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