Wow!  The first half of this year has gone by fast!  It has been fast, but it has been successful in many ways.  Our school division continues to shine inside and outside of the classroom and we remain a leader as our students and staff have represented our division in many ways at district, regional, and state events.  Our results have led us to being recognized by Niche as the 8th best school division in the state!  This accomplishment is made possible by the skills and talent of our dedicated workforce who strive every day to maximize the potential of every learner.  In addition, this success is the result of a supportive School Board and community that values excellence.

As we ended our first semester, there has been a lot of amazing work taking place in our schools!  In early December, our students were provided opportunities to write code during activities in classrooms across our division.  Students at Goochland Elementary used Ozobots for their coding experience.  Students at Byrd Elementary School demonstrated their communication skills during their social studies fair.  These scholars conducted research on a history topic of their choosing and shared their knowledge with their classmates and visitors.  Both Goochland Elementary and Randolph Elementary collaborated on conducting a World’s Faire.  These students researched a country and spent time collaborating and sharing information about the culture, climate, food, and other important information with their peers.  We continue to provide our students with opportunities that will prepare them for future success!

Students at Byrd Elementary at the Social Studies Fair

I am proud to have the opportunity to work alongside the talented members of Team Goochland!  All of our employees are working to provide our students with positive experiences in every aspect of our division’s operations.  I witnessed this dedication as I recently rode along on a bus route serving Randolph Elementary Students and served lunch at Goochland Middle School.  Our administrative staff continues to strive for excellence as well.  I had the pleasure of conducting instructional rounds with our principals and instructional staff.  We observed classes together and were able to have engaging, reflective dialogue focused on developing a common understanding of successful teaching practices.

Dr. Raley rides with students from RES

Dr. Raley serves lunch at GMS

We have some impressive students!  Did you know that students at Byrd Elementary School raised over $2,000 to benefit charities in Goochland County?  This announcement was made at their recent winter concert where they celebrated and recognized the contributions of volunteers and public servants in our community.  What a great night for Goochland!  There is nothing like spending an evening listening to music performed by our high school bands and choirs to get you ready for the holiday season.  Thank you to our students and staff for sharing your talents with our community!  Your performances were most impressive!

BES holiday performance donation

Don’t forget to check out our reminders about inclement weather changes at http://goochlandschools.org/2016/11/21/inclement-weather-procedures-2016-2017/, and be ready for winter weather which will likely be on the way soon.  Please continue to stay up to date with our division’s weather closings, delays, and events by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org.  

Our students and staff have been have been working hard every day inside and outside of our classrooms!  There is no doubt that everyone has earned some need time to rest and take a break from our normal school routines.  As we prepare for some time away from school, I want to thank you for an extremely successful first half of our school year.  I sincerely hope that you and your family have a joyous holiday season!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

  

It’s hard to believe that December has arrived and we are nearing the halfway mark of the school year here in GCPS.  Although December is a short month with our students beginning their winter break at the end of the day on Friday, December 16, we have many events taking place that I am sure you will want to know about in the two weeks ahead.

This week, Byrd Elementary will hold their winter performance at Goochland High School on Monday, December 5.  Goochland Elementary will take the stage at GHS for their winter performance on Wednesday, December 7 at 6:30, and Goochland Middle School’s band and choral winter concert will take place on Thursday at 7:00 in the auditorium.  

Next week, Goochland High School will hold their band and choral concert on Monday, December 12 at 6:30 and their dance recital on Wednesday, December 14 at 6:00 p.m.  Finally, you can catch Randolph Elementary grades 2-5 performing on Thursday, December 15 at Goochland High beginning at 6:30.  We hope you come see our talent in action as we celebrate this season in Goochland.

Also next week, the Goochland County School Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m.  We are now developing our budget for 2017-2018 and hope to receive your feedback.  One opportunity to provide your feedback will be during the public comment period at the December 13 board meeting.  Come and let us know what you feel our division needs to prioritize as we grow and continue to prepare our students to make a positive impact.

