“Amy’s Passport” update charts progress on superintendent’s HCPS recommendations

Henrico, Va. June 27, 2019 – An update to Amy Cashwell’s recommendations for Henrico County Public Schools marks the division’s progress on a host of initiatives championed by the superintendent in her first year on the job. The digital update to “Amy’s Passport” reports on the goals outlined in the passport-themed document, which Cashwell presented to the School Board in December. July 1 will mark Cashwell’s first year as HCPS superintendent.

The report includes status updates divided into five sections: Teaching and Learning; Safety and Instructional Support Services; Equity and Diversity; Organizational Efficiency; and Financial Planning.

Fourteen goals were completed in the superintendent’s first year:

  • Testing: Formed an assessment work group to look at improving and streamlining Henrico Schools’ assessment system. The group will make recommendations this summer.
  • School climate survey: Surveyed students, staff members and families about their perceptions on safety, equity and inclusiveness. School leaders will get a dashboard to help them use the data.
  • Cultural sensitivity training: Starting with the 2019-20 school year, all HCPS staff members will complete annual online training on cultural sensitivity.
  • Equity and diversity plan: Hired a professional development specialist and created a multiyear plan to work with all school administrators and instructional staff.
  • Equity Ambassadors: Created groups of students at each high school to elevate student voices on issues of equity and diversity.
  • Community learning sites: Submitted grants to create two more HCPS sites that use the community school model. The model provides wraparound services outside the classroom to serve the whole child.
  • Revamp employee orientation: A team is remaking the HCPS orientation process to make it streamlined, innovative and welcoming for new employees.
  • Programming for English as a second language: Added a specialist to oversee ESL programming.
  • Compliance: Added a specialist dedicated to compliance on internal policies and federal laws.
  • Laptop fees: Laptop fees are being phased out, dropping to $25 a year before being eliminated for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Funding for textbooks and instructional resources: Funding has been reallocated for textbooks and other supplies for the 2019-20 school year and will remain a priority.
  • Twice-monthly pay: Revamped pay schedule for HCPS employees who are now paid monthly.
  • Long-term financial plan: Developed a draft five-year HCPS financial plan to ensure funding aligns with the division’s goals. Planning had been done on a year-to-year basis.
  • HCPS employee compensation: Established a joint committee with Henrico County government to examine employee pay each year.

Amy’s Passport was created as an online travelogue about the superintendent’s travels as she explored Henrico County, her new home. In visiting all 72 HCPS schools and program centers, Cashwell was struck by the diversity and variety of languages spoken, which made Henrico like “traveling the world without leaving home.” Amy’s Passport grew into a printed booklet that also included Cashwell’s recommendations and next steps for the school division.

A digital booklet of the superintendent’s progress report can be seen at the Amy’s Passport web page, at https://henricoschools.us/amyspassport/. The Amy’s Passport webpage also includes an easy-to-use interactive graphic that allows visitors to follow the division’s progress.