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:

Students at Randolph Elementary School view the solar eclipse on the first day of school

Students designing and collaborating at Goochland Elementary School

Students at Byrd Elementary School working in the library

Students hard at work in Mr. Frago's classroom at Goochland Middle School

Students in Ms. Exum's classroom at Goochland High School

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 performance exceeds the performance of students across the state on every measure!  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 student with opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of their content in ways provide connections to authentic experiences in the world outside of school.

As we work to prepare our students to be world ready, it is important that we provide them with the digital tools that they will need to be successful as global learners.  This year, we are deploying MacBook Air devices to every student at Goochland High School.  This distribution began yesterday and will near completion today.  By the end of this week our students at the secondary complex will have had the opportunity to receive their own device, with middle school students receiving their own ipad.  Next week, we will begin the distribution of devices to students in our elementary schools.  

Passing out MacBook Air devices at Goochland High School

This year, we will also be providing students in first and second grade with their own ipad, to be kept at school.  It is our goal to have these devices in classrooms by the end of the first semester.  By the end of the first semester, we will have expanded our 1:1 initiative beyond grades 3-8 so that students in grades 1-12 will have access to their device.  I am proud of the work our technology team and for the support of our community that has allowed the implementation of this 1:1 program to be successful.  It is one of many things that makes our division stand out above the rest!

We are committed to continual growth and improvement in every department in our organization.  In that spirit, we continue to work with individual families to fine tune our bus routes and make adjustments in an effort to increase student safety and reduce ride times where possible.  This past week, pick-up and drop-off times have been adjusted on many routes in order to reduce the amount of time that students are riding to and from school.  We will continue to evaluate our routes and make adjustments where we can in the future.  I am thankful for your patience and your feedback as we have all worked together through this transition.  

This week, the steering committee, consisting of representatives from many community stakeholder groups from our community spent three hours pouring over enrollment and facility data to evaluate potential options for our division’s long term facility master plan.  This committee has agreed to forward four different options to be reviewed by our community at the next meeting to be held on Tuesday September 5 at 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at Goochland Middle School.  An additional community meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday September 6 in the multi-purpose room at Byrd Elementary School for families who are not able to make the event on September 5.  A website has been developed that includes all of the information that has been shared with the steering committee to date.  Please remember that these meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

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!

 

 

The start of another school year is just a few hours away!  As summer draws to a close, we turn to the excitement and anticipation that a fresh start brings.  A new school year provides us with the opportunity to experience new routines, meet different friends, and gain new experiences.  Although it’s definitely a time of rejuvenation and optimism, I expect that there are some who are anxious about new class schedules and some of the unknowns associated with another academic year.  There are definitely many different emotions for us all as we get ready for Monday morning.   

Team Goochland looks forward to engaging our students in meaningful, personalized, authentic, fun, and exciting learning opportunities this year!  We look forward to greeting our students, getting to know them, and we are optimistic about working to provide every child with an exceptional academic experience!  Everyone on our team is committed to continuing our division’s proud tradition of excellence and maximizing the potential of EVERY learner.  

We are excited about the changes that our students will experience as they enter our classrooms this year.  This summer, our teachers have been actively involved in multiple professional development activities, all geared toward providing our students with deeper learning opportunities that will ultimately prepare them to be world-ready.  Some classrooms have been outfitted with new furniture that will allow for flexibility in the classroom arrangement that will result in a more comfortable learning space for students.  Every school bus on our regular routes has been outfitted with four cameras with the goal of increasing student safety.  There have been cosmetic enhancements at many facilities and renovations of the HVAC system at Byrd Elementary is now complete.  Our custodial and maintenance teams have done an exceptional job preparing our facilities: classrooms are clean, walls are refreshed, and floors sparkle!  Thank you to these talented professionals for a job well done!

For the past ten weeks, many of our school buses have been absent from our roadways.  As we prepare for the first day of school, there will be an increase in traffic in and around our school campuses.  Please remember to watch out for students standing at bus stops, our school buses and their lights and signs, and pedestrians on our school campuses.    

