State Operated Programs Newsletter
From the Hospital Education Program
Two of Dr. Sparks' summer Extended School Year educators, Brenda Lantz and Ruth Sangiuliano, were allowed to take over a patient room and convert it to Camp Firebrook! They set up a tent and summer campsite items for the ESY students to experience some summer fun and learning for ESY at the Richmond Hospital Education Program.
Covered with Care Summer Enrichment
Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Center
Summer Enrichment Program 2023
It started with everyone taking on a 60-day challenge in which they pledged to be nice, kind, and compassionate towards each other. Not only did the students take the charge, our food service staff, maintenance, youth supervisors, mental health clinicians, nurses, program administrators, director/assistant director of the facility and our school principal autographed their hearts and placed it on our banner. The signatures were a constant reminder to their compassionate commitment.
The students went to work after signing their pledges. They hand-designed over 200 positive postcards and made 66 No-sew blankets for Ettrick Elementary School. Our summer intern, Emma Sutherland, a student at James Madison University took on the challenge with the students and she worked equally as hard on this project.
Our Summer Enrichment Program ended Thursday, August 17 with the Post Dispositional Case Manager, students and myself delivering the blankets and the positive postcards to Dr. Randi Smith, Principal and the Community in Schools Coordinator Jesicka Monroe. It was so lovely to be greeted by the staff while participating in Ettrick Elementary’s Back to School Block Party. What a huge success! We’re so grateful for the new partnership with Elementary Ettrick School. We hope they have the best school year ever!
Fitness Tracking at New River Valley Juvenile Detention Home
Fitness Trackers Become a Part of the Regular Day at NRVJDH
Submitted by Dr. Keith Rowland
In July 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness. Six decades, and 12 presidents later, this organization still exists as the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. The purpose of this organization it to engage, educate, promote, and empower all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. But having a healthy lifestyle affects much more than an individual’s physical health. Exercise also does wonders for the brain. Research (Hillman et al, 2008) found that exercises like running and swimming can actually improve memory, attention, and thinking skills in children and young adults. In another study (Chaddock et al, 2011) it was determined that children who stay fit and healthy tend to have better learning growth in the part of the brain that helps with memory and learning.
Promoting physical activity in a controlled structured environment, such as a Detention Center, is vital to the students overall physical and mental health, but how much is enough. According to the Center of Disease Control, children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 need to be active for 60 minutes every day. But just providing time does not necessarily mean that the exercise is productive which is why we have incorporated the use of the Moki Fitness Tracker at the New River Valley Juvenile.
The Moki Fitness Tracker records both the number of steps and the minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities performed by the wearer. It is designed with no screen, so there are no distractions throughout the course of the day. Students at NRVJDH wear the bands throughout the entire day and at the end of the day scan their band using the Moki Reader. The reader is connected to a computer so that when the band is tapped on the reader, the data is transferred to an app. The app keeps track of every student’s progress throughout the day and allows them to see how they are doing in comparison to other students. Currently, each student at NRVJDH is recording about 8000 steps per day with 6000 of those steps falling into the vigorous category.
Stenciling at Piedmont Regional Juvenile Detention Center
During the summer enrichment program of 2023, the students at Piedmont Regional Juvenile Detention Center participated in various hands-on activities. One of the favorite activities of the students was a competitive stenciling activity. The students picked out the stencil they would like to use and then traced the outline on a large poster size paper. They worked with a blank slate as the papers were taped to the walls. Next came their creativity!
Each student chose a color scheme from the markers provided for their posters. They worked on their posters for two days, creating, adding, and making the stencil become their own. The last task was to choose a positive word to describe their poster. In an effort to add a bit of competitiveness to the project, they were to put their names on the back in pencil so that no one would know whose posters they were judging. The students had also been practicing cursive writing in another class. We added to the stenciling project that their poster needed to have their “word” in cursive. Students practiced cursive writing and as a finale, they added their special word to their poster.
The posters were displayed in the hall outside the classroom. Detention staff members were then given a rubric to score the posters. The rubric included creativity, neatness, the impact of their chosen word to their design, and overall effort. The rubric sheets were reviewed and scores tallied by the education staff. Ribbons and certificates were awarded to the students. All students earned ribbons from first place to most creative. They had a great time and really worked hard on the stencil activities and each person tried hard to earn first place. The detention staff added a few food treats to encourage hard work and participation.
Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center
Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center - Fort Collier Academy
Post-D at TEENS, Inc.
Written by: Jeff Brinegar - Post-D Teacher
Welcome back to the 2023-2024 school year! Each year, teachers and staff alike work to improve the Post-D program at Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center. We believe that interacting with and learning from the local community gives our residents opportunities to explore gardening, cooking, landscaping, and other life skills. One way we accomplish this positive community interaction is through our work with TEENS, Inc. TEENS, Inc. is a vocational agriculture (VoAg) non-profit organization that provides training for at-risk youth and individuals with disabilities. So far this year, our residents have learned how to differentiate between weeds and beneficial plants, as well as how to identify and pick ripe produce from a garden. Our current Post-D resident reflects on her time in the community and shares that it’s a relaxing and informative opportunity to get out of the building and contribute positively to the community. We hope to continue developing connections within the community and providing opportunities for our residents to learn and grow!
Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center
New Literacy Program meets the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop
2023 is the year of literacy
Through words, all students can hope to see
What their future dreams can truly be
Finding inspiration to engage
Healthy coping skills to manage the rage
Looking to connect with a sage
Enter 50 years of hip hop to the stage
Under direction of Literacy Support
Students unpack hip-hop's history and make a report
Stringing bars together to share a story
Spitting lines with their new vocabulary inventory
Bridging the lyrical styles of past and present
As students grow through hard times as an adolescent
Giving them the tools to express
Aligning goals to find success
Connecting to culture both near and far
Meeting students right where they are
Building relationships with every bar
2023 is the year of literacy
Through words, all students can hope to see
What their future dreams can truly be
RJDC has developed a Literacy Support Program that works with all students to identify areas for growth and aligning intervention. This program, led by our Literacy Coach, utilizes innovative, creative, and engaging techniques to pique an interest in literacy using various mediums. In a recent lesson, students read an article explaining the history of rap in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop. A classroom discussion was held on how hip hop can tell a story and also be juxtaposed to real life. Using new vocabulary gained through the reading, students created their own rap songs. This was not only an activity that highlighted literary skills, but a recognition of the ability to inspire others through sharing authentic stories.
Pigs must be flying because students are begging to study fractions!
Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents
By Christie Maupin, Math Teacher
One of the few times a math teacher is not asked “When will I ever use this?” is during a unit on fractions. This phenomenon is not because students are excited (because they aren’t) but rather because they learned very early on it is better to have one-half of a cake than one-fifth; so, students begrudgingly persevere through this “real life” content knowing it might actually be useful.
Since using FRAX (provided by SOP via Explore Learning) studying fractions has become more reward and less annoying requirement. No, that was not a typo. Better yet, the system allows for completion of only one mission/level each day so there is always remaining class time for direct instruction as well.
The FRAX philosophy is to treat fractions as numbers first, each with their own specific size when compared to a whole. Anyone that has used fraction bars understands this traditionally effective approach. However, FRAX puts a spin on this concept that seems to be sticking with even the most reluctant learners and that solid foundation reduces math anxiety and increases engagement.
GR Success Story
W.W. Moore, Jr. Detention Home Education Program
We do everything we can to create an atmosphere where students can learn. This means meeting them where they are when they come to us, and making sure they leave with more than they have when they arrive. Every graduation is a sign that we’re doing something right, whether the student earns a GED or a standard diploma. We pride ourselves on the fact that when someone graduates, we are never as surprised about it as they are.
We recently celebrated the graduation of yet another student, whom we’ll call Bob. We’ve known him for a few years already, and when he first arrived, he was quiet, lacking confidence. It took a long time for him to feel comfortable enough to say more than a few words to anyone, whether faculty, staff, or fellow students. He had very few high school credits, so it was no wonder why he never wanted to speak up during lessons. When he did start participating, he revealed himself to be observant and capable, and even though he was lacking prior knowledge, we knew he would be able to earn his GED once he started.
Like many others, Bob’s early attempts were failures, but he kept trying. After enough time and effort, he first passed one practice test, then another, and then another, leaving English for last. For him, this was clearly the hardest subject. His educational gaps had left him with difficulties in vocabulary, and he had to focus heavily on learning and using new words in addition to the more demanding concepts required for the RLA section. When Bob finally passed the practice test, it wasn’t a shock to any of us, but it certainly was to him. I personally presented him with his passing grade.
That boost in confidence carried him to the finish line, since he passed the main GED tests before some of the faculty even knew he was scheduled to take it. He was released from W. W. Moore before we could hold his graduation, but hopefully, that doesn’t lessen the accomplishment in his eyes. It doesn’t in ours.
Kicking Off the Year at Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center
Lea Thorne ELA teacher Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center
Science is Sweet
Young scientists in Mrs. Fix’s class got some hands-on experience with the scientific method to kick off the school year. Students worked their way through the steps of the scientific method while learning about osmosis and carrying out their own gummy bear lab. Students not only got a chance to participate in an interactive activity to review academic skills, but also worked on social skills by collaborating with classmates.
Students were so excited to have the opportunity to look at specimens under the microscope that they began searching for objects in their everyday environment that they could create slides with. One student was incredibly proud that she created a slide with an insect exoskeleton she collected.
Also from Shenandoah Valley...
Gamifying Math Class
Mr. Sweeney’s students have been practicing math skills for automaticity and loving it. Watching the look of excitement on every student's face when they are told it’s time to practice math skills is a delight. They are loving the game aspect of practicing on Prodigy Math. Students are engaged and working hard while looking forward to some educational fun.