Monday, December 14, 2015

A Day of "Rich" Experiences at Rich Acres Elementary: Superintendent's Office Hours

Reading to Preschool Class at RAE
Last week, I spent a full day at Rich Acres Elementary as a part of my "Superintendent's Office Hours" that have been scheduled for each of our 14 schools throughout the school year.  As I continue to spend time in our schools, I am impressed by the exciting things going on each and every day.  I also continue to be grateful for the hard work and dedication that our educational professionals exhibit on a daily basis.  Certainly, it was a busy and productive day.  The list below includes some examples of my activities:

  • Read with a 4th grader who is making great progress in reading this year.  I hope to read again with her in the spring.
  • Read to a class of Pre-K students who were excited to hear about the adventures of the "Gingerbread Baby."
  • Met with the principal, Mrs. Scott, to discuss student achievement data and instructional initiatives that have been put in place at RAE.
  • Visited several classrooms with Mrs. Scott and Mr. Bullins, Assistant Superintendent,  to observe effective teaching and learning in action.
  • Worked with a 3rd grade student who was working on solving word problems in mathematics.
  • Joined a group of 2nd and 3rd grade students at lunch. 
  • Had a great time reading to a special education class.  The students were excited and eager to participate.  I hope to visit them again this year!
  • Observed kindergarten students learning all about shapes, and identifying examples of triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles in the classroom.  
Overall, it was a great day at Rich Acres Elementary.  It is clear that the teachers have high expectations for students, and the students are working hard to master essential skills.  I also saw several examples of differentiated instruction and personalized learning for students.  The teachers at RAE are focused on teaching for mastery. Students are expected to learn from their mistakes, make necessary corrections, and demonstrate mastery before moving on to new concepts.  Certainly, this requires a great deal of planning and organization on the part of the teacher.  It is well worth the effort, however.  When you watch the students working at RAE, it is clear that they have taken ownership of their learning.  

It was a great day at RAE!  I look forward to future visits in the Spring.
Working with a Student on Problem-Solving in Mathematics

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Great Day at Bassett High School: Superintendent's Office Hours

Marketing students designing tools out of cardboard for the DECA Challenge
I had an exciting day at Bassett High School last week as a part of my Superintendent Office Hours at each school.  I have to admit that the day flew by!  The students and staff at Bassett encouraged me to visit several classrooms and take part in some of their planned activities.  I had the opportunity to see creativity and collaboration in action.  The list below includes some of my activities during the day:
  • Walked the building with Bassett's principal, Mr. Gibbs, to discuss plans for the renovation for the New Tech program that is slated to start at Bassett next fall.
  • Talked with marketing students (above) who were excited to start their DECA design challenge that requires them to create/invent a tool out of cardboard.  Students were also working on videos to introduce their new product!
  • Participated in an art lesson in Mrs. Hatchett's art class and even added glaze to a clay pot (below)!
  • Stopped by the band room to see the band students warming up and preparing for the Martinsville parade.
  • Observed the chorus students who were learning a brand new song from the movie, "Titanic" on the hand bells.  By the way, I couldn't tell it was their first time playing it!
  • Joined the culinary arts class for a delicious Thanksgiving lunch that they prepared for the holiday.
  • Met with the media specialist to discuss plans for the new media center at Bassett High School.
  • Participated in a meeting with HCPS operational staff to discuss issues and challenges related to facilities, transportation, and human resources. 

Students playing theme from "Titanic" on hand bells

Overall, I had a great day at Bassett High School.  It was great to see our students engaged in meaningful learning activities.  It was also powerful to see teachers who are taking risks to create opportunities for students to be creative and collaborative.  I was also reminded of the awesome students we have in Henry County.  As educators, we need to continue to make it our goal to create relevant, engaging learning opportunities for our students.  This is why we are talking about expanding New Tech to BHS, increasing opportunities for online learning, developing additional career and technical programs for students, and maintaining partnerships with Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), and New College Institute (NCI) to provide relevant programming for students.  High school should be fun, engaging, relevant, and challenging for students as we want all students to graduate ready for college, career, and citizenship.  My visit at Bassett High School confirmed for me that we are on the right track.  Thank you, Bengals!  It was great visit!  I look forward to coming back soon!