As a public school division, we welcome ALL students into our schools every day regardless of their background.  It is one of the many reasons why I am very proud to be a public educator!  As public school educators, we provide EVERY student with the academic and skill based experiences that they need to be career ready.  As we do this work, we provide students with experiences that allow them to have a deeper understanding about the importance of history, civic responsibility, diversity, tolerance, and sense of community.  Our talented and dedicated educators stand ready to continue to model these ideals in our daily work with students.  

Our core values are a reflection of what we, as citizens of Goochland County, value and are central to the work that we do every day as educators to inspire our students to make a positive impact in our world.  The opening of another year allows us to focus on these principles yet again.  Personal responsibility and character are at the heart of our belief in and commitment to EXCELLENCE.  We value COURAGE and will establish an environment that allows individuals to have a purposeful impact, advocating for themselves and others at all times.  Our division has an unwavering commitment to HONOR, personal integrity, supporting what is right, and actively working to change what is not.  OPTIMISM affirms our value and respect of the background of every student and is characterized by a positive view of others and a belief that EVERYONE can achieve academic success.

Be assured that your children, their safety, and their well-being are our top priority and we are committed to working together, at our very best each day, to ensure their experience with us is exceptional.  Ongoing, transparent, two-way communication is critical to our school division’s continued success.  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.  I look forward to our continued work together with you!  We’re going to have a great year!

 

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

 

The coming weeks will be quite busy as we start another school year and settle into our new daily routines.  After we start school on Monday, the process to develop our school division’s long term facility master plan will shift from data collection to making preparations for making a recommendation to the Goochland County School Board for consideration.  Everyone is encouraged to participate in this public process.

On Wednesday, August 23, the steering committee consisting of community representatives, will meet with our consultants from Cooperative Strategies to develop options that will be presented to the community as a whole for future consideration.  This meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. in Classroom 143 at Goochland High School.  The public is welcome to attend, hear the presentation from our consultants, and observe the work of the committee.  All are welcome.

Please also mark your calendars for other upcoming, public meetings that will take place in the coming weeks:

  • Community Dialogue to provide input on options being considered:  September 5, 6:00 p.m., Goochland Elementary School Cafeteria
  • Steering Committee Meeting:  September 14, 6:00 p.m., Classroom 143, Goochland High School
  • Steering Committee Meeting:  September 26, 6:00 p.m., Classroom 143, Goochland High School
  • School Board Meeting:  October 10, 6:30 p.m., Room 250, County Administration Building

All of these meetings are open to the public.  Cooperative Strategies has created a project website that includes the schedule and associated resources for the work that will be taking place.  This information can be accessed by clicking here.

 

*NEW THIS YEAR*

Online Payment for GCPS School Fees and Activities

Interested in avoiding the lines during Back to School night on August 17th? Would you prefer to pay for field trips online instead of worrying about checks or cash? This new service provides parents the opportunity to make secure online payments. There are no processing fees for using this convenient service.

  • Visit your school’s website through goochlandschools.org and find the “Online School Payments” link under the ”Parents” tab.
  • Click on “Sign In” and put in the New User information.
  • To get started, set up your student(s) profile(s). The Student ID number will be provided in the school welcome back letter, or you can access it through Powerschool or from the lunch account system you may already use.
  • Items to purchase will be listed under your students’ school location. Please select the name of the fee on the right and add it to the cart. Click on “Continue Shopping” on the left to go back to the fee list page. Parents will be able to pay for multiple students at the same school in a single transaction. If you have students at different schools you will need to initiate separate transactions for each school location.
  • When all the needed items are in your cart, click on “Check Out”. If prompted, assign the fees to the appropriate student(s).
  • Follow the remaining steps to enter your billing information and to submit payment. The system accepts Mastercard or Visa. Electronic checks will not be accepted online, but cash and check payments will be accepted at your child’s school. The school will then have record of your payment.
  • In the future, you will be able to pay for field trips, and other class activities as they are scheduled. These items will show up in the Online Payment System that you can continue to access through the school website. Teachers will remind you that online payments can be made. Make sure you save your username and password. You will still be able to send cash and check. Receipts will also be generated from this new system.

