School Days - Spring 2014

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WHAT’S INSIDE:

Henrico students lead by helping create leaders| Pg. 5

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Tutoring programs help students | Pg. 6

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Spotlight on: PowerSchool | Pg. 8

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Why are so many students spending so much time building robots?

olden, late-afternoon light illuminates tables littered with machinery and tools where the Henrico High School Robo Warriors are preparing to do battle. The members laugh and tease with an ease borne of long days together, but there’s an undercurrent of seriousness. The Robo Warriors don’t do wind sprints or run bleachers. But they con-

sider themselves a team, and competitive robotics their sport. When robotics competitions are in full swing, the group of 35 students spends long days preparing to tangle with other squads. “It’s just like any other sport,” said head coach and Henrico High School teacher Kenaz Greene. “They take it seriously. For young engineers, young scientists, young mathematicians, this is their sport.”

Across Henrico County, students are building robots. At every level – elementary, middle and high school – students, teachers and parents devote tremendous amounts of time, passion and money to the mechanical creations. Worldwide, the organizations that administer competitive robotics report that participation has exploded. Between 2005-11, teams in the FIRST program –

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – grew from 8,949 to 25,473, an increase of 183 percent. Often, the goal is to create a robot that can accomplish a task so simple – like stacking blocks – that a toddler could do it.

So why the robo-mania? see Robot, Pg. 3


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Perseverance, positivity a guiding light Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw Superintendent of Schools

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sideration is given to road temperatures, texture of snow/ice (wet, fluffy, depth, frozen over, refreezing, etc.). We do know that there are some roads and neighborhoods that are not treated in any fashion. It ends up being a matter of getting safely to primary roads from home/bus stops. Closing or delaying school is rarely an easy decision. We know that it not only disrupts the flow of things at school, but at home as well. Your patience and understanding when these adjustments must be made are When we have inclement appreciated. weather, there are several primary Our new Student Performance considerations: (1) road conditions; Task Force has convened twice this and (2) school campus conditions year and is making great strides to(parking lots and sidewalks); and ward identifying ways that we can (3) interior conditions (heat, leaks, raise student achievement in Henelectricity, etc). During inclement rico County. I’m proud to call these weather, we have staff out on roads dedicated volunteers my colleagues, and in neighborhoods across the and I want our readers to know that county assessing conditions. Con- the hours this task force is putting in ello again, and welcome to spring! It’s my pleasure to join you in this space for the first time as your superintendent of schools. I’m so honored to have the support of the School Board as we lead a fantastic team of teachers and staff throughout this great county. With any luck, by the time you read this we’ll be past the potential for snow closings and delays, so I wanted to take a moment to share some considerations when we do face inclement weather.

will yield great results by the time the work is completed. I look forward to reporting back to you later this year with detailed information. Speaking of achievement, I want to remind you that our grading practices will change this fall, most notably the use of a 10-point grading scale for grades 6-12. If you’d like to know more about the changes and how this will impact your child at the elementary and secondary levels beginning this September, I encourage you to visit the main HCPS website, henrico.k12.va.us, and look for the links under Hot Topics. Finally, I’m encouraged by the positivity I’m seeing as I travel the county to visit each of our schools, collecting feedback from the teachers and staff. Your children are in the extremely capable hands of an awesome group of educators, all of whom go above and beyond to make HCPS as great as it can be. Thank you for reading, and please don’t hesitate to reach me at pckinlaw@ henrico.k12.va.us. Sincerely,

