Muthusamy makes final attempt at national spelling title

Unlike most champion competitors, Tejas Muthusamy is staring retirement in the face as an eighth-grader. This week, the 14-year-old Moody Middle School student is competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the final time, after amassing shelves of spelling ribbons and trophies in his HCPS career. The Scripps contest is open to students in eighth-grade or below.
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School Board will hear Hungary Creek redistricting proposal March 9

Larger redistricting that could affect 7 middle schools will follow this spring
FEB. 23, 6:10 P.M. – The Henrico School Board will receive plans next month designed to reduce overcrowding at Hungary Creek Middle School in time for the 2017-18 school year.

School system planners will present a proposal to the board Mar. 9 that would redistrict a small portion of the school's current zone, thereby alleviating crowded conditions at Hungary Creek. The school currently is at 116 percent of its intended capacity. The plan would take effect this fall and apply to rising sixth-graders.

Citizens would have an opportunity to comment on the proposal during a Mar. 16 public hearing at an as-yet undecided location. The board likely would approve new boundaries for Hungary Creek at its Mar. 23 meeting.
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Middle school redistricting process to be delayed


The start of a redistricting process that could alleviate crowded conditions at Hungary Creek Middle School is on hold for another seven months or so while Henrico County Public Schools officials first consider the possible implementation of new instructional programs at the middle school level.

The Henrico School Board had hoped to begin the redistricting process this fall, but Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Beth Teigen told the board last week that it wouldn't make sense to start yet. That's because officials are weighing the possibility of establishing special "academies" at some middle schools to provide focused instruction in several topics – potentially including leadership, coding and/or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
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Board approves Quioccasin Middle School as Byrd’s new name

Vote ends lengthy process
APRIL 28, 9 P.M. – By a 3-0 vote (with one abstention and one absence), the Henrico County School Board Thursday night renamed Byrd Middle School for the region in which it's located.

The board voted in support of Tuckahoe District member Lisa Marshall's suggestion of Quioccasin Middle School, a name that she said reflects more than just the road on which the school sits.

"Quioccasin is more than just a location," Marshall said. "It's also the name of the community with a rich cultural heritage in the Tuckahoe District. I'm confident that our community will support the name Quioccasin with the same level that they have shown the school to this date."
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Byrd Middle School set to unveil new ‘Little Library’ April 12


Byrd Middle School will host a grand-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new outdoor library Apr. 12.

Yes, an outdoor library. This one is a bit smaller than most, however.

It's a "Little Free Library" – one of thousands that now exist around the world at schools, on street corners and in other community spots. The library will be stocked with a variety of books, and members of the community may stop by and pick one up, return it later and/or add more books to share with others.
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Fairfield MS earns ‘reconstituted’ status from Virginia BOE


The Virginia Board of Education last month granted “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School” status to 31 schools that otherwise would have been denied state accreditation because of persistently low student achievement. Among them: Henrico's Fairfield Middle School.

The board’s accreditation regulations define reconstitution as a process to improve instruction and raise student achievement by restructuring a school's governance, faculty, instructional program and/or student population.
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Student seeks new name for Byrd M.S.

Namesake's support of 'massive resistance' cited as reason

Metro Richmond has a rich racial history. One man, Arthur Ashe, has been a point of pride for the region – his statue sits on Monument Avenue in Richmond to commemorate his courage in breaking racial barriers during his unprecedented tennis career.

Another man’s name adorns the front of a Henrico school, but some citizens aren’t as willing to celebrate the history he contributed.

Harry F. Byrd Middle School, part of the Henrico County public school system, is named after the 50th governor of Virginia, who also represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 22 years.
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HCPS students add skills, lobby Congress for technical education

McKenna Slough
Brookland Middle School student McKenna Slough will put her research and presentation skills to the test when she explains her sports nutrition project to judges at the national conference of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. The conference is an annual meeting of the organization, a national nonprofit career and technical group for students enrolled in family and consumer sciences. The conference is being held in Washington, D.C., July 5-9.

Four students from Henrico County Public Schools are attending the national conference: Slough; Lauren Bishop and Emma-Grace Heinrich from Mills Godwin High School; and Josh Foster of Deep Run High School. Slough is the only Henrico County middle school student attending.

