Henrico County’s 2007 NACo

Begun in 1970, the annual National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program which seeks to recognize innovative county government programs called County Model Programs. Created as a part of NACo’s New County, USA Campaign, the Achievement Award Program continues to embody the grassroots and local government energy the program was designed to promote. The main emphasis of the New County, USA campaign was to modernize and streamline county government and to increase its services to its citizens, goals that are still the main emphasis of the Achievement Award Program today.

County governments across the country, working alone and in cooperation with other governments at the municipal, state and national levels, continue to develop innovative and successful programs in a wide range of service areas, including arts and historic preservation, children and youth, community and economic development, corrections, county administration, emergency management, environmental protection, health, human services, libraries, parks and recreation, transportation, volunteers and much more. The Achievement Awards Program gives national recognition to county accomplishments, and has enabled NACo to build a storehouse of county success stories that can be passed on to other counties.

This year, Henrico County is proud to note that it has been recognized by NACo with 15 Achievement Awards.


List of Award Winners

  • Community Revitalization — Enterprise Zone Marketing and Promotion Program
  • Human Resources — Fat Busters – A Weight Loss Program
  • Human Resources — Role of the Supervisor: A Blended Learning Approach
  • Planning — Identification and Mapping of Special Needs Facilities
  • Police — A.D.M.I.T. Program (Assist Division Members through Interview Training)
  • Police — Holiday Patrol 2006
  • Public Library — Art Contest! Celebrating the New Tuckahoe Area Library
  • Public Library — Library Cards to Go! Registration at Middle Schools
  • Public Utilities — 2005 Operations Event
  • Schools — Breakfast-To-Go
  • Schools — Community-Based Fast Track GED Partnerships
  • Schools — HCPS Test Data Website
  • Schools — Next Generation Leadership Academy
  • Schools — Online High School Health & Physical Education/ Fitness Center Partnerships

Visit the National Association of Counties’ Web site


1. Enterprise Zone Marketing and Promotion Program

When Henrico County’s Enterprise Zone program began in 2003, the Department of Community Revitalization targeted specific areas for economic development and job creation, offering incentives including architectural assistance and grants for fa?ade renovations. In 2006, the County expanded the Enterprise Zone area and added a grant for off-site improvements. In May 2006, to coincide with expansion of the Enterprise Zone, the Department initiated a marketing and promotion effort by creating a cable television show entitled “Enterprise Zones,” updating the Enterprise Zone brochure and Information Packet, and coordinating two special events. Materials and events promoted the Enterprise Zone to business and property owners, real estate professionals, and the general public. From 2003 to mid-2006, over 50 businesses received design assistance and 15 received fa?ade grants. The application’s “Results” describe outcomes resulting from the new promotional campaign. The neighborhood grocery store became separate retail stores and restaurants with tools, house wares, antiques, and barbeque for sale. The enclosed mall re-oriented store entrances toward the major thoroughfares, inspiring owners across the street to also apply for Enterprise Zone incentives as they re-invent their properties.

Agency: Community Revitalization

Contact Us (email): Community Revitalization

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3. Fat Busters

National statistics consistently show that Americans are increasingly overweight and point to the negative effects obesity has on their general health and well-being. To help combat this trend and promote a healthy workforce, the Human Resources Department’s Employee Health Services Division designed a 12-week “Fat Busters” competition that promotes healthy weight loss in a competitive and motivational format. The objective is to encourage beneficial lifestyle changes during a short-term competition that demonstrates the ability to achieve a long term goal – maintaining a healthy weight and improving overall health. By participating in the “Fat Busters” competition, Henrico County employees lost over 1 ? tons of weight during the first two annual competitions and committed themselves to healthy lifestyle changes.

Agency: Department of Human Resources

Contact Us (email): Department of Human Resources

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4. Role of the Supervisor: A Blended Learning Approach

Moving from the role of individual contributor to that of a supervisor is often the most difficult change in people’s careers. Seemingly overnight, their contribution is based less on the work they produce and more on the work of those they lead. In their supervisory role, employees are expected to manage performance, implement delegation and diversity strategies, answer questions about rules and regulations, and more. None of these things are studied in school by the average civil engineer or police officer. How to orient inexperienced supervisors to their new role is a challenge to many organizations. Yet Henrico County has had phenomenal success with an initiative that uses a blended learning approach to introduce new supervisors to the many facets of their management role. This initiative provides critical information to supervisors almost immediately after they assume their new role. It offers valuable strategies using no less than eight different learning approaches. The program also includes ongoing support after the supervisor begins to implement these strategies in the workplace. Supervisors report an increase in their performance, in efficiency, in the quality of their work, and in their employees’ satisfaction. They also become more confident and capable because of this innovative initiative.

