Can you believe that we are now three quarters of the way through this school year?  With just nine weeks of school left before summer vacation, the last quarter of the year will fly by!  As we transition into the final phase of our year, I wanted to take moment to highlight some of the work that we are doing to maximize the potential of our students as we prepare them to be career ready in an ever-changing global economy.

Last week, we hosted over 57 leaders from business, industry, and high education at our fifth Business and Education Roundtable event.  This event is designed to engage in collaborative dialogue to determine what skills and talents our students will need now and in the future to be prepared for the ever-change job market.  The highlight of the event was the viewing of a video that highlights the many programs that we offer at Goochland High School including our career and technical education offerings, Advance College Academy (ACA), and Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School.  

The students who were featured in the video mingled with our guest during this event as perspectives on career readiness were shared.  I was so impressed with our scholars! The business leaders were, too, as one of our students walked away from the event with three job offers!  Take a moment to read a summary of this event as featured in Goochland on My Mind.

Dr. Hendron, our Director of Innovation and Strategy, and I recently took our 360 degree camera to Goochland Tech to highlight the breadth of programs that we offer in our career and technical education program.  We had the opportunity to interview Mr. Bruce Watson, our Director of Career and Technical Education, and even had the chance to watch our students in our Heavy Equipment Operator program in action on the dig site.  Check it out!  As you watch the video, be sure to use your mouse or your fingers to pan around and see all around.

Our desire to engage students in authentic learning experiences continues next week as every senior at Goochland High School will participate in mock interviews.  Students will have first hand experience with the process of conducting a job interview with a focus on sharing their academic experience through a digital portfolio, professional dress, and communication skills during the interview process.  Students will be provided feedback that they can use in future settings. I am very excited about providing our students with this meaningful experience!

Team Goochland is successful because of the many contributions of our staff, our families, and our community!  Thanks you for everything that you do to support our students in their academic journey! Continue to stay up to date with our division’s events by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools).  I’m looking forward to seeing you at the many events that will be taking place this Spring!

This morning, our Goochland High School agriculture program and our GCPS food service team was highlighted on Real VA for their collaboration on a farm to school initiative. Take a few moments to check out the excellent work that is taking place to provide fresh, quality produce to our students!  Thanks to Danny Allen, our Agriculture Teacher at GHS and Lisa Landrum, our Supervisor of School Nutrition Services for the excellent leadership in making this happen!  This is just another example of the awesomeness of the Goochland County Public Schools!

Laura Grace Snow was a member of the GHS Class of 2019.  She battled Juvenile Batten Disease from 3rdGrade until her death in February of 2018. Despite losing her sight during Elementary School, life was never dark for Laura Grace.  During all of those years she maintained a positive outlook on life that was infectious to everyone with whom she came in contact.

Laura Grace had a profound love for music and never missed an opportunity to perform at school talent shows.  Her favorite artist was Taylor Swift and she could sing along to almost every song. During Middle School Laura Grace and her family got the opportunity to meet another of her favorite singers, Carrie Underwood, thru the Make a Wish Foundation.

Goochland High School Senior, Savannah Slater, has been friends with Laura Grace since they were toddlers playing at Hidden Rock Park while their older brothers played baseball. Savannah has used her Senior Project to create a Scholarship in memory of Laura Grace.  She has worked with the Guidance Department, Laura Grace’s Family, and GRASP Representatives to develop a scholarship designed to open their fellow students eyes to the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Savannah has chosen to generate funds for this scholarship by creating the Laura Grace Snow Memorial Music Festival.  The Festival will include stage performances by fellow students, community choirs, and local musicians.  Commemorative T-Shirts will be available for purchase at the Festival as well as raffle tickets for some creative gift baskets donated by community members. Dinner may be purchased from the All-Night-Graduation Committee at the indoor Concession Stand.

Please join us for The Laura Grace Snow Memorial Music Festival on Saturday, March 2nd in the Goochland High School Auditorium beginning at 6pm.  Doors will open at 5pm for dinner and to purchase raffle tickets. Come out and enjoy the show.

