It is hard to believe that we have successfully completed our first week of school!  Even though classes have only been in session for five days, our students are actively involved in many different engaging lessons in their classrooms.  It did not take us long to get back into the swing of things!  Classroom routines were established early and students are becoming more and more familiar with their new schedules, procedures, and expectations.

As I visit classrooms across the division, I continue to be impressed by the work that is taking place!  In addition to my visits, I’ve seen many posts on social media from our staff that show how our talented teachers strive every day to provide our students with an exceptional academic experience!  Take a look at some of the pictures from our first week:

Students at Randolph Elementary School view the solar eclipse on the first day of school

Students designing and collaborating at Goochland Elementary School

Students at Byrd Elementary School working in the library

Students hard at work in Mr. Frago's classroom at Goochland Middle School

Students in Ms. Exum's classroom at Goochland High School

Our school division continues to excel in many ways!

Our proud tradition of excellence was affirmed by the recent release of assessment results by the Virginia Department of Education.  Goochland County Public Schools performance exceeds the performance of students across the state on every measure!  As a school division, our approach to academics is much more than performance on a singular measure.  Our focus will continue to be on student growth using an instructional approach that provides student with opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of their content in ways provide connections to authentic experiences in the world outside of school.

As we work to prepare our students to be world ready, it is important that we provide them with the digital tools that they will need to be successful as global learners.  This year, we are deploying MacBook Air devices to every student at Goochland High School.  This distribution began yesterday and will near completion today.  By the end of this week our students at the secondary complex will have had the opportunity to receive their own device, with middle school students receiving their own ipad.  Next week, we will begin the distribution of devices to students in our elementary schools.  

Passing out MacBook Air devices at Goochland High School

This year, we will also be providing students in first and second grade with their own ipad, to be kept at school.  It is our goal to have these devices in classrooms by the end of the first semester.  By the end of the first semester, we will have expanded our 1:1 initiative beyond grades 3-8 so that students in grades 1-12 will have access to their device.  I am proud of the work our technology team and for the support of our community that has allowed the implementation of this 1:1 program to be successful.  It is one of many things that makes our division stand out above the rest!

We are committed to continual growth and improvement in every department in our organization.  In that spirit, we continue to work with individual families to fine tune our bus routes and make adjustments in an effort to increase student safety and reduce ride times where possible.  This past week, pick-up and drop-off times have been adjusted on many routes in order to reduce the amount of time that students are riding to and from school.  We will continue to evaluate our routes and make adjustments where we can in the future.  I am thankful for your patience and your feedback as we have all worked together through this transition.  

This week, the steering committee, consisting of representatives from many community stakeholder groups from our community spent three hours pouring over enrollment and facility data to evaluate potential options for our division’s long term facility master plan.  This committee has agreed to forward four different options to be reviewed by our community at the next meeting to be held on Tuesday September 5 at 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at Goochland Middle School.  An additional community meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday September 6 in the multi-purpose room at Byrd Elementary School for families who are not able to make the event on September 5.  A website has been developed that includes all of the information that has been shared with the steering committee to date.  Please remember that these meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

If you do not already do so, please like our facebook page and follow us on twitter (@glndschools) and instagram (@goochlandschools).  Additionally, please stay up to date with all of the great things happening in our schools through our division leadership blog:  

We have had a great first week of school!  I’m looking forward to week two!



The start of another school year is just a few hours away!  As summer draws to a close, we turn to the excitement and anticipation that a fresh start brings.  A new school year provides us with the opportunity to experience new routines, meet different friends, and gain new experiences.  Although it’s definitely a time of rejuvenation and optimism, I expect that there are some who are anxious about new class schedules and some of the unknowns associated with another academic year.  There are definitely many different emotions for us all as we get ready for Monday morning.   

Team Goochland looks forward to engaging our students in meaningful, personalized, authentic, fun, and exciting learning opportunities this year!  We look forward to greeting our students, getting to know them, and we are optimistic about working to provide every child with an exceptional academic experience!  Everyone on our team is committed to continuing our division’s proud tradition of excellence and maximizing the potential of EVERY learner.  