Attempting to glaze a clay pot in Mrs. Hatchett's art class.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Office Hours at Campbell Court Elementary was a Blast!

Student sharing his work with Dr. Cotton
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend my "Office Hours" at Campbell Court Elementary School. It was a busy and productive day.  Some of my activities are listed below:

  • Talked with parents and students as they arrived for school that morning.
  • Observed a first grade teacher who was successfully implementing Daily 5 in her classroom.
  • Met with Mrs. Fulcher, principal, to discuss school initiatives and data related to student progress.
  • Visited several classrooms with Mrs. Fulcher and Mr. Bullins to observe instruction.
  • Ate lunch in the cafeteria with a "lively" group of second graders.  Among other things, we discussed what they like about their school as well as their plans for Halloween costumes. On a side note, we had a lot of super heroes at our table (e.g. Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman)!
  • Participated in professional development with primary teachers, the reading specialist, the instructional coach, principal, and an educational consultant to continue to focus on Daily 5 implementation at Campbell Court Elementary.
  • Participated in an engaging discussion on Daily 5 with primary teachers after school.  Based on feedback from the educational consultant and my observations, Campbell Court teachers are making great strides in implementing the Daily 5 program effectively.  Certainly, this is going to have a significant impact on student reading over time.
Overall, it was a great day.  I have to say that I was most impressed with the progress teachers are making with the Daily 5 implementation.  All of the primary teachers were working hard to improve their practices, and they were open to suggestions and advice from the educational consultant.  More importantly, I could see that their students are developing into highly successful, independent readers. It is clear that this hard work is going to pay off for our students.  I was reminded of how dedicated our teachers are and how hard they work each and every day to master their craft.  Keep up the great work, Campbell Court!  I am looking forward to visiting again in the near future.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Way to go, Stanleytown Elementary!

Stanleytown Elementary Staff

This week, I had the opportunity to congratulate the Stanleytown Elementary staff on the substantial gains their students made on last years Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments.  Based on last year's results, Stanleytown staff and students have much to celebrate.  This list below includes some of the points of pride that I shared with the staff at Stanleytown Elementary:

  • The passing rate for students in grades 3-5 increased by 15.6 percentage points in English: Reading.
  • The passing rate for students in grades 3-5 increased by 18.9 percentage points for mathematics.
  • The passing rate for history/social studies increased by 2.1 percentage points.
In addition, student groups also made substantial gains that are worth celebrating.  For example, all student groups showed increased passing rates when compared to the previous year.  In addition, the passing rate for African American students increased by 32.9 percentage points in English: Reading and 21.5 percentage points in mathematics.  This is incredible!  As I shared with the Stanleytown staff, increases of 3-5 percentage points are noteworthy.  Certainly, gains like these are the result of hard work, focus on data, and collaboration.  I commend both students and staff for their hard work and dedication.

In addition, I had the opportunity to participate in the faculty meeting at Stanleytown.  At the direction of Mrs. Penn, the teachers and staff engaged in a powerful conversation about homework. Teams of teachers discussed the purpose of homework, ways to use homework more effectively, and ideas to provide student choices with homework assignments.  I certainly enjoyed taking part in the small group discussion.

Certainly, great things are happening at Stanleytown Elementary.  I look forward to future visits, and I encourage the teachers and students to continue to excel!  I can tell that they are already off to a great start this year. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Office Hours at Axton Elementary was a Success!

I had a great day at Axton Elementary School last week for my scheduled Superintendent Office Hours!  It was great to connect with students, staff, and parents as I spent the day at the school.  The list below includes some of my activities throughout the day:

  • Observed students participating in a lesson in the media center.
  • Met with Mr. Boone to review data and discuss goals for Axton Elementary School.
  • Met with parents to discuss how their child is adjusting so far this year.
  • Visited several classrooms to observe high-quality teaching and learning taking place.
  • Worked with students in a first grade and third grade classroom.
Working with Students in Math
I was impressed with both the students and staff at Axton Elementary.  Students were working diligently to master essential skills, and teachers were working hard to actively engage students in learning.  I saw lots of hands-on activities, positive teacher/student interaction, and effective technology use as I visited each classroom at Axton.  I was also impressed with the high levels of student engagement, which was the result of highly engaging and relevant lessons.  Great job, Eagles!  I look forward to future visits to Axton Elementary! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebrating Gains at Campbell Court Elementary!

