You only need to see a few of these video clips to get a glimpse of what a tremendous success our 2014 Conundrum Day was this year. Parents, advisory members, teachers, staff and students came together to create a remarkable experience for students in which they stretched their engineering, analytical, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.

Take a look!

GES fifth grade teacher, Jennifer Cosby, received a personal note of congratulations from Delegate Peter Ferrell. The note was specifically in response to the Goochland Elementary World Faire, created and hosted by the GES fifth grade team and GCPS ITRT, Zoe Parrish.

Our thanks to Ms. Cosby and the fifth grade team, Mrs. McCay, and the many others who supported the event.

 

Please join us in celebrating GMS teacher, Grace Creasey’s appointment to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Commission on Civics Education.  Among other things, the Commission is charged with:

  1. Making recommendations to the Board of Education regarding revisions to SOLs for civics and government.
  2. Submitting an annual report to the General Assembly and the Governor regarding the work of the Commission.
  3. Identifying civics education projects around the Commonwealth and provide technical assistance where needed.
  4. Building a network of civics education professionals and strengthen partnerships to assist in the sharing of information.
  5. Developing and coordinating outreach programs to help schools across the Commonwealth in improving their civics education programs.
  6. Developing all civics education resources provided to DOE – lesson plans, resources, bulletin board ideas, events calendar, best practices, etc.

Each year the Commission is also responsible for a day-long professional development conference for Virginia civics and government teachers.  The conference always takes a particular focus on one SOL topic (i.e. the judicial branch) and members of the professional community are brought in to speak to teachers about the SOLs in action which helps to breathe life into our teaching practices.

Grace will be working with 4 members of the House of Delegates, 2 members of the Virginia Senate, 3 citizen members, 1 representative of the Commonwealth’s We the People Project (based at James Madison’s Montpelier) and ONLY 3 other current or retired Civics/Government teachers.

“I cannot wait to begin work on the Commission as this is such a unique opportunity,” Grace shared. “I am so proud and honored to be able to represent Goochland County Public Schools by serving the Commonwealth in this capacity.”

We extend our heartfelt congratulations and admiration for Mrs. Creasey’s work with the Commission and representation of our great county and school division.

You might recall that part of last year’s budget process involved the board’s consideration of funding some much-needed science lab equipment for Goochland Middle School. The school, when originally designed, had included some specific equipment needs that had been unfunded in past years.

The board supported these equipment requests last year, bringing the middle school science labs to full functionality. The result: our middle school students are able to realize the full capabilities of these modern labs and maximize their learning.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the fruit of the board’s support in action, below. GMS teacher, Carolyn Elliott, shared an experiment in the physical science chemistry lab on exothermic and endothermic reactions. They used the electronic scales, thermometers, graduated cylinders and lots of beakers for three different chemical reactions:

GMS students using new equipment in Ms. Elliott's science lab.

You may recall the news about the incredible collaboration between the Goochland High School senior students and Randolph Elementary 3rd graders. That partnership resulted in a renovated RES courtyard, some shared reading experiences, and an inspired group of high schoolers ready to tackle their own courtyard.

Those seniors sent a gift to the 3rd graders, a table that was made by their fellow GHS students in Mr. Greenway’s class. I thought this was a great way to start the new year – with a reminder of the generous and caring spirit that is at work in our students, and just how much of that potential is waiting to be tapped…

RES 3rd grade students collect donated canned foods on a table that GHS students made for them, a “thank you” for the partnership in the courtyard.

GHS U.S. Government teacher, Mrs. Yearout-Patton (“Mrs. EYP”, as she’s known by her students) hosted a live Goggle “Hangout” in which representative Eric Cantor engaged with GHS seniors and answered their specific questions. Joined by superintendent, Dr. Lane, the group enjoyed an involved discourse on several pertinent issues the students had been exploring in Mrs. EYP’s class.

ITRT, Bea Cantor, helped to make the meeting possible by facilitating the live internet event.

Please join me in congratulating GHS teacher, Bridget Parker, and her students on the upcoming grand opening of the Big, Bold Bulldog! Students participating in the management of this coffee shop will exercise career readiness skills in a real-world setting.

