Congratulations Cross Country Runners!

The boys won the James River District Cross Country Meet on Wednesday, October 22 and the girls placed second. Both the girls & boys won the Quad Rivers Conference 34 Cross Country Meet on Wednesday, October 29.

Both teams advance to the Region 2A East at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, VA next Wednesday, November 5.  The girls run at 3:00 & the boys at 4:00.

Come support the Bulldog runners!

I cannot believe it was an accident when I encountered Ms. Hall’s interactive obstacle course at Byrd Elementary School just moments after hearing Dr. Peter Gray’s provocative talk on “The Decline of Play.”

Gray, a research professor and author of Free to Learn, asserts that play – free, expressive interaction necessary to learning – has been sacrificed to what he calls a “schoolish view of child development.” Take a look at about 6:50 into the video:

A “schoolish” view. It’s offensive. And he’s right.

He refers to the myth that kids learn best when they learn from adults, period. And he attributes that to a widespread philosophy at work in schools, spreading now deeper beyond the classroom walls into the rest of a child’s world. All decreasing the importance – and availability – of play.

And he says play is necessary to learning. Watch the video, read his book – and agree or disagree.

Having spent 26 years in this field and raising three of my own, I agree without hesitation. Kids learn a great deal when they are free to play, to roam, to explore, to create, to question, to wonder.

Imagine the wash of comfort I experienced when I encountered Karen Hall’s Halloween maze, designed to incorporate creativity, collaboration and kinesthetic strategy into a smorgasbord of what would invariably be seriously fun for Dr. Papert.

Ah yes, I remember. Goochland is different.

I’m reminded of our deep commitment to personalized learning in Goochland. Our pledge to strive for engagement – not entertainment – but the kind of involvement in learning whereby kids become resilient, persistent, and gritty, committed to their work, co-designers of lessons.

Our work to build authentic assessments that are truly formative.

Thank you, Ms Hall.

May fun be “hard” for our students. And let them play on…





What a privilege it was to join my colleagues, Dr. Lane, Dr. Geyer, Mr. DeWeerd and so many others in celebrating the life and career of Debra Beasley. Mrs. Beasley’s work as Director of Special Education and Student Services in Goochland has spanned decades. She has impacted countless lives and improved the educational services of generations of students in our great community.

It was fitting for her to be honored by this great organization and inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame, among so many other tremendous educators.

Goochland Elementary School students, parents, and staff celebrated the official opening of their “S.T.E.A.M. Farm” outdoor classroom Saturday afternoon (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). The celebration featured student speeches, remarks from school and community leaders, and a Rube Goldberg Machine that filled the pavilion with balloons and confetti.

Goochland Elementary School’s “STEAM Farm” Outdoor Classroom – Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thank you for participating in our Parent Engagement & Satisfaction Survey.  This survey is part of a national project from the National Center for School Leadership which will provide great insight into how well we are engaging parents and families in the mission of our school division.

Click here for the survey in English

Un versión en español está aquí (Spanish version)

The confidentiality of your response to this survey is assured.  Your responses are absolutely anonymous. If you would rather take the survey using a paper copy, just ask your child’s school and one will be provided.

I spent Tuesday afternoon in classrooms at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School, the absolute highlight of my week. Thank you to our teachers and students for the incredible hard work that goes on throughout our division every single day!

Ms. Brooks’ Grade 6 English class has become a 1:1 learning environment!

Students demonstrated impressive courage and creativity during this dramatic monologue exercise in Mr. Burch’s Theatre Arts class.

Evidence of student design and creation are ubiquitous in Mr. Herbert’s Grade 7 Inventions and Innovations class.

Eagle Block in Mr. Hecker’s classroom was filled with thoughtful discussion about opportunities after high school graduation. This particular conversation focused on the benefit of pursuing further education at the college and university level, as part of GMS’ “College Week” event.

National School Bus Safety Week is an active and evolving public education program. It’s an excellent way for everyone parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety. Designed to promote school bus safety, School Bus Safety Week is held during the third week in October each year.

Transportation Mechanics, Mark Thompson, Forrest Henley, Mike Franklin, with Transportation Supervisor, Betty Thurston

The centerpiece of National School Bus Safety Week is the National SBSW Poster Contest. Thousands of school districts in over 40 states participate in local and state-level competitions to select art work that depicts school bus safety-related themes and encourages and promotes school bus safety. The winning posters are used to promote safe school transportation for everyone.

Please join us in expressing our gratitude to our exemplary drivers, mechanics, and other professionals who transport students safely every day. What an important part of our mission, to maximize the potential of every learner.