Henrico County Public Schools wins 26 national awards for innovative programs
HENRICO, Va., Oct. 30, 2023 — Twenty-six Henrico County Public Schools programs have been recognized in the 2023 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards. The annual awards honor groundbreaking county government programs
across the nation. Two of the programs also received awards from the Virginia Association of Counties. Representatives of HCPS departments with winning entries were recognized at the Oct. 26 Henrico School Board meeting. Three programs also garnered 2023 Achievement Awards from the Virginia Association of Counties.
Across all departments and agencies, Henrico County won a combined 38 NACo Achievement Awards. The county’s total was the most of any county in Virginia for the 18th straight year. Henrico ranked seventh nationally in award totals, behind much larger counties such as Los Angeles County and Florida’s Miami-Dade County. In 2021, Henrico County’s population was estimated at 333,554 by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The school division’s winning programs were:
Adult Education at Regency Mall: Shopping for Your Future (Workforce and Career Development). Students joined community partners to help build a new 48,000-square-foot adult education center that is helping adults “shop for their futures” at a Henrico retail landmark. This program was also honored by the Virginia Association of Counties.
Adult Education Virtual Learning (Workforce and Career Development). The project provided 50 staff members (composed of adult basic education, adult secondary education and English literacy instructors) with the hardware, software and training to deliver effective virtual instruction to adult students.
Career Ambassadors Program (Workforce and Career Development). HCPS high school students share their career and technical education experiences with middle and elementary students and community stakeholders throughout the school year, making students aware of possible career paths.
County Manager’s Summer Academy (Workforce and Career Development). Rising seniors learn about careers from experienced professionals, while gaining meaningful summer work-based learning experiences in various departments of Henrico Government.
Dream Home Makeover: Remodeling with a Purpose (Workforce and Career Development). Renovating a vacant county owned home provided affordable housing to a county resident, while giving students summer exposure to a variety of construction trades.
Greenhouse and Landscaping Students Team Up with Recreation & Parks (Workforce and Career Development). ACE Center at Hermitage students supplied Henrico Recreation and Parks with 600 pansies to help beautify park entrances, learning about high-volume greenhouse methods while supplying affordable plants for public enjoyment.
Improving Literacy for All Students (Workforce and Career Development). This program helped inmates improve their literacy skills, so they could chart better futures by qualifying to take career and technical education courses.
Local Police Department and Students Build Relationships (Workforce and Career Development). When Varina High School culinary students expressed fears about the police, an instructor organized a family style meal where students could prepare food and then engage in frank conversations with officers to dispel myths and share perspectives. This program also won an award from the Virginia Association of Counties.
Nursing Students Support Diaper Ministry (Workforce and Career Development). Students in the Henrico County-St Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing helped struggling Lakeside area families avoid possible health risks by providing diapers, a critical and expensive family item not covered by government programs.
Planting Career Seeds: CTE in Elementary Schools (Workforce and Career Development). To reach students early, R.C. Longan Elementary School hosted career partners each month as part of a workforce awareness program at the Henrico school with a high English-learner population.
Playhouses: More Than Just Fun (Workforce and Career Development). Students in carpentry and computer-aided drafting programs used their skills to create a playhouse that was raffled to raise funds for the Court Appointed Special Advocates program, or CASA.
Solid as a Rock (Workforce and Career Development). When Henrico County couldn’t find a contractor to renovate and repair the unique concrete bench at the entrance to the government building, students stepped in to use their skills and learn new ones.
Students Combat the Pandemic by Building Outdoor Learning Spaces (Workforce and Career Development). When COVID-19 created an immediate need for outdoor classrooms, carpentry instructors and students set up a manufacturing system to supply the division’s elementary schools with 110 picnic tables.
Vet Students Assist Local Police Animal Shelter (Workforce and Career Development). Veterinary students at the ACE Center at Hermitage worked at the Henrico Division of Police animal shelter one day a week, getting hands-on experience grooming, bathing and caring for animals that have sometimes been abandoned or neglected.
Clothing Closet and Food Pantry Help Students Experiencing Homelessness (Division of Learning). Thanks to the efforts of the HCPS McKinney-Vento team and community donors, hundreds of homeless students have received food, as well as new clothes to help boost their comfort and confidence. The program has helped cut absenteeism.
Comprehensive School-Based Mental Health Services and Programming (Division of Learning). HCPS worked with Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services to provide mental health services and support to students with serious emotional challenges. A new full-time mental health professional provides outpatient counseling and staff consultations, and a liaison provides family support. The program addressed barriers like finances, transportation, clinician availability and social stigmas.
Elementary Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning Programs (Division of Learning). Counselors and innovative learning specialists created a curriculum to help 21,000 HCPS elementary students become responsible citizen as they navigate the growing role of technology.
Dual-Language Immersion Program at Elizabeth Holladay Elementary School (Division of Learning). At Elizabeth Holladay Elementary School, where 42% of students speak Spanish as their primary language, students enrolled in the new program learn content in both English and Spanish.
First Tee Golf (Division of Learning). The program at the Henrico-owned Belmont Golf Course uses golf as a platform to teach motor skills and character development. The partnership with nonprofit First Tee of Greater Richmond gives students who have never had access to golf a chance to learn the sport.
Protecting Student Privacy Through the Digital Resources Menu (Division of Learning). When the pandemic sparked a boom in the number of “free” online learning resources, this HCPS project helped staff, students and families make informed decisions about resources that protect student privacy while maximizing learning.
Job-Embedded Interactive Panel Professional Learning (Division of Learning). When supply-chain issues delayed the installation of 1,500 new interactive classroom panels in HCPS classrooms, this training plan got teachers up-to-speed quickly so they could start using the technology on Day 1.
The Library Learning Commons Project (Division of Learning). The project reimagined the school division’s libraries as environments that empower agency and amplify deeper learning for all students. Students got easier access to diverse collections, and collaborative spaces for presentations and creativity. Staff members received training to make the program blossom.
On-Demand Support for Teaching with Technology (Division of Learning). With the availability of multiple new instructional tools, HCPS staff members now have an online hub to quickly learn about new resources and technologies.
Newcomer Event (Equity, Diversity and Opportunity). HCPS departments and student interpreters teamed with community organizations to provide Henrico’s growing immigrant population with a daylong event offering resources and employment opportunities. The Virginia Association of Counties also recognized this program.
Rolling Resource Center (Division of Family and Community Engagement). Using HCPS’ outreach vehicle, HCPS and Henrico County Public Library staff made 23 summer visits to Henrico communities, bringing educational materials and outreach to more than 1,500 children and caregivers.
Addressing a Local and National Shortage in Health Care (Workforce and Career Development). As a direct result of HCPS’ new job fair for students passing the state nursing exam, 100% of graduates of Henrico County-St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing found employment in the nursing field, helping address a nationwide nursing shortage.