Autumn Town Hall: Supporting Our Schools

September 14, at 2016Temple Beth El, 3330 Grove Ave

This Town Hall Meeting was held to bring awareness of the needs of our schools to district residents.  It began at 6:15PM with refreshments and an opportunity to visit representatives from five schools:  William Fox and Mary Munford Elementary Schools, James Binford and Albert Hill Middle Schools and Thomas Jefferson High School.

Call to Order: 6:40PM

The President of the MDA, M.A. Powers, introduced herself and the speakers for the evening.  M.A. thanked Temple Beth El for the use of their facilities as well as others for contributing to the successful evening.


Fox Elementary:  PTA President Meg Stott and principal Daniela Jacobs both spoke of the strengths, challenges and needs at Fox.  The 105 year old building has had ADA accessibility added to it and has an experienced staff.  They list the community, active parents and racial and socio-economic diversity as their strengths.  Class size is their biggest challenge. Support for Fox Elementary can be given by attending their events (more info at, through the Howard Street Tutoring Project (contact and mentoring (contact the guidance counselor,

Mary Munford Elementary:  The PTA President, Rupa Murthy, spoke of the success Mary Munford has become thanks to determined and involved parents and neighbors.  Their enhanced playground is a community resource.  Mary Munford now focuses its outreach programs to coordinate with and/or benefit other RPS schools.  For a list of volunteer opportunities, contact Munford Volunteer Coordinator.  

Binford Middle School:  Liza Forness, PTA President, and Johnetta Guishard spoke about opportunities at Binford Middle.  In 2015, Binford became the first Art-Integrated middle school in the Commonwealth.  Binford opened with a new principal and vice principal last year and has experienced an increased student body reflecting a cross section of Richmond City children.  They are fundraising to implement a Mindfulness Program and to update the auditorium.  There are many opportunities to support the school.  To volunteer contact the via email at:

Albert Hill Middle School:  The PTA President, Anne Ewald, spoke about the specific challenges Albert Hill faces.  There is currently an interim principal and the school is not fully accredited in reading and math.  The PTA is active but many parents are unable to participate.  Volunteers are needed in many areas including grounds upkeep, mentoring and tutoring, office administration and the library.  More information can be found on the website, and on the school Facebook page.

Thomas Jefferson High School:  TJ Alumnus and Tee Jay Vikings Fund representative, Russell Flammia spoke about fundraising and news from Thomas Jefferson High.  The school is transitioning into an International Baccalaureate curriculum.  The PTSA is just beginning.  Churches are volunteering to feed children participating in after school activities.  The Tee Jay Vikings Fund supports many projects including academic scholarships, athletic uniforms and equipment, and white boards for classrooms.  Please visit: Tee Jay Vikings Fund website and the school Thomas Jefferson High School Website

School Board Representatives:  Mamie Taylor, 5th District Representative, and Dawson Boyer, 1st District Representative, spoke to some of the challenges facing the RPS.  They also answered questions from the audience.

The formal meeting was adjourned to allow attendees to meet with representatives from the school board, schools and PTAs until 8:30PM. 

Museum District residents welcome the teachers of Thomas Jefferson High School

On Wednesday the teachers and staff returned to Thomas Jefferson for the 2016-17 academic year. Museum District residents joined the PTSA and Boyer's Coffee to provide a delicious breakfast to over 100 members of the TJ Vikings family. Everyone that helped with breakfast was rewarded from helping our teachers start their year with a warm welcome. Go Vikings!

Thank you to the following residents and businesses that contributed to the successful breakfast:

Jan Shea, MA Powers, Sharon Considine, Cathy Linegar, Siri Wiggins, Melanie Buffington,Louise Turton, St Mark's Church, Jessie Reuben, Lillian Turner, Melinda Clapp, Caley Crawford, Buddy's Place, and Boyer's Ice Cream & Coffee.

Supply Drive for Thomas Jefferson High School was a Huge Success!

Thank you to Museum District residents and Holy Comforter Episcopal congregation for the tremendous donation of supplies. This photo just begins to show the amount and variety of supplies delivered to TJHS on Tuesday of last week. Temple Beth El is continuing gather items so there will be even more to deliver this week. Teachers will be greeted by this fabulous show of support when they return to school on Wednesday. Thanks also to our Belmont librarians who helped shuffle and sort through items brought in through their location. We really came through on this one!

School supplies requested now for Thomas Jefferson High School!

The MDA is beginning a direct partnership with our neighborhood schools. In this effort, Thomas Jefferson High School has identified several immediate areas of need. We will update you if additional schools reach out to us with specific needs. Remember: August 5-7 is Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Weekend. Click here for the list of tax exempt items.

Teacher supplies needed by August 15th
Donation box located at Belmont Library: 3100 Ellwood Avenue click here for library hours.

  • Pocket notebooks
  • Memo pads
  • Sticky notes
  • Highlighters
  • Staples
  • File Folders
  • Paper clips, assorted
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Gradebooks
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Thumbtacks 

Welcome Back teacher breakfast on August 24, 7:30 AM
If you are able to contribute the below breakfast items, please email

  • Muffins
  • Orange juice
  • Fruit trays
  • Coffee

Painting the main office
Several volunteers are needed to paint the main office before August 16. The area is not large but the ceilings are high. If you are able to help, please email

Office furniture needed for the guidance department
We are working on specific dimensions.
If you have a resource for free office furniture, please email

Thank you for your support as we rally around our neighborhood schools!