Thank you to Mr. Gordon and everyone involved in organizing the annual Bulldog 5k.  My wife and I were able to walk the course with our family and we had a blast!

Mr. Newman (GHS principal) wrote an excellent blog about the GHS Football Team’s State Championship Ring Ceremony HERE.  Through several fundraising efforts, including a contribution by the School Board, the athletic boosters were able to provide rings for all of our student athletes.  Congratulations again!

The Board of Supervisors approved the funding to purchase the new location for our bus garage!  The county closes on the new site on April 30 and we hope to complete renovations and transition to the Oilville location prior to school opening in August.  We are ecstatic that we will be able to provide this new opportunity for our transportation staff.  The Goochland Gazette recently published an article on the approval that shows a picture of the new site HERE.

I presented a budget update to The School Board on April 23 based on the additional $320,000 in funding for faculty/staff raises provided by the county.  To learn more about the additions and reductions proposed in our budget update, please view the full presentation HERE.

Due to a 12.9% increase to health care premiums, the board is also considering some new health care options and we have included sample contributions at the end of the presentation.  Even after some strategic reductions, the current budget proposal for May 14 includes a 7% increase to the employer share of the new premiums, thus some rates for employees are likely to increase.  Please take some time to view the 7% option and let us know if you have any questions.  The School Board will vote on the proposal and any revisions along with the 2013-2014 teacher salary scale and the updated Employer/Employee rates for health care premiums at their business meeting on May 14.

Previously, I blogged about the new two-year degree programs that will be offered in Goochland HERE.  As a quick reminder, beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, JSRCC (J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College) and GCPS announced that we have formed a partnership to offer students the full 2-year Associates Degree (to be known as the Advanced College Academy) to our students while attending high school.  At our April 23 board meeting, we shared the formal plans and required courses HERE.

As you can see in the linked plans, we will also be able to offer one year’s worth of college coursework through JSRCC in a fully online model.  Additionally, until we are at full implementation of the 2-year degree program, we will continue to offer the CCA (College Connection Academy) to allow students to earn the 1-year Certificate while on campus at JSRCC.

To make these opportunities possible for our students, we will begin encouraging our high school teachers to seek “certification” as JSRCC adjunct instructors.  The best route to earn this qualification is to earn a Master’s Degree in the content area.  As an incentive for teachers that would be interested in earning these advanced credentials, we will begin fully reimbursing coursework in content area Master’s Degrees.  A draft memo about this new reimbursement option that will accompany our 2013-2014 faculty/employee handbook is attached HERE.

If you are interested in this option, please contact Dr. Geyer for more information.

At their meeting on April 23, the board discussed a presentation by Dr. Geyer on the new principal evaluation standards.  The new principal evaluation model, if adopted May 14, will go into effect for the 2013-2014 school year and will be very similar to the new teacher evaluation process implemented this school year.  Dr. Geyer’s presentation can be found HERE.  A new superintendent evaluation model will be required in the following year, 2014-2015.

 

At the school board meeting on April 23, GCPS adopted an update to the division technology plan.  As part of the updated plan the board adopted a couple new pilot programs to be implemented in the 2013-2014 school year.

BYOD – The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program will allow a small number of students to begin bringing their own devices to school for use in instruction.  The technology team proposed allowing this new flexibility as an additional incentive for Seniors at GHS as trial run to see if we could support more students.  Students in GHS and throughout the nation have expressed an interest in using tools available to them at home while in the classroom and that the lack of flexibility in the use of mobile devices at school could stifle their creativity.  We also believe that this can promote “any time learning,” allowing students greater access content throughout the school day and beyond. We will not guarantee implementation at the beginning of the school year, but rather will entrust Mr. Newman (GHS principal) and the technology team to discuss best practices with teachers.  We will continue to investigate network security issues and hope to announce a formal start date in the near future.

1:1 – The 1:1 pilot, also known as one-to-one, is a similar program; however, in this model the school division will provide mobile devices for every student (one device for each student, hence 1:1).  Our pilot will provide an iPad mini for every student at Goochland Elementary School in select grades (currently proposed as Grades 3-5).  We chose GES specifically, amongst other reasons, because of their proximity to our technology support specialists to be certain that we can maintain the infrastructure necessary to support a division-wide rollout in the future.

The pilot will also seek to examine an expanded role for Library Media Specialists as technology content specialists (new media) along their current focus on reading and literacy.  We are funding this program in the pilot year solely with new regulations that allow us to purchase “electronic devices to operate textbooks” from the state textbook funds.  We believe that if this pilot is successful, and as long as the state continues to fund the textbook line item, that we can maintain the funding to provide a mobile device for all students in grades 1-12 over a three year period following the pilot year.

Our pilot teachers will be provided training in creating content and accessing online textbooks for use on the iPad.  Additionally, all new and recent textbook adoptions will give us options to access our textbooks online.  Even though GES will be the school receiving these opportunities in year 1 (2013-2014), we plan to expand the program to select grades at RES, BES, and GMS in year 2.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TOOLS FOR THE 21st CENTURY STUDENT – Whereas these new instructional tools will require new teaching techniques and greater support, we believe that by 2018 all students will be demanding that regular instruction using the tools available to them at home will be an expectation of the modern classroom.  Once again, Goochland will be on the cutting edge of teaching with technology; however, we will implement the programs slowly enough and with a focused evaluation to make sure that a full scale model is well thought out.

We are certainly excited that we can offer this opportunity to our children and we know that it will continue our path towards becoming the best school division, with the most innovative and effective instructional models, in Virginia.

I hope that everyone is aware of the amazing work of our STEM Advisory Committee this year.  We hosted our first ever Summer STEM Camp and our first Conundrum Day in February.  Additionally, our partnership with the Science Museum of Virginia has become a model for collaboration across the region.  We were notified this week that our STEM Advisory Committee received a 2013 Creating Excellence Award by the VDOE.  Congratulations to the committee and to Mr. Watson for their leadership and innovation i this area.  See below!