The Goochland County School Board approved new leadership and committee representatives for the 2018 calendar year at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.  

Mr. John Lumpkins, Jr., District 3, will succeed Mrs. Beth Hardy as Chair of the Goochland County School Board.  He began his official duties as chair during the January 9 meeting.  This is Mr. Lumpkins’ second term as chair, having previously served in this role in 2015.

Mr. John Wright, District 5, served as the Board’s Vice Chair last year and will continue to serve as the vice chair for the 2018 calendar year.  Mrs. Diane Bennett was appointed Clerk of the Board.

Several committee appointments were also named, including:

  • Mr. John Wright, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Representative
  • Mr. John Lumpkins,  Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Alternate
  • Mr. Kevin Hazzard, Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School Representative
  • Mr. Michael Payne and Mr. John Wright, GCPS Facilities Committee

The Goochland County School Board will meet again on Tuesday, January 16, for a budget work session.  The public is invited to attend.

 

As you know, this past Fall, I worked in collaboration with a variety of stakeholder groups including the Superintendent’s Leadership Team, comprised of teachers and parents, administrative staff, and our community, to create a multi-year instructional calendar that aligns with our strategic plan and our instructional philosophy.  I have worked to be transparent and inclusive in this process as multiple drafts have been shared through email, blogs, social media, and optional faculty meetings at each school.  Survey data has also been collected to gather feedback in this process.

As a result of all of this feedback, I have prepared a two year instructional calendar that I will be presenting to the Goochland County School Board for their review as an information item on their January 9, 2018 agenda.  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.

In early December, I solicited feedback regarding a potential change in the schedule for our Spring Break.  There was overwhelming support to move our Spring Break to the first full week of April.  This is a change that will allow our employees and our families to align their break with public school systems in the Richmond metro region.  Additionally, each calendar recognizes Good Friday by having no evening activities or events scheduled.  Friday April 19, 2019, will be an early dismissal at 1:00 p.m.  The Monday following Easter is scheduled as a professional day for teachers; schools will be closed for students.

Highlights of each of the draft calendars are as follows:

2018-2019

  • 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

2019-2020

  • 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

Throughout this process, I have received feedback sharing multiple perspectives.  These recommendations are reflective of comments that I have heard from employees, parents, and our community and maintains a structure that will support our continued instructional success.  After my presentation on January 9, the School Board will be slated to take action at their regularly scheduled meeting on February 13.  I continue to welcome your thoughts and perspectives as we work to make a final decision on these calendars in the coming weeks.  

Dear Elementary Families,

On behalf of the GCPS team, we hope your family had a restful, happy holiday season.  We’re looking forward to an engaging, productive spring semester and a successful 2018 for our students, families, and staff.

This month, once again, Goochland County Public Schools will be embarking on a special project, a division-wide book club called Goochland Reads, formerly One District, One BookGoochland Reads is a unique program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period.  Curious as that may seem at first, it actually makes sound educational sense.  Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level; the same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.

Our Goochland Reads committee selected a title that can be followed, understood, and enjoyed by younger students, but that will still captivate older children.  As the centerpiece of the program, every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to share the literacy experience during the month of January.  The title was announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book today, and your child should have come home today with his/her very own copy.  Families should also receive a shared community reading schedule so everyone can keep up at home.  Generally, you are asked to read one chapter each night—about 10-15 minutes.  We hope that you will find the time to participate in this special activity focused on community and the importance of literacy.

Reading aloud at home is incredibly valuable as it helps develop a strong foundation for all learning, as well as models lifelong literacy; moreover, it’s also a fun, worthwhile family activity.  With the Goochland Reads program, we aim to build a community of readers across our elementary school communities.  Everyone—students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, and administrative staff—will be participating.

In school, your child will be engaged in literary discussions and invited to answer daily trivia questions to encourage and celebrate participation.  We encourage you to make sure your family participates so your child can be included.  You will find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story.  Throughout the month, everyone will be talking about the book!

Good luck!  We hope to talk with both you and your child about the book throughout the next four weeks.  When an entire school division reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about.  With your help, we will strengthen a community of readers in Goochland!

As we approach the new year, it is time for us to make preparations for the approval of our division’s instructional calendar.  This fall, I’ve been working in collaboration with the Superintendent’s Leadership Team, teachers, and administrative staff to create three years of instructional calendars that align with our strategic plan and our instructional philosophy.  Like this year, the focus of these calendars is on our core mission: teaching and learning.  Although there are some minor differences in each version, each calendar follows a similar structure to that of our current calendar to allow for ongoing breaks in instruction for our instructional team to develop their professional skills.  Each draft 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 for 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:

2018-2019

  • Last day of school – Wednesday June 5, 2019
  • Spring Break – prior to Easter as it is late (April 21); No school for students after Spring Break on April 22 as it is a professional day for teachers.
  • Second semester begins on January 7, 2019
  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 21, 2018 and ends on Sunday January 6, 2019.  This is a two week break.  
  • One parent conference day in October
  • First day of school – Monday, August 20, 2018

2019-2020

  • Last day of school – Wednesday, June 3, 2020
  • Spring Break – after Easter; No school for students after Spring Break on April 20 as it is a professional day for teachers.
  • Second semester begins on January 6, 2020
  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 20, 2019 and ends on Sunday, January 5, 2020.  This is a two week break.  
  • One parent conference day in October
  • First day of school – Monday, August 19, 2019

2020-2021

  • Last day of school – Wednesday, June 9, 2021
  • Spring Break – after Easter; No school for students after Spring Break on April 12 as it is a professional day for teachers.
  • Second semester begins on January 4, 2021
  • Winter break begins on Friday, December 18, 2020 and ends on Sunday, January 4, 2021.  This is a two week break.  
  • One parent conference day in October
  • First day of school – Monday, August 24, 2020

Many school divisions in our region are moving toward instructional calendars with a Spring Break that will be during the first full week of April, rather than being scheduled around the Easter holiday.  School divisions who are discussing moving their Spring Break to the first week of April are also including the Monday after Easter as a day when students would not be in attendance.  Please take a moment to provide me with your feedback using this survey.

These calendars remain in draft form as I continue to receive feedback from parents and our community prior to making a recommendation to the School Board on January 9, 2018.  No action will be taken until the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting in February.  I continue to welcome your feedback via this survey, e-mail, phone or in person.

 

 

At a special called meeting on Monday, December 4, the Goochland County School Board concluded a transparent process of developing our school division’s long term facility master plan.  This process started in June 2017 and included substantial analysis of our school division’s student enrollment, facility conditions and capacity, and educational adequacy.  A crucial component of the work to develop this plan was the involvement of representative stakeholders from each geographic region of our community.    

During the School Board’s discussion and deliberation, they expressed their appreciation for the time that the committee has dedicated to the process, the level of analysis involved in their recommendation, and the perspective that they brought to the process.  The School Board supports the recommendation of the committee, a realistic expression of the school division’s needs based on credible data, that was presented to the Board of Supervisors on November 28 at the joint work session.

Within the framework of the steering committee’s recommendation, in order to assist the county with planning, the School Board prioritized the work that they felt must happen in the next five fiscal years (by FY 2023):

Construction of a new Goochland Elementary School on a new school site – 500 student capacity $22,040,000
Goochland High School/Goochland Middle School improvements: Career and Technical Education (CTE)/STEM addition (30,000 sq feet); Program and systems upgrades at secondary complex; Build auxiliary gym, wrestling room, and athletic fields $16,125,000
Total $38,165,000

 

There were multiple factors involved in the School Board’s decision:

  • These projects will have the most immediate impact to the greatest number of students from all geographic regions of our community.
  • The school with the poorest Facility Condition Index will be replaced.  At the same time, additional capacity will be added that will alleviate overcrowding at the division’s other elementary schools.
  • Improvements at Goochland High School and Goochland Middle School proactively address capacity issues, create program enhancements at the secondary complex, and will be of benefit to all students of Goochland County.

Byrd Elementary and Randolph Elementary projects were also prioritized as follows:

Construction of a new Byrd Elementary School on new school site – 400 student capacity – constructed between FY 2024 and FY 2028 $17,400,000 plus land (FY 2023 cost), estimated to escalate by 6% annually to $20.1M by the FY 2024-2028 timeframe
Construction of a new Randolph Elementary School on a new school site – 500 student capacity – constructed between FY 2029 and FY 2033 $22,010,000 plus land (FY2026 cost), estimated to escalate by 6% annually to $29.5M by the FY 2029-2033 timeframe

 

As a part of the deliberations on Monday, the School Board felt that delay of the Byrd and Randolph projects beyond the timeframe recommended by the steering committee would make new construction of Byrd on a new site the most economically reasonable plan .  Many factors were considered in this decision including equity, long term projected maintenance costs, difficulty of coordinating major construction on an active school site with limited septic capacity, limited flexibility for parking/construction access, and the impact that the delay would have on the facility condition and educational adequacy of the 1997 section of the building.  With this approach the Goochland community would have three new elementary schools by FY 2033.  Included in the long term cost of these projects is a 6% cost escalator referenced by our school division’s consultants as construction costs are expected to increase significantly in the future due to projected labor and materials costs.  

