Life skills class gets out in the world

Published 1:50 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

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At Randolph-Henry High, some of the classes are trying new ways of learning, getting students out of the classroom and to places they can see things firsthand. 

That was the case back on March 20, when the class took a trip to the Richmond Metro Zoo. Going over to learn about adaptations in nature and survival needs, the group had their trip sponsored by the Randolph-Henry Class of 1968. 

“Mrs. Tharpe has made a concentrated effort to get her students out and about more this year than ever,” Randolph-Henry Principal Erin Davis said. “She finds places that are accessible for her students so that she can teach them content while also teaching them important life skills.” 

We’ve spotlighted a couple of these experiences earlier in the school year. The group has gone on shopping trips to the grocery store or Sam’s Club, they’ve helped pack bags for the ‘Operation Food and Friendship’ program at Phenix Elementary and they’ve done mini internships at Charlotte Learning Center and Tote Boys, working to help in different ways. Back in November, the group invited family, friends and school staff to a brunch, where the students put together the whole meal. 


The Life Skills class is designed to help students grow and develop outside of the classroom. They can learn how to work together as a team, fix food in the kitchen, fix equipment, prepare for and present events. They can also learn in different ways about how nature and the world outside of class works. 

More than that, projects like this in Charlotte County are gaining attention not just in the region, but across the state. We’ve mentioned before how Charlotte County Public Schools excelled in Standards of Learning test scores. The district ranked 18th in Virginia this year, beating out dozens of larger groups. Also, unlike every district around, not only are absence numbers dropping in Charlotte schools, some are falling below pre-pandemic levels. Here is where the Life Skills project and other such programs come in. They give students something to experience hands-on. 

In the state’s Chronic Absenteeism task force meetings this past fall, those “hands-on” projects were mentioned as ways to get more students engaged. It’s been recommended that other districts take a page from Charlotte and similar places, where the data shows these concepts are working.