Please join us for an opportunity to have a conversation about ideas and opportunities to strengthen inclusive, caring, and safe learning environments in our schools.  This event is a partnership between the Goochland County Public Schools, our Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee, and the Goochland Minister’s Conference of Goochland and Vicinity.  All are welcome!

 

Community Conversation with Goochland Baptist Ministers and Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee

 

 

This year, the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools has been recognized by many agencies, including the Virginia Department of Education, the Government Finance Officers Association, and Niche.com!  We have received multiple recognitions for our academic success, our security initiatives, our strong financial practices, and for meeting the needs of students with disabilities.  We are the home of strong extra-curricular programs and can tout many professional accomplishments by our employees.  Our school division is seen as a leader both inside and outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia in many ways!

These successes are the result of a supportive community, talented students, and dedicated employees who strive daily to inspire and prepare our students to make a positive impact.  This past fall, our school division’s leadership team began the process of developing an overall compensation plan that would continue to position our school division at the top of our competitive market and recognize the many contributions of our talented teammates.  After many months of discussion, this compensation plan was approved by the Goochland County School Board at its meeting on Tuesday February 12.

The highlight of the approved plan is the goal set by the Board to become the leader in overall compensation among competitive regional divisions.  This bold move affirms our school board’s commitment to recognizing the contributions of our employees through a competitive overall compensation plan that includes salary, benefits, and a collegial, collaborative work environment.  The policy also provides clarity to employees on salary placement, movement on the salary scale, salary adjustments, and stipends.

I applaud the Board for their bold leadership and for their commitment to a compensation plan that will allow our division to recruit and hire new teammates, while also retaining our current highly talented employees.  Click here to view the approved Compensation Plan.

 

It is time to recognize our finest here in Goochland County Public Schools.  In addition to the 2019 Teacher of the Year recognition, which is being coordinated by leadership in each our schools, we will again recognize our GCPS Employee of the Year, Team of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.  
 
Please take a moment and visit the links below to make your nominations by March 22.  We will recognize our teachers, employees, team, volunteer, and rookie of the year along with our retirees at our Celebration of Excellence this spring.

Parenting the Love and Logic Way®Classes Begin April 11 As parents, you have only a few years to prepare your children for a world that requires responsibility and maturity for survival. That thought alone can send shivers down your parental spine! Goochland County offers the Parenting the Love and Logic Way® education program, an interactive series of four two-hour sessions. The workshop help parents to provide a nurturing environment which encourages children to make healthy choices. It is based on a win-win approach to parenting that teaches young people how to be responsible, and parents how to establish healthy controls. WHEN: April 11, 18, 25 & May 2 5:00 pm – 7 pm WHERE: Goochland County Administration Building; Room 270 1800 Sandy Hook Rd. Goochland, VA 23063 COST: FREE- Space is limited Please contact the Goochland County Office of Children’s Services at 556-5875 or mjones@goochlandva.us to register.

The safety, security, and well-being of our students, staff, and visitors has been, and will continue to be, a priority for our school division.  Prior to the tragic events last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there were many safety processes and protocols that had already been in place.  Following this event, we planned for and implemented many more practices to increase the safety and security of our facilities and school division operations.  I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on the status of our ongoing safety initiatives.

Personnel

In mid-January, Deputy Scott Leabough began his full time assignment as School Resource Officer at Goochland Middle School.  Deputy Leabough was selected through a collaborative interview process with the school administration and the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.  He has a tremendous amount of experience that will contribute to the overall safety, security, and climate at Goochland Middle School.

We continue to strive toward meeting the many socio-emotional needs of our students.  My proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year includes a request to increase school counseling staffing at Goochland High School through the summer months as well request for a full time License Mental Health Counselor to serve as a resource for teachers and administrators and to provide direct services to students at our secondary complex.

