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.

Speakers

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 www.foxpta.org), through the Howard Street Tutoring Project (contact djacobs2@rvaschools.net) and mentoring (contact the guidance counselor, kbonapar@rvaschools.net).

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: binfordpta@gmail.com.

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.