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to the staff at Campbell Court Elementary about the gains their students achieved this past year.  Based on preliminary SOL results, CCE experienced gains in the following areas:

  • Passing rates for English: Reading increased by 5 percentage points when compared to Spring 2014.
  • Passing rates for mathematics increased by 3 percentage points when compared to last year.
  • The passing rate for African American students increased by 16 percentage points for English: Reading!
  • The passing rates for Hispanic students increased by 1 percentage point in English: Reading and 9 percentage points in mathematics!
While it appears that Campbell Court Elementary will most likely miss full accreditation status this year by only 1 percentage point when the final results are published, it is important to acknowledge the gains that were made last year.  In addition, it is vital to acknowledge the fact that these gains happened because of  the hard work and diligence on behalf of the staff and students at CCE.  Based on the progress made last year, I'm 100% confident that CCE will earn regain their full accreditation status at the end of this school year!  Thanks for all you do, Bengals!


Celebrating Success with the FC Cavaliers!

It was an honor to meet with the faculty at FC Middle a couple of weeks ago to congratulate them on the progress they are making toward increasing student achievement.  I was proud to announce that their students have demonstrated gains in all content areas.  Some of the increases are noted below:

  • Passing rates for English: Reading increased by 8 percentage points when compared to Spring 2014 results.
  • Passing rates for mathematics increased by 7 percentage points when compared to Spring 2014 passing rates.
  • Passing rates for science increased by 12.5 percentage points!
  • Passing rates for social studies increased by 7 points over Spring 2014 results.
In addition to increases in overall passing rates, FC Middle experienced increases for specific student groups to include the following:
  • The passing for African American students increased by 12 percentage points in English: Reading and 9 percentage points in mathematics.
  • The passing rates for Hispanic student increased by 15 percentage points in English: Reading and 16 percentage points in mathematics.
I am very proud of the progress teachers and students are making at FC Middle, but there is still work to do.  I stayed for the rest of the faculty meeting to participate in some of the department discussions around student data and effective instructional strategies.  I was pleased to hear the powerful conversations taking place among the teachers and administrators.  Teachers discussed effective instructional strategies in all core areas.  In addition, they discussed ways to improve student behavior. The teachers discussed ways to encourage reading and writing throughout the curriculum.  In addition, they talked about ways to support students with mastering essential vocabulary.  The math teachers talked about the importance of using the vocabulary to encourage students to use "the language of math" each day in the classroom.  I am confident that students will continue to achieve success at FC Middle.  Have a great year, Cavaliers!  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Way to Go, Lancer Staff!

I had the opportunity to speak to the staff at Laurel Park Middle School this week.  I wanted to take the time to thank them for their collaborative efforts in support of student success.  Based on last year's SOL results, Laurel Park Middle School students made substantial gains.  In fact, I highlighted several points of pride that are noted below:

  • Passing rates for Laurel Park students increased in all core areas!
  • Student passing rates increased by 13 percentage points in English: Reading.
  • Student passing rates increased by 12 percentage points in Science.
  • Student passing rates increased by 7 percentage points  in mathematics.
  • Student passing rates increased by 3 percentage points in Social Studies.
  • Students met the state benchmark in all areas except English: Reading which is only 1 percentage point away from the state benchmark.
  • Passing rates for African American students at Laurel Park increased by 17 percentage points in English: Reading and 18 percentage points in mathematics.  
It is important to note that these results did not happen by accident.  It was clearly a collaborative effort throughout the school.  I was fortunate to see this in action when I visited Laurel Park last year.  I was impressed to see teachers working together to analyze data and plan for instruction.  I also observed teachers assisting students in other content areas to ensure that students mastered the necessary content.  During the meeting on Wednesday, teachers made a list of several strategies that they feel contributed to student success.  In addition, teachers worked together to discuss resources that will be needed to continue to promote student achievement at Laurel Park.  I also had fun watching the Lancer faculty participate in a great team building activity!  Laurel Park is filled with hard working, positive professionals who are dedicated to meeting the needs of every child.  I know that they will have continued success with their students this year.  Indeed, they are off to a great start.  Go Lancers!

