We are excited to announce that Mrs. Erin Yearout Patton was selected as the division-wide teacher of the year!  Please join me in congratulating her for a well-deserved award!  We were honored to recognize her and all of our school-based teachers of the year.  Good luck as you move on to the regional competition.

Our full press press release is located here:   Teacher Of The Year press release
Please also make sure to congratulate our school-based award winners who were also recognized this evening:
Erin Yearout Patton (Goochland High School)
Henry Jones (Goochland Middle School)
Krystle Demas (Goochland Elementary School)
Megan Donovan (Byrd Elementary School)
Gretchen Curreri (Randolph Elementary School)

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!!!

Just a reminder, our High School Graduation Ceremony will be on Friday, May 31, at 4pm in the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville.

I look forward to helping our seniors transition into the next step of their career preparation.  We will post pictures and share more thoughts next week.

GCPS announced a new vision for student assessment in Goochland at the School Board meeting on May 14.  The Balanced Assessment Project report shared how Goochland plans to transition from the SOL focus of the recent past to an educational experience focused on the growth of every child infused with a Project-Based Learning Approach.   In other words, we want to focus on Growth over Achievement.  What this means is that we will make sure that all students are learning at high levels, rather than focusing on making certain that students can pass the SOL test in a single moment.  We believe that our balanced approach to assessment will lead to higher SOL results even if they are not our primary focus.  Overall, we wanted to incorporate the new growth measures while reducing the total number of assessments our students experience.  Please read the report from our task force as I believe their recommendations will put us on the cutting edge of creating the best possible experiences for students.  Dr. Geyer blogged at length about this initiative.  I highly recommend you read his article to fully understand where we are headed with this project.

If you are a staff member, Dr. Geyer is also hosting a session to explain more about the new assessments planned for next year on Wednesday.  See below!

Throughout Virginia, the month of May has become synonymous with the state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. These “high stakes” tests begin in third grade and continue through high school. For our students this means question after question, test after test.

These SOL tests are a cornerstone of Virginia’s response to the accountability movement in education, one that was bolstered two decades ago. Strong, talented professionals welcome accountability – no matter the field. The associated challenge facing the education profession is striking a balance between the state’s current vehicle for accountability (SOL tests) and the kind of measures we know are best for our students.

Anyone who’s discussed the topic of assessment with me has heard me talk and talk about the importance of measuring individual student growth. I believe it’s critical for our students to meet the state’s minimum proficiency standards by way of the SOL assessments. And SOL tests measure achievement.

I believe it’s far more important for every one of our students to make the most progress s/he can during each of the thirteen years they’re with us. Only authentic growth assessments can measure this personalized progress.

This past winter we gathered a group of our teachers and administrators to begin exploring growth measures and to engage in a conversation about bringing some balance to what has become an assessment profile dominated by a fairly singular focus: the SOL tests and preparation for the same.

The committee’s work is the basis for a draft document we are building that will capture the division’s efforts to build a balanced plan for student assessment, while reducing the overall amount of tests our teachers and students face each year. Readers will notice an emphasis on growth measures, the introduction of performance assessments, the continued presence of traditional achievement tests (though greatly reduced), and a net loss in the overall amount of testing that takes place each school year. This last feature will result in an increase in instructional time. (That’s reason enough for celebration.)

You can see our draft document by clicking the image below:

Finally, we’d like to give our professionals the opportunity to discuss this project and ask questions before we close out the 2012-13 school year and turn our focus to 2013-14.

I offer my sincere thanks and admiration for Mr. Newman, Mrs. Scott, Dr. Covington, Mrs. Hartley, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Fowler and the many other high school staff members who contributed to a glowing ceremony to honor our graduating seniors. The event was outstanding, a stellar tribute to the exemplary work our seniors have done throughout their academic and co-curricular careers.

I was especially impressed by the broad display of community support and representation from industry, higher education, and countless community groups who have so generously given their time and resources to help so many seniors make the transition to their next phase so much more smooth.

I look forward to great things from the GHS graduating class of 2013 and I feel privileged to have begun my leadership in Goochland during your senior year!

I was honored to attend the 2013 Safe Driver Awards Breakfast at the Goochland American Legion Building. Like every parent, I want my children to get home safely from school every day. That’s first and foremost. Nothing is more important than the work our drivers do to support overall school safety and set the tone for the entire day in the life of every child that gets on a school bus.

We were treated to an exceptional breakfast, catered by Mrs. Landrum and her associates. Mr. Ron Haley was this year’s Driver of the Year, selected by both his peers and principal for the second time! Betty Jo Houston received the Driver’s Choice Award, a peer recognition.

And one highlight was a surprise visit by Goochland Elementary School 5th graders who sang the National Anthem in honor of our drivers and the forthcoming Memorial Day. We recognized our veterans from the Armed forces today as well:  drivers Richard Bibb, Linwood Burton, Ron Haley,  Roger Watkins and driver trainee Jessica DiPace.  Thank you for your service to our great nation!

I congratulate our transportation staff and drivers for a year of impeccable service to our students and families. I’m thankful to Mr. Payne and Mr. Hazzard for joining me this morning to celebrate the commitment our fleet provides. This was truly an inspirational way to begin this beautiful Thursday and I am privileged to have been a part of it!

What an incredible ceremony hosted by Mrs. Thurston and her staff in recognition of our committed bus drivers and their dedicated service throughout the year. I am extremely thankful for the work our drivers do to transport children safely and to create a warm and nurturing environment for them on the bus.

Superintendent, James Lane, honors bus drivers at the 2013 Safe Driver Awards Breakfast at the American Legion Building.

I was especially honored to see our superintendent, Board members Mike Payne and Kevin Hazzard, Mike Newman and Debbie White show their appreciation by attending as well.

GHS principal Mike Newman honors GHS driver of the year, Mr. Haley.


Three Goochland High School students have been recognized for their submissions to the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation’s 2013 Poster Contest. The contest invites students from all over the Commonwealth to submit proposals to promote student transportation and school bus safety. Winners are announced by category, Kindergarten-grade 2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and high school. Other student winners were from Fairfax and Surry, but all three high school categorical winners were GCPS students:

1st place: Carson Sylvester (10th grade)

2nd place: Aniya Hope (9th grade)

3rd place: Justin Alley (11th grade)

My sincere congratulations go to these three exemplary students, their parents and the GHS art department. We are proud to have our wonderful county and school division so well-represented and we look forward to learning more about your work at the upcoming State Conference in June.

Special thanks to Betty Thurston, Transportation Supervisor, for organizing our participation in the contest.