The Marine Corps JROTC Orientation at Goochland High School drew a big crowd last night. Parents, students and community members came out to learn more about the program and meet the new instructors, Major Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Strong. In addition to comments from GHS principal, Mike Newman, and CTE Director, Bruce Watson, the superintendent, Dr. Lane, also welcomed the attendees and introduced Colonel James Lenard, who gave an overview of the structure program.

Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Daniel Strong, instructors for GHS MCJROTC Program.

The highlight, however, was hearing the details from the instructors, themselves. Major Petruzziello gave a thorough explanation and the two answered questions from the audience, including a wonderful film documenting the types of activities students can expect in the program. Any student or parent interested in this elective class should talk to principal, Mike Newman, immediately.

Afterwards, Colonel Joe Wadle concluded with praise for the leadership and community of GCPS bringing this excellent opportunity to bear in the lives of students. Mr. Newman invited the meeting to continue more informally across the hall in the Library Media Center, where Ms. Yurick’s Culinary Arts students had prepared a beautiful reception and students could interact further with the officers. 


Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, Virginia’s Secretary of Education, visited our division earlier this week as part of a school leadership initiative from Governor Bob McDonnell focused on instructional innovation and student engagement. Dr. Siddiqi was joined by Mrs. Anne O’Toole, a long-time Virginia educational leader, member of the Opportunity Educational Institution Board, and Goochland resident.

(from left to right) Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, Virginia Secretary of Education; Ms. Stacey Rainbolt, GMS School Counselor; Ms. Jennifer Smith, GMS Principal; Ms. Amy Spoonhower, GMS Science Teacher; Ms. Leona Barnes, GMS World Language Teacher; Ms. Tina McCay, GES Principal; Mr. James Hopkins, BES Principal; Ms. Sandra Crowder, RES Principal; Mr. Michael Newman, GHS Principal; Ms. Anne O’Toole, Retired Virginia Educator/Recently Appointed to the Virginia’s Opportunity Educational Institution Board/Goochland Resident

(from l to r) Ms. Anne O’Toole, Retired Virginia Educator/Recently Appointed to the Virginia’s Opportunity Educational Institution Board/Goochland Resident; Ms. Debbie Beasley, Director of Student Services and Special Education; Mr. John Hendron, Supervisor of Instructional Technology; Ms. Stacy Mott, Coordinator of Student Services and Special Education; Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, Virginia Secretary of Education

Those were the words Mrs. Jennifer Gates, third grade teacher at Randolph Elementary School, opened with at Tuesday evening’s School Board meeting.

Mrs. Gates’ lead-in was in reference to something special happening between her class and Mrs. Erin Yearout-Patton’s senior Government students. Together, students are enhancing the courtyard at Randolph Elementary School and planning for a complete makeover of a similar space at Goochland High School.

Tuesday night our School Board and our community had the opportunity to learn more about this incredible collaboration. As you’d expect, the students stole the show.

Mrs. Gates’ blog and Mrs. Yearout-Patton’s blog capture much of the work that’s been accomplished to date.

Next week, more than 1,000 school board members, superintendents, division administrators, education officials, and others will attend the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) annual convention in Williamsburg, VA. The convention provides school division leadership the opportunity to learn about nationwide and statewide trends, meet and learn from key policy officials, and bring back new best management practices to their home school divisions.

Convention HighlightsProfessional Development – More than 50 workshops, clinics and critical issues sessions focused on topics such as boardsmanship, developing local capacity, technology integration, school law, best practices, STEM integration, advocacy, school improvement, educational trends, and energy/sustainability practices. • Student Achievement Fair – Highlighting examples of great student achievement and of exemplary programs that are improving student achievement across the Commonwealth. • Exhibitors Scholarship – The scholarship, funded by exhibiting companies at the VSBAʼs annual convention, was made available to spring 2014 graduating seniors who had served as student school board representatives. Scholarship winners will be announced at the convention. • High School Video Contest – The annual student video contest challenged high school students across Virginia to create a 30-second video around the theme of “Whatʼs Super About Public Schools”. The winners will be announced at the opening general session of convention, and the videos will shown to the conventionʼs 1,000 attendees. • Exhibition of School Architecture – From ambience and multi-functionality to sustainable design and security, there is a direct relationship between good design and effective teaching and learning. The VSBA Exhibition of School Architecture gives attendees the opportunity to see this in action. • Education Foundation Workshop – Held in conjunction with the VSBA Annual Convention, this workshop is designed for education foundation professionals, volunteers, and those interested in starting an education foundation. Topics covered will include getting started with foundations, creative fundraising methods, ways that foundations have helped school divisions recover from a natural disaster, and best practices.

