This was one of the many images of the past week that captured the learning, brilliance, and wonder of Goochland County Public Schools’ STEM Camp 2013.

More than 130 elementary and middle school students completed design challenges, built bridges, developed circuits, launched rockets, built and test-drove underwater robots, and spent a day exploring the Science Museum of Virginia.

Interests were sparked. Discoveries were made. Relationships were strengthened. Talents were revealed. Accomplishments were celebrated.

You can take a 90 second look at the week here.

It’s safe to say everyone’s already talking about STEM Camp 2014.

(The camp was the product of the Goochland school-community’s STEM Advisory Committee – and way too many smart, talented, dedicated, caring people to list.) We thank each and every contributor.

Professional Development: Creativity and Innovation in STEM classrooms

Creativity and Innovation in STEM classrooms will develop a comprehensive teacher professional development model to create a culture of creativity and innovation in STEM classrooms.

  • As active members of a professional learning community, a maximum of twenty-four grades 6-12 mathematics, science, and career & technical education (CTE) teachers from multiple school divisions including high need school divisions will collaborate with each other in a week-long professional development workshop in summer 2013 and explore research-based instructional strategies and resources that facilitate the development of creativity and innovation skills through interdisciplinary STEM learning activities till summer 2014.
  • Twelve grades 9-11 high school students will be recruited by the ITTIP and these students will join their teachers in this learning adventure on creativity and innovation during the summer week.  In this professional model, students are co-designers of their learning environment; teachers and students will discuss and create instructional and assessment resources to integrate creativity and innovation in interdisciplinary STEM teaching.
  • Teachers will also participate in a three-credit course on “Mentoring students and teachers as 21st Century Leaders” in fall 2013 and receive follow-up during the school year in the form of classroom visits, online learning community, and webinars on integrating reading and writing in STEM learning and on tools of inquiry in math.
  • In enhancing the pedagogical and technological knowledge, teachers will receive training on the integration of problem-based learning strategies, and technology tools of inquiry to meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • Teachers will receive stipends and three graduate credits for completing all activities including development and implementation of one unit of instruction per participant and presenting their digital portfolios with student artifacts in a Saturday summit in early summer 2014.

Teacher commitment (all activities are required)

  1. Five day summer workshop
  2. Three-credit Graduate online course in fall in education
  3. Development of unit plan (Problem based learning as pedagogy) and implementation in fall or in spring
  4. Participation in two after-school webinars on integrating reading and writing in STEM  classrooms
  5. Saturday summit in June 2014


  1. Stipends: $300 after completion of summer workshop in 2013; $150 after completing all course requirements in December 2013 (payment by February 2014); and $300 after participation in webinar and June summit 2014 (payment by August 2014)
  2. Graduate credits: 3 (at no cost to participants or school divisions)
  3. Camera for documenting instructional practices

Preference: At least two teachers (math, science, technology, engineering, CTE) to enroll from the same school division

Dates:  July 22 – 26, 2013 for Summer Workshop

Location for Summer Workshop: TBD (for one third of the teaches, travel, boarding and lodging will be provided if they have to drive more than 100 miles to workshop location)

Register Today:

Recently, the Virginia Department of Education announced that Goochland High School was recognized among the 100 Best W!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance. W!se is an acronym for “Working in Support of Education” – a leading New York City based educational not-for-profit whose central mission is to develop personal finance literacy and readiness for college and the workforce.

During a ceremony last month on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange the organization recognized excellence in one-hundred high schools from across the country as part of its 10th anniversary ceremony of its award-winning Financial Literacy Certification Program.

Ms. Sarah Voyack and Mr. Joe Fowler teach Personal Finance for Goochland High School.

Congratulations to the Goochland STEM Advisory Committee!  At the 2013 Creating Excellence Awards Celebration on Friday, it was announced that we were not only the regional winner, but also the STATE winner for having the top partnership and collaboration (Secondary CTE Advisory Award).  Our STEM Committee has been instrumental in our recent successes, with events such as the summer STEM Camp and the winter Conundrum Day.  The possibilities are endless when we have such great support from students, parents, teachers, administrators, community members, and business partners.  Congratulations to Goochland!

