The Goochland County Office of Children’s Services, in partnership with Goochland Cares, the Goochland-Powhatan Community Services Board, our school division, and other community agencies, has created a Community Care app that includes easy to access information on services to support mental health, substance abuse, and parenting support. Download the Community Care app on your Apple or Android phone today.

Community Care App

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our school division’s ongoing commitment to provide our students and staff with a safe and secure work and learning environment.  Last month’s school shootings in Parkland, Florida continue to generate a great deal of conversation and questions regarding our school division’s future planning.  In response to this tragic event, there are many student-led movements that deserve our attention. One of these events, the National School Walkout to End Gun Violence, is scheduled to take place on March 14 at 10:00 a.m. for 17 minutes when our students will be in Eagle Block and Bulldog Block.

As we are making plans for this and the possibility for other upcoming student-led events, our focus is on the safety and well-being of our staff and students.  We encourage students to be lifelong learners as well as active and positive contributors to our community. We respect the rights of students to engage in an expression of student voice as long as it is done respectfully, does not interfere with the rights of others, does not disrupt our learning environment, and does not jeopardize the safety of our students or our staff.  Allowing public expression by students, within these parameters, is aligned with our core values of Excellence, Courage, and Honor as we support an environment in which individuals seek to have a purposeful positive impact, advocating for themselves and others at all times.  

Planning for this event has involved students, staff, the Goochland Sheriff’s Office, and the Goochland County Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services.  On March 14, middle school or high school students who voluntarily choose to walk out will exit through designated doors and will re-enter the building in an orderly fashion.  It is important to note that teachers and administrators will neither encourage nor discourage participation in this student led event, nor will our staff participate, other than to provide supervision.  Staff will have a presence both inside and outside to ensure student safety, while security will be provided by the Sheriff’s Office.

Goochland County Public Schools is committed to meeting exceptional standards of growth, achievement, professionalism, character, and personal responsibility.  Our objective on March 14 and everyday is to support these values in a safe environment.

Our administrative team is happy to answer questions that you may have regarding our planned approach to this national event.  Please contact me at 556-5601, Ms. Rucker or Mr. Collier at the school if you would like to discuss this further.

We enjoy a  special and critical  partnership with all of our families, and I am committed to leading our division in a manner where parents, teachers and all school personnel work effectively together everyday to ensure a safe and positive school experience for our students.

Students at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School have developed questions that will be asked to Astronaut Scott Tingle on the International Space Station.  As a National STEM Ambassador, Anne Moore, has been to building connections with  NASA’s Education team.  Students in Goochland Middle School’s Modern Smarts Club have created some videos and lesson ideas for the International Space Station STEMonstrations.  We are optimistic that the work done by our Modern Smarts students will be selected for future use by NASA.


Ms. Moore has also collaborated with Scott Black, NASA Ed, who is in charge of a Skype session with Astronaut Scott Tingle who is currently aboard the International Space Station.  Students in the Modern Smarts Club and students from Mrs. Alfords classes at Goochland High School submitted questions they would like to have read to the astronaut.  Seventeen questions written by nine of our scholars  will be shared with Astronaut Tingle next Friday during a live session at the National Science Teachers Association National Convention in Atlanta. 


Ms. Moore will be at the convention to ask one question, but other teachers in attendance will step up to ask each of the 17 questions selected from our GHS and GMS students!  When their questions are read, the student’s name and school will be credited. Goochland’s names will be referenced 17 times not his international stage!  NASA staff were most impressed with the quality of the questions sent to him by Ms. Moore and our students.


Please join me in congratulating the GHS students in Ms. Alford’s classes: Demond Morris, Breanna Johnson (2 questions selected), James DeLoach, and Jackson Raines.  GMS students represented are Leah Kelley, Blake Gilman, Skylar Hunnewell, Wyatt Davis, and Kaysen Mills.  Kaysen will have three of her questions read.

Tune in to watch this from the, on NASA TV, or online at: at 9:40 a.m. on Friday March 16. I’m so proud of our talented students and staff!

The Goochland County Public Schools Teen Mental Health Committee is hosting a Wellness Night next Thursday (March 15, 2018) at Goochland High School. This will be a family friendly event with snacks and child care for children age 5 and above will be available. Sessions will be interactive and focus on tips for living a healthier life, emphasizing both physical and mental wellness. Topics include nutrition, yoga, mindfulness, and healthy use of technology.

