Sometimes great things can be accomplished quickly, even immediately. At other times, it takes much longer.

Fifteen months ago (after several months of development and writing) we submitted an application for the Virginia Future Education and Environment Development Grant. We wrote the application focused on the development of a partnership with VCU’s da Vinci Center for Innovation and the possibility of an amazing, creative opportunity for our high school students.

Five months after submission we received notification that our grant was selected and $11,500 was awarded.

Fifteen months later our students in Mr. Bouwen’s Engineering class realized the benefit of the work that began as an idea in December 2013.

Mr. Bouwen’s students worked alongside graduate students at da Vinci to design and prototype a innovative electronic product from start to finish. The students leveraged the division’s technology to collaborate throughout the entire planning process. Next they used clay modeling to determine a design. From there the teams used CAD (computer added drafting) software to develop their ideas and transition them to actual prototypes using 3D printers. VCU’s da Vinci students worked closely with the teams throughout the project, both digitally and in person.

The project’s culminating event took place yesterday, when Mr. Bouwen’s students traveled to the da Vinci Center and presented their products to a panel of VCU students and professors as well as to each other. After each presentation the VCU panel asked questions to make the students think even more deeply about their products. At the end of the last presentation the panel identified the products they believed had the best design and marketability.

The second half of the day included a design challenge developed by the da Vinci students especially for GHS. Finally, the day finished with a walking tour of VCU, the engineering department, and the da Vinci Center’s design studio.

Mr. Bouwen’s commented, “This partnership has been a perfect example of a learning experience built to engage students in critical thinking, problem solving, and real world application. We hope it’s just the beginning of a lasting relationship with the da Vinci Center.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, Goochland County Public Schools has received the prestigious Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget. This national Award represents the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.

“The school board remains committed to fiscal transparency,” remarked superintendent James Lane. “A clear, accessible process of budget development and accounting throughout the year is tantamount to the goals of our strategic plan.”

For her primary responsibility and diligence in development and presentation of the school budget, Deborah White, Finance Director, also received a Certificate of Recognition. “Mrs. White continues to lead the budget development process with excellence,” said Lane. “We can confidently assure our community that the school division is handling funds with utmost responsibility and efficiency.”

Left to right: Kevin Hazzard, John Wright, James Lane, Debbie. White, Michael Payne, John Lumpkins, Beth Hardy.

GCPS satisfied 14 nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications tool. During the last budget cycle, the school board placed special emphasis on transparency by putting a greater focus on past actual expenditures, community engagement in the process, and sharing all documents with the public.  The school board held a public hearing and a town-hall style workshop to get feedback in the development of the budget.

“Our board’s leadership continues to be characterized by transparency and fiscal responsibility,” said board chair John Lumpkins. “We applaud Mrs. White and the school administration for this recognition and for the exemplary work it represents.”

The Goochland County Public School Board is considered to have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

The Government Finance Officers Association is a nonprofit professional association serving over 17,800 government finance professionals throughout North America. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

The Gifted Advisory Committee is seeking input from parents of students who are currently in the gifted program. If you received survey information in the mail and have not already responded, the GAC would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts this week.

Here’s a link to the 2015 GAC Parent Survey:

Our sincere congratulations to Chloe Lyda, GHS 9th grade Bulldog, who has been accepted into a summer residential program at Brown University. Chloe was not only accepted into the highly competitive program but was awarded a Dean’s Scholarship as well.

Within a curriculum reflective of that used by the university for its regular college students, residential students experience a variety of courses in the context of life on a university campus. First and foremost an academic program, Brown’s pre-college experience will also expose Chloe to the rigors and independence of life on a college campus.

Congratulations Chloe!

National School Nurse Day is May 6, 2015.  We are honored to join the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) by celebrating National School Nurse Day as a way to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting.

Today’s children face more chronic health illnesses (e.g., asthma, diabetes, food allergies) than ever before.  The knowledge, assessment skills, and judgment of licensed professional school nurses help ensure the provision of quality health care to children.  School nurses take on a variety of roles every day.  For many children, the school nurse is the only health professional they may have access to on a regular basis.  This becomes even more important as the prevalence of chronic social, emotional, and other health problems increase.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), asthma is the leading chronic illness among children and adolescents in the United States.  On average, in a classroom of 30 children, three are likely to have asthma.  Further, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

Today, approximately one in every 400 children and adolescents has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  According to a study released in 2013 by the CDC, food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.  The CDC reports that food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated four to six percent of children in the United States.

School nurses develop, implement, and monitor Individualized Healthcare Plans for these students. Please join us in celebrating these amazing professionals!

Congratulations to the following GHS students who are participating in the Congressional Art Competition through Congressman Brat’s office:

  • Gracie Jones
  • Shelby Greenburg
  • Campbell Ferguson

There will be a  reception at Capital One at West Creek to honor these students and display their artwork.

Well done Bulldogs!