GCPS team members spent much of last school year developing consensus around what skills and abilities they believe to be essential for their graduates to possess in order to be successful after high school.  To begin this year, the division has convened a special committee to take the work accomplished last year, review the guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Education, analyze what’s being shared from business and industry, and create a framework for codifying our own local GCPS “profile.”

Once complete, this committee’s draft will be shared with other community stakeholders for input before it’s finalized.

The special committee tasked with moving forward the school division’s “Profile of a Goochland Graduate” hard at work earlier this month

It is so hard to believe that we are now finishing our sixth week in school!  Summer was very reluctant to let go, but the cooler temperatures this morning lead me to believe that Fall is finally here.  The great start to our school year has now become a routine of great things happening every day in our division, both in our classrooms in all of our schools during the day and at our extracurricular activities outside of normal school hours.  Every time that I visit a school campus, I see our students engaged in multiple authentic learning opportunities and our dedicated staff working to provide students with an exceptional and individualized experience.  All of this great work is supported by our parents, citizens, and volunteers who have dedicated their time and energy to make an investment in our community’s future.  Team Goochland continues to shine in many ways!

Public safety and culinary arts students learn CPR

 

Fifth grade students read to preschool students

 

Students working in Spanish at Goochland High School

Our student athletes continue to excel on the field, on the court, and on the cross country trail.  The Bulldogs and Eagles have had a very strong start to the fall sports season.  Congratulations to our student athletes and thank you to our parents, coaches, and community who support our programs.  Remember to check in with our athletics on Twitter at @GoochlandSports and @gmsathletics for updates, and come out and enjoy this beautiful weather while supporting our teams!

 

Goochland High School girls cross country team

 

Goochland High School band practice

The drama department at Goochland High School has been working hard this fall to prepare for its performance of Little Shop Of Horrors.  Mark your calendar and plan on supporting our thespians for three performances (Friday October 13 at 7 p.m., Saturday October 14 at 7 p.m., and Sunday October 15 at 2:30 p.m.).  Adult tickets can be purchased online in advance.

 

Little Shop of Horrors at Goochland High School

Next week, we will be hosting an informational meeting for parents and students who are interested in attending the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School and the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School.  Students and parents in grades 4 through 8 are encouraged to attend to learn more about these opportunities.  This meeting will take place on October 5th in the Goochland High School auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m.

There’s a lot going on in our food service department!  During the week of October 2, we will be celebrating Farm to School Week with menus that include locally sourced products and a sampling of various locally grown items prepared in collaboration with our culinary arts program.  The following week of October 9 is National School Lunch Week-thank you to our dedicated food service professionals for prepare warm and healthy meals that provide needed nourishment to our student’s growing minds and bodies!

Did you know that you can get our school lunch menus sent directly to your google calendar?  There’s no need to worry any more about what’s for lunch.  Click here to view the daily lunch menu.  Then click the + Google Calendar button to add it to your own personal google calendar.

This past Tuesday, our long term facility master plan steering committee held its last meeting to finalize its recommendation that will be shared with the Goochland County School Board. This recommendation will be presented on October 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 250 of the County Administration Building and is open to the public.  This recommendation represents great ongoing dialogue that has taken place not only at this meeting, but throughout this process that started in June.  Thank you to our committee members and citizens who have been involved in this process.  A copy of the presentation that was shared with the committee this past Tuesday can be found on our project website.  

In addition to the October School Board meeting, we will be hosting three different Town Hall meetings in collaboration with our partners on the Goochland County Board of Supervisors.  This schedule is as follows:  

  • District 1, Monday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Station 6, 4810 Three Chopt Road, Louisa
  • Districts 4 and 5, Tuesday, October 17, 7:00 p.m. at Hermitage, 1248 Hermitage Road, Manakin-Sabot
  • Districts 2 and 3, Monday, October 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Co. 5 Firehouse, 2710 Fairground Road, Goochland

Hope to see you at our many upcoming events in the next few weeks!  Keep in touch with all of the excellence taking place in our division by liking our facebook page and following us on twitter (@glndschools) and instagram (@goochlandschools).  Have a great weekend!

The division leadership team has been engaged in instructional rounds for the past five years. This morning marked the beginning of year 5 of “rounds” – and, as always, it provided us with a firsthand look at the incredible teaching and learning that happens every single day in our classrooms, libraries, labs, and gymnasiums.

The “rounds” model is one borrowed from the medical field in order to better connect division administrators to the most important work that takes place every day in our division.

