part of a class taught by the Virginia Commonwealth University's Richmond Teacher Residency. The goal of the class is to connect the future educators -- who often come from more privileged backgrounds -- with the lives of the students they will teach in the future.
Students at a Virginia middle school will harvest and sell their own produce at a vegetable stand every Wednesday through the summer. During the school year, a group of about 60 students in the Do Something Club work to tend the school garden, which has taught students about agriculture, as well as math, to calculate weight and prices while providing fresh produce for the community.
Students in a Virginia school district recently used Twitter to urge officials to cancel school due to snow. Some students tweeted they were begging officials to call off school due to dangerous winter weather. Other students took a more playful approach, such as one who tweeted photos of himself "falling" down steps, or others who shared photos of their homes covered in snow. The school district played along, building suspense about the closing over social media, gaining 3,000 more followers this week.
The James River in Virginia recently became a classroom for 36 participants, which included students and teachers, who rafted sections of the waterway and camped at historic Westover Plantation in Charles City County. The annual expedition, in its third year, was created by the James River Association and funded by a $50,000 Dominion Foundation grant. "You're always looking for ways to make what you're teaching important to students," said Aimee Sobon, a teacher at Highland Springs High School in Virginia.
Educators in several Virginia school districts are taking steps to address the disproportionate number of black students who are dropping out of school. Among the reasons cited for the disparity are differences in socioeconomic status, higher school suspensions and the need for schools to better identify students who are at risk. Some educators also are considering whether it would help minority students to have more minority teachers in the classroom.