Superintendent - Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw
It’s hard to believe that another school year is about to begin. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as acting superintendent and then superintendent during the 2013-14 school year. We have been working diligently to ensure that everything is in place as we approach a new school year. I’m pleased to join our tremendous staff in welcoming our students back to class in September.
Our theme for the year 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 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. Statewide, only Fairfax and Loudoun schools earned more. 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.
Henrico County continues to invest significantly in supporting all students in meeting our high performance standards. This summer 1,416 elementary and 3,951 secondary students received intensive additional academic support based on their individual needs. These summer institutes feature targeted mathematics and language arts support in small group classes as well as enrichment in science, technology, math and engineering.
Our staff is dedicated to the success of every student. In order to realize that goal, we want to reach out and ask that you join us in our efforts to positively touch the lives of all students.