Thank you to the Goochland County Board of Supervisors for providing the financial support for the develop of our division’s long term facility master plan.  Through this process, we have received a substantial amount of enrollment and facility data that will allow us to make prudent fiscal decisions regarding our facilities in the future.  Deliberations on the School Board’s approved long term plan will continue in the coming weeks.  Now that the County has received this request from the School Board, the County Administrator will present his recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for the county’s overall  25 year Capital Improvement Plan.  The School Board’s projects will be a part of his presentation.  This presentation will take place on Monday December 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Next week on Tuesday December 12, the School Board will vote to approve its 25 year Capital Improvement that includes not only the projects in the long term facility master plan, but other division needs as well, including transportation.  This meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is also open to the public.
Following these meetings, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the 25 year plan presented by the County Administrator this Monday.  This public hearing will take place on Tuesday January 3.  The time of this meeting is yet to be determined.

 

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What do you think should be included in next year’s school division budget?  What can we do differently to save money so that those dollars can be spent on new ideas? Should we stop doing or change something so that we can start doing new things? Are there ways we could streamline our operations and be more efficient?
If you have an idea, we’d like to hear from you. It can be something you know that works at another school division, something that you’ve seen in another business, or an idea you’ve come up with that you think might help us do our jobs better and more efficiently.
We also want to know if there are new programs or expansions of current programs that you would like us to consider that would improve the instructional opportunities that we are able to provide for our students.
All suggestions are welcomed and will be considered. Please respond to this survey by Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, so that we can review them in time to report back to the school board on December 12, 2017 or you may consider attending the December 12th School Board meeting (6:30 pm, Goochland County Administration Building, Room 250) and make your comments publicly.  Click here to access this year’s budget survey.
Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas with us!

In the next seven weeks, the School Board will be working with the Goochland County Board of Supervisors to finalize its long term facility plan as a part of the County’s overall 25 year Capital Improvement Plan.  This work started last June and involved multiple representatives from our community in a transparent process that involved a great deal of data collection, analysis, and review.  At this point, the steering committee of community representatives has provided their recommendation to the School Board for consideration.  There will be several meetings that will be taking place between now and January 3 when the School Board’s plan and the County’s plan is expected to be finalized.

The dates, time, and locations of these public meetings follows:
November 28:  Joint work session with School Board and Board of Supervisors to discuss school division’s long term facility master plan and 25 year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP); 3:30 p.m.; Board Conference Room; County Administration Building
December 4:  School Board approval of their long term facility master plan and 25 year Capital Improvement Plan; 6:00 p.m.; Board Meeting Room, Room 250; County Administration Building
December 11:  Presentation of the County’s overall 25 year Capital Improvement Plan; 3:30 p.m.; Board Meeting Room, Room 250; County Administration Building
January 3:  Public Hearing on the County’s overall 25 year Capital Improvement Plan; 7:00 p.m; Board Meeting Room, Room 250; County Administration Building
All of these meetings are open to the public.

Once again this fall, Byrd Elementary School hosted an evening event for families and community members with an eye on helping others.  The BES Farmers’ Market is an opportunity for students, family members, and teachers to work together to develop specialty products for sale, the money raised by the event aimed at giving back to our community.

Megan Donovan, first grade teacher, shared enthusiastically, “The Farmers’ Market was a tremendous success! We raised $2,725 that will be donated to the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services, American Red Cross, and put toward having trees planted on the BES playground.  Our students, parents and staff worked very hard to make a difference in our country, our community and right here at BES.  We couldn’t be more proud!”

James Hopkins, Principal, said, “The Byrd Elementary Farmers’ Market was a great success! We raised nearly $3,000 for charities as well as for shade trees for the BES playground.  It brought the school and community together to celebrate helping one another.  The students along with their teachers and volunteers did an outstanding job of creating items that were sold to the public.  The event was well attended and enjoyed by all!”