The Richmond Area Reading Council is pleased to announce this year’s Writing Extravaganza/Young Writer’s Contest!

The Writing Extravaganza Celebration will be held in April this year, which is National Poetry Month; therefore, this year the RARC is requesting that all entries in the Young Writer’s Contest be in the genre of poetry.

Details of the contest are here.  Entry registration here.


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 ( 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

Dear Elementary Families,

On behalf of the GCPS team, we hope your family had a restful, happy holiday season.  We’re looking forward to an engaging, productive spring semester and a successful 2017 for our students, families, and professional educators.

This month, once again, Goochland County Public Schools will be embarking on a special project, a division-wide book club called Goochland Reads, formerly One District, One BookGoochland Reads is a unique program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period.  Curious as that may seem at first, it actually makes sound educational sense.  Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level; the same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.

Our Goochland Reads committee selected a title that can be followed, screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-55-04-pmunderstood, and enjoyed by younger students, but that will still captivate older children.  As the centerpiece of the program, every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to share the literacy experience during the month of January.  The title was announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book today, and your child should have come home today with his/her very own copy.  Families should also receive a shared community reading schedule so everyone can keep up at home.  Generally, you are asked to read one chapter each night—about 10-15 minutes.  We hope that you will find the time to participate in this special activity focused on community and the importance of literacy.

Reading aloud at home is incredibly valuable as it helps develop a strong foundation for all learning, as well as models lifelong literacy; moreover, it’s also a fun, worthwhile family activity.  With the Goochland Reads program, we aim to build a community of readers across our elementary school communities.  Everyone—students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, and administrative staff—will be participating.

In school, your child will be engaged in literary discussions and invited to answer daily trivia questions to encourage and celebrate participation.  We encourage you to make sure your family participates so your child can be included.  You will find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story.  Throughout the month, everyone will be talking about the book!

Good luck!  We hope to talk with both you and your child about the book throughout the next four weeks.  When an entire school division reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about.  With your help, we will strengthen a community of readers in Goochland!