Helping Hand Volunteer of the Month and ABCD Awards

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On the Cover

Fifth-grader Dakota Upchurch sends the Sandston Roboskyhawks’ robot on a mission. For more HCPS robotics photos, go to henrico.k12. va.us/Newsroom/PhotoGalleries.html

hat is the ABCD Award? Center and Monique Fleming of It’s a way of recognizing the Transportation Office. HCPS support staff who In January, the winners go “Above and Beyond the Call of were Pierre Evans of Glen Lea Duty.” That means making a signifi- Elementary and Short Pump cant contribution to Henrico Schools, Middle School’s Jerome including: improving Byrd. job efficiency, quality B.J. Brown of Pocahontas of services or safety; Middle School and Cynthia conserving resources; Booker of Highland Springs performing a humanTechnical Center were Febitarian or heroic act; ruary’s recipients. or responding proactively by anticipatTonya Meyers, Highland Meyers ing needs and solving Springs High School PTA problems without specific direction. president was the winner of DeThe Henrico Education Foundation cember’s Helping Hand Award, (HEF) and Henrico Federal Credit which recognizes outstanding Union join us in recognizing these in- volunteer support. dividuals by providing a check to each Congratulations and thanks recipient. to all honorees! December’s honorees were James Bowman of New Bridge Learning

December ABCD winners (L to R) Monique Fleming and James Bowman.

January and February ABCD winners (L to R) Pierre Evans, Jerome Byrd, Cynthia Booker and B.J. Brown.


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March 2014

Patrick Rice, Jacob Sklebar and Mikaela Kaufman work on the mechanics of Godwin’s latest robot. The school’s team is divided into small groups to handle specific aspects of the challenge.

yROBOT The shared experience is one major attraction. “The best part is building a team. A second family at school,” said Henrico’s Marquis Rogers. At Godwin High School, senior Ben Walters of the TALON 540 team agrees. “It’s just fun to work as a team and have something as cool as a robot come out of it.” Walters is the team leader responsible for CAD – Computer-Assisted Design, the software that TALON uses to create complicated schematics of its designs. At Godwin, there are also teams for construction of the robots’ mechanics, electrical system, pneumatics and computer programming. On a recent afternoon, their construction areas were a controlled chaos of students rushing from room to room, hunching over power tools at tables, and discussing strategy in small groups. Junior Caroline Turkanis, Godwin’s assistant team captain, caught the robobug early. Her mother, an MIT graduate and her father, a Georgia Tech alumnus, shared an engineering interest. She began competing in first grade. “I do it because it’s fun,” she said, straining to be heard over the whine of a circular saw. Students also say they enjoy the fierce competition – so much that they sometimes bristle at outside perceptions. “It always bothers me when people call it a club,” said Godwin senior Patrick Rice. “It has all the elements of a team: We practice hard and we compete hard.” “If you go to a competition, you’d see that it’s a sport,” said Greene. “It can be kind of cutthroat at times.” “People come and show support at the competitions. Last year we even had a mascot, my 11-year-old brother,” said Henrico’s TreVon Savage. “When we went to states, he dressed up in a Warrior outfit.”

The organizing body, FIRST, ensures a competitive process by giving teams in a league the same challenge and the same amount of time to complete it. During “build season” – an intensive six-week stretch when robotics teams are given a challenge and must complete a working robot – the students spend a lot of time together, building and addressing problems. “One of the moms is amazing and makes us pasta each week,” said Godwin’s Turkanis. For many team members, robotics is an extension of their interest in “STEM” – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Some wish to study related subjects at the college level, or forge a career that uses aspects of their experiences with robotics. “Most of the people here, you’ll find, just like learning in general and applying what they’ve learned,” said Godwin’s Walters. “This is a training ground for future engineers,” said Greene. “But it goes beyond that. Problem-solving and teambuilding translate to the next level, in whatever road they want to go down, whether it’s engineering or communications. Communications is a strong part of the FIRST program. If you can’t communicate and sell what you do, then you’re not going to be successful. “We’ve been to Wilder Middle School, Moody Middle School, to the Science Museum, to the Richmond Center [to talk about robotics]: what we’re doing is getting them to speak in public, learn people skills and be comfortable in their skin.” The freestyle nature of learning through robotics is also appealing, according to John Speich, Associate Chair of VCU’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. “It’s not like math, where you’re solving for one answer,” Speich said. “In robotics, there are lots of possible solutions and lots of criteria to consider while making decisions.”

