Henrico County has received 26 Achievement awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), more than any other Virginia locality this year.

 

After the Fire Program
Division of Fire

The “After the Fire Program” is a community canvassing program which began on October 1, 2013. The program targets communities in Henrico County that were recently affected by a residential fire. The program is time sensitive and accomplished within a few days of the fire by on-duty fire fighters. The goal of the program is to provide focused public safety education campaigns in these neighborhoods right after an incident while the citizens are still focused on the event.

 

Central Station, Virginia Center Commons
Division of Police

The development of a Central Station for the Henrico County Police Division is a cooperative effort between the Police Division, Henrico County General Services, Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS), the Henrico County Sheriff’s Department, and the Simon Property Group to open a third police station in the central part of Henrico County, servicing the Fairfield District. The objective of this program was to improve police services throughout Henrico County by deploying officers and resources from a centralized police station providing quicker response times, be more accessible to the citizens of Henrico County, and build a stronger relationship between the Police Division and communities being serviced by the station. The Central Station program was a public/private partnership that provided opportunities for several county agencies to work together in a manner that reduced the developmental costs while creating realistic training and educational opportunities for Henrico County Public School Career and Technical Education students whom would normally not have the benefit of this experience in school. Through the collaborative actions of these agencies, the Police Division has greatly benefited. The division is now better positioned to serve the needs of its citizens in all districts, with minimal costs to taxpayers, while enhancing educational and training opportunities for HCPS students.

 

Central Virginia EMS Expo
Division of Fire

Since 2010, the Henrico County Division of Fire and Bon Secours Health System (a non-profit local hospital) have partnered to develop the Annual Central VA EMS Education Expo. This Emergency Medical Services (EMS) educational weekend was created to provide mandatory continuing education credits to EMS providers of all levels. Henrico County has a population of over 320,000 and responds to over 40,000 emergency calls that are answered by the Division of Fire or one of three volunteer rescue squad agencies. The Division provides mutual aid response to our neighboring counties and Bon Secours Health System receives patients from a large geographical area that includes many different agencies. While the Division opens its continuing education program to fellow volunteer agencies monthly, space is limited. Providing educational assistance to those surrounding counties benefits the Division and Bon Secours; knowledge is power and building partnerships is beneficial for high quality patient care. This program offers Division members a wide variety of educational topics taught by diverse speakers from our medical community, which are not available during our continuing education program. This program is offered annually and continues to grow every year. The event is free for all participants.

 

Community Garden and Fresh Market: Growing a Service Learning Initiative
Henrico County Public Schools

The Fairfield Middle School Community Garden and Fresh Market is an innovative, student-centered, community-driven urban agriculture project. It is aimed at increasing student achievement by providing opportunities for academic and life-skills integration while meeting an identified community need for more security in the availability of food. The garden and fresh market service-learning program gives students a chance to apply cross-curricular classroom knowledge in a hands-on, real-world environment. The garden encourages students to learn the importance of fresh, locally produced food and its relationship to health, culture and community impact. It promotes environmental stewardship and civic engagement. The youth-led farmers market allows students to increase 21st-century skills, reinforce academic content, promote financial literacy and give back to their community. Achieving our goals of student growth and community impact requires an ongoing effort. We accomplish it by building and sustaining partnerships with local businesses, universities and government agencies; by maintaining the support and involvement of school faculty through professional development; by expanding community support through outreach workshops; and by continuous reflection and adaptation.

 

Crisis Intervention Team Crisis Receiving Center
Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services

Henrico County’s Crisis Receiving Center (CRC) is an essential component of Henrico County’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). Henrico County Police Division, Sheriff’s Office, Division of Fire, Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services (HAMHDS) and many community stakeholders formed the CIT program in 2006 with a common goal of helping those in psychiatric crisis. The CRC is a unique partnership between Henrico County’s CIT program and Parham Doctors Hospital, a Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) hospital. This program is embedded in the emergency room, and is open 14 hours a day, from 10am to midnight 7 days a week. Beginning on December 3, 2013 has served over 825 persons in crisis to date. It allows for immediate transfer of custody during the civil commitment process and affords each individual an integrated assessment in a site that is welcoming and designed to work compassionately with persons in psychiatric crisis. The nursing, law enforcement, peer counselor, and mental health professionals involved with the CRC have received 40 hours of CIT training. They provide crisis services including evaluation, stabilization, medical services and referral. The CRC adheres to the principles of Mental Health Recovery which emphasize dignity, respect, trauma informed care, and consumer and family choice.

