One of the hallmarks of  our tremendous County is the presence of an army of community volunteers. These selfless people give their energy, time and unique skill sets to the greater mission of inspiring and maximizing the potential of our students.

We feel it’s important to remind everyone of our stance on the issue of requiring volunteers to submit to a background check.

The Code of Virginia requires that:

As a condition of employment, school boards of the Commonwealth shall require any applicant who is offered or accepts employment after July 1, 1989, whether full-time or part-time, permanent, or temporary, to submit to fingerprinting and to provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the applicant’s fingerprints through the Central Criminal records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information regarding such applicant. (Code Reference)


Let’s be clear. School Boards in Virginia are required by law to do a background check on anyone who’s going to work in the school division – no matter what capacity or how long they plan to work. Hourly tutors doing remediation for a week, evening custodians, substitute teachers – doesn’t matter. If we’re going to employ them for even one hour, the law says they need to be fingerprinted.

In Goochland, we have chosen to closely follow the guidelines for employees as we consider our volunteers. We have flexibility, but have chosen only to exercise it in very unique circumstances.

The guidelines we use include two simple questions:

  • Will the volunteer ever be unsupervised with children?
  • Will the volunteer be regularly spending time with children?

If the answer is “yes” to either question, we require a background check. Like the Code, we don’t not attempt to draw lines among people – those we know/don’t know, those our friends know/don’t know, those who seem trustworthy/seem suspicious, those with whom we’ve worked before/those who we’ve never met.

That’s a fruitless exercise and a very slippery slope. We all know people we trust explicitly and would never suggest they are a danger to your children. Our commitment is to ensure every parent that we will not give any adult access to their children, unsupervised or repeated, without ensuring that adult has completed the background check – the same one required by law of our employees.

We believe it’s our obligation to confidently look our community in the eyes and say we are doing all we can to ensure your children are safe at school.

It can be awkward to require those who have been volunteering in past years without the background check and doing inspiring work in our schools to submit to a fingerprint check. Those are often individuals who are well-known to be powerful positive influences in our community. It seems to be an affront to the selfless and generous spirit those people have poured out when we ask them to go through a criminal background check. It’s as though we think they might be criminals.

We don’t. Just as we don’t suspect the exemplary candidates to whom we offer jobs in our division to be criminals either. But as the law requires that we screen all employees, we extend that same level of precaution to all adults who will have repeated or unsupervised access to your children. No matter who they are.

Not because we suspect they need it, but because we want every parent to rest easy that we aren’t making that kind of subjective judgement call when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of their children.

We would never want to offend anyone, especially our wonderful volunteers. It’s even more important to us that every parent, after they put their children on a bus or drop them off at the school doors, goes into the day will absolute certainty that their children are safe.

Your child’s safety is non-negotiable.

Last week the middle school and elementary PTA groups celebrated the participants and winners in the PTA Reflections Program.  They had an 800% increase in participation over last year!

Here is a beautiful quote from one of the GES judges, which sums up the intent of the program so well…

“All the entries are to be commended.  Any attempt to put one’s creativity out into the world for viewing and judgment by others is a victory!!   My hat is off to all the participants and to you for encouraging this in the kids!  It can only serve to add to their life experience.”

– Janet Melton,  Artist & Library Manager

The following students rose to the challenge and interpreted the PTA Reflections theme “Let Your Imagination Fly” through 5 different arts categories.  These students will move on to the District level of competition.