Agency: Department of Human Resources

Contact Us (email): Department of Human Resources

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5. Identification and Mapping of Special Needs Facilities

The Henrico County Planning Department worked in conjunction with several local agencies and agencies of the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of the County’s effort to develop appropriate policies for the protection of special needs populations during emergencies. Departmental staff identified facilities housing special needs populations, mapped these facilities using the County’s GIS (Geographic Information System), created a database of facility-specific information (e.g., facility name, type of facility, census, and services offered), and formulated policy changes to help protect vulnerable citizens using these facilities in the event of a catastrophic event. The resulting program has improved the administration and enhanced the cost effectiveness of existing County programs aimed at providing services to special-needs populations and is a source of information to both the public and County agencies. It has also promoted intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing the serious challenge of how to identify populations of citizens particularly at risk during a catastrophic event and provide for their health, safety, and welfare.

Agency: Planning Department

Contact Us (email): Planning Department

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6. A.D.M.I.T. Program (Assist Division Members through Interview Training)

As a nationally accredited law enforcement agency, the Henrico County Division of Police takes great pride in its mission to provide quality service to its citizens and community through honor, professionalism, commitment, compassion, and accountability. The Division ensures officers are able to fulfill this mission by providing them with the training and equipment to be successful. Some of the best officers then try to make an even bigger impact through promotions or transferring to a specialized section within the Division. The A.D.M.I.T. (Assist Division Members through Interview Training) program is designed to help Division members who, at some point in their career, may aspire to transfer to another section or participate in the promotional process. This program covers the nuances of formal interview training and includes how to prepare a resume for the interview, how to prepare for the interview, how to affect the panel’s perception, and how to successfully complete the interview. During this three-day program, successful leaders from within the Division are brought in to share their interview techniques and assist in conducting several mock boards. Every student writes a resume and completes at least two mock boards, which are video taped for further studying and discussion. Each student is offered advice on how to improve his or her technique and given the opportunity to apply and practice what he or she has learned.

Agency: Division of Police

Contact Us (email): Division of Police

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7. Holiday Patrol 2006

On November 24, 2006, the Henrico County Division of Police implemented Holiday Patrol 2006 for 33 days to have a concentrated presence of police officers in and around shopping malls, business districts, and surrounding areas. This was accomplished by deploying officers on foot, bicycles, and police vehicles for high visibility patrol. Despite the current personnel shortages of the Division of Police, this operation was initiated because of the positive response that had been received in the past from the business community, the citizens of Henrico County, and the success of past operations. It was also implemented so that Police could have a dedicated response to calls for service directly generated by the holiday season.

Agency: Division of Police

Contact Us (email): Division of Police

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8. Art Contest! Celebrating the New Tuckahoe Are Library

To promote the opening of the new 53,000 square foot Tuckahoe Area Library, and to obtain a permanent art collection created by local artists, an art contest was launched. Open to all ages with eight categories of winners, the contest was sponsored by the Friends of the Tuckahoe Library and implemented by the library staff. Publicity was designed and disseminated, entries were received by the library, and a panel of judges selected 32 winners and 16 honorable mentions. To commemorate the opening, pieces of art donated by citizens were professionally framed and hung in the new library. Winning artists received prizes and recognition at a sneak preview of the new facility just days before it was opened to the public. As a result, a stunning collection of art created by local citizens graces the walls of the new Tuckahoe Library and serves as the backbone of its permanent art collection.

Agency: Henrico County Public Libraries

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Public Libraries

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9. Library Cards to Go! Registration at Middle Schools

Library cards are very powerful tools in today’s world, offering access to databases, the internet, books, audio books, and downloadable materials. In an effort to put a public library card in the hands of every Henrico County middle school student, the Henrico Public Library took its registration process on the road and went directly to the students and their parents. Annually, each middle school hosts a mandatory fee collection day where parents are able to pay for many materials (gym suits, locks, etc.) prior to the beginning of the school year. These “Fee Nights” provide an ideal opportunity for the library to enlist teens and their parents as patrons. Formerly, this service was offered at only one middle school. In 2006, this program was expanded to include nine additional schools encompassing the entire County. Laptop computers and library staff specializing in teen services and circulation, as well as the bookmobile, were deployed to all locations. Utilizing wireless network access and mobile computers, families were able to apply for library cards using an online application process. Cards were then mailed to the homes of the families with a letter stating how the card could be activated – by a simple visit to their local library.

Agency: Henrico County Public Libraries

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Public Libraries

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10. 2005 Operations Event

The Henrico County Department of Public Utilities Operations Event was envisioned as a team-building and cross-training exercise. Over 100 employees in the Operations Division came together for an afternoon of demonstrations and competitions designed to increase understanding and cooperation among the eight sections that make up the Division. An activity was planned for each section to represent the equipment it uses and the types of work it performs. The Utility Marking group conducted a treasure hunt with teams using GIS (Geographic Information System) maps and utility locating equipment. The Sewer Maintenance group developed an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) obstacle course and an elementary crane operating competition. The Pumping Section set up a confined space entry challenge and a wastewater pumping station puzzle to be assembled. The Dispatchers had a radio 10 code quiz. There were also fun events like an egg toss and a tug of war. A hardy lunch was provided for everyone. The Operations Event met all the original goals of the planning committee and, gauging by the positive feedback from the workforce, it had the additional benefit of boosting employee morale.