 

Employment Readiness Program
Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services

Individuals with Developmental Disabilities have one of the lowest employment rates of all disability types. Many individuals have participated in programs that are considered segregated from individuals who do not have a disability. In addition, most have not been exposed to work in businesses, do not understand areas that could lead to their success in community employment and have not always been valued for their contributions or abilities. The Employment Readiness Program combines many traditional programs into an intensive six month to one year process to help the individual gain employment in the community where they can earn minimum wage or more. Those enrolled in the program participate in job fairs, learn skills to help them get a job, learn what it means to work, participate in assessments to see what jobs might interest them and what jobs might match their skills. These skills might include computer skills, work stamina and how to get along with supervisors in the work environment. In the one and one half years since starting this program, eight individuals have been placed in jobs within the community. The goal of the program is to help at least five individuals per year achieve their goal.

 

ESL CONVERSATION CAFÉ
Henrico County Public Library

The ESL (English as a Second Language) Conversation Café is an English language conversation program offered by Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) in which non-native-English-speaking residents can practice speaking English in a relaxed environment, while learning more about the United States and their local community. The ESL Conversation Café offers any adult member of Henrico’s immigrant community the opportunity to practice speaking English, meet new people, and participate in an American experience. The program was developed by library staff in response to the growing diversity of the county. The Cafés are held the second Wednesday of each month at the Tuckahoe Area Library and the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Dumbarton Area Library. Each café is 60-90 minutes. No registration is necessary and participants can attend as many of the sessions as they like. Conversations are guided by library staff and native-English-speaking volunteers to help participants learn more about American language and culture, to give them a chance to describe their own cultures, and to have fun. The Cafés offer an opportunity to introduce immigrants to the many resources of the Henrico County Public Library, and often conclude with a tour of the library for first time participants.

 

Family Engagement through Family Advocates
Henrico County Public Schools

Family advocates serve as a link between families, communities and schools, and are positioned in all 20 elementary schools in Henrico County that receive federal Title I funds. Schools and school districts eligible for Title 1 funds are those with a high percentage of students from low-income families. The 20 positions were created in September 2012 in response to stakeholder feedback and staff research showing that increased family engagement has a positive effect on student achievement, particularly for at-risk students. Their mission is to empower families by bridging gaps and building connections between schools and communities. This connection presents the opportunity for families to become more engaged in their child’s education, to volunteer in schools, to attend events and workshops and to serve on school or parent committees. Goals of the program are to reduce the truancy rate, including tardiness and early dismissals; to bridge the gaps among schools, home and the community; and to boost family involvement in the schools.

 

From School Clinic Attendants to Licensed Practical Nurses
Henrico County Public Schools

In an effort to help Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) increase licensed staff members in school clinics, and in response to possible new requirements from the Virginia General Assembly, Henrico County-St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing established an educational cohort to train current public school clinic attendants to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). In fall 2012, Henrico County Public Schools initiated a discussion with the school of nursing to help the school division improve the education and training of its unlicensed clinic attendant employees. It was agreed that the initiative was beneficial for the school and community at large; therefore, a cohort of 13 clinic attendant students started in fall 2013 with an expected graduation date of spring 2015. This initiative will bring additional licensed personnel to the school system and add to the expertise that each school can provide students. In doing this, the program will improve the health and wellness of children in the county.

 

Google Apps for Education
Henrico County Public Schools

Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) prides itself on its innovative approach to instruction. We believe in the power of designing high-quality learning environments and providing tools that support the development and use of key 21st century skills. These beliefs are part of our culture and are at the heart of the Teaching Innovation Progression Chart (TIPC). As part of this approach, HCPS has harnessed the power of Google applications since early 2011. Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is an educational version of Google Apps that is hosted by Google and managed by HCPS. It gives users access to document-creation tools with features like real-time editing, powerful collaboration, and seamless integration with other resources. These tools provide all HCPS users with a variety of benefits, including the ability to stay connected to the learning experience regardless of the time, their location or their computing platform. The integration of Google Apps for Education has given our users an authentic, engaging and productive collaborative experience. The program has created an environment for teaching and learning unlike any HCPS has enjoyed before.