Fall sports came to a finish this weekend as our Goochland Bulldog football team saw their season conclude in the VHSL Group 2A state semifinals.  Congratulations to our players, coaches, and staff for another fantastic season that we are all very proud of.  Our student athletes, coaches, and staff had a superb fall season, from football to volleyball to cheer to cross country to theatre to scholastic bowl.  These teams went deep in their district and regional contests.  Winter sports are now in full swing!  Come support our basketball, wrestling, swim, and forensics teams who are now entering the regular season.

Goochland Middle Schools’ “Tiger Trackers” Robotics Team competed this weekend in the state competition, and this past week I had the opportunity to judge some amazing art work from our elementary students at an event that came together thanks to our PTA and community volunteers.  Thanks to our art teaching staff and to the community support that made this happen for our kids.  

If you have not done so already, PLEASE go to https://www.michaelandson.com/jingle-submissions/ and vote for Goochland Elementary’s entry into the “2016 jingle contest”.  It could earn $5,000 for GES!  We have some future superstars at GES who you can see in action, too.  

Don’t forget to check out our reminders about inclement weather changes at http://goochlandschools.org/2016/11/21/inclement-weather-procedures-2016-2017/, and be ready for winter weather which will likely be on the way soon.  Please continue to stay up to date with our division’s weather closings, delays, and events by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org   Have a great week!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

This week, school divisions across the nation are recognizing the significant contributions of public school employees.  American Education Week provides us, as a school division, with an opportunity to celebrate public education in our own community.  Goochland County Public Schools has A LOT to celebrate!  There are multiple measures that point toward the continuation of our school division’s tradition of academic excellence.  We continue to make progress in the quality and depth of instruction that our school division is providing to our students and we are recognized as a leader in engaging our students with authentic learning experiences!  Many of our staff have been actively involved in professional presentations at the state and national level and have also been published in professional publications.

Goochland is the home of a State Technology Teacher of the Year and State Champions in Volleyball and Tennis!  On a multitude of student performance measures, we outshine our colleagues from across the Commonwealth!  We are also proud of our recognition as an Apple Distinguished Program and the accomplishments of Byrd Elementary as a Distinguished Title I School and Goochland Middle School as a School to Watch!  Our division has also been recognized by the Government Finance Officer Association for excellence in preparing our annual budget.

These successes come as a direct result of the countless hours all of our employees have dedicated to our school division.  Each day, our entire instructional team works together to provide an academic atmosphere where students will be empowered to collaborate with their peers, think critically about content, solve problems, be creative, and communicate with others in a variety of ways.  

Transportation employees are the first face that our children see after they leave their homes and ensure the safe transportation of our children to and from school.  Our custodial and maintenance employees provide a safe, clean, and comfortable place to work and learn.  Food service employees provide the nourishment our students need in order to be ready to learn, while our school nurses meet the varied medical needs of a diverse student body.  School counselors provide the support and direction students need to forge a path toward career readiness.  School-level and central office administrative and support staff provide leadership and take care of many important jobs so teachers can focus on the business of teaching.  

There is no doubt that you are inspiring our students, our next generation, to make a positive impact on the world around them.  I am proud of the work all of you are doing to create globally competent, world-ready students who are the future leaders of our community, our state, our nation, and our world.  The talents and skills you share, as Team Goochland, with our students allow our division to be successful now, and will enable us to be excellent well into the future!  Thank you for making a difference!

Jeremy J. Raley, Superintendent

As Goochland County Public Schools celebrates American Education Week, we want to express our appreciation to the employees of our school division for the work they do for the students they serve each and every day!  In the fast-paced, hectic world, we fail to take the time to stop and reflect on the critically important work that we, as a school division, are doing. The fact is, every day, our talented employees are inspiring and preparing our students, our next generation, to make a positive impact.

