Work Groups of the Partnership

School Climate Work Group


  • To improve attendance and enhance student learning time, children must be stably housed; physically, mentally and emotionally healthy; well fed; in school; safe; and happy. The six work groups of the Petersburg City and Schools Partnership address these holistic needs.

    Stay up to date with work group initiatives and opportunities by reading the Work Group Connection newsletter.


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  • Community Education and Advocacy
    Co-Chairs: Frances Brown, Virginia State University; Renee Hill, Virginia State University; Annie Mickens, Petersburg Community

    The Community Education and Advocacy Work Group works to assist in bringing together school and community to better support Petersburg students, teachers and their families.

    Early Childhood

    Co-Chairs: Elizabeth DiStasio, Smart Beginnings Southeast; Kelly Tobe, PCPS;

    The Early Childhood Work Group works to unite early childhood systems in order to educate and empower families and the Petersburg community, ensuring that children prenatal thru 5 reach their full potential in school and life.

    Chairs: Pam Kestner, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development; Jameson McLaughlin, Downtown Churches United

    The Housing Work Group’s purpose is to create a sustainable system to identify homeless or at-risk students and stabilize their families.

    Out of School Time
    Co-Chairs: Marco Callendar, Petersburg YMCA; Wayne Crocker, City of Petersburg

    The Out of School Time Work Group’s purpose is to provide positive resources and programs for students and families during non-school hours, especially over holiday breaks.

    School Climate
    Chair:  Reshaud Rich, GEAR UP; Current Co-Chair Vacancy

    The School Climate Work Group’s purpose is to transform students’ systems of social and emotional support so they come to school ready to learn.

    Student Health and Well-Being
    Co-Chairs: Theresa Caldwell, Petersburg Wellness Consortium; Alton Hart, Virginia Department of Health-Crater Health District

    The Student Health and Well-Being Work Group’s purpose is to improve sustainable access to high-quality health care for Petersburg so children come to school ready to learn. The group also works to inform and mobilize the Petersburg community to advance trauma-informed schools, systems and organizations in order to help students and families reach a higher level of resiliency and well-being.