 

Intelligent Response: Data-Driven Fire Hazard Evaluation
Division of Fire

In October 2012, the Henrico County Division of Fire was challenged by newly appointed Fire Chief Tony McDowell to reevaluate its core operational response model, the Standards of Response Coverage. The goals of this effort were simple, but critically important: maximize service delivery and firefighter safety, while making most efficient use of departmental resources. Through a collaborative effort, firefighters, fire officers, and civilian professionals from across the department and county government worked to identify opportunities for improvement. What developed was a living model for using data to understand community risk and to impact operational response.

 

It’s Your Decision: Meals Tax Referendum public information campaign
Department of Public Relations & Media Services

Henrico County launched the precedent-setting meals tax referendum public information campaign, “It’s Your Decision,” to inform residents and voters about the county’s proposal for a 4 percent charge on prepared meals and beverages. The campaign explained Henrico’s reasoning for seeking a new revenue source, highlighted the county’s history of sound fiscal management and financial stewardship, detailed how potential new revenues would be used and demonstrated the significance of the decision facing voters. The campaign invested voters with a personal stake in the referendum’s outcome, linking their vote to maintaining the quality services — notably the county’s premier school system — they expected as county residents. “It’s Your Decision” employed an array of communication tools to deliver that information, such as a website, social media, television programming, direct-mail brochures and news releases. It also featured an extensive public outreach effort that engaged citizens directly through more than 100 meetings. The referendum appeared on the county ballot as part of the statewide general election on Nov. 5, 2013. Voters approved the measure, making Henrico the first Virginia county with a population greater than 200,000 to authorize a meals tax by referendum.

 

Online Construction Document Management System
Department of Finance

In September 2013, the County of Henrico Virginia, Department of Finance, Purchasing Division using a cross-functional team including representatives from the Department of Information Technology and multiple divisions within the Department of General Services, unveiled the Online Construction Document Management System web portal for construction related projects. Early in the process, the County identified goals and objectives that focused on benefits to the suppliers. One of the main objectives of the portal is to allow contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to view and download plans at their convenience. Staff of the Purchasing Division met with construction contractors, architects, engineering firms, and County departments to determine their need for a web portal. The consensus was that posting online would maximize competition by making construction documents available to a wider business community. By providing complete sets of drawings, project manuals, addenda, and other contract documents online, printing and mailing costs would be substantially reduced or eliminated. The portal provides information about the project, and captures contact information of bidders and suppliers who have viewed the documents. Suppliers are then able to gather information to allow them to network with each other on current and future projects.

 

Police Division Fitness and Wellness Program
Department of Human Resources, Division of Police

In January 2012, the Henrico County Police Division began its Fitness and Wellness program to promote and encourage physical fitness, along with general wellness, among police officers. The program is a partnership between the Police Division and Department of Human Resources’ Fitness and Wellness and Employee Health Services Divisions. The program started with baseline fitness testing of all sworn police officers to evaluate the physical capabilities of the agency. After testing, officers were given permission to utilize up to four hours of their weekly tour of duty for physical training. The Human Resources’ Fitness and Wellness staff continued to offer their resources of group exercise classes, fitness training, and nutrition counseling. Programming specific to the needs of our officers was created by the formation of a CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate, called HCPD CrossFit. Finally, we increased the frequency of physical examinations by our Employee Health Services staff in order to provide greater feedback on our officers’ health. All of these different elements have combined to bring attention to physical fitness and the crucial role it plays in the safety of our police officers.

 

Preparing for the Future: Promotional Process Feedback Program
Department of Human Resources, Division of Fire

The County of Henrico Division of Fire has undergone significant change in the last couple of years, including new leadership in three of the four top level positions in the Division. A main goal of the new administration is openly sharing information for Division personnel to increase collaboration, support development and improve efficiency throughout the organization. To support this goal, the Division of Fire and the Henrico County Department of Human Resources developed a two-phase promotional process feedback program to provide ultimate transparency and to better prepare fire personnel in pursuit of promotion to higher ranks. The two departments co-hosted a series of group information sessions designed to provide information and answer questions about the overall promotional process. The sessions also provided information regarding best-practices in the behavioral interview setting. Finally, the sessions were an excellent forum to share the vision and expectations of the Division of Fire. Division of Fire members who attended one of the group information sessions were then eligible to schedule an individual appointment to meet with the Assistant Director of Human Resources and an Assistant Fire Chief. Each individual session included a review of the member’s performance on the written exam and assessment center along with specific feedback on the individual’s performance in the interview process.

 

Re-Imagine Training: Learning Through Conversations
Department of Human Resources

The world of training is changing. Traditional learning conventions are increasingly under pressure. Learners want answers “just in time,” and are accustomed to searching online for information quickly and inexpensively. In contrast, it is costly and time consuming to design classroom training. Additionally, traditional training is frequently “content” driven rather than culture-focused – a concern at the brink of 2012, when Henrico County was experiencing a massive culture shift due to an unprecedented number of long-term, high-level employees retiring, including our County Manager of 20 years. To meet these challenges, County staff developed an agile, responsive initiative which involved far less development time and created an interactive forum for participants to exchange organizational wisdom. By incorporating panels of experts in our classes, facilitating leadership discussion cohorts, and sponsoring classes and town halls led by our own upper managers, we reached a new audience of learners while sparking powerful conversations about our organizational culture. Over 600 employees participated, and surveys indicated that 81% improved in the competency of Understanding the Business of Henrico County. Most importantly, this initiative is learner-focused, easily adaptable to future organizational learning needs, and key to engaging the workforce in conversations about our culture as we navigate change.

 

Re-Launch of the Henrico Fire Safety House
Division of Fire

On March 20th 2013 planning began on a refurbishment project of the Fire Safety House. On June 24th the Henrico County Division of Fire partnered with a building trades program from the County School system to re-build a 16-year old kids fire safety house. The old trailer, which had been donated to the County in 1997, was a basic two-story trailer that included a living room, kitchen and bedroom and was used to teach children and adults key elements for survival in the event of a fire. During the month of June and July this trailer was completely rebuilt, with new and additional functionality. The work was completed by kids who were enrolled in a summer building trades program in the local school system. A smoke machine and working smoke alarms were added to teach children to stay low and go, a heated door teaches kids to feel before opening. There is a balcony exit to teach having two ways out. Fire prevention is always the theme when citizens visit our Kids Safety House but survival in the event of a fire is the practical application. The Highland Springs Vocational School Summer Builder Trades Program completed the renovation in August 1, 2013 and the graphics package was completed August 30th, 2013.

 

School Forms Go Paperless
Henrico County Public Schools

In an effort to increase and simplify engagement between school personnel and parents, Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) started using an online service from ZippSlip.com, to collect and update student information in fall 2013 as part of the annual “back to school” activities. This solution offers a secure, online interface, which allows parents to receive, complete and electronically sign school forms without the use of paper. The result is a streamlined and easy-to-use process for parents to share information about their students. It also improves the quality of the data collected and eliminates the need for paper forms.

 

Standing Water Initiative Mobile Application
Department of Public Works, Department of Information Technology

The Standing Water Initiative group (SWI) of the Henrico County Department of Public Works (DPW), Engineering and Environmental Services Division, executes a multi-faceted approach to mosquito education and awareness as well as risk reduction of West Nile virus and other mosquito borne diseases. The approach includes: addressing citizen complaints; routinely inspecting mosquito breeding areas; and collecting adult mosquitoes for West Nile virus testing. The SWI team partnered with the Information Technology (IT) Department to create a customized, mobile application system that allows field inspectors to maximize time “in the field”. Developed entirely in house, the SWI Mobile Application (SWIMA) substantially improves employee efficiency. Since implementation of the web-based SWIMA, each inspector saves approximately six hours per week that was otherwise spent on redundant data entry. The new system also enhances reporting capabilities and offers field employees access to real time data and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping information, thereby minimizing citizen complaint response time and overall customer service. In addition, the SWI group now conducts day-to-day business in a paperless environment.

 

The Basic Special Services School
Division of Fire

The main objective of The Basic School was to provide specialized, hands-on training to Division of Fire personnel who are assigned to the eight special service units located throughout the county. The training focused on the essential job functions required of these units that are outside the scope of typical engine company operations.

 

The Weight Management Program
Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services

The Weight Management Program is a project sponsored by Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services (HAMHDS). The Program is designed to support the wellness of individuals with serious mental illness who are overweight. The target group for the program is individuals with serious mental illness with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. The goals of The Weight Management Program are: • to provide education regarding the connection between physical health and mental health; • to provide education regarding healthy eating and lifestyle; • to engage clients in exercise; and • to improve clients’ general health as measured through: improved BMI, reduced weight, and reduced waist circumference.