Wellness Night at Goochland High School on March 15, 2018

Parenting the Love and Logic Way® Classes Begin April 12

Goochland County offers the Parenting the Love and Logic Way® education program, an interactive series of two-hour sessions. These workshops help parents to provide a nurturing environment which encourages children to make healthy choices. It is based on a win-win approach to parenting that teaches young people how to be responsible, and parents how to establish healthy parameters for their children.
  WHEN: April 12, 19, 26 May 3,10 5:00 pm – 7 pm WHERE: Goochland County Administration Building; Room 270 1800 Sandy Hook Rd.  Goochland, VA 23063 COST: FREE– Space is limited Please contact the Goochland County Office of Children’s Services at 556-5875 or to register.

At their meeting last Tuesday (2/13), the Goochland County School Board approved the attached two year instructional calendar. This multi-year instructional calendar was created over the course of several months with feedback from many different perspectives. It aligns with our strategic plan as well as our instructional philosophy.  

Like this year, the focus of these calendars is on our core mission: teaching and learning.  Each calendar follows a similar structure to that of our current calendar to allow for ongoing breaks in instruction for our instructional team to grow and develop their professional skills.  Each version includes 193 teacher work days and 180 instructional days for students.  Additionally, each draft includes full instructional days prior to winter break and the end of the year to allow us to maximize instructional time and allow our teachers the professional autonomy and flexibility to assess students.  Make up days, if needed, are marked to facilitate future planning.  Like this year, each version maintains many of the traditional timelines for starting school, holiday breaks, and the last day of school that have been a part of past calendars.

Highlights of each of the draft calendars are as follows:


  • First day of school – Monday, August 20, 2018

  • One parent conference day in October

  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 21, 2018 and ends on Sunday, January 6, 2019.  This is a two week break.  

  • Second semester begins on January 7, 2019

  • Spring Break – Monday, April 1, 2019 through Friday, April 5, 2019

  • Early dismissal on Friday, April 19, 2019; No School for Students on Monday, April 22, 2019

  • Last day of school – Wednesday, June 5, 2019


  • First day of school – Monday, August 19, 2019

  • One parent conference day in October

  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 20, 2019 and ends on Sunday, January 5, 2020.  This is a two week break.

  • Second semester begins on January 6, 2020

  • Spring Break – Monday, April 6, 2020 through Friday, April 10, 2020

  • No School for Students on Monday, April 13, 2020

  • Last day of school – Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I am hopeful that this multi-year instructional calendar will allow you to make personal and professional long term plans. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification.

On Tuesday of this past week, the School Board approved a balanced, needs-based 2018-2019 budget that provides the personnel and resources that will move our school division forward on our journey to maximize the potential of every learner.  The initiatives outlined in this adopted budget align with our strategic plan and are aimed at maintaining our position as a leader in the Commonwealth.

The School Board also approved all of our salary scales with a 2% salary increase for all staff as well as revisions to some of our classified scales. They also approved health insurance rates.  With these approved rates, there will be no additional out of pocket health insurance costs for any of our full-time employees and a slight decrease in premiums for those on the high deductible plan. All of this leads to a total compensation package for our employees that maintains our competitive position in our region.  This will help us to retain the incredibly talented professionals we currently have, attract exceptional candidates when vacancies occur, and reward our exemplary employees for their performance.

This is an exciting time as we start preparing to secure the programmatic and personnel resources that will position us for another successful year.. In the next few months, you will see us advertise for the new positions that are included  in the 2018-2019 budget – two new science teachers, two new instructional coaches, several extra sections for the ACA program, and a Title I parent liaison. We will also have individual and/or small group meetings for classified employees to help them understand where they are placed on the new scales. Furthermore, we are working on a total compensation statement, often provided to employees in the private sector,  to be included with contracts in May to better describe the benefits that all of our employees receive from our division..

In summary, this adopted spending plan for next year provides the resources to support our journey toward continued excellence as we ensure that we are providing ALL of our students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities that are so crucial for students to become successful members of a modern global community.

I will be presenting the School Board’s approved budget to the Goochland County Board of Supervisors on February 20th at 3:00 p.m.  This will be in the Board Room of the County Government Center.  Additionally,  several public meetings will be taking place in the coming weeks as the Board of Supervisors make final budget decisions for next year.

  • March 7th – Districts 4 and 5 Town Hall – Hermitage Country Club – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 20th – District 1 Town Hall – Fire Company 4 – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 28th – Districts 2 and 3 Town Hall – Central High School – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 3rd – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 17th – Board of Supervisors Approve County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding anything contained in this adopted budget.


