Amy’s Passport: 2019 Progress Report

Amy’s Passport: 2019 Progress Report

 

To all Henrico families,

I write to express my gratitude for an amazing first year as your superintendent. In 2018, I was a newcomer to Henrico County, but now I feel very much at home. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives and into this wonderful community.

The past year has been an important one for 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. Back in December, I shared this chronicle of my introduction to Henrico 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 outlined a series of recommendations and next steps to improve our already great school division.

I’m pleased to share how far we’ve come since December. Available now is a 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.

Of course, I know there is more work to be done. Many of the reflections and action steps identified back in December remain works-in-progress. I look forward to keeping you updated as we move forward.

Please know how much I appreciate the trust and confidence placed in me by our School Board and this community. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve. If I can ever be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to write. I can be reached all summer long at superintendent@henrico.k12.va.us.

Best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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...
  •  

    Reading teachers

    Staff elementary and middle schools with a reading teacher who...
  •  

    Robust library of guided reading materials

    Develop a plan to ensure a robust library of guided...
  •  

    Align curricula to deeper learning model

    Ensure that the curricula for pre-K through grade 12 are...
  •  

    Provide personalized learning pathways

    Ensure that the curriculum provides personalized learning pathways and opportunities,...
  •  

    Streamlined, balanced assessments

    Examine the division’s assessment system for redundancy of purpose and...
  •  

    Establish teacher design teams

    Establish teacher design teams that will create a vision to...
  •  

    Measure progress toward deeper learning

    Design a way of measuring the division’s progress toward implementing...
  •  

    Redesign academic and career planning

    Redesign the academic and career planning process for pre-K through...
  •  

    Improve course planning guide

    Improve the middle and high school course Planning Guide to...
  •  

    Infuse coding and computer science concepts

    Infuse coding and computer science concepts into the kindergarten-grade 5...
  •  

    Elementary health and physical education curriculum

    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...
  •  

    Expand opportunities for higher level, rigorous courses

    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...
  •  

    Prototype for a “high school of the future”

    Develop and implement a prototype for a “high school of...
  •  

    Re-examine structure of STEAM elementary teacher positions

    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...
  •  

    Multiyear plan for Special Education

    Develop a multiyear plan with clearly stated desired goals and...
  •  

    Conflict management and relationship restoration

    Develop a plan for key staff in all schools to...
  •  

    Tools and expertise for mediation

    Develop a plan to ensure that all schools and key...
  •  

    Evaluate behavior intervention programs

    Evaluate behavior intervention programs, which provide additional services to students...
  •  

    Examine trauma-informed-care support systems

    Examine the current model for mental health and trauma-informed-care support...
  •  

    Ensure buildings are safe and conducive to learning

    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...
  •  

    Promote multicultural awareness

    Ensure curricula are relevant, authentic and provide resources that promote...
  •  

    Cultural sensitivity; implicit and explicit bias

    Require training for all staff, delivered online annually, that covers...
  •  

    Race, equity, access and cultural responsiveness

    Develop a multiyear professional development plan for working with all...
  •  

    Recruit and retain a diverse workforce

    Develop a plan to actively recruit and retain a diverse...
  •  

    Equity Ambassadors

    Create a group framework for new Equity Ambassadors serving in...
  •  

    Full-service community school model

    Research best practices for the full-service community school model, which...
  •  

    Communicate measures and progress toward strategic goals

    Create a mechanism for community stakeholders to easily understand the...
  •  

    Teacher Retention

    Develop a comprehensive approach to teacher retention that includes: personalized/differentiated...
  •  

    Stronger structure for school improvement

    Examine and create a stronger structure for school improvement. Progress...
  •  

    Professional learning pathways for all employees

    Develop professional learning pathways for all employee groups (e.g., clerical,...
  •  

    Consistent staffing models for elementary schools

    Examine, audit and subsequently establish consistent staffing models for elementary...
  •  

    Elementary clerical staffing numbers

    Examine the adequacy of the elementary clerical staffing numbers.
  •  

    New employee orientation

    Revamp new employee orientation to be less paper-intensive and to...
  •  

    Teacher licensure and microcredentialing

    Develop a coordinated process and system for monitoring teacher application,...
  •  

    Bus communication for parents

    Improve bus communication for parents, guardians and students; add staff...
  •  

    Programming for English as a second language

    Add educational specialists to oversee programming for English as a...
  •  

    Compliance on internal policies and regulatory requirements

    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...
  •  

    Eliminate student laptop fees and other instructional fees

    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...
  •  

    Eliminate the burden and reliance on PTAs and other fundraising efforts

    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...
  •  

    Long-term financial strategy

    Develop a long-term strategy, such as a five-year financial plan...
  •  

    Examine facilities for replacement or renovation

    Engage with a third-party expert to examine facilities and determine...
  •  

    Annually examine employee compensation matters

    Establish a joint government and schools committee to annually examine...

DECEMBER 2018 UPDATE: THE FIRST 100 DAYS

   

Henrico County Council of PTA’s Meeting with School Board Members

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I was excited to visit again with members of the HCCPTA. Please consider joining your school’s PTA and take a moment to thank these folks for their tireless support of our schools and their advocacy for our students.

 

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Henrico Education Association

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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

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Lay Advisory Committee

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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.

All meetings are at 7 p.m. and are held at Moody Middle School, 7800 Woodman Road, Henrico, Va. Topics are to be determined:

  • Nov. 12, 2018
  • Jan. 14, 2019
  • March 12, 2019
  • May 13, 2019

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Senior Convocation

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It was my pleasure to accept Douglas S. Freeman High School’s invitation to deliver the keynote address for the Class of 2019’s Senior Convocation. I likened the senior class to architects, and told students “You design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future that is unknown.” Later, students and parents heard our message about the six key skills and tools that we expect students to learn while in our schools: Critical thinking, creative thinking, quality character, global citizenship, communicating and collaborating. I can’t wait to see what these amazing students do as they return to the “drawing board” and design their futures.

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Teacher Advisory Council

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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.

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Visit by German delegation

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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.

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Town halls continue…

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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!

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$449,224 grant to Maymont benefits Henrico students

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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/

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School faculty meetings

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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!

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Town Hall meetings

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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/

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Announcement of new J.R. Tucker and Highland Springs high schools

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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!

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First Day of School 2018!

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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!

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Meeting of the Henrico Partnership for Family and Community Engagement Council:

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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.

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VISITS TO TWIN HICKORY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND DEEP RUN HIGH SCHOOL

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I’m continuing my school tour, and recently I stopped by two school “neighbors”: Twin Hickory Elementary School and Deep Run High School. Thanks to principals Mike Dussault and Lenny Pritchard for showing me some of the many cool things happening at their schools. The visits not only give me a chance to see our amazing staff members and students in action, but to learn more about the communities that make up Henrico County. My goal is to visit each of our 72 schools and program centers this fall (that’s a lot of passport stamps!). 
 

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Hermitage High School athletic field ribbon cutting

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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! 

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2018 Convocation Highlights

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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.

Check out our Facebook page for even more photo highlights of all four Convocation events!

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August 2018 Highlights

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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!

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Meet & Greet Events

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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.

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Back to School events

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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.

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