Throughout every school day, GCPS employees have opportunities to impact the lives of the students who board our buses, eat in our cafeterias, feel safe in our facilities, and benefit from the many different services we offer. The experiences and lessons our employees provide our children serve as the foundation for future success of our county, state, nation, and world.  Our community is the beneficiary of our employees’ work with our students!

Goochland County Public Schools is a leader in public education and we have achieved success in a multitude of settings. None of our success would be possible without the dedication and talents of our exceptional employees. Our employees are role models who diligently labor every day for the students in Goochland County.  In the word of William Butler Yeats, our employees are not “filling a pail,” but are “lighting a fire.” They are lighting a fire in our students that we hope will burn for years to come in the form of educated citizens who shape the future as educators, health care providers, public safety officials, mechanics, engineers, and community leaders.

Author Jim Collins writes, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” We encourage our community to join us this week, Nov 14 – Nov 18, in expressing our thanks to all of our GCPS employees as we maximize the potential of all of our learners and ensure that our students have the skills, knowledge, and opportunities they will need to become successful members of a global community.  It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this community where such dedicated people give their talents and efforts to ensure our students experience success.

Thank you GCPS employees for everything you do!

Kevin Hazzard, Chairman, District 2

Beth Hardy, Vice Chair, District 4

Mike Payne, District 1

John Lumpkins, District 3

John Wright, District 5

We are now well into our second nine weeks of school and November is here.  The weeks ahead leading into the holidays will be filled with many special events both in our schools and in our community.  We have many things to celebrate and look forward to in GCPS that I am excited to share with you in today’s message.

Last week, I had the chance to participate in the Byrd Elementary School physical education activity that featured our students using their fancy footwork to escape the “spiders”  in Ms. Hall’s amazing obstacle course.  The excitement of our students and the work and energy that Ms. Hall puts into her class is truly amazing!

Students at Byrd ES in p.e. class

Our 8th graders visited the Richmond International Raceway for the Chamber RVA “Mission Tomorrow” program, which included over 10,000 8th graders from across the region learning about career options and preparation with hands-on activities, informational materials, and demonstrations from hundreds of organizations and businesses.  This was a great experience for our 8th graders to start thinking about their future and of being career ready.

This past weekend, I had the chance to chaperone a 6th grade trip sponsored by the James River Association to Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, where Goochland Middle School students and chaperones had an overnight experience exploring nature, being out on the James River, and getting the most hands-on learning you can imagine.  I am grateful to the James River Association for their support and we hope to continue to work with them to give more students this unique experience in the future.

Students at GMS doing water experiments on the James River

On Monday, I rode a bus route with one of our talented and dedicated drivers, Tracey Guy, to experience first hand the work our bus drivers and transportation staff do to get our kids safely to and from school each day, covering hundreds of miles across our county.  Transporting our most precious cargo each day is a job that requires skill, patience, and most importantly care for kids. Thank you to our bus drivers and transportation staff for the great work that you do every day for our students!

Dr. Raley rides a school bus

We have an exciting two weeks ahead, starting this weekend with the GHS Drama Department production of “Treasure Island” tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday.  Our Drama Department is one of many programs experiencing great success this fall.  Our defending state champion girls volleyball team clinched a spot in the regional playoffs this week,  football completed an undefeated season and will have a bye this weekend before playoffs begin next week,  Girls and boys cross country both won their conference.  Competition cheer won the conference championship, and we sent several golfers to the regional playoffs.  Congratulations to ALL of our athletic and extracurricular groups!

On Wednesday November 9, I will be announcing the winners of the inaugural GCPS Strategic Innovation Grants, all made possible through a collaboration with the school division and the Goochland Education Foundation.  Look for news on social media and on the website with information on Thursday.  Don’t forget that American Education Week is the week of November 14.  We will host several community leaders and invited guests all week at all of our schools.  All citizens are invited to visit our schools during the week of November 14 to celebrate public education in our community and recognize the exceptional work of all of our employees.  A list of the events that will be taking place can be found at this site.  We are proud to welcome you to see the great things happening in Goochland County Public Schools!