Our division leadership team spent the morning at Byrd Elementary School.

Our instructional team spent the day on Friday talking teaching and learning – on how to make our already highly successful school division an even better place for students, families, and staff.

Dr. John Almarode (James Madison University) helped provide both the foundation and the spark for the day’s events.  Dr. Almarode’s morning keynote address focused on instructional elements that lead to increased student engagement, and he delivered his message by modeling exactly the kind of learning facilitation he espouses for students.

The balance of Friday’s professional day was spent in extended small group workshops with Dr. Almarode, in instructional design training centered around delivery of the new state math standards, and in grade level and department meetings.

This month’s leadership team meeting with principals and assistant principals was an opportunity to reflect on our balanced assessment program and further develop the entire team’s assessment literacy.  We tackled questions like: What’s the difference between achievement and growth? Are we testing our students too much?  Who’s the intended audience for this assessment? How are we using the results of this assessment to ensure we’re maximizing the potential of every learner?

The fourth grade team at Randolph Elementary School made the different regions of Virginia come alive last week during “Virginia Day.”  The one-day event is the culmination of weeks of instruction and has become a tradition the students and faculty alike look forward to.  Every fourth grade student has the opportunity to spend part of the day in each of five classrooms filled with hands-on learning opportunities, ranging from planting crops indigenous to the Commonwealth to mining for chocolate chips.

(clockwise from top left) Farmer Demas, Instructional Technology Resource Coach; Special Agent Gates, Fourth Grade Teacher; Foreman Hadd, Fourth Grade Teacher; Scuba Diver Ferguson, Fourth Grade Teacher; Adventurer Mock, Fourth Grade Teacher

Yesterday the Virginia Department of Education released accreditation results for schools and school divisions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, noting that 86 percent of Virginia’s 1,823 public schools were rated as fully accredited for the 2017-2018 school year based on performance on the 2016-2017 Virginia SOL tests.  65 of 132 divisions statewide included all schools designated as fully accredited for 2017-2018.

Goochland County Public Schools continues its strong track record of having each of its five schools fully accredited by the State of Virginia.  State accreditation is based on student pass rates on Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English, mathematics, history, and science, as well as the division’s graduation rate.  GCPS exceeded each of the state’s five overall benchmarks by an average of 15%.  Goochland County Public Schools also has the distinction of receiving fully accredited status in all schools for the 11th consecutive year, sharing the distinction with only 10 of the 132 divisions in the Commonwealth.

While this distinction is determined by traditional achievement measures, school leaders believe it’s the division’s focus on what’s best for students that has led to the success.  “Our mission to maximize the potential of every learner is at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent.  “Accountability is important, but Goochland is far beyond a singular focus on minimum proficiency tests – and that’s really what the state’s SOL assessments are.  We’re proud of the tradition of excellence in Goochland and we embrace the challenges of continuous improvement.  These results are one of the many indicators of the excellence that is pervasive in our school division.  There are many ingredients that go into accomplishing these results.  The key ingredients are all of our hard working and dedicated employees who strive every day to meet the academic needs of all of our division’s learners and a supportive community that places a significant value on the importance of education”.

Goochland’s overall performance and accreditation rating was the result of a division-wide portfolio of strong achievement in many content areas.  Highlights from the division’s Spring 2017 SOL results include:

  • Goochland students out-performed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science)
  • Goochland’s fifth grade science scores ranked first when compared to fifth grade students from 132 other school divisions in the Commonwealth
  • Goochland’s world geography scores ranked first when compared to other students from 132 other school divisions in the state.
  • Students in Goochland earned the 5th highest SOL pass rate in the Commonwealth
  • Goochland’s reading scores ranked 2nd in the region and 14th in the state
  • Student’s scores in writing, math, and science ranked in the top 25 in the state

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on academic optimism as a key to the division’s success.  “Every child’s learning is important, and our school division has created a culture built on academic optimism.  Our belief that every student can be successful and that every student has strengths to celebrate is a primary reason for our continued strong performance.  Moreover, we have remarkable teachers who work incredibly hard every day on behalf of our children and families.”

Despite the school division’s exceptionally strong overall results, team members remain committed to continuing to elevate expectations, as well as to targeting areas of relative weakness.  Raley stated, “While we certainly have a lot to celebrate, we face the same challenges that most school divisions across the state and nation face when it comes to achievement gaps for our African American students.  We have made some great progress in reducing the achievement gap for some of our subgroups with exceptional growth for our students with disabilities.  Even with this growth, we still have more work to do.  We are committed to closing these gaps, while continuing to raise the bar for every student.”