We are excited about the changes that our students will experience as they enter our classrooms this year.  This summer, our teachers have been actively involved in multiple professional development activities, all geared toward providing our students with deeper learning opportunities that will ultimately prepare them to be world-ready.  Some classrooms have been outfitted with new furniture that will allow for flexibility in the classroom arrangement that will result in a more comfortable learning space for students.  Every school bus on our regular routes has been outfitted with four cameras with the goal of increasing student safety.  There have been cosmetic enhancements at many facilities and renovations of the HVAC system at Byrd Elementary is now complete.  Our custodial and maintenance teams have done an exceptional job preparing our facilities: classrooms are clean, walls are refreshed, and floors sparkle!  Thank you to these talented professionals for a job well done!

For the past ten weeks, many of our school buses have been absent from our roadways.  As we prepare for the first day of school, there will be an increase in traffic in and around our school campuses.  Please remember to watch out for students standing at bus stops, our school buses and their lights and signs, and pedestrians on our school campuses.    

As a public school division, we welcome ALL students into our schools every day regardless of their background.  It is one of the many reasons why I am very proud to be a public educator!  As public school educators, we provide EVERY student with the academic and skill based experiences that they need to be career ready.  As we do this work, we provide students with experiences that allow them to have a deeper understanding about the importance of history, civic responsibility, diversity, tolerance, and sense of community.  Our talented and dedicated educators stand ready to continue to model these ideals in our daily work with students.  

Our core values are a reflection of what we, as citizens of Goochland County, value and are central to the work that we do every day as educators to inspire our students to make a positive impact in our world.  The opening of another year allows us to focus on these principles yet again.  Personal responsibility and character are at the heart of our belief in and commitment to EXCELLENCE.  We value COURAGE and will establish an environment that allows individuals to have a purposeful impact, advocating for themselves and others at all times.  Our division has an unwavering commitment to HONOR, personal integrity, supporting what is right, and actively working to change what is not.  OPTIMISM affirms our value and respect of the background of every student and is characterized by a positive view of others and a belief that EVERYONE can achieve academic success.

Be assured that your children, their safety, and their well-being are our top priority and we are committed to working together, at our very best each day, to ensure their experience with us is exceptional.  Ongoing, transparent, two-way communication is critical to our school division’s continued success.  If you do not already do so, please like our Facebook page and follow us on twitter (@glndschools) and instagram (@goochlandschools).  Additionally, please stay up to date with all of the great things happening in our schools through our division leadership blog:  I look forward to our continued work together with you!  We’re going to have a great year!


Jeremy Raley, Superintendent



Monday, August 21, the first day of our new school year, also happens to be the same day as a once-in-a-generation cosmic event: a solar eclipse.  We are fortunate to have been provided the opportunity to participate safely in viewing the eclipse and benefitting from the learning experience thanks to the generosity of the Goochland Education Foundation (GEF).

The GEF has provided all of Goochland County Public Schools students and staff with first-party vendor, ISO-compliant solar viewing glasses.  Students will be using The Eclipser glasses manufactured by American Paper Optics, LLC (  Our schools have made plans for students and staff to have the opportunity to view the solar eclipse Monday afternoon.  Plans include instruction on proper use of the glasses, as well as supervision throughout the event.

As you would expect with such a rare and far reaching event, Monday’s solar eclipse has been widely covered by media outlets for the past several weeks.  In fact, our own school division has received a great deal of positive attention locally for incorporating the eclipse into our first day experience.

The fact that the event is taking place on our first day back has also created some communication challenges.  While we have worked hard to let our families know about the GEF’s generosity as it relates to Monday’s events, we have decided to make participation in viewing the eclipse exclusively an opt-in endeavor for all families.  This approach is the only way we can ensure that we are hearing directly from our students’ parents about permission to participate in viewing Monday’s eclipse.  Students who do not have permission to participate will be provided an alternative activity.

Our eclipse viewing plans include direct instruction about proper use of the glasses prior to the event (including this video that you may want to view with your child over the weekend), a brief viewing of the eclipse sometime between 2:30-3:00PM (approximately 30 seconds; this is what’s recommended by professionals in the eyecare profession), followed by instructional connections throughout the school year.

