Amy’s Passport: Progress Report No. 2, December 2019
This is the second progress report to the Passport that was originally published in 2018. Since then, I’m proud to say the Henrico County Public Schools team has completed 15 community-supported items while making significant progress on many additional promises we’ve made to the teachers, students, families and citizens of our community.
If you’re new to my journey, here’s a recap:
I began my tenure as superintendent in July 2018. That’s when I started listening: To our teachers and staff, to our students and families, and to our community stakeholders who appreciate the value of the excellent public education Henrico’s students receive. Those interactions formed the backbone of my vision for the future. In December 2018, we chronicled my introduction to Henrico in a booklet known as “Amy’s Passport.” We chose the name because of Henrico’s diversity, a place where I feel I can travel the world without ever leaving home. The “Passport” documented my reflections on those “travels,” and it outlined a series of recommendations and next steps to improve our already great school division.
Available now is the “one year later” progress report that shows some tremendous accomplishments in the areas of Teaching and Learning, Safety and Student Instructional Support Services, Equity and Diversity, Organizational Efficiency, and Financial Planning. The update can be easily “skimmed” for the major highlights, and I do hope you’ll be pleased with what’s new.
Please let me know what you think! Contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy’s Passport Progress Report: Click on the digital booklet
Click arrows to follow our progress
Revisit the division’s literacy plan
Revisit the division’s literacy plan, and ensure that schools have the tools, resources and staffing for struggling readers to receive appropriate intervention and instruction.
NEW!RESOURCES PROVIDED “SIPPS” packages – Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Sight Words Intervention Packages – have been provided to all elementary schools for use as an evidence-based intervention tool. In middle schools, students who receive direct reading instruction and have specific needs as indicated by their IEPs, will receive teacher-led instruction using methods based on the Orton-Gillingham approach. A life-ready, balanced literacy “one pager” was created to further define K-5 English and language arts expectations for the division. Each elementary school will receive two complete grade-level reading kits to support small-group instruction.
WORK GROUP FORMED to examine K-5 literacy. The work group developed a K-5 Literacy Plan to guide literacy instruction in the division. Feedback and input being sought before the plan is finalized and brought to the School Board. Goal is to ask schools to begin implementing the Literacy Plan in 2019-20.
TOOLS ACQUIRED: In elementary, the division moved to Chromebooks in grades 2-5 to help support personalized learning and reading. In addition, iPads in grades K-1 were refreshed in summer of 2018 in preparation for the 2018-19 school year to support apps that would no longer run on the older iPads.
Staff elementary and middle schools with a reading teacher who possesses expertise in teaching reading (a specialization/master’s degree in reading) to serve as the school’s literacy leader to coach and model literacy strategies for teachers, and to work directly with students.
NEW!ADDED FIVE READING SPECIALIST positions for the 2019-20 school year. Three-year plan in place to continue to add staff and provide professional learning to build on literacy in alignment with HCPS’ goals.
Robust library of guided reading materials
Develop a plan to ensure a robust library of guided reading materials at the elementary and middle school levels to meet a wide range of reading levels.
NEW!RESOURCES ACQUIRED: A needs assessment was conducted at all elementary, middle and high schools. As a result, resources for small-group guided reading instruction were provided to elementary schools. All middle school English classrooms got a classroom library with books representing a variety of cultures and backgrounds, and that span a variety of reading levels and genres. High schools are extending this idea by creating themed text-sets that support the high school literacy model. Expansion of these materials is a top budget priority for future school years.
ESTABLISHED A PLAN for classroom libraries, and purchased Literacy Footprints and additional guided reading materials during the 2018-19 school year as funds have allowed. The 2019-20 budget places a priority on adding additional funds to the textbook line item and additional materials will be purchased for classrooms for the 2019-20 school year to support small group literacy instruction.
Align curricula to deeper learning model
Ensure that the curricula for pre-K through grade 12 are aligned to the Deeper Learning model with an emphasis on the six Cs of the Henrico Learner Profile: Quality Character, Global Citizen, Communicator, Collaborator, Critical Thinker, Creative Thinker. Provide teachers the tools they need for instruction aligned with these attributes, and make sure that students and teachers have an understanding of what mastery looks like.
NEW!Curriculum revisions are taking place to ensure alignment to the 6 Cs and the Deeper Learning model. Content teams are examining measures to assess student proficiency in the 6 Cs.
WORKING COLLABORATIVELY to audit the curriculum, identify gaps and develop a plan to ensure Henrico Learner Profile components are embedded throughout the curriculum. Furthermore, a plan for ongoing professional learning experiences for teachers and administrators is being developed. Additionally, the HCPS formal observation tool for principals to use in evaluating teachers has been revised to align with the HLP, including the 6 Cs and pillars.
