Congratulations To Open High! Another Excellence Award

Open High School has been awarded a 2017 Board of Education Excellence Award.

This is the second tier in the Virginia Index Of Performance Awards. The VIP incentive program recognizes schools and divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the board. This means Open High also met all state and federal accountability benchmarks and made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities set by the board.

Oregon Hill is lucky to have such a great neighbor, which can trace its history (and protection) back to Grace Arents’ legacy.

Hopefully, this will add pressure to put ALL schools first. It would also be great to see Open High’s aging building get more fully renovated in a historically sensitive manner.

Put Schools First, Breaking Records and the Status Quo

While some Richmonders discuss how to deal wth the past, others are acting on its future.

The Richmond Crusade for Voters (a historic black civil rights group) gathered over 6,000 signatures on primary election day, which may be a new record for petitioning on one day! The signatures are for, a petition for a future voter referendum to make school modernization first priority in the City budget planning. It’s important to note that this is revenue-neutral and allows for proper adjustment with City Council’s input. For the petition language, please visit the website.

In addition, The Sierra Club Falls of the James, an (almost all white) environmental group, is supporting the petition/referendum campaign, adding that school modernization should include green building and solar energy (other Virginia localities like Charlottesville and Arlington are doing it, why not Richmond?).

Despite some of the projections in the local corporate media, this school modernization effort is not ‘against’ anyone, not Mayor Stoney, not his ‘Education Compact’. It is neutral other than stating that the status quo is unacceptable.
It’s worth noting the grassroots aspect of this and it comes after many previous grassroots movements, including from Oregon Hill’s Open High School.

Right now, the Richmond Crusade for Voters is reaching out to black churches across the City, and the Sierra Club is reaching out to like minded environmental organizations. Hopefully more progressive groups will reach across racial lines and join this very important school modernization effort. To paraphrase Dr. King again, If not now, when?

Open High Fundraiser Thursday

From a parent:

At Open High, students are grouped into families. As a school, we will be hosting an Art and Talent Show, to be held on from 5:30-8 pm on Thursday, June 1, at Clark Springs Elementary School.
We will have food, art work for sale, a fashion show, a hair show, dancing , spoken word, a taco bar and dessert for sale… all wrapped up into one evening with musical accompaniment.

Writer Anna Journey

Writer Anna Journey was recently interviewed for VCU News. A VCU creative writing alumna who now teaches at University of Southern California, she is becoming well now for her poetry and essays. Her latest work, “An Arrangement of Skin”, is receiving a lot of praise.

In the interview, she is asked about her time at VCU-

Living in Richmond, too, profoundly influenced my development as a writer. I moved from Northern Virginia to Richmond when I was 18 and left for my doctoral studies in Texas just before I turned 27. So I came of age in Richmond, became more of my adult self there. I don’t think I recognized how thoroughly the character of the city shaped my sensibility until I’d moved away. I lived for a number of years in Oregon Hill, just three blocks down from the Sothern Gothic sprawl of Hollywood Cemetery, so that landscape — of mortality, of lavish visual and historical density — lodged itself in my consciousness.

Open High Is On The List- Press Release On Proposal for Tax Credits For Schools

Press release today:

CONTACT: Rachel Cohen (Warner), 202-228-6884; Sarah Peck (Kaine) 202-228-1174


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Budget Committees, and Mark R. Warner, a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, will introduce the School Infrastructure Modernization Act to spur public and private investment in renovating active historic school buildings. This legislation amends the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit to apply to school buildings that continue to operate as schools. Under current law, the credit applies only for buildings renovated to serve a different function than before. This bill would waive this ‘prior use’ clause for school renovation projects, allowing school districts with aging infrastructure and tight budgets to partner with private entities to finance renovations that the districts otherwise would not be able to afford.

As Mayor of Richmond, Kaine led a coalition that found a novel way to apply the historic tax credit to finance the renovation of a closed public school and reopen it as the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, today one of America’s highest-performing public high schools. Older schools can often be renovated for less money than the cost of new construction. Preservation of historic schools provides students safe and modern facilities in which to learn; supports construction jobs; and maintains the historic character of communities. Warner has previously introduced this legislation with former U.S. Senator Jim Webb along with a dozen bipartisan House sponsors.

“When I was Mayor of Richmond, we used the historic tax credit to help repair and reopen a historic high school, turning it into a jewel of the public school system,” said Kaine. “This bill would make it easier for other cities and towns across Virginia and the country to rehab their own historic schools. This is a commonsense way to give students safer, modern spaces in which to learn while supporting construction jobs.”

