Brothers United

Zyan Bertrand, 8, and his mentor Damon Richardson check out reptiles during Brothers United gathering at Science Museum of Virginia on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Richmond Public Schools is launching Brothers United, a city-wide initiative that offers mentoring opportunities to young men of color through relationship building and leveraging partners within the Richmond community.

Mentorship program for girls expanding in Richmond schools

RICHMOND — Richmond Public Schools is expanding its mentoring program for young women of color.

The school system has partnered with Girls For A Change, a nonprofit aimed at empowering young women of color in the region, to offer mentorship to students.

The program will be at the following schools: Albert Hill, Binford, Boushall, Elkhardt-Thompson and Martin Luther King Jr. middle schools and Armstrong, Huguenot, John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson high schools.

“We are fortunate to have so many community partners who continue to invest in and uplift our students,” said Superintendent Jason Kamras. “We cannot do this work alone and we are grateful for partnerships, such as Girls For A Change, who continue to show up for our students.”

The nonprofit has partnered with the city school system for the past decade.

“Girls For A Change is proud to partner with RPS,” said Angela Patton, CEO of Girls For A Change. “We are committed to the emerging movement for girls, specifically young women of color in RVA.”

Earlier this year, the school system expanded a citywide mentoring initiative for young men of color called Brothers United. That program is at Chimborazo, Miles Jones, Oak Grove and Woodville elementary schools this year.

“At RPS, we strongly believe that we will only be successful and improve learning outcomes for students through deep partnerships with families and the community,” said Shadae Harris, the school system’s chief engagement officer. “We recognize that in order to do this, we have to acknowledge the many reasons why some families and educators can remain separate from each other, and put building meaningful and trusting relationships with our families and communities at the center.”

VCU professor’s project lands $1M to make ‘perfect’ molecule

RICHMOND — A Virginia Commonwealth University professor is leading a research team that was awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to use artificial intelligence to come up with the “perfect” molecule. The team includes colleagues at University of Richmond and the University of Florida.

D. Tyler McQuade, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at VCU’s College of Engineering, is the principal investigator of the multiuniversity project. If created, the molecule could be used for everything from a better shampoo to coatings on advanced microchips, according to a VCU news release. University of Richmond chemistry professor Carol Parish is serving as a co-principal investigator on the project.

The researchers received $994,433 from the NSF. McQuade and other team members will pitch their prototype in March in a bid for additional funding of up to $5 million over five years.

“We want to essentially make the Alexa of chemistry,” said Adam Luxon, a 2016 graduate of the University of Richmond and a doctoral student in VCU’s Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering who has been involved in the project from the beginning.

Hanover schools recognized for parent-teacher organizations

ASHLAND — Two Hanover schools have earned national recognition for their parent-teacher organizations.

Chickahominy Middle School and Pole Green Elementary School were named National PTA Schools of Excellence. They are two of 326 schools across the country to earn the distinction.

“It is an honor to work with such a dedicated group of individuals serving the school and community,” said Chickahominy Middle Principal Mark Beckett. “To receive the National PTA School of Excellence Award is a testament to their commitment of building strong working relationships among parents, teachers and the community to support the students of Chickahominy.”

Said Pole Green Elementary Principal Rhonda Voorhees: “Pole Green Elementary School’s recognition as a National PTA School of Excellence is evidence of the collaboration between our school and PTA to support student success and learning experiences. The parent participation with the survey provided our PTA with ideas to support students and families with school engagement through fun activities and increased awareness of language translation opportunities for parents.”

Clover Hill wind ensemble will play at Carnegie Hall next year

MIDLOTHIAN — The wind ensemble at a Chesterfield County high school has been chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Clover Hill High School’s wind ensemble, under the direction of Brianna Gatch, will perform at the famous music venue during the New York Invitational Music Festival on April 9.

The ensemble, which has 41 students, will become the first in the county to perform at Carnegie.

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— From staff 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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