Sharing Our Progress

Spring 2023

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge and Fluvanna JCS Work Together to Bring Art to the Courthouse

Students at the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center did a collaborative project with Judge Lowe of The Fluvanna County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Judge Lowe had a vision of lining the waiting room and inside the courtroom with art produced by students from BRJD. Art teacher, Rayne Macphee, met with Judge Lowe and discussed how to allow students autonomy with the project, while producing art, for the waiting room, where parents and young children would be waiting to be called in. They both agreed the art for the court room should be peaceful and evoke positive emotions during times of stress and anxiety.

During the first week, students explored different areas of interest and came up with a rough idea of what they wanted to incorporate within their paintings. Students then worked for multiple weeks on the canvas paintings and produced some incredible pieces to hand off to the court. Students were elated so many people would see their creations and they also felt a sense of pride, producing these pieces for the community. This was an incredible experience for both the center and the students involved!

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Virginia Beach

Creating rollercoasters

After students finished their end-of-course exams (in the 4 x 4 schedule) productive work continued leading up to the winter holiday. Here, in Mr. Chris England's math classroom, students competed in developing roller coasters with points awarded for the number of successful twists and turns.
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Virtual bowling

Students enjoy the virtual bowling alley available to them as part of Mr. Shawn Wilson's physical education program.
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Valentine's Day

In anticipation of Valentine's Day, students were given the opportunity to create cards for family/friends that arrive for parent visitation. They were provided an assortment of stickers, colored card stock, hole punches that formed hearts, glue sticks, stencils, and colored pencils. It didn't take long for them to start creating.

In this card, provided to Mrs. Lynn Sykes, JDC tutor, the student wrote:

Dear Mrs. Sykes:

For going out of your way to make sure your students and staff have a great time here at the detention center. We thank you for using your hard-earned money (note: Mrs. Sykes often has an assortment of snacks available) on us because you know you didn't have to. I want to give you something in return.



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Both Mr. Eric Hitch (transition specialist/post grad teacher) and Mr. Johnathan Fay (science teacher) have been growing vegetables in their classroom. The lettuce in Mr. Hitch's room grew quickly, and the students enjoyed harvesting their lettuce to create lettuce wraps for lunch.
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W.W. Moore

A W. W. Moore Success Story:

Congratulations, Joe!

We get a lot of students at W. W. Moore who come from difficult situations, only to find themselves in new, equally difficult situations. One student, whom I will call “Joe” to protect his privacy, arrived having not been in school since the seventh grade. He had no high-school credits, and his only chance of graduating on time was to take the GED test; unfortunately, because of the short amount of time he would be spending with us, he only had one shot to pass it.

He got to work immediately, participating in regular classes while studying for the specific subjects he knew were difficult for him. The educational staff not only provided materials, but sat and worked with him to ensure that he understood every concept before moving on to the next one. Of course, he had a little difficulty at first, but he overcame every challenge and never slowed his progress.

The dates of the test arrived. Joe was nervous, but he took his time on all four subjects and used all the tools and techniques the faculty and staff had given him. He passed on the first try with flying colors. On his graduation on the Monday following Thanksgiving Break, Dr. Angela Hairston, Superintendent of Danville Public Schools, spoke proudly about his accomplishments. He left our facility one day later, after celebrating with pictures and pizza. The teachers and staff at W. W. Moore wish him all the best as he continues his studies into the future.

Entrepreneur at NJDC

Mr. Donnell Evans spoke to students at NJDC on February 15, 2023. Mr. Evans is the successful owner of DJ Evans Painting and Contract, a company he started over 20 years ago. His company has worked on multiple million-dollar contracts in both the residential and commercial markets. Mr. Evans talked to the students about the following topics:

Importance of communicating effectively/listening skills

Work Ethic

Painter Unions


Do what you say you will do

Know your worth

The ability to understand that you, the 'new' painter, do not know how to paint and to be willing to humble yourself on Day 1 and learn from the experts.

In addition, Mr. Evans will return to NJDC to teach the students basic painting skills, interview skills and how to effectively fill out job applications. Students were able to ask questions throughout the presentation and appreciated Mr. Evans giving them his time and talent.

NJDC will continue to host guest speakers that give valuable insights/advice on important job skills/trades that are currently in demand.

