In just over 12 hours, our students will be on their way to the first day of another school year. Students and families alike will be experiencing a range of emotions as many will be excited to see their friends again and gain new experiences, while others will be anxious about new schedules, routines, and other unknowns associated with another academic year. It is an opportunity for a new beginning and the possibilities that another year can provide.
This summer, our school division received recognition that has solidified our position as a leader in the Commonwealth. Niche.com has rated our division as the 10th best school division in Virginia, 6th safest in the Commonwealth, and the #1 School Division in the Richmond Area! The Virginia Department of Education also recognized our work, awarding us the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award for our student achievement in 2016-2017. GCPS is one of only 15 divisions in the Commonwealth to receive this accolade!
These successes are the direct result of the contributions of our talented and dedicated employees, impressive students, engaged parents, and citizens who have made an investment of time and resources in Goochland’s future. I am grateful for the outpouring of support that our community provides our school division. Team Goochland’s past and future success is the result of a community that values and understands the importance of education and the benefits that it can provide.
As you have visited our school campuses this past week for orientation activities, you have noticed that there have been some safety and cosmetic improvements at our facilities. We have worked hard this summer to make some significant changes that will have an immediate impact including the installation of hardware and equipment to increase security, and significant landscaping at all facilities. Floors have been waxed and shined. Hallways and classrooms have been painted. Our custodians and maintenance team deserve a great deal of credit for all that they have done to provide a safe, clean, and welcoming environment for our students and staff.
I am also excited that we were able to eliminate the instructional fees that families have been charged in the past. This reduction in instructional fees accompanied a reduction in the insurance fees for student ipads and laptops. We will continue to work to reduce the financial obligations placed on families for other fees that have been traditionally charged as we prepare our future budgets. There have also been improvements in our transportation operations as we have installed active GPS on all of our vehicles that are transporting students. New buses will be on the road tomorrow with lights on the front and rear bumpers to alert motorists that buse have come to a stop.
From an instructional standpoint, we will stay the course on our mission to maximize the potential of every learner. Our team will continually seek opportunities to build on the strength of existing relationships that we have and seek opportunities to nurture those relationships that can be even stronger. Our employees are focused on building positive relationships with our students, our colleagues, our students’ parents, their caregivers, and our community. There has never been a better time to reinforce the human side of our work and its foundational support of everything else we do, from coaching, mentoring, teaching, leading, and supporting our students.
It is an honor and privilege to serve as Superintendent of this awesome school division! I believe that transparent, open, and two-way communication is critical to our school division’s ongoing success. During the past two years, I have had the pleasure of meeting with and talking to many families, but there are still many of you whom I have not met. I look forward to getting to know you, listening to your ideas, and discussing how we can work together to make an investment in our students’ future. As always, please feel free to give me a call, send me an e-mail, or stop me in the hallway when you see me. Together, we form a partnership that will have a positive impact on the experiences that we provide for our students. The Goochland County Public Schools will continue to shine as we all work together in the best interest of all of our students!
Jeremy Raley, Superintendent
Twitter: @glndschools, @DrJRaley