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Henrico schools’ “signing day” for students entering the workforce goes viral on social media

A Facebook post about the first ever career signing day reached more than 4 million people and was reposted by “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe, who called the concept “the way forward.”

RVAHub Staff

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Recognizing students entering the workforce is a compelling idea, if the online response to Henrico Schools’ first-ever “Career and Technical Letter-of-Intent Signing Day” is any indication.

A school division Facebook post about the event drew a huge response after it was reposted by actor Mike Rowe, well-known for hosting Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” as well as other projects.

The March 28th signing day celebrated students graduating from Henrico Schools’ Career and Technical Education program. The event emulated ceremonies that have become common for high school athletes signing letters-of-intent to play for NCAA programs. Students and representatives of their future employers signed symbolic letters of agreement, as families and members of the media looked on.

As of Monday, the school division’s April 11 description of the event and accompanying photos had been viewed on more than four million screens, been “liked” more than 33,000 times, been shared more than 24,000 times, and had generated more than 3,100 comments.

“This is the way forward,” Rowe wrote on his Facebook page, which has more than 5 million followers. “No attempt to close the skills gap will ever succeed, until or unless we celebrate those who are willing to learn a skill that’s in demand. This is not just a terrific idea, it’s a model for every other technical school in the country. A big thanks and a hearty congratulations to whomever pushed this idea forward. Here’s hoping others will follow Henrico’s lead.”

“Thanks Mike,” responded Beverly Cocke, who represents the Brookland District on the School Board and serves as the School Board’s representative on the HCPS Career and Technical Education Advisory Board. “It was our Director of CTE, the most awesome Mac B[eaton], who came up with the idea!

“As a HCPS School Board member, I can honestly say it was one of the most inspiring events I’ve attended this year. The parents were proud, the students were confident in their futures and the employers were grateful – winners all around. We’re already planning next year’s event. We would love to have you visit anytime and see the great things going on!”

“My compliments to Mac,” said Rowe. “Invite me to the next one. If I can make it, I will.”

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UR political science professor honored nationally for excellence in teaching and mentorship

This award is given annually to recognize an individual who has demonstrated innovative teaching and instructional methods and materials specifically on topics regarding law and courts.

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University of Richmond Associate Professor of Political Science Jennifer Bowie has received the Law and Courts Teaching and Mentorship Award from the American Political Science Association, the Law & Courts section.

This award is given annually to recognize an individual who has demonstrated innovative teaching and instructional methods and materials specifically on topics regarding law and courts.

Bowie, who has taught at UR since 2011, specializes in judicial decision making in federal, state, and comparative courts.

She is the pre-law advisor at UR and regularly teaches courses on the American legal system, civil rights and liberties, constitutional law, and judicial politics and decision making. Additionally, she teaches a First-Year Seminar on the rights of the criminally accused, and a senior seminar titled “The Notorious RBG: Gender Discrimination and the Courts.”

In her courses, Bowie is known to consistently find ways to give her students the opportunity to speak with judges, including members of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.

“I am truly grateful to my colleagues and students who nominated me for this prestigious award and it is especially meaningful as it represents my passion for teaching and mentoring,” said Bowie.

“Jennifer is an outstanding teacher who is thoughtful in the design of every aspect of her classes,” said Richard Dagger, professor of political science and the former department chair, who was one of many who nominated Bowie for the award.

“She goes to great lengths to afford her students diverse learning activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, and her students often attest to the deep and meaningful ways that she has touched their lives.”

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Following comprehensive review, Douglas Freeman High School to retire ‘Rebels’ nickname

“Following several months of listening, dialogue, and careful reflection with the help of a thoughtful and passionate committee, there is no need to wait,” said John Marshall, Douglas Freeman principal, in a letter emailed to members of the school community. “It is clear that now is the time to retire the ‘Rebels’ mascot, to leave it as a part of our history and not carry it into our future.”

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After a comprehensive review that included considerable public input, Henrico County’s Douglas S. Freeman High School will retire its “Rebels” nickname. A committee of community members, students and staff voted to recommend the change after analyzing community input collected in June and July. The school administration will work with the community in coming months to choose a new mascot for the school.

