Eligible Plan 1 and Plan 2 members (those currently enrolled in the VRS) may elect to opt-into the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan during a one-time election period from January 1 to April 30. An election to opt into the Hybrid Retirement Plan cannot be changed after April 30.

The Opt-In Period for VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan Ends April 30

The Hybrid Retirement Plan combines the features of a defined benefit plan, which pays a monthly retirement benefit based on age, total service credit and average final compensation, and a defined contribution plan, which provides a retirement benefit based on contributions to the plan and the investment performance of those contributions.

Read the Special Issue of Member News  262kb for more information about the plan, eligibility, how to opt in and resources available to you, including the Hybrid Plan Calculator (available in early January) in your myVRS account. A detailed instruction guide is available once you access the calculator. Also, you should frequently check the VRS website for additional educational opportunities.

Log in or create a myVRS account to access the Hybrid Plan Calculator (available in early January), check your member account balance or create a benefit estimate. Subscribe to Member News to receive the latest information about your VRS benefits.

Questions? Contact Demetra Harris or Peter Gretz.

You might recall that part of last year’s budget process involved the board’s consideration of funding some much-needed science lab equipment for Goochland Middle School. The school, when originally designed, had included some specific equipment needs that had been unfunded in past years.

The board supported these equipment requests last year, bringing the middle school science labs to full functionality. The result: our middle school students are able to realize the full capabilities of these modern labs and maximize their learning.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the fruit of the board’s support in action, below. GMS teacher, Carolyn Elliott, shared an experiment in the physical science chemistry lab on exothermic and endothermic reactions. They used the electronic scales, thermometers, graduated cylinders and lots of beakers for three different chemical reactions:

GMS students using new equipment in Ms. Elliott's science lab.

Please join us in celebrating and recognizing the leadership and service of our school board members during School Board Appreciation Month. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Local Schools, Local Decisions,” reflects the importance of ensuring that the future of public education remains in the hands of the community it serves. Local school boards keep the public in charge of public schools, since they represent their community’s beliefs and values.

Read the original PRES RELEASE here.

We are extremely proud of the work our board members do to support the mission of the division and pave the way for exemplary success. Please join us in expressing our sincere appreciation to them this February.

Please join us in recognizing professional school counselors during the week of February 3-7, 2014, as we celebrate National School Counseling Week.  The week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing academic concerns, personal/social skills and career awareness for postsecondary options.  The GCPS school counseling programs help to increase student achievement and are a vital part of the educational process for all students in Goochland.

We express our sincere appreciation and admiration for the work or counselors do in the lives of our students and families.


The District Spelling Bee took place last week – and our twelve finalists were amazing. The top three finishers from the school-level competitions (BES, GES, RES, and GMS) competed for top honors and a spot in the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Regional Bee on Saturday, March 8.

The competition was exceptional, as all twelve students made it into the fifth round before a single word was misspelled.

Congratulations to 7th grader Victoria Spooner for emerging as champion – and to all twelve students for their noteworthy achievement.

William Browning, GES grade 3 / Savannah Cave, BES grade 3 / Anna Hoffler, GMS grade 6 / Christian Lifsey, BES grade 5 / Zoe Maier, GES grade 2 / Gage McDonnell, GES grade 3 / Benjamin McLemore, GMS grade 7 / Ava Paone, RES grade 4 / Samantha Proffitt, BES grade 5 / Sabine Rucker, RES grade 5 / Victoria Spooner, GMS grade 7 / Ryan Tremain, RES grade 5

Runner-up, Anna Hoffler (left) and first place finisher, Victoria Spooner

For the first time in over six years, the Goochland County Public Schools will be breaking ground on capital improvement projects this year. Having been approved as part of the school board’s long range Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), projects for the current and coming fiscal year were discussed by the Board of Supervisors on January 3rd during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting. The supervisors voted unanimously to fund the projects and get construction underway.

The projects to begin immediately include:

  • Additions to the Goochland High School Field House, which will house the Marine Corps JROTC program and allow for the relocation of a weight room that is currently in what was originally designed to be a CTE production lab.
  • Renovation of the Goochland Specialty Center to expand CTE course options and sustain current programs, including Culinary Arts, Health and Medical Sciences, Robotics and Engineering, Building and Construction, and potentially Utility and Heavy Equipment Operation.
  • Renovation of the entryways to Byrd and Randolph elementary schools to address the security of the buildings and limit unfiltered access to classrooms.
  • Installation of internal security cameras throughout the secondary complex.

