At its meeting earlier this week on Tuesday December 10, the Goochland County School Board approved the instructional calendars for the next three academic years.  Highlights of each of the three calendars include:

  • First day of school two weeks prior to Labor Day
  • Periodic breaks throughout the year for teacher professional days aligned with interim reports and the end of the nine weeks grading period
  • One designated fall parent conference day
  • No school on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • Full two weeks of winter break
  • Spring break during the first full week of April to align with neighboring school divisions
  • Early dismissal on the last day before winter break and the last day of school
  • 180 instructional days for students
  • Designated make up days if needed

These approved calendars can be viewed in greater detail here:

 

Last night, the Goochland County Board of Supervisors approved our division’s request for a conditional use permit to build a 650 student replacement Goochland Elementary School at the corner of Bulldog Way and Steeplechase Parkway. This was a significant step forward in a lengthy process that will ultimately result in the projected opening of our new school in August 2024. Thank you to our community members who participated in this public process. I am also grateful to the Supervisors and the Planning Commission for their support of this application.

The next step on this journey is to secure the architect and engineering firm who will lead our community through the process of designing our new elementary school. At the same time, we will be advertising for the services of a demographer or other third party consultant to lead us through the transparent process of adjusting our attendance boundaries that will be effective when the new GES opens in 2024. It is our goal to advertise for both of these services in August 2020 and to have the firms selected by the School Board’s November 2020 meeting.

I will certainly keep everyone informed every step of the way. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to participate in the process in the future.

 

Location of new Goochland Elementary School

Budget season has begun!  I am in the midst of collecting feedback to help me prepare my upcoming budget request.  Again this year, I am seeking your perspective regarding ideas that you may have for budget initiatives as well as opportunities for efficiency.  Please take a moment to share your thoughts with me via this survey.  I welcome your thoughts, comments, and perspective.  Results of this survey will be shared with the School Board at their upcoming meeting on November 12, 2019.

Now that our new school year is in full swing, it is time for us to make preparations for the approval of our division’s future instructional calendars.  Since August, I have been working in collaboration with members of our administrative team to discuss potential drafts. Yesterday, I shared these drafts with my Superintendent’s Leadership Team, consisting of parents and teachers from each of our five schools.  Like past and current calendars, the focus of these future draft calendars is on our instructional goal to maximize each student’s academic potential through engaging experiences and deeper learning.

Although there are some very minor differences in each version, each calendar follows a similar structure to that of our current calendar.  Highlights of each of the three calendars include:

  • First day of school two weeks prior to Labor Day
  • Periodic breaks throughout the year for teacher professional days aligned with interim reports and the end of the nine weeks grading period
  • One designated fall parent conference day
  • No school on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • Full two weeks of winter break
  • Spring break during the first full week of April to align with neighboring school divisions
  • Early dismissal on the last day before winter break and the last day of school
  • 180 instructional days for students
  • Designated make up days if needed

Please take a moment to review the drafts for the next three school years.

Keep in mind that these calendars truly are drafts.  Please feel free to send me a message, give me a call, or stop me when you see me opening cars in the morning or at our many different school events.  I welcome your thoughts and comments. It is my goal to provide the School Board with my recommendation for their consideration at their meeting on November 12, 2019.   No action will be taken until the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on December 10, 2019.

 

Tonight, is the first home varsity football game of the 2019 season.  Our football team and our marching band will have the pleasure of performing for the first time in their new band uniforms on our newly renovated field.  Cheerleaders will be encouraging our Bulldogs while standing on a new track surface.  Tonight is going to be a special night in so many ways!

Newly renovated track and field and goochland high school

There is something special about a Friday night home football game under the lights!  Home football games in small communities like ours provide the opportunity for us to see friends and neighbors that we have not seen in a while, catch up with classmates, and to put our unified support behind our Bulldogs who have been working all summer to showcase their talents.

Thank you to the coaches, parents, volunteers, custodians, administrators, and maintenance staff who have dedicated countless hours to get ready for our Bulldog’s home debut tonight.  Thank you to our School Board and Board of Supervisors who have funded and supported these needed renovations to Bulldog Stadium! Thank you to the Goochland High School Band  and Athletic Boosters for the abundant support of time and additional financial resources to provide what our students need to be successful.  The support that our school division receives through our community’s investment of time, talent, and resources is why we are continually recognized as one of the premier school divisions in the Commonwealth!

I am hoping for a large crowd tonight!  It’s going to be a picture perfect Fall evening perfect for football!  Go Bulldogs!