Provide personalized learning pathways
Ensure that the curriculum provides personalized learning pathways and opportunities, and not only meets student academic needs but also builds student agency, and allows for student voice and choice.
NEW!IN PROGRESS: Using Henrico’s model for Deeper Learning, staff members are building their understanding of how to develop personalized learning pathways for students. Assessments for Deeper Learning through performance tasks will be integrated into the curriculum; these include student “voice and choice.”
PRELIMINARY CONVERSATIONS about the design of personalized learning pathways in the newly revised curriculum. Schoology and other digital resources will be explored and used to leverage personalized learning experiences for students.
Streamlined, balanced assessments
Examine the division’s assessment system for redundancy of purpose and overall adequacy, and work to ensure a streamlined, balanced system of assessments that does not place an overemphasis on traditional, multiple choice testing formats.
FORMED AN ASSESSMENT WORK GROUP. This group, which includes teachers, will be integral in organizing work around performance assessment and authentic learning opportunities while illustrating a vertical progression. The group reviewed the current assessment plan, and reviewed current formative and summative assessments. The assessment work is also being aligned to the Deeper Learning Working Group. By the end of June the work group will share recommendations for any revisions for the 2019-20 school year.
Establish teacher design teams
Establish teacher design teams that will create a vision to shape what is expected for lesson plans, lesson delivery and assessments in every classroom, every day.
NEW!IN PROGRESS: Content teams are forming partnerships with teachers to help shape the vision for the design, delivery and assessment of Deeper Learning.
FINALIZING A K-12 VISION FOR CONTENT AREAS. Each area has been tasked with creating a curriculum committee composed of teachers ranging from new to veteran to provide feedback on curricular materials and to discuss needs/gaps in the curriculum. Work is set to begin in summer 2019. Recommendations will inform practice for the 2019-20 school year.
Measure progress toward deeper learning
Design a way of measuring the division’s progress toward implementing the Deeper Learning Model, which holds that learning is anytime, anywhere; authentic and connected; student-owned; and community-supported.
NEW!IN PROGRESS:Progression in the Deeper Learning model will be used to develop metrics and observation tools for schools, including student rubrics.
PROGRESSION CHART DEVELOPED: Further work to align the curriculum to the progression chart and develop assessment mechanisms for capturing progress is underway.
Redesign academic and career planning
Redesign the academic and career planning process for pre-K through grade 12 to ensure that students and families have a clear understanding of pathways and prerequisites.
NEW!IN REVIEW: A redesigned academic and career planning process will launch in 2019-20 and was created based on feedback from the 2019 stakeholder surveys.
MEASURED STAKEHOLDER PERCEPTIONS of being informed about pathways and prerequisites for college and career readiness. Data from 2019 stakeholder surveys will serve as a baseline to monitor perceptions of progress. A work group will be formed to review the data and to redesign the academic and career planning process.
Improve course planning guide
Improve the middle and high school course Planning Guide to be a resource for students and families to better understand the course offerings, resources and programming available throughout their pre-K through grade 12 experience. Ensure that prerequisites for special programs and specialty centers are communicated clearly, and as early as possible in a student’s academic career.
NEW!NEW, DIGITAL COURSE PLANNING GUIDE has been redesigned to include an interactive “#LifeReady Learning Pathways” website. The first version will serve middle- and high-school students and families as they engage in the process for 2020-21 course planning. Future versions will include information for early course planning for pre-K and elementary students and families.
REDESIGNING PLANNING GUIDE to address equity and accessibility. Initial discussions around revising the current academic and career planning process to ensure it is more user-friendly and intuitive. As part of the academic and career planning process redesign, the development of a new, digital planning process is being developed.
Infuse coding and computer science concepts
Infuse coding and computer science concepts into the kindergarten-grade 5 curriculum in alignment with the Virginia Department of Education computer science standards and ensure that kindergarten-grade 1 classrooms have adequate access to the tools and technology needed to engage in regular technology-infused lessons.
NEW!RESOURCES SECURED “Code-and-Go Robot Mice” have been provided to each elementary school. Innovative learning coaches will support teachers as they integrate coding and computer science concepts into their classroom lessons.
ESTABLISHED COMPUTER SCIENCE WORK GROUP to facilitate implementation of the new standards and assist with professional learning coordination. Additional innovative learning coaches at the elementary level will assist in coaching teachers and creating lessons that support the infusion of coding in the elementary program.
Elementary health and physical education curriculum
Examine the elementary health and physical education curriculum and delivery model to ensure that the program allows students the full benefit of a regular wellness and physical activity routine that meets or exceeds state requirements. Ensure that the health curriculum includes early content about substance-abuse awareness in a developmentally appropriate way.
