Education

Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

Henrico teen turns tragedy into hope

Christopher's Angels honors the memory and life of Christopher Sims. (Photo courtesy Jany Sims)
FEB. 22, 12:15 P.M. – When Christopher Sims, a 14-year-old Henrico boy, died by suicide two years ago, it left a family and an entire community off kilter, searching for answers.

For months afterwards, his twin brother, Alexander, listened to their mother describe how she wished something positive might come from the tragedy.

So Alexander Sims, a junior at Mills E. Godwin High School, decided to create a kindness program to combat bullying and teen suicide. He named it “Christopher’s Angels” (in honor of his brother) and launched it Feb. 9 – on the second anniversary of Christopher's death – at http://www.christophersangels.org.

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.

HCPS seeking children for 2016-17 preschool program


Henrico County Public Schools is recruiting families for inclusion in its preschool program for the 2016-17 school year. Participating children must be four years old by Sept. 30.

The preschool program is designed to provide a high-quality preschool environment for children of low-income families in Henrico County. The program is funded by federal Head Start and Title I funds, and by the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

To apply, parents or guardians must meet with a family advocate by appointment by May 9 at their area elementary school.

Sandston Elementary School organizes crock pot drive

A social media and e-mail drive initiated by Sandston Elementary School Principal Kim Powell helped the school collect more than 50 crock pots from Henrico County families and the Sandston community. The crock pots were donated this week to 24 of the most in-need families at the school, as well as to families at Donahoe Elementary and Fair Oaks Elementary.

The "crock pot drive" also produced a donation of food from FeedMore for Sandston students in need, money that was used to purchase ingredients for one meal to go along with each crock pot and Kroger gift cards and an additional crock pot dinner for all 24 of the Sandston families.

Glen Allen woman urges School Board to enhance ESL program


The public hearing on the Henrico County Public Schools’ proposed 2016-17 budget, held in the auditorium of Douglas Freeman High School Feb. 3, contained little fanfare and little contention, until Zahra Lakhani approached the lectern.

Lakhani is the mother of Glen Allen High School freshman Shahzaib Lakhani, 14, who has Down syndrome. She lashed out at budgetary shortfalls and what she perceived as a lack of interest in special-needs students. She told the board that for the second time since 2011, her son had been given a disinfectant product and told to clean the classroom, instead of studying music with his classmates. She asked the board to allocate funding to hire more custodial staff.

HCPS officials propose budget, await clarity


Uncertainty about the components of the state's next biennial budget – which legislators are crafting this month – has Henrico County Public Schools officials awaiting clarity as they work to propose their own budget for the coming fiscal year.

HCPS officials are hopeful that Gov. Terry McAuliffe's plan to fund new teaching positions statewide – which would partially cover 46 new elementary school jobs in Henrico in FY16-17 (and another 42 secondary school positions the following year) – will take shape, but for now their budget doesn't include them.

They anticipate that McAuliffe's proposed 2-percent pay raise for teachers will lead to a similar pay raise for all county employees, but for now their tentative school budget does not include one.

Student campaign hopes to ‘@HelpSaveTheDay’ for playground


Can tweets build a new playground? Students at the Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage are waging a social media campaign this week to win funds that would refurbish the playground at Longdale Elementary School and make it more accessible.

The students’ proposal made it to the final five in a nationwide contest by SkillsUSA and Lowe’s. To win, the project must create the most social media interaction during the week of Feb. 7-11.

Students at the center are promoting their entry using social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Vine. The project uses the handle @helpsavetheday or simply, Help Save the Day.

Smart Beginnings earns $180K grant

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, a regional school readiness initiative, received a $180,000 grant from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) to benefit quality early learning opportunities for young children in the greater Richmond region. The investment by VECF supports collaborative efforts that enable children to start school healthy and ready to learn, which is the first stage of the workforce pipeline.

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May 2017
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The Autism Society of Central Virginia will present its 15th annual 5K Run/Walk for Autism at 8 a.m. at the Innsbrook Pavilion. This family-friendly race includes entertainment, food, exhibitors and a Kid’s Fun Zone. The 5K Run/Walk is one of ASCV’s primary sources of income, raising over $100,000 last year. Funds raised here, stay here. For details, visit http://www.ascv.org/ascv-5k. Full text

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