Our school division is planning for our future!  Over the course of the past few months, our staff has been taking preliminary steps to create a roadmap for the work that will take place over the course of the next six years.  Our current strategic plan is due to expire in June 2020.  We need your guidance and input as we shape the future of the Goochland County Public Schools!  Help us plan what the next six years looks like for inspiring our next generation to make a positive impact. We want to hear from our community about what you value in our school division. We also want to hear from you about what we might change, add, or take away from our programs to help us maximize the potential of every learner. Please join us at one or more of the following planned events to help us forge the next six years of our school division’s history! Please join us at these public input sessions.  All meetings begin at 6:00 p.m.  Everyone is welcome!
  • Thursday October 17 – GHS/GMS Secondary Complex – 3250 River Road W.
  • Tuesday October 22 – Hadensville Fire House – Company 6 – 4810 Three Chopt Road
  • Tuesday October 29 – Goochland Rec Center – 2415 Sandy Hook Road
  • Wednesday November 6 – Randolph Elementary School – 1552 Sheppard Town Road
  • Thursday November 14 – Byrd Elementary School – 2704 Hadensville-Fife Road

John Budesky, Goochland County Administrator, recently announced the county’s 10 Steps to Broadband Internet Initiatives.  One of these initiatives includes the creation of a dedicated webpage to serve as a broadband internet resource with updates on the county’s progress, contact information for providers, and an interactive form to report broadband and cellular issues.

Our school division is collaborating with the county on this initiative.  In addition to the access that is provided free of charge for Kajeet hotspot devices through a grant funded by the Goochland Education Foundation, qualifying families who reside within Comcast service area may be able to access low cost internet services.  For more information about this potential opportunity, click here:

Internet Essentials from Comcast

Please share this opportunity with students, neighbors, friends, and families who you feel may be interested.

As our division begins the planning process to build a new Goochland Elementary School in the coming years, I wanted to extend an invitation to you to attend a community meeting regarding our school division’s request for a conditional use permit, as required by Goochland County, for the construction of a the new Goochland Elementary School to be situated on the property located at the corner of Bulldog Way and Steeplechase Parkway near the intersection of Bulldog Way and Sandy Hook Road.

Plans are to begin construction in the summer of 2022 and to open the new school for the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year. Road improvements are proposed to accompany the construction of the school to facilitate additional traffic.  The community meeting to discuss our school division’s request to build the new Goochland Elementary School on this site will be held on Tuesday September 24 at 6:30 p.m in the cafeteria at Goochland Elementary SchoolThis meeting is open to the public.  School division and other county staff will be available to answer any questions attendees may have.  At this meeting, we will have copies of the plan and visuals for all to review.  

Proposed site concept for New GES

Potential Campus Improvements

Potential Parking Lot GMS and GHS

 The focus of the meeting on September 24 will be on our request for a Condition Use Permit.  This is the first of many steps that we will take as we prepare to open our new school in five years.  As a part of the ongoing planning process, our future work will involve us partnering with our community to engage in a transparent process to conduct school boundary adjustments in order to reduce overcrowding at other elementary schools.  No timeline for this process has been established at this time.  When this process is formalized, we will be sure to provide notice to our community using multiple methods as we will be eager to engage as many parents, citizens, and interested parties in the process as possible. 

I hope that you are able to join us as we begin this exciting journey!

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:

The second day of school at Byrd Elementary Students at Goochland Elementary School having a snowball fight Students at Randolph Elementary School in the library Students at Goochland Middle School painting Students at Goochland High School in math class

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 Standards of Learning (SOL) performance exceeds the SOL performance of students across the state in every subject area! 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 students with opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of their content in ways that provide connections to authentic experiences in the world outside of school. 

This week, we received notification that we earned a PERFECT score on the Virginia Department of Education Annual Special Education Performance Report! We met expectations on ALL 40 indicators! This is just another example of the excellence of our school division!  Many thanks to Jennifer Waggener, our Executive Director for Exceptional Education, our special education teachers, our regular education teachers, our instructional assistants, and our administrative team for making this possible! In Goochland, we truly maximize the potential of EVERY learner! 

I have enjoyed greeting our parents and students in the morning at all of our campuses.  It’s great to see everyone again! As you see me at events and activities this year, please stop by to say hello.  I’d love to hear about how the school year is going! 

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: http://leadership.goochlandschools.org.  We have had a great first week of school!  I’m looking forward to week two!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent