Sharing Our Progress

June 2023

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Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center Unites Students and Community with Art Project

This spring, students at BRJD learned the powerful art of screen printing in a project focused on unity and community engagement. This initiative brought together students, staff, teachers, and even the greater Charlottesville community, fostering unity and bridging the gap between the center and its surroundings. Under the guidance of art teacher Rayne MacPhee, the students embarked on a creative journey, aiming to develop a school-wide tagline that would embody their collective spirit. After much contemplation, they settled on the powerful phrase, "Together We Rise." This message resonated deeply with everyone involved, highlighting the importance of solidarity and resilience in the face of adversity.

To visually represent their chosen tagline, the students decided on a symbolic image—a bird soaring through a broken chain. This design captured their determination to overcome obstacles and break free from the constraints that had previously held them back. After creation of the imagery, students delved into the art of screen printing. They learned the techniques required to transfer their designs onto posters and T-shirts. Every resident, staff member, and teacher received a hand-printed T-shirt and are encouraged to wear the shirts every Friday, further strengthening the bond among students, staff, and teachers.

The impact of this project extended beyond the walls of Blue Ridge. The students' posters, bearing their empowering imagery, were distributed not only throughout the facility but also across the greater Charlottesville community. Local businesses, including an ice cream parlor, coffee shop, tattoo parlor, and arcade, proudly displayed these posters, showcasing the students' remarkable talent and their powerful message.

By sharing their artwork with the community, the students at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center aimed to bridge the gap between the center and Charlottesville. Their creative expressions serve as a reminder that everyone deserves a second chance and that the power of unity can overcome any barriers. Their project exemplifies the transformative power of art and the ability to unite diverse communities under a common purpose.

Let us all remember the inspiring message of "Together We Rise" and strive to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.

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Financial Fitness for All Ages!

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Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Center

By Renita Davis-Kelley

Did you know that April is National Financial Awareness month? Since April 2003 the Senate passed legislation to deem Literacy Month which is recognized each year to raise public awareness of the importance of financial literacy and maintaining smart money management habits.

In keeping up with this national standard, the students of Chesterfield Juvenile Detention were presented with a PBL (Project-Based Learning) activity. The students took personal finance vocabulary terms targeting a specific age group and created a flyer that introduced and promoted financial literacy. Yes, financial literacy is for all ages!

Ms. Monica returns from the Virginia Credit Union

Written by

Renita Davis-Kelley

Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Center

Mrs. Monica Van Arsdale is no stranger to the Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Center. She is a former Economics & Personal Finance Teacher for Chesterfield County Public Schools. Currently she’s the Senior Financial Success Educator for the Virginia Credit Union. Ms. Monica has partnered with our school and continues to providing financial literacy to our students.

In keeping with Financial Literacy month, Ms. Monica presented nuggets, tips, and tools on how to buy a car.

What a hot topic for the students. Her presentation consisted of advantages/disadvantages when buying new versus previously owned vehicles. She discussed the total cost of buying a car, insurance cost, the importance of checking your credit score before buying, and the fact that the average vehicle depreciates in five years. Monica introduced to the students the Kelley Blue which determines the worth of your car for reselling purposes. You can image the conversation that was generated by the students regarding the cost of the rims, speakers, and other features that they added to cars. Well, as luck would have it, they learned that those items didn’t matter because cars depreciate. Her message was loud and clear


Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents

By Christy Maupin, Math Teacher

Fractal Day at CCCA

“I've often thought of meditation as being like a fractal, where one small part of something is a tiny, perfect replica of the whole.” - Sharon Salzberg

The most beautiful way to SEE infinity is with fractals, which is why they were the focus of our final STEAM Day of the 2022-2023 school year. In addition to being an infinitely complex mathematical shape/pattern that repeats forever, fractals also surround us in so many different aspects of life – literally and figuratively – inside and out from the smallest sea shell to our very own spiral galaxy. They have practical uses on paper as well, helping to create more accurate maps of coastlines, organize the internet (what?!?), and even improve CGI on your favorite games and movies. According to Psychology Today, the physiological response of looking at fractal patterns has been known to reduce stress and mental fatigue by up to 60%!