Want to learn more about your child’s development?

FREE developmental screenings for children ages birth to 5 years old (Goochland County Residents ONLY)

Thursday, September 21st from 3:00-6:00 PM and Friday, September 22nd from 9:00-3:00 PM (No appointments necessary)

WHERE:    Preschool on the upper level of the “Goochland Tech” building next to Goochland Elementary School at 3140 River Road West

The entrance is located behind the building near the fenced blacktop and playground.

 

Find out how your child is doing in these areas of growth:

✓ Hearing and Vision

✓ Speech/Language Skills

✓ Motor and Self-Help Skills

✓ Concepts and Thinking Skills

✓ Personal-Social Skills

 

For more information or to schedule an appointment for another date, call:

 Jeanine Vassar at 657-2010 (birth-2.5 yrs.)

Goochland-Powhatan Community Services’ Parent Infant Education Program

or

Wendy Travis at 556-5321, ext. 3209 (2-5 yrs.)

Goochland County Public Schools Preschool

Our new school year is now in full swing and there is a lot of activity in and around our school campuses! Each time that I visit a school, I continue to be impressed by what I see in our classrooms. There is no doubt that our teachers are working hard to purposefully plan engaging lessons that provide our students with a deep and enriching academic experiences. I am very proud of our students and our instructional staff for the effort that they put forth every day!

The weather is changing and Fall is right around the corner. The start of Fall also signals the start of the GHS FFA mum sale. Mums will be available for purchase this Saturday (9/9) at the GHS greenhouse from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Please come out and support our program with the purchase of a mum for $5. They look great!

Mums on sale to benefit the GHS FFA

This week, I had the pleasure of joining my fellow Rotarians from Goochland to distribute dictionaries to all of our fourth grade students. After we passed out the dictionaries, I challenged the students to see who could be the fastest to find a particular word. We talked about the definition, the part of speech, and guide words. I always enjoy spending time with our awesome students! Thanks to the Goochland Rotary for investing their time, labor, and resources to make an investment in the future of our community, our students!

Students at Goochland Elementary School received their dictionaries from the Goochland Rotary

 

Ken Brown from the Goochland Rotary passes out dictionaries to students at Randolph Elementary School

 

Ken Brown from the Goochland Rotary Club passes out dictionaries to students at Byrd Elementary School

The pace of our work to develop our division’s long-term facility master plan increased this week as we held a county-wide community dialogue meeting at Goochland Elementary School on Tuesday evening. Our consultants from Cooperative Strategies presented some background information to attendees and also presented four different options for consideration as we work to develop our long-term roadmap for the use of our facilities in the future. We are still early in this development process. Please remember that you have the opportunity to share your thoughts though our online survey. This survey will be open until 7:00 a.m. on Monday September 11. Your comments, feedback, and perspective are most welcome and needed.

Citizens work to provide feedback on options for our division's long term facility master plan

The transparent work of our steering committee and our School Board in the development of this plan will continue in multiple settings in the coming weeks. Please feel free to join us at any of these upcoming public meetings:

  • Steering Committee Meeting – September 14, Classroom 143 @ GHS, 6:00 p.m.
  • Steering Committee Meeting – September 26, Classroom 143 @ GHS, 6:00 p.m.
  • Presentation of Recommendation at School Board Meeting – October 10, Goochland County Administration Building, Room 250, 6:30 p.m.
  • Town Hall – District 1, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Fire Station 6
  • Town Hall – Districts 4 and 5, October 17, 7:00 p.m., Hermitage Country Club
  • Town Hall – Districts 2 and 3, October 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Co. 5 Firehouse
  • School Board Meeting – November 14, Goochland County Administration Building, Room 250, 6:30 p.m.

Keep abreast of the work of the committee, view presentations, and reports at our project website.

Our middle school and high school athletic teams are off to a great start! Our Bulldogs and Eagles are demonstrating the skill in multiple ways on the field, on the court, and on the cross country course. We have had a lot of early success that is the result of a lot of hard work and determination! I’m proud of our student athletes and our coaches who had dedicated so much time and effort to their athletic endeavors. Athletic events and schedules can be found on Coach Gordon’s website and by following Goochland Athletics and GMS Eagles Athletics on twitter.

Have a great weekend!