Henrico County’s general government departments and Henrico County Public Schools earned a combined 38 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for innovative programs and initiatives in 2022. Henrico’s total is the most of any county in Virginia for the 18th consecutive year

Henrico’s award-winning programs are listed below:

*2023 VACo Winner


The Homeowner Association (HOA) Look-Up Feature
Department of Community Revitalization

An interactive website application, the HOA Lookup Feature was designed to empower the general public, including homeowners, HOA board members, property managers, home builders, and realtors, to be effective advocates for education by promoting informed decision-making.


IEIC Global NAP Summit 2.0
Henrico Economic Development Authority

EDA partnered with Deutsche Commercial Internet Exchange, the world’s largest internet exchange operator, and QTS mega data center to bring together the international community for the IEIC Global NAP Summit 2.0. This summit discussed the digital infrastructure landscape and how the business community might harness the energy and scalability of the incredible power of technology worldwide.


Library Anime Clubs in School
Henrico County Public Library

The Fairfield Area Library staff connected with Highland Springs High School to create the library’s Anime Club. The program hosted two meetings per month with a variety of activities related to anime, including streaming video, book discussions, arts and crafts activities, and cosplay. Over 90 teens attended per meeting.


Open Book with Meg Medina
Henrico Division of Fire

HCPL partnered with award-winning local author Meg Medina to provide open-ended exchanges of ideas around reading and writing in which both the author and “tween” program participants could share their favorite titles, authors, and pieces of writing advice; interactive book displays; and promotional campaigns. The program aimed to engage tween library users and offer them opportunities for intellectual stimulation, self-expression, and social connection.


Role Playing Games at the Library
Henrico County Public Library

Dungeons & Dragons meetups for teens at the Varina Area Library, created a role-playing game (RPG) program in response to the pop cultural resurgence of Dungeons & Dragons after the debut of “Stranger Things” on Netflix. RPG programs at the library develop fantasy novels, films, gaming manuals and programs for both children and adult audiences.


Community-Based Housing for Individuals in the Recovery Process (CHIRP)
Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services

CHIRP is an innovative program established to support qualifying Henrico County residents with a substance use disorder in obtaining safe, sober housing. This program agrees to financially sponsor qualified individuals for two weeks of recovery housing while simultaneously seeking treatment to address their substance use.


Community Inclusion Specialist
Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services

MHDS created this position to promote community inclusion and integration for individuals with serious mental illness. The community inclusion specialist helps empower individuals and promote their recovery from mental illness. The mission is to focus on improving access to community resources while promoting healthy living through community involvement.


Whole Home Filter Installation to Reduce PFAS
Department of Public Utilities

DPU created this program after detecting PFAS/PFOS chemicals in private wells in the eastern part of the county. Implemented at no cost to residents, filter systems were installed for PFAS reduction and elimination for homeowners with well water septic tanks.


Juneteenth Celebration
Department of Recreation and Parks

Henrico County’s first Juneteenth Celebration was held in June 2021 to educate the public and commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States in 1865. This celebration, held in collaboration with community partners and outside groups, included relevant cultural performances and music, community art projects by local artists, a vendor fair, kids’ zone, and a fireworks finale.


Park Mobile
Department of Recreation and Parks

Henrico County’s Park Mobile is responsible for engaging the community through recreational activities and play while informing residents of programs and services and unifying individuals as a response to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative to get to know residents in nontraditional ways by going into parks and communities offered 72 programs with an attendance of 2,700 and grew to 157 programs with 5,291 participants in 2022.


Parson Community Center
Department of Recreation and Parks

The division completed a redesign and installation of exhibitions in the Orientation Center of Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park. These exhibitions focus heavily on the three cultures that occupied the lands of Meadow Farm for thousands of years and the renamed building focuses on an enslaved family. The redesign culminated in a rededication of the building under the name “Parsons Community Center.”


2+2 Tax Relief Program
Department of Finance

With the rapid rising inflation and economic uncertainty of home prices in 2021, Henrico County leaders developed a two-part real estate tax relief plan that reduced the real estate tax rate and provided an innovative one-time credit to taxpayers to offset the impact of higher assessed values.