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New River Valley

Black History Month Activities


Every February, the U.S. honors the contributions and sacrifices of people of African descent who have helped shape our nation. Black History Month celebrates the rich cultural heritage, triumphs, and adversities that are an indelible part of our country's history. In support of this year’s theme, Black Resistance, NRVJDH celebrated how African Americans worked collectively to serve and strengthen their communities by ‘Making a Way out of No Way.”

Below is a list of the activities that were conducted in each of the four core subjects.


The Science teacher at the NRVJDH utilized two films to show how black Americans resisted oppression. Class discussions were conducted and students were asked to participate in various written assignments that focused on how people of African descent overcame and resisted the discrimination they faced throughout history.

The two films included:

"Hidden Figures-" In this film, 3 black women in the 1960's overcame bigotry in the workplace to help NASA send astronauts into space. They resisted oppression by making themselves invaluable to NASA's success in this endeavor.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"- This film tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a young black woman whose cancer cells were taken without her permission, and have been used in cell cultures all over the world for research. Many companies have made billions of dollars directly or indirectly related to research using her cell culture line. In this story, her children begin taking back her story and begin standing up to those who lied about and covered up this breach of human rights.


The English teacher at NRVJDH introduced students to Martin Luther King, Jr. by exposing them to his "I Have a Dream." Speech. This allowed students to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and the role Martin Luther King, Jr. played in the success of this movement. Students learned about the Nobel Peace Prize and how Martin Luther King's receipt of this award impacted Black History.

Students also watched the film Selma (2014) which was used to connect the lessons on Martin Luther King, Jr. A teaching guide created by Teaching Tolerance was used to enhance the students' understanding of the film.

Additionally, students were exposed to poetry/the Harlem Renaissance and talked about Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. The study also talked about Nikki Giovanni and Tupac.

Social Studies

The Social Studies teacher at NRVJDH showed students the Documentary: “For Love of Liberty” which honored African-American servicemen and women This two-part four-hour film used letters, diaries, speeches, journalistic accounts, historical text, and military records to document and acknowledge the sacrifices and accomplishments of African-American service men and women since the earliest days of the republic. The story spanned from the Revolutionary War through the Iraqi War and examined why, despite enormous injustices, these heroic men and women fought valiantly for freedoms they themselves did not enjoy.

In addition, students watched the film from the History Channel titled “Black Patriots.” Many people don’t know that African Americans played an integral role in the fight for our country’s independence. This film covered both sides of the fight, highlighting black heroes of the American Revolution who stood up against British rule to help establish the United States of America, and, conversely revealed that some black loyalists fought for the Crown—and the promise of freedom. This documentary also presented Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s personal journey, revealing his own unique discovery of important historical figures like Crispus Attucks and others and how they helped change the perception of his own heritage.


The Math teacher at NRVJDH partnered with the Science teacher to incorporate activities about the mathematicians depicted in the movie ‘Hidden Figures.” Additionally, the Math teacher showed videos from the following website: "Journeys of Black Mathematicians."

Finally, the Math teacher exposed students to information regarding some of the black inventors of the 20th century.


Celebrating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) for Black History Month

Written by

Renita Davis-Kelley

Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Center

Look what we learned during black history month:

  • Russell Wilson’s grandfather was president of Norfolk State University for 20 years
  • Oprah Winfrey graduated from Tennessee State University
  • Mac McCain who played in this year’s Superbowl LVII for the Philadelphia Eagles is the grandson of Civil Rights Activist and Greensboro Four-member, Franklin McCain.
  • John Mercer Langston became the first person to bear the title of president of Virginia State University. He was the great-uncle of famed writer Langston Hughes.

  • The students were given an opportunity to select an HBCU school of their choice. Bloom’s Taxonomy Model was used to give the students a final project. (Remembered, Understood, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating).

Along with the students, I learned a great deal of new information. The excitement generated from this project enlighten the student’s awareness of the HBCU experience.

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Turning Point Academy/LRJDC

How the Superbowl taught SEL topics at Turning Point Academy!

Ever have a hard time getting students engaged in the classroom? A common interest here at Turning Point Academy among our students is SPORTS! Many of our students express how they LOVE the game of football! Well, how can we incorporate that interest directly in the classroom?

In honor of the Super Bowl, our students completed an Everfi Certification Course called "Character Playbook Program". The Character Playbook Certification program expanded on five modules that covered key concepts around positive character development, social-emotional learning (SEL), and building healthy relationships. The course also allowed students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that included bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples.

