Individual student learning is never maximized with a single blueprint: it takes multiple strategies, multiple methodologies, in multiple formats, over multiple opportunities.

Mr. Jim Frago, Goochland Middle School, recently partnered with experts at Capital One, to introduce students to Sketchnote as a tool for learning.  Sketchnote is a way to visually synthesize and summarize concepts, a blend of creative pictorial expression and more traditional note taking.

The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 21st annual VSBA Showcases for Success directory, highlighting successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools. Goochland County Public Schools is one of 56 school divisions from across the Commonwealth that has programs featured in the directory. Programs from Goochland County Public Schools are:

Alternate Route to Licensure in Goochland Schools

The path to full licensure for provisionally licensed teachers can be long, time-intensive, and expensive. Goochland County Public Schools created a seminar experience for four CTE teachers and submitted a proposal to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to create an alternative path to licensure.   Once the plan was approved, part one of the plan was implemented in April, and the four teachers met with the instructional team to begin the field practica, professional reading, direct instruction, and collaborative work sessions.   Part two of the program was conducted for five days in June where the teachers engaged in face-to-face instruction and discussions led by experts from within our school system.   The program provided training in human growth and development, curriculum and instruction, instructional design based on data, classroom management, and foundations of education and reading.   

Curriculum and Innovation Teacher Program

GCPS offered four teachers extended contracts to help us develop high-quality, project-based learning experiences for students in grades 3-8 so that their peer teachers could better benefit from having first-class exemplars of PBL that focused on deeper learning.  Deeper learning has been the focus behind our internationally-recognized 1:1 implementation with iPads in grades 3-8. Research has consistently demonstrated that an infusion of new technology without modifications to pedagogy will not deliver increases in student achievement.  By providing teachers a variety of PBL experiences aligned to our own Virginia SOL and the eight standards for high quality project-based learning by the Buck Institute, in combination with professional development and coaching, the work undertaken first in the summer with these teachers is now bringing deeper learning experiences to our students in the elementary and middle-school grades.

Performance Assessment Partnership

Goochland County Public Schools’ Balanced Assessment Project is built on an equilibrium among both assessment purpose (achievement versus growth) and assessment type (traditional versus nontraditional).  Entering the fourth year of our assessment work, we are seeing strong outcomes for students along with positive impacts to day-to-day classroom instruction.  As part of the next evolution of this work, we have established a strong partnership with Chesterfield County Public Schools and Dr. Chris Gareis from William & Mary University in the development of nineteen signature performance assessments that will used K-12 and evaluated cross-divisionally during the 2017-18 school year.  These performance assessments are being developed by teachers and are aimed and measuring “the five Cs” along with content knowledge.  This work represents best practice in terms of the Virginia’s local alternative assessment framework; moreover, it demonstrates one promising approach to providing students, teachers, and parents with a more complete picture of student learning.

The full VSBA Showcases for Success directory is available at It includes division-wide programs, as well as those at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Featured programs highlight successful programs related to Innovative Programs, School Initiatives, and Partnerships.  For more information about the VSBA Showcases for Success, contact Gina Patterson, VSBA executive director, at or 434-295-8722.

Spring break has arrived!  After months of hard work since winter break with very few surprise snow days, I know everyone is excited to recharge this week before we return on Tuesday, April 18 for our final 7 weeks of the school year.  Spring brings a unique energy to our schools as we celebrate successes, compete on our fields, and bring closure to the months of engagement we experience each day in GCPS.

I am pleased to announce that Goochland Public Schools was recognized last week at a Richmond Technology Council reception as a finalist for the “innovation in utilization-public sector” award for our recent initiative to purchase and install the state of the art Informacast system in our elementary schools.  GCPS was chosen from among many nominees in various categories as a finalist, and was one of only 2 public school entities recognized.  Please vote for GCPS on Twitter for the @rvatech People’s Choice Award-use the hashtag #geekprom!  Thank you to Peter Martin and our outstanding operational technology staff for their work in laying the foundation for innovation in our schools.

Our students, our staff, our families, and our community continue to distinguish our district in and out of the classroom.  Remember to follow our Twitter (@glndschools), Instagram (goochlandschools), and Facebook (@GoochlandCountySchools) for up to date news and information about the great things happening in GCPS.

I am looking forward to an exciting and successful finish of this 2017-2018 school year and to even greater things to come in GCPS in the months ahead.  I hope you and your family have a safe and relaxing spring break!

Thank A Teacher Banner sponsored by Virginia Tourism and Virginia PTA


Every day, our school division’s dedicated and talented employees work diligently to prepare our students to make a positive impact and to prepare them for success in an ever-competitive job and college admissions market.  The effort of our amazing team has been recognized by many as we are recognized leaders in the experiences that we are providing for our students.

The Virginia Lottery is teaming up with Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia PTA in support of National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8 – 12, 2017. The goal? To thank as many Virginia teachers as possible during a week which celebrates those who help shape the future of our children. There may not be enough words to truly express gratitude for all they do, but we challenge you to try!

Please take a moment to celebrate our school division’s talented employees by sending them a note about the impact that they are making by clicking here.