Author: Stephen Geyer
Today we kicked off Goochland Reads 2019, a program that encourages a larger community to engage in a common literary experience during a common period of time. Each one of our elementary students, teachers, and support staff received a copy of the Goochland Reads book at no cost – and throughout the month of January our schools facilitate a reading schedule that includes trivia questions, awards and recognition, and other engaging activities. This year’s selection is Wendy Orr’s Nim’s Island.
Students had a four-day weekend last week, likely a welcomed opportunity to catch up, get ahead, and rest! Meanwhile, the work of the school division rolled on as teachers spent Monday with families engaged in fall conferences. Some started as early as 7 o’clock in the morning and others as late as 8PM in order to accommodate as many schedules as possible.
Tuesday was a day focused on adult learning, and our approach was customized to ensure the time was meaningful to all involved. Opportunities like this are few and far between during the busy schedule of the regular instructional year – and the GCPS team made the very most of the time we had!
In an effort to promote awareness of school bullying, the VSBA Board of Directors has designated the month of October as VSBA Bullying Prevention Month. Goochland County Public Schools are committed to a safe environment for learning, one free from bullying. While our efforts in this regard are year-round, the recognition associated with National Bully Prevention Month provides an opportunity to highlight some of our most impactful work.
In recent years, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has significantly expanded its view of school success to include measures beyond state tests. This broadened scope doesn’t overlook traditional achievement measures, rather it includes elements of student success such as engagement, critical thinking, and citizenship. This expanded view is best captured in what’s been deemed “The Profile of a Virginia Graduate.”
The VDOE has described their Profile as “the knowledge, skills, and attributes that students must attain in order to be successful in college and/or the workforce and to be life ready in an economy and a world characterized by rapid change. Moreover, the Board has determined that a life-ready Virginia graduate must:
- Achieve and apply appropriate academic and technical knowledge (content knowledge);
- Demonstrate productive workplace skills, qualities, and behaviors (workplace skills);
- Build connections and value interactions with others as a responsible and responsive citizen (community engagement and civic responsibility); and
- Align knowledge, skills and personal interests with career opportunities (career exploration).” – www.doe.virginia.gov
Beginning this year, school divisions are required to implement The Profile of a Virginia Graduate. Provisions are afforded to allow divisions to simply adopt the Department’s Profile or to work within their local school-community to develop their own. It’s probably no surprise, we decided on the latter.
We undertook an extensive and inclusive process in the creation of our Profile of a Goochland Graduate.
The early stages of this work began in January 2017 with informal discussions among teachers and administrators focused on the critical skills and characteristics necessary for Goochland High School graduates to achieve success after high school. In September 2017, a task force was convened comprised of educators from all five schools; this team’s charge was to develop a framework that would serve to facilitate future discussions with a much broader stakeholder group. These discussions included parents, community members, business and industry partners, representatives from higher education, military officials, recent graduates, and current students.
The most substantive work took place from December 2017 through April 2018 when we engaged all of the aforementioned stakeholder groups through venues like our Business & Education Roundtable, our CTE Advisory Committee, our Gifted Advisory Committee, our Special Education Advisory Committee, our Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee, our STEM Advisory Committee, and various student organizations. We received an incredible amount of input, and with each discussion our Profile evolved.
Each stakeholder group provided a unique perspective related to the attributes, skills, and competencies they value most in our graduates. For some it was the ability to problem solve and think creatively. For others it was the ability to communicate effectively. For many it was simply hard work. And for others still it was personal responsibility.
Over time our localized Profile began to take shape. We reviewed all of the data we collected throughout the process and identified clear priorities, areas that overlapped, and others that complemented one another. At this point, the task force reconvened and took the myriad of feedback we received to begin crafting working definitions for each of the six Profile features that emerged.
Finally, in May 2018, our Profile work went before our School Board for their review and feedback. The following month, the Board approved the Profile of a Goochland Graduate.
Our Profile represents eighteen months of hard work and eighteen months of collaboration with our community. More importantly, it provides a clear vision for our graduates and a roadmap for the kind of PK-12 school experience our students need to be prepared for lifelong success.
The GCPS leadership team held their June retreat last Friday. It was a day full of reflection, professional learning, and planning. The group also took some time at the end of the day for some team building; teams of 4-5 worked together to build five bicycles which were donated to Goochland Cares to benefit families in our community.
Goochland County Public Schools and the Pamunkey Regional Library are teaming up again this summer to incentivize elementary-age children to continue to be active readers throughout the summer! Please find additional information and the associated registration form here.