Agency: Department of Public Utilities

Contact Us (email): Department of Public Utilities

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11. Breakfast-To-Go

School divisions face several challenges when trying to provide nutritious breakfast meals for students. Often buses arrive late to school after cafeterias have closed for the morning, so students miss breakfast service. Some schools have staffing and facility limitations that make it difficult to provide breakfast. Henrico County Public Schools’ health leadership team researched solutions to this situation and came up with an innovative approach to breakfast for elementary and middle school students. Breakfast-To-Go was piloted in 2004-05. The concept involves the provision of a boxed, name-brand, portable breakfast to students as they enter the building. Milk, an included part of the meal, is distributed by cafeteria staff. The students may eat their boxed meals (whole grain cereals, crackers, fruit juices, and other items) in the cafeteria or they may take the breakfast boxes to their classrooms. Attendance at the pilot schools increased by as much as 40 percent, which was partly attributable to the popularity of this program, and by 2006 breakfast consumption rose to nearly 75 percent.

Agency: Henrico County Public Schools

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Schools

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12. Community-Based Fast Track GED Partnerships

In 2004, the GED (General Education Development) Fast Track Program was developed and disseminated by the Department of Education to all adult education programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This program is designed to give students the extra instruction needed to pass the GED test in eight weeks. It is the goal of the Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) Adult Education program to target adults within the community who would benefit from GED classes and to extend services directly to off-site locations. HCPS has taken this program into community settings by partnering with the Department of Social Services, Burger King, Adams and Laburnum Elementary Schools, J. Sargeant Reynolds Middle College, and District 32 Henrico Probation and Parole. These partnerships allow organizations to provide services to their clients who might otherwise not pursue a GED due to barriers beyond their control. The employability and quality of life of clients is thereby improved.

Agency: Henrico County Public Schools

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Schools

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13. HCPS Test Data Website

Each public school in Virginia receives two accountability ratings annually.  The state rating is based on the Virginia Standards of Accreditation and the federal rating is based on the No Child Left Behind Act.  Continued data analysis is a required activity to maintain success in a rigorous dual accreditation environment.  The Department of Research and Planning annually disseminates large amounts of student performance data to Henrico’s schools.  Data distribution activities provide division, school, classroom, and student level information after each test administration. In the past, schools have received test data in the form of paper reports.  To facilitate data distribution and analysis at the school level, a website was developed.  The HCPS Test Data Website is an Intranet-based website used mainly for the distribution of testing results.  The site went online in summer 2006.  Providing electronic files to principals allows schools to customize their analysis activities to support timely instructional planning so that the needs of all students can be met.

Agency: Henrico County Public Schools

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Schools

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14. Next Generation Leadership Academy

The Next Generation Leadership Academy (NGLA) is a unique partnership between the University of Richmond and four school divisions in the greater Richmond, Virginia area (Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, and Richmond City). As a response to the school districts’ need for smooth succession planning, 56 aspiring school leaders enrolled in the second year of the nine-month academy. This non-traditional educational leadership program provides high quality professional development sessions each month with the singular focus of improving student achievement. The effort includes targeted training activities in which scholars in the leadership studies field and practitioners from school divisions offer their expertise to rising administrative candidates. Experts in the study of leadership deliver a theoretical portion for the first three hours of the NGLA sessions around such topics as group dynamics and leadership, ethics and leadership, and equity and leadership. During these sessions, aspiring leaders from across school district lines are able to learn together. Sharing lunch allows participants the opportunity to discuss professional concerns while facilitating networking opportunities. For the final three hours of the day, small groups are organized according to district. At this time, division leaders share insights and practical considerations in order that the theory may be applied to modern day school settings.

Agency: Henrico County Public Schools

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Schools

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15. Online High School Health & Physical Education/Fitness Center Partnerships

High school students in Virginia are required to complete two credits of health and physical education before graduation. Between the 9th and 12th grades, it is very difficult for many students to complete all required course work as well as participate in a variety of electives. During the summer of 2006, as an alternative to the traditional physical education setting, Henrico County Public Schools piloted an online health and physical education tenth grade course by partnering with Polar heart monitors and local fitness centers (YMCA, American Family Fitness, and Velocity Sports Performance). Contributors also included the American Heart Association and several universities, colleges, and agencies. Students received a downloadable heart rate monitor, school issued laptop, and login status for the web-based automated course and were assigned a teacher to facilitate the 140-hour state-approved course. The 88 students who successfully completed the online course were able to perform physical activity in the target heart rate zone 41 to 49 percent of the time.

Agency: Henrico County Public Schools

Contact Us (email): Henrico County Schools

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