The design and architectural engineering for these projects has begun and the school division anticipates completion of these projects in August of 2014. The CIP includes significant renovation to Goochland Elementary School the forthcoming year and funding for a new school in 2021, the location of which will be determined by the development of the county and dynamics of student enrollment.

During the most recent school board meeting, January 14, 2014, we expressed our profound appreciation for Chairman, John D. Wright, who handed the gavel to former Vice Chairman, Michael Payne, who assumed chairmanship of the board for the coming year. Mr. Wright’s commitment and leadership over the past twelve months has led to overwhelming achievement and a trajectory of positive momentum.

John Lumpkins will serve as Vice Chair during the next year.

Senior Jasmine Coles served as the board’s first student representative.

Additionally, the board’s first student board member, GHS senior Jasmine Coles, participated in her final meeting. Her participation has been integral to the board’s ability to further understand the perspective of students and to keep students’ experience at school at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Jasmine hands her seat to Matt Austin, who will represent the student population on the board for the coming year.


John D. Wright was presented with a plaque in honor of his service as board chair.

Please join me in expressing our gratitude to Mr. Wright and Ms. Coles for their leadership and selfless dedication to serving the entire school community.

We look forward to a year of stellar accomplishment with the leadership of Mr. Payne and Mr. Austin!


Goochland Community Adopts One District, One Book, Division-Wide Book Program  

The Goochland County Public Schools are excited to announce a new initiative, One District, One Book, a program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period. Every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to participate together in a literacy experience during the month of February. The title of the book will be announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book on Monday, February 3.

What about reading the same book with students of varying ages and reading abilities? “Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level,” explained Dr. Steve Geyer Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. “Those same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.”

The initiative is intended to generate a shared experience in which all members of the school community read and discuss the same book. Activities, such as trivia games, will be provided to students during school with the hopes that families and community members will participate as well.

The books are being provided through the generosity of The Goochland Education Foundation (GEF) and Ms. Tamra Adams, Director, Adams International School. “We are thrilled with this partnership,” said superintendent Dr. James Lane. “We see this as a powerful way to boost literacy and further engage the community in the heart of our work with students.”

On Monday Goochland High School hosted its inaugural Poetry Out Loud evening. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest and is lauded by enthusiasts as the perfect combination of art, language, and performance.

Mrs. Emily Holloway-Costa, English department chair, is responsible for building enthusiasm for the event and for bringing it to GHS: “I had received notice of it in late November and introduced it to my department, so we had some excitement about it from various interested students for both this year and certainly the coming year. Tonight’s event brought us several exceptionally talented and devoted students who set the bar quite high for what will become a yearly event here in Goochland and continue to grow in involvement. In addition to being so thankful to belong to a department that is so passionate about art, I am also so grateful for Mrs. Susie Wales and Mr. Jeremy Wampler contributing their time and enthusiasm to help the event run smoothly and pleasantly with their gentle prompting and score tabulating. In this, its first year, the event was small, but its implications for Goochland as a growing force in the arts are great.

Junior Morgan Potts won first place reciting Marge Piercy’s inspiring “For the Young Who Want To” and Audre Lorde’s “Movement Song,” while junior Michelle Daschner finished a close second with her poems, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Arrow and the Song” and Ted Kooser’s “Abandoned Farmhouse.”

Morgan will next proceed to the regional competition on Tuesday, February 11, at the Children’s Theater at Willow Lawn in Richmond.

Mr. Michael Newman, principal, remarked, “The Poetry Out Loud competition is another opportunity for Goochland High students to express personal and academic interests in public speaking. Their appreciation for poetry and willingness to share their interpretation of selected poems was inspiring and demonstrated huge self-confidence.

Judges included Mr. John Wright, Goochland School Board memeber, Mrs. Erin Yearout Patton, GHS Government teacher and recipient of Goochland’s 2013 Teacher of the Year award, and Mr. John Blake, a locally and nationally recognized poet who visited all English classes at GHS last year to expand students’ views of the power of poetry.

Runner-up Michelle Daschner (left) with first place winner Morgan Potts

The School Health Advisory Board (SHAB) has been an important group influencing school board policy related to school health and wellness practices. the group is traditionally made up of citizens, parents and school health personnel and meets quarterly to discuss student wellness, nutrition, physical activity requirements and instructional materials. the group has conducted a very successful health fair in past years.

If you have an interest in any of these topics related to student wellness and health, we would love to have you participate in this committee.

Please call (804-314-1017) or email me if you have any interest or would like to talk about the group’s work further.