Infrastructure and Capital Improvements

There have been many changes to access to our division’s facilities that are easily noticed by our visitors and guests.  Exterior access controls and door position sensors have been installed at strategic locations on all of our division’s facilities.  In addition to these measures, ALL exterior locks are currently in the process of being re-keyed. These devices will allow our school division to restrict and control access, while also having documentation regarding the dates, times, and locations when facilities are accessed.  Bids have been secured for the installation of cameras at our elementary schools, with installation to begin in the Spring. An additional layer of security has been added with the installation of transaction windows at both Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School. These transaction windows allow our staff and families to more efficiently handle routine transactions at our schools-dropping off items for students, sign in and sign out-while reducing traffic in our office areas and thereby minimizing risk associated with individuals moving past the secure lobby areas of the middle and high schools.

Crisis Planning and Training

Our proactive approaches to improve and increase safety and security continues through the work of our School Safety Task Force as well as our ongoing collaboration with Goochland County Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services and the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.  As a result of this collaboration, staff have been trained in bleed management techniques. In the next month, bleed management kits will be installed in strategic locations (like our AEDs) for use in a crisis situation. We continue to conduct drills with students and staff on all of our safety processes as all division-wide crisis plans have been reviewed and revised.  Future training and collaboration will focus on scenario exercises and drills that will be conducted with our different partner agencies.

Our School Safety Task Force, comprised of staff, students, and partner organizations, meets bi-monthly to discuss areas of concern, provide action items to school leadership, and gather feedback toward enhanced safety.

Safe Schools Anonymous Reporting

Please remember that we have a division-wide anonymous reporting system.  This system allows you to report any threats or concerns related to bullying anonymously via text message, website, e-mail, or phone call.  Links can be found on any school website and also here.

Threat Assessment Training for Parents

This past Fall, all of our students and staff at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School received training and awareness of our division’s threat assessment process.  Parents can also access this training at www.schoolthreatassessment.com Enter the parent code to begin:  pncwub

Transportation

Throughout the Fall, we have been working in collaboration with the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office and Goochland County Administration to develop an ordinance (pp. 140-141) that will allow our school division to issue a summons for a $250 fine to a motorist who does not obey the flashing lights on our buses when stopped.  We are able to complete this process now that exterior and dash cameras have been installed on the routes where this happens the most. The Goochland County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on this Ordinance tomorrow (February 5) at 7:00 p.m.

Although we initiated and completed many safety initiatives in the past 12 months, we do not want to become complacent.  Your feedback, recommendations, and thoughts on areas of improvement or concern are always welcome. Please feel free to contact me via phone, e-mail, or in person when you see me at many of our division’s events.  Thank you, as always, for everything that you do to support the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools!

 

 

On Tuesday evening, I presented the Goochland County School Board with a balanced, needs-based budget that provides the personnel and resources that will move our school division forward on our journey to maximize the potential of every learner.  The initiatives outlined in this proposed budget align with our strategic plan and are aimed at maintaining our position as a leader in the Commonwealth.

The full presentation is available here, and the following includes a summary of the different aspects of the proposed budget.

Goal 1:  Prepared for Life through Deeper Learning

  • 1 English teacher at Goochland High School
  • 1 math teacher at Goochland Middle School
  • 1 division-wide mental health counselor
  • Increasing one school counselor contract at Goochland High School from 11 months to 12 months
  • Maintaining administrative intern and assistant athletic director stipends at Goochland High School, Dean of Students stipend at Goochland Middle School, adding a division-wide lead school nurse stipend and senior project advisor stipend at GHS
  • Additional funding for dual enrollment, Advance College Academy, and Maggie Walker tuition
  • Increase funding for instructional materials and supplies at each school
  • Additional funding for Career and Technical Education and Robotics
  • Funding to support students taking online, virtual courses
  • Assistance to provide equitable field trip experiences for all preschool through fifth grade students
  • Summer enrichment camp experiences for students
  • Funding for additional classroom software
  • Initiatives to support students in alternative education settings

Goal 2:  Improved School Climate – Attract and retain quality teachers and staff

In December 2018, Governor Northam presented his proposed budget for consideration by the General Assembly.  His proposal included funding for the state share of a 5% raise.  In order to receive this additional state funding, localities must provide a minimum average raise of 5% “during the 2018-2020 biennium, either in the first year or in the second year or through a combination of the two years” (slide 45).  Should the Governor’s plan be approved, our division will be the beneficiary of some additional funding for the state share of this initiative. It is, however, important to note that the vast majority of funding (69%) for our division’s personnel, instructional, and operational budget comes directly from funds provided to us from funds appropriated to us by the Goochland County Board of Supervisors, not the state (slide 74).

