Yale University and a Richmond teacher team up to help make school exciting

Posted at 2:23 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 10:29:57-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Fifth grade Mary Munford Elementary student Elijah Robins joined his teacher Valerie Schwarz on a learning trip to Yale University.

Schwarz goes to Yale every year to learn new ways to teach her students. She said the Yale Initiative has become a passion project for her and to see students like Elijah excel makes her come back to the program year after year.

"The teachers learn stuff at a really high level and then we figure how to bring it down to our students," Schwarz said. "It's really rewarding. It's academic stimulation. I almost left the classroom years ago because it was boring. I was getting in a rut because it was the same curriculum over the years."

Elijah called his class about space anything but boring.

"All the other space classes I've had just seem dull compared to this," he said.

His learning of space isn't just helping his grades, it's helping his communication skills.

Schwarz invited Elijah to speak at Yale as well as learn.

"It was exciting. Thrilling. And nerve-wracking at the same time," Elijah said. "It has helped me with the speeches I've given for vice president and president of the SCA. I know it will help me later in life."

Elijah isn't alone as other Richmond-area teachers and students have gotten involved. Schwarz said she was excited to see where the program takes them.

"The real benefit is when we teach the unit to our students. And seeing what they've learned from it and how much they enjoy it," she said.

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