Thomas H. Henderson Middle School was named for the eminent Virginia educator who was a teacher, member of the Richmond School Board, civic leader, and president of Virginia Union University, Dr. Thomas H. Henderson (1910-1970).
Beginning as Northside Middle School Project in the fall of 1970, the new school was housed at John Marshall High School. A staff of 12 teachers began working with 240 seventh and eighth graders to implement a continuous pupil progress program. The project was designed to implement new concepts in middle school education which would be employed on a larger scale in a new facility in Northside.
Because of enrollment problems associated with sharing a facility with the high school, the program was moved to Mary Scott Elementary School in 1971. Construction on the new facility began in the summer of 1971. In 1972 the school became the center for Richmond’s Year-Round Education Project with a $52,000 feasibility study grant.
In March 1973, the Richmond School Board established Henderson’s enrollment priorities as: (1)those who resided in the 1972-73 Chandler Middle School zone; (2) those who attended Northside Middle School, Bellevue and John B. Cary Model Schools and the innovative unite at Clark Springs School; (3) students form the city at large by application.
Our new open-space building welcomed students on January 3, 1974. The school was constructed to facilitate interdisciplinary teaching with four houses and of three teaching pods each, gymnasium, dining room, elective area and theatre. Henderson is the only open-space facility built by the Richmond School Board.
In May 1986, the Richmond School Board revised enrollment priorities as (1) those who attended Carver, Clark Springs, Ginter Park, Munford, Overby-Sheppard, Stuart, Whitcomb Court and Norrell; (2) those who attended Northside Middle School, Bellevue and John B. Cary Model Schools; (3) students from the city at large by application. Later revisions in schools’ attendance zones split enrollment assignments from several of the elementary feeder schools, and open enrollment by application has been limited to students living north of the James River.
In 1989, Henderson was designed by the Virginia Department of Education as a Vanguard School (exceptionally successful in meeting students’ needs and implementing the best practices of middle-level education) to assist other Virginia schools in the restructuring process. Henderson practices several Carnegie recommendations, including “Schools within a School.” A revision in name became effective July 1, 1991 to Thomas H. Henderson Model Middle School.