Welcome!

I am in my thirty-third year of service representing the 36th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. I am a retired teacher and school administrator, having been employed by the Fairfax County Public Schools for nearly 30 years. Serving as your delegate is now my full-time focus.

This website is intended to assist us in communicating with each other. I hope that you will subscribe to my electronic newsletter, Virginia e-News, that is emailed every Wednesday. Each week I share my thoughts on a pressing issue or human interest item in the form of a commentary. Read this week’s commentary below. In the newsletter you’ll also find a bulletin board of local information and a calendar of events happening in our community.

Please let me hear from you on your needs and interests. I am honored to represent you and here to serve you as effectively as I can.

Ken Plum.

Delegate Ken Plum’s Commentary

Community Educational Resources

April 15, 2015

Photo of Delegate Ken Plum with Reston citizens planting a tree in his honor

Thanks to the residents of Brookshire Court who planted a dogwood tree in my honor.

As a former teacher and educator, I like what I have been seeing recently of the vast array of educational resources in our community. Most of the programs involve partnerships that make them possible and that contribute in many ways to making them successful. As is often the case, there is little that is brand new, but no apologies are needed for adopting ideas and programs that have proven successful. Nor should a program be abandoned simply because it has been around for a while if it is otherwise working.

Aldrin Elementary School in Reston (fcps.edu/AldrinES) cut the ribbon recently on a new branch of Middleburg Bank. The branch will be run by students and will serve students in the school. Not a new idea since many schools have real banks in them, but it is a program that I believe will contribute to financial literacy in a way that will stick with the children.

Likewise, I like what I see children learning about the environment through the efforts of teachers and volunteers working through NoVA Outside (novaoutside.org), an alliance of environmental educators. At a recent School Environmental Action Showcase at George Mason University, I saw the results of teams from across the region celebrate the “Green or Eco” work they are doing at their school and in their communities. The student teams applied STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts to real, authentic environmental problems they identified including reducing waste, conserving energy, providing habitat for animal species, creating sustainable food programs, cleaning watersheds, and others.

A program with which I was involved at its inception in 1975, the Volunteer Learning Program (http://www.fcps.edu/adulths/vlp/aboutvlp.html), continues to provide personalized volunteer tutoring to Fairfax County adults and court-involved juveniles who are seeking help to complete a high school credential while getting better prepared for work or further education. In addition to helping thousands of young people and adults to complete their education and get better jobs, the program is one of the most cost-effective in local government. A small staff of professionals trains caring and talented adults to provide tutoring to others allowing the program great flexibility in overcoming the complexities of learners’ locations throughout the county and their work and personal schedules. The learners are current or future parents of children in Fairfax County Public Schools. These children are bound to benefit because of the positive experiences of their parents in this program.

I taught another course this semester for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of George Mason University (http://olli.gmu.edu/). This is another program with which I was involved from the beginning. It uses its more than a thousand members to teach courses and to take courses across a wide range of intellectual pursuits. No one gets paid to teach, and no one gets credit for learning. No one complains because it is all about the fun of learning. And it is fun!

Our community is truly blessed with a wide variety of educational resources for learners of all ages. Let me know if you would like to get involved, and I can help steer you in the right direction.


For previous commentaries, visit the Virginia e-News archives.