We will also hold our monthly GCPS School Board meeting this Tuesday, November 8, beginning with a policy workshop and closed session at 5, followed by the general meeting at 7:00.  All meetings will take place in the County Administration Board Room.

Please 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).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org   Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

It is hard to believe that we now have one quarter of the school year behind us!  This past Monday, our teachers engaged in some rejuvenating professional development to prepare for the second nine weeks, which promises to be as exciting as our first quarter.

One of my favorite activities of the past two weeks has been taking time to speak to groups of students at all of our schools.  I am impressed with the quality and depth of the honest feedback our students provide, from our middle school students at GMS to our second graders at Byrd who told me their school is “5 star” when I met with them this past Wednesday.  It is a pleasure to interact with our students, but it is also very practical.  I take the feedback I receive from our students and incorporate it into the work we do as a leadership team at the district and building level.  I look forward to continuing these conversations with students at the high school and Randolph Elementary in the days ahead.  Preparing our next generation to make a positive impact starts with listening to student voice.

Students at Byrd Elementary School

I also enjoyed working alongside our talented food service employees today as I had the opportunity to serve lunch to our students at Randolph Elementary School.  I am continually impressed by the variety and the healthy offering provided by our food service employees.  It was a privilege to have the opportunity to spend time with these dedicated employees!

Dr. Raley serves lunch at Randolph Elementary

Goochland Middle School students were featured at yesterday’s Virginia School Boards Associate “Hot Topic” conference, where they showcased their digital documentation skills for school board representatives and administrators from across the region and state.  You can see a video of their work here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2RoczxiFfSkZVJ2RXc5NkttaU0/view

In other student events, our GHS drama department, led by Mr. Burch, placed first at the James River district theatre festival this week.  Our 8th graders will attend the Mission Tomorrow event, sponsored by Chamber RVA, and join nearly 12,000 other students in the region to explore the largest interactive career exploration event the state has seen at the Richmond International Raceway next weekend.  Fall sports teams continue to excel on and off the field.  Our sportsmanship was highlighted in USA Today after the frightening on-field collision that sent three Buckingham football players to the hospital, bringing both teams together to support their fellow players and ending the game.  I am happy to report that everyone was released from the hospital the following day.  Our athletes are more than players, they are true role models on and off the field.  

We are preparing to welcome members of our community to see the great work happening in our schools during American Education Week the week of November 14!  I will have more details available on my next message about all of the activities taking place.  Check our district website, Twitter, and Facebook to stay updated on this as well as all of our happenings here in Goochland.

Did you know that our school division has an ibook?  This book, Deeper Learning by Design, details the implementation of our 1:1 technology program and our approach to use technology as a tool to enhance student’s deeper learning experiences.  Our ibook can be downloaded for FREE  by clicking here.

Our School Board and Board of Supervisors will conclude their Town Hall meetings next week on Monday, October 24 with District 1 at Byrd Elementary starting at 7:00 p.m.  All of these meetings are public and you are welcome to attend.  

Again, please 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).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org   Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

As we begin to close in on the end of our school division’s first nine weeks of school, I continue to be impressed with the innovative and engaging instruction that is taking place in our schools every day.  As I walk through classrooms, I see students who are eager to learn and teachers who are working hard to facilitate instructional opportunities where students can have deep and enriching learning experiences with their content.  The teaching and learning that is taking place in our school division is amazing!

October will be a busy month with many different activities taking place.  Our School Board will have its regular monthly meeting on on Tuesday October 11 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the County Government Center.  Additionally, our School Board and Board of Supervisors will be conducting Town Hall meetings beginning next week.  All of these meetings are public and you are welcome to attend.  

  • District 4/District 5 – Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Hermitage Country Club, 1248 Hermitage Road, Manakin-Sabot, VA
  • District 2/District 3 – Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Goochland Library, 3075 River Road West, Goochland, VA
  • District 1 – Monday, October 24, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Byrd Elementary School 2704 Hadensville-Fife Road, Goochland, VA

We will also hold a teacher professional development day on Monday, October 17.  This will be a student holiday and there will be no school for students.