Teachers divided into groups centered on developing awareness of patterns and fractals in both nature and science, construction of fractal structures (Sierpenski Triangle & Menger Sponge), and computer-assisted fractal design. The students reported being amazed by how simple and complex fractals can be and have been on the lookout for them ever since.

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Newport News Juvenile Center School Tie Tying Event Submitted by Fatimah R. Marshall & Deloris Todman

The Newport News Juvenile Detention Center School held their first tie drive and collected over 100 gently used ties. Each student was able to receive two ties to keep in their personal belongings and a small instructional card as a reminder. As a result, of the tie collection, the students at Newport News Juvenile Detention Center were able to participate in a school-wide tie-event on Friday, March 24, 2023. The students received one-on-one tutorials on how to tie ties from members of Christopher Newport University's Basketball Team, Hampton University's Marching Band, and the Pershing Rifles Organization. This event was not only fun and exciting but also allowed the students to learn the valuable skill of tie-tying.

During this event, the students enjoyed the interaction and conversations with the college students by asking questions about college and received advice on preparing for their future education and careers. Students also learned that tying a tie is an essential skill everyone should know. Throughout the demonstration, the college students explained why wearing a tie can be seen as a sign of maturity and professionalism. The students were also able to practice tying their ties and gained an understanding of how wearing a tie can make all the difference in job interviews or formal events.

Overall, the tie-tying event was a huge success. The students had fun while learning an important skill and gaining valuable insight into college life from current college students. The educational staff at the Newport News Juvenile Detention Center School believe that events like this help shape our youth into responsible adults who are ready for whatever challenges come their way and plan to make this an annual event for their students.

Piedmont Regional Juvenile Detention Center

Creating Meaningful Experiences for Students at PRJDC

During the 2022-2023 school year, the students at Piedmont Regional Juvenile Detention Center participated in a variety of digital lessons through Everfi online modules. These modules provide essential standards that aid in student achievement and grasp their interest while offering a certificate of completion. Students' favorite courses ranged from Finance, Health and Wellness, Social and Emotional Health, to STEM lessons.

Most students were able to complete and become certified in at least two of the Everfi courses, some students more. The courses are self-paced, but comprehensive enough for students to successfully proceed through the lessons independently. For any issues that did arise, they were easily handled with one-on-one assistance whereas the teacher could assist in breaking down the information or scenarios so the student was able to better grasp the concept. The variety of courses available made it possible for students to always have engaging information and was able to be easily added to the classroom routine. This was one more way to offer students meaningful experiences, promote adaptable and successful life behaviors, and encourage future habits of success outside of the classroom walls.

Malcolm Tillerson, May 2023

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Prince William County Juvenile Detention Center

By Diane Miller, School Social Worker

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I Did Not Know I Could Graduate Much Less Go to College.

According to The Sentencing Project, two-thirds of teens released from juvenile facilities never return to school and “find themselves far behind their peers.”

In fact, during the 2022-2023 school year, the majority of our students would-be first-generation college students and many of them would be surpassing their parent’s educational history by earning a high school diploma or GED.

Speaking to the students about their future plan’s, I do not remember even one, initially including graduating from high school, earning their GED, going to college, or attending a trade school as a potential trajectory.

While some students simply say “get out of here” the vast majority blankly stare, shrug their shoulders, and purse their lips when first posed the question about what they want to do with their future.

Suggesting that they could go to college and have a career, not just a minimum wage job appeared to be out of reach or something they had never considered. Although some of our students will have hurdles to overcome due to their charges, many students (at this point in their lives) still have open doors to achieve dreams they had never considered.

We promote the future for all students and introduce the concepts of college and trade school as well as scholarships and grants to aid the students in setting goals and forming dreams never contemplated before.

This year we had seven high school graduates or GED earners throughout the year and have assisted them with completing Federal Student Aid forms, searching for scholarships available, and applying to college or trade schools. We have also shared these success stories with the other students enrolled at the detention center and have multiple students working hard to follow in the steps of those JDC graduates that went before them.

Virginia Beach JDC

SOL testing...complete!

With over 100 Spring Non-Writing SOL tests given this semester, some sessions required a change of venue to the facility's gym. Led by our first-year math teacher (and his first year teaching in SOP), Mr. Chris England did a phenomenal job keeping the program on track.
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