NEW!RESOURCES SECURED Teams identified and secured digital resources for substance abuse awareness and prevention. These include WiseOwl’s Drug Safety Kit (K-5) and EverFi’s empathy curriculum, The Compassion Project.
TRANSITIONING: Newly hired health and physical education specialist briefed on the division’s goals related to wellness as articulated in this passport. Priorities include the review of the health and P.E. Standards of Learning and Standards of Quality.Examine the elementary health and physical education curriculum and delivery...
More opportunities to cover mental health and wellness
Examine the middle and high school health and physical education curriculum with an eye toward adding more opportunities to cover mental health and wellness topics, including suicide prevention and awareness.
NEW!IN PROGRESS: Teams met to identify and secure resources related to suicide prevention.
NEW!RESOURCES SECURED: Botvins’s LifeSkills curriculum, EverFi curricula (digital wellness, mental wellness, bullying prevention), Operation Prevention, and Response curriculum are available. Anonymous Alerts was launched in August 2019 to empower students to raise health and safety concerns confidentially.
INCLUDING MORE OPPORTUNITIES to cover mental health and wellness topics. Division’s Technology and Safety teams moving forward for 2019-20 school year with a “safety app” and related website (replacing Silence Hurts) for submission of concerns.Examine the middle and high school health and physical education...
Expand opportunities for higher level, rigorous courses
Expand course offerings and subsequent support structures at each high school so that each student is presented with opportunities to take higher level, rigorous courses before graduation (e.g., Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-enrollment courses).
NEW!IN PROGRESS: A comprehensive plan is being developed to increase enrollment and support for students to be successful in rigorous coursework. All ninth grade students are taking the PSAT to identify their potential for advanced coursework.
COLLECTING PERCEPTIONS (in April 2019 stakeholder surveys) of encouragement to take advanced courses and enroll in specialized programs. Initial conversations have begun with high school principals to ensure there is equitable access and support systems for students. A plan for increased enrollment is being developed.Expand course offerings and subsequent support structures at each high...
Re-imagine learning models to be more student-centered
Examine high school programs in an effort to re-imagine learning models to be more student-centered and innovative.
NEW!LEARNING RE-IMAGINED All high schools are now on the same block schedule, with all students having extended time for authentic learning opportunities. ACE Center students have more opportunities for internships and apprenticeships. Several current classrooms now include flexible seating, creating more collaborative environments. These redesigned classrooms will serve as demonstration sites for other high schools.
SHAPING A VISION: Specialists, directors, teachers, librarians and principals visited schools and libraries in Virginia and North Carolina to inform ongoing innovations. This work has coincided with discussions with the Highland Springs High School and J.R. Tucker High School faculties as they prepare for new learning spaces as well as the Godwin High School and Freeman High School faculties as they move toward a block schedule.Examine high school programs in an effort to re-imagine learning...
Prototype for a “high school of the future”
Develop and implement a prototype for a “high school of the future” to guide the redesign of high schools across the division.
NEW!RETHINKING THE HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE: Highland Springs and J. R. Tucker high schools will participate in a network geared toward redesigning high schools. In addition, both schools are creating advisory programs and interdisciplinary courses, and developing partnerships that provide students with access to internships, as well as serving as catalysts for divisionwide change.
DESIGN TEAM FORMED and working with a consultant to engage staff and community members in initial design work that identifies the desired outcomes in a high school redesign.
Re-examine structure of STEAM elementary teacher positions
Re-examine structure of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) teacher positions at elementary level; develop a model to provide quality lessons that infuse design thinking and purposeful use of technology across the core elementary curriculum, rather than as an isolated, standalone course. Develop a plan for STEAM teachers (or other staff members) to model, coach and support core content teachers as STEAM concepts are incorporated into the curriculum.
NEW!IN PROGRESS: Every elementary school has access to STEAM instruction in the form of an innovative learning coach and/or a STEAM resource teacher. STEAM concepts, such as “design thinking” and the purposeful use of technology, continue to be incorporated into the curriculum. Ongoing professional learning experiences will be provided to help teachers implement the concepts.
TRANSITIONING: STEAM being integrated into elementary classroom learning rather than as a standalone “encore” course. Additional innovative learning coaches at the elementary level will enable the facilitation and inclusion of STEAM concepts across all classrooms.Re-examine structure of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics)...
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting Process
Determine a model to capture parent input and suggestions related to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting process, and re-examine IEP meeting protocols to ensure that all meeting attendees are valued members of the team.
NEW!IN PROGRESS: A survey was developed to gather feedback from parents and guardians about their experiences with the IEP process. Survey results will inform the needs of the division and individual schools.
