Message from the Superintendent

Dr. Michael Gill

Greetings,

It is with great anticipation that we start a new school year - the promise of a new start and brighter future. As we do so, I cannot help but reflect on last school year, the unprecedented experiences we shared, and how we worked together to overcome countless challenges to make the impossible possible. We remain proud to have been the only school division in the Commonwealth of Virginia to offer families a choice between a five-day per week face-to-face option and a five-day per week online option, at all grade levels, for the entirety of the school year.

This unique plan was not accomplished easily. Our amazing faculty and staff at all levels poured out their hearts to serve the unique needs of our students and families. We built an entire Online School, complete with a full curriculum and the equivalent of 390 years’ worth of Zoom meetings. We bought and distributed more than 16,000 Chromebooks, accelerating our Five-Year Technology Plan. We prepared more than 200,000 meals for students learning from home while also developing a touchless delivery system for students in our school buildings. Our elementary leaders developed ways to “push-in” music, art, library, and physical education to classrooms, while middle schools used new approaches to teaming, and high schools switched to a semester 4x4 schedule, all in an effort to keep our students as healthy and safe as possible. Our athletic departments completely reworked all sports schedules, and our school nurses vaccinated thousands of adults and students in our community. Our custodial staff, administrators, teachers, and staff cleaned nonstop. Our buses, and their dedicated drivers, kept running each day. Finally, we learned more about health mitigation strategies, contact tracing, and quarantining than we thought possible.

Simply put, it was a historic year, and the HCPS team made heroic efforts in response to it. As great as those efforts were, we never would have been successful without the help of our incredible community. The longstanding support of our parents, School Board, county partners, business leaders, and broader community was second to none and is never taken for granted.

As we prepare for next school year, that support will be needed once again. While we believe there is a brighter future ahead, we are also keenly aware that there are still challenges lingering from the pandemic. The emotional toll of the last year and a half has been dramatic for many, children and adults alike. As we continue to transition back to an environment that appears more normal, we recognize and are committed to meeting the social, emotional, physical, and academic needs of every child. We will have additional resources in place this year to assist us in educating and supporting the whole child. That, along with your steadfast support, will ensure that our Tradition of Excellence continues to be a pillar of our community.

Of all the lessons we learned over the past year and a half, the one that has been most profound is our ability to accomplish anything together as a community when we work together. Collectively, we showed the strength and resiliency of Hanover County. As we welcome another school year, I invite you to partner with us in the important work of supporting our learners, educators, and staff.

Whether it is volunteering in a school, serving on an advisory committee, or just attending one of our many student events, your presence enhances our school division. We are looking forward to a great year!

In education,

Michael B. Gill, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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