Many of his students arrive at VCU with a background in competitive robotics, he said, and then become mentors to high school teams. Speich said that institutional support for competitive robotics may be getting a generational boost. “A lot of people at the level of decision-making have kids involved in robotics now. They see it up close and are motivated to support it.” At Sandston Elementary School, associate principal Kim Powell and teacher Emeline Phipps coached a new FIRST LEGO League team in the fall. Powell is excited about the potential of competitive robotics for energizing instruction. “The first time we sat down with the LEGO kit, we realized that [students] hadn’t learned how to follow those kinds of written di rections. That’s an essential life skill.” After their experiences on the robotics team, some Sandston students are now creating step-by-step multimedia instructions on how to build elaborate construction projects with K’Nex toys. “It promotes mathematical skills, it promotes reading skills. And this is all coming out of seeing how our kids are inspired by building things,” Powell said. “We’ve seen it seep into our classrooms.” The Sandston “Roboskyhawks” demonstrated their FIRST LEGO League robot as it set off on challenges in a miniature block town. To save the village

Start Your Robots Competitive robotics has a number of divisions, catering to different ages, skill levels and economic resources. Most teams in Henrico compete through FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. A competitive primer: Jr.FLL (Jr. FIRST LEGO League): A fastgrowing entry-level program where teams of 6-9-year-olds compete to build LEGO robots. FLL (FIRST LEGO League): Teams of students in grades 4-8 compete to build LEGO robots. Fielding a team can cost $1,200. FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge): Teams of students in grades 7-12 build larger robots that accomplished more sophisticated tasks. Participation can cost $1,000-5000. FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition): Students in Grades 9-12 build large, sophisticated robots. Participation costs at least $10,000. VEX: A creator of robotics for classroom learning, and another popular organizer of competitions. Generally more affordable than FIRST competition, VEX robots can be built from between $800-$3,000.

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from a mythical tsunami, the students had to build the pieces to exact specifications and program the robot to do things like raise a building above flood level and move an ambulance to a safe area. “We can be creative and we have all our friends around us,” said Sandston fifth-grader Dakota Upchurch. “When you’re at home you’re all alone but here you’re with your friends.” “I like finding ways to do things and I like the teamwork – doing things together,” said Abbian Kaniecki, also in fifth grade. Some of the students said they were intimidated at first by the older, more experienced teams at the FIRST LEGO League tournament in the fall at L.C. Bird High School. “I was really nervous going into the competition,” said fourth-grader Bhavini Kalwan. The Roboskyhawks soon regained their confidence and placed fourth – an impressive accomplishment for a new team. Sustaining a robotics team not only takes commitment, it takes money. At the highest level – FRC, or FIRST Robotics Competition – competing can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000, depending on how far the team advances. The Godwin team charges a $100 dues fee, and makes up the rest with fundraisers and sponsor donations. In Henrico High School’s division, FRC or FIRST Tech Challenge, fielding a team costs $1,000 to $5,000, according to Greene. “Money will do a lot for you. Money allows you to have multiple teams, to buy more parts, to design shirts. You can go to a competition and see some schools from Northern Virginia, and they’ll have five or six teams.” The Robo Warriors, like other teams, have some sponsors to defray costs. Both Godwin and Henrico also have active communications committees, which organize fundraisers, as well as publicize their teams. Will school robotics experience mean a fast track to a good job later in life? That’s up for debate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts tepid growth among the tech generalists who install and maintain robotics, although computer and information researchers and robotics engineers will do better. A 2013 “60 Minutes” episode examined how robots had hurt U.S. job growth, while the robotics industry says that in the long run robots will create more U.S. jobs. But enthusiasts say that misses the point: Robotics equips students in ways that are broader than any one field. “The students find out, ‘Can I handle a pressure situation?’” said Greene. “This is about learning how to make mistakes – and fix them.”