NEW NORMS AND PROTOCOLS DEVELOPED: Revised and updated special education meeting norms and protocols in collaboration with the Special Education Advisory Committee to ensure an emphasis on student-centered and person-first language. Posters are being printed for posting in schools. Collaboration underway on the development of a post-special education meeting survey, anticipated to be ready for fall rollout. Our priorities for survey development are that it be anonymous, convenient and accessible.Determine a model to capture parent input and suggestions related...
Multiyear plan for Special Education
Develop a multiyear plan with clearly stated desired goals and outcomes that will address the recommendations from 2018’s independent special education review.
NEW!GOALS DEFINED: 1. Examining comprehensive and effective services 2. Aligning instruction and access to a viable curriculum 3. Reimagining the Virginia Randolph Education Center 4. Optimizing communication to maximize engagement.
MEETING AND PLANNING: First iteration of comprehensive plan is in progress. Five subcommittees formed and each provided the School Board an update on progress that was posted to the division’s website. Subcommittee leaders will draft a plan to achieve short- and long-term goals/action steps for our school division and community to include budget impact.
Conflict management and relationship restoration
Develop a plan for key staff in all schools to participate in professional development on conflict management and relationship restoration.
280+ STAFF TRAINED TO DATE and working with Virginia Commonwealth University to present a systemic and sustainable plan for implementation.
Tools and expertise for mediation
Develop a plan to ensure that all schools and key staff members have tools and expertise to facilitate student-to-student and teacher-to-student mediation.
DISCUSSING RESTORATIVE PRACTICES to include a Youth Ambassadors Program. In process of submitting proposal to align the work with student Equity Ambassadors.
Evaluate behavior intervention programs
Evaluate behavior intervention programs, which provide additional services to students outside the classroom setting.
BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION AUDIT: Work underway to develop an inventory of all behavior intervention programs. The audit will address what currently exists both centrally and at the individual school levels. Upon conclusion of the audit, recommendations for program modifications will be made.
Examine trauma-informed-care support systems
Examine the current model for mental health and trauma-informed-care support systems to ensure sufficiency.
NEW!WORK GROUPS CREATED to support implementation and maintenance of professional learning and resources. All administrators and Central Office leaders received professional learning on self-care, as well as a presentation. Social, Emotional and Academic Learning (SEAL) team is working to identify a vision and mission for sufficient mental health and trauma-informed-care systems in schools. Team will develop a rubric to ensure equitable allocation of social-emotional support staff. The Sanford Harmony social-emotional learning curriculum is currently in place in all elementary schools and programs.
ONGOING PROFESSIONAL LEARNING: A guide for administrators for ensuring a trauma-responsive school has been developed. Professional learning options as identified by the Trauma-Informed Advisory Committee include self-care of staff, daily classroom integration of brain breaks, health and wellness curriculum, and other resources that promote social, emotional and academic development.
Ensure buildings are safe and conducive to learning
Develop a long-range plan for the Henrico County capital/meals tax revenue to ensure that buildings are safe and conducive to learning.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN addresses needs identified through 2024.Develop a long-range plan for the Henrico County capital/meals tax...
School climate survey
Implement an annual school climate survey to include components that relate to student, staff and parent perceptions on safety, equity and inclusiveness.
SURVEYS COMPLETED: Stakeholders surveyed in spring 2019 to assess key areas of the division’s strategic plan. Results are expected in June 2019 to support summer planning for school and division administrators. Leaders will be provided a “dashboard” to support data interpretation and future planning.
Promote multicultural awareness
Ensure curricula are relevant, authentic and provide resources that promote multicultural awareness.
NEW!IN PROGRESS: Specialists are including culturally relevant experiences in updated curricular materials.
FRAMEWORK DEVELOPED: A Culturally Responsive Education Model was developed based on research and best practices. The CREM framework includes six identified areas: culturally responsive practices, content integration, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy, knowledge construction and school empowerment. Professional development was provided this year for teachers. Plans call for additional training sessions during the #LifeReady conference and throughout the summer.
PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPED: Partnering with the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium to engage in action research programming for two middle schools in support of CREM. In addition, this partnership includes efforts to support the development of a microcredential in the use of CREM.
SUPPORT SYSTEMS INSTITUTED: Developed a Windows and Mirrors Resource Center for middle and high school educators to check out diverse books for classroom instruction. Coordinating the purchase of diverse books for all elementary school libraries in direct alignment with our newly designed early literary instructional curriculum.
Cultural sensitivity; implicit and explicit bias
Require training for all staff, delivered online annually, that covers cultural sensitivity and implicit and explicit bias. This would be tracked by site supervisors and school division leadership.
NEW!ALL STAFF ARE NOW REQUIRED to complete online training on cultural sensitivity annually. This began with the 2019-20 school year.