This month, our school division will also be focusing on proactive measures to promote awareness of school bullying and will be working in collaboration with parents, students, and our community to recognize the programs and initiatives that we are currently implementing to provide our students with a safe learning environment.  Many of these activities can be found on our school websites and Twitter feeds.  One of our highlights is the work that is being done at Goochland Middle School by our Bully Prevention Team.  This group of students serve as ambassadors to work with their peers to reduce the prevalence of bullying.  GMS kicked off their bully prevention activities on October 6 with messages from students, Ms. Rucker, and Mr. Collier.  Students were challenged to be a H.E.R.O (Help Everyone Respect Others) and to have the Courage to let a responsible adult know if there are situations where bullying is taking place.

Bully Prevention at GMS

We had a fantastic homecoming at Goochland High School last week.  Homecoming activities on Friday featured a live broadcast by Candice Smith at NBC 12.  Check out this highlight video!  Congratulations, also, to Debbie White, our Director of Finance, for earning National Recognition for her work in preparing our school division’s budget.  Ms. White was recognized for the fourth year in a row by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for her expertise.    

Please 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).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org   Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

I am excited to welcome the start of what promises to be a beautiful fall here in Goochland.  In my visits to schools in the past two weeks, it is clear that the energy of the start to the school year only grows as our teachers and students continue to amaze me with their engaged instruction centered around deeper learning. Just this week I toured all 5 regions of Virginia at Randolph Elementary in their 4th grade “Virginia Day”, a tradition that includes student-created work on iPads, hands on learning, and a lot of fun for students and staff alike.

NBC12 reporter Candice Smith spoke to our Goochland Middle students this week as well.  Ms. Smith will be back next week on September 30 bright and early at Goochland High School broadcasting live at 6:00 a.m. to showcase that Goochland spirit.  Tune in to NBC channel 12 to see our school, students, teachers, band, and athletics in this community highlight.  Friday’s broadcast will be a great end to homecoming week at Goochland High School.  Our students and staff will show their spirit all week leading up to Friday night’s game against Prince Edward at 7:00 p.m.  I hope to see you there.

Partners in the Arts’ (PIA) Engaging Creative Thinkers Awards support interdisciplinary projects that integrate creativity in the classroom while serving as models of partnership among schools, school divisions, artists, arts organizations, and community professionals.“  Last spring a team of teachers at Goochland Middle School, led by Ms. Happy Krickovic and Ms. Amanda Tolson, came together to design an amazing learning opportunity for students and develop an associated PIA proposal.  In the days leading up to the close of the school year, Ms. Krickovic and Ms. Tolson received word that their team’s proposal was accepted and would be fully funded by Partners in the Arts ($5,000). The official in-person award was made last week, and implementation plans for the team’s project are underway.  Ms. Krickovic and Ms. Tolson’s proposal focuses on a cross-curricular (history, English & visual arts), project-based learning experience for students — one focused on Thomas Jefferson and his impact on both local and American history.

Goochland Public Schools is excited to be the recipient of a 100 thousand dollar School Security Equipment Grant from the Virginia Department of Education.  This grant will fund improvements to the phone and intercom systems at all three of our elementary schools.  We are excited to implement these improvements toward improving safety in our schools.  

This week, our school division, in partnership with the Goochland Education Foundation launched the announcement of our first-ever Strategic Innovation Grants.  These grants are designed to encourage innovative instructional design in our classrooms by providing funding for ideas that will support engaging learning experiences for our students.  Our goal is to encourage research and development on cutting edge instructional practices that will provide our students with the skills and abilities that are needed for success in an ever-changing global market.  I am thankful for the generous support of the Foundation and for the School Board for their approval of this exciting work.

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).  Stay current with all of the great things happening in our schools at our division leadership blog at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org.  We are looking forward to seeing you at these events in the near future. Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent