HCPS Superintendent Patrick Kinlaw featured in Education Department’s national discussion on teacher quality

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Henrico Schools Superintendent Patrick Kinlaw shared some of the school division’s innovative practices with other educators at an invitation-only event at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington on May 10. The listening session brought together educational leaders from across the nation to share locally driven ideas about the recruitment, development and retention of effective teachers.

Kinlaw talked to attendees about three recent HCPS initiatives: the school division’s Learning Leaders program, which focuses on teacher quality, recruitment and incentives; the HCPS Teacher Scholars initiative for high school seniors; and the division’s “Un-Initiative” policy-housecleaning program.

“It was great for Henrico to be included in the experience,” said Kinlaw. “Not just for the recognition and acknowledgement of our work, but for the opportunity to hear firsthand about some amazing things underway across the country or in development. Some of these innovative ideas may be a good fit for Henrico. I’m looking forward to sharing the information with HCPS staff and exploring where it may lead.”

More about the three HCPS initiatives:

HCPS’ Learning Leaders program used a federal grant to focus on teaching in eight high-need schools. The program focuses on developing effective teachers; recruiting and retaining teachers; and creating a performance-based incentive system. The program put HCPS in the forefront of setting learning targets for students, developing protocols for classroom observation, and providing teachers with in-class support.

The Teacher Scholars program was launched in 2015 as an innovative homegrown way of filling teacher vacancies in hard-to-staff subject areas such as math and Spanish. HCPS high school seniors interested in teaching careers apply to the annual program. After majoring in a relevant area, the students have a job with HCPS waiting for them upon graduation from college, as well as an extra payment when hired. The students commit to teaching in Henrico for at least three years. A video showing all of this year’s Teacher Scholars students being surprised with the good news now appears on the division’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HenricoCountyPublicSchools.

The Un-Initiative is a policy-housecleaning contest created by the superintendent to find and eliminate HCPS initiatives that have outlived their usefulness; thereby reducing the pressure on teachers. The name harks back to the “Uncola” 7-Up ads from the 1970s. HCPS employees suggest old practices that can be eliminated without hampering HCPS’ ability to operate at a high level.

Kinlaw, who has a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Virginia, was appointed the division’s superintendent in 2014. He joined Henrico Schools in 1997 and has held a variety of leadership positions within the school division.