Race, equity, access and cultural responsiveness
Develop a multiyear professional development plan for working with all school administrators and instructional staff to engage all schools in courageous conversations about race, equity, access and culturally responsive practices.
MULTI-YEAR PLAN DEVELOPED: A professional development specialist was hired and will provide culturally sensitive training for staff and administrators in support of the multiyear professional development plan. The plan includes an elementary coalition to engage staff in dialogue related
to equity, access and culturally responsive practices. Staff equity teams will be established in all high schools. These teams will support the professional learning efforts within their schools. The program will be instituted at middle schools the following year.
Recruit and retain a diverse workforce
Develop a plan to actively recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
NEW!RESEARCH ONGOING: Human Resources is examining current practices to identify gaps. Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee provided recommendations for further consideration based on research and best practices. Staff members are developing a prototype for a “career ladder” system.
Create a group framework for new Equity Ambassadors serving in our high schools. The Ambassadors elevate student voices about equity issues in their schools and develop leadership skills.
CREATED THE EQUITY AMBASSADOR PROGRAM to elevate student voice in the area of equity and diversity. More than 150 students participated in five events where topics such as cultural sensitivity, daring dialogue, volunteerism and more were held. Each high school’s ambassador team was required to host two events to promote equity and inclusivity within their school communities.
Full-service community school model
Research best practices for the full-service community school model, which is an instructional philosophy that seeks to serve the whole child inside and outside the classroom setting.
GRANTS SUBMITTED for two additional Community Learning Center sites (L. Douglas Wilder Middle School and Ratcliffe Elementary School). Best practices were observed during multiple site visits, both in-division and in other localities. Partnered with the Henrico Education Foundation to secure two additional 21st Century Grants that can be used to support the academic components of the CLC program.
Communicate measures and progress toward strategic goals
Create a mechanism for community stakeholders to easily understand the division’s work toward meeting the strategic goals outlined in the division’s strategic plan. Communicate measures and progress on attaining those goals.
NEW!REVISED AND ALIGNED the 2018-25 Strategic Plan with Amy’s Passport, and identified overarching measures of progress. A Strategic Plan Steering Committee also provided input on methods of communicating the division’s work, which is taking place in fall 2019 and beyond.Create a mechanism for community stakeholders to easily understand the...
Develop a comprehensive approach to teacher retention that includes: personalized/differentiated pathways for teacher professional development and increased classroom support systems.
NEW!DEVELOPMENT OF A CAREER LADDER is ongoing and will provide personalized learning pathways for teachers. Work is underway on a preliminary framework for “microcredentialing” and “badging” that would allow teachers to increase compensation throughout their career. FY19 and FY20 budgets funded additional classroom support positions to increase elementary planning time. These include instructional coaches, special education teachers and instructional aides.
Stronger structure for school improvement
Examine and create a stronger structure for school improvement.
NEW!STREAMLINED SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROCESS for 2019-20 based on feedback from a focus group of principals and administrators. Revised process will serve as a meaningful tool for managing and tracking measurable goals. Implemented a professional development plan for administrators and coaches related to evidence-based feedback within a coaching model.
Professional learning pathways for all employees
Develop professional learning pathways for all employee groups (e.g., clerical, pupil transportation, construction and maintenance and instructional assistants).
NEW!ONGOING: HCPS Professional Learning and Leadership staff will begin conversations with employee groups to determine professional learning needs. Once data is gathered, the department will begin exploring professional pathways for each group.
Consistent staffing models for elementary schools
Examine, audit and subsequently establish consistent staffing models for elementary administrators, and consider what the standard model should be, related to resource teachers and assistant principals.
NEW!ANALYZING ELEMENTARY ADMINISTRATIVE STAFFING MODELS: A workgroup of elementary administrators is analyzing HCPS staffing models as well as those of school divisions with similar enrollments. The group has identified staffing thresholds and standards at similar divisions for principals, assistant and associate principals, and other staff with administrative responsibilities.
Elementary clerical staffing numbers
Examine the adequacy of the elementary clerical staffing numbers.
NEW!SETTING ELEMENTARY CLERICAL STAFFING RATIOS: A focus group of elementary staff and administrators is evaluating ratios of office clerical staffing within HCPS as well as at other school divisions with similar enrollments. Elementary office clerical responsibilities and staffing models for all office staff are being assessed.
New employee orientation
Revamp new employee orientation to be less paper-intensive and to clearly reflect the innovative qualities and excellence of the school division.
NEW!FRESHENING THE ORIENTATION PROCESS: A new streamlined and welcoming experience launched in June 2019. Highlights include: two Saturday orientations; orientation at locations throughout the county; using videos, banners and refreshments to create a more welcoming environment; and including HCPS benefit partners.
