It is hard to believe that we have been out of school for seven weeks! Summer is flying by! In just over three weeks, we will begin the 2019-2020 school year, and we are working feverishly to make preparations for the start of another successful year.
GCPS Continues to Lead the Way
Team Goochland continues to shine as leaders in the Commonwealth and on a national level. Earlier this summer, Dr. Andy Armstrong, our Executive Director for Business Operations, gave a presentation at the Virginia is for Learners Education Equity Summer Institute regarding his research associated with equity and the Advanced Placement (AP) high school exam. At the Virginia School Boards Association’s Conference on Education this week, Dr. Steve Geyer, Assistant Superintendent, and I shared our division’s work to assess student learning through a balanced approach that focuses on growth over achievement and utilizes authentic performance measures in addition to traditional assessments to gauge student learning Dr. Armstrong also shared his research at this conference. Additionally, Dr. John Hendron, our division’s Director of Innovation and Strategy, spent several days honing his skills as an Apple Distinguished Educator at an event held last week in Maryland.
Learning does not stop during the summer. Through a variety of programs this year, we have worked to keep students engaged in their academic experience. In addition to STEM Camp, we added another enrichment experience for our students: Fine Arts Camp. Elementary students had the opportunity to experience the arts in a variety of ways, including the performing arts, visual arts, and musical arts.
Our elementary summer school students experienced a project based approach that supported core content with engaging activities. This allowed students to learn by being actively involved in their academic experience-a far cry from what most of us think about when we hear the words “summer school”.
Students in the middle school applied what they learned during a community service day to give back to the community that has provided so much support to us. A re-imagined program at the high school, including a blended approach of teacher directed and virtual instruction, resulted in tremendous success rates. I am proud of our students who have put forth tremendous effort this summer! Thank you, also, to our dedicated staff for seeking strategies to provide our students with a deeper and richer academic experience this summer!
Sunshine Food Bus
Our Sunshine Food Bus continues to serve healthy lunches to students and adults throughout our community. In addition to receiving a meal, students are given a book of their own. I had the pleasure of riding along with our dedicated food service team this past week. I got to see many of our students and also had the chance to meet many of our citizens. There is a perception that the meals are provided only to students who may qualify for free or reduced price meals during the year. This is FALSE. ANY child up to the age of 18 can receive a FREE meal AND a book from the food bus. The price of an adult meal is only $3 – a great healthy option for parents, grandparents, and caregivers! We will be running until August 2. Check out the schedule and stop by!
This summer, our athletic department, in collaboration with our facilities and maintenance team, have been working on making improvements to the playing surfaces and playing conditions for our student athletes. At Goochland High School, the football and soccer field has been re-crowned (to assist with drainage) and a new irrigation system has been installed. New bermuda grass sprigs have been planted. Although the picture shows a brown field, it is now nice and green!
A bermuda playing surface has also been installed on the softball field, with the installation of drainage to follow. The old track surface has been removed and repairs are currently being made to the asphalt. The new track surface will be installed and ready for the track season in the Spring. From a safety perspective, preparations are being made at Byrd Elementary School to install a generator that will power the entire school should in the event that there is a power failure.
There is a lot of work that takes place as we close one school year and open another. Our custodians and maintenance staff are beautifying our halls and campuses, while our administrative staff makes final staffing, scheduling, and programmatic decisions. Thank you to all of our talented employees for the work that you do to ensure that everything will be ready for our teachers and students in August.
As you start to think about the first day of school, please take a moment to confirm your child’s bus route. Routes for this coming year will be posted in PowerSchool by noon on Thursday, August 8. PowerSchool allows parents to update their contact information for school and division communications, view attendance and grade information, and view bus information. Visit PowerSchool to log in. If you don’t remember your login or password, click on the forgot login or forgot password links. If you have not created an account, contact your child’s school office for the access id and password to create it.
In addition to PowerSchool, hard copy letters of bus routes and stop information will be mailed, but only to all rising Preschool, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th grade families on August 8th. These families can expect these letters to arrive a few days later via US mail. All other families will need to access PowerSchool or contact their child’s school after August 8 to access bus number and stop information.
Transportation information for both rising 6th grade orientation at GMS and rising 9th grade orientation at GHS will be communicated to those families in the weeks ahead. Families who wish to request an alternate bus stop for their child because they will be picked up at or getting off of a stop that is not their home address (grandparent, baby sitter, etc.) must apply using this link no later than August 2: Transportation Alternative Stop Request.
As a part of our division’s ongoing safety initiatives, we will begin to enforce the ordinance that was adopted by the Goochland County Board of Supervisors in June of this past year that permits our school division to levy a fine when a motorist passes a bus while it is stopped and its red lights are flashing. We have installed cameras on the exterior and on the front windshield of buses on selected routes will help us to enforce the laws that prevent passing our buses. The sole intent of this initiative is to keep our students safe. I appreciate your attention to our buses while on the road.
This summer, the Goochland County School Board adopted two different policies that I want to bring to your attention. During the 2019 General Assembly session, House Bill 2384 and Senate Bill 1295 were passed, requiring all School Boards in the Commonwealth to develop and implement a policy that prohibits the use and distribution of tobacco products and nicotine products on school property and at an off-site school sponsored activities where students are present. This law and associated School Board Policy (GBEC/JFCH) approved by our Board in June applies to everyone, everywhere on campus, at all times, including school events after regular school hours. I wanted to provide you with advanced notice in case you need to plan accordingly for attending upcoming events this Fall.
In an effort to improve student attendance, the School Board also approved a revision to Policy JED. This revision to our attendance policy provides the option for a school administrator to implement an attendance improvement plan following a student’s 10th absence, even if the absences have been marked as excused. Following the 10th absence the school may require families to provide a note from a professional outlining the reasons for the student’s absence from school.
Mark Your Calendars
Mark your calendars for the many different events that will be taking place as we prepare for the start of school:
- School Board Meeting: August 13 at 5:30 p.m.
- Rising 6th Grade Parent Night: August 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- 9th Grade Orientation: August 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- 6th Grade Orientation (Eagle Evolution): August 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Preschool and Kindergarten Orientation: August 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Back to School Night for ALL Schools: August 15 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- First Day of School” August 19
I am excited about the start of another year! Please keep up with all that is happening in our division by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools). Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Jeremy Raley, Superintendent