“Following several months of listening, dialogue, and careful reflection with the help of a thoughtful and passionate committee, there is no need to wait,” said John Marshall, Douglas Freeman principal, in a letter emailed to members of the school community. “It is clear that now is the time to retire the ‘Rebels’ mascot, to leave it as a part of our history and not carry it into our future. We will adopt a new symbol that better represents our school as a forward-thinking, inclusive, welcoming place for all students.

“Now that this decision has been made the best thing to do for our school and students is to focus all of our energies into reuniting as a family. We have been a model in so many ways for many years, academically, athletically, and this summer, a model for how to have a civil dialogue within our family. It’s now time to show the world how a family comes together after an impassioned disagreement. I ask this for the benefit of our students and school. I can think of no better example of putting school over self than rallying behind something we disagree with because it is better for others.”

The full text of Marshall’s message about the decision is available at https://www.freemanmascot.info.

Marshall also announced the creation of the “Freeman Forward Fund” in partnership with the Henrico Education Foundation. The fund will build school culture and support long-term efforts to promote inclusivity and innovation. Members of the public can donate to the fund by going to https://bit.ly/33oNrqu.

Once a new mascot is determined, the school will hold a fall “spirit-wear swap” where students can trade in Rebels gear for items with the new nickname.

Marshall announced in June that the school would conduct the school-based review of the name, in cooperation with Henrico County Public Schools’ superintendent and School Board.

The review process drew more than 2,000 comments, including around 1,500 responses through an online form. The input also included emails, social media posts, handwritten notes, voicemails, videos and an online panel discussion on the topic.

While the school has used the Rebels name since it opened in 1954, it has not used a visual mascot for many years, instead opting for an interlocking “DSF” logo.

The school is named for Douglas Southall Freeman, a Richmond historian, author and journalist. While Freeman won Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of both Robert E. Lee and George Washington, the school’s nickname was likely inspired by his Confederate subjects.

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Pop-Up School Supply Drive: Help make a big difference for Henrico County students

While Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year will begin using a fully virtual format, students still need school supplies. Here’s how you can help.

RVAHub Staff

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While Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year will begin using a fully virtual format, students still need school supplies. Besides standard supplies such as highlighters and notebooks, many families also need assistance with supplies that might normally be found in a classroom, such as whiteboards and pencil sharpeners.

You can help by dropping off supplies at a Pop-Up School Supply Drive Thursday from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mad Science of Central Virginia in Glen Allen. To prioritize safety, the drop-off will use a drive-thru format, with social distancing and mask-use in effect. The drive is sponsored by HCPS’ Department of Family and Community Engagement. Some needed items are listed below.

It takes place Thursday, July 30 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mad Science of Central Virginia, 11551 Nuckols Road. Contact Van-Neisha Johnson at 804-328-8110 or [email protected].

Elementary school items:

  • Wide-ruled notebook paper
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Black and white composition notebooks
  • Lined index cards
  • Pocket folders
  • Washable markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons
  • Child-sized scissors
  • Pencil boxes
  • Backpacks

Middle and high school items:

  • College-ruled notebook paper
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Blue, black and red pens
  • Highlighters
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Lined index cards
  • Three-ring binders
  • Colored pencils
  • Four-function calculators
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Washable markers
  • Backpacks

Virtual learning family support items:

  • Calendar anchor charts
  • Flashcards for all grade levels (math, sight words, language arts, shapes, and colors, etc.)
  • Classroom organization charts
  • Pencil boxes
  • Three-ring binders
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Workbooks (for all grade levels)
  • Binder rings
  • Index cards
  • Wooden craft sticks
  • Current wall maps and globes
  • Laminators
  • Hole punches
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Red correcting pencils
  • Staplers and staples
  • File folders
  • Whiteboards
  • Treasure chest/prize box incentives
  • Sharpies
  • Erasers
  • Post-it Notes
  • Printers
  • Ink cartridges
  • Printer paper
  • Magnetic letters and numbers

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