Wow!  The first half of this year has gone by fast!  It has been fast, but it has been successful in many ways.  Our school division continues to shine inside and outside of the classroom and we remain a leader as our students and staff have represented our division in many ways at district, regional, and state events.  Our results have led us to being recognized by Niche as the 8th best school division in the state!  This accomplishment is made possible by the skills and talent of our dedicated workforce who strive every day to maximize the potential of every learner.  In addition, this success is the result of a supportive School Board and community that values excellence.

As we ended our first semester, there has been a lot of amazing work taking place in our schools!  In early December, our students were provided opportunities to write code during activities in classrooms across our division.  Students at Goochland Elementary used Ozobots for their coding experience.  Students at Byrd Elementary School demonstrated their communication skills during their social studies fair.  These scholars conducted research on a history topic of their choosing and shared their knowledge with their classmates and visitors.  Both Goochland Elementary and Randolph Elementary collaborated on conducting a World’s Faire.  These students researched a country and spent time collaborating and sharing information about the culture, climate, food, and other important information with their peers.  We continue to provide our students with opportunities that will prepare them for future success!

Students at Byrd Elementary at the Social Studies Fair

I am proud to have the opportunity to work alongside the talented members of Team Goochland!  All of our employees are working to provide our students with positive experiences in every aspect of our division’s operations.  I witnessed this dedication as I recently rode along on a bus route serving Randolph Elementary Students and served lunch at Goochland Middle School.  Our administrative staff continues to strive for excellence as well.  I had the pleasure of conducting instructional rounds with our principals and instructional staff.  We observed classes together and were able to have engaging, reflective dialogue focused on developing a common understanding of successful teaching practices.

Dr. Raley rides with students from RES

Dr. Raley serves lunch at GMS

We have some impressive students!  Did you know that students at Byrd Elementary School raised over $2,000 to benefit charities in Goochland County?  This announcement was made at their recent winter concert where they celebrated and recognized the contributions of volunteers and public servants in our community.  What a great night for Goochland!  There is nothing like spending an evening listening to music performed by our high school bands and choirs to get you ready for the holiday season.  Thank you to our students and staff for sharing your talents with our community!  Your performances were most impressive!

BES holiday performance donation

Don’t forget to check out our reminders about inclement weather changes at http://goochlandschools.org/2016/11/21/inclement-weather-procedures-2016-2017/, and be ready for winter weather which will likely be on the way soon.  Please continue to stay up to date with our division’s weather closings, delays, and 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.  

Our students and staff have been have been working hard every day inside and outside of our classrooms!  There is no doubt that everyone has earned some need time to rest and take a break from our normal school routines.  As we prepare for some time away from school, I want to thank you for an extremely successful first half of our school year.  I sincerely hope that you and your family have a joyous holiday season!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

  

The Goochland County Public Schools were recently recognized by Niche.com as the 8th Best School District in Virginia.  This rating is based on a rigorous analysis of statistics as well as student and parent reviews for schools across the Commonwealth.  In a statement released by Niche, GCPS “achieved this ranking by scoring highly on a variety of factors including SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio, the quality of colleges that students consider, and reviews from students and parents”.

When determining a rating, Niche ranks various factors and weights different performance measures.  The greatest weight is placed on an academic measure and is 50% of the rating.  Culture & diversity, health & safety, student & parent surveys, and teacher quality are each weighted at 10%.  Resources & facilities are 5% of the overall assessment, while clubs, activities and sports are weighted at 2.5% each.

In addition to receiving this recognition as one of the top school divisions in the Commonwealth, Goochland High School ranked in the top 100 of public high schools in the state.  Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent for Goochland County Public Schools, attributes this success to the talented employees who work for GCPS and the investment that the Goochland County Community has made in public education.  “This accomplishment is made possible by the skills and talent of our dedicated workforce who strive every day to maximize the potential of every learner.  In addition, this success is the result of a supportive School Board and community that values excellence”.

Goochland County Public Schools have demonstrated their superior performance across all dimensions of the total school experience .  In addition to this most recent rating, GCPS is only one of 10 school divisions in Virginia to have all of its schools fully accredited for 10 straight years.  On state assessments, Goochland students outperformed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas.  Goochland students had the 6th best social studies scores in the state and the 11th best reading SOL scores when compared to other students in the Commonwealth.  In addition, GCPS has received recognition by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for serving as a model for budget development and Kenny Bouwens, a teacher at Goochland High School, represents the division as the State Technology Education Teacher of the Year.  

“Goochland County Public Schools is a proud and successful school division that has demonstrated its success as a leader in providing students with innovative and authentic learning experiences that will allow students to gain the skills and abilities that are needed to be successful in a changing global economy.  We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continually striving to inspire and prepare our students to make a positive impact in the world around them”. – Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

For a full list of the 2017 rankings methodologies and data sources from Niche, visit k12.niche.com/rankings

It’s hard to believe that December has arrived and we are nearing the halfway mark of the school year here in GCPS.  Although December is a short month with our students beginning their winter break at the end of the day on Friday, December 16, we have many events taking place that I am sure you will want to know about in the two weeks ahead.

This week, Byrd Elementary will hold their winter performance at Goochland High School on Monday, December 5.  Goochland Elementary will take the stage at GHS for their winter performance on Wednesday, December 7 at 6:30, and Goochland Middle School’s band and choral winter concert will take place on Thursday at 7:00 in the auditorium.  

Next week, Goochland High School will hold their band and choral concert on Monday, December 12 at 6:30 and their dance recital on Wednesday, December 14 at 6:00 p.m.  Finally, you can catch Randolph Elementary grades 2-5 performing on Thursday, December 15 at Goochland High beginning at 6:30.  We hope you come see our talent in action as we celebrate this season in Goochland.

Also next week, the Goochland County School Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m.  We are now developing our budget for 2017-2018 and hope to receive your feedback.  One opportunity to provide your feedback will be during the public comment period at the December 13 board meeting.  Come and let us know what you feel our division needs to prioritize as we grow and continue to prepare our students to make a positive impact.

Fall sports came to a finish this weekend as our Goochland Bulldog football team saw their season conclude in the VHSL Group 2A state semifinals.  Congratulations to our players, coaches, and staff for another fantastic season that we are all very proud of.  Our student athletes, coaches, and staff had a superb fall season, from football to volleyball to cheer to cross country to theatre to scholastic bowl.  These teams went deep in their district and regional contests.  Winter sports are now in full swing!  Come support our basketball, wrestling, swim, and forensics teams who are now entering the regular season.

Goochland Middle Schools’ “Tiger Trackers” Robotics Team competed this weekend in the state competition, and this past week I had the opportunity to judge some amazing art work from our elementary students at an event that came together thanks to our PTA and community volunteers.  Thanks to our art teaching staff and to the community support that made this happen for our kids.  

If you have not done so already, PLEASE go to https://www.michaelandson.com/jingle-submissions/ and vote for Goochland Elementary’s entry into the “2016 jingle contest”.  It could earn $5,000 for GES!  We have some future superstars at GES who you can see in action, too.  

Don’t forget to check out our reminders about inclement weather changes at http://goochlandschools.org/2016/11/21/inclement-weather-procedures-2016-2017/, and be ready for winter weather which will likely be on the way soon.  Please continue to stay up to date with our division’s weather closings, delays, and 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   Have a great week!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent