I am excited to welcome the start of what promises to be a beautiful fall here in Goochland.  In my visits to schools in the past two weeks, it is clear that the energy of the start to the school year only grows as our teachers and students continue to amaze me with their engaged instruction centered around deeper learning. Just this week I toured all 5 regions of Virginia at Randolph Elementary in their 4th grade “Virginia Day”, a tradition that includes student-created work on iPads, hands on learning, and a lot of fun for students and staff alike.

NBC12 reporter Candice Smith spoke to our Goochland Middle students this week as well.  Ms. Smith will be back next week on September 30 bright and early at Goochland High School broadcasting live at 6:00 a.m. to showcase that Goochland spirit.  Tune in to NBC channel 12 to see our school, students, teachers, band, and athletics in this community highlight.  Friday’s broadcast will be a great end to homecoming week at Goochland High School.  Our students and staff will show their spirit all week leading up to Friday night’s game against Prince Edward at 7:00 p.m.  I hope to see you there.

Partners in the Arts’ (PIA) Engaging Creative Thinkers Awards support interdisciplinary projects that integrate creativity in the classroom while serving as models of partnership among schools, school divisions, artists, arts organizations, and community professionals.“  Last spring a team of teachers at Goochland Middle School, led by Ms. Happy Krickovic and Ms. Amanda Tolson, came together to design an amazing learning opportunity for students and develop an associated PIA proposal.  In the days leading up to the close of the school year, Ms. Krickovic and Ms. Tolson received word that their team’s proposal was accepted and would be fully funded by Partners in the Arts ($5,000). The official in-person award was made last week, and implementation plans for the team’s project are underway.  Ms. Krickovic and Ms. Tolson’s proposal focuses on a cross-curricular (history, English & visual arts), project-based learning experience for students — one focused on Thomas Jefferson and his impact on both local and American history.

Goochland Public Schools is excited to be the recipient of a 100 thousand dollar School Security Equipment Grant from the Virginia Department of Education.  This grant will fund improvements to the phone and intercom systems at all three of our elementary schools.  We are excited to implement these improvements toward improving safety in our schools.  

This week, our school division, in partnership with the Goochland Education Foundation launched the announcement of our first-ever Strategic Innovation Grants.  These grants are designed to encourage innovative instructional design in our classrooms by providing funding for ideas that will support engaging learning experiences for our students.  Our goal is to encourage research and development on cutting edge instructional practices that will provide our students with the skills and abilities that are needed for success in an ever-changing global market.  I am thankful for the generous support of the Foundation and for the School Board for their approval of this exciting work.

Continue to stay up to date with our division’s events by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org.  We are looking forward to seeing you at these events in the near future. Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

 

Partners in the Arts’ (PIA) Engaging Creative Thinkers Awardssupport interdisciplinary projects that integrate creativity in the classroom while serving as models of partnership among schools, school divisions, artists, arts organizations, and community professionals.

Last spring a team of teachers at Goochland Middle School, led by Ms. Happy Krickovic and Ms. Amanda Tolson, came together to design an amazing learning opportunity for students and develop an associated PIA proposal.  In the days leading up to the close of the school year, Ms. Krickovic and Ms. Tolson received word that their team’s proposal was accepted and would be fully funded by Partners in the Arts ($5,000).

The official in-person award was made this week, and implementation plans for the team’s project are underway.

This blog space won’t do justice to the “awesomeness” of the team’s project, but it’s focused on a cross-curricular (history, English & visual arts), project-based learning experience for students — one focused on Thomas Jefferson and his impact on both local and American history.

 

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Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at Goochland County Public Schools, presented the annual “State of the Division In Numbers” at the monthly Goochland County School Board meeting held at the Goochland County Administration Board Room on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.  The presentation highlighted data from the GCPS instructional program across the dimensions of student growth, student engagement, and student achievement.  Among the highlights were:

  • All 5 Goochland schools remain fully accredited by way of performance on the 2016 Virginia SOL tests.  GCPS is one of only 10 districts in Virginia to be fully accredited for 10 straight years.
  • Over 90% of Goochland students in grades K-2 met or exceeded the PALS literacy benchmark, a 6% improvement over the Virginia state average.
  • Goochland students outperformed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science)
  • Goochland students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11 taking the SOL Reading test earned a pass rate that placed GCPS 11th among Virginia districts and 1st among nine nearby regional school districts including metro Richmond.  In the same regional comparison, Goochland pass rates were the best in Social Studies and 2nd in Math.
  • Students in Goochland earned the 6th highest History SOL pass rate in the Commonwealth.
  • Goochland County has demonstrated SOL test results that place our student achievement levels within the top 4 of the highest funded districts in the State of Virginia;  Goochland County Public Schools is the 42nd highest funded district in the State of Virginia according to the Virginia Department of Education, with a per pupil expenditure that is $145 less than the state per pupil average.   
  • Goochland High School students earned scores of 3, 4, or 5 on AP tests at a 17% higher rate on average compared to 2015 in 10 of 13 AP tests administered

While these distinctions are based in traditional achievement measures, school leaders have chosen to focus on what is best for students.  “Our mission to maximize the potential of every learner is at the heart of everything we do,”, said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent.  “Accountability is important, but Goochland is far beyond a singular focus on minimum proficiency tests-and that’s really what the state’s SOL assessments are.  We are proud of the tradition of excellence in Goochland and we embrace the challenges of continuous improvement”.  