Goochland Elementary:

Primary Photography:  Colleen Steely (Kindergarten)

Intermediate Literature:  Elena Dewey (3rd grade)

Intermediate Dance Choreography:  Alison Croker (3rd grade)

Intermediate Film Production:  Nathan McGraw (3rd grade)

First Place Entries (highest judges’ score in the division category):

Primary Visual Arts:  Nathaniel Harris (Kindergarten)

Intermediate Visual Arts:  Elena Dewey (3rd grade)

Intermediate Photography:  Maya Jandzinski (5th grade)

Randolph Elementary:

Primary K-2

  • 1st  Luca Gardner
  • 1st Kyranna Stratiou
  • 2nd Lia Melton
Visual Arts
  • 1st Sam Farkas
  • 2nd Cole Fields
  • 3rd Kyranna Stratiou
 Secondary 3-5
  • 1st Caden Gardner
  • 2nd Charlie Darr
  • 1st Graham-Michael Mintz
  • 2nd Graham-Michael Mintz
  • 3rd Maggie Goodman
  • 1st  Graham Michael Mintz
  • 2nd Graham Michael Mintz
  • 3rd Graham Michael Mintz
Visual Arts
  • 1st McKinley Schatz
  • 2nd Kate Davis
  • 3rd  Raegan Kernan

Byrd Elementary:

Visual Arts: (K – 2nd Category)
  • 1st Place – Miranda Slayton  (2nd)
  • 2nd Place – Hailey Slayton  (2nd)
  • 3rd Place – Natalie Wiener   (1st)
Honorable Mention – Lucy Taylor (K) Honorable Mention –  Jake Potter (K) Photography:  (3rd – 5th Grade category)
  • 1st Place – Tyler Black  (5th)
  • 2nd Place – Olivia Thompson – Neisz  (3rd)
Dance:  K – (2nd Category)
  • 1st Place – Ailey Black
Literature: (3rd – 5th category)
  • 1st Place – Baraka Ganyuma
Literature:  (K – 2nd category)
  • 1st Place – Jalia Ganyuma

Goochland Middle:

  • First place, Madeline Gore, 7th, “Riding the Cyclone”
  • Ssecond place, Jessie Steadman, 8th, “Get Up and Dream Out Loud”
  • Third place, Mitchell Davis, 6th, “If I Won a Million Dollars”
Visual arts
  • First place, Jessie Steadman, 8th, “Forced Thoughts”
  • Second place, Bayleigh Allen, 6th,“Book and Butterflies”
  • Third place, Lorena Maier, 6th, “Imagine, Create, Inspire”
  • First place, Jessie Steadman, 8th, “Ignite Your Imagination,”
  • Second place, 6th, Makayla Nash, “Bee”
  • Third place, , Austin Payne, 8 “Wall Art”
Film Production
  • First Place, Sabina Rucker, 8th,Tell Your World
  • Second Place, Austin Payne, 8th, Flying Imagination
Visual Arts
  • First place, Jessie Steadman, 8 “Forced Thoughts,”
  • Second place, Bayleigh Allen, 6th, “Book and Butterflies”
  • Third place, Lorena Maier, 6th, “Imagine, Create, Inspire”
  • First place, Kiersten Hamlin and Tanara Johnson, 6, “Imaginative

Samantha Haynes, a GHS freshman and robotics team member, and Logan Monk, a GHS Senior and the student robotics leader, are in Chicago this week attending Rockwell’s 2015 Automation Fair, the largest engineering conference of this type in North America in which over 25,000 engineers will attend from all over the globe. What an incredible opportunity!

GHS robotics team members Logan Monk and Samantha Haynes meet the president of Rockwell international in Chicago.

Our library media specialists wear many hats: teacher, literacy expert, technology coach, research specialist …

Sometimes the hat is a goofy one that compliments a friendly monster costume.

Our students and families tell us each year how much they enjoy the book fairs our schools host. The events bring energy, excitement, and smile after smile.

We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our library media specialists and their teams for the tremendous amount of work that goes into hosting a book fair – in preparation, during, and following. Thank you, also, to our families for supporting these great events!

Congratulations to the six Goochland robotics teams that competed at L C Bird  HS in Chesterfield last weekend!

  • BES- first place, Project Design Award;
  • GMS- first place, Core Values – “Dumpster Divers”
  • GMS – first place, Robot Design Award – “Clean Up Crew”

The award-winning GMS Dumpster Divers robotics team!

And, the GMS Dumpster Divers are going to the state competition at JMU the first weekend in December!  We celebrate the work of these exemplary coaches: Anne Moore, Carly Dachelet, Lisa Brown, Nate Potter, Candice Labbott, and Sherrill Kauffman.

