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The “summer slump” is a real worry for Virginia teachers and lawmakers

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The “summer slump” is a real worry for Virginia teachers and lawmakers


School’s out for summer for most of Virginia public schools. And teachers are worried about learning loss.

After schools closed for the pandemic, test scores plummeted. Now, figuring out a way to address that learning loss is even more worrisome for teachers, administrators and legislators who are concerned about the summertime slump.

“What we find is that with the traditional summer break, many students are losing between two and three months’ worth of schooling that they’re needing to make up at the beginning of the next school year,” says Roanoke Delegate Sam Rasoul, who chairs the House Education Committee. “And with a robust summer school program, we’re helping to close that gap.”

He says school divisions should have more resources they could use for summer school. But Senator Schuyler Van Valkenburg, a Democrat from Henrico County who’s also a high school civics teacher, says it’s time to reimagine the summer break.

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“It’s really about reimagining the schedule so you don’t have this big two-and-a-half-month gap where we know that particularly kids that are lower down the economic scale tend to have more of a summer slump,” he says. “And so, I think reimagining the school year is probably the most effective way at getting at that slump.”

He points to schools in Richmond that have modified their calendar to have shorter summertime breaks and a more year-round schedule – a trend he says the General Assembly should encourage at divisions across Virginia as the best way to solve the summertime slump.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.





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Virginia Football: Any Significance to Tony Muskett Attending ACC Media Days?

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Virginia Football: Any Significance to Tony Muskett Attending ACC Media Days?


Is there any significance to Tony Muskett being chosen to represent the Virginia football team at the 2024 ACC Football Kickoff event this week in Charlotte?

The attendees for the ACC Football Kickoff were announced last week and joining UVA head coach Tony Elliott will be graduate defensive end Chico Bennett Jr., sixth year defensive end Kam Butler, and graduate quarterback Tony Muskett. Naturally, the question is being asked: why Tony Muskett and not Anthony Colandrea and does this decision at all reflect the current thinking as to who will be Virginia’s starting quarterback when the season begins in less than six weeks?

Elliott maintained throughout the spring that a decision has not been made between the two candidates, who both started six games for the Cavaliers in 2023 as Muskett dealt with injuries over the course of the season. There’s no doubt that Elliott did not intend for the decision to bring Muskett to ACC media days to imply that a starter had been named. In fact, Elliott has said multiple times that that decision won’t be made until fall camp, which is set to begin on July 31st. But if it’s any indication that Elliott and his staff are leaning Muskett’s way ahead of fall camp, we’re here to ask that question.

So, why was Muskett selected to represent Virginia if not because he’s expected to start at quarterback this fall? As compared to the rising sophomore Colandrea, Muskett is significantly older and more experienced and thus, better at fielding questions from the media. And there will probably be a number of questions posed at media days regarding the quarterback situation. Muskett attended ACC Kickoff last year and knows what to expect.

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That’s not to say that Colandrea isn’t good at handling the media, though he did have the memorable soundbite that included the quote “after we beat Virginia Tech” a few days before the Hokies dismantled the Cavaliers 55-17 in Colandrea’s first bitter taste of the Commonwealth Clash. That moment comes to mind, but Colandrea has otherwise handled the media well.

READ MORE: Five Cavaliers Poised for Sophomore Leaps in 2024

Another reason Muskett might have been chosen is that this is his final season of college football and his last chance to experience events like this. Whether he ends up the starter or not, Muskett is one of the veteran leaders of the team and it makes sense that he’s been chosen to be a voice to represent his teammates. Colandrea is undoubtedly the future of the program, though many UVA fans would hope that that future begins this season, but he’ll probably get multiple chances in the future to experience ACC media days, while this is Muskett’s last ride.

It should be noted, though, that four other ACC teams (Cal, Duke, North Carolina, SMU) have chosen to bring multiple quarterbacks with them to the ACC Kickoff. Virginia is only bringing three total players and there are other teams bringing four, or in the case of Duke and North Carolina, even five players in addition to their head coach to Charlotte. With that said, having both Muskett and Colandrea up at the podium likely would have done nothing but further encourage the media to ask questions about Virginia’s quarterback situation, questions Tony Elliott would have had to answer with his two quarterbacks sitting right beside him.

Ultimately, our verdict is that the decision to bring Tony Muskett to the ACC Kickoff is not strong enough evidence that Muskett is expected to start or that he even has the lead in the race for the starting job.

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The 2024 ACC Football Kickoff will take place from July 22nd to July 25th at the Hilton Charlotte Uptown in Charlotte, North Carolina. UVA is scheduled to appear at the event on Tuesday, July 23rd along with California, Pittsburgh, Stanford, and Virginia Tech. The ACC Network will have live coverage of the event on all four days.

ESPN Gives Fair Appraisal of Virginia in 2024 ACC Football Preview

Virginia Football Attendees for 2024 ACC Football Kickoff Announced

Virginia Football: Five Cavaliers Poised for Sophomore Leaps in 2024

Virginia Football: Jonas Sanker Makes Top 100 Players in EA College Football 25

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Family of fallen Navy SEAL holds Virginia Beach fundraiser to help veterans

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Family of fallen Navy SEAL holds Virginia Beach fundraiser to help veterans


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A Navy SEAL killed in action in 2003 was remembered in Virginia Beach Saturday.

Despite the rain, a group gathered at Back Bay Farmhouse to listen to words about IC1 Thomas Retzer.

“He always wanted to be a Navy SEAL even at like five, six, seven years old when we knew him. He got his dream. He got his dream,” said Ret. Navy Senior Chief and family friend Sam Moore.

Retzer was a Navy SEAL in California before moving to Virginia Beach and the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). His mom told News 3 she’s so proud of Retzer’s achievements.

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“You try really hard not to think about the scary parts and all you can do is be there and support him,” explained Retzer’s mother Leona Retzer.

Fears turned to reality in August 2003 when Retzer was killed.

“He was in Afghanistan and they were ambushed,” said Leona Retzer.

“I was sitting at home reading the newspaper, the pilot newspaper, one night and there was an article about Navy SEALs and the things they were doing and things they were trying to set up for SEALs that were KIA and Tommy’s name was mentioned in it and I had to stop reading it,” said Moore.

In the years since the family has made sure Retzer’s legacy lives on with the Thomas Retzer Memorial Foundation.

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“I cried long enough. It was time instead of mourning his life, it was time to celebrate it,” said Leona Retzer.

They held a fundraiser for the past ten years in California. This year they brought it to Virginia Beach. It was complete with a table set to remember those who hadn’t come home and a reminder to honor those who served.

“Keep your veterans in mind. Keep them smart. Keep them safe. Do whatever you can to help them. I know that some of them think the cliche ‘thank you for your service,’ it gets old. But to a lot of veterans it means something,” said Moore.

The money raised at Saturday’s fundraiser goes to help veterans pay for various expenses like bills and appliance repairs.





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Thousands of Virginians compete in 35th annual Commonwealth Games

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Thousands of Virginians compete in 35th annual Commonwealth Games


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – This weekend, 5000 athletes and over 15,000 spectators from across Virginia came out to Liberty University for the largest multi-sport festival in the state.

“We are basically Virginia’s Olympics. There’s just about something for everybody,” said Charity Waldron, the Director of Operations and Media Relations for Virginia Amateur Sports.

People of all ages compete in dozens of sports for Virginia Amateur Sports’ 35th annual Commonwealth Games.

“It truly is like the Commonwealth coming together,” added Waldron.

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Youth basketball dominated the courts on Saturday as teams competed for several hours.

“We hoopin as you can see, getting buckets, you know,” said Jayden Reid, a 10th grader from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake.

Reid is one of the players on team Ground & Pound from Portsmouth. The team has been competing in the games for over 5 years.

“Our team, we brothers,” said Reid. ”We’ve been playing with each other for like, since we was in second grade. So like we have a tight bond. It’s a family at the end of the day,” he said.

Ground and Pound coaches Chris, Anwan, and Kenny bring the team back each year because of that brotherly bond and the chance for the players to make more.

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“Just seeing all the kids together, all of them getting along. No altercations,” said Chris. “I liked that part of it because you get to meet people from other parts of Virginia that we normally wouldn’t get to see. So I think that’s a good experience for them and them just sharing stories and the camaraderie that go along with them.”

All three coaches agreed their favorite part of the weekend is how the impact on the players goes beyond the courts.

“They get the college experience,” said Chris. “It kinda makes them want to go to college by seeing the campus and a facility. So we definitely love that part of it.”

They’re confident in the team as the second day of the tournament wraps up.

“We’ve been playing great so far. You know, they’re coming together, they’re gelling at the right time. So I think we got a legitimate shot to go this year,” said Chris.

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Although the 2024 games wrap up this weekend, the competition, fun and new friendships will be back. Registration is open in January on commonwealthgames.org for anyone who wants to join the Virginia Olympics next year.



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