Henrico County VA

HCPS announces winners in contest to eliminate inefficiencies

Henrico County Public Schools this week announced the winning entries in Superintendent Pat Kinlaw’s “Un-Initiative” contest launched at the start of the 2014-15 school year. The contest invited HCPS employees to suggest ways that the school division could operate more efficiently and effectively. Kinlaw promised to write personal checks to three individuals who came up with the winning ideas.

In most cases, many different HCPS employees submitted the same winning ideas. The HCPS Division Leadership Team selected the individual prize winners anonymously, after evaluating suggestions for value, content and clarity. A number of other ideas will be reviewed and evaluated by administrators.

First prize ($100 apiece): Eliminate “Interims” at middle and high schools – Phil Bucska, Deep Run High School and Connie Walters, Varina High School.

Previously, the school division required that teachers produce paper copies of interim grading reports during the middle of each marking period as a way for parents to track the performance of their student(s). However, the school division’s current PowerSchool parent portal allows parents to track grades 24/7, with instant online access any day of the week.

“By the time interims are printed and distributed, or made available as an official report, the grades may already be out of date if new assignments have been added,” wrote Phil Bucska, a teacher at Deep Run High School.

Varina High School teacher Connie Walters’ entry said the reports divert school resources: “A great deal of time is spent by the teachers and administrators to produce interims. This is time spent on an activity that is not necessary since parents can see the grades in real time.”

The school division will continue to provide paper copies to any parent who requests that format. Teachers also will continue the practice of contacting the parents of struggling students by phone.

Second prize ($75 apiece): Eliminate “Essentials” duplicate documentation – Sarah Arthur, Shady Grove Elementary School and Kari King, Dumbarton Elementary School

The Virginia Department of Education requires school divisions to document annually that each student has received instruction on a very long list of essential skills. Elementary teachers spend considerable time completing a standalone checklist of “Essentials” for every student in his or her class. This involves properly printing, signing and filing the paperwork in a student’s cumulative folder. HCPS has created an alternative that will allow staff to devote more time to instruction; existing report cards will now be used to fulfill the “Essentials” requirement, combining two tasks.

“Organizations and people work best when communication and work load is streamlined,” wrote Sarah Arthur, a teacher at Shady Grove Elementary School. “This is especially true when the report card is the documentation used and referred to in most situations.”

Dumbarton Elementary School teacher Kari King suggested that “Essentials” information may be misleading at times: “Even if a student had mastered something at the end of the school year, it would be irresponsible for a teacher to assume the information had been retained over the summer. I would suggest this as a great thing to un-initiate.”

Third prize ($50 apiece): Eliminate printed Central Office forms – Walter Boswell, Department of Construction and Maintenance and Maria Wyman, Budget Office

The school division has hundreds of forms associated with day-to-day work that staff must access depending on their individual needs and professional requirements. The forms are occasionally hard to locate and cumbersome to update and complete. Over time, the school division will work to consolidate all forms in one place that can be accessed electronically. Eventually, staff will be able to go to a consistent location to immediately access the latest versions of most forms. This will eliminate inquiries, requests and time-consuming searches for needed forms.

“We carry around 85 different forms in the warehouse,” wrote Walter Boswell of the Construction and Maintenance Department. “If put online, the school could print them off right at their work station.”

Maria Wyman of the Budget Office cited savings in costs and time: “If all forms could be eliminated and employees had a central location to get all the forms and send them electronically, we could save a large amount of money on paper. Plus, it would be a better use of our time.”

Winning ideas will be implemented during the current school year.

Henrico parent Burt Hazelwood made a public commitment to help fund three of the Un-Initiative awards, following Kinlaw's original announcement.
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Henricus to portray ‘Arnold’s Raid on Richmond’ Jan. 31

The Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield this weekend will portray "Arnold's Raid on Richmond," which took place in 1781 when British General Benedict Arnold took his small British and Loyalist forces and raided Richmond as Governor Thomas Jefferson watched from the safety of Manchester.

The event will take place Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Period-dressed historical interpreters will occupy the bluff overlooking the James River.

Visitors are invited to join the American militia, British regulars, Hessians and Loyalists in camp. > Read more.

‘Secret Keeper Girl - Crazy Hair Tour’ returning to West End Assembly of God

Hundreds of 'tweens' and their moms will attend the Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour at West End Assembly of God on Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m., a popular Bible-based tour geared toward building and strengthening relationships between mothers and their daughters (typically ages 8 to 12).

The event will feature a full fashion show, oversized balloon sculptures and confetti cannons – all in the name of inner beauty, Biblical modesty and vibrant purity. > Read more.

OutRVA, ‘Say I Do!’ to give away all-expenses paid wedding at Lewis Ginter

OutRVA and Say I Do! have collaborated to offer LGBT couples an opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid wedding at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Robins Tea House on March 7.

In September, Richmond Region Tourism launched OutRVA, a campaign designed to show people Richmond’s strong LGBT community and highlight the area as a travel destination.

The winning couple will say "I do" in a ceremony coordinated by event designer and floral artist Casey Godlove of Strawberry Fields Flowers & Gifts and marriage concierge, Ayana Obika of All About The Journey. The couple will receive wardrobe and styling, a custom wedding cake, florals, an overnight stay at the Linden Row Inn (including a suite on the day of the wedding for preparation), and a post-wedding brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn on Sunday, March 8. > Read more.

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Weekend Top 10

There are a bunch of unique events just for kids this weekend in Henrico! Virginia Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Maggie Walker Story” opens tonight at The Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn. On Saturday, Walkerton Tavern will host a tea party and the Children’s Museum of Richmond-Central will celebrate the Lunar Year of the Goat with several exciting activities. Ages 11-13 are invited to an “Introduction to Volleyball” workshop on Sunday at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces auditions for ‘Quartet’

CAT Theatre will hold auditions for Quartet on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 22, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Auditions will be held at the theatre, located at 319 N. Wilkinson Road in Richmond. Quartet will run May 22 through June 6 and will close out CAT’s 51st season.

Director Laurie Follmer is seeking two males, ages 50-70 and two females ages 50-70. British accents are required for roles and are requested for auditions. There is no actual singing in the show. Singing ability and experience is not a requirement. Audition sides are available at http://www.cattheatre.com on the Audition Page. > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

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