“If we want our students to succeed, we need to invest in their learning facilities. This bill is a commonsense solution that creates a pathway for schools with tight budgets to receive the resources they need to renovate and modernize,” said Warner. “Many of these schools qualify as historic buildings, and under this legislation, those schools would be empowered to form private-public partnerships to increase classroom capacity and offer jobs to the surrounding community.”

The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program has played a role in rehabilitating historic structures and revitalizing communities for more than 35 years. In the Commonwealth alone, the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) has helped restore more than 1,200 structures since 1997. According to a 2013 analysis, approximately 40% of K-12 schools in Virginia – more than 800 schools – are at least 50 years old.

Examples of current and former Virginia schools that could be eligible for this tax credit are:

· Bland County – Rocky Gap High
· Bland County – Bland Elementary
· Bland County – Bland High
· Bland County – Rocky Gap Elementary
· Bristol City – Virginia Middle
· Bristol City – Stonewall Jackson Elementary
· Bristol City – Highland View Elementary
· Buchanan County – Grundy High
· Carroll County – Carroll County Education Center
· Grayson County – Grayson County High
· Grayson County – Fairview Elementary
· Grayson County – Bridle Creek Elementary
· Grayson County – Baywood Elementary
· Lee County – St. Charles Elementary
· Lee County – Flatwoods Elementary
· Lee County – Thomas Walker High
· Lee County – Jonesville Middle
· Pulaski County – Claremont Elementary
· Roanoke City – Addison Aerospace Magnet Middle
· Roanoke City – Woodrow Wilson Middle
· Roanoke City – Hurt Park Elementary
· Roanoke City – Breckinridge Middle
· Roanoke City – Stonewall Jackson Middle
· Roanoke City – Wasena Elementary
· Roanoke City – Morningside Elementary
· Roanoke City – Forest Park Academy
· Roanoke City – Forest Park Elementary
· Roanoke City – Noel C. Taylor Academy
· Roanoke City – Special Situation Schools
· Roanoke County – Clearbrook Elementary
· Roanoke County – Fort Lewis Elementary
· Roanoke County – Fort Lewis Elementary School
· Roanoke County – Back Creek Elementary
· Russell County – Lebanon Elementary
· Russell County – Castlewood Elementary
· Russell County – Castlewood High
· Russell County – Dante Elementary
· Russell County – Swords Creek Elementary
· Russell County – Cleveland Elementary
· Russell County – Belfast Elk Garden Elementary Annex
· Smyth County – Atkins Elementary
· Smyth County – Sugar Grove Combined
· Washington County – Washington Co. Technical
· Wise County – Union High
· Wise County – Central High
· Wythe County – Fort Chiswell High
· Wythe County – George Wythe High
· Wythe County – Rural Retreat Middle
· Wythe County – Sheffey Elementary
· Wythe County – Speedwell Elementary
· Clarke County – Boyce Elementary
· Clarke County – Berryville Primary
· Clarke County – D.G. Cooley Elementary
· Covington City – Covington High
· Rockingham County – John C. Myers Elementary
· Rockingham County – Linville-Edom Elementary
· Rockingham County – Dayton Learning Center
· Warren County – 15th Street School
· Warren County – A.S. Rhodes Elementary
· Winchester City – Garland R. Quarles Elementary
· Brunswick County – James S. Russell Middle
· Charlotte County – Early Learning Center
· Charlotte County – Bacon District Elementary
· Charlotte County – old Phenix Elementary
· Greensville County – Greensville County High
· Henry County – Sanville Elementary
· Henry County – Axton Elementary
· Henry County – John Redd Smith Elementary
· Lunenburg County – Kenbridge Elementary
· Lunenburg County – Victoria Elementary
· Martinsville City – Brown Street Gym
· Pittsylvania County – Southside Elementary
· Pittsylvania County – Stony Mill Elementary
· Pittsylvania County – Blairs Middle
· Pittsylvania County – John L. Hurt Elementary
· Pittsylvania County – Whitmell Elementary
· Alexandria City – Mount Vernon Elementary
· Alexandria City – T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus
· Arlington County – Hoffman-Boston Elementary
· Arlington County – Oakridge Elementary
· Arlington County – Tuckahoe Elementary
· Arlington County – McKinley Elementary
· Arlington County – Taylor Elementary
· Arlington County – Ashlawn Elementary
· Arlington County – Randolph Elementary
· Arlington County – Barcroft Elementary
· Arlington County – Abingdon Elementary
· Fairfax County – Fairview Elementary
· Fairfax County – Burke School
· Fairfax County – Mount Vernon High
· Fairfax County – Marshall Road Elementary
· Fairfax County – Flint Hill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Parklawn Elementary
· Fairfax County – Mantua Elementary
· Fairfax County – Poe Middle
