By Pat Russo, Superintendent, Henrico County Public Schools 02/23/11
Dear Henrico Citizens,
Public schools across the country are charged by businesses, parents, and communities at large to produce well rounded graduates that possess the skills required to face the challenges of the future. It is a tall order but one that must be taken seriously to ensure that the citizens of tomorrow have the self-confidence and life skills necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives. In an effort to provide as many positive experiences as we can
during the adolescent years, Henrico County Public Schools is committed to partnering with adults across the greater Richmond Metropolitan area to provide role models for students in and out of the classroom setting.
In January 2009, the Henrico County School Board challenged a committee comprised of school system professionals from a variety of areas to review current mentoring programs within the school division. The committee was asked to make recommendations on how to improve and enhance those efforts. A survey was initiated by the Superintendent to all elementary, middle and high school principals in the school system and from this data a matrix of “mentoring” practices was developed and presented to the committee. Upon assessment of all survey results, it became evident that there were various models of mentoring practices implemented in Henrico County Public Schools, ranging from peer mentoring to tutoring to community-based mentoring.
In an effort to support existing programs as well as to develop new initiatives, the mentoring committee made six recommendations:
• Provide $100,000 to develop and improve mentoring programs in our schools,
• Target the 7th, 8th & 9th grade student population,
• Assign a district-wide coordinator who would administer all mentor programs in Henrico County Public Schools,
• Identify a school-based mentoring coordinator or committee who would be responsible for monitoring these services at their school,
• Provide professional development for schools, and
• Identify, solicit, investigate, and tap into the talent of baby boomers, retirees, businesses and foundation partnerships, faith based organizations, universities, public servants and school division personnel to mentor as part of their responsibilities.
Based upon recommendations from the mentoring committees, the Director of Nontraditional Programs was asked to develop a plan to implement the Henrico HEROES (Helpers Engaged In Reaching Our Excelling Schools) program. This effort targets the development or enhancement of school based mentoring programs that include teacher mentoring, student mentoring and community based mentoring potentially supporting more than 11,000 Henrico County Public School students.
Seventeen secondary schools have been awarded funding to establish mentoring programs that would provide role models who are committed to developing supportive relationships with our students. There is substantial research to support that students who have supportive mentors make considerable improvements in overall academic performance. The key to this success is that a trusting relationship is established, nurtured, and continued on a long-term basis.
Henrico County schools has answered the call and created diverse programs that provide opportunities for volunteers from all walks of life. The charge is now up to you as members of our Henrico community to seriously consider this opportunity to volunteer and commit to mentor one of our youth. It is a volunteer opportunity that will change your life and expand horizons for a young person.
Dr. Pat Russo,
Superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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