News & Event
NextUp RVA is a community-wide collaboration to provide free, high-quality out-of-school programs - after school and during the summer - for Richmond Public Schools' middle schools. Since its inception in 2013, The Community Foundation has supported the NextUp mission to help Richmond's youth thrive in school, at home and in the community. According to the most recent community indicators report by the Capital Region Collaborative, education continues to be a top priority for our Greater Richmond Region. The goal is to ensure that every child has potential to compete and achieve in a global environment. The Community Foundation invests in strategies like NextUp RVA that are proven to have the most influence on students' long-term educational advancement and career preparation.
This year, NextUp expanded into a third school, Lucille Brown Middle School. A total of 176 student participants, 34% of whom were identified at-risk of drop-out, are offered 20 different programs in the areas of Sports and Health, Leadership/Work Readiness, Arts & Humanities and STEM. Recently the NextUp-Lucille Brown chess team placed first in the Hopewell Classics tournament; the teammates are now recognized as "rated tournament chess players", and will be able to add their experience to high school and college applications. Additionally, the Robotics team qualified for the semi-finals round for in the Central Virginia Robotics Tournament, competing against skilled high school teams! We look forward to hearing more success stories as students continue to learn and grow through the robust programming NextUp has to offer.
Check out the following video to learn about NextUp programs, and how a coordinated system of academic and expanded learning helps youth build positive life skills:
Learn more about our commitment to education
Stepping through the doors of Bellwood Elementary School, located along the Jeff Davis corridor in Chesterfield County, you’re likely to witness students tending the school garden, participating in a manners luncheon, practicing reading skills to therapy dogs or learning to design with a 3D printer. Proud to be a Title I Distinguished School, the staff is dedicated to providing engaging, relevant education that prepares students to thrive in a rapidly changing world. They are led by principal Jennifer Rudd, the 2017 winner of the R.E.B. Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership from Chesterfield County, who strongly believes in helping her students exceed academic standards while also cultivating their interests and talents to inspire life-long learning.
Mrs. Rudd also works diligently with her staff to remove socioeconomic and language barriers for her students and their families. The school is resourceful in addressing these unique needs - raffling bicycles and helmets to encourage outdoor play after school, a bookmobile that delivers games and books in the summer, microwaveable meals for families living in motels and a direct line to a bilingual staff member. The school lives by the mantra “Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day” and it is paying off with a remarkable attendance rate of 96%.
With her R.E.B. award of $7,500, Principal Jennifer Rudd will create the “Removing Everyday Barriers” Room, also known as the R.E.B. Room, to strengthen relationships with parents and guardians while tearing down sociocultural walls. The catalyst for the project was learning that many parents, especially within the Hispanic community, are intimidated to enter the school and engage with the administration. The R.E.B. room will offer a space where families can access counseling and workshops, Social Services assistance, language classes, conference space and even a washer and dryer.
“Everything we do is about encouraging our students to believe in themselves,” says Mrs. Rudd. “While academics are important, we look at our children differently. They cannot be successful if we don’t listen and respond to what they are going through. They are more than a score.”
Learn more about R.E.B. Principal Awards
Each year, as spring weather takes hold and the school year winds down, the R.E.B Foundation and The Community Foundation are proud to announce the latest recipients of the R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership. Four principals – one each from Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond Public Schools – are honored with grants of $15,000 in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to creating an exceptional learning environment through creative and engaging opportunities for their students, staff and community. Half of the award is designated for school projects, as outlined by the principal in their written proposal.
Congratulations to the 2017 winners:
Jennifer Rudd, Bellwood Elementary School, Chesterfield
To create a parent resource center within the school.
Caroline Harris, Oak Knoll Middle School, Hanover
To convert the traditional library into a “libratory” that includes designated space for hands-on learning, access to technology and flexible instruction space.
Melissa Halquist-Pruden, Glen Allen Elementary School, Henrico
To enhance the school’s outdoor learning space.
Indira Williams, Ginter Park Elementary School, Richmond
To create innovation stations to engage students in creative STEM activities.