If you would like for your child to participate in viewing Monday’s solar eclipse using the ISO-compliant glasses provided by the Goochland Education Foundation, you must provide your permission electronically here or write a note providing your consent and send it to school with your child Monday morning.  If you have more than one child in the school division, you need to complete the permission process for each one.  Our elementary school parents may have already completed a permission form for this; if you have completed it and have returned it to your child’s school, no further action is needed.  As you know, forms can get misplaced between home and school, so we encourage all of our families to use the electronic permission option if possible.  (The electronic permission option closes at 7:00AM Monday morning.)

Finally, please know that students will be able to keep the viewing glasses at the end of the school day on Monday.  Our understanding is that the eclipse spans several hours so students may have the opportunity to participate in an additional viewing using the glasses at home as well.

We couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead, and we’re grateful to the GEF for their continued support of our entire school community!

The coming weeks will be quite busy as we start another school year and settle into our new daily routines.  After we start school on Monday, the process to develop our school division’s long term facility master plan will shift from data collection to making preparations for making a recommendation to the Goochland County School Board for consideration.  Everyone is encouraged to participate in this public process.

On Wednesday, August 23, the steering committee consisting of community representatives, will meet with our consultants from Cooperative Strategies to develop options that will be presented to the community as a whole for future consideration.  This meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. in Classroom 143 at Goochland High School.  The public is welcome to attend, hear the presentation from our consultants, and observe the work of the committee.  All are welcome.

Please also mark your calendars for other upcoming, public meetings that will take place in the coming weeks:

  • Community Dialogue to provide input on options being considered:  September 5, 6:00 p.m., Goochland Elementary School Cafeteria
  • Steering Committee Meeting:  September 14, 6:00 p.m., Classroom 143, Goochland High School
  • Steering Committee Meeting:  September 26, 6:00 p.m., Classroom 143, Goochland High School
  • School Board Meeting:  October 10, 6:30 p.m., Room 250, County Administration Building

All of these meetings are open to the public.  Cooperative Strategies has created a project website that includes the schedule and associated resources for the work that will be taking place.  This information can be accessed by clicking here.



Online Payment for GCPS School Fees and Activities

Interested in avoiding the lines during Back to School night on August 17th? Would you prefer to pay for field trips online instead of worrying about checks or cash? This new service provides parents the opportunity to make secure online payments. There are no processing fees for using this convenient service.

  • Visit your school’s website through and find the “Online School Payments” link under the ”Parents” tab.
  • Click on “Sign In” and put in the New User information.
  • To get started, set up your student(s) profile(s). The Student ID number will be provided in the school welcome back letter, or you can access it through Powerschool or from the lunch account system you may already use.
  • Items to purchase will be listed under your students’ school location. Please select the name of the fee on the right and add it to the cart. Click on “Continue Shopping” on the left to go back to the fee list page. Parents will be able to pay for multiple students at the same school in a single transaction. If you have students at different schools you will need to initiate separate transactions for each school location.
  • When all the needed items are in your cart, click on “Check Out”. If prompted, assign the fees to the appropriate student(s).
  • Follow the remaining steps to enter your billing information and to submit payment. The system accepts Mastercard or Visa. Electronic checks will not be accepted online, but cash and check payments will be accepted at your child’s school. The school will then have record of your payment.
  • In the future, you will be able to pay for field trips, and other class activities as they are scheduled. These items will show up in the Online Payment System that you can continue to access through the school website. Teachers will remind you that online payments can be made. Make sure you save your username and password. You will still be able to send cash and check. Receipts will also be generated from this new system.

The system eliminates the need to send checks to school or worry about lost or forgotten money, and ensures that your child’s fees and activities are paid. We encourage you to take the time to set up your account so that school payments will be safe and fast in the future.

This week several GCPS team members started their day alongside dozens of children: a 7:30AM Chick-fil-A breakfast, followed by a morning of relationship building and back-to-school shopping at the Regency Square JCPenney.  It was all made possible thanks to the YMCA of Greater Richmond’s Bright Beginnings program and the school division’s partnership with the Goochland YMCA.

– YMCA of Greater Richmond’s Bright Beginnings program – Monday, July 31, 2017