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.”