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STANDING TALL

Inspirational Henrico students, teachers and alumni

Varina culina ry arts stu dents Simay Jacara Turn er and Davis a Doe, ha Minor w judges’ taste owed the buds in the HCPS Cupc competition. ake Wars

science chool S y was r a t Clark emen l E r e l t il t e M e to Trevv lizabeth rs nationwid tial E r e h che teac esiden 102 tea us Pr matics one of he prestigio Mathe t nce in e l l receive e c x for E ching. Award nce Tea ie c S d n a

Godwin develop High Schoo l stud e en portal d an iPhone app fo t Paul Dipp HCPS Link. r stud o ent/pa ld rent

vet and Freeman’s Deep Run’s Gabby Le seniors, brought Charlie Bonner, both agination honors home Destination Im etition. from a Chinese comp

prings nd S the a l h ig H n l wo Schil ane model pl Penny l Building a io Nat n

omas ’s Th ited l o o h Sc Lim er’s High xecut ition at the a M DC pet e com airplan . um Muse

Twenty-two HCPS teach ers recently renewed thei r national bo achieved or ard certificat ion.

The creation of a thousand forests is one acorn.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


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March 2014

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Henrico students lead by helping create leaders

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enrico High School seniors Jack Montgomery and Elliott Cliborne decided that county students needed more opportunities to become leaders. In order to make it happen, the two had to become leaders themselves. The students founded the school’s Leadership and Ethics Society in 2013. The group will hold its second Henrico Leadership Conference and Workshop April 5 at the Collegiate School’s new Sharp Academic Center. The free half-day conference is called “Ethics: What every leader needs to know,” and will feature inspirational speakers, small group discussions and the awarding of the group’s first community leadership award. Registration for the meeting is closed, but interested persons can check out the club’s blog at sites.google.com/a/henricowarriors.org/hhsles/ for a conference recap and photos. As a sophomore, Montgomery attended a conference by U.S. Military

Academy officials at Ft. Lee. He left excited, and wondered: could he do something similar at his own school? “I wanted to share this with my classmates, but it didn’t work out my sophomore year. My junior year, Elliott Cliborne and I came up with a plan and a program and created the Leadership and Ethics Society,” Montgomery said. The group’s first project was creating a leadership conference. “The great thing was, it was a group effort where each person in the club expressed his or her leadership. Unfortunately, the Montgomery keynote speaker developed laryngitis the day before.” The conference went off fine when another speaker agreed to speak for longer. But Montgomery had learned something. “You can talk about leadership, but until you jump in and experience it for yourself, you won’t know how to apply it,” he said. “That’s what we want to do: teach students and give them tools to make ethical decisions themselves.”

Every high school in the Richmond area was invited to send delegates to this year’s conference, in hopes of creating a network for dialogue about leadership.

property and dealing with money laundering. Edith Curry, cofounder of fraud-detection firm Palaxar, will also speak.

Cliborne said he hopes the conference will spark discussion and reflection. “We’ll have real-life examples of problems, and talk about what the people did in that situation and what they could have done differently. We want people to leave with the idea that these decisions surround them every day, and they can choose to step up and make a difference.” The society has recruited a robust group of speakers, including Carol Haave, executive officer of the Spectrum Group, a lobbying firm. Haave is a former deputy under secretary for intelligence in the Department of Defense. Also speaking will be L. Burke Files, president of an investigative firm specializing in asset recovery, intellectual

After the main speakers, students will break into small discussion groups, and then eat lunch, compliments of Papa John’s and Hilton Cliborne Garden Inn. The leadership club is also working with other students at Henrico High School to try to establish an honor council at the school. Both of the club’s founders expressed an interest in being involved in issues of leadership and ethics beyond high school. Cliborne will attend Virginia Tech, where he will be a member of the Corps of Cadets. Montgomery is choosing between an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy. “Wherever you find yourself, you should always work to leave a place better than you found it,” said Montgomery. “That is our goal with the Leadership and Ethics Society.”

