Excellence:  A commitment to meeting exceptional standards of growth, achievement, and personal responsibility.  

On Monday of this week, the Goochland County Public Schools hosted a total of 39 superintendents, school board members, and administrative staff from 8 school divisions from Ohio to Louisiana.  During their visit, they were able to see, feel, and experience the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools! Excellence was pervasive in their interactions with our students, our teachers, and every member of Team Goochland!

Every aspect of our division shined as they were greeted by one of our enthusiastic drivers, entered clean and well-maintained schools, and interacted with our passionate employees and awesome students.  In every classroom, students were engaged in exceptional academic experiences as our teachers allowed students to learn through deeper learning opportunities. Students were creating, collaborating, communicating, critically thinking, problem solving, and demonstrating respect through their interactions with both their peers and our guests.

Our visitors pointed out on several occasions that Team Goochland has strong culture of optimism, engagement, and student-centered learning:  a deeply embedded culture that is not found in many divisions. Students showed pride in their schools through their work and the conversations that they had with our visitors.  They openly shared what they were learning and were able to describe, in their own words, what was taking place in their classroom and in their school. The pride and passion that our employees have for their work was also abundantly clear as teachers willingly opened their classrooms to share their skills and expertise with our guests.

From one of our visitors:

Thanks again for a wonderful visit. Ronny, Matt, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some of the practices that makes your school district/division successful. We look forward to sharing some of the things we learned with others. You have some amazing people throughout your organization and it is evident that the positive, professional, and innovative culture you all have established is embedded in every school. I know this event wasn’t an easy task to pull off and many hours were put into making it a success; thank you for investing in it to make it meaningful for us.

Ken Oertling, Ph.D., Executive Director of Secondary Schools

St. Charles Parish Public Schools, Louisiana

Thank you to our talented and passionate employees for the time, effort, and energy that they dedicate to the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools.  Our division has amazing professionals who serve as role models for educators across this nation to follow. As superintendent, I am truly humbled to have the pleasure to serve our students and our community alongside our amazing team as we continually work to maximize the potential of every one of our division’s learners.  I am so proud of our students, our team, and our community for everything that makes Goochland so special!

 

 

Our visitors were provided an iPad during their visit to capture memorable moments and used the clip app to create their own video.  Check out a sample of some of the videos that they created.

Partnership for the Future will be hosing a college preparation seminar on Saturday November 3 for students and families who are interested in learning more about the college admission process, financial aid, and career exploration.  Register for this FREE opportunity by clicking here.

Partnership for the Future College Prep Seminar 11/3/18

 

 

I am proud of the many amazing accomplishments of Team Goochland!  Our annual instructional report provides an opportunity for us to highlight our work and provide a transparent and wide-ranging look of the accomplishments of our school division.  A hard copy of this report will be in every mailbox in Goochland County in the coming days.  Feel free to view an electronic copy of this report before it arrives in your mailbox.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to take our 360 degree camera to Goochland Middle School to talk with students about their experience.  I had the chance to talk with students in Ms. Gill’s 6th grade math class about order of operations and then with two students who were working on coding as a part of their GRIP (Gifted Research Interest-based Project) project and observed students in Ms. Brooks’ 6th grade English class who were actively engaged in a collaborative competition with their iPads.

I spent some time in physical education classes with our students (I really struggled with my badminton serve) and talking to students in one of our 8th grade Career and Technical Education classes (Manufacturing Systems).  From there, I learned from 7th grade students in Spanish I, Part I who were writing a conversation that they would share with their peers during a later class.  I finished by talking with students in Mr. Neufer’s Eagle Block who gave me some insight into their overall experience with Goochland County Public Schools.  At the end, I asked them to rate their experience.  They all gave GCPS a 4 star or 5 star rating!

As you watch this video, be sure to use your cursor or your fingers (on a mobile device) to look around the classroom.  You will see students using technology in multiple ways to supplement and support their learning experience.  We are proud that we are able to provide every student K-12 with their own device as a tool that will enable them to have a deeper learning experience and engage with content in a more meaningful way.

 

In an effort to promote awareness of school bullying, the VSBA Board of Directors has designated the month of October as VSBA Bullying Prevention Month. Goochland County Public Schools are committed to a safe environment for learning, one free from bullying. While our efforts in this regard are year-round, the recognition associated with National Bully Prevention Month provides an opportunity to highlight some of our most impactful work.