The system eliminates the need to send checks to school or worry about lost or forgotten money, and ensures that your child’s fees and activities are paid. We encourage you to take the time to set up your account so that school payments will be safe and fast in the future.

Throughout the summer, our work to gather data in preparation for the development of our division’s long term facility master plan has continued.  This work will accelerate in the coming weeks as we prepare for a recommendation to the School Board at their October 10 meeting.  I hope that you are able to make it to the following meetings to view the work of the committee and to better understand the issues that will be impacting our final decisions.  Upcoming meetings are as follows:

  • August 23: Steering Committee Meeting at 6:00 p.m. in Classroom 143 at Goochland High School
  • September 5: Community Meeting to seek feedback on options at 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at Goochland Elementary School
  • September 14: Steering Committee Meeting at 6:00 p.m. in Classroom 143 at Goochland High School
  • September 26: Steering Committee Meeting at 6:00 p.m. in Classroom 143 at Goochland High School
  • October 10: School Board Meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Room 250 of the County Administration Building
All of these meetings are open to the public.  Please click here to follow the work of the committee and the data analysis that has been conducted to date.

It is hard to believe that we have been out of school for seven weeks!  Summer is flying by!  In only a month we will begin the 2017-2018 school year, and we are working feverishly to make preparations for the start of another successful year at all of our facilities and here at central office.

We made significant improvements to the experiences and opportunities that we provided to our students who are attended classes this summer.  Our elementary school students benefitted from a project based approach that supported core content with engaging activities-including the use of robots!  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”.

Elementary summer school students use Ozobots

Students in the middle school “made their mark” this summer with inter-disciplinary, project-based activities focused on creative writing and math to provide them with a head start in preparation for the beginning of next year.  This year’s class published their first ever edition of the student newspaper that incorporated all of the concepts learned this summer!

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!

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.

Shiny, freshly waxed floors at Goochland Elementary School

Team Goochland continues to shine as leaders in innovation in the Commonwealth and on a national stage.  Earlier this summer, Anne Moore, our gifted resource teacher at both GHS and GMS, was one of 10 math and science teacher leaders from across the country  who served as a STEM Teacher Ambassador with that National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  Ms. Moore served as an advocate for policies and practices to support STEM education across the nation.

This past week, Dr. Steve Geyer, Assistant Superintendent, shared our innovative approach to supporting our teachers with flexibility in licensure requirements to School Board members and Superintendents from across the Commonwealth at the Virginia School Boards Association Conference on Education.  Several of our talented teammates have taken the initiative to plan a full day immersive experience exploring Scrum as a framework for scaffolding project-based learning and teamwork in an academic setting.  We will be hosting educators from around the region on August 3 at this exciting event.

   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 8 at 5:30 p.m.
  • 9th Grade Orientation:  August 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • 6th Grade Orientation (Eagle Evolution):  August 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • 6th Grade Parent Night:  August 14 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Kindergarten Orientation:  August 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Back to School Night for ALL Schools:  August 17 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Steering Committee for Long Term Facility Master Plan:  August 23 at 6:00 p.m. – Goochland High School, C143

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

Happy summer!

I hope this message finds you and your family well, cool, and enjoying the pace of summer in our county.  In our school division we are taking the time to refresh, relax, reflect, and prepare for the 2017-2018 school year that will begin for our students in only 8 weeks!  

In the meantime, I have been amazed at the energy and enthusiasm our teachers and staff have brought to our summer professional development and STEM camp this June.  We kicked off the summer with our Strategic Innovation Symposium on June 6 and 7, which featured the recipients of our 2016-2017 Strategic Innovation Grants, funded by the Goochland Education Foundation.  Over 70 teachers, leaders, and community members, (including our County Administrator and representatives from our Board of Supervisors and School Board) spent the day at Goochland High School and Goochland Middle School to learn from one another.  Our teachers were already planning to integrate the engaging concepts shared at the Strategic Innovation Symposium into their plans for the upcoming school year before the dust had even settled on 2016-2017.  For many teachers, the first week of vacation is a time of exhaustion, but for our special GCPS teachers, it was a time to celebrate and plant the seeds for continued deeper learning in 2017-2018.

