Recently the James River District and Conference 34 Champion Goochland High School Scholastic Bowl Team (Academic Team) competed in VHSL 2A East Region double-elimination tournament held at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton VA. Goochland High School finished the day with a 2-2 record earning a 4th place finish in the region; a historical best finish for the team!

Senior Captain Cameron Ford, senior Brandon Myrick, and junior Henry Carscadden led Goochland’s academic efforts on the day.

“Our team competed well all day and we had opportunities in every match until the very last couple questions,” explained coach Barry Smith. “Matches can swing on one or two questions, so there is no room for a letdown.”

Henry Carscaden, Cameron Ford & Brandon Myrick at Regionals.

Henry Carscaden, Cameron Ford & Brandon Myrick at Regionals.

Goochland finished the year with a 20-4 record, another season best for the team. Similar to the Battle of the Brains competition, Scholastic Bowl is a VSHL sanctioned activity that provides an opportunity for students to compete “academically” rather than on the playing field.

“Make no mistake, the competition is tough and stressful,” Smith remarked. “Academics and athletics are similar and you always need your very best competitors to do well. Students that may feel out of place on the playing field, find a home on the academic team. I am so proud of how hard our team has worked these past few years to get to this point. We’ve made the regional tournament 3-years in a row now, improving each year. I give all the credit to the students for accepting the challenge and to every faculty member that pushes our kids to higher levels academic understanding. Our success is the result of a total school effort.”

Congratulations Scholastic Bowl Team!

Keith Jaszinski, Tyler McNeer, Henry Carscaden,  Lilly, & Cameron Ford after the District Finals.

Keith Jaszinski, Tyler McNeer, Henry Carscaden, Lilly Miller, & Cameron Ford after the District Finals.

Coaches:

  • GHS Math teacher Barry Smith
  • GHS World History teacher Brett Derrico

Team Members:

  • Cameron Ford (MVP)
  • Henry Carscadden
  • Brandon Myrick
  • Keith Jandzinski
  • Jonathan Thrasher
  • Tyler McNeer
  • Lilly Miller

District Chorus auditions were held in November and the District choir event was held at Thomas Dale High School this past weekend, February 12-13,2016.   There were six students representing Goochland this year:
  • Walker Murray – Workshop Chorus made up of 8th-9th graders, directed by Dr. Lynn Adkins.
  • Olivia Bullard, Charles Brown and Tevin Davis – Senior Mixed choir directed by Mr. Dwight Graham
  • Grace Alford and Alyssa Laudato – Women’s Select Choir, directed by Dr Jamie Barlett from the William and Mary Choral Department.
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All three groups studied some very challenging pieces and learned so much from their esteemed directors. The closing concert was Saturday evening, also hosted by Thomas Dale HS.  Each year approximately 500 students audition for each of the above select groups, of which 150 students in the district are selected.  Each student is responsible for learning the music prior to district finals on a weekend in February, at which time they participate in two days of rehearsals with the director of their group.  The wealth of information and experience that participants bring back to our high school program is directly responsible for the growth and improvement we have seen in recent years of the GHS choral program.
We are so proud of Mrs. Susan Duty and all the students who have auditioned over the years!

I am thrilled to announce and celebrate our 2015 Teachers of the Year, selected at each school:

  • Goochland High School: Wes Farkas
  • Goochland Middle: Rhonda Kass
  • Goochland Elementary: Betsy Alvis
  • Byrd Elementary: Marcy Meiller
  • Randolph Elementary: Kim Austin

These teachers are selected by their peers using a school-based process designed to recognize the dedication, knowledge, and skill of exemplary teaching in Goochland.

A division selection team of nine individuals, using a rubric and criteria provided by the State Program selects a division representative to advance to the State level competition. The 2015 GCPS Teacher of the Year is Wes Farkas, Health & PE teacher at Goochland High School. We are extremely proud to announce Mr. Farkas as the GCPS Teacher of the Year. He exemplifies the excellence and honor associated with both this recognition and the GCPS Core Values, in general.

After coaching the Varsity Baseball Team to an 11-0 victory over Buckingham, Mr. Farkas was able to join us last week in the school board meeting to receive his trophies and monetary award provided by the Goochland Education Foundation.

Please join me in honoring these 5 outstanding educators who sacrifice daily to pour into the lives of students and families – and their colleagues.

 

The GCPS CTE Department Director, Bruce Watson, and local company partner, Luck Companies, were inducted into the Virginia Career and Technical Education Hall of Fame. The division received a program award for its Orthopedic Evaluations and Modalities for Student Athletic Trainers program.

Luck was recognized for the invaluable partnership and participation on the CTE Advisory Board, having helped to foster the unprecedented growth and expansion seen in the program offerings over the past two years.

Melissa Black and Jodi Chewning joined the superintendent and Mr. Watson along with other members of the advisory committee. The division’s emphasis on integrating STEM education into daily instruction has also placed GCPS as a leader in statewide STEM initiatives.

We were delighted to recognize GCPS CTE teacher, Anne Moore, on her recent distinction as Air Force Association Teacher of the Year. During the school board’s regularly scheduled June meeting, representatives spoke on behalf of Anne’s selection and presented her with the award.

We are so fortunate to work with exemplary teachers such as Anne, who bring inspiration and excellence to their work every day!

Keith Shaffer, VP Aerospace Education, Air Force Association (far right) presented Anne with the Teacher of the Year recognition.

 

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.

Governor McDonnell has proclaimed the week of December 9-13 as School and Campus Safety Week in the Commonwealth.  The proclamation emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining safe environments for learning in schools and on campuses. The Governor has also set December 13th as a Day of Mourning for those students and teachers who lost their lives in the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.  He has called for a moment of silence and reflection at 9:30 a.m. on that day.

We will observe the moment of silence in all schools and departments at the specified time. We invite our families and communities to join us in the period of reflection.

 

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!

Faculty and Staff,

Thank you so much for all of your excellence, creativity, courage, honor, and optimism in the first semester!  This year has honestly been one of my favorite school years as we have watched our students’ creativity and engagement with the iPad initiative, we learned more about our students and their growth with our Balanced Assessment Project, and we are extremely excited to reward our teachers with strategic compensation.  We have also seen many classrooms beginning to proliferate student-centered learning opportunities such as project-based and cross-curricular experiences, performance assessments, and children’s engineering lessons.  All of these while continuing to focus on the heart of what matters, educating every child, every day in Goochland.  With all of these new initiatives, we know you may be ready for the break! Our hope is that we all remain excited for what these opportunities mean for our students.

For these reasons, we are thankful for having you in our school division and are appreciative of your efforts to take on these new projects and would like to give everyone the day off on January 3!  We will not have any trainings on this day.  Principals, we will discuss at our principals’ meeting tomorrow, but please help us arrange at least some time to have buildings open in the event that any teachers want to come in to have their rooms ready before students return.

We will try to host some make-up trainings during planning times or faculty meetings to bolster everyone’s expertise with the new MAP assessments, but we felt like time with your families on January 3 was important as well!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’ve been following Joe Beasley’s blog, you’ll know that students are doing incredible things with the new iPads. Recently, students visited Jamestown and used the devices to capture material they would have otherwise gotten from secondary research. They are creating their own research materials, visiting the site first-hand and creating the media representations using the tools themselves.

Joe and his colleagues continue to inspire tremendous learning.

Students use iPads to capture moments in history for development of their own research materials.