How this Chesterfield teacher scares students to success

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- What would you do with $4,168? For a teacher at Manchester High School in Chesterfield County it was a no-brainer.

Dawn Slagle spent it on "higher education" for her students.

Slagle received a Making a Creative Difference in Education (MCD) grant for a ropes course experience and classroom materials for students participating in the Success program at Manchester High.

The Challenge Discovery, ropes challenge courses on the campus of the University of Richmond teaches participants how to work together on a series of problem solving, group decision-making, and positive risk-taking activities.

"This is an experience that I certainly couldn't emulate in the classroom within the confines of those concrete cinder block walls", Ms. Slagle said.  "And I wanted to show my students that it's okay to take healthy risks and to step outside your comfort zone.  That's really where we grow is when we step outside of our comfort zones and we're challenged."

Slagle works with 10th grade students at Manchester High School and manages the Success program for students who may need extra support towards being successful in high school.

Last year was her first year in the program, and she got to see first-hand the many obstacles students have to overcome and the many challenges these students face on a daily basis.

"I've already had students telling me 'Oh, I had this happen; I had three tests and an essay due tomorrow.  But, I'm like I did that ropes course 45-feet in the air so I can handle this.' That's awesome!"

The Chesterfield Education Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing quality pre-K-12 public education in Chesterfield, supports CCPS by awarding MCD grants to teachers and schools throughout the county.

If you know someone Building Better Minds in our community, send us their name and story.

It can be any school employee or student; anyone you think makes a difference in our local schools.