- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:05
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:05
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Historic Stratford Hall, the Westmoreland County plantation that was home to the Lee family of Virginia, last
week hosted more than two dozen high school teachers from across the state and from far away as Texas,
Ohio and California.
It was the sixth annual Stratford Hall Teacher's Institute and the subject this year was: The environmental
history of the Virginia Tidewater from the 1300s to the 1700s. "We were pleased and honored to host 25
teachers from around the nation," said Jon Bachman, Stratford Hall's public events director.
"If success is judged by the intellectual quality of the academic instruction, and the warm engaging
conversation then this year’s Institute was a striking success," Bachman said. The conference, which was held
July 20 through 23, was designed to help teachers who work daily to motivate and encourage students in
subjects like history and the environment.
The summer teacher institute is a sponsored educational opportunity on the grounds of Stratford Hall for public
school teachers of the social studies, geography, environmental studies, government and history in the fourth
grade through high school.
"The Teacher Institute presents nationally respected scholars and practical information for classroom teachers
offering engaging and insightful seminars," Bachman said. "It is our belief that through enriching subject areas
teachers can build memorable and useful lessons."
This year two historians and two geographers talked with teachers about the realities facing early English
colonists as they encountered the difficulties of survival against the backdrop of a climatic period known as the
Little Ice Age on Virginia 1300 AD to 1700 AD. The Little Ice Age period was one of drastic and dramatic
climatic swings, according to Bachman.
Bachman said It is believed that these swings in turn brought about significant historic changes to the
indigenous peoples throughout tidewater Virginia as well as well as adding to the difficulties of experienced by
the early English colonists.
"These drastic weather patterns affected almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to
use the fullseason warm climatic periods with the growing season shortened by one to two months compared
to present day," Bachman said. "To understand the history of a place is to understand the fundamental role
that geography and climate plays in the decision making of the inhabitants."
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:51
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:51
- Hits: 85
Parents and students celebrated the 2016 Matematica program at Montross Middle School on
July 20. Fiftyfour parents and students met to meet the teachers and look at the work the
students produced during the summer session. For the past 10 summers, ELL students have
studied a different country and explore its culture, history, language, and cuisine. This year the
students studied Mexico. The Montross Middle School food service department catered a
Mexican feast with authentic Mexican rice and salsa. After dinner, students displayed their work
in the cafeteria where parents could freely walk around and look at the progress they made this
summer. Additionally, the families received information about the upcoming school year and
each child received a book bag filled with school supplies and hygiene kits. Esmeralda Medina
is the ELL/MEP coordinator.
Patty Kelly Long
Westmoreland County Public Schools
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:41
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:40
- Hits: 106
Two Washington & Lee High School GEAR UP students, Hazen Shryock and Destiny Crockett,
and their parents, Julia Shryock and Towanda Smith, represented the Virginia delegation at the
National Council for Community and Education Partnerships conference in Washington, DC on
July 1720, 2016 The students were selected by their 8th grade teachers at Montross Middle
School to attend the Youth Leadership Summit . The YLS provides a high quality, national
–level interactive training experience and peertopeer learning opportunity for ninth to 12th
grade high school students who are currently participating in GEAR UP programs. This year 150
students were selected from across the United States and Guam to attend.
“Everyone has a story. Let GEAR UP be your outlet to express it,” Destiny Crockett noted when
asked about her time at the conference. “The best way to sum up my NCCEP/Gear Up
conference experience was that it was empowering. I can start by saying I am truly honored to
be able to be given the opportunity. To be able to work with so many amazing people from all
over was the highlight of my trip. When going up there I didn't think three days would teach
anyone as much as it taught me. Being a part of the conference taught me, to not be so much of
a quiet leader, but to speak up and take charge when it is necessary. NCCEP/ Gear Up
conference is something I would definitely attend again.”
Westmoreland County is proud to have had two students selected for this honor. Sponsored by
Texas Instruments, the training offered students the opportunity to “maximize and identify their
individual leadership skills, create a supportive network of leaders with other GEAR UP
students, launch discussions about issues that affect them every day, and receive the tools and
training to create lasting, positive changes to improve their communities.” Hazen and Destiny
also were part of the closing plenary program which focused on the YLS students and their
contribution to GEAR UP. Each YLS student received a special advanced calculator from Texas
Instruments to help them achieve their goals.
