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 2020 for our students, families, and professional educators.

This month, once again, Goochland County Public Schools will be embarking on a special project, a division-wide book club called Goochland Reads.  Goochland 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.

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.  This year’s selection is The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin.  The title was announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book today, and your child should have come home with his/her very own copy.  Families can also find a shared community reading schedule by clicking this link.  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 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 comprehension questions to encourage and celebrate participation.  We encourage you to make sure your family participates so your child can fully participate.  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 few 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!

At its meeting earlier this week on Tuesday December 10, the Goochland County School Board approved the instructional calendars for the next three academic years.  Highlights of each of the three calendars include:

  • First day of school two weeks prior to Labor Day
  • Periodic breaks throughout the year for teacher professional days aligned with interim reports and the end of the nine weeks grading period
  • One designated fall parent conference day
  • No school on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • Full two weeks of winter break
  • Spring break during the first full week of April to align with neighboring school divisions
  • Early dismissal on the last day before winter break and the last day of school
  • 180 instructional days for students
  • Designated make up days if needed

These approved calendars can be viewed in greater detail here:

 

Last night, the Goochland County Board of Supervisors approved our division’s request for a conditional use permit to build a 650 student replacement Goochland Elementary School at the corner of Bulldog Way and Steeplechase Parkway. This was a significant step forward in a lengthy process that will ultimately result in the projected opening of our new school in August 2024. Thank you to our community members who participated in this public process. I am also grateful to the Supervisors and the Planning Commission for their support of this application.

The next step on this journey is to secure the architect and engineering firm who will lead our community through the process of designing our new elementary school. At the same time, we will be advertising for the services of a demographer or other third party consultant to lead us through the transparent process of adjusting our attendance boundaries that will be effective when the new GES opens in 2024. It is our goal to advertise for both of these services in August 2020 and to have the firms selected by the School Board’s November 2020 meeting.

I will certainly keep everyone informed every step of the way. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to participate in the process in the future.

 

Location of new Goochland Elementary School

Does your child’s anxiety or perfectionism cause you concern?  Is he or she stressed about grades, homework, acceptance into a program and/or university?

Students of all ages appear to be experiencing the effects of increasing pressures and demands from all directions.  Parents and educators worry about how to help children navigate their world.  Please join us to hear from an acclaimed, nationally-recognized expert on this topic.  Dr. Tracy Cross has presented hundreds of times all over the world on this topic … and he’s coming to Goochland!

 

 

We will host an information night for families interested in learning about three of our advanced high school programs on Monday, October 28 at 6:30PM in the Goochland High School auditorium: Advance College Academy (ACA), Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School (BRVGS), and Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School (MLWGS).  Goochland County Public Schools team members will be joined by officials from J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, BRVGS, and MLWGS to provide an overview of each program and answer questions.

The information night will be tailored to families with students in grades 4-8, though it’s open to anyone interested in learning more about these programs.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Budget season has begun!  I am in the midst of collecting feedback to help me prepare my upcoming budget request.  Again this year, I am seeking your perspective regarding ideas that you may have for budget initiatives as well as opportunities for efficiency.  Please take a moment to share your thoughts with me via this survey.  I welcome your thoughts, comments, and perspective.  Results of this survey will be shared with the School Board at their upcoming meeting on November 12, 2019.

Now that our new school year is in full swing, it is time for us to make preparations for the approval of our division’s future instructional calendars.  Since August, I have been working in collaboration with members of our administrative team to discuss potential drafts. Yesterday, I shared these drafts with my Superintendent’s Leadership Team, consisting of parents and teachers from each of our five schools.  Like past and current calendars, the focus of these future draft calendars is on our instructional goal to maximize each student’s academic potential through engaging experiences and deeper learning.

Although there are some very minor differences in each version, each calendar follows a similar structure to that of our current calendar.  Highlights of each of the three calendars include:

  • First day of school two weeks prior to Labor Day
  • Periodic breaks throughout the year for teacher professional days aligned with interim reports and the end of the nine weeks grading period
  • One designated fall parent conference day
  • No school on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • Full two weeks of winter break
  • Spring break during the first full week of April to align with neighboring school divisions
  • Early dismissal on the last day before winter break and the last day of school
  • 180 instructional days for students
  • Designated make up days if needed

Please take a moment to review the drafts for the next three school years.