· Fairfax County – Belvedere Elementary
· Fairfax County – Timber Lane Elementary
· Fairfax County – Quander Road School
· Fairfax County – Weyanoke Elementary
· Fairfax County – Bailey’s E.S.for the Arts and Sciences
· Fairfax County – Gunston Elementary
· Fairfax County – Glen Forest Elementary
· Fairfax County – Herndon Middle
· Fairfax County – Rose Hill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Irving Middle
· Fairfax County – Little Run Elementary
· Fairfax County – Cameron Elementary
· Fairfax County – Archer Elementary
· Fairfax County – Bucknell Elementary
· Fairfax County – Jackson Middle
· Fairfax County – Wakefield Forest Elementary
· Fairfax County – North Springfield Elementary
· Fairfax County – Waynewood Elementary
· Fairfax County – Keene Mill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Herndon Elementary
· Fairfax County – Mosby Woods Elementary
· Fairfax County – Ravensworth Elementary
· Fairfax County – Garfield Elementary
· Fairfax County – Haycock Elementary
· Fairfax County – Stratford Landing Elementary
· Fairfax County – Bren Mar Park Elementary
· Fairfax County – Washington Mill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Belle View Elementary
· Fairfax County – Twain Middle
· Fairfax County – Cooper Middle
· Fairfax County – Thoreau Middle
· Fairfax County – Woodlawn Elementary
· Fairfax County – Marshall High
· Fairfax County – Clifton Elementary
· Fairfax County – Braddock Elementary
· Fairfax County – Sandburg Middle
· Fauquier County – Warrenton Middle
· Fauquier County – W.C. Taylor Middle
· Loudoun County – Middleburg Elementary
· Loudoun County – Lincoln Elementary
· Loudoun County – Banneker Elementary
· Loudoun County – Douglass School
· Manassas City – Osbourn High
· Manassas City – Baldwin Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Truitt Intermediate
· Chesapeake City – Norfolk Highlands Primary
· Chesapeake City – Deep Creek Middle
· Chesapeake City – Hickory Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Southwestern Elementary
· Chesapeake City – B.M. Williams Primary
· Chesapeake City – G.A. Treakle Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Deep Creek Central Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Southeastern Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Edwin W. Chittum Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Great Bridge Primary
· Chesapeake City – George W. Carver Intermediate
· Chesapeake City – Crestwood Intermediate
· Chesapeake City – Crestwood Middle
· Hampton City – Benjamin Syms Middle
· Hampton City – Robert E. Lee Elementary
· Hampton City – Aberdeen Elementary
· Hampton City – Thomas Eaton Middle
· Hampton City – Mary Peake Center
· Hampton City – Moton Early Childhood Center
· Hampton City – Armstrong Elementary
· Newport News City – Hilton Elementary
· Newport News City – Huntington Middle
· Norfolk City – Granby High
· Norfolk City – Matthew Fontaine Maury High
· Norfolk City – Madison Alternative School Center
· Portsmouth City – Emily Spong Pre-School Center
· Portsmouth City – Cradock Middle
· Portsmouth City – William E. Waters Middle
· Portsmouth City – Old S. H. Clarke Voc. Ctr.
· Portsmouth City – Olive Branch Pre-School Center
· Portsmouth City – Mount Hermon Elementary
· Portsmouth City – Mount Hermon Pre-School Center
· Southampton County – Southampton Middle
· Suffolk City – Florence Bowser Elementary
· Suffolk City – Mount Zion Elementary
· Colonial Beach – Colonial Beach Elementary
· Lancaster County – Lancaster Primary
· Richmond County – Richmond County Intermediate
· Fredericksburg City – Original Walker-Grant Annex
· King George County – King George
· King George County – Potomac Elementary
· Spotsylvania County – Robert E. Lee Elementary
· Stafford County – Ferry Farm Elementary
· Stafford County – Gari Melchers Complex
· Albemarle County – Stone Robinson Elementary
· Albemarle County – Stony Point Elementary
· Albemarle County – Woodbrook Elementary
· Albemarle County – Broadus Wood Elementary
· Albemarle County – Benjamin F. Yancey Elementary
· Albemarle County – Virginia L. Murray Elementary
· Amherst County – Central Elementary
· Amherst County – Amherst Elementary
· Amherst County – Amherst Middle
· Amherst County – Amelon Elementary
· Amherst County – Amherst County High
· Bedford County – Boonsboro Elementary
· Bedford County – Stewartsville Elementary
· Bedford County – Science And Technology Center
· Bedford County – Huddleston Elementary
· Campbell County – William Campbell High
· Campbell County – Leesville Road Elementary
· Campbell County – Altavista High
· Campbell County – Rustburg Middle
· Charlottesville City – Venable Elementary
· Charlottesville City – Clark Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Beulah Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Chesterfield Community High