Teacher licensure and microcredentialing
Develop a coordinated process and system for monitoring teacher application, licensure and relicensure, and microcredentialing.
NEW!WORK BEGINNING to define and purchase a professional development management system to monitor teacher applications, licensure and relicensure, and microcredentialing.
Bus communication for parents
Improve bus communication for parents, guardians and students; add staff for dispatchers, move to a mobile app that provides real-time bus information to families.
ADDITIONAL DISPATCHERS have been added to the budget for 2019-20. These 10-month positions should be filled over the summer of 2019. Exploring a parent app that displays school bus locations in real-time for potential implementation in 2021.
Programming for English as a second language
Add educational specialists to oversee programming for English as a second language (currently combined with oversight of world languages).
SPECIALIST HIRED for 2019-20 school year.
Compliance on internal policies and regulatory requirements
Add a staff member dedicated to compliance on internal policies and regulatory requirements as well as federal laws and regulations.
SPECIALIST HIRED for 2019-20 school year.Add a staff member dedicated to compliance on internal policies...
Policies are current, transparent and easily accessible
Ensure that policies are current, transparent and easily accessible to employees and community stakeholders.
SPECIALIST FOR POLICY AND CONSTITUENT SERVICES HIRED for the 2019-20 school year. Secured a consultant to identify best practices and prioritize next steps.Ensure that policies are current, transparent and easily accessible to...
Eliminate student laptop fees and other instructional fees
Develop a financial plan that eliminates student laptop fees and other instructional fees for items and materials essential to course participation in core academic programming.
FEE PHASING OUT: Funding reallocated to reduce laptop fee to $25 in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. The fee will be eliminated in 2021-22. The Secondary Fee Schedule is being reviewed to determine if the division can include funding in the five-year plan to ultimately eliminate fees associated with core programs.Develop a financial plan that eliminates student laptop fees and...
Restore prerecession funding levels
Restore prerecession funding levels that more accurately meet the division’s needs for textbooks, instructional materials and digital resources to ensure equitable access to resources across all schools.
FUNDS ALLOCATED: Funding has been reallocated for textbooks and other supplies in the 2019-20 school year and will remain a priority in the budget development process over the next three years.
Eliminate the burden and reliance on PTAs and other fundraising efforts
Eliminate the burden and reliance on PTAs and other fundraising efforts to provide schools with access to basic instructional resources.
GATHERING INFORMATION to fully understand the unmet needs of schools that are currently being supported by PTAs. Baselines of core materials and resources have been established and funds are being prioritized to ensure all school needs are met.Eliminate the burden and reliance on PTAs and other fundraising...
Twice-a-month pay structure for employees
Move to a twice-a-month pay structure for employees instead of once a month.
REPROGRAMMED PAY STRUCTURE: Converting staff paid monthly to a semi-monthly schedule. Full implementation planned for Sept.1, 2019.
Long-term financial strategy
Develop a long-term strategy, such as a five-year financial plan instead of year-to-year planning.
FIVE-YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN DRAFT DEVELOPED: Staff continues to identify financial priorities aligned to division needs and goals.
Examine facilities for replacement or renovation
Engage with a third-party expert to examine facilities and determine a course for either replacement or renovation, and communicate to the public a plan for ensuring equitable capital improvement planning for facilities across the county.
NEW!FACILITIES STUDY COMPLETED: Results are being analyzed. A proposed Capital Improvement Plan was NEW! presented for public review and later approved in fall 2019.
Annually examine employee compensation matters
Establish a joint government and schools committee to annually examine employee compensation matters.
SCHOOL BOARD APPROVED: A resolution for a standing joint committee to meet annually was approved on January 24, 2019
DECEMBER 2018 UPDATE: THE FIRST 100 DAYS
Henrico Education Association
Thanks to members of the Henrico Education Association for inviting me to dialogue and problem-solve around issues that face our teachers. We are fortunate to enjoy a strong relationship and I look forward to continuing the positive dialogue. If you’re looking for more information about the HEA, visit this link: http://www.veanea.org/home/2399.htm
Lay Advisory Committee
Did you know that Henrico Schools has a Lay Advisory Committee – and you’re invited to its meetings? The committee advises the School Board on important educational matters. It acts as a liaison among the School Board, parents and guardians, the Board of Supervisors, community members and teachers – and brings together members of these groups to discuss various issues. I was there for the first of five meeting throughout the school year to share details about our Strategic Plan and Henrico Learner Profile. Perhaps the best part was to sit, take questions and share new ideas with LAC members. Anyone interested in education and the school system is welcome to attend these meetings. The remaining meetings for 2018-19 are below.