Keep in mind that these calendars truly are drafts.  Please feel free to send me a message, give me a call, or stop me when you see me opening cars in the morning or at our many different school events.  I welcome your thoughts and comments. It is my goal to provide the School Board with my recommendation for their consideration at their meeting on November 12, 2019.   No action will be taken until the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on December 10, 2019.

 

Are you tired of worrying about when your child’s bus will arrive or whether or not your child has missed the bus?  Last year, we used Ubicabus.  Their name has now changed to Viafy.  With the Viafy Parent App, you can now see exactly where your child’s bus is and receive alerts about when it will arrive.

What is it?

  • A mobile app that tracks your student’s bus in real-time using active GPS
  • A way to receive route information and expected times of your child’s bus arrival
  • An app that can provide optional push notifications to alert you when the bus is nearby

Can someone have access to my child’s route information?

  • You will only have access to route information within 3 miles of your home
  • You will only be able to see your child’s bus route

How to Use:

  1. Call our transportation office at 804-556-5361 to request your login information
  2. Check your email for login credentials and details from Viafy
  3. Download the Viafy -Parent app on your mobile device
  4. Log in & Enjoy!

Please note that you cannot sign up on your own.  To ensure the security of student data, you can only access Viafy by invitation only.

Contact Mrs. Rosa Holman, Supervisor of Transportation at rvillegas@glnd.k12.va.us or 804-556-5361 with questions.

Tonight, is the first home varsity football game of the 2019 season.  Our football team and our marching band will have the pleasure of performing for the first time in their new band uniforms on our newly renovated field.  Cheerleaders will be encouraging our Bulldogs while standing on a new track surface.  Tonight is going to be a special night in so many ways!

Newly renovated track and field and goochland high school

There is something special about a Friday night home football game under the lights!  Home football games in small communities like ours provide the opportunity for us to see friends and neighbors that we have not seen in a while, catch up with classmates, and to put our unified support behind our Bulldogs who have been working all summer to showcase their talents.

Thank you to the coaches, parents, volunteers, custodians, administrators, and maintenance staff who have dedicated countless hours to get ready for our Bulldog’s home debut tonight.  Thank you to our School Board and Board of Supervisors who have funded and supported these needed renovations to Bulldog Stadium! Thank you to the Goochland High School Band  and Athletic Boosters for the abundant support of time and additional financial resources to provide what our students need to be successful.  The support that our school division receives through our community’s investment of time, talent, and resources is why we are continually recognized as one of the premier school divisions in the Commonwealth!

I am hoping for a large crowd tonight!  It’s going to be a picture perfect Fall evening perfect for football!  Go Bulldogs!

Our school division is planning for our future!  Over the course of the past few months, our staff has been taking preliminary steps to create a roadmap for the work that will take place over the course of the next six years.  Our current strategic plan is due to expire in June 2020.  We need your guidance and input as we shape the future of the Goochland County Public Schools!  Help us plan what the next six years looks like for inspiring our next generation to make a positive impact. We want to hear from our community about what you value in our school division. We also want to hear from you about what we might change, add, or take away from our programs to help us maximize the potential of every learner. Please join us at one or more of the following planned events to help us forge the next six years of our school division’s history! Please join us at these public input sessions.  All meetings begin at 6:00 p.m.  Everyone is welcome!
  • Thursday October 17 – GHS/GMS Secondary Complex – 3250 River Road W.
  • Tuesday October 22 – Hadensville Fire House – Company 6 – 4810 Three Chopt Road
  • Tuesday October 29 – Goochland Rec Center – 2415 Sandy Hook Road
  • Wednesday November 6 – Randolph Elementary School – 1552 Sheppard Town Road
  • Thursday November 14 – Byrd Elementary School – 2704 Hadensville-Fife Road