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!

Spring break has arrived!  After months of hard work since winter break with very few surprise snow days, I know everyone is excited to recharge this week before we return on Tuesday, April 18 for our final 7 weeks of the school year.  Spring brings a unique energy to our schools as we celebrate successes, compete on our fields, and bring closure to the months of engagement we experience each day in GCPS.

I am pleased to announce that Goochland Public Schools was recognized last week at a Richmond Technology Council reception as a finalist for the “innovation in utilization-public sector” award for our recent initiative to purchase and install the state of the art Informacast system in our elementary schools.  GCPS was chosen from among many nominees in various categories as a finalist, and was one of only 2 public school entities recognized.  Please vote for GCPS on Twitter for the @rvatech People’s Choice Award-use the hashtag #geekprom!  Thank you to Peter Martin and our outstanding operational technology staff for their work in laying the foundation for innovation in our schools.

Our students, our staff, our families, and our community continue to distinguish our district in and out of the classroom.  Remember to follow our Twitter (@glndschools), Instagram (goochlandschools), and Facebook (@GoochlandCountySchools) for up to date news and information about the great things happening in GCPS.

I am looking forward to an exciting and successful finish of this 2017-2018 school year and to even greater things to come in GCPS in the months ahead.  I hope you and your family have a safe and relaxing spring break!

Thank A Teacher Banner sponsored by Virginia Tourism and Virginia PTA

 

Every day, our school division’s dedicated and talented employees work diligently to prepare our students to make a positive impact and to prepare them for success in an ever-competitive job and college admissions market.  The effort of our amazing team has been recognized by many as we are recognized leaders in the experiences that we are providing for our students.

The Virginia Lottery is teaming up with Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia PTA in support of National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8 – 12, 2017. The goal? To thank as many Virginia teachers as possible during a week which celebrates those who help shape the future of our children. There may not be enough words to truly express gratitude for all they do, but we challenge you to try!

Please take a moment to celebrate our school division’s talented employees by sending them a note about the impact that they are making by clicking here.

We are now in the last nine weeks of an extremely successful school year!  It’s amazing how fast this year has gone!  As we make plans to conclude this year on a high note, we are already working behind the scenes to prepare for the start of school in the fall.

Our students and staff continue to be very busy and are experiencing ongoing success.  We recently learned that Mr. Joe Beasley, teacher at Goochland Elementary School, was named Virginia’s PBS Digital Innovator.  Mr. Beasley is one of 52 teachers from across the nation who has been recognized for his innovation in the classroom.  Thank you, Mr. Beasley, for your professionalism and for providing our students with deep and enriching learning experiences!  We also want to recognize each of our school’s teacher of the year.  The professionals have been recognized by their peers for the exceptional work in the classroom.

This year, we are also seeking nominations for our division’s Employee of the Year and Team of the Year.  All staff, parents, and citizens can submit nominations by clicking the highlighted links.  The winners will be recognized at an awards reception on May 2 at 6:00 p.m. at Goochland High School.

Our student-athletes who are participating in our spring sports are experiencing a great deal of success on the diamonds, soccer fields, track, and courts.  This past weekend, two of our students at Goochland High School participating in the state forensics competition and our robotics students continue to shine!  We had a great crowd at our talent show last Friday!  Thank you to all of our students, staff, volunteers, and citizens who make these experiences possible for our students!

 Goochland High School Forensics Students   

I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend a lot of time talking to our students with the goal of gaining insight regarding their school experience.  I have spent time talking with students in small group sessions hearing their voice on the issues that have an impact on their school experience and also spent time serving lunch to students at Byrd Elementary.  On Friday March 17, I also spent the day shadowing one of our amazing scholars at Goochland High School.  I gained a perspective regarding a day in the life of our students that will certainly make an impact in our ongoing work as we all strive to prepare our students to be career ready in an ever changing and competitive marketplace.  I continue to be impressed by our students and all of our dedicated staff who are working to make a positive difference for our community’s youth.

Dr. Raley and students at Randolph Elementary Dr. Raley serves lunch to students at Byrd Elementary Dr. Raley spends the day with a student at Goochland High School

There are a lot of events that will be taking place in the coming weeks.  I hope that you are able to join us and support our students and staff.