Here are all of the representatives from Goochland (Dr. Carchman, Mr. Hamzey, Mr. Watson) accepting the Regional Award from Dr. Wright (state superintendent):


I had the opportunity this week to share a morning with some extraordinary educators in one of John Hendron’s summer tech classes. This one was specifically designed to enhance our ability to navigate Keynote and create more powerful, memorable presentations.

As always, John was stellar. The class was engaging and I learned a ton – namely:

  • It cannot be said enough: less is always much, much more when designing slides. There’s nothing worse than a presentation in which someone reads a heavy-print slide to a heavy-laden audience…
  • Look for themes in your graphics. Catchy, provocative images are useful – and always better than text – but they should, themselves, tell a story. Try to integrate them around a theme.
  • Change is good. Don’t be afraid to use the transition effects to enhance your audience’s  reception of your points, especially where bullets are concerned. Having key words dance behind you onto a tastefully sparse screen while you elaborate from your own anecdotes is energizing for your audience. Don’t just throw up a bulleted list – make it artistic.

I’m looking forward to my next presentation, putting to work the great tips I picked up from this class. We are fortunate in GCPS to have access to such exemplary training.

Thanks, John!

I’m so thankful for Dr. Swaim’s generosity in allowing our Leadership Team to hold a full-day retreat in JSRCC’s new Community Room. The staff was extremely professional and helpful and we had a productive day.

We have continued our partnership with former CarMax executive strategist, Joe Kunkel, as we pursue a revitalized vision, mission, goals and comprehensive strategic plan for the school division. During this most recent retreat, we worked to reach consensus on the general target for our vision and mission. We also agreed upon some shared core values we believe drive our organization.

Leadership team engages in strategic planning discussion in JSRCC new community room.

We look forward to working with our board soon to share the work we’ve done and seek direction in finalizing the plan that will support our advancement toward an even more excellent, personalized educational experience for all of our learners.

GCPS families,

We have been privileged to bring you our board meetings through live stream as well as archived video. It’s important to us that all of our meetings, including important discussion and decisions, are made available to you in the comfort of your home and according to your own convenience.

As you may be aware, the county supervisors and administrator have graciously extended the invitation for our school board to host meetings in their facility. It has been a welcome development and we have enjoyed the room tremendously. We are, however, transporting our own equipment to be integrated into the county’s existing broadcasting system. Thus far, it has worked flawlessly – until recently when we experienced problems that prevented us from making the stream available.

I’m happy to report that the “bugs” have been fixed and we anticipate no more challenges to offering you the live stream meetings.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

RES fourth grade teacher, Sarah Rowan, has published an inspirational story that I hope all of you will experience. She writes about the Math & Measurement Fair which prepares students for future educational and career endeavors.

See the article now at

I offer special thanks to our Science Museum partner, Chuck English, and Ms. Rowan for pursuing excellence and creativity on behalf of our community and children!

The First Tee of Virginia provides education and life skills through the game of golf. James Melton is one of only 52 individuals that was chosen and selected by the Goochland chapter of the organization for a recent honor. James will travel to Florida to study the game under Hank Haney. Hank is the foremost golf swing teacher in the nation, having personally coached Tiger Woods – and now, our very own James Melton!

James just graduated from GHS with the class of 2013 and we are proud of his scholarship and his pursuit of excellence on and off the golf course.

We look forward to recognizing him in an upcoming school board meeting. Please join me in congratulating James and his parents, Lisa Melton, teacher at Goochland Middle School, and James Melton, Jr., former chairperson of the Goochland County Planning Commission.

I was privileged to watch the Bulldog supporters in Radford, VA this morning to cheer on the Goochland High School Softball Players by live stream. After an amazing victory yesterday over James River-Buchanon, the girls fought hard in the District 2 State Championship against Floyd.

It was a thrilling game, with Goochland at bat with bases loaded in the last inning. Even though the Lady Bulldogs didn’t win the title, they represented our great community with absolute professionalism and athletic excellence. I couldn’t have been more proud to have been a Goochland Bulldog and I know my fellow Goochlanders feel the same way.

Thank you to the Softball Team, the coaches, and all of the Goochland folks who supported these stellar scholar athletes, in person and with best wishes from back home. It was a tremendous season.

We are extremely proud of you!