Teacher Advisory Council
We had a big crowd at the Hermitage High School library for the first meeting of the Teacher Advisory Council. TAC is an opportunity for each school to choose a teacher representative who engages in dialogue with me and members of the central leadership team. At this meeting, we shared information about efforts to unravel teacher salary compression, next steps for implementing the Henrico Learner Profile and Deeper Learning Model, an Equity and Diversity update, as well as an early look at the draft school calendar proposal for 2019-2020. My thanks to these teachers who brought good questions and thoughtful observations to our attention. A first look at the proposed school calendar for 2019-2020 is expected to be made public by the end of October.
Visit by German delegation
I enjoyed joining Henrico County leaders to welcome a delegation from Saarpfalz-Kreis, Germany. Henrico and Saarpfalz-Kreis established a sister county partnership in 1997; the partnership is highlighted by regular exchanges of students and government officials. There was a welcome breakfast at Godwin High School followed by a tour of the school.
Town halls continue…
It’s been wonderful getting out to talk with families and staff members at the town hall series. We set it up to include one town hall meeting in each Henrico magisterial district – this week I visited Wilder, Rolfe and Quioccasin middle schools and got some fantastic input from people who attended. The questions and comments have been thought-provoking and will be so helpful as we move forward on a number of key initiatives. If you haven’t been able to attend a town hall meeting, there’s still one left – Oct. 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Hungary Creek Middle School. I hope you can make it!
$449,224 grant to Maymont benefits Henrico students
It was an honor to join Pamela Northam, first lady of Virginia, Henrico County Board of Supervisors Chairman Frank Thornton, and our friends at Maymont for an exciting announcement. Maymont has been awarded a $449,224 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bay Watershed Education and Training Program to fund meaningful outdoor and classroom learning experiences! The lessons will aim to increase understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ocean, coastal, riverine, estuarine and Great Lakes ecosystems. Through the B-WET program, Maymont will implement its Bay Watershed in Science Education (B-WISE) program in collaboration with Henrico County Public Schools. The three-year project will engage approximately 7,200 students and 240 sixth grade science and core content teachers, eventually extending to all 12 of our middle schools. Students will be empowered with the knowledge, skills, attributes and experiences to be stewards of our environment and, ultimately, life ready! Read more about it here: https://maymont.org/press-room/media-release-noaa-grant/
School faculty meetings
I’m continuing the Henrico tradition of the superintendent holding a faculty meeting at every school in the county. They started the week of Sept. 17 with a visit to the faculty at Douglas S. Freeman High School. I shared excerpts of a book I like called “The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence” by Tom Peters. Aside from that, the majority of the time is spent hearing from the faculty about their proudest accomplishments and what they’re doing to prepare “Life Ready” students. We also set aside plenty of time for questions and answers. I look forward to spending quality time with the faculties at all 72 schools and program centers!
Town Hall meetings
On Sept. 19 I held the first of five open-to-the-public “Town Hall”-style meetings. This one was for the Three Chopt District, taking place at Short Pump Middle School. We were honored to be joined by School Board Chair Micky Ogburn, County Manager John Vithoulkas, and numerous leaders from within the school division. I shared a brief video about what I’ve learned so far in my Henrico County travels, along with the four cornerstones of our strategic plan (Safety and Wellness, Academic Growth, Equity and Diversity, Relationships), the Henrico Learner Profile, and our Deeper Learning model. Then we set aside most of the time to take questions from families and interested citizens. The feedback from these meetings will be very helpful in working with our School Board to continually meet the needs of today’s students and families. I can’t wait for the next four Town Halls, which take place in October. More details are available at this link: https://henricoschools.us/come-to-a-town-hall-meeting-and-share-ideas-with-henrico-county-public-schools-new-superintendent/
Announcement of new J.R. Tucker and Highland Springs high schools
Transformative. That’s the word people are using to describe the exciting announcement Sept. 20 at Highland Springs High School. Henrico County will be replacing Highland Springs (built in 1952) and J.R. Tucker High School (built in 1962) with brand new buildings that will serve our communities for many years to come. Construction starts next fall (at or beside the existing sites) and the goal is to have the new schools open in fall 2021. It’s exciting and ambitious and a wonderful thing for the families of our county. There’s plenty of planning to do and we want you to play a big role (more on that later). Because Henrico County citizens have repeatedly voiced their strong support for public schools – in the 2013 meals tax vote and the 2016 bond referendum – the future is bright for our children. Thank you to the School Board, Board of Supervisors and John Vithoulkas, county manager, for visionary leadership in creating this plan. And a special thanks to the cheerleaders from J.R. Tucker and Highland Springs high schools, who came out to cheer on the huge news for their schools!
First Day of School 2018!