The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership was created in 2004 as a complement to the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence, which has recognized more than 700 public school teachers from the metro Richmond region since 1988.
To learn how to nominate your favorite principal, check out the program overview.
PAST WINNERS (most recent listed first)
Sarah Fraher, Manchester Middle School
Deborah Marks, Clover Hill High School
Stephen Cunningham, Matoaca High School
Brenda Mayo, Cosby High School
Jaime Accashian, Chesterfield Community High School
Bessie Cooper, Bensley Elementary School
Peter Koste, Manchester High School
Joyce Lanier, Evergreen Elementary School
David Sovine, Monacan High School
John Titus, James River High School
Nancy Disharoon, Stonewall Jackson Middle School
Leah Finch, John M. Grandy Elementary School
Rhonda Epling, Pole Green Elementary School
Amy Woodword, Mechanicsville Elementary School
Debbie Arco, Chickahominy Middle School
S. Scott Baker, Chickahominy Middle School
Vincent D’Agostino, Atlee High School
Teresa Keck, Henry Clay Elementary School
Patricia Miller, Gandy Elementary School
Paul Vecchione, Patrick Henry High School
Katina Otey, Ridge Elementary School
Herbert Monroe, Lakeside Elementary School
Sharon Pope, Harry F. Byrd Middle School
Andrew Armstrong, John Rolfe Middle School
Elizabeth Armbruster, Hungary Creek Middle School
Pamela Bell, Jacob Adams Elementary School
Ingrid Grant, Ratcliff Elementary School
Tracie Omohundro, Varina High School
William Parker, Henrico High School
Aaron Spence, Deep Run High School
Kiwana Yates, Carver Elementary School
Rosalind Taylor, Woodville Elementary School
Brenda Phillips, John B. Cary Elementary School
Willie Bell, John Wythe High School
Thomas Beatty, former principal of Thompson Middle School
Beverly Britt, John Marshall High School
J. Austin Brown, Huguenot High School
David Hudson, Linwood Holton Elementary School
Michael Kight, Albert Hill Elementary School
Irene Williams, Fairfield Court Elementary School
November 10, 2015
(RICHMOND, VA) – At an awards ceremony held Monday evening, The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognized 34 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2015 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 102 teachers nominated by students, parents and colleagues, 16 winners and 18 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,100.
The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. For Evette Cartwright, a 5th grade teacher at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Richmond City, an R.E.B. Award of $11,900 will allow her to travel to Jamaica and Hawaii where she will take a deep dive into science topics covered by the 5th grade SOLs, including geology, oceanography and cultural anthropology.
Brian Letourneau, a history teacher at Hanover High School, goes above and beyond to embrace his students’ learning styles by supporting them on their terms – including late night emails, text reminders, and study sessions at Barnes & Noble. With his award of $11,900, Brian will deepen his understanding of our great nation by visiting the American Presidential Libraries and attending a history education workshop at Stanford University. Brian will share his experiences with students through videos, blogs and pictures of each historical site.
Culinary arts teacher at Chesterfield Technical Center, Sarah Jurewicz, engages her students by weaving art, science, math, reading and economics into her baking lessons. One of her students notes, “Ms. Jurewicz inspires me and challenges me in ways that no teacher has before.” With an award of $12,000, Sarah will explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.
Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of this year’s R.E.B. award recipients will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
Robert Warren Benway - LC Bird High School (CH) $9,000
To visit the top Maker Spaces in the San Francisco Bay area and attend the international Maker Faire in Singapore; and to visit Cambodia to determine how students can build prosthetics to help the victims of land mine accidents.
Polly Lynne Bosse - Kaechele Elementary School (HE) $11,500
To travel to Hawaii, with a stop in Los Angeles, to gain hands-on experiences and create a multimedia journal of sea animals, marine plants, and island culture.
Mary Victoria Carll - Open High School (RI) $11,800
To travel to Peru and Cuba in order to compare a country that has maintained its historical legacy and cultural and linguistic identities in the face of the 21st century against a country that is just now emerging into the global sphere.