Rivers Edge student headed to nationals after HCPS, regional spelling wins

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or Rivers Edge Elementary School fifth-grader Tejas Muthusamy, a snowy winter was as bright as Compositae. That word – the large family of plants that includes sunflowers – was the clincher that Muthusamy spelled correctly in the ninth round to win the 2014 HCPS District-Wide Spelling Bee at Hungary Creek Middle School. Muthusamy topped that performance March 8, when he won the 40th Annual Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee and earned a trip to the national championships. The HCPS win was a rematch of the 2013 bee, where Moody Middle School student and five-time record-setting champion Aditya Kannoth beat Muthusamy in a spell-off. This time, the 58 individual elementary and middle school champions again dwindled to the two boys before Kannoth faltered on the word “loxocosm.” Muthusamy then spelled “kaumographer” and “Compositae” correctly to win. As the moderator pronounced his word correct, Muthusamy broke into a smile while his older rival clapped in salute. To win the Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee, Muthusamy had to

best 30 spelling champions from school divisions throughout central Virginia. Most of the competitors in the contest for grades 5-8 were older than the Henrico 11-yearold. Muthusamy won by correctly spelling “brigand,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “one who lives by plunder usually as a member of a band.” He was awarded $1,500 in scholarship money, an all-expenses-paid trip to the national bee and a dictionary. He now advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 27-29 at National Harbor near Washington DC. “We are thrilled to celebrate with Tejas,” said Rivers Edge principal Johnna Riley. “We knew he had the skill and knowledge to get to the national level. Tejas puts the time in, studying words, their root origins, their meanings and definitions. His knowledge of words is extraordinary.” The fifth-grade champion was also one of 16 students nationwide to earn a perfect score this year in the Gold Level WordMasters Challenge, an analogy and verbal reasoning competition.

Front (L to R) Tejas Muthusamy and Aditya Kannoth. Back (L to R) Superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw and School Board Representative Beverly Cocke.


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Tutoring programs help students where they live

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he room is filled with children Village, Audubon Village and Millers in metal chairs, sitting intently Glenn,” Armstrong said. “Once a week at tables. They plot graphs and after school for a few hours. There were write sentences. A few work on informational posters about online reart projects. A small girl with beaded hair sources and upcoming events. We had raises her hand, and a teacher quickly kickoff parties with food, and raffled off moves to help. bicycles to students and families that It isn’t school. It’s the community came out. room of the Coventry Gardens apart- “Public education in the 21st century ments in Highland Springs. It’s a chilly has to adopt a more flexible model of how Tuesday evening, and the students are we prepare students. We cannot afford to here for academic help from Henrico excuse ourselves from helping children County Public Schools teachers, admin- because of what a parent can or cannot istrators and students. do. Every child, whether the child comes Aimee Sobon, an administrative from a home with two college-educated intern at Highland Springs High School, parents or a single mother working a helped start the “To-the-Top Commu- night shift, deserves an equal opportunity Tutoring Program” at the sprawling nity. If that means that we move past the apartment complex in the New Bridge 8-to-4, Monday-through-Friday model area. The idea was to serve students of providing services to students, then who couldn’t attend Highland Springs’ we are obligated to do that. Henrico has done a great job in-school tutoring sessions. “We have a vigorous afternoon tutoring program at Highland Springs High School. But we saw that some kids can’t walk home afterward. They don’t have transportation,” Sobon said. “Others need to get a younger sibling off rks a wo nd in the bus in the afg e b y Highla a Wadd ternoon when their er Aniy agement from dson. d a r g t ry ur Firs parents are still at each-B h enco eet wit senior Asia L h s work.” gs HS Sprin

The tutoring sessions are a way to take more school services out into the community. And at a time when the school division is exploring ways to reduce the achievement gap among students, that idea may be gaining traction. Hermitage High School, aided by a grant from the Henrico Education Foundation (HEF), started a similar program in the fall. The program offers oncea-month teacher-led tutoring sessions at two churches as well as at Hermitage. In 2012, John Rolfe Middle School also launched a residential tutoring program like the one at Coventry Gardens. Hermitage principal Andy Armstrong, then principal at Rolfe, used the grant money he’d received from a Henrico REB Distinguished Educational Leadership award. “We set up teachers in the community rooms of four apartment communities: Henrico Arms, Williamsburg

doing that with several school-based programs … However, every school principal can identify areas in his or her school zone that Wanda Mas could benefit from a senberg is preparing fo G ED test with more holistic experir her help from vo lunteer tuto like Highland ence.” rs Springs Sobon.

