Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 Recommended Financial Plan includes $19 million in new funding and addresses some major needs of Henrico families, teachers, and staff members. The budget proposal focuses on more opportunities and support systems for students and teachers, continued investment in safe and well-maintained learning spaces, and restoring cuts suffered during the Great Recession. Important budget initiatives include:
- Forty school counselors, nearly doubling the number of counselors at the elementary level in order to address a critical need among students for social and emotional support.
- Daily elementary teacher planning time, fulfilling a promise to instructors to provide important resources. HCPS continues to add support staff in schools, such as counselors, innovative learning coaches, and library assistants so that master schedules can be adjusted to ensure daily planning time.
- Converting 25 exceptional education instructional assistants from temporary to full-time positions. The change would strengthen the support for students with special needs, give them more continuity in the classroom, and provide valued employees with full-time benefits.
- A new “career ladder” program, enabling staff members to climb in experience, expertise and pay.
- Thirty-five full-time substitutes to provide more consistent coverage in schools. All 35 positions would have higher salaries and full-time benefits, to help attract and retain excellent candidates.
- Thirteen elementary school library assistants, to ensure that elementary library programming offers greater opportunities for students and teachers.
- Developing a school bus tracking app to allow parents to locate their student’s bus in real-time.
- An emergency planning and response system known as “Anonymous Alerts,” and updated registration software for school visitors.
While a pay increase for HCPS employees is not yet included in the proposed budget, it is customary in Henrico County to consider compensation increases for both schools and general government employees later in the budget process.
“As I’ve talked this year with Henrico families, staff members and people in the community, I’ve gained a greater understanding of areas that need our investment if we are to continue to grow and thrive as a school division,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent.
“This financial plan incorporates that input, builds on the progress we’ve made in recent years, and continues to focus on the goals in our strategic plan.”
The 2020-21 recommended budget totals $533,489,709, a 3.7% increase over the current year. Building and revising the document is a collaboration between HCPS staff members and general government partners, led by John Vithoulkas, Henrico county manager. The process included significant feedback from the public and employees, including two community input meetings in October and two additional public input sessions in front of the School Board in November and December. Community input, ideas and feedback were also received via email.
School Board members will review the proposal and provide additional feedback and direction to school division staff. School Board members will approve a budget in February, after which the plan moves to the Henrico Board of Supervisors for its approval.
Members of the public may comment on the proposed budget at a public hearing to be held after the School Board’s regular work session on Feb. 13. More information will be available at the School Board’s webpage at henricoschools.us/school-board/.
Find out more about the recommended plan by going to henricoschools.us/budget-finance/.
For two weeks, Douglas Freeman students can enter an immersive portal and meet people around the world
It’s long been the stuff of science fiction: step into a portal and be instantly transported to the other side of the globe. And while students at Douglas S. Freeman High School won’t technically be leaving their Three Chopt Road campus, a new student-driven project might give them the next best thing.
It’s long been the stuff of science fiction: step into a portal and be instantly transported to the other side of the globe. And while students at Douglas S. Freeman High School won’t technically be leaving their Three Chopt Road campus, a new student-driven project might give them the next best thing. From Feb. 17 to March 1, students at the school will be able to step into an immersive, audio-visual chamber and interact with residents of Afghanistan, Uganda and other places far from Henrico County.
The Douglas Freeman portal is constructed from a repurposed steel shipping container, painted gold. It and similar portals are dimly lit and include a floor-to-ceiling screen, giving people at each location the illusion of being in the same room. The portal will sit at the front of campus, where the HCPS Technology and Facilities departments have run power and internet lines.
The portal, one of more than 60 worldwide, is the creation of Shared_Studios of Brooklyn, NY. Douglas Freeman students proposed bringing one of the portals to campus, and funding from the Henrico Education Foundation made it happen. The Foundation supports innovative teaching and learning in Henrico’s 72 schools and program centers.
“One of our roles as a school is to expose students to new ideas and different ways of thinking — to broaden their view of the world,” said John Marshall, Douglas Freeman principal. “The school’s diversity is a strength in this regard, and embracing that is one of our core values. The portal gives us the chance to do this at an even greater scope. It highlights the fact that we’re creating global citizens who learn much more than just facts and content during their time at DSF.”
Douglas Freeman is the first public school in Virginia to host a portal. Teachers plan to use the portal to add a new dimension to coursework. For example, Freeman students studying art, geometry and Spanish plan to talk with street artists using a portal in Mexico City, who use ratios in their designs. Photography students hope to learn from artists in a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece, who use that medium to tell their stories.
The public is invited to use the portal on two successive weekends to interact with people in other nations:
- Feb. 22 (9-11 a.m. with Herat, Afghanistan; 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. with Mexico City)
- Feb. 23 (Noon-2 p.m. with an Erbil, Iraq camp for displaced persons)
- Feb. 29 (10-11:30 a.m. with Lagos, Nigeria; Noon-2 p.m. with El Progreso, Honduras)
- March 1 (Noon-2 p.m. with Kigali, Rwanda)
Find out more about the Douglas Freeman portal at freemanportal.org. A short video produced by Shared_Studios explains more about the project below.
The portal project is an example of the concepts laid out in the Henrico Learner Profile, the school division’s framework for the skills students need and how they can best attain them. It uses many concepts included in the Henrico Learner Profile, including global citizenship and the idea that learning should be student-owned, authentic, connected and take place anytime and anywhere.
Vaping is a growing problem in high schools, and HCPS is addressing it with a new workshop
At least one in 10 Henrico County young people have reported using an e-cigarette or vaping device, according to nonprofit advocacy group Henrico Too Smart 2 Start — and the popularity of vaping is increasing.
At least one in 10 Henrico County young people have reported using an e-cigarette or vaping device, according to nonprofit advocacy group Henrico Too Smart 2 Start — and the popularity of vaping is increasing. Register for Henrico County Public Schools’ Feb. 27 Vaping Prevention Workshop and get the facts about vaping from experts.
Find out what you can do to educate young people about the realities and health risks of vaping. Get resources and learn tips on how to talk about tobacco use. The workshop will feature representatives of the American Heart Association, the Virginia Department of Health Tobacco Control Program and Henrico Too Smart 2 Start.
It will be held on February 27th from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at the Varina Area Library at 1875 New Market Road.
The workshop is part of Henrico County Public Schools’ Family Learning Series. The series is presented by Henrico Schools’ Department of Family and Community Engagement. Workshops are held at public libraries and school facilities across Henrico County. To register for the vaping workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-652-3787. Teachers who attend will earn recertification points.
For details on the sessions, go to henricoschools.us and look under “Hot Topics” or go to https://henricoschools.us/family-learning-series-winter-spring-2020/.
The schedule is as follows:
- “Vaping Prevention Parent and Guardian Workshop” (Feb. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road, Henrico, Va. 23231
- “IEP 1, 2, 3!” (March 11 from 6:30-8 p.m.; sessions in English and Spanish)
Center for Global Citizenship at J.R. Tucker High School, 2910 Parham Road, Henrico, Va. 23294
- “LGBTQ+: Everyone Needs an Ally” (March 18 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
J.R. Tucker High School library, 2910 Parham Road, Henrico, Va. 23294
- “Raising Children: Parents, Where is Your Village?” (March 25 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
Fairfield Area Library, 1401 N. Laburnum Ave., Henrico, Va. 23223
- “Quality Time: How to Fit It In” (April 8 from 12:30-1 p.m.)
Online class (for information and a link to the workshop, email email@example.com)
- “Homework Help! Supporting Student Success” (April 22 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
Libbie Mill Library, 2100 Libbie Lake East St., Henrico, Va. 23230
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-652-3787.
University of Richmond Museums presents “A Competition in Prose, Poetry, or Images”
The exhibition is the first retrospective of German artist Fritz Ascher, comprising seventy paintings and works on paper, ranging from early academic studies and figural compositions to the artist’s late colorful, mystical landscapes.
The University of Richmond Museums presents Otherness: A Competition in Prose, Poetry or Images on Paper, specifically for high school students and presented in conjunction with the exhibition Fritz Ascher: Expressionist, currently on view at the Harnett Museum of Art. The exhibition is the first retrospective of German artist Fritz Ascher (1893-1970), comprising seventy paintings and works on paper, ranging from early academic studies and figural compositions to the artist’s late colorful, mystical landscapes.
The Fritz Ascher Society invites high school students to submit an essay of up to 500 words, a poem of up to two pages in length, or an artwork on paper (drawing, watercolor, gouache, or collage) that reflects on the theme of “otherness.” Fritz Ascher’s art and/or life will be the inspiration for the submission.
The winners of the competition will receive cash prizes and will be celebrated at an awards ceremony and reception on Monday, May 4, 2020, 6 p.m., at the Modlin Center for the Arts, University of Richmond. The winning entries will be exhibited for the program.
The jurors for the competition are Ori Z. Soltes and Rachel Stern, Fritz Ascher Society, and Richard Waller, Executive Director, University of Richmond Museums. The exhibition and programs are made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund, Allianz Partners, Goethe Institut, and the Fritz Ascher Society.
Send submissions to:
The Fritz Ascher Society
Attention: Rachel Stern
121 Bennett Avenue, Suite 12A
New York, New York 10033
For questions and text submissions: email@example.com
The University Museums offer free tours for high school classes interested in visiting the exhibition. To book a tour, contact Martha Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-287-1258.