Yesterday’s tragedy in a Parkland, Florida high school is surely prompting questions from all of us-parents, teachers, students, and everyone in our Goochland Family.  In Goochland we talk regularly about the strength of our community, our support of each other in times of success and times of challenge, and the value we place on providing our students, the children of this community, a safe and inviting space to learn every day.  We take measures at every level to ensure that our students are safe and that we are able to respond in the event of an incident that threatens our safety, whether from natural causes due to weather, threats made electronically, or an incident of violence inside our schools or on our campuses.  These incidents can happen anywhere.  This nation’s most notable active shooter incidents in the United States-Columbine, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, and now Parkland, Florida-took place in high performing schools within upper middle class communities.  No one can assume that they are immune to school violence.

The safety and well-being of our students and our staff is, and will continue to be, a priority for our school division.  We prepare for a variety of incidents in our schools on a regular basis in Goochland County, and we have maintained and supplemented technology in our buildings to assist in security.  You are likely familiar with our monthly fire drills, semi-annual tornado drills, and our annual earthquake drill.  You may be less familiar with our drills that we practice in the event that we are faced with a situation involving an active shooter, which take place twice a year.  Our active shooter drill procedures involve reducing exposure to our students and staff if we are ever faced with a situation like this.  The Goochland Sheriff’s Office supports us regularly, both in the administration of training and through the daily presence of our dedicated Goochland High School Resource Officer, Ryan Leabough.  We worked last spring with the Sheriff’s Office to conduct simulation “tabletop” exercises with school and division leadership to walk through potential scenarios to inform our practice.  These exercises have guided us in targeting training for specific personnel, such as our clerical staff at our schools who are charged with monitoring entry and exit traffic at our buildings.  We will conduct these tabletop exercises again this spring.

Just two weeks ago, I was joined by staff at all of our schools to conduct unannounced safety visits.  During these checks, we evaluated interior and exterior door security, wearing of badges by all staff, and visibility into classrooms.  Last year we installed devices on doors at our secondary complex that will allow us to quickly lock and secure our classroom doors if ever needed.  Seconds can make a huge difference in an actual event.  Since fire code prevents these devices from being installed in our older elementary schools, we require that door handles are in the locked position during instruction at our elementary schools.  

In September, GCPS sent a team of staff to the Department of Criminal Justice Services Threat Assessment training, to update our threat assessment protocol to align with law enforcement standards.  We implement a threat assessment process in the event of threatening language received verbally, electronically, or otherwise to evaluate the threat and provide action depending on the nature of the situation.  

As of last year, all of our schools are equipped with monitored entry systems that are controlled by school staff.  We upgraded those systems recently at both Byrd and Randolph.  This summer we will prepare to install key card access to all of our buildings as a capital improvement project.  This will allow for increased control and monitoring of access to our facilities.  In our transportation department, we have installed camera systems on all buses in the past year, and we hope to have active GPS tracking operational in the Fall.  We also recently supplemented the existing surveillance cameras at the middle/high complex, and completed installation of the Informacast system at elementary schools, which allows for central control of public address and bell functions from remote locations.  This system is currently being expanded to the middle/high complex this summer.

Perhaps the most important part of safety is one that does not come in the form of training, technology, or devices:  the relationships that our staff have with our students and their families.  For every tragedy that has taken place in America’s schools, hundreds more have surely been prevented because of staff members who are committed to knowing students and showing they care.  Having a culture of support in our division, a culture in which our students and families know that they can reach out to us with any concern, is one of our most effective measures to ensure safety.  Please discuss with your child the importance of telling an adult if they ever feel threatened, witness threatening behavior, or have any concern about safety for themselves or others.  We are always available to respond.  Please also know that we welcome reports from parents and community members as well.  Call our school counselors or principals at any time if you have any concerns.  

I know, as a parent and as an educator, that no list of processes, cameras, or devices is ever enough to make us 100 percent confident that we will always be able to avoid the threat of school violence.  It would be unwise to ever assume that our safety is 100% guaranteed-we must always work to adapt and to prepare for the worst, no matter how great our division is.  Please continue to keep the families that have been affected by this terrible tragedy in Parkland, Florida in your thoughts and prayers, and take the time to talk to your child about it as you feel is best for your family.  Thank you, as always, for what you do to support our students and our amazing school division.

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent