Superintendent - Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw
Welcome back! We’ve had a tremendous start to the school year, and I’ve enjoyed seeing so many smiling faces in our schools. It’s my pleasure to bring you up to speed on what we’re doing.
Our theme for this year and beyond is “The Right to Achieve. The Support to Succeed.” We feel this captures our belief that all students are entitled to have a positive and productive learning experience while with us, and to show academic progress during the school year regardless of where/how they begin. The theme is supported by four overarching areas of focus: (1) Student Safety; (2) Academic Progress; (3) Closing Gaps; and (4) Relationships. You will see, hear, and feel these areas of focus throughout the school year. Appreciation is again offered to the Student Performance Task Force that met several times last Spring and helped to provide guidance on the work ahead of us. The task force was comprised of staff, students, parents, and community leaders. I look forward to providing updates on our progress in these areas as the year unfolds.
2014 has also been a year of great achievements in Henrico County Public Schools. Eighteen of our schools earned 2014 Virginia Index of Performance awards for advanced learning and achievement, which was tops in the Richmond area. Our School Board worked together with our Finance team and our partners in General Government to provide a pay raise for eligible teachers and staff in January 2015. And, of course, we also must also express our continued gratitude to the citizens of Henrico County who approved a meals tax that took effect in June. The estimated $18 million in annual revenue will be dedicated exclusively to HCPS, which helps ensure a brighter future for all of our students.
While we enjoy numerous accolades, we are not without challenges. Henrico County is a changing community. In 2008-09, less than 30 percent of our students came from homes that qualified for free or reduced lunch fees. Today, that number is 41% and will likely continue to increase. Additionally, we served over 1,000 homeless students last year. We welcome with open arms all of the students who pass through our doors; however, there are some challenges that we need to embrace as a community to ensure that every student succeeds.
I’d like to thank all of you who joined us throughout October for our town hall meetings on the proposed 2015-16 Code of Community Conduct. If approved by the School Board, this proposed Code could potentially replace the existing Code of Student Conduct next year, by clearly stating the roles and responsibilities of students, staff, and the community in hopes of encouraging a positive learning environment. We are continuing to consider public feedback. To review the proposal, and to submit your thoughts, please click here: http://schools.henrico.k12.va.us/feedback/.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in our schools!