 

Transition from Bookmobile to Mobile Library Service
Henrico County Public Library

Henrico County Public Library’s (HCPL) Bookmobile service began in 1977 with the goal of bringing books and people together outside the traditional library setting. From 1977 through 2011 HCPL’s bookmobile service used the large 32 foot bookmobile vehicle that allowed patrons to walk up into the vehicle to browse the collection. In response to budgetary changes and to address the needs of our elderly patrons HCPL decided to transition from the 32-foot Bookmobile to a Mobile Library Service using a specially outfitted Sprinter Van. This change has been very well received by our patrons and has allowed us to be more flexible, efficient and economical in the way we serve the community outside of our library walls.

 

Who is Littering Henrico County?
Department of Public Utilities

In the spring 2013, the Keep Henrico Beautiful (KHB) program developed a brand new initiative to debut at the County of Henrico Recreation and Parks’ teen summer programs. The initiative involves a series of puzzles, riddles, and activities that help educate the children on the recycling process specific to our locality and anti-litter programs. Teens in small groups visited each station, set up on tables, throughout the room to solve the mystery of “Who is Littering Henrico County.” Everyone enjoyed themselves while using their creative thinking and learning to be environmental stewards. Each station provided a different way to process the information so that all learning styles were incorporated. Further, all of the materials were laminated so that they may be reused each time, thus creating no waste and keeping costs down.

 

Wilder Middle School College Readiness Center
Henrico County Public Schools

The College Readiness Center (CRC) is an extended school year program for students from L. Douglas Wilder Middle School. It focuses on cultivating a college-bound mindset in students through academic support, enhanced parental communication, and advising. Program features include: an instructional framework with college-ready standards; college experience field trips; student efficacy and academic skill-building; and college-affordability planning. Students and parents commit to the program through an application process. Students enroll in all advanced classes, and their confidence grows as they achieve at levels equal to or above their peers. A program underpinning is Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). Teachers are selected and trained for AVID, and their instruction focuses on AVID’s strategies: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading, or WICOR. Students also receive tutoring and mentoring through a paid tutoring program with successful college students. In tutoring sessions, CRC students lead their peers with the facilitation of the college tutor. The program accelerates meaningful and motivational learning, maximizes research-based methods of effective instruction and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change. The program is completing its first year with more than 80 sixth-graders and is growing with the addition of seventh- and eighth-graders over the next two years.

 

Work Performance Evaluation
Division of Fire

The Henrico County Division of Fire has chosen to make the health and wellbeing of its incumbent Firefighters a priority. In 2013, the Division of Fire implemented a Work Performance Evaluation (WPE). These events, performed in full Personal Protective Equipment including Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, integrated a stair climb, hose drag, forcible entry, ladder carry / raise, ceiling breach, mannequin drag, and tool carry. A nationally recognized Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) has been utilized by The Division of Fire to evaluate the ability of applicant firefighters for many years. A validated method of evaluating incumbent Firefighters has remained elusive until now. 478 personnel were evaluated during five weeks with 87% (n=414) successfully completing the event at or below the established benchmark time of 8 minutes and 44 seconds. The WPE seeks to identify the strengths and recognize areas for improvement of The Division of Fire. Criteria recorded during the event have been statistical reviewed for performance indicators and areas of improvement. Those members identified as needing improvement are offered referrals to the county’s Wellness and Fitness Section for evaluation and help. The Division of Fire is training Peer Fitness Instructors to teach and assist members needing assistance and conditioning.

 

Zoning Ordinance Digital Library
Department of Planning

The Zoning Ordinance Digital Library provides Henrico County staff and the public with a comprehensive interactive history of the County’s zoning ordinance from 1933 to present. The Digital Library consists of electronic copies of the zoning ordinance at every stage of its development from 1933 to present, with three new spreadsheet indexes. It replaces almost 80 years of amendments, re-codifications, and replacements contained in aging, incomplete, and poorly indexed paper documents with complete, accurate, and searchable electronic documents, accompanied by new indexes. Utilized in determining the status of nonconforming uses, vested rights, and the applicability of grandfather clauses this tool aids county staff in a more effective manner, enabling research that once took days to be completed in minutes. The Digital Library enhances and simplifies research into the history of the County’s zoning, allows for more efficient training of staff, and empowers employees closest to the public to make better informed decisions.