Providing all of our employees with an overall competitive compensation plan is a priority in this proposed budget and aligns with the proposed compensation plan that the School Board is currently considering.  This policy, under consideration by the Board, includes the goal of becoming “the leader in overall compensation among competitive regional divisions”.  My recommended budget includes a proposed 3% raise for all employees.  This proposed raise, in conjunction with the 2% raise that employees received this year, will allow us to receive the additional state funding referenced in the Governor’s proposal.

This will help us to retain the incredibly talented professionals we currently have and to attract exceptional candidates when vacancies occur.  The budget includes a total of $814,028 in funding for salary improvement, funding for revisions to certain classified salary scales (professional support staff & bus driver) and administrative scales, and funding for salary scale adjustments.  Drafts of the proposed revisions to specific salary scales will be presented to the Board at their February 5 budget work session.

This proposal includes funding that will allow the school division to absorb the projected increase in health insurance premiums. This means no increase in out of pocket health insurance costs to employees who choose our high deductible plan or our $500 deductible plan (slide 54).  This is important in our ability to remain competitive in attracting and retaining the most talented educators, as other neighboring governments may pass some or all of any increase in health insurance premiums to their employees.

One further employee benefit that is outlined in the proposed budget is an increase in funding for recruiting initiatives and a plan for subsidizing preschool opportunities for employees’ children if there are slots available in the programs at our elementary schools.  These initiatives should help us retain our most talented and reliable employees as we strive to be responsive to the changing needs of our workforce.

Goal 3 – Safe Schools with Effective Management

  • Increasing staffing in the central office Finance Department
  • Funding for software needed for division-wide operations
  • Additional funding for utilities and the maintenance of facilities

In addition to the personnel resources and programs identified for us to accomplish our strategic objectives as outlined above, this proposed budget includes opportunities for us to re-purpose and reallocate current resources by abandoning specific practices and processes, thus allowing us to use the funds previously allocated to these practices to fund our strategic needs.  These recommendations are outlined on slide 63.

In all, the proposed budget for next year includes additional expenditures in the amount of $1,298,689 or 4%.  Overall, 70.3% of next year’s budgeted expenditures will be focused on our instructional program with another 7.7% in Technology.  These additional expenditures are offset by new revenue from state, Federal, and local sources. The proposed increase in funding from the Goochland County Board of Supervisors is in the amount of $740,000. Total funding from our local government for the fiscal year is up 3.3% and is at a projected $23,330,000.

Through our budget process, there were programmatic and personnel needs that have been identified, but are currently unfunded in this proposal.  These needs were given very careful consideration. If additional revenue is available in the future, the following needs have risen to the next level of funding priority for future consideration (slide 77):

  • CTE teacher for Secondary Complex
  • Subscription of No Red Ink for GMS and GHS
  • Instructional technology coach
  • Funding for furniture replacement
  • Part time compensation and human resources analyst

In summary, this proposed spending plan for next year provides the resources to support our journey toward continued excellence as we ensure that we are providing ALL of our students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities that are so crucial for students to become successful members of a modern global community.

Several public meetings will be taking place in the coming weeks as the School Board and the Board of Supervisors make final budget decisions for next year.

  • February 5th – School Board Budget Work Session – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6  p.m.
  • February 12th – Public Hearing on School Board Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 6:30 p.m.
  • February 26th – School Board Approves 2019-2020 Budget – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6:30  p.m.
  • March 5th – Presentation of School Board Approved Budget to Goochland County Board of Supervisors – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 6th – Districts 4 and 5 Town Hall – Hermitage Country Club – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 13th – Districts 2 and 3 Town Hall – Central High School Cultural and Education Complex – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 18th – District 1 Town Hall – Company 4 Fire House – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 2nd – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 16th – Board of Supervisors Approve County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.

I hope that you are able to attend.  As always, please let me know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding anything contained in this proposed budget.