Henrico County has earned 20 Achievement awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), plus a Best of Category honor for a Sheriff’s Office program that allows qualifying college students to earn credits toward a degree in criminal justice.
The awards will be presented during the 2012 NACo annual conference July 13-17 in Pittsburgh. The NACo Achievement Award Program recognizes groundbreaking programs in a variety of service areas, including children and youth, administration, parks and recreation, health and human services.
“The NACo awards are truly noteworthy achievements in which all of us can take great pride,” County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett, P.E. said. “I have said time and again that the reason we are considered one of the best-run counties in America is because of the high quality and extraordinary professionalism of our staff, a strength that has been nurtured and developed over many years. These awards reflect the excellence of our organization and are well deserved.”
In 2012, Henrico had more winning programs than any other county in Virginia and the fifth most nationally, trailing only Los Angeles County, Calif.; Maricopa County, Ariz.; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; and San Diego County, Calif. Since 2000, Henrico has won 191 NACo awards, including 22 in 2011 — the most of any Virginia county and the sixth most nationally.
Henrico’s awards for 2012 recognize the efforts of 10 departments and agencies to modernize county government and to better serve the needs of residents. Henrico County Public Schools earned eight awards, the most of any Henrico department or agency. The programs and agencies recognized by NACo are:
- “Summer-Student Basic Academy,” Sheriff’s Office: A collaboration of the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Human Resources, the program allows students who are studying criminal justice at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University to earn college and internship credits, plus certification as a correctional deputy from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. The program was selected for a Best of Category award in the criminal justice and public safety group.
- “Historical County Data Book,” County Manager’s Office: With information on Henrico from 1790 to the present, the data book was created at the request of the 2011 Commemoration Advisory Commission and serves as a resource to residents and the public via the county’s website.
- “Sustaining Civic Education Throughout a 400th Anniversary Commemoration,” County Manager’s Office: To help mark Henrico’s 400th anniversary as the second English settlement in the New World, the 2011 Commemoration Advisory Commission and county staff created a comprehensive program that spurred resident and business involvement for 16 months and focused on civic education, public information, partnerships, historic research and tourism.
- “iBusiness System,” Department of Finance: A system created to help correct the misallocation of local sales- and use-tax revenues, iBusiness has improved auditing functions, boosted total revenue from corrections and produced higher average corrections per account.
- “Henrico Advantage Card,” Department of Finance: Established to support local businesses, the free card gives residents rewards and discounts to more than 100 participating restaurants and other businesses across the county.
- “Competencies in Action: Preparing Employees for the Workforce of Tomorrow,” Department of Human Resources: In recognition of the demands of a rapidly changing work environment, the initiative developed a set of core competencies that reflect the skills and behaviors required of all employees, not just those in leadership positions.
- “eBooks Launched at the Public Library,” Public Library: Following an extensive planning process that included focus groups and surveys, the Public Library expanded its offerings of free, digital content by launching OverDrive, which provides eBooks and audiobooks that can be accessed on a variety of mobile devices.
- “A New Lease on Life,” Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services: A joint project of Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services, a community services board and CrossOver Ministry, “A New Lease on Life” serves patients who have diabetes and depression by providing access to a full-time clinician and 10 hours of psychiatric services per week.
- “3-C Report Base Data Update,” Department of Planning: The project updated and improved the accuracy of each component of the 3-C (Continuing, Cooperative and Comprehensive) Transportation Report, including population, housing and land use data that is used by county officials and others in making decisions that affect residents and county operations.
- “Henrico Police Logistics Regional Incident Response Unit,” Division of Police: Paralleling techniques adopted under the federal homeland security effort, the unit allows sustaining support during long-term emergencies in Henrico and elsewhere in the region. The unit has provided such assistance as remote lighting, rehabilitative services, specialized equipment, food and water.
- “400th Anniversary Employee Training and Support,” Division of Recreation and Parks: To support the celebration of Henrico’s 400th anniversary in 2011, 224 employees who regularly interact with the public received advance training in the county’s history, the commemoration and marketing plans.
- “Henrico African-American History Initiative,” Division of Recreation and Parks: To promote a united commemoration of Henrico’s 400th anniversary in 2011, the initiative developed a governmental and community partnership that focused on further preserving and interpreting African-American history as a cultural asset for Henrico tourism. The initiative resulted in the renovation and reopening of the Virginia E. Randolph Museum, a panel exhibit and reception on African-American trailblazers, a two-day tribute to African-American history in music and stories, the preservation of Springfield School and an African-American heritage bus tour.
- “Capturing the History of Henrico County Public Schools,” Henrico County Public Schools: To provide a comprehensive record of the past and a blueprint for future success, each school community captured and digitally maintained the school’s history using oral histories, documents, photographs, school registers, newsletters and yearbooks.
- “Hallway of Hope — Bringing Light & Joy to Cancer Patients Through Children’s Art,” Henrico County Public Schools: Through a partnership with Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, a permanent art exhibit featuring the work of Henrico students enlivens a hallway that connects a parking garage to the hospital building. The inspirational exhibit was envisioned in 2010 by a mother of two elementary students who was receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer.
- “Henrico Federal Credit Union: A Financial Education Partnership,” Henrico County Public Schools: To promote financial literacy among students, student-run satellite branches of the Henrico Federal Credit Union (HFCU) were opened at three high schools to serve school-based staff and students. The effort is supported by a full-time financial literacy specialist who serves as a teacher-liaison.
- “On-Time Graduation in Henrico County,” Henrico County Public Schools: To help track how well students are being prepared for the future, the initiative was created to keep students attending school and earning credits toward graduation. It provides individualized support, student-specific interventions and nine credit-recovery options.
- “Partnership with FLiPM and Henrico Business and Marketing Classes,” Henrico County Public Schools: To enhance the workplace readiness skills that are taught in Career and Technical Education (CTE), business and marketing teachers partnered with PM Harmony, Future Leaders in Project Management (FLiPM) and the local chapter of Project Management Professionals to adopt the globally recognized standards, terminology and methodology of the Project Management Institute. The standards provide additional rigor and relevance to the CTE curriculum and are designed to prepare students for employment whether they go on to college or directly enter the workforce.
- “Reflective Friends: A Measure of 21st Century Instruction,” Henrico County Public Schools: The Reflective Friends process uses a series of classroom observations and interviews with students and teachers to provide schools with objective data on their efforts to create learning environments that prepare students for an ever-changing world.
- “Succession Plan for School Leaders,” Henrico County Public Schools: To ensure the district will continue to produce effective, accountable leaders, Henrico County Public Schools created an associate principal position and a structured training program to prepare eligible administrators for school leadership positions.
- “Young Henrico Historians & Explorers,” Henrico County Public Schools: An initiative that was researched and developed by Henrico educators and historians provides an overview of Henrico’s geography, history, economy, government and school system. The information is presented to help fifth-graders learn and appreciate the county’s history.