Dr. Geyer cites this district-wide focus on student growth as a key to the division’s success.  “We have definitely prioritized individual student growth over traditional achievement measures.  Every child’s learning is important, and there needs to be an urgency there.  Our focus on individual growth ensures that urgency-and strong outcomes on traditional measures like SOL tests simply become a byproduct of doing what’s best for students.  Our teachers have embraced this philosophy, and it’s their talents and commitment to our children that make our division’s success possible”.  

Despite the school division’s exceptionally strong overall results, team members remain committed to continuing to elevate expectations, as well as to targeting areas of relative weakness.  Raley stated, “While we certainly have a lot to celebrate, we face the same challenges that most school divisions across the state and nation face when it comes to achievement gaps for our students with disabilities and our African American students.  We have made some great progress in these areas, but we have more work to do.  We are committed to closing these gaps, while continuing to raise the bar for every student.”

 

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This past summer, the Goochland County Public Schools was invited to attend the Second Annual White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools.  As only 1 of only 22 school divisions from across the nation in attendance, it is clear that Goochland County School is recognized as a leader in providing students with innovative, authentic, and engaging learning experiences geared toward providing our students with the skills and abilities needed to be successful in an ever-changing global economy.  I was proud to represent our school division, our community, and the Commonwealth at this event!

It was a honor be be among talented professionals who are working tirelessly to find ways to meet the ever changing needs of high school students across the country.  During the day’s events, there were interwoven themes that align with our school division’s core value of optimism and the non-negotiable belief that everyone can learn.  I am excited about the possibilities that we will be able to create together for our community’s students as we all work together to maximize the potential of every learner in our division.

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Click here for more information and detail to this Summit and its associated events.

Dear GCPS Families:

It is hard to believe that we are now finished with our third week of school and that our first grading period is one third complete.  Classes are in full swing as schedules have been fine tuned and routines have been established.  The construction work that is taking place at both Randolph Elementary and Goochland Elementary continues to progress.  As I walk through our schools, I see students actively engaged in their learning and teachers who are working to facilitate the learning process by providing opportunities to explore content in depth to support a rich academic experience.  There is no doubt that the start of our new school year has been a success!

In addition to the positive start to our school year in classrooms across the division, Goochland County Public Schools has experienced success in many different extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.  Our Goochland High School junior varsity and varsity football teams have started their season 2-0 with wins over Essex and Fork Union.  Middle school and high school volleyball teams have shined on the court, with varsity volleyball going into the weekend undefeated in district play. Our Cross Country teams are combined 11-1, with the girls at 6-0.  On another note, our high school FFA chapter sold out of mums at their annual sale before the doors even opened!  We are most thankful for the support that you provide to our students through these multiple programs.

This past summer, Dr. Geyer, our Assistant Superintendent for instruction, and I were invited to attend the second annual White House Next Generation High School Summit.  We will be representing Goochland County Public Schools at this summit on Monday, September 12 and we will take part in a national conversation on transforming high schools to better serve all students.  As we meet with colleagues from across the nation, we will share the practices that we are implementing in Goochland and will work with our colleagues to seek new opportunities to provide our students with a more meaningful and enriching high school experience.

There are many events taking place in our schools in the coming weeks!  The Goochland County School Board will have its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Tuesday September 13.  Back to school open houses will also take place in the coming weeks.  Visit your school’s website or find information at our calendar by following this link.  Don’t forget that students who participated in this summer’s Read-to-Win program will be recognized at Field Days of the Past on Sunday, September 18. Please contact your child’s Library Media Specialist if you need more information.  This community event is celebrating 25 years this month!

Continue to stay up to date with our division’s events by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org.  We are looking forward to seeing you at these events in the near future. Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

 

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Once again this year, students who participated in our annual summer literacy program Read-to-Win will be recognized at Field Day of the Past on Sunday, September 18. Please contact your child’s Library Media Specialist if you need more information.

Zoe Parrish, Byrd Elementary School

Sarah Smith, Goochland Elementary School

Sue Vaughan, Randolph Elementary School

The community event is celebrating 25 years this month!