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Education

Whither the Book Bowl?

Parents petition to reinstate popular fifth-grade event
Parents are frustrated, an online petition has garnered almost 500 signatures, School Board members have voiced their concerns, and now there are plans to hold a public meeting the week after spring break to discuss a contentious issue.

The Henrico County Book Bowl has many in the community up in arms – specifically, the recent plan to discontinue the program after 24 years.

So what exactly is the Book Bowl?

Stakeholders give high marks to HCPS

Henrico County Public Schools received high marks on recently conducted stakeholder surveys. When grading HCPS, 87 percent of parents gave Henrico County Public Schools a grade of A or B.

All middle and high school students, parents, staff, and a sampling of local businesses provided feedback on a range of topics including school quality and climate, effectiveness of communication, engagement in learning, and development of positive relationships.

Hermitage senior serves as governor of VGMA

Hermitage High School senior Adam Skyes was one of 500 Virginia teens who recently participated in the YMCA Virginia Model General Assembly (VGMA), a program designed to introduce high school students to the legislative process of Virginia. Sykes served as “governor” this year – his third year in the VGMA program.

“I wanted to have a more active role in the process so I decided to run for governor,” he said. “I wanted to have a say in how we would move forward. My mom always said that I needed to be involved in extracurricular activities, so she was ecstatic when I was elected governor.”

As governor for the 2011-2012 year, he helped his team deal with such controversial issues as same-sex marriage, immigration, legalizing marijuana and gun control. At this year’s sessions, hundreds of bills were introduced and debated by participants who took on the roles of senators, delegates, Cabinet officers, lobbyists and news reporters. Legislation was debated in committees and on the floors of the Senate and House of Delegates.

HCPS named a “Best Community for Music Education”

Henrico County Public Schools has once again been named one of the "Best Communities for Music Education" by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation. Henrico is the only school system in the country to hold this distinction for all 13 years of the association's rankings.

Each school receiving the “Best Communities” designation scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the survey's grading process. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and other relevant factors in their communities' music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials and advisory organizations reviewed the data.

Hermitage MCJROTC to host Hermitage Highland Games

The Hermitage High School Marine Corps JROTC will host the Hermitage Highland Games, a military-style field meet and picnic for the Superintendent’s Cup starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 21.

All Henrico County Public School JROTC programs are invited. Each participating school will select one team of 10 males and two females to compete in a series of 10 events. After the events and picnic, an awards ceremony will be conducted. Awards will be given to the top three teams for each event and overall.

Collegiate teacher wins statewide award

An economics class he took in college has resulted in long-term payoffs for Rob Wedge -- and for growing numbers of students at The Collegiate School as the well.

In 1996, as a history teacher at Winchester (Massachusetts) High School, Wedge was approached by the assistant principal, who was casting around for someone to take over his part-time teaching duties.

Noticing the economics class on Wedge's college transcript, and not wanting to turn over his economics class to someone who knew nothing about the subject, the administrator asked Wedge if he'd be willing to teach part-time while working on his master's degree at Boston University.

"Being a starving college student," recalls Wedge, "I happily took the job."

Tucker’s new brew opens eyes

The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air as Tucker High School exceptional education students tied their aprons and went to work making hot drinks for faculty members on a recent morning. Tavern On the Hill is the student-run coffee shop that has gotten a lot of buzz around Tucker High.

“Teachers love it,” said Angela Watson, an exceptional education teacher at Tucker. “We always get compliments on our great service.”

Every Wednesday and Friday students get to brush up on their social, customer service, and counting skills by hand-delivering coffee, apple cider, and hot chocolate to teachers around the school for 75 cents per cup. Teachers place orders with GoogleDocs, which allows the students to pick up some technological expertise.

Governor’s school students host 15th annual Model UN

Nearly 400 central Virginia high school and middle school students assembled at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School recently to participate in the 15th annual Governor’s School Model United Nations Conference (GSMUN XV), around 150 being students from Henrico County.

The conference is completely student-run, consisting of a staff of around 70 Governor’s School students. With more committees available to debate in than ever before, GSMUN XV prides itself in being one of the largest high school Model UN conferences in the Virginia. Six members of the secretariat staff are Henrico county residents.

Model United Nations allows students to simulate official United Nations proceedings by conducting research on global topics, representing their assigned countries, debating with other nations, and practicing the art of diplomacy to ultimately create resolutions to real international issues.

Students excel in ‘Reflections’

Hermitage High School senior Helen Rai displays her artwork, which will advance to the national PTA Reflections Program competition in Washington, D.C. Rai and Short Pump Elementary School second-grader Madeleine Wang (pictured at right with School Board members Beverly Cocke, Diana Winston and Henrico Superintendent Patrick Russo), were the two Henrico students whose art advanced to the national competition. The theme of this year's competition was "Diversity Means..."

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