I was delighted to spend the day visiting several schools, and it was amazing to watch the buildings come alive as students returned! Thanks to our special guests Gov. Ralph Northam, Del. Lamont Bagby and School Board Member Roscoe Cooper, III, for joining me at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School where we greeted students during the morning arrivals. From there I stopped by Henrico High School, Ridge Elementary School and Short Pump Middle School to offer words of encouragement. I want all of our students to know that here in Henrico County they are cared for as individuals by Team HCPS, and I’m looking forward to many more school visits throughout the month of September. By the way, did you know that at Henrico High School the librarians will go from class-to-class on a bicycle to encourage students to check out a book? What a wonderful idea…and I just had to try it out for myself!
Meeting of the Henrico Partnership for Family and Community Engagement Council:
Since I arrived in Henrico County, I’ve been impressed with the spirit of cooperation I see as people work to solve challenges. I was reminded of that again when I attended the Henrico Partnership for Family and Community Engagement Council meeting at Libbie Mill Library. The partnership is made up of groups and agencies from across Henrico that work together to strengthen families and communities – from social services to mentoring to mental health issues and much more. It was my pleasure to learn more about the council partners and share information about HCPS’ new 2018-25 Strategic Plan, four cornerstones and Henrico Learner Profile. I’m proud that Henrico Schools is part of such a caring, collaborative community.
VISITS TO TWIN HICKORY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND DEEP RUN HIGH SCHOOL
Hermitage High School athletic field ribbon cutting
In 2016, Henrico voters overwhelmingly approved hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of school construction, renovation and expansion projects that are ongoing. Among the projects were the installation of new artificial turf playing fields at all nine high school stadiums. I joined Brookland District School Board Member Beverly Cocke, Supervisors Harvey Hinson and Tyrone Nelson, Hermitage High School faculty, and Henrico Recreation and Parks leaders to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new surface at Hermitage High School’s Chester E. Fritz Stadium!
2018 Convocation Highlights
Faculty and staff Convocations: It was the highlight of the summer to introduce myself and deliver keynote addresses to the faculty and staff of every school in Henrico County (we have 72 schools and learning centers here.) The pride and spirit on display over these two days in late August were unlike anything I’d ever seen before! I shared some of my personal background, as well as the cornerstones of our 2018-2025 Strategic Plan and Henrico Learner Profile.
August 2018 Highlights
New Teacher Academy: Every August we welcome back first-year teachers and veteran teachers who are new to Henrico for a week of “New Teacher Academy” which allows me and other school division leaders the chance to share our mission, vision, and strategic goals for the year.
August Leadership Academy: My first opportunity to address our school administrators, principals, associate and assistant principals as a group came in early August. It was wonderful to meet everyone and to challenge our schools to be amazing!
Meet & Greet Events
Community Meet and Greets: I had the pleasure of meeting dozens of interested parents, students, citizens and fellow Henrico Schools colleagues at five informal “meet and greets”. Our thanks to Henrico County Public Libraries at Twin Hickory, Varina, Fairfield, Libbie Mill and Tuckahoe for being such accommodating hosts! At each event, people who dropped by to say hello also had the chance to fill out “I like, I wish, I want” comment cards, and that constructive feedback will be shared with our School Board.
Henrico County Council of PTA’s “Meet and Greet”: Thanks to members of the HCCPTA for inviting me to share our Henrico Schools’ cornerstones and Learner Profile. PTA parents are the unsung heroes of our schools, and I do hope you’ll contact your school’s PTA President to get involved this year!
School Visits: An Achievable Dream Certified Academy at Highland Springs welcomed this year’s class of “Dreamers” in grades K-3 for another incredible year of learning.
Police: I had a chance to meet with Chief Humberto Cardounel and Henrico’s finest for a daylong training exercise focused on making Henrico County schools as safe as they can be.
Chamber RVA and Henrico Education Foundation: It was my pleasure to be invited to meet members of the business community as well as our philanthropic partners to share success stories and future ideas about doing what’s best for students and their families.
Back to School events
Family and Community Engagement “Back to School Kickoff”: This was so much fun! Students, families, faculties and community partners came out on Saturday, Aug. 13 to celebrate the start of another amazing year! There were kids’ activities, live performances, school and community information, giveaways, food trucks and so much more. It was a great way to meet so many proud supporters of public education.
School Nutrition Services “Back to School” event: Students can’t learn unless their bodies are nourished with healthy options that allow them to perform their best at school. That’s why it was my pleasure to address the School Nutrition Services staff for all of our schools as they met for the start of another wonderful year.
Pupil Transportation “Back to School” event: For many students and families, bus drivers are the first school system employees they see every morning, and the last ones they see at the end of every school day. Safe and reliable bus transportation is so important to what we do, which is why I was so happy to greet our drivers for their “Back to School” meetings.