After completing the certification modules, students were able to watch a live recording by the NFL Foundation, Arizona Cardinals, and Character Playbook Team who discussed the certificate program and Mental Wellness.

-Submitted by Mr. Pillow (PE/Health Teacher)

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Turning Point Academy/LRJDC

Student projects: honoring Black History month

In honor of Black History Month, students completed a poster biography project in which they were randomly assigned an influential African American to research. Students conducted research on their scholar and then paraphrased learned facts into their own words on a biography poster that displayed a picture of the famous African American. Through this project students not only learned proper research skills but were also exposed to the great impact that many African Americans made on society that they were unaware of. All posters were displayed in the halls of our facility for peers and staff to recognize the great work of our students.

-Submitted by Mr. Forrest (History Teacher)

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RJDC Students Participate in Teaching Black History Month

RJDC Students Participate in Teaching Black History Month

Written by Dr. Janet Hodges

During Black History Month, students were inspired to research, learn, and eventually, teach others about influential African Americans and the roles they played in our past as well as the present. Students were involved in researching iconic people such as Lonnie George Johnson (an inventor, aerospace engineer, and entrepreneur), Clarence “Skip” Ellis (first African American to earn a Ph.D. in computer science), and Katherine Johnson (one of first African American scientists/mathematicians to work for NASA).

Students viewed a film from Learning for Justice, Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot, that tells “the story of the historic struggle for voting rights through the voices of Alabama high school students and teachers who were the backbone of the Selma movement” that was critical to the civil rights movement. Students willingly shared their thoughts about the film through structured lesson plans that accompanied the film and group discussions.

They also viewed School Segregation and Brown v Board of Education, which is a short informational film on Youtube, developed for students, that highlights the landmark (1955) Supreme Court decision regarding education in our country. After viewing the film, students engaged in very insightful and thought-provoking discussions that had a positive impact on students' understanding of their own education.

Below are pictures of informational posters that were created by the students and displayed in the hallways of RJDC.

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Piedmont Regional JDC: Bringing Careers to Life

In the push to encourage all students to complete a post-secondary plan, teachers worked collaboratively with students to implement the Job Shadowing planning tools and investigate careers of interest. Bridging the gap between transition and career exploration, teachers found commonalities between students’ job expectations and interests, as well as, many areas the students did not know were part of a career- things such as greeting guests, cash register skills, ordering and receiving materials, employability skillsets, and many others.

Since we had begun working on food services areas of safety, sanitation and food prep, the education department wanted to build upon these skills to foster new areas of interest. In talking with the students, they unanimously chose the area of hospitality, and hence, the Coffee Corner was born. Questions surfaced such as the following: How do you properly wait on a customer? How do you thank a customer and invite them back to your business? How do you tally up for daily sales, weekly sales, monthly budgets? How do you punch a clock and figure hourly wages, over time? We actually had more questions than we first anticipated– so off to work we went.

The Coffee Corner was the first endeavor of many. The students planned a coffee shop idea, researched ideas on the best way to invite guests to the Coffee Corner, they discussed what goodies would go best with coffee and planned the event. Students invited their classmates to participate. They also invited the staff to swing by at the end of their shifts to enjoy a hot cup of coffee made by their local Barista. Students developed a survey that would capture their service and offer them areas of improvement. The Coffee Corner was a success. Students and staff enjoyed the event and the tasty goodies such as donuts, cookies, and of course coffee, hot cocoa, and tea. The students were pleased with their survey results and want to continue the process of learning how to work in a business and offer great customer service. This project seems to have boosted their self-confidence and made them want to further explore careers in the hospitality industry.

Donna Matthews, Thelma Llewellyn

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Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents

CCCA Project Based Learning

Rube Goldberg Style

By Christie Maupin, Math Teacher

Students and staff enjoyed an afternoon of laughter and creativity as they challenged themselves to find the longest, most complicated way to accomplish a relatively mundane task. Using everyday materials to create simple machines, students were tasked with designing and building a contraption that would ring a bell, knock an item into a trashcan, or launch a ball into a basket. This process, which required a significant amount of resourcefulness and divergent thinking, provided students an unparalleled opportunity to interactively study basic physics, transfer of energy, and theories of cause and effect.

The project was both challenging and surprisingly fun as teams worked backward to add as many complicated steps as possible to achieve their goal. Through (a lot of!) trial and error, students honed their simple machines to perfection, sketched and labeled their designs, and then presented final projects to faculty and staff.

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