Adult Education at Regency Mall: Shopping for Your Future
Henrico County Public Schools

HCPS students in the trade programs are helping design and build a 48,000-square-foot educational facility inside an existing mall with a reimagined approach to providing continuing education for adults. The unique mall design will maintain the concept of “career storefronts” to advertise career opportunities in licensed practical nursing, apprenticeship training, certifications and licenses, and financial literacy, along with traditional programming for adults.


Adult Education Virtual Learning
Henrico County Public Schools

The focus of the comprehensive virtual learning integration project was to expand the technology capabilities of Henrico County Public Schools’ Adult Education Center in an effort to provide students preparing to take their GED tests and English language learners with a robust virtual learning program.


Career Ambassadors Program
Henrico County Public Schools

Career Ambassadors are high school students who share career and technical education experiences and connect career exploration to elementary and middle school students and community stakeholders throughout the school year. They serve as role models to their peers and demonstrate leadership, academic achievement and technical skills to promote career and technical education programming throughout the school division.


County Manager’s Summer Academy
Henrico County Public Schools

Thirty-three rising seniors had the opportunity to learn about careers from professionals directly in the field while gaining summer work-based learning experiences in various departments of Henrico County general government in the first County Manager’s Summer Academy.


Dream Home Makeover: Remodeling with a Purpose
Henrico County Public Schools

The purpose of this summer building trade course program was to renovate a vacant county-owned home in less than three months to provide affordable housing to a county resident. Through a partnership with the Henrico County Vocational/Technical Educational Foundation, HCPS students were exposed to the construction trade areas of masonry, carpentry, electrical and HVAC/plumbing, and earned one high school credit upon completion.


Greenhouse and Landscaping Students Team Up with Recreation and Parks
Henrico County Public Schools

Students in the ACE Center at Hermitage High School’s greenhouse and landscaping program grow fall pansies for the entrances of county parks. More than 1,000, 6-inch potted plants have been grown by students, meeting specific color and size requirements, that park patrons enjoy each fall.


Improving Literacy for All Students
Henrico County Public Schools

HCPS workforce and career development courses are offered to adult learners at the Henrico County Jail East, providing inmates with literacy tools to better themselves after incarceration and enabling them to obtain a diploma or GED certificate.


Local Police Department and Students Build Relationships
Henrico County Public Schools

Varina High School Family and Consumer Sciences Department conducted a class discussion in which students had expressed fears — and sometimes a lack of respect — for police officers and their jobs. To address this way of thinking, the students prepared a “family” meal for 12 Henrico County police officers, fostering a greater understanding of each other’s perspectives through conversation.


Nursing Students Support Diaper Ministry
Henrico County Public Schools

The students in the St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing program used their experience to enhance the health of children in the community by increasing access to diapers for those families who are unable to afford an adequate supply of fresh monthly diapers. This effort supported community outreach and essential family needs while continuing career opportunities for students.


CTE in Elementary Schools
Henrico County Public Schools

R.C. Longan Elementary School conducted a pilot career and technical education program for elementary school students aimed at exposing students to Virginia’s 17 career clusters while helping them explore and develop life-ready skills. The program focused each month on third, fourth and fifth grades, providing experiences related to career clusters and tied to strands of Virginia’s Standards of Learning assessments.


More Than Just Fun
Henrico County Public Schools

Students enrolled in the Carpentry and Computer-Aided Drafting program at the Advanced Career Education Centers had the opportunity to engage in practical learning experiences to support a community-based nonprofit organization, designing a custom playhouse for the CASA Home for Good fundraising event.


Solid as a Rock
Henrico County Public Schools

Students gained real-world work experience in the Masonry program by renovating and installing a historic concrete bench that surrounds the opening of the Eastern Government center. The opportunity for the students and partnership with the general government benefited both groups.


Students Combat the Pandemic by Building Outdoor Learning Spaces
Henrico County Public Schools

Students from the ACE Carpentry program sought to provide elementary students with outdoor learning spaces to mitigate COVID-19 precautions which required students to wear masks inside the building. Providing alternate spaces where appropriate was essential to in-person learning. The efforts produced more than 110 picnic tables, distributed across the division’s 46 elementary schools.


Vet Students Assist Local Police Animal Shelter
Henrico County Public Schools

Students in the veterinary science program at the Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage High School began working with the Division of Police animal shelter one day a week to assist staff with the general care of animals. Students gained experience practicing grooming, bathing, and general routine care of animals and gained valuable hands-on experience.


