I am pleased to announce that Governor Terence R. McAuliffe has signed a Certificate of Recognition declaring January 25-31, 2015, as Virginia Principals Appreciation Week.  I hope that you and others throughout your community will join me in acknowledging the tireless efforts of our school principals in Goochland!

GCPS Principals: Tina McCay, Dan Gardner, James Hopkins, Jenn Rucker, Mike Newman

The role of the principal as the instructional leader of the school is critically important to ensure students are provided the opportunity to learn.  Our principals work diligently to help students and teachers excel, and their leadership and hard work are essential to the success of our schools.  They deserve all the recognition and praise we can give them.

Please take a moment this week to express your appreciation this week to your child’s principal!

Hello Team Goochland!

The school board held their public hearing on the FY16 budget last evening and will adopt their budget following public comment on February 10.  If you are interested in learning more about our budget plans for next year, we have created a budget page to archive all major documents HERE.  This link is the best source for budget updates that may occur over the next few months.

To make them easier to find, the current versions of our budget documents (as of 1/28) are located below.  We hope to have the full “budget book” posted to the school board agenda page by February 6, but the detailed budget reports are accessible on the January 27 school board agenda listed in the last bullet below.

FY 2016 Budget Documents

Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!!

 

Our partners at James Madison University and across the region have asked us the help spread the word about this great event!

Contact Sarah Miller: abilityolympicsjmu@gmail.com

Great tools and insight from the VSBA this month regarding the creation of culturally safe school environments.
    There is no “one size fits all” way of communicating with all of the cultures that comprise our wonderfully diverse schools. Each one comes with its own set of family values and its own preferred methods of communication. A good place to start is by creating a welcoming, inclusive environment. Parents often are nervous about coming to school for any reason and need all the visual and verbal help you can provide to make them feel welcome and comfortable. They “scan” offices, classrooms and hallways for clues about how inclusive your school may be.
      Some ways we can make our schools inclusive are:
      • Post photos of all students and student artwork on the walls
      • Include lessons in the classroom that incorporate various cultures and traditions
      • Offer school-wide cultural activities
      • Recruit staff and volunteers who come from similar backgrounds
      Becoming familiar with the cultural traditions of all of your families and including them in the school culture enhances your ability to create a welcoming and respectful school environment.
        Go to the Families
          Sometimes, when families can’t come to the school, the school has to go to the families. Meeting families in other settings, such as community centers or churches, can provide an informal way to start building a relationship, especially if your non-English speaking families feel shy or nervous about going to the school. You might also try planning parent or family events around the schedules of the families, especially if they are working a couple of jobs.
            Reaching Out
            • Visit your students’ neighborhoods. Find out where families are congregating and who local community leaders are that can connect you with parents.
            • Collaborate with apartment complex managers to make a recreation room available for families.
              • Consider contacting parents’ employers about parent schedules or holding conferences closer to parents’ workplaces.
              • Don’t limit yourself to meetings. Ask your families what kinds of events they would find enjoyable, beneficial and convenient.
            Building your communication bridge to families
              Grand gestures and small details will help in reaching families effectively. Here are 10 tips to help build communication bridges to the cultures in your school community:
              1. Avoid scheduling important events such as conferences or tests on major holidays and celebrations that large numbers of students are likely to miss.
              2. Do an “inventory” of your student population to find out the countries and cultures they represent. If most are English speakers and American-born, they may be acclimated to our American culture and would resent be singled out for any special attention. If they aren’t English speakers or American-born, then find out more about their family values and who the primary person to contact is. For example, in Latino and Asian Pacific Islander families, involving fathers as well as mothers is essential.
              3. Share information about cultural celebrations with teachers so that they are able to positively support them and incorporate them into lessons. Even a simple memo that explains why students will be out and offers some ideas for follow-up activities will be helpful. Use the diversity of your school population as a teaching opportunity. Invite families to share their cultural celebrations, plan an International Day, encourage teachers to include lessons in other cultures and diversity as part of the curriculum.
  1. Create a parent room (such as a lounge or classroom) with bilingual information and magazine subscriptions, a bulletin board, a lending library and a computer.
  2. Invite parents to share food, activities, and music at school events and in the classroom. Encourage students to share traditions in school assemblies, talent shows, potlucks, and fairs
    1. Offer cafeteria food that reflects the cultural influences of your families.
    2. Explore a variety of options for communicating with diverse populations, such as Spanish language newspapers, radio and television stations.
      1. Create a welcome DVD in multiple languages. This may even be a great student project!
      2. Connect new families with a contact person who speaks their language as soon as they enroll in the school for guidance and information.
        1. Create an “ambassador” program in which students and parents are trained to give tours.

 

Dr. Lane, do you support or oppose common core standards?

I do not feel that the common core standards are necessary in Virginia at this time.    Our strategic plan in GCPS calls for personalized learning for our students.  In my opinion, any movement to standardize curriculum as broadly as national standards (especially national assessments such as those aligned to the common core) takes away from our flexibility to meet each child’s individual needs.  Most decisions about students are best made in the classroom by teachers.

I believe our Virginia standards strike a better balance between making personalized decisions in the classroom and allowing us to still monitor the achievement of our students.  With the work being done in the SOL Innovation Committee, I hope we can build an even more authentic assessment system focused on growth, and I don’t believe the common core is a part of any recommendations I have seen for innovating the SOL’s.

Generally, I believe that superintendents should remain apolitical on topics where the debate is merely political, i.e. there is not actual movement to adopt the strategy/policy/law/standards.  I have never heard our current or former Governor mention any interest in adopting the common core standards and I’ve never heard of any member of the General Assembly propose serious legislation to move towards adoption.  That being said, should legislation come forward moving us toward the common core standards, I would work with the local school board to produce a position statement and would defend Goochland’s stance on common core.  Again, due to the fact that it is not actually being considered, we have felt no need to address the issue.

The GHS Scholastic Bowl Team claimed its first ever Conference Tournament Championship after earning their first ever District Championship title.

Coach Barry Smith reports the students were exemplary, exhibiting sportsmanship and excellence in every way.

Hats of to the students and sponsors for an outstanding season! The varsity team compiled a 16-3 record while the JV team was undefeated!

The Varsity Team, led by Team Captain Erin Maguire: Michelle Daschner, Cameron Ford, Hannah Herrman, Keith Jandzinski, Julia Barr, Brandon Myrick, and Henry Carscadden.

The JV Team: Tyler McNeer, Carter Palen, Erin Wachter, Max Spivey, Joshua Hobbs, and Jacob Clarke.