The students will take part in leadership training workshops; lobby their congressional representatives on behalf of career and technical education; and compete in such areas as public speaking, presentations and job interviews.
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Henrico students attend FCCLA leadership conference


Students from Brookland Middle School's chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) recently participated in a weekend leadership training conference in Virginia Beach. Attendees participated in a weekend of workshops and sessions about leadership through FCCLA. Along with nearly 1,200 other advisers and members, Brookland Middle School’s FCCLA chapter advisers, Amanda Lauritzen and Cherise Cobb, accompanied eight members to the conference April 17-19. Brookland Middle School was one of four schools from Henrico County that attended the conference and the only middle school.
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Fairfield MS counseling program earns acclaim


The counseling program at Henrico County’s Fairfield Middle School recently earned an elite designation from the American School Counselor Association, which named it a “Recognized ASCA Model Program.”

The designation means that Fairfield’s counseling department has implemented a national model stressing comprehensive, data-driven school counseling. Schools must have an established counseling foundation, deliver services effectively, put management systems in place and have ways to measure counseling performance.

Fewer than 600 schools nationwide have received the honor since it was first awarded in 2004. The designation is valid for five years, after which schools must reapply.
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Fairfield Middle School celebrates new fitness facility

Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the National Foundation of Governors’ Fitness Councils, helps Fairfield Middle School students cut the ribbon to signify the dedication of the school’s new $100,000 fitness center.
Fairfield Middle School recently unveiled its new fitness center, which was awarded by the National Foundation of Governors’ Fitness Councils, through its National Champion Schools campaign, in September. Fairfield was one of just three schools in the state selected to receive one of the centers, which is valued at $100,000.
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Fairfield MS student market now offering fall hours


Fairfield Middle School’s student-run Community Garden Market is adding fall hours. The market is now open Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Located adjacent to the school at 5121 Nine Mile Road in Henrico County, the market offers fresh, affordable, organically grown produce cultivated by Fairfield students. Grants from Lowe’s, Home Depot, VCU and the Henrico Education Foundation helped fund the project, which aims to educate students and improve community access to healthy food.

“About 4,000 homes in the Fairfield area are on monthly food assistance. There’s a huge need for food security,” said Amanda Hall, coordinator of the garden market and a former Fairfield science teacher.
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Fairfield MS band earns honors

The Fairfield Middle School band, orchestra and chorus performed at “Music in the Park” at Six Flags Maryland May 10 and brought home eight awards for excellence, including a number of first-place awards: jazz band (superior rating); sixth- and seventh-grade concert band (superior rating); eighth-grade advanced concert band; orchestra (superior rating); and mixed chorus.

The band was directed by Kimberly Storrs, while Kristina Murray directed the orchestra and chorus.
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Henrico School Board approves new MS, ES laptop contracts

Both awarded to Dell, Inc.
UPDATE: MAY 8, 5:50 P.M. – The Henrico County School Board today voted unanimously to award two four-year contracts to Dell, Inc., totaling $27.2 million, for the provision of computers to elementary school and middle school students and teachers.

Both contracts – a $17.6-million deal to continue the one-to-one laptop initiative for middle-school students, and a $9.6-million deal to provide one computer for every 1.5 elementary school students, through carts and classroom sets – will begin July 1. Last year, the board awarded a new four-year contract to Dell for its high school laptop program.
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Short Pump Middle School ranked No. 23 middle school in the US

Short Pump Middle School this week was ranked as the 23rd-best middle school in the United States, by TheBestSchools.org. Short Pump also was the highest-rated Virginia middle school by the organization, which ranked the top 50 middle schools nationwide.

TheBestSchools.org selected Short Pump based on several weighted factors, including academic excellence, NAEP scores, state assessment scores, received awards and rankings, geographical diversity and reputation.
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Henricus Historical Park will host an informational open house from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. introducing the new adult group programs to begin in 2018. The open house is an opportunity for organizations to discover what Henricus can offer their club, church group, college class, or other organization. In the coming year, Henricus will be adding afternoon adult-themed programs with topics such as 17th Century Medicines, Colonial Brewing, and Winter Holiday Meals. Registration for this free event is recommended by calling 318-8797. Full text

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