Skip to content

We spoke with (left to right) Raye Rector (Director of Gifted and Federal Programs), Courtney Grady (Freshman at Longwood University and Class of 2019 Graduate from GHS), Bruce Watson (Director of Career and Technical Education), Brandon Avram (Junior at GHS), Demond Morris (Senior at GHS), and Beth Fowler (Director of School Counseling at GHS) from Goochland County Public Schools about experiential learning in their division. GCPS offers a variety of educational opportunities designed to make sure that all students are ready for life after high school, including programs supporting college and career readiness. Listen to learn about the importance of these programs for helping all students feel a sense of connection and purpose in school. Hosted by David Naff (MERC Assistant Director).


We spoke with (left to right) Merv Daugherty (Superintendent), Isabelle Battle (Class of 2019 Graduate of Academy 360), Michelle Wilder (Assistant Principal at Carver College and Career Academy), Laura Faulcon (Assistant Principal of Alternative Programs), and Sharonda Smith (English Teacher at Academy 360) about alternative education in Chesterfield County Public Schools. CCPS offers a variety of alternative education programs to meet the needs of their large and diverse student body. Listen to learn more about the mission of alternative education, who benefits from these programs, and how they fit into the broader vision of equity for the division. Hosted by David Naff (MERC Assistant Director).


We spoke with Diane Lewis (Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Program Specialist with VDOE Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU), Torrey Manson (PCPS Director of Special Education), Phyllis Haynes (Co-Director VDOE Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU), and Kelly Tobe (PCPS Director of Teaching and Learning) about the LETRS initiative in Petersburg City Public Schools. LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) is a flexible literacy professional development for teachers that shows how reading, writing, and language are related. Listen to learn more about this program and how it has impacted teaching and learning in Petersburg. Hosted by Cindy Sinanian (Hanover Teacher).


We spoke with (left to right) Candice Burrell (Special Education Teacher at Atlee High), Brian Maltby (Discipline Hearing Review Officer), and Dana Gresham (Director of Professional Development, Leadership, and Federal Programs) from Hanover County Public Schools about their Equity Day initiative. This one day professional development provides training and support for teachers, administrators, and student support personnel across the division, bringing in community engaged research and guest speakers focused on educational equity. Listen to learn about how the idea for this initiative emerged, what they hope to accomplish in its first year, and the "equity challenge" they have put forth for participants in the upcoming school year. Hosted by David Naff (MERC Assistant Director). 


We spoke with (left to right) Darryl Williams (Engagement Coordinator), Derrick Bates (Teacher at George Mason Elementary), Joel Grimaldo (3rd Grade Student at George mason Elementary), and Tamika Massie (Engagement Specialist) from Richmond Public Schools about their Brother's United Mentoring Program. This program pairs mentors with young men of color in RPS, with a current focus on elementary school students. There are plans to expand the program to other schools in the division in the coming years. Listen to learn more about how this initiative launched in RPS, how the division sees mentoring as a vehicle for advancing educational equity, and the impact it has already made on the lives of students and mentors. Hosted by David Naff (MERC Assistant Director).


We spoke with (left to right) Ethan Kramer (High School Senior), Amber Foos (Physical Education Teacher), Eli Tiller (Class of 2018 Graduate), Sara Meade (Special Education Teacher), Seth Rogers (Class of 2019 Graduate), and Lauren Llewellyn (University of Florida Freshman and Class of 2019 Graduate) from Powhatan High School about their adaptive physical education program. This program helps provide access to physical education for students with physical and intellectual disabilities by pairing them with peer buddies in the school. Listen to learn more about how this program has connected students across PHS. Hosted by Melissa Cuba (MERC Evaluation Specialist). 


We spoke to (left to right) Robyn Clark (Business Teacher at Highland Springs High), Monica Manns (Director of Equity and Diversity), Sofia Simmons (Freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University and Class of 2019 Graduate from Henrico High), and Veja Murray (Senior at Highland Springs High) about the Equity Ambassadors program in Henrico County Public Schools. This program brings together student representatives from each of the high schools in Henrico County who are charged with launching initiatives to advance equity in their schools. Listen to learn more about the impact that this program is already making across the division in its inaugural year, as well as how they plan to build on that momentum. Hosted by David Naff (MERC Assistant Director).


In this episode of Abstract we discussed the final report from our , titled "." The episode featured (left to right) Brian Maltby (Disciplinary Hearing Review Officer for Hanover County Public Schools), David Naff (Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation for MERC), Marcie Terry (Principal from Chesterfield County Public Schools), and Ashlee Lester (research assistant and PhD candidate from the VCU School of Education). We discussed the findings of the study, what we learned along the way as a research and study team, and how we hope this report will help inform research, policy, and practice in school discipline. 


 This panel discussion at the Philosophy of Education Society Conference in March 2019 featured Doris Santoro from Bowdoin College (author of Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay), Winston Thompson from Ohio State University (host of the podcast PIPEline), Allison Fleming (teacher from Hanover County Public Schools), Jesse Senechal (Director of MERC and author of Understanding Teacher Morale), and David Naff (Assistant Director of MERC and host of the podcast ). The panel discussed how to connect educational philosophy, research, and practice to help teachers stay in the profession.


Jonathan Walker (Richmond), LaRon Scott (VCU SOE), Bruce Fillman (Chesterfield), Meredith Parker (Powhatan), and Allison Fleming (Hanover) discuss teacher retention, the topic of MERC's newest study.


Blue button that reads