Washington & Lee High School GEAR UP parents Julia Shyrock and Towanda Smith attended
the Parent Leadership Institute. The three day program sponsored by the College Board and
delivered in partnership with the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, the PLI included a
variety of skill building and networking opportunities for the parents and family leaders involved
in the local and state levels of GEAR UP partnerships. Towanda Smith stated,” GEAR UP is a
program that demonstrates what’s possible, even when you think it’s impossible. The NCCEP/
Gear Up conference was an amazing experience, to see all nationalities come together from all
over, for one goal, in a short time framework was awesome. The bond that was created in three
days between the parents and the youth in the Leadership Summit was unbelievable. The
Parent Leadership Institute provided so much information for the parents with getting your kids
ready for college. I learned so much about the GEAR UP program and preparing the kids for
success at college. I'm excited and very thankful that Patty Long assisted my daughter and me
with the experience.” The PLI introduces and engages parents in the many facets of college
readiness. The parents thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to working with
other GEAR UP parents this upcoming year. An additional highlight of their venture was a tour
of the Washington, DC monuments sponsored by All Aboard Travels.
Erin McGrath, GEAR UP Senior Coordinator/Program Director, State Council of Higher
Education for Virginia, stated, “The goal of GEAR UP’s Parent Leadership Institute is to work
with parents to promote positive change in their children, school and community. The goal of
GEAR UP’s Youth Leadership Summit is to train students to act as leaders in their school and
community. Both communicate the message that college is possible for all students. By
sending two GEAR UP parents and two GEAR UP students to this year’s PLI and YLS in
Washington, D.C., Westmoreland County Public Schools has taken another step toward
creating a robust collegegoing culture in their school division.”
NCCEP is the U.S. Department of Educationdesignated technical assistance and training
provider for the state and partnership grantees that receive GEAR UP federal funds. As noted
throughout the conference, NCCEP’s goal is to excel, prove, and mobilize. This is a critical time
for GEAR UP and the overall college readiness environments. There is a great deal of unmet
need in our communities and by training the GEAR UP leaders it places GEAR UP as a well
positioned entity to serve and impact even more students. The national goal is a million
students; Westmoreland’s goal is 100 strong and engaging GEAR UP students.
Training seminars were offered to GEAR UP attendees throughout the three day event.
Attending for GEAR UP Washington & Lee High School were Stefanie Payne, GEAR UP Data
Manager for the upcoming year and Patty Kelly Long, GEAR UP District Director. Some of the
conference highlights were the screening of the film, “McFarland USA,” an inspirational film
about a coach who made a difference in a struggling school in California. Jim White, the cross
country coach, who inspired the film, talked to the audience about the making of the movie and
the impact it made on his community. Other speakers included Ranjit Sidhu, President and CEO
of NCCEP; Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation; Nick Cannon, actor and
TV executive, who dazzled the crowd with his improvisation skills and the “Power of
Storytelling;” the Reverend Jeffrey Brown, Baptist minister and President of Rebuilding Every
Community Around Peace, and the Youth Leadership members.
This exceptional conference opportunity was made available to the Washington & Lee High
School GEAR UP cohort by GEAR UP Virginia and SCHEV, the State Council of Higher
Education for Virginia.
By Patty Kelly Long, Westmoreland County Public Schools
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 11:31
- Published on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 11:30
- Hits: 1550
The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors has announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation has approved a $100,000 grant to help with the cost of the new James Monroe Timeline Walk in Colonial Beach.
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 11:25
- Published on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 11:16
- Hits: 766
Governor Terry McAuliffe and two of his children joined Westmoreland State Park in celebrating 80 years of service to the people of Virginia last week. The popular Westmoreland County state park is one of the original six Virginia State Parks opened in 1936.
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 12:53
- Published on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 12:48
- Hits: 462
After being forced to cancel First Friday and Market Day last month because of rain, organizers were determined to get the popular Montross monthly event underway last weekend.
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:19
- Published on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 11:54
- Hits: 696
Several weeks of rain in May slowed the local fruit and vegetables market temporarily, but Sisson's Produce in Montross is now open and preparing for a sizzling summer of selling fresh fruit and vegetables to area residents.