Laurel Park teachers thinking critically and working as a team!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Warrior Strong: Hat's off to the MVHS Faculty!

MVHS Faculty showing their Warrior Spirit!

I had the pleasure of speaking to the MVHS faculty this week to congratulate them on their successes from the 2014-2015 school year.  Although final assessment results and accreditation ratings have not been officially released from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), MVHS has a lot to celebrate.  I shared the following highlights with the MVHS faculty this week:

  • Based on preliminary assessment data, MVHS is expected to earn full accreditation for the 2015-2016 school year.
  • MVHS passing rates for mathematics increased by approximately 12 points in one year, while still maintaining passing rates above 80% in all other core areas.
  • The on-time graduation rate for MVHS increased from 90% to 90.4%, which is well above the on-time graduation rate for Virginia.
  • African American students continue to show gains in English: Reading passing rates with an increase each year over the past two years.
  • Hispanic and LEP students at MVHS earned a passing rate of 100% in English: Reading for the past two years.
It is important to note that these positive results are only realized through hard work and dedication on the part of staff and students at MVHS.  I am proud of their accomplishments and I'm looking forward to even more successes this year.  It is clear that the staff and students at MVHS have great pride in their school.  They are indeed, "Warrior Strong!"

Friday, August 21, 2015

Superintendent Office Hours at Collinsville Primary

This week, I had the opportunity to start my scheduled office hours at Collinsville Primary.  During the 2015-2016 school year, I plan to spend a day in each of the county schools. During these visits, I hope to connect with parents, teachers, school staff, and students throughout the day to learn about successes as well as challenges for our school division.  I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Collinsville Pimary.  There is a positive energy in the school that is contagious, and everyone seems excited to be there.  I also saw great instruction taking place in several classrooms.  Teachers encouraged students to collaborate with one another, increase their "stamina" for reading, and explore new concepts through hands-on activities.  In addition, student engagement was high.  I also observed teachers working diligently to implement Daily 5, with fidelity, in several classrooms.  The list below summarizes some of my activities throughout the day:
  • Greeted students as they arrived in the morning.
  • Met with the parent of a new Kindergarten student to discuss his progress thus far.
  • Talked with preschool teachers and preschool students during their morning activities.
  • Visited several classrooms to observe instruction.
  • Participated in professional development for second grade teachers on scoring student writing led by Denise Fultz from the Instructional Department.
  • Had lunch in the cafeteria with the Principal, Mrs. Seay, and a "lively" group of first grade students. 
  • Participated in professional development for first grade teachers, led by the Reading Specialis, Mrs. Wells.
  • Checked in on Ms. Moyer's PE class.
  • Assisted with dismissal procedures at the end of the day.
All in all, it was a very productive day at Collinsville Primary.  I continue to be amazed by the efforts that the Collinsville staff put in place to address the challenges associated with student drop-off and dismissal each day.  I have to say that I was also extremely impressed with how well the Collinsville staff work with parents and students each day to ensure that students are safely transported to and from school.  More importantly, I was impressed with what goes on "inside" Collinsville Primary. There is positive energy exhibited by the Collinsville staff, and staff members go "above and beyond" each and every day to serve the students in their care.  It is clear that everyone at Collinsville Primary is focused on serving the students and families in their community. I look forward to future visits to CPS!  Go Tigers!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

HCPS SOL Pass Rates are on the Rise!

Today, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released 2015 SOL pass rates for the state, school divisions, and individual schools.  While we are still waiting for official accreditation results from the VDOE (scheduled to be released in September), HCPS made gains in passing rates across the board!  In fact, HCPS had increases from 1-7 percentage points across all content areas.

  • Passing rates for English: Reading increased from 67% to 74%
  • Passing rates for English: Writing increased from 71% to 72%
  • Passing rates for mathematics increased from 69% to 76%
  • Passing rates for history increased from 85% to 87%
  • Passing rates for science increased from 78% to 82%
In addition to the increases noted with all students, substantial increases were also realized for specific student groups.  For English: Reading and mathematics, all student groups made gains.  In particular, the passing rates for African American students increased by 10 percentage points in English: Reading and 11 percentage points in mathematics.  In addition, the passing rate for our limited English proficient (LEP) students increased by 11 percentage points for  English: Reading and 13 percentage points for mathematics.  