Team from Goochland High School presents their strategic innovation grant.

An inter-disciplinary team from GHS presents at the Strategic Innovation Symposium

Last week, with the generous support of Luck Stone, CapitalOne, the Goochland Rotary, Goochland Chamber of Commerce, and Dominion Resources, we conducted our 6th annual GCPS Stem Camp at Goochland Middle School.  STEM camp once again provided students with unique, hands-on, inquiry based opportunities to collaborate, explore, design, build, and test the products they constructed.  Those products included 3D modeled quadcopters, underwater craft, robotics projects, and marine vessels!  Our dedicated teaching staff, supported by community volunteers from our STEM Advisory Committee and Carmax, made our 2017 STEM camp another great example of what makes Goochland a division of distinction in the Commonwealth:  innovative, hands-on, project based learning that comes together as a result of the time and efforts of school, community, and business partners.  Thank you to everyone who participated in STEM camp!  We hope to see you again in 2018.

 

High School student at STEM Camp builds a drone. Middle School Student builds an underwater sea perch at STEM Camp High School STEM camp students at Luck Stone Students learning how to fly a drone at Luck Stone

Scenes from STEM Camp 2017

This week, we also started GCPS summer school at Goochland Elementary, Goochland Middle, and Goochland High School.  Mr. Joe Beasley, 2016 GCPS Teacher of the Year and GES 5th grade teacher, is in San Antonio, Texas as part of his recent recognition as a PBS Digital Innovator.  Additionally, a team of teachers led by Dr. Steve Geyer participated in a VDOE Performance Assessment Workshop with regional and state partners last week.  Goochland County Public Schools continues to shine as a leader with the success of our instructional program!

Teachers working to develop performance based assessments at Goochland Middle School

If you are driving near our facilities, you will see some work taking place.  At Byrd Elementary a full replacement of rooftop HVAC units is now in progress and is scheduled to be completed by mid-August.  Next week, we will be making extensive roof repairs to all of our elementary schools.  Our maintenance and custodial staff has been busy at work refinishing floors and deep cleaning our facilities.  The finishing touches are also being put on a newly finished and painted GHS gym floor and auditorium stage floor.  

 

 

Goochland High School gym floor is being re-finished

 

You can keep up with all that is happening in our division by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@glndschools) and Instagram (@goochlandschools).  Please continue to enjoy your summer and I will keep everyone updated on summer events and dates to remember for August.  Thank you for your support!

 

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

At their April 18, 2017 meeting, the Goochland County School Board approved the award of a contract to Cooperative Strategies, LLC for a Long-Term Demographic and Educational Facilities Planning Study. This study will allow our school division to conduct a thorough analysis of anticipated student enrollment as well as an assessment of our school capacities. This assessment will allow our school division to create a long term, fiscally-responsible plan for the best use of our current facilities and will also provide the information needed to best plan for any future construction that may be needed. The development of this long-term plan for our community has implications for many different stakeholders. As such, this study will involve a community steering committee with public presentations at both School Board and Board of Supervisors meetings.

For the past several months, we have had conversations with representatives from Goochland County administration to plan for the future needs of our community and to make well-planned and fiscally-responsible decisions regarding capital projects.  At their meeting on May 2, 2017, the Goochland County Board of Supervisors appropriated the funds necessary for us to complete this important study, allowing us to be poised to provide our students with the facilities that will support our instructional objectives well into the future.   

We are very thankful for the Supervisor’s support of this project!  In order to begin this process, our school division has formed a steering committee of community stakeholders to assist in the transparent and collaborative development of a this comprehensive facilities master plan.  The Steering Committee will be charged with ensuring that equity and fairness is maintained throughout the planning process. The committee may also review and confirm decisions at critical junctures, and assist in resolving conflicting recommendations prior to submittal of a facility master plan for approval.  Experts from Cooperative Strategies, an educational facilities planning firm, will facilitate the process.

