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 December meeting.
It’s amazing how quickly this school year is moving! We are entering our 13th week of school and we are well into the second quarter of the school year. The momentum from an extremely smooth opening of school has continued as we remain on track for another fantastic year.
This week, our school division will be celebrating American Education Week, a time to pause and celebrate the work that we do as public educators to inspire the next generation of youth in Goochland to make a positive impact in our ever changing world. During the past several weeks, I have spent time in our schools, clinics, buses, offices, and cafeterias seeing the exceptional work that Team Goochland is doing on behalf of our students. Our Team demonstrates their commitment to excellence on a daily basis as they continually strive to provide our students world class experiences.
I have always had a great appreciation for the challenges that each of our teammates face as they teach, counsel, support, and encourage a talented and diverse student body. My appreciation for their talents became even greater than before just recently as I planned and prepared a short, 30 minute story and activity for 15 of our first grade scholars at Byrd Elementary. It definitely did not go as well as I planned. Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop? You get the picture.
As I walk through our buildings, pop into classrooms, and conduct instructional rounds, I am impressed with our employees and their ability to capture the attention of our students, get them excited about learning, and engage them in memorable learning experiences. I know that they spend many hours sacrificing time away from their families to plan, prepare, and reflect on the work that they do in order to make this happen, and I am truly humbled to have the pleasure of serving our community’s students and families with them.
Thank you, Team Goochland! Thank you for your excellence, your academic optimism, and your willingness to create and innovate. Thank you for having the courage to try something new, and for serving as positive role models for our students. Our school division is amazing because of you, and I am forever grateful for the time, effort, and labor that you dedicate to making our school division awesome!
Students had a four-day weekend last week, likely a welcomed opportunity to catch up, get ahead, and rest! Meanwhile, the work of the school division rolled on as teachers spent Monday with families engaged in fall conferences. Some started as early as 7 o’clock in the morning and others as late as 8PM in order to accommodate as many schedules as possible.
Tuesday was a day focused on adult learning, and our approach was customized to ensure the time was meaningful to all involved. Opportunities like this are few and far between during the busy schedule of the regular instructional year – and the GCPS team made the very most of the time we had!
Excellence: A commitment to meeting exceptional standards of growth, achievement, and personal responsibility.
On Monday of this week, the Goochland County Public Schools hosted a total of 39 superintendents, school board members, and administrative staff from 8 school divisions from Ohio to Louisiana. During their visit, they were able to see, feel, and experience the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools! Excellence was pervasive in their interactions with our students, our teachers, and every member of Team Goochland!
Every aspect of our division shined as they were greeted by one of our enthusiastic drivers, entered clean and well-maintained schools, and interacted with our passionate employees and awesome students. In every classroom, students were engaged in exceptional academic experiences as our teachers allowed students to learn through deeper learning opportunities. Students were creating, collaborating, communicating, critically thinking, problem solving, and demonstrating respect through their interactions with both their peers and our guests.
Our visitors pointed out on several occasions that Team Goochland has strong culture of optimism, engagement, and student-centered learning: a deeply embedded culture that is not found in many divisions. Students showed pride in their schools through their work and the conversations that they had with our visitors. They openly shared what they were learning and were able to describe, in their own words, what was taking place in their classroom and in their school. The pride and passion that our employees have for their work was also abundantly clear as teachers willingly opened their classrooms to share their skills and expertise with our guests.
From one of our visitors:
Thanks again for a wonderful visit. Ronny, Matt, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some of the practices that makes your school district/division successful. We look forward to sharing some of the things we learned with others. You have some amazing people throughout your organization and it is evident that the positive, professional, and innovative culture you all have established is embedded in every school. I know this event wasn’t an easy task to pull off and many hours were put into making it a success; thank you for investing in it to make it meaningful for us.
Ken Oertling, Ph.D., Executive Director of Secondary Schools
St. Charles Parish Public Schools, Louisiana
Thank you to our talented and passionate employees for the time, effort, and energy that they dedicate to the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools. Our division has amazing professionals who serve as role models for educators across this nation to follow. As superintendent, I am truly humbled to have the pleasure to serve our students and our community alongside our amazing team as we continually work to maximize the potential of every one of our division’s learners. I am so proud of our students, our team, and our community for everything that makes Goochland so special!
Our visitors were provided an iPad during their visit to capture memorable moments and used the clip app to create their own video. Check out a sample of some of the videos that they created.
Partnership for the Future will be hosing a college preparation seminar on Saturday November 3 for students and families who are interested in learning more about the college admission process, financial aid, and career exploration. Register for this FREE opportunity by clicking here.
I am proud of the many amazing accomplishments of Team Goochland! Our annual instructional report provides an opportunity for us to highlight our work and provide a transparent and wide-ranging look of the accomplishments of our school division. A hard copy of this report will be in every mailbox in Goochland County in the coming days. Feel free to view an electronic copy of this report before it arrives in your mailbox.
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to take our 360 degree camera to Goochland Middle School to talk with students about their experience. I had the chance to talk with students in Ms. Gill’s 6th grade math class about order of operations and then with two students who were working on coding as a part of their GRIP (Gifted Research Interest-based Project) project and observed students in Ms. Brooks’ 6th grade English class who were actively engaged in a collaborative competition with their iPads.
I spent some time in physical education classes with our students (I really struggled with my badminton serve) and talking to students in one of our 8th grade Career and Technical Education classes (Manufacturing Systems). From there, I learned from 7th grade students in Spanish I, Part I who were writing a conversation that they would share with their peers during a later class. I finished by talking with students in Mr. Neufer’s Eagle Block who gave me some insight into their overall experience with Goochland County Public Schools. At the end, I asked them to rate their experience. They all gave GCPS a 4 star or 5 star rating!
As you watch this video, be sure to use your cursor or your fingers (on a mobile device) to look around the classroom. You will see students using technology in multiple ways to supplement and support their learning experience. We are proud that we are able to provide every student K-12 with their own device as a tool that will enable them to have a deeper learning experience and engage with content in a more meaningful way.
In an effort to promote awareness of school bullying, the VSBA Board of Directors has designated the month of October as VSBA Bullying Prevention Month. Goochland County Public Schools are committed to a safe environment for learning, one free from bullying. While our efforts in this regard are year-round, the recognition associated with National Bully Prevention Month provides an opportunity to highlight some of our most impactful work.