General Session Presentations “Leadership and a Culture for Learning: Closing the Gaps Between What Sounds Good & What Gets Done” by Jim Bearden Organizational culture is an intangible, but very real—and powerful— phenomenon. A school divisionʼs true culture is revealed by the behavior of the people working in that division. Creating cultures that reinforce and support behavior essential to learning (student achievement) is one of the most important things division leaders are called on to do. Using plenty of humor and drawing from his corporate and military leadership experiences, as well as from his work with NSBA and multiple state school boards associations, Bearden will offer fresh insights on the relationship between leadership behavior, district culture and student achievement with his keynote presentation.

“Raised Expectations with No Excuses” by Jeffrey May In this session, May will highlight how raised expectations, discipline and “no excuses” led his Westside Elementary School (Roanoke) debate team all the way to Marshall, Texas to debate before the World-Renown Great Debaters of Wiley College. May will explain how incentive programs like step and debate not only improve academics, behavior and attendance, but also how they affect real change within the lives of the children who participate.

“Disruptive Demographics: Implications for K-12 Education in Virginia” by Dr. James Johnson Six disruptive demographic trends of the first decade of the new millennium—the South rises again, the browning of America, marrying out is “in,” the silver tsunami is about to hit, the end of men?, and cooling water from grandmaʼs well…and grandpaʼs too—will dramatically transform all of this nationʼs social and political institutions. Using data from Census 2010 and other sources, Dr. Johnson will describe these trends and assess the specific implications and challenges they pose for the Virginia public education system.

Here is the complete VSBA Annual Convention schedule, along with speaker and presentation details.

About the Virginia School Boards Association The Virginia School Boards Association, a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards, promotes excellence in public education through advocacy, training, and services. The Association offers conferences, information, training, and counseling designed to meet the needs of the Commonwealthʼs educational leaders.

Our high school students had a wonderful opportunity to learn about organ donation from a unique point of view – the business perspective. Lisa Schaffner, Director, Public Relations and Marketing for UNOS, and Chad Southward, a double lung recipient and former school teacher, visited GHS as part of the ongoing school wide donation project headed by Mrs. Bachetti and the science department.

Dr. Covington shares the details on his blog.

As a response to this post, I thought it appropriate to share that Dr. Geyer did in fact complete the Spider Maze at BES.


On a serious note, we appreciate Dr. Geyer’s commitment to investing himself into all levels of the division’s instructional program. He is working every day make learning inspirational in Goochland and to help us reach our maximize the potential of all learners.

Perhaps next year we could stage a race among administrators.

I’ll take the pictures.

If you’ve been following Joe Beasley’s blog, you’ll know that students are doing incredible things with the new iPads. Recently, students visited Jamestown and used the devices to capture material they would have otherwise gotten from secondary research. They are creating their own research materials, visiting the site first-hand and creating the media representations using the tools themselves.

Joe and his colleagues continue to inspire tremendous learning.

Students use iPads to capture moments in history for development of their own research materials.

The dedication of the WeatherBug Station at Byrd Elementary School was inspirational. The multi-purpose room was full of students, teachers and community members, each of whom invested in the life of the school. It was an incredible testament to what can be accomplished when caring adults get behind the interests of students.

Goochland Rotarian and involved BES community member, Richard Carchman, was instrumental in helping the project along and had this to say about the ceremony:

“It was a fulfillment of a dream to be witness to such an event as occurred today, honoring not only the persistence and imagination of a student (Ben McRae) but his teachers , school officials and the community… it is important that we appreciate, indeed celebrate , what can be done when we put our hearts and minds in the right place.”


GCPS CTE Director, Bruce Watson, recognizes the students who used the WeatherBug system in their robotics competition.

Andrew Freiden, News Center 12 meteorologist, addressed the crowd and helped Ben, BES 4th grader, cut the ribbon. You can view pictures of the event on Glenda Hawk’s blog. After the ceremony the entire student body was invited to give a message to viewers of Channel 12 news:

Congratulations to BES! You have created an invaluable lesson that will stick with your students forever.

The school division hosted an informational evening for families this week designed to provide support and insight into the college admissions process. What made the event special was that the panel serving as the program’s centerpiece was comprised of nine admissions officials from eight regional colleges and universities:

Hampden-Sydney CollegeHampton UniversityJ. Sargeant Reynolds Community CollegeLongwood UniversityRandolph-Macon CollegeSweet Briar CollegeUniversity of RichmondVirginia Commonwealth University

A special thanks goes out to our school counseling team who worked to make the program a reality for our school community. We look forward to the opportunity becoming an annual event.

Goochland County Public Schools hosted a “College Admissions Panel – Informational Evening” for families and community members on Tuesday, November 5.