The shop is open to all Goochland County Public Schools faculty, staff and parents. I plan to grab a cup!

Next week, more than 1,000 school board members, superintendents, division administrators, education officials, and others will attend the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) annual convention in Williamsburg, VA. The convention provides school division leadership the opportunity to learn about nationwide and statewide trends, meet and learn from key policy officials, and bring back new best management practices to their home school divisions.

Convention HighlightsProfessional Development – More than 50 workshops, clinics and critical issues sessions focused on topics such as boardsmanship, developing local capacity, technology integration, school law, best practices, STEM integration, advocacy, school improvement, educational trends, and energy/sustainability practices. • Student Achievement Fair – Highlighting examples of great student achievement and of exemplary programs that are improving student achievement across the Commonwealth. • Exhibitors Scholarship – The scholarship, funded by exhibiting companies at the VSBAʼs annual convention, was made available to spring 2014 graduating seniors who had served as student school board representatives. Scholarship winners will be announced at the convention. • High School Video Contest – The annual student video contest challenged high school students across Virginia to create a 30-second video around the theme of “Whatʼs Super About Public Schools”. The winners will be announced at the opening general session of convention, and the videos will shown to the conventionʼs 1,000 attendees. • Exhibition of School Architecture – From ambience and multi-functionality to sustainable design and security, there is a direct relationship between good design and effective teaching and learning. The VSBA Exhibition of School Architecture gives attendees the opportunity to see this in action. • Education Foundation Workshop – Held in conjunction with the VSBA Annual Convention, this workshop is designed for education foundation professionals, volunteers, and those interested in starting an education foundation. Topics covered will include getting started with foundations, creative fundraising methods, ways that foundations have helped school divisions recover from a natural disaster, and best practices.

General Session Presentations “Leadership and a Culture for Learning: Closing the Gaps Between What Sounds Good & What Gets Done” by Jim Bearden Organizational culture is an intangible, but very real—and powerful— phenomenon. A school divisionʼs true culture is revealed by the behavior of the people working in that division. Creating cultures that reinforce and support behavior essential to learning (student achievement) is one of the most important things division leaders are called on to do. Using plenty of humor and drawing from his corporate and military leadership experiences, as well as from his work with NSBA and multiple state school boards associations, Bearden will offer fresh insights on the relationship between leadership behavior, district culture and student achievement with his keynote presentation.

“Raised Expectations with No Excuses” by Jeffrey May In this session, May will highlight how raised expectations, discipline and “no excuses” led his Westside Elementary School (Roanoke) debate team all the way to Marshall, Texas to debate before the World-Renown Great Debaters of Wiley College. May will explain how incentive programs like step and debate not only improve academics, behavior and attendance, but also how they affect real change within the lives of the children who participate.

“Disruptive Demographics: Implications for K-12 Education in Virginia” by Dr. James Johnson Six disruptive demographic trends of the first decade of the new millennium—the South rises again, the browning of America, marrying out is “in,” the silver tsunami is about to hit, the end of men?, and cooling water from grandmaʼs well…and grandpaʼs too—will dramatically transform all of this nationʼs social and political institutions. Using data from Census 2010 and other sources, Dr. Johnson will describe these trends and assess the specific implications and challenges they pose for the Virginia public education system.

Here is the complete VSBA Annual Convention schedule, along with speaker and presentation details.

About the Virginia School Boards Association The Virginia School Boards Association, a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards, promotes excellence in public education through advocacy, training, and services. The Association offers conferences, information, training, and counseling designed to meet the needs of the Commonwealthʼs educational leaders.

Those who would like to hear more about the Year Round Feasibility Study we are pursuing through a recent grant award are encouraged to tune into NPR this Thursday afternoon, November 7. John Ogle recently interviewed Dr. Lane and Dr. Geyer about the study. The interview will air at 5:30 PM on All Things Considered.

To determine the best way to access the radio program, click here.

Take a look at this new student feature, published by Zoe Parrish. The elementary iPad initiative continues to amaze the educational community and gather media attention.

Zoe Parrish is allowing students to tell the story through Student EduSLAM!. By hosting a brief educational video on her blog, students will give us regular snapshots of how learning is bring transformed at GES.