Gov. Ralph Northam greeted Destin Theurn as he arrived for the first day of school at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School, Tuesday, 9/4/2018.

Education leaders will meet to focus on equity

RICHMOND — Virginia’s education leaders will meet for a two-day event focused on equity in public schools.

The Virginia is for All Learners Education Equity Summer Institute from the Virginia Department of Education is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

“Embracing equity means understanding that every student comes to school with their own set of unique needs and abilities, and that it is our responsibility as educators to provide whatever instructional and support services each student needs to succeed and achieve their fullest potential,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “Equity is the lens through which we should view every student and every outcome and statistic.”

Gov. Ralph Northam is scheduled to speak to attendees — a mix of teachers, school administrators, school board members and K-12 policymakers — at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Other speakers include Rodney Robinson, a Richmond teacher who was named National Teacher of the Year in April; U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-3rd; Black Entertainment Television executive Tiyale Hayes; and Howard University professor Cristóbal Rodríguez.

On Monday, the state Education Department is hosting a Digital Equity Summit, also at the convention center. The summit will focus on expanding access to broadband for students.

“Virtually all Virginia students now have classroom access to high-speed internet capable of supporting digital learning and one-on-one computing,” Lane said. “Our challenge now is to address the digital divide in homes and communities, especially in urban and rural school divisions.”

Richmond’s Albert Hill Middle has new principal

RICHMOND — Albert Hill Middle School has a new leader.

Richmond Public Schools announced Tashiana Ivy as the new principal of the Museum District middle school last week. Cherita Sears, who led the school for two years permanently and one as interim, was named the new principal at Thomas Jefferson High School last month.

Ivy served as an assistant principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in the city’s East End before taking over Hill. The Spelman College and Virginia Commonwealth University alumna taught for 11 years as a middle and high school science and math teacher.

VCU announces winner of award for debut novel

RICHMOND — Virginia Commonwealth University has announced the winner of the 2019 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.

The award honors a debut novel published during the preceding calendar year. This year’s winner is Ling Ma for her book “Severance,” which tells the story of an isolated young woman in New York City who is the last person to abandon her job after an infectious disease sweeps across the world.

The prize is in its 18th year. The other finalists were Lydia Kiesling for “The Golden State” and Andrew Martin for “Early Work.”

VCU will present the award to Ma at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the James Branch Cabell Library Lecture Hall (Room 303).

UR is recognized for sustainability efforts

RICHMOND — The University of Richmond has been commended for its sustainability efforts.

The university earned a STARS Gold rating for the first time from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS (the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) is based on academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

“This gold rating is invaluable as an evaluation of past performance, as well as a baseline for measuring future sustainability efforts,” said Rob Andrejewski, UR’s director of sustainability.

The university announced plans last academic year to become the first college in the Southeast to match 100% of its electricity needs with solar energy.

VCU professor will work to improve ‘science talk’

RICHMOND — A Virginia Commonwealth University professor has received a grant to improve science learning in middle schools.

Christine Lee Bae, a professor in the Department of Foundations of Education, was awarded $1.03 million from the National Science Foundation to strengthen how science is learned in urban middle schools, specifically focusing on the scientific discourse in the classroom.

“This project is based on the idea that science talk is at the heart of science learning,” she said. “Specifically, the project aims to support science talk that productively builds upon and integrates diverse students’ knowledge and experiences, that in turn will promote equitable access to engagement, motivation and learning in science.”

The five-year grant will be implemented in about 15 local middle schools.

UR professor gets grant for Olympic research

RICHMOND — A University of Richmond law professor has been awarded a grant for Olympic research focused on human rights and anti-corruption law.

Andrew Spalding received the grant from the International Olympic Committee to support his project, “France’s Implementation of the Host-City Contract’s New Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Provisions: Implications for Development and Legacy in France and Beyond.”

Spalding currently chairs the Olympics Compliance Task Force. He has taught at UR since 2012.

“This project will examine the measures taken in the first two years of Paris 2024 preparations to put the new anti-corruption and human rights provisions into practice,” Spalding said. “This research can identify new ways for sports to promote social development and will build the foundation for a legacy of governance promoting accountability, transparency and human rights that go beyond sport and will last after the games are over.”

Officials remove video of Va. school in disrepair

NORFOLK — A video journalism report by students showing the crumbling conditions at Virginia’s oldest high school has been taken off the school’s YouTube channel.

Two recent graduates had filmed crumbling areas of Maury High School in Norfok for the last “Commodore News” broadcast of the academic year, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Their video, which was posted in late May, included images of plaster flaking from ceilings and numerous potholes in the parking lot.

Administrators ordered the students’ journalism project taken down from the school’s news channel on YouTube. A spokeswoman said the district’s executive director and the school’s principal “collaboratively made the decision.”

Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery, is a delegate from Southwest Virginia and a former journalist. The Pilot said he described that decision as censorship “beyond the pale.”

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— From staff and wire reports

Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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