Garry Marshall, Principal
Welcome to the HVA!
Since the start of the pandemic, we have had to make massive changes as a society. Our lives have been changed in so many ways. We strive towards normal again as we continue to navigate the uncertainties of the virus, but make no mistake, it’s a new normal. When we shifted to virtual learning in March of 2020, none of us knew how long it would last. Most of us never quite felt ready for the shift. However, for some of us, we found that we thrived in the new virtual environment.
As a child, I loved technology. I was fortunate to live in an area of southwest Virginia that valued technology in education. My love of technology started in my elementary school’s computer lab as I used an Apple IIe to play games like Oregon Trail. Video games, computers, and software have made massive leaps and bounds since I booted up my first computer over 30 years ago. Growing up, I could only dream of the things that we now take for granted. Video conferencing seemed to be a lofty goal much like flying cars.
As our classes shifted to virtual learning, teachers had to adapt to new practices and find new ways to engage students. They learned how to teach from home with limited resources. The best teachers learned how to connect and build relationships by making connections with students as families invited teachers and peers into their homes. Some of our students found that their social anxiety was not an issue with virtual learning. Some of our teachers and students enjoyed no longer having to commute to a building and being able to spend that extra time with our families, pets, and on hobbies that helped us grow. Was it isolating at times? Absolutely, but we found other ways to connect and grow our friendships and keep in touch with each other. The HVA is made up, in part, of these people who enjoyed working virtually and made it work.
On the other hand, we have families who still have concerns about Covid-19. The virus and pandemic is still very much a real concern. As we took off our masks this summer, we felt normal again only to get hit by a new variant of the virus. Many of our HVA families have medical concerns in their own households that we can help alleviate by providing them with an option for virtual learning, a fully virtual Henrico County Public Schools program. This year, we do want to find ways to connect, but for school-sponsored activities, they will be virtual as will all of our conferences and meetings. Our home base is Holladay Elementary School, but it will be used sparingly. The HVA is not a school that is being built brick by brick. It is being built through every single interaction we have with each other.
As a Principal, I pledge to do my very best to support you and your family. I will advocate for you. I will listen and be empathetic to your situation. I ask that you do the same as we work to eliminate the walls between Elementary and Secondary and across multiple schools in Henrico County. Together, we will build one community this school year. Everyone belongs at the HVA and should feel valued and included. Every student will come up with their own short and long term goals this year as part of an individualized life and career ready plan. Students will receive support to monitor and achieve those goals from our staff and from each other. This school year is a building year. What we build is up to every stakeholder within the HVA. It is my hope that we can build a flexible program that can meet the needs of all of our learners. While there are some that will choose to return to the in-person school environment after this school year, I hope that we will create an environment where memories have been made and where most of our students will want to remain.
Please reach out to me or to our HVA staff at any time. Follow us on social media and review our weekly messages for important information. Be sure to keep up with information from your child’s home school as well. If your student is participating in something amazing at the home school, make sure that our HVA staff know. We hope to see our students in action who choose to participate in our in-person activities at home schools. Lastly, please join the PTSA and help forge the path. We can only be successful if we work as a team. It is my pleasure to serve you and your families this year. I appreciate the vote of confidence from you as a family as you selected this option for your child’s future educational needs. I look forward to building with you this year!