There will be several Steering Committee meetings, with the first meeting being held on June 7th at 6:00 p.m. in Classroom 143 at Goochland High School.  This meeting is open to the public and all are invited to attend.  At this initial meeting, steering committee members will review data and information and will be engaged in work that is facilitated by our the team from Cooperative Strategies.  This in attendance who are not on the steering committee will be able to see and hear the presentations and the work of the committee, but will not be able to participate.  There will be several opportunities for participation from the public as a whole in future settings including a  Community Dialogue that will focus on receiving input on facility options that are created as a part of this Steering Committee process.  

I’ll be sure to let you know more about this project as it evolves in the coming months.

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

As we begin to close another successful year and prepare for the upcoming summer break, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our amazing employees for the the countless hours of dedicated service that they provide to our students and our community.  Teacher Appreciation Week allows us to pause for a moment and say “thank you” for all of the time, effort, and energy that they put forth to ensure that our students are provided with an exceptional experience every day.  Their sacrifice to their own families and personal time on behalf of our students is noticed and appreciated!  They are truly inspiring our next generation!

Although this week is recognized by the National Education Association (NEA) and national PTA as Teacher Appreciation Week, our school division is successful due to the contributions of each and every one of our employees.  The impact that our school division makes in the lives of students and their families does not happen in isolation.  Collectively, each of us plays a significant role in ensuring that students are provided with first class experiences that will enable them to make a positive impact in our community now and in the future.

We have had a great year together!  During my rookie year as Superintendent, I have had the pleasure of seeing them in action.  During my time riding school buses, serving meals, shadowing and talking to students, and visiting classrooms, I have witnessed the positive relationships they are building with students, their desire to innovate, and the optimism that they share when supporting and encouraging ALL of our students.

It is truly a pleasure to have the opportunity to serve our community with them as we continually strive to maximize the potential of every one of our scholars.  Together, we have had a very rewarding and successful school year.  The next few weeks will be crazy as we work toward closing the year.  It’s natural that as we work to complete final reports, grades, and other activities, stress levels naturally rise.  During this frenzy, I ask our awesome team to please take a moment to pause and reflect on the positive impact that they are making on your students.  I ask that they do not ever underestimate the difference that they are making in in the lives of our children.  Never forget why we do what we do!

Thank you for making Goochland great!

We are excited to welcome May to Goochland County!  It is a great time to be outside in our beautiful community.  Come out and see our baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, and track teams in action at both the middle and high schools as they compete for another season of district and regional championships.

In our division, this is a time to celebrate and reflect on our accomplishments for the 2016-2017 school year as we count down to only four weeks left in the school year.  Our first “Celebration of Excellence” held on Tuesday was a great success.  We recognized the best of our employees who do the work every day to make GCPS a division of distinction in the Commonwealth.  Check out our Facebook page for details and pictures from the evening, including our Teacher of the Year Mrs. Jennifer Gates and each school nominee, our Employee of the Year Ms. Nikki Harris, our Team of the Year from the Preschool Program, and our five retirees who have served over 125 years in GCPS.

We will continue to celebrate our successes in the weeks ahead.  Our biggest celebration, of course, will take place at the Goochland High School Class of 2017 Commencement at the John Paul Jones Arena on the campus of the University of Virginia on Sunday, June 4 at 3:00.  Seniors, let’s finish your GHS experience strong as we prepare to send you off into your next chapter in only 4 weeks!

Be on the lookout for communication from your child’s school about upcoming events such as field days, concerts, and end of the year ceremonies.  SOL testing is taking place in all schools this month, and AP testing has begun at the high school.  Please be sure your child gets plenty of rest and a good meal before coming in for testing each day.

Congratulations to Mrs. Anne Moore, CTE teacher at Goochland Middle School.  Mrs. Moore was selected as a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2016, and has just been selected as one of only 10 PAEMST winners nationwide to be selected as a National STEM Ambassador!  Read about it here: http://www.nsta.org/about/clpa/ambassador.aspx  Thank you Mrs. Moore for representing GCPS!

Our Goochland County School Board will meet this Tuesday, May 9, beginning with a policy workshop at 5:30 and open meeting at 6:30.

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.  I look forward to seeing you at GCPS events in the near future!