  • March 31:  Goochland County Fine Arts Festival – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. – GHS
  • April 4:  Board of Supervisors Public Hearing – 7 p.m.
  • April 10 -14:  No School for Students – Spring Break
  • April 18:  Board of Supervisors Adopt County Budget – 3 p.m.
  • April 18:  School Board Meeting – 6:30 p.m. – Goochland High School
  • April 20:  Preschool/Kindergarten Registration
  • April 28, 29, 30 – Goochland High School Spring Musical
  • May 2:  Celebration of Excellence Award Reception – GHS – 6:00 p.m.
  • May 6:  Goochland Education Foundation Gala – Hermitage Country Club

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.  

It is so hard to believe that is just two short weeks, this school year will be 75% completed.  Spring has sprung!  All of our spring extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are in full swing.  Scrimmages have taken place and the regular season contests will begin next week.  Good luck to all of our students who are participating in a multitude of activities this Spring!

Recently, we have had students compete in district and regional competitions in robotics, with the Technology Student Association (TSA), and Destination Imagination.  Destination Imagination teams from Randolph Elementary, Byrd Elementary, and Goochland Middle School have earned the opportunity to compete at the state level!  Our Goochland High School robotics team, Junkyard Dogs, placed in the top 12 this past weekend and are currently ranked 21st out of 129 teams in the district.  I am very proud of the variety of well-rounded opportunities that we are able to provide to our students.  Congratulations to our students who have demonstrated the initiative and drive to go the extra mile to compete and demonstrate their knowledge and skill in these competitive environments.

Goochland High School Robotics Team - Junk Yard Dogs

Goochland High School Junkyard Dogs Robotics Team

GCPS Designation Imagination Participants

I am also grateful to the time, effort, and energy that our faculty sponsors and parents have dedicated to supporting our students.  There have been many after-school practices and weekends that have been dedicated to ensuring that our students are provided these experiences. Thank you for making this investment in our scholars!

Mark your calendars for some special events taking place this March.  This Tuesday, March 14, we are hosting our annual Career Fair at Goochland High School, and this year is bigger than ever.  We currently have over 70 representatives from a variety of industries and businesses from across the region and state scheduled to engage with our students on Tuesday.  We are very grateful to our corporate and business partners who provide their time and resources to add a special layer of engagement to our learning.  This year we are also inviting community members to attend our Career Fair.  Just come by Goochland High between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, 31 of our talented students enrolled in the Advanced College Academy at Goochland High School were recognized at a pinning ceremony at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College.  These students have successfully completed their first semester of college classes at Reynolds.  In June 2018, they will be the first ever class of seniors from Goochland High School who will receive their Associate’s degree prior to graduating from high school.  I am proud of these students for their leadership, their resilience, and for blazing the trail that will allow other students in our school division to have this opportunity in the future!  Thank you to our staff and to family members who have supported our scholars through this process!

Goochland High School Advanced College Academy Students

This month, I will join eleven other central office administrators who have signed up to take the Shadow a Student Challenge.  We will be spending a day with students in our schools to gain a greater understanding of a day in the life of our students.  Many of us will board the bus with our student in the morning and will end our day with a bus ride home.  It is critical that we, as leaders, understand and gain insight into the experiences that our students are having in our schools so that we can continually working toward providing them with opportunities that will allow them to maximize their potential.  I will shadowing a student at Goochland High School next week.  I can’t wait!

We are now in the midst of our recruiting talented teachers to fill the vacancies that we will have for next year.  It is our goal and our desire to attract the best candidates that we can find to work alongside the talent that we already have in our classrooms.  We will be hosting a job fair at Randolph Elementary School on Saturday March 25 beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Please share this opportunity with your friends, colleagues, and family.  Visit our job fair website to sign up.  It’s definitely worth the drive to have the opportunity to work in an innovative and successful division in a community that supports and values public education!

March 25 GCPS Job Fair Announcement

We continue to march through our budget approval process.  This month, there will be many opportunities for you to participate in this process as the Goochland County Board of Supervisors prepares to make final decisions in the coming weeks.  I hope that you are able to join us at these upcoming public events:

  • March 21 – District 2 & 3 Town Hall Meeting – Central High School – 2748 Dogtown Road – 7 p.m.
  • March 23 – District 4 & 5 Town Hall Meeting – Hermitage Country Club – 7 p.m.
  • March 30 – District 1 Town Hall – New Fire Station on Hadensville Fife Road – 7 p.m.
  • April 4 – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7 p.m.
  • April 18 – Board of Supervisors Adoption of County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250, 3 p.m.  

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.

Goochland High School Graduates

 

College Preparation Workshop

  • For Students in Grades 6 thru 12 & their Parents Presented by CAPUP/Project Discovery-Powhatan & Goochland
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017
  • Second Union Baptist Church, 2843 Hadensville-Fife Road, Goochland, VA
  • 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Topics

  • The Advantages of Attending Community College (JSRCC) and the College’s Transfer Agreement with the Four (4) YearUniversities – Dr. C. Booker, EdS, JSRCC’s Recruitment Coordinator
  • Show Me the Money & More About Financial Aid – Ms. T. Robinson, M.Ed., State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
  • College Admission Basics – Mr. K. Jenkins, Director, The College Place – Richmond
  • College Life … “What I Wish I Knew Then That I Know Now “ – Panel of College Students
To RSVP and For More Information Contact: Deloris Shelton at 804.690.8786 orDShelton@capup.org

With our three day President’s Day weekend upon us and only a little over three months of school remaining in the 2016-2017 school year, this is a great time to reflect on the recent progress and accomplishments of our students and staff.

This past Tuesday’s School Board meeting featured several recognitions of the great work of our division.  Our students continue to amaze me!  At Goochland Middle School, Caroline Webb was recognized for earning the  Prudential Spirit of Community Award and Ashley Thompson was designated the Be Strong representative for bullying prevention for Virginia.  Also making an appearance from GMS were the Tiger Trackers robotics team, who competed at the state Lego Robotics competition and have incorporated environmental awareness and cross-curricular connections into their collaboration this year.  Mr. Frago’s students from his Modern Smarts after school club even brought in the “augmented reality sandbox” to give our School Board an up close, hands-on experience with this incredible example of deeper learning, collaboration, and student-led work.

School Board Members view the A R Sandbox

Also recognized at the February School Board meeting were two of our outstanding staff members, Goochland Middle School teacher Anne Moore, whose partnership with VCU in environmental education was cited in the VCU annual report, and Goochland High School teacher and head football coach Joe Fowler, who was recognized for his work in the classroom with the W!SE Blue Star distinction for success on the financial literacy assessment and for his work on the field, which earned him the Division 1A, 2A, and Private School Coach of the Year.  Thank you Mrs. Moore and Mr. Fowler for your dedication to our students!  

February is a month of important recognitions in schools nationwide.  We recognized our school counselors earlier this month for National School Counselor’s Week for their tireless work with all of our students.  Our school counselors connect with every child, every year and cover everything from scheduling and course requests to crisis situations to college applications and much more.  We also recognized our School Board and Diane Bennett, our School Board Clerk, as part of the Virginia School Board Association School Board and Board Clerk Appreciation activities.  The five members of our School Board are deeply committed to ensuring that GCPS continues to distinguish itself as an innovative and responsible division.  Their thoughtful support of our work in teaching and learning confirms that.  Thank you Goochland County School Board!

February is also Career and Technical Education month.  The highlight of our CTE recognition took place last Saturday at our annual Conundrum Day, where students and teachers from across the district spent their weekend morning working to solve complex problems with limited resources with teamwork.  Students at Goochland High School will be celebrating National FFA Week next week and will be visited by the leadership of the Virginia FFA.

With spring sports tryouts just around the corner we want to celebrate the accomplishments of our winter teams who had another banner season.  GHS swim sent several individuals and teams to the state finals this week in Christiansburg.  Both boys and girls basketball teams had a successful year and Bryan Herrera was our first wrestler to advance to the state finals.  In a GHS sports moment more important than results, senior basketball player Jack Twombly, with the support of Coach A.J. Nash and his teammates, raised over $3,100 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in honor of his mother, Joan, who passed away last November.  Jack’s work makes us all proud here in Goochland!

In fine arts, I had a chance to attend the sold out production of Willy Wonka at Goochland Middle School and was beyond impressed with the skills of our cast and crew and the professional, first-rate job of GHS student director Tevin Davis.  Congratulations to all of our student athletes and performers for a great winter.

Please take a look at my latest blog entries at http://leadership.goochlandschools.org/ for details about our 2017-2018 operating budget and 2017-2018 school calendar.  You can also find details about the many events taking place this month to celebrate Black History Month in all of our schools.  Don’t forget that Monday, February 20 is a student holiday and professional day with parent conferences beginning at 4 p.m.  Students should not report to school.

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 GCPS events in the near future. Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

 

There has been a lot taking place over the past several weeks as we have been working to develop our proposed budget for next year.  Much of this work concluded with action taken by the School Board at their meeting last night.  I wanted to provide you with a summary of their action.

Budget

I am excited to inform you that last night our School Board approved the 2017-2018 Operating Budget for Goochland County Public Schools.  This operating budget is a culmination of months of collaboration and dialogue among staff, community members, and our School Board.  I am excited for what it will allow us to do to continue the great work of our division as we continually work to inspire our next generation to make a positive impact and maximize the potential of every learner.  

This proposed budget will be presented to the Goochland County Board of Supervisors at their next meeting on February 21.  It reinforces our commitment to quality instruction and efficient operations within our division.  Among the highlights are raises for all employees, including a revised teacher salary scale, that will place Goochland County at or above the median salary at all pay levels for teachers in the central Virginia region.  These raises are not offset by an increase in health care costs, as we were able to maintain our competitive benefits without any premium increase for this year. We are very happy to take care of our great teachers and staff in this manner.

Our budget also provides funding to add several instructional positions, including additional support in mathematics, added computer science classes, and an instructional technology coach, who will serve students and teachers in modeling deeper, engaged learning as we move into our first year of our one to one laptop initiative at the high school.  Our budget will also add preschool instructors and a gifted resource teacher at the secondary complex to meet the needs of our middle and high students.  

We are able to accomplish these and several other goals in our balanced 2017-2018 operating budget with thoughtful work in evaluating current programming, abandoning practices that have outlived their usefulness, and gathering feedback from all stakeholders.  Links to an executive summary of the approved budget and additional detail can be found on the School Board’s February 14 meeting agenda.

School Board Streaming Update

Recently, school divisions across the nation have been cited by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights for a failure to provide adequate accessibility to individuals with disabilities on school and school division websites.  Our staff, led by Dr. John Hendron, has worked to make our website a model in accessibility so that all of our viewers can easily access the information we make available.  We have been working with the Office for Civil Rights for feedback as we continue to monitor our online presence and ensure accessibility.

Unfortunately, the requirements for accessibility to bring our current live streaming application of our Goochland County School Board meetings into compliance are cost and labor prohibitive.  The ongoing, annual cost of streaming and archiving video that is accessible using closed captioning was over $10,000.  Viewership statistics also indicate that the live stream has dwindled in usage in the past few years.  The Board has decided that these funds can be better used in support of our instructional initiatives.  Our School Board and staff have discussed several alternatives to the current streaming service that will accomplish the goals of maintaining transparency while still meeting the accessibility requirements of the Office for Civil Rights.

We will continue to make all of our meeting agendas available at our website, which includes links to all available presentations and documents.  Meetings are, of course, open to the public.  Citizens and staff are welcome to attend.  In lieu of our live streaming, which ended with yesterday evening’s live stream, we will post detailed minutes of each School Board meeting online once they are approved by the Board.  We regret to have to end the live stream but the usage data clearly indicated that the cost could not be justified, and we are confident that our meetings will continue to operate in the same spirit of transparency that has defined the work of our School Board for the past five years.  

Calendar

Our School Board approved the 2017-2018 GCPS School Calendar at yesterday evening’s meeting.  Our calendar has been developed and reviewed by instructional staff, parents, and division staff in cooperation with the School Board, and I am excited that our calendar will provide our staff with the much-needed time to collaborate, plan, and grow through more frequent staff development and planning time.  The approved calendar is reflective of our division’s leadership as an innovative school division as we capitalize upon our instructional time for learning by reducing the frequency of assessments delivered to students.  In December and June, there are no designated days for midterm and final exams. The days at the end of the semester and the end of the year are full days, not early dismissals. Instructional staff will continue to have the autonomy and flexibility to assess students and their knowledge during these times and throughout the school year.  Additionally, the approved calendar will maintain many of the traditional timelines for starting school, holiday breaks, and the last day of school that have been a part of past calendars.  The approved 2017-2018 calendar can be found here.  Highlights are below:

  • August 7 – New Teachers Report
  • August 14 – All Teacher Report
  • August 21 – First Day of School
  • October 23 – Parent Conferences
  • November 22 to 24 – Thanksgiving Holiday
  • December 20 to January 1 – Winter Break
  • April 2 to April 6 – Spring Break
  • June 5 – Last day of School

Thank you for everything that you do to support and make a difference in our community’s future, our students.  I am thankful and grateful for your investment of time, effort, and energy!