Education

Virginia529 prepaid tuition enrollment program opens


The enrollment period for the Virginia529 prePAID college tuition program is now open through March 31.

For 2016-2017, tuition and mandatory fees at a Virginia public university can cost as much as $21,234. The Virginia529 plan is designed to help families eliminate the uncertainty of future increases at those institutions.

2 Henrico students participate in White House event

Henrico students Amina Abdulkadir and Lilah Monroe represented Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden at the White House June 3, as part of the first harvest of the White House's Kitchen Garden. The program was part of First Lady Michelle Obama's national initiative to get kids moving and eating healthy food.

Abdulkadir, a ten-year-old fourth-grader at Ridge Elementary, and Monroe, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Springfield Park Elementary, were accompanied by Abdulkadir’s mother, Isnina Hassan, and joined approximately 50 other students, parents and educators from around the country. The First Lady greeted the students, who then harvested vegetables from the White House Kitchen Garden and enjoyed a light lunch featuring vegetables prepared by White House chefs.

Schools embrace financial literacy program


A financial literacy program called Banzai has made its way into the curriculum of Henrico County Public Schools and is meant to expose students to financial responsibilities.

Henrico Federal Credit Union started sponsoring the financial literacy program in 2012, and its engagement in the program gives teachers the opportunity to provide an innovative, high-quality experience to their students at no cost.

“The goal was to focus on improving financial literacy for the rising generations who would soon be facing financial decision in their lives,” said Banzai spokesperson Rachel Yentes. “This program also creates a relationship between students and their sponsor, who can help them with financial decisions in the future. Banzai is fun and engaging, which helps students to enjoy learning about financial literacy and most importantly, remember what they are learning."

Henrico student finishes 7th in Scripps National Spelling Bee


Moody Middle School sixth-grader Tejas Muthusamy finished seventh in the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night – one spot better than last year, when he finished eighth in the event.

In order to advance to last night's finals, Muthusamy correctly spelled "credenza," "castalia," "saxaul" and "symblepharon" during earlier competitions Thursday. During the 10-person finals, televised Thursday night by ESPN, Muthusamy correctly spelled "billiken," a comic figure used as a mascot, but then was eliminated when he misspelled "Tartarean," an adjective referring to Tartarus, a deep abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering in Greek mythology. He spelled the word with an "i" instead of an "e."

Only two students have won the Henrico countywide spelling bee in the past seven years – Muthusamy the past two years and Aditya Kannoth the five years prior to that.

Middle school student creates app for Henrico schools


Seventh-grade Pocahontas Middle School student Jordan Washok has created five smartphone apps, and his latest – “Hawk Mobile” – has been purchased by Henrico County Public Schools for possible use at schools across the county.

Hawk Mobile started as a Pocahontas-specific creation for access on Apple devices to school news, information and the student grade portal. It’s now available for Android devices, too, and may expand to other schools during the 2015-16 school year.

The process started when Pocahontas principal Kim Sigler learned about Ball X-scape, an iOS game the student launched in February 2014. She suggested that he create an app for the school’s Relay for Life drive against cancer. That turned into an all-encompassing free app for the school.

Students get a head start on art


When the Institute for Contemporary Art opens its doors on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus in 2016, there will no doubt be fanfare and a crowd of excited supporters on hand.

But perhaps no one will be more excited than a couple of Henrico County nine-year-olds who recently broke onto the ICA’s supporter list as the youngest of its founding donors.

Their donation grew out of a brainstorming session in which the two Nuckols Farm Elementary third-graders, Tess Freiman and Aly Betz, were casting about for ideas for their latest money-making project.

17 Henrico schools earn VIP performance awards


Seventeen western Henrico schools were among the 252 schools statewide that earned Virginia Index of Performance awards, signifying for advanced learning and achievement. Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Board of Education made the announced today.

The VIP incentive program recognizes schools and divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the board.

“These schools and divisions are laboratories for innovation that are preparing young Virginians to compete and succeed in a new Virginia economy,” McAuliffe said.

4 Henrico high schools named among nation’s best

Four Henrico County high schools have been ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine named Deep Run, Mills Godwin, Douglas Freeman and Henrico high schools as top schools in its annual “Best High Schools” rankings. Deep Run was ranked the No. 17 high school in Virginia; Godwin No. 28; Freeman No. 33; and Henrico No. 44. Henrico County’s total of four state-ranked high schools was second in Virginia behind Fairfax County.

The magazine analyzed 2012-13 data for more than 29,000 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It named 2,527 – 12.8 percent – as gold or silver medal winners. Only a state’s gold and silver medalists are ranked. The magazine ranked 52 schools in Virginia.

Weinstein JCC early childhood director wins ‘Educator of the Year’ award


Donna Rosati Peters, early childhood director for the Weinstein JCC, recently was named Educator of the Year by the Richmond Early Childhood Association (RECA).

Peters has been involved with early childhood education for more than 38 years. She began working with the JCC in 1981, as a teacher in the preschool and newly created childcare program. In 1987, she became the director of preschool and childcare, and in 1995, the director of early childhood services. The early childhood program was accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1988. In 1998, Peters established an inclusion program providing support for children with special needs and their families, and inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, she successfully implemented the child-centered approach into the program.

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The Hanover Concert Band will perform their annual Christmas Pops concert at 7 p.m. at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center in Ashland. The concert is casual and will feature musical selections of the Christmas season. Complimentary light food and beverages will be provided. Admission is free but guests are invited to bring non-perishable food items for the Central Virginia Food Bank. Family-friendly. For details, visit http://www.hanoverconcertband.org. Full text

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