Individual schools in Henry County also made notable gains in passing rates.  For example, the passing rate for English: Reading at Stanleytown Elementary increased from 63% last year to 80% this year.  In addition, Stanleytown's passing rate for mathematics increased from 62% to 84%. Sanville Elementary also posted a substantial gain in mathematics with an increase from 65% last year to 82% in 2015.  Our middle schools (Laurel Park and Fieldale-Collinsville) also had increased passing rates in all subject areas.  Finally, the mathematics passing rate for Magna Vista High School increased substantially from 67% to 79%.  There are several other success stories that will be shared in the coming weeks.  If you are interested to learn more about the pass rates for the school division or individual schools, go to the VDOE website at the following link:

Certainly, these success stories are the result of hard work.  Our teachers, administrators, parents, and students have all contributed to these accomplishments.  Way to go, HCPS!  I am proud of your successes, and I'm grateful to have you as a part of our team!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It's "Showtime" for HCPS!

Bulletin Board at G. W. Carver Elementary
We had a great Back to School
Convocation this year!  The energy was high at Magna Vista High School as we came together as an educational family to launch the start of the 2015-2016 school year.  We were fortunate to have Murray Banks serve as our keynote speaker this year.  During his inspiring and animated message, he talked about the importance of fostering rigor, relevance, and relationships in each classroom.  He also emphasized the importance of having a positive attitude each and every day.  During his keynote presentation, Murray challenged us to make every day, "Showtime" for our students.  As I have traveled around the school division, I have been impressed to see that teachers, administrators, and staff in HCPS were inspired by Murray's message this week.  In fact, as I have entered several schools I've been reminded that, "It's Showtime!" by several staff members.  In addition, it has been great to see messages like the one above in several of our schools.  Murray's keynote is a great reminder to all of us.  He helped us connect with our most important role and the impact each of us has on the children we serve each and every day.  I am honored to work with the dedicated, hard working, inspiring professionals who serve our students throughout the year.  Let's make 2015-2016 our best year ever!  Always remember, "it's showtime" each and every day!

Bulletin Board Display in Hallway at Rich Acres Elementary

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thank You for Your Service to HCPS!

HCPS 2015 Retirees

Last night was a great opportunity for me to recognize our 2015 retirees.  While retirement is a worthy accomplishment, I could not help but to think about the incredible wisdom and experience that will be leaving our school division at the end of this school year.  It was an honor to thank each retiree as I provided them with a small token of our appreciation: An HCPS watch.  I informed the retirees that this special gift will remind them of two things:

1.  They don't have to be anywhere before 8:00 a.m. next year.
2.  Their time spent in HCPS will continue to impact the lives of others long after their last day of work. 

 I've included my closing remarks from last night's dinner below:

"David McCullough once said that "...real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love." Tonight we have had the honor of celebrating a combined 935 years of service. Your smiles, “good morning” greetings, advice, lessons, and time spent listening have helped to shape generations of students.

In the days ahead, you will say goodbye to students and colleagues and make plans for the future. As you do those things, remember the lessons you have taught the children of Henry County over and over again: embrace the exciting challenges that await you and make the most of each day. Explore ways to influence your community and share of yourself. Continue to bless those around you with the love and joy you have shared with so many already.

Go forward with the knowledge that you have left a lasting legacy; you have shaped and molded brilliant minds and you have guided compassionate souls and generous spirits...all of whom will create the cornerstones of the tomorrows still to come.

Thank you for laying the foundation for the futures of so many students in Henry County. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of children."

Congratulations to all of our 2015 retirees.   We are so fortunate that you decided to make your impact in HCPS!

Goal 2: High Quality Professionals

Friday, March 20, 2015

Congrats to the Teachers of the Year for HCPS!

HCPS Teachers of the Year!
Last night was our annual HCPS Teacher of the Year Celebration!  I must admit that this is one of my favorite events.  It is an honor to recognize individuals who go above and beyond every day to make a difference in the lives of children.  I had the opportunity to speak to this year's honorees during the program and I've included my comments below:

Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, is known for stating that “great teachers lead with both their heads and their hearts.” It is our great pleasure tonight to honor fifteen Henry County Public Schools teachers who do just that. You dedicate countless hours to your students, ensuring that they are fully prepared for what lies ahead when they leave your classrooms. You spend evenings and weekends planning for your students and serving our community in a variety of ways. You exemplify leadership for your students and your colleagues.

