Henrico County Public Schools wins 23 national awards for innovative programs
 
Henrico, Va., Nov. 16, 2021 — Twenty-three Henrico County Public Schools programs have been recognized in the 2021 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards. The annual awards recognize groundbreaking county government programs across the nation. Three of the programs also received awards from the Virginia Association of Counties.
 

Representatives of HCPS departments with winning entries were recognized at the Nov. 11 School Board meeting. HCPS winners were:

  • Bank Partnership Leads Charge in Student Career Prep
  • CTE Career Rodeo
  • CTE Helps Solve the PPE Shortage
  • Graphics Program Leads Effort to Reopen Government and Schools
  • Live on Location: Exploring Careers During a Pandemic
  • Nursing Students Act Locally to Combat Global Pandemic
  • Racing to Graduate: Graduation Victory Lap
  • Student-Built Classroom: If You Build it, They Will Come
  • Students Help Preserve 125-Year-Old County Artifact
  • Symposium Puts Students at Heart of Fashion Industry
  • Equity Ambassadors
  • Culture of Dignity and Responsive Action Plan
  • Language Navigators
  • Progress Through Community Conversations
  • Watershed Challenge
  • HCPS University
  • Parallel Hybrid Instruction
  • Edflix Virtual Learning Experience
  • Help Chats for Virtual Learning
  • Creating Courses to Support Online Learning
  • Virtual Classroom
  • Modified Circulation System Gets Books into Students’ Hands
  • Creating a School Online Enrollment System
Descriptions of the 23 winning programs can be found below.
 
Across all departments and agencies, Henrico County earned 38 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties. Henrico’s 38 awards are the most of any county in Virginia for the 16th consecutive year and were the sixth most nationally. The counties finishing ahead of Henrico, such as Los Angeles County, Calif. and Miami-Dade County, Fla., all have much larger populations. Those counties all contain between 1 million and 10 million residents, while Henrico County has about 334,000 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
 

Descriptions of HCPS’ 2021 winning NACo programs:

Bank Partnership Leads Charge in Student Career Prep (Department of Workforce and Career Development). The department partnered with Bank of America to conduct three virtual 90-minute workshops on resume-building and interview techniques. Students learned from an industry leader how to successfully stand out during the hiring process.
 
CTE Career Rodeo (Department of Workforce and Career Development). The CTE Career Rodeo brought students and employers together to interact and interview. The event let students showcase their soft skills and hands-on skills, helping form connections and laying the groundwork for employment.
 
CTE Helps Solve the PPE Shortage (Department of Workforce and Career Development). Career and technical education teachers worked to design and manufacture more than 650 face shields to help satisfy demand. The shields were then delivered to community medical facilities.
 
Nursing Students Act Locally to Combat Global Pandemic (Department of Workforce and Career Development). The Henrico County-St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing and Bon Secours Mercy Health Systems helped administer more than 10,000 COVID-19 vaccines to the area health-care community.
 
Racing to Graduate: Graduation Victory Lap (Department of Workforce and Career Development). When the Class of 2020 couldn’t hold a traditional graduation ceremony, the school division worked with community partner Richmond Raceway to help create a one-of-a-kind, in-person moving graduation “victory lap” at the NASCAR complex.
Anya Ford, valedictorian of the Highland Springs High School Class of 2020, celebrates with her family as part of a “moving graduation” at Richmond Raceway in June 2020. The Victory Lap graduation exercises won an award from the National Association of Counties.
Student-Built Classroom: If You Build it, They Will Come (Department of Workforce and Career Development). HCPS students and staff reconfigured an existing space at Douglas Freeman High School to address classroom capacity issues and provide space for television production classes.
 
Students Help Preserve 125-Year-Old County Artifact (Department of Workforce and Career Development, Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage). In 2016 a Henrico public utilities employee discovered an 1895 Corey fire hydrant from the Lakeside area that was about to be discarded. Students in the STEM precision machining program at the Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage helped create a case to display the restored artifact at the Libbie Mill Library.
 
A restored 1895 Corey fire hydrant from the Lakeside area is on display in the atrium of the Libbie Mill Library. HCPS students won an award from the National Association of Counties for their role in creating the artifact’s display case.
Equity Ambassadors (Department of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity). HCPS’ Student Congress was reimagined as an organization made up of accomplished students from our nine high schools, who amplify student voices on issues of equity, diverse representation and student leadership. In addition to a NACo award, this project was honored as Virginia’s top 2021 project by the Virginia Association of Counties.
 