Evette Upshaw Cartwright - G.W. Carver Elementary School (RI) $11,900
To travel to Jamaica and Hawaii to explore the oceanic regions of the East and West Coasts and study geophysical flows, specifically the atmosphere and oceans.
Stephanie Gianni Cochrane - Woolridge Elementary School (CH) $8,200
To travel to the Scottish Lowlands, highlands, and islands seeking inspiration within the landscape, architecture and castles, and the cultural tradition of storytelling.
Teresa Ann Cole - Short Pump Middle School (HE) $12,000
To improve research and writing instruction by traveling to England, France, Germany and Italy to study ancestral culture and history.
Mark Evan Dillon - Bailey Bridge Middle School (CH) $7,400
To experience the Lewis and Clark expedition by retracing their journey from St. Louis, up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, over the Continental Divide, down the Columbia River and to the Pacific Ocean.
Pamela M. Hall - Cosby High School (CH) $12,000
To lead her class in a virtual field trip/math project based learning activity that focuses on challenges faced by the youth in Richmond, Hawaii & Haiti; and to attend a National Geographic photo workshop.
Sarah Frances Jurewicz - Chesterfield Technical Center (CH) $12,000
To explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Erik Siegfried Leise - Atlee High School (HA) $11,800
To visit Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris to compare and contrast the Art Deco Movement and the Russian Constructivist Movement of the Early Modernist Period.
Brian Matthew Letourneau - Hanover High School (HA) $11,900
To create engaging U.S. history instructional materials based on information gleaned from the libraries of recent American presidents, a history education workshop at Stanford, and the International Society for Technology in Education conference.
Lauren Melton Lineweaver - Falling Creek Elementary School (CH) $8,100
To travel within the United States to experience cultural and historical landmarks which celebrate our country’s rich history.
Kelly Ann Pace - Atlee High School (HA) $10,800
To find writing inspiration by completing a street photography course and traveling to five U.S. cities, taking photographs of people and places in each location.
Kristen Mae Reynolds - Clover Hill Elementary School (CH) $9,200
To explore practical applications of student leadership by attending the Leader in Me Leadership Symposium; and to expand knowledge of global partnership/service leadership by touring Heifer International Global Village and working in Haitian communities.
Dawn Chentil Sherwood - Highland Springs High School (HE) $12,000
To travel to Antarctica and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to photograph wildlife and learn about the effects of climate change and sustainability issues.
Joy Marie Siegel - Shady Grove Elementary School (HE) $12,000
To research historical and current points of view of the English, Irish, Northern Irish, and Scottish about colonization, independence, and cultural adaptations through on-site visits, conversation and dance.
All finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.
Learn how to nominate your favorite teacher
Ever wonder how you might honor a teacher who has inspired, equipped, or encouraged you to succeed? Take a few moments to nominate an outstanding public school teacher for an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence and a chance to win a grant award of up to $12,000.
Through a nomination process, approximately 15 exceptional public school teachers are selected each year to receive cash grants to support professional development activities. Nominations are invited from parents, students, educators, and the community at-large. Award recipients have earned graduate degrees, climbed mountains, traced their ancestors and met peers from around the world - all to kindle their own passion for learning and to pass it on to their students.
“What the REB Award process did for me was reignite an excitement and energy for both my teaching and learning. The REB Award rejuvenated my focus and drive for education, and that effect flooded over into the successes of so many students I get to work with every year,” said Karl Lippa, 2013 REB Award Winner.
The program is based on the belief that a positive educational experience at the elementary, middle and high school levels helps children form positive life-long habits toward learning and discipline. Nominations are welcomed for public school teachers from the City of Richmond and Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the Department of Juvenile Justice in these localities.
Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bedden interviewed a recent REB Award winner Tiffany Floyd who plans to travel to Finland this winter. You can check out their interview here:
Interested in learning more about the REB Award process? Learn more and nominate a teacher:
Nominate a Teacher
by Susan Hallett, Vice President of Programs
On a chilly morning in January, I set off with my colleagues from Smart Beginnings, United Way, Bon Secours, YWCA and Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority up I-95 to Woodland Terrace, a public housing community in Southeast DC. Built in the 1960's, Woodland had a reputation for high crime rates and illegal activity, but when we arrived, the community was peaceful and the streets were empty. This lack of activity is a big change for Woodland and we quickly heard why from one of its residents – “there’s no one on the street because now everyone has someplace to go!”
The purpose of our trip to Woodland Terrace was to visit Smart from the Start, a family support, community engagement and school readiness program deeply embedded within the community. Cherie Craft, the founding Executive Director, grew up in public housing and understands firsthand the best approaches to engaging residents in these programs. She pointed out that too often we attempt to “parachute in” programs, which are usually ineffective because they do not include families and parents in the process. Smart from the Start, which began in Boston in 2008 and expanded to Washington D.C. in 2012, now offers 21 total programs ranging from early language and literacy activities to parent engagement and coaching.
The Community Foundation and a wide variety of community partners share a common interest in the future of our youth and the opportunity to improve access to quality child care, especially in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. We also believe our best chance of making progress is to work together and learn from the best. Our hope is that by sharing our key takeaways, you can become part of this learning journey with us.
1. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep getting the same result.
The mission of Smart from the Start is to prevent the academic achievement gap among young children living in the lowest income families and communities. To date, they have served over 2,000 children, ages 0-5, and their school readiness data is off the charts. So imagine our surprise when we learned that there was no daycare center for us to tour, no preschool classrooms, no early literacy programs. In Woodland, they chose to focus on friends and family care and worked to strengthen that network by infusing resources and quality. In Woodland, a housing unit has been converted into a Child and Family Development Center that provides prenatal programs, parenting classes and playgroups. A robust fatherhood initiative encompasses career development along with parenting support. In essence they are empowering families and caregivers with the tools and resources they need to break cycles of chronic school underachievement and generational poverty.
2. The whole-family and place-based approach works.
Smart from the Start looks at early childhood development and school readiness as a process that happens at the family and neighborhood level. The model is holistic, addressing issues within the community and the family first, while promoting the healthy development of young children. And the services are provided in the public housing community where families and children live. As noted by Rebekah Holbrook of the United Way, “Just being in the neighborhood and involved with the families increases staff’s opportunity to build trust, get feedback from clients in real time, and build up the capacity of the community to support itself.”
3. Trust comes from authentic community engagement.
At its core, Smart from the Start is about the power of relationships. Residents greeted us, eager to share about their experiences. Programs are customized to meet the needs of each community, as defined by the residents who live there. They are an integral part of program development and delivery from day one. With a commitment that staff reflect the diversity of the families they serve, some residents from Woodland are employed by Smart from the Start to facilitate and coordinate programming. There is also a large network of business partners that make donations, distribute books and information to families and offer play-to-learn stations.
As we work to tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges in our community – concentrated poverty, the educational achievement gap, quality healthcare, access to employment – it is easy to lose sight of our most powerful resource – people and relationships. How we show up as human beings and how we learn from others has a direct impact on our ability to affect change. I was reminded during a recent discussion with Reverend Alvin Herring, Director of Racial Equity and Community Engagement for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, that philanthropy is only effective when it is a reciprocal relationship, a partnership, and a mutual learning. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the members of the Woodland community and their partners at Smart from the Start.
Learn about the Foundation's collective approach to change
The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Leadership seek to recognize principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. Four principals are publicly recognized, one in each school district of the metropolitan area (i.e. the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the City of Richmond). Each award consists of a $7,500 cash grant to the principal and an additional $7,500 for school projects chosen by the principal.
Nominate a Principal
Click to learn about TCF's four strategic focus areas.
7501 Boulders View Drive
Richmond, VA 23225
P: (804) 330-7400
F: (804) 330-5992
© Sitemap | Conditions & Policies