As we approach the new year, it is time for us to make preparations for the approval of our division’s instructional calendar.  This fall, I’ve been working in collaboration with the Superintendent’s Leadership Team, teachers, and administrative staff to create three years of instructional calendars that align with our strategic plan and our instructional philosophy.  Like this year, the focus of these calendars is on our core mission: teaching and learning.  Although there are some minor differences in each version, each calendar follows a similar structure to that of our current calendar to allow for ongoing breaks in instruction for our instructional team to develop their professional skills.  Each draft version includes 193 teacher work days and 180 instructional days for students.  Additionally, each draft includes full instructional days prior to winter break and the end of the year to allow us to maximize instructional time and allow for professional autonomy and flexibility to assess students.  Make up days, if needed, are marked to facilitate future planning.  Like this year, each version 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.

Highlights of each of the draft calendars are as follows:

2018-2019

  • Last day of school – Wednesday June 5, 2019
  • Spring Break – prior to Easter as it is late (April 21); No school for students after Spring Break on April 22 as it is a professional day for teachers.
  • Second semester begins on January 7, 2019
  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 21, 2018 and ends on Sunday January 6, 2019.  This is a two week break.  
  • One parent conference day in October
  • First day of school – Monday, August 20, 2018

2019-2020

  • Last day of school – Wednesday, June 3, 2020
  • Spring Break – after Easter; No school for students after Spring Break on April 20 as it is a professional day for teachers.
  • Second semester begins on January 6, 2020
  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 20, 2019 and ends on Sunday, January 5, 2020.  This is a two week break.  
  • One parent conference day in October
  • First day of school – Monday, August 19, 2019

2020-2021

  • Last day of school – Wednesday, June 9, 2021
  • Spring Break – after Easter; No school for students after Spring Break on April 12 as it is a professional day for teachers.
  • Second semester begins on January 4, 2021
  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 18, 2020 and ends on Sunday, January 4, 2021.  This is a two week break.  
  • One parent conference day in October
  • First day of school – Monday, August 24, 2020

Many school divisions in our region are moving toward instructional calendars with a Spring Break that will be during the first full week of April, rather than being scheduled around the Easter holiday.  School divisions who are discussing moving their Spring Break to the first week of April are also including the Monday after Easter as a day when students would not be in attendance.  Please take a moment to provide me with your feedback using this survey.

These calendars remain in draft form as I continue to receive feedback from parents and our community prior to making a recommendation to the School Board on January 9, 2018.  No action will be taken until the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting in February.  I continue to welcome your feedback via this survey, e-mail, phone or in person.

 

 

At a special called meeting on Monday, December 4, the Goochland County School Board concluded a transparent process of developing our school division’s long term facility master plan.  This process started in June 2017 and included substantial analysis of our school division’s student enrollment, facility conditions and capacity, and educational adequacy.  A crucial component of the work to develop this plan was the involvement of representative stakeholders from each geographic region of our community.    

During the School Board’s discussion and deliberation, they expressed their appreciation for the time that the committee has dedicated to the process, the level of analysis involved in their recommendation, and the perspective that they brought to the process.  The School Board supports the recommendation of the committee, a realistic expression of the school division’s needs based on credible data, that was presented to the Board of Supervisors on November 28 at the joint work session.

Within the framework of the steering committee’s recommendation, in order to assist the county with planning, the School Board prioritized the work that they felt must happen in the next five fiscal years (by FY 2023):

Construction of a new Goochland Elementary School on a new school site – 500 student capacity $22,040,000
Goochland High School/Goochland Middle School improvements: Career and Technical Education (CTE)/STEM addition (30,000 sq feet); Program and systems upgrades at secondary complex; Build auxiliary gym, wrestling room, and athletic fields $16,125,000
Total $38,165,000

 

There were multiple factors involved in the School Board’s decision:

  • These projects will have the most immediate impact to the greatest number of students from all geographic regions of our community.
  • The school with the poorest Facility Condition Index will be replaced.  At the same time, additional capacity will be added that will alleviate overcrowding at the division’s other elementary schools.
  • Improvements at Goochland High School and Goochland Middle School proactively address capacity issues, create program enhancements at the secondary complex, and will be of benefit to all students of Goochland County.

Byrd Elementary and Randolph Elementary projects were also prioritized as follows:

Construction of a new Byrd Elementary School on new school site – 400 student capacity – constructed between FY 2024 and FY 2028 $17,400,000 plus land (FY 2023 cost), estimated to escalate by 6% annually to $20.1M by the FY 2024-2028 timeframe
Construction of a new Randolph Elementary School on a new school site – 500 student capacity – constructed between FY 2029 and FY 2033 $22,010,000 plus land (FY2026 cost), estimated to escalate by 6% annually to $29.5M by the FY 2029-2033 timeframe

 

As a part of the deliberations on Monday, the School Board felt that delay of the Byrd and Randolph projects beyond the timeframe recommended by the steering committee would make new construction of Byrd on a new site the most economically reasonable plan .  Many factors were considered in this decision including equity, long term projected maintenance costs, difficulty of coordinating major construction on an active school site with limited septic capacity, limited flexibility for parking/construction access, and the impact that the delay would have on the facility condition and educational adequacy of the 1997 section of the building.  With this approach the Goochland community would have three new elementary schools by FY 2033.  Included in the long term cost of these projects is a 6% cost escalator referenced by our school division’s consultants as construction costs are expected to increase significantly in the future due to projected labor and materials costs.  

Thank you to the Goochland County Board of Supervisors for providing the financial support for the develop of our division’s long term facility master plan.  Through this process, we have received a substantial amount of enrollment and facility data that will allow us to make prudent fiscal decisions regarding our facilities in the future.  Deliberations on the School Board’s approved long term plan will continue in the coming weeks.  Now that the County has received this request from the School Board, the County Administrator will present his recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for the county’s overall  25 year Capital Improvement Plan.  The School Board’s projects will be a part of his presentation.  This presentation will take place on Monday December 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Next week on Tuesday December 12, the School Board will vote to approve its 25 year Capital Improvement that includes not only the projects in the long term facility master plan, but other division needs as well, including transportation.  This meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is also open to the public.
Following these meetings, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the 25 year plan presented by the County Administrator this Monday.  This public hearing will take place on Tuesday January 3.  The time of this meeting is yet to be determined.

 

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