Our scholar athletes have achieved tremendous success this fall!


Join us in congratulating the Varsity Volleyball team beat R.E. Lee on Thursday night 3-1 in the semi-finals of Region 2A East Volleyball Tournament!  With the win, GHS will host the finals of the tournament at 5:00 pm on Saturday, November 14.  Admission for the game is $6.00.

Also with the win, the VB Bulldogs will play in the semi-finals of the VHSL State Volleyball Tournament on Tuesday, November 17.  With a win on Saturday, we will host and if we lose on Saturday we will be on the road.


We will host Wilson Memorial tonight in the first round of the Region 2A East Football Playoffs.  We are ranked #1 and Wilson is ranked #16.

With a win on Friday night, we would host the winner of Brunswick/Greensville game next Friday night, November 20 in the second round.

With a win on November 20, we would host again vs. another second round winner on Friday, November 27 in the third round.

And if we win on November 27, we would host again on Saturday, December 5 vs. the second highest ranked team from the West in semi-finals of the VHSL State Playoffs.   This would be a 2:00 game on that Saturday.

Cross Country:

Cross Country Bulldog Austin Bruce will be competing in the VHSL State Cross Country Meet on Saturday at Great Meadow, The Plains, VA.  2A runs at11:30.  The boys’ team won the conference meet and the girls came in second! Both teams competed in the 2A East competition last Wednesday.


Theater is competing in the 2A East Competition this Saturday at Prince Edward at 1:30.


Competition cheer finished 2nd in the conference! Well done!


The Goochland Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Joseph “Jody” Turner today at their annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Turner is a professor within the Chemistry Department at VCU. He brings his expertise, leadership qualities, and passion for student learning to his volunteer work within the schools. Dr. Turner is an active member of the division’s STEM Advisory Committee (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and is a fixture at events like our annual summer STEM camp and Conundrum Day. Dr. Turner is also a regular guest instructor in our secondary science department and presenter in our elementary schools. His generosity of time and expertise have provided hundreds of students with opportunities for educational enrichment.

The Chamber’s program for today’s event described Dr. Turner as “a ‘doer,’ someone who gives selflessly of his time, resources, and talents.

November 12, 2015 – Dr. Joseph “Jody” Turner receives recognition as one of Goochland’s 2015 volunteers of the year.

For its 1:1 iPad program at Byrd Elementary, Goochland Elementary, Randolph Elementary, and Goochland Middle Schools, Goochland County Public Schools is pleased to announce that it has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2015–2017 for its implementation of deeper learning with iPad Mini and iPad Air.

Apple representatives presented the award during last night’s school board meeting. Pictured here, left to right: John Hendron (Dir. Strategy & innovation), Meg Wilson (Apple executive), Lauren Langley (Apple executive), Quentin Ballard (GHS Asst. Principal), Tom DeWeerd (Dir. Technology), James Hopkins (BES Principal), Jennifer Rucker (GMS Principal), Tina McCay (GES Principal)

A new cohort of ECCHO Award winners were recognized at the November 10, 2015 school board meeting. Having been nominated by colleagues, leaders, parents or students, these professionals were selected using a rubric designed to evaluate the scope and impact of the nominee’s display of the division’s core values.

Winners of the November 2015 ECCHO Awards , left to right: Lisa Hobbs, Amanda Steeley, Jacquie Hamilton, Suzanne Taylor, Stephanie Falconer, Amy Trowbridge.

The GCPS ECCHO Awards are an integral part of the Values Based Leadership model implemented throughout the division. We believe that the best way to maximize the potential of a learner, be it a student or an adult, is to create an environment in which the individual can live, work and lead in alignment with core values that resonate deeply as important, even non-negotiable points of conviction.

GCPS has identified five of these values: Excellence, Creativity, Courage, Honor and Optimism (ECCHO). The ECCHO awards highlight exemplary displays of behaviors that reflect an alignment between individual and organizational values.