· Chesterfield County – Harrowgate Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Crestwood Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Enon Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Matoaca Middle East Campus
· Chesterfield County – Matoaca Elementary
· Dinwiddie County – Dinwiddie Elementary School
· Dinwiddie County – Midway Elementary School
· Dinwiddie County – Historic Southside High School Education Center
· Fluvanna County – Central Elementary
· Fluvanna County – Project Return/Fluvanna Co
· Fluvanna County – Palmyra Elementary
· Franklin County – Lee M. Waid Elementary
· Hanover County – John M. Gandy Elementary
· Hanover County – Henry Clay Elementary
· Hanover County – Battlefield Park Elementary
· Hanover County – Washington-Henry Elementary
· Hopewell City – Woodlawn Pre-School Learning Center
· King and Queen County – King & Queen Elementary
· King William County – Hamilton Holmes Middle
· Lynchburg City – Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle for Innovation
· Lynchburg City – William M. Bass Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Robert S. Payne Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Dearington Elementary/Innovation
· Lynchburg City – Perrymont Elementary
· Lynchburg City – T.C. Miller Elementary for Innovation
· Lynchburg City – Bedford Hills Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Paul Munro Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Amelia Pride Center
· New Kent County – 1930 High School
· Orange County – Lightfoot Elementary
· Orange County – Unionville Elementary
· Orange County – Redirection Alternative School Education
· Orange County – Special Situation Schools
· Orange County – Taylor Alternative School Education Complex Feeding Site
· Orange County – Vocational Agriculture Building
· Petersburg City – Peabody Middle
· Petersburg City – Westview Early Childhood Education Center
· Petersburg City – Blandford Academy
· Powhatan County – Pocahontas Middle
· Richmond City – Richmond Community High
· Richmond City – George W. Carver Elementary
· Richmond City – Swansboro Elementary
· Richmond City – Elkhardt Middle
· Richmond City – John B. Cary Elementary
· Richmond City – Summer Hill/Ruffin Road Elementary
· Richmond City – Woodville Elementary
· Richmond City – Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary
· Richmond City – Mary Scott Elementary
· Richmond City – Westover Hills Elementary
· Richmond City – Southampton Elementary
· Richmond City – George Wythe High
· Richmond City – A. V. Norrell Annex
· Richmond City – Huguenot High
· Richmond City – E.S.H. Greene Elementary
· Richmond City – G.H. Reid Elementary
· Richmond City – Armstrong High
· Richmond City – A. V. Norrell Elementary
· Richmond City – Fairfield Court Elementary
· Richmond City – Amelia Street Special Education School
· Richmond City – John Marshall High
· Richmond City – Maymont Pre-K Center
· Richmond City – Mary Munford Elementary
· Richmond City – Ginter Park Elementary
· Richmond City – Thomas Jefferson High
· Richmond City – Franklin Military Academy
· Richmond City – J.E.B. Stuart Elementary
· Richmond City – Patrick Henry Elementary
· Richmond City – Binford Middle
· Richmond City – Albert Hill Middle
· Richmond City – George Mason Elementary
· Richmond City – Bellevue Elementary
· Richmond City – Open High


It should be noted that this has been proposed before. It also comes as the Richmond Crusade For Voters is planning its campaign.

VCU Announces “No Car Protocol” For First-Year Students

BEGINNING WITH THE FALL SEMESTER 2017, Virginia Commonwealth University will employ a “No Car Protocol Protocol” for first-year residential students.

You can go to this linked website for more details, but here are some summary statements:

The university encourages the involvement of students in the first year on-campus experience, supports a pedestrian-friendly, residential campus, supports a reduction in the campus carbon footprint, and encourages use of alternate transportation.

Parking decals cannot be purchased by other students for first year residential students. Violations of the protocol are pursued through student codes of conduct and/or revocation of future parking privileges.

Across schools that do not allow first year students to have cars there are certain exceptions. These exceptions include medical conditions, disabilities, employment, over 21 years of age, military reservists and other extenuating situations.

Students who can demonstrate a compelling need or who would suffer undue hardship due to this Protocol can petition for a waiver. Waivers are reviewed by a committee of staff and students and will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Freshman Residents have several options to get around without a car: VCU RamRide, VCU Ramsafe, VCU Ramcharter, VCU Ramaway, VCU Rambikes, Transit Passes, Go Green.