Three ACPS staff members have been recognized as Champions of Children in the first annual Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission Champions of Children Awards.
Olga Wright, newly retired school nurse at Samuel Tucker Elementary School, Rhea Butler of the Advancement Via Individual Determination program and Cheryl Robinson, responsible for introducing cultural competency training to ACPS were all given the honor.
The award recognizes individuals who have been instrumental in implementing effective strategies that help to improve the lives of our children and youth in accordance with the Children and Youth Master Plan laid out by the City of Alexandria.
Olga Wright, a nurse for forty years with ACPS who retired this school year, was part of a team of leaders whose work led to a groundbreaking position statement that was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2016 that calls for a minimum of one full-time registered nurse in every school.
The success of the WOW Dental Bus and the continued practice of providing school entrance physicals to those families without insurance or the ability to pay can also be traced back to Olga’s work over the years to improve the health and wellbeing of Alexandria’s children. Olga was on the ground floor advocating for the model of school nursing endorsed by the AAP since her foundational work as the President of the Virginia Association of School Nurses in 1984. ACPS continues to embrace the model of a registered school nurse per school because of her advocacy thus ensuring Alexandria’s children receive the best health outcomes within the schools.
Wright has worked to support the ACPS mobile health van, Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Dental Bus, and helped to successfully gain access for her students at Samuel Tucker. Beginning next school year, the WOW bus will begin dental care for students at Samuel Tucker, thanks to her relentless advocacy.
Rhea Butler, AVID coordinator at T.C. Williams High School, is a key part of the AVID team. Through Rhea’s leadership at T.C. Williams, she has been able to increase the AVID elective recruitment and retention rate where it has tripled over the past five years. She supports students through mentoring and regularly advocates for increase opportunities such as their enrollment in Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes. She has been instrumental in developing a number of regular service opportunities with local organizations and has built a number of partnerships with Virginia college and universities.
This school year more than 500 ACPS students were enrolled in AVID at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, George Washington Middle School, Jefferson-Houston School and T.C. Williams High School. AVID has now been extended to elementary school at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. AVID helps students who may not otherwise consider college options meet their potential. Butler was a strong influence over this year’s 51 AVID seniors who amassed move than 3.2 mil on scholarships.
Cheryl Robinson is the Cultural Competence Coordinator for ACPS. Cultural competency is the vehicle through which equity is achieved. In an environment where equity exists, staff and students receive what they need in order to achieve the standards agreed upon by local, state and federal entities and the strategic plan goals.
The work of the three honorees is reflected in the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan goals of academic achievement and health and wellness.
Goal 5: Health and Wellness, which promotes efforts to enable students to be healthy and ready to learn.