News & Announcements

HCPS School Board Office Christmas Tree Details

For the past several years select students along with their art teacher have been creating ornaments to hang on the School Board Office tree each December. Read on for a description of what each school did.

COVID-19 Testing Schedule During Thanksgiving Week

The COVID testing schedule for next week will be adjusted. We usually have testing events on Mondays and Thursdays, but due to the Thanksgiving Holiday we will only be having the Monday schedule (shown below). The regular Monday and Thursday schedule will resume the week following Thanksgiving.

MONDAY Schedule
3:30-5:00 at HHS (drive-thru at front of school) - staff and students

A Message from the Superintendent

This morning our hearts are heavy as we attempt to make sense of the event yesterday at our
beloved, UVA. As an alumna of the University of Virginia, a mother of a graduate, a former
adjunct instructor in the Graduate School of Education and a proud superintendent of many
past and current UVA students, I am devastated for the families, football team, faculty and
students impacted by this horrible tragedy. We at HCPS stand ready to support the entire UVA
community grieving the losses of three precious souls and two recovering victims. And until the
day that our understanding and peace are restored, we will remain grateful for these fine young
men who lost their lives and for all of the other Cavaliers protected from harm. Please join us
in keeping them all in our thoughts and prayers.
Melody Hackney
Superintendent of Schools

A Message From The Superintendent, Dr. Melody Hackney

Saturday, November 12, 2022
Good morning, HCPS Family and Friends:
It was almost exactly one year ago this week that the school board and our leadership team
began making sense of three serious discipline incidents involving guns in our schools. As you
may remember, On October 21, November 3 and November 9, 2021, guns were successfully
brought into our secondary schools. And while we will be eternally grateful that no one was
harmed, these incidents forever changed how, moving forward, we planned to better secure
our schools and classrooms.
On November 15, 2021, my team and I held a Town Hall Meeting and made a presentation to
the school board, outlining this plan. We strengthened our existing relationships with our local
and state law enforcement partners, made financial investments in appropriate preventative
technologies, significantly added security staffing in our buildings and after identifying all best
practices in the research around school security, began immediately putting these people,
practices and technologies in place in our secondary school buildings. Some criticized us for
“turning our schools into jails” after initiating check-in systems with metal detectors and
backpack checks. We heard and we understood; however, given all our children, our city, our
state and world were facing as we recovered from the ongoing effects and community
consequences of the pandemic, we made a promise that our schools would be safer from that
point forward.
Yesterday at HHS, our plan was tested and the school board and I are extremely proud of the
results. Today, in reflection only 24 hours later, we celebrate that our diligence and efforts
over the last year were not in vain. Yesterday morning, a high school student went through our
regular check-in process and during the search of the student’s backpack, a loaded handgun
was discovered. The situation was handled discreetly and without incident. Our HHS team and
security staff, in partnership with HCPD and the Sheriff’s Office, did their jobs…following all
appropriate and existing protocols, and today, we rest in the first example of seeing the results
of our hard work. And while we will never stop seeking to understand the “why” behind these
unfortunate incidents, we are thankful for the support over the last year that we were able to
prevent the weapon from getting into the building. The system worked! The gun did not get
into our schools and no one was harmed. And while I know and feel the fear and frustration
around the increased gun violence in our city right now, we must come together when we can
actually see the results of our efforts WORK for the safety of our schools and community.
Today, I thank God for His protection of all students and staff at HCPS. I thank our dedicated
teachers, employees and administrators whose jobs have changed exponentially after Covid-19,
specifically adding safety duties and responsibilities to their workload. I thank Chief Starke,
Sheriff Stanley, Mike Whittington and all of our security personnel who helped develop our plan
and implement it each and every day in all of our seven schools to keep us safe. I thank our
SBO staff who have for the last year added to their duties coming to HHS in the early mornings
to help with the check-in process. I thank our parents and families, who in spite of all going on

in our world post-Covid, continue to trust us every day to keep their precious babies safe. And
finally, I thank our school board for supporting our efforts every step of the way.
Early in December, Chief Starke, Sheriff Stanley and I hope to host a formal community
engagement summit to bring together people from Hopewell to begin expanded conversations
around making our neighborhoods, businesses and schools safer given the increase in
community crime in our special City. Please consider joining us, channeling our collective love
and dedication for Hopewell to make this place safer for all.
As always, I appreciate your trust and confidence. These are challenging times for all of us, but
we will always be #better together. We often hear “It takes a village…” Friends, we ARE “the
village” and we can do this if we come together around the good in Hopewell and make a
commitment to focusing our energy and efforts on community solutions to our problems. I
look forward to working with all of you to make our city and its schools a safer place to live,
learn and work.
Melody Hackney
Superintendent of Schools

Important Message to our Hopewell Families

We want to make you aware that at approximately 10am this morning, 11/11/22, a weapon was found and confiscated as a student was going through the bag check process at Hopewell High School with our security team. Hopewell Police Chief Starke was already at the high school at the time as part of our ongoing partnerships and assisted in immediately detaining the student. There is no ongoing threat from this situation and we want to make you aware. We appreciate the ongoing partnership with our law enforcement and the processes we have put in place to prevent more serious incidents.

SCHOOL RESUMES TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 3 for HHS

A few minutes ago, the fire department determined that the situation with a gas-like odor at Hopewell High School has been resolved. After multiple tests that involved the fire department and gas company, no gas was found. The source of the odor has been determined to be a back-up battery system in the server room.

The area is now being ventilated and monitored through the afternoon to ensure that it is resolved. School will resume on time tomorrow. Information about afterschool sports and activities today will be communicated by the coaches and sponsors.

Students who need to retrieve their personal belongings may come to the office between 1 and 4pm this afternoon to retrieve them.

Also, for a while this morning it appeared that power to the server room may need to be cut, which would disable phone and internet for the division. Fortunately, this action was was able to be avoided.

We are very thankful for our students, staff, and parents for their understanding through this situation, as we acted quickly to keep students safe and tried to also keep people informed. We also are very thankful for our Hopewell Fire Department for working with us throughout to resolve this and enable our students to return safely tomorrow.

URGENT INFORMATION REGARDING HHS

Due to a strong gas, like smell in Hopewell high school whose source has not yet been able to be confirmed, Hopewell High School is being dismissed at this time. Bus service is being provided as soon as possible and students can be dismissed from their normal locations outside the school. Please be aware that students are not permitted to come into the building to collect belongings until further notice. We appreciate your cooperation and partnership, as we strive to ensure students are kept safe as we use caution in the situation.

Because the belief is that the emergency could be coming from our IT department, we will need to briefly shut down parts of our power and phones to isolate where the problem is. We will be keeping everyone updated via our Hopewell City Public Schools website AND Facebook until we can reach out via phones. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Closed School Board Meeting Notice

This serves as a notice that there will be a Closed Hopewell City School Board School Board Meeting on Thursday, November 3rd at 6:00pm. This meeting is not open to the public.
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