Yesterday the Virginia Department of Education released accreditation ratings for all schools and school divisions of the Commonwealth under the newly created school accreditation standards.  An overview of Virginia results and an explanation of the newly revised accreditation standards can be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2018/09-sep27.shtml.  

These accreditation ratings are based on the results of the 2018 Standards of Learning tests, and are designed to assess school performance based on school quality indicators for academic achievement, achievement gaps, and student engagement and outcomes.  

92% of Virginia schools were accredited for 2018-2019, and all five Goochland schools are among those accredited schools.  Detailed information about school and division accreditation ratings can be found at http://schoolquality.virginia.gov/.  

Goochland County Public Schools exceeded the state average for student performance in math, science, and reading, and students with disabilities and black students met or exceeded the state average in the same content areas.  GCPS also exceeded the state average for kindergarten students meeting literacy benchmarks.

This represents more than a decade in which all GCPS schools have been accredited at the highest level designated the Virginia Department of Education, a distinction shared with only a handful of Virginia school divisions.  

This distinction is now determined by both traditional achievement measures as used in the previous accreditation system and the added criteria assessing school performance by individual subgroups and student engagement.  School leaders credit Goochland’s pursuit of innovation, growth, and engagement before test results in all classrooms as the source of success. “The new accreditation ratings validate our work to go further than overall ratings and to identify and improve outcomes for all of our students,” said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent. “The work of our teachers and staff has distinguished us in the Commonwealth and beyond, and we will continue to identify the areas where we can still improve and maximize the potential of every learner in Goochland County Public Schools.”  

Highlights from the division’s Spring 2018 SOL results include:  

  • Goochland students outperformed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all four core academic areas: reading, math, social studies, and science
  • Goochland’s reading scores ranked thirteenth in the state out of the 132 school divisions in the Commonwealth and second in the region
  • Goochland’s math scores also ranked thirteenth in the state and first in the region

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on a balanced approach to instruction and assessment as a key to the division’s success.  “Every child’s learning is important, and that requires our instructional program to be balanced. Students need direct instruction. They also need opportunities to explore what interests them.  Students need to work collaboratively with their peers. They also need opportunities to demonstrate their learning independently. It’s this kind of balance across our entire division that prepares our students for success.  Even more important, we have the most talented, caring teachers anywhere – and it’s their dedication that makes our school community shine.”

As we finish our fourth week of school, we want to make sure that we maintain our focus on building positive relationships with our students and our families.  The Metropolitan Education Research Consortium (MERC) conducted a series of interviews with teachers and students about the importance of relationships in public education.  Goochland High School teacher Liz Kuhns and recent graduate, Samantha Martin, were recently interviewed in a special series from Abstract called Connections Across Education.

 

 

 

 

When making decisions regarding whether we should close schools due to weather, the safety or our students and our staff is always our highest priority.  All week, our administrative team has been working in collaboration with local and state emergency management officials to track Hurricane Florence and her ever-changing forecast.  Some of our neighboring school divisions decided earlier this week that their schools would be closed tomorrow. I have decided to wait until now to make a decision due to the many unknowns that have been associated with this storm.  Based on current and forecasted conditions, we are planning on opening our schools on time tomorrow (Friday, September 14) and operating on a regular schedule.  As there are many unknowns with a storm of this magnitude, we will continue to monitor the ever-changing conditions associated with Hurricane Florence.  If there is a need to make a change to our operating schedule due to unforeseen changes in weather, road conditions, or power outages, we will notify you as soon as possible so that you can make accommodations in your family’s daily schedule.

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

 

As a part of our ongoing and proactive school safety initiatives, students at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School will be discussing the importance of reporting possible threats to school safety.  Training will be provided as a part of our collaboration with the University of Virginia and the Virginia Youth Violence Project.The intent of these discussions is to emphasize the importance of sharing ANY information that a student feels is threatening and to explain the processes that we have at each school to assess threats once we receive them.  This is an important message for us to share about the prevention of violence and our collective responsibility to keep our schools safe.

Parents have the opportunity to also participate in this training online.  The training lasts approximately 25 minutes.  As a part of the training, you will be asked questions to measure what you know about school safety and what you have learned from the training.  Be assured that all of your responses are anonymous and that no one will know how you answered the questions.

The website for the parent program is www.schoolthreatassessment.com.  Enter the parent code to begin:  pncwub