Members of Henrico County Public Schools’ Equity Ambassadors group meet outside the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center in October. The program won an award for innovation from the National Association of Counties and was named the commonwealth’s top 2021 program by the Virginia Association of Counties.
Language Navigators (Department of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity). The Language Navigators program provides access to vital school information for immigrant communities. Ninety bilingual high school students, representing 16 ethnicities, create videos in a variety of languages to help explain important information to HCPS families.
 
Progress Through Community Conversations (Department of Family and Community Engagement). A five-part series provided space for Black voices in Henrico County to discuss ongoing and needed progress. Employees, community members, families and students discussed issues of safety and equity. This project was also recognized with a 2021 Achievement Award from the Virginia Association of Counties.
 
Graphics Program Leads Effort to Reopen Government and Schools (Department of Workforce and Career Development, Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage). When the pandemic struck, HCPS’ industry-standard graphics lab was repurposed to create signage for Henrico County buildings.
 
Live on Location: Exploring Careers During a Pandemic (Department of Workforce and Career Development, Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage). Despite the pandemic, HCPS students interested in exploring careers had the opportunity to speak virtually with professionals in various fields through live streaming events at employers’ field locations.
 
Watershed Challenge (Division of Learning). When school buildings closed in 2020, how would HCPS students engage in state-required education about the Chesapeake Bay? The HCPS Watershed Challenge enabled science educators to guide students virtually in individual outdoor action projects. The impressive results were profiled by Virginia Public Media.
 
A garbage bag looms in the foreground as Carson Carroll, Pocahontas Middle School student, clears trash from a creek near his home as part of Henrico County Public Schools’ “Watershed Challenge.” The program, which reimagined environmental education during a period of remote learning, won an award for innovation from the National Association of Counties.
HCPS University (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). During the 2020-21 school year, “HCPS U” provided staff with high-quality online workshops led by teachers and school division leaders. The project supported more than 6,000 professionals, who logged thousands of professional learning hours.
 
Parallel Hybrid Instruction (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). When teachers needed to simultaneously teach remote and in-person learners, this program helped with that daunting task. The project team conducted a hybrid pilot program involving seven schools, and created a field guide, website and professional learning resources.
 
Edflix Virtual Learning Experience (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). “Henrico Edflix” was HCPS’ solution to an almost immediate shutdown of in-person learning in 2020. The resource quickly provided families with on-demand access to virtual learning for all grade levels, using “choice boards,” assessments, teacher videos and family engagement sessions.
 
Help Chats for Virtual Learning (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). Before the start of the 2020-21 school year, videos, live question-and-answer sessions, and step-by-step instructions enabled families to become comfortable with virtual learning.
 
Creating Courses to Support Online Learning (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). The “My Schoology Classroom” professional learning series provided school leaders, teachers and families with the instruction and tools to take full advantage of the Schoology platform for a fully virtual learning environment.
 
Virtual Classroom (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). This project focused on evaluating and implementing a crucial videoconferencing tool, enabling the school division to securely transition from a physical classroom to a virtual platform.
 
Modified Circulation System Gets Books into Students’ Hands (Division of Learning – Department of Professional Learning and Leadership). HCPS Library Services created a new circulation model to distribute books and other materials during the 2020-21 school year. Using remote and drive-thru circulation methods expanded equitable access to reading materials for our students.
 
Creating a School Online Enrollment System (Department of Technology). This new online enrollment system safely provided a safe alternative to face-to-face student registration at a time when in-person enrollment was not an option.
 
Symposium Puts Students at Heart of Fashion Industry (Department of Workforce and Career Development). The first event of its kind in the region, the symposium involved two HCPS CTE programs, creating a memorable, low-cost event for students interested in fashion-related careers.

Culture of Dignity and Responsive Action Plan (Department of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity). In response to social unrest in spring 2020, this project addressed the well-being and needs of staff — creating affinity groups, book studies and discussions, and an “Ensuring Equity” series of online learning courses. This project also received a 2021 Achievement Award from the Virginia Association of Counties.