Dear Goochland Families:
Earlier this fall, our school division started the planning process for the development of our 2017-2018 instructional calendar. This planning involved discussions with building level administrators, central office administrators, and representatives from the Superintendent’s Leadership team comprised of teacher and parent representatives from each of our five schools. These collaborative discussions have resulted in a draft instructional calendar that is found here for your review.
This instructional calendar was developed with the goal of providing a structure that would best support our division’s goals, objectives, and strategies related to student learning and outlined in our strategic plan. As we work to maximize each student’s academic potential through engaging experiences with deeper learning, it is important to provide the professional training and support that our instructional staff needs to accomplish this objective. As a result, the draft instructional calendar for next year provides for scheduled professional development days throughout the year that will be used to allow for school level and division level training opportunities. Additionally, these days will also provide time for our instructional staff to analyze student assessment data, design lessons, and collaboratively plan with their colleagues, and work in their classrooms. These types of opportunities are key to improving our practices and providing professional growth. There is also a designated parent conference day in the fall.
The Goochland County Public Schools has demonstrated its leadership as an innovative school division that strives for continuous improvement. There are many examples of this mindset that are visible every day. Most notably, we have worked towards capitalizing upon our instructional time for learning by reducing the frequency of assessments delivered to students. This approach is reflected in the attached draft. In December and June, there are no designated days for midterm and final exams. The days at the end of the semester and the end of the year are full days, not early dismissals. Instructional staff will continue to have the autonomy and flexibility to assess students and their knowledge during these times and throughout the school year.
Although there have been some modifications to the proposed calendar in an effort to support our division’s instructional goals, this draft calendar maintains many of the traditional timelines for starting school, holiday breaks, and the last day of school that have been a part of past calendars. This draft has been shared with multiple stakeholders, including through meetings that have been conducted recently at our schools with our employees. I continue to welcome your comments, thoughts, and feedback in the coming weeks. Feel free to send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call (804-556-5601). It is my goal to present a recommended calendar for the 2017-2018 school year to the School Board at their meeting on January 10, 2017. No action will be taken until the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting in February.
Thank you for the support and guidance that you provide to our students! We have had a very successful first half of this school year and we are excited about the experiences and opportunities that our students will have in the new year.
Jeremy Raley, Superintendent