While Highland Springs’ “To-the-Top” program was aimed at high school students, it has morphed: Elementary-age children, a smattering of middle-schoolers and even some adults form the core of the tutorial groups. That’s fine with Sobon. “This is really about community – connecting with our community,” she said. “It’s visible. When you’re out here you become a person, not a building. They see that Highland Springs black and gold, and they’re familiar with that. Some of the parents have gone to Highland Springs or know people who have. And it’s also addressing the question, ‘How can we bring the resources we have to the community?’”

Kiora Powell, a second-grader at Highland Springs Elementary School is a “To-the-Top” regular. “I work on my morning work, and my word work,” she said of the sessions. “If I don’t understand something, they help me. They ask me questions, or they give me a hint.”

Typically, 10-12 students attend the hour-and-a-half sessions. They

High Schoo l’s Aimee

work on homework, do grade-appropriate worksheets, and sometimes take a break to work on a craft or to sip a juice box. Tutors at the sessions, including Sobon and several teachers, are volunteers. And while, so far, Highland Springs H.S. students haven’t come in to be tutored, they frequently volunteer to help out with instruction. HSHS seniors Aisha Vaughn, Ashly Taylor and Asia Leach-Brydson arrived together on a February evening, ready to pitch in. They said the benefits they get from helping children are greater than the school community service hours they can earn. “It’s really fun to work with them,” said Leach-Brydson, who also works at a Kumon tutoring center. “They’re good see WE DELIVER, Pg. 7


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March 2014

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Black History Month

in r Calv speake kahoe l a n c spiratio nce at Tu basand in r entra e VCU t is Min es an The former k a have a m n ts to n e d Dunca ry School. u t ta ged s llence. Elemen tar encoura g exce s in l v l a ie b h t c e a k int for bluepr

Acclaimed author Ke lly Lyons visits with students at Ward Ele mentary School in honor of Black Hist ory Month.

yWE DELIVER kids. To see them laugh and smile when they get an answer is amazing.” Taylor added, “When I was a kid I didn’t have anyone to help me with things like homework, so it’s important.”

Wanda Massenberg, 56, started bringing her granddaughters to the Coventry Gardens community room for help with their homework. One day she asked if the tutors could give her some pointers as she prepared for her GED test. “It’s easier with a person – you can ask questions. The one-on-one helps,” Massenberg said. “I come back because I want to further my education and make my family proud of me.” Sobon, the HSHS administrative intern, said the sessions are a work-inprogress, and all are welcome. “If an adult education piece came out of this, that would be awesome.” The tutoring programs require the cooperation of apartment owners and property managers. Linette Johnson, on-site neighborhood network coordinator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), serves as a conduit between the school,

the residents and the property owners. Johnson organizes programs of all kinds at Coventry Gardens, from computer training to nutrition classes. She knows the residents’ needs, and the tutoring fits right in. “It really provides a safe learning environment for the kids to grow,” Johnson said. “It also gives them a place – right where they live – to work together on academics, social skills, sharing.” Sobon said that the tutors are gathering data and seeing what works. She hopes to apply for a HEF grant to continue and expand the program, perhaps including another apartment complex. She’s also considered linking the tutoring to summer opportunities for elementary students at Highland Springs High School’s new learning garden. “I have lots of ideas,” she says with a laugh. “Maybe more than are feasible. “But this is the way it should be. It’s taking it to them and building that community, the sense that we’re all in this together.”

Harvie Eleme ntary tiple s eras of m tudents po played usic. rtray to a p mu Th a “Black s in W cked house e presenta ltio ax” ev at the ent. schoo n l’s


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Spotlight On: PowerSchool that manages student information like attendance, grades and assignments; SchoolSpace is a learning management system that lets students and their teachers share electronic content and communication.

Q. When will the change be made? A. Online course selection using

PowerSchool began Feb. 12, 2014. HCPS will completely transition to PowerSchool in July 2014, for the 2014-15 school year.

Q.

I already registered with PowerSchool to select classes because I’m a parent or guardian of a rising student in grades 6-12. Do I need to do anything else to use it?

A.

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enrico parents, students and teachers are getting a student-information upgrade. PowerSchool is replacing HCPSLink as the Web portal that provides information like student grades and attendance. We asked the HCPS Department of Technology and representatives of PowerSchool-maker Pearson Education about the reasons for the change, and what it means for you.

Q&A

Q. What is PowerSchool? A. PowerSchool is a

Web-based student information system used to manage student demographic and grade information. According to the vendor, Pearson Education, PowerSchool is the fastest-growing, most widely used such system, supporting 12 million students in all 50 states and more than 65 countries. Pearson says that PowerSchool “enables today’s educators to make timely decisions that impact student performance while creating a collaborative environment for parents, teachers and students to work together in preparing 21st

century learners for the future. PowerSchool provides the full range of features needed by administrators at the district and school level in addition to portals for teachers, parents, and students.”

Q. Why

is PowerSchool replacing HCPSLink?

A.

HCPSLink is a system that Henrico County Public Schools developed internally to integrate with our current student information system. PowerSchool, the new student information system, comes equipped with its own parent portal. Parents and students in grades 6-12 will have access to real-time attendance, grades, and more. Students can stay on top of their assignments and parents are able to participate in their student’s progress. Teachers, meanwhile, can share assignment information with both parents and students. PowerSchool’s parent portal lets parents choose their own username and password. For families with more than one HCPS student, PowerSchool’s parent portal lets you use just one account to keep track of all your students.

Q. So

does PowerSchool SchoolSpace, too?

You’re all set. The username and password you used to select student classes is the same one you’ll use to access PowerSchool’s other features.

Q. For students and parents, are there

any cool features of PowerSchool? (Answered by Pearson)

A.

As a PowerSchool user, parents can get real-time information on whether or not their child is in class right now, find out about that night’s homework, confirm that last night’s homework was handed in, and view their child’s grades as they exist in the teacher’s grade book. For students, PowerSchool provides real-time access to grades, assignments, quiz results, and progress towards graduation. Both parents and students can access real-time data on the Web or via a smartphone.

Q.

Is the PowerTeacher component of PowerSchool better for teachers?

A.

Pearson says that “PowerTeacher is a Web-based classroom management system designed by teachers, for teachers.” PowerTeacher is integrated with PowerSchool, so very little setup is required for teachers. All classes, rosters, student demographic information, grading periods and grading scales are automatically loaded. As teachers use the PowerTeacher portal, all data flows back to PowerSchool in real-time. This provides parents, students and administrators with instant visibility to assignments, assignment scores and grades. It is also accessible outside of the school network, so teachers will have access 24/7.

Q. Could

PowerSchool help improve academics? (Answered by Pearson)

A.

The data managed within PowerSchool is important to the development and planning of educational programs and activities that lead to success in college and career-readiness. Real-time access to student and school data allows students, teachers, parents and administrators to make well-informed decisions about educational goals for each student.

Q. I just got used to the HCPSLink app! What happens to mobile viewing?

A.

PowerSchool provides a mobile option for real-time access to your child’s attendance, grades and assignments for both parents and students.

replace

A.

PowerSchool will not replace SchoolSpace. PowerSchool is the system

Henrico County School Board Lisa A. Marshall Chair Tuckahoe District

John W. Montgomery Jr. Vice Chair Varina District

Beverly L. Cocke Brookland District

Lamont Bagby Fairfield District

Robert G. Boyle Jr. Three Chopt District

Patrick C. Kinlaw Superintendent

Contact Us

P.O. Box 23120 3820 Nine Mile Road Henrico, VA 23223-0420 804.652.3600 www.henrico.k12.va.us Twitter: @henricoschools

Awards & Credits School Days is an award-winning publication produced quarterly by the Department of Communications & Public Relations of HCPS. If you have questions about this publication, call 804.652.3725 or email csobrion@henrico.k12.va.us.

Chris OBrion - Editor Christie Harman - Production Manager Larry Willis Jr. - Website Manager

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