Clothing Closet and Food Pantry Help Students Experiencing Homelessness
Henrico County Public Schools

Using both grant funding and community donations, the HCPS McKinney-Vento team created a food pantry for emergency food support and a clothing closet filled with new clothing and shoes for students experiencing homelessness.


Comprehensive School-Based Mental Health Services and Programming
Henrico County Public Schools

This is an integrated program of mental health support and services to support students with a serious emotional disturbance within the school setting. This collaboration between HCPS and MHDS proactively eliminates many of the systemic barriers to accessing mental health services, including financial barriers, transportation, clinician availability, lack of awareness of services and social stigmas. This involved hiring and placement of a full-time licensed mental health professional to provide outpatient counseling using evidence-based practices through a trauma-informed approach onsite at the Campus of Virginia Randolph.


Elementary Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning Programs
Henrico County Public Schools

As global citizens, students learn to serve as active participants in a larger society, demonstrating empathy, compassion and respect for fellow community members by connecting to technology’s increasing role in our daily lives. The Elementary Digital Citizenship and Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum programs support students’ functional literacy as digital citizens.


Dual-Language Immersion Program at Elizabeth Holladay Elementary School
Henrico County Public Schools

Elizabeth Holladay Elementary School is home to 594 students, including 248 (42%) who speak Spanish as the primary language in their homes. Dual-language immersion is an instructional program in which students simultaneously learn grade-level content in both English and Spanish. Teachers plan lessons, create engaging activities, and assess students in both languages.


First Tee Golf
Henrico County Public Schools

The First Tee School Program at Belmont Golf Course has been made possible through a partnership between HCPS, Belmont Golf Course and First Tee to use golf as a platform for character development. The curriculum includes motor skill development in golf skills of chipping, pitching, putting and driving while building confidence and character.


Protecting Student Privacy Through the Digital Resources Menu
Henrico County Public Schools

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent transition to virtual learning increased the number of “free” online learning resources and applications accessed by school divisions across the U.S. To help with this abrupt change, the Henrico Digital Resources Menu project focused on providing staff, students and families with access to a digital learning platform that would help them make informed decisions about selecting resources that protect student privacy while maximizing learning opportunities.


Job-Embedded Interactive Panel Professional Learning
Henrico County Public Schools

When supply chain issues delayed the timeline for installation of 1,500 new interactive panels in classrooms, leaders redesigned and implemented a flexible, job-embedded professional learning plan to empower teachers to receive access to an “anytime, anywhere” online orientation course, a choice of live webinars with a trainer, “Day One” in-person support from an innovation coach in their classroom, and ongoing job-embedded support to quickly gain proficiency to maximize the impact of the new innovative instructional technology.


The Library Learning Commons Project
Henrico County Public Schools

This project reimagined the school division’s libraries by designing an environment that empowers agency and amplifies deeper learning for all students. Library Learning Commons spaces provide learners with access to diverse collections; collaborative spaces; showcase learning; and independent space for support in developing critical-thinking skills.


On-Demand Support for Teaching with Technology
Henrico County Public Schools

HCPS is committed to providing all staff and students with the essential technologies to support student life-readiness as defined by the division’s graduate profile, the Henrico Learner Profile. To help all staff members use these new technologies, HCPS’ innovation team created the On-Demand Support for Teaching with Technology webpage, an online hub where staff can access division-provided professional learning opportunities.


Newcomer Event
Henrico County Public Schools

As a result of stakeholder climate surveys and the regular influx of non-English speaking families and refugees to Henrico County, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity planned and implemented its first Newcomer Event to highlight resources and employment opportunities for families who have recently moved — or fled — to Henrico.


Rolling Resource Center
Henrico County Public Schools

HCPS and community partners collaborated to bridge, build and boost community relationships across the county. This multidimensional, six-week collaboration included strong engagement with apartment communities to successfully remove barriers such as transportation, resource sharing, internet access and language support.


Addressing a Local and National Shortage in Health Care
Henrico County Public Schools

HCPS hosted an internal job fair for graduating practical nursing students. While job fairs are common, this one was unique in its focus on matching specific health care providers with nursing graduates to help fill the gap of health care workers in our community.

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