Karl Fisch reminds us that we are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don't yet order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet. To accomplish this monumental task each day, you work to solve immediate problems for so many of our students. Your provision of advice, love, and even food and clothing for those who need it shows each student that, no matter the size of the problem, a teacher is there to help.

You guide students through each day with your expertise and passion. Collaboration and creativity are infused in even the smallest of moments. Though it may not always feel like it, they notice and their families notice. They notice your concern for them and it matters. Likewise, you are here this evening because your colleagues notice. They notice your tireless dedication and excellence in all that you do.  At this time, I would like to share some commendations that our teachers of the year have earned from students, parents, community members, and their colleagues:

Axton Elementary’s Melissa “Mitzi” Martin: “Mitzi’s passion for serving others has not waned in all the years I have known is exhausting, but she has revealed a strong and dedicated character through this tumultuous year.”

 –Dr. Mike Hatfield, Pastor

Bassett’s William “Willie” Martin: “…from Mr. Martin, I saw firsthand how important it is to love what I do and to share that same passion with the young people in my classroom. Without knowing it, he became my mentor - my example to follow as I continue through the career I dearly love as well.” –LaDonna Varner, former student/current colleague

Campbell Court Elementary’s Bonita Reynolds: “Each child who comes into her classroom is welcome and is made to feel uniquely special. Building student confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth is embedded into her teaching style.” –Lynda Adkins, Speech/Language Pathologist

Center for Community Learning’s Alan Hobbs: “Alan possesses a genuine interest in working with students and he derives a great deal of self-gratification from helping them reach their career goals.” –Mary Thomas, Counselor

Collinsville Primary’s Phyllis Warrick: “Each child is treated with kindness and gentleness that allows him/her to feel a very warm and special level of comfort. Phyllis gives each child the opportunity to truly feel appreciated and special. No matter what the child’s background, Phyllis helps him/her gain a feeling of self-worth and value.” 

–Patricia Nevins, Teacher

Drewry Mason’s Lisa Eanes: “Lisa often arrives at school well before the required time and always spends countless hours after school working on ideas and plans to motivate and inspire her students. She communicates daily with parents in a very professional and inviting manner.” 
–Regina McMillian, Teacher

Fieldale-Collinsville’s Janie Collins: “The rapport Janie has with the students is amazing. She treats every student with respect and offers a helpful hand to each student. She believes that every student can be successful in their learning and she will go to any length to help them succeed…I have seen students waiting for her at her door at 8:00 to ask for help and she drops her book bag down and helps them before classes even begin.” 

–Amy Ferguson, Teacher

GW Carver’s Patricia Brockway: “Mrs. Brockway has sent me so many encouraging notes and wishes throughout my school career that could have ended in fifth grade, but once she cares about you that doesn’t stop at the end of the school year. She helped me through one of the hardest times of my life and has been one of my biggest fans during the best ones.” 
–Wes Brown, BHS freshman

John Redd Smith’s Amy Elliott: “When you walk into her classroom, one can automatically feel the sense of community and family that has been established…the rapport she has with her students is extraordinary. It is evident the students know the true love she has for each one of them and her willingness to fight for them to ensure they are provided with the love and support they deserve.” 
–Ben Boone, Principal

Laurel Park’s Melissa Pace: “Her willingness to adapt curriculum to meet the needs of all learners is unmatched. She consistently fosters a safe and caring inclusive environment for all students, including varying ability levels of students. Mrs. Pace not only inspires students to delve into the world of college and career readiness, but she inspires and supports her colleagues in their journey to become better educators.” 

–Emily Roop, Assistant Principal

Magna Vista’s Margaret Pritchett: “Mrs. Pritchett is a true “Warrior” and shows her school spirit by attending her students’ ball games and extracurricular school functions. She puts in long hours at school planning lessons, collaborating with teachers, monitoring her students’ progress, and communicating with parents.” 
–Debbie Bliss, Special Education Coordinator

Mt. Olivet’s Stacey Roach: “I loved the way she read stories to the entire classroom, but then I felt like I was the only one in the room. She made learning exciting and relevant. She moved my frog once and I was devastated because I thought she was the next best thing since turning a triple play! She was the only teacher that ever came to watch me play baseball.” 

–Mitchell Turner, former student

Rich Acres’ Sheri Marlowe: “She is genuine with her students; she is first to volunteer when needed and spends countless hours preparing for her class even if it means her family has to take a back seat. She is extremely passionate about teaching and it shows in everything that she does.” 
–Jennifer Bukowski, Speech/Language Pathologist

Sanville’s Cheryl Hobbs: “I have worked with many musicians in my lifetime and I can honestly say that there is no one that has the passion for their job like Mrs. Cheryl Hobbs. From her daily interaction with her students to the planning stages of music selection and lesson plans, she truly is passionate about what she does as an educator.” 

–Trey Harris, BHS Band Director

Stanleytown’s Sherell Hodge: “She is as excited for our children to be successful as we are, which is so refreshing. She embodies endless energy and excitement in her position, always searching for new ways to help her students succeed. She is a wonderful teacher that I and my children will always remember as their first sweet step toward a successful education.” 

–Carrie Pinnix, parent

As Carl Jung once said, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings…warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Our school community is grateful for your devotion to the vision each student has for him/herself and the lengths to which you go to ensure that that vision is a reality for the young men and women of Henry County.

Thank you for your commitment to education, study, and service. Your tireless dedication to the futures of the children in our community is a model for the colleagues who work alongside you each day.

Congratulations to all of our Teachers of the Year.  Our Students are so lucky to have educators like you!

Goal 2: High Quality Professionals

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Winter Weather: Are you Ready?

This time of year, I frequently receive questions about how we decide whether to close or delay school due to inclement weather.  As you know, this is not an exact science.  Already this year, we have had a couple of challenging calls to make.  Several weeks ago, we had to schedule a delay due to single digit temperatures and a wind chill that was below 0.  I have had parents and community members ask why we scheduled a delay when there was no ice or snow on the roads.  This really comes down to ensuring the safety of our students.  When the outside temperature falls below 10 degrees with a windchill below 0, this creates a safety concern for our students who ride the bus.  With temperatures like this, we  generally have several diesel buses that will not start in the morning.  As a result, we frequently have to send bus mechanics out in the morning to assist bus drivers with getting their buses started.  In some cases, we have to provide replacement buses so that the drivers can complete their scheduled routes.  Certainly, it takes time to address these issues in the morning.  In some cases, it can take more than an hour to get these issues resolved.  If we started school at the regular time, we run the risk of having students waiting at the bus stop for more than an hour in dangerously cold temperatures.  Instead of putting children at risk, we call for a 2-hour delay so that we will have time to check all buses in order to get them to all bus stops at the designated time.  Hopefully, this helps to explain why a 2-hour is scheduled on days like this.  Fortunately, we don't have too many days like this in Henry County.  If you have other questions about decisions related to closings and delays, I encourage you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for inclement weather on our website at:

Goal 3:  Safe and Orderly Schools

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Warriors Win the State Title!

Award Ceremony at the State Finals
We are so proud of the Magna Vista Football team for winning the state title this year.  The team displayed great determination and dedication throughout the season.  In addition, these young men exhibited model sportsmanship.

HCPS Principals and Administrators Cheering for Warriors
I was also impressed with the support the team received from the community.  Several folks came out to cheer on the Warriors as they headed to Liberty University for the final.  In addition, the Town of Ridgeway sponsored a parade in order to recognize the Warriors for their accomplishment.  As the superintendent for HCPS, I was honored to celebrate with Coach Favero, the Warrior Football Team, and the community.   These students have certainly brought pride to Magna Vista High School, Henry County Public Schools and Henry County. In addition, these young men have learned powerful lessons that extend beyond the football field.  As I watched them play throughout the season, the players displayed such skills as leadership, teamwork, and a strong work ethic.  All of these skills will serve them well in sports and in life!  Congratulations, Warriors!  We are proud of your accomplishment.

Parade in Ridgeway to Honor Warriors

Goal 1: High Quality Instruction
Goal 5: Family and Community Engagement