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.

Yesterday the Virginia Department of Education released accreditation ratings for all schools and school divisions of the Commonwealth under the newly created school accreditation standards.  An overview of Virginia results and an explanation of the newly revised accreditation standards can be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2018/09-sep27.shtml.  

These accreditation ratings are based on the results of the 2018 Standards of Learning tests, and are designed to assess school performance based on school quality indicators for academic achievement, achievement gaps, and student engagement and outcomes.  

92% of Virginia schools were accredited for 2018-2019, and all five Goochland schools are among those accredited schools.  Detailed information about school and division accreditation ratings can be found at http://schoolquality.virginia.gov/.  

Goochland County Public Schools exceeded the state average for student performance in math, science, and reading, and students with disabilities and black students met or exceeded the state average in the same content areas.  GCPS also exceeded the state average for kindergarten students meeting literacy benchmarks.

This represents more than a decade in which all GCPS schools have been accredited at the highest level designated the Virginia Department of Education, a distinction shared with only a handful of Virginia school divisions.  

This distinction is now determined by both traditional achievement measures as used in the previous accreditation system and the added criteria assessing school performance by individual subgroups and student engagement.  School leaders credit Goochland’s pursuit of innovation, growth, and engagement before test results in all classrooms as the source of success. “The new accreditation ratings validate our work to go further than overall ratings and to identify and improve outcomes for all of our students,” said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent. “The work of our teachers and staff has distinguished us in the Commonwealth and beyond, and we will continue to identify the areas where we can still improve and maximize the potential of every learner in Goochland County Public Schools.”  

Highlights from the division’s Spring 2018 SOL results include:  

  • Goochland students outperformed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all four core academic areas: reading, math, social studies, and science
  • Goochland’s reading scores ranked thirteenth in the state out of the 132 school divisions in the Commonwealth and second in the region
  • Goochland’s math scores also ranked thirteenth in the state and first in the region

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on a balanced approach to instruction and assessment as a key to the division’s success.  “Every child’s learning is important, and that requires our instructional program to be balanced. Students need direct instruction. They also need opportunities to explore what interests them.  Students need to work collaboratively with their peers. They also need opportunities to demonstrate their learning independently. It’s this kind of balance across our entire division that prepares our students for success.  Even more important, we have the most talented, caring teachers anywhere – and it’s their dedication that makes our school community shine.”

As we finish our fourth week of school, we want to make sure that we maintain our focus on building positive relationships with our students and our families.  The Metropolitan Education Research Consortium (MERC) conducted a series of interviews with teachers and students about the importance of relationships in public education.  Goochland High School teacher Liz Kuhns and recent graduate, Samantha Martin, were recently interviewed in a special series from Abstract called Connections Across Education.

 

 

 

 

When making decisions regarding whether we should close schools due to weather, the safety or our students and our staff is always our highest priority.  All week, our administrative team has been working in collaboration with local and state emergency management officials to track Hurricane Florence and her ever-changing forecast.  Some of our neighboring school divisions decided earlier this week that their schools would be closed tomorrow. I have decided to wait until now to make a decision due to the many unknowns that have been associated with this storm.  Based on current and forecasted conditions, we are planning on opening our schools on time tomorrow (Friday, September 14) and operating on a regular schedule.  As there are many unknowns with a storm of this magnitude, we will continue to monitor the ever-changing conditions associated with Hurricane Florence.  If there is a need to make a change to our operating schedule due to unforeseen changes in weather, road conditions, or power outages, we will notify you as soon as possible so that you can make accommodations in your family’s daily schedule.

Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

 

As a part of our ongoing and proactive school safety initiatives, students at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School will be discussing the importance of reporting possible threats to school safety.  Training will be provided as a part of our collaboration with the University of Virginia and the Virginia Youth Violence Project.The intent of these discussions is to emphasize the importance of sharing ANY information that a student feels is threatening and to explain the processes that we have at each school to assess threats once we receive them.  This is an important message for us to share about the prevention of violence and our collective responsibility to keep our schools safe.

Parents have the opportunity to also participate in this training online.  The training lasts approximately 25 minutes.  As a part of the training, you will be asked questions to measure what you know about school safety and what you have learned from the training.  Be assured that all of your responses are anonymous and that no one will know how you answered the questions.

The website for the parent program is www.schoolthreatassessment.com.  Enter the parent code to begin:  pncwub  

FREE Preschool Developmental Screenings for children birth to 5 years are available for county residents

Thursday, September 20th from 3:00-6:00 PM

Friday, September 21st from 9:00-2:00 PM

Goochland County Public Schools and Goochland-Powhatan Community Services Parent Infant Education Program partner every year to offer developmental screenings for Goochland County residents.  On these dates, families can bring their children to our facility to find out more about their children’s development and school readiness.  Our screening staff includes preschool teachers with specialized developmental training; speech-language pathologists for screening speech-language skills and hearing; and other specialists who assist with different aspects of the screenings.  Vision and hearing screenings are available on the Child Check dates, but not available for appointments on later dates.

If families are unable to attend these dates, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment for another date.

Although we prefer parents to contact us, referrals for screenings can be made by anyone with some knowledge of the child (family members, preschool teachers, doctors, etc.).  Call 804-556-5321 if you have any questions about screenings, appointments, or our program.

 

For more information, contact:

Wendy Travis

Preschool Coordinator

(804) 556-5321, ext. 3209

We continue to work with our partners at Goochland County, including the County Administrator, Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services, Social Services, and the Sheriff’s Office, to monitor Hurricane Florence and prepare our division for what could potentially be a significant impact to our community.

As with all inclement weather scenarios, please familiarize yourself with our protocols for school schedule changes due to inclement weather at http://goochlandschools.org/for-parents/inclement-weather/.  On this page, available via the “Parents” link at www.goochlandschools.org, you can find our social media and mainstream media links we will utilize to communicate any changes to our schedule, including early dismissal, late starts, and school closings.

We join Goochland County in encouraging all Goochland families to sign up for Code Red, the Goochland County community notification system, at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/1380BACA5A57

A tropical event like Hurricane Florence requires complex planning for our school division and our community.  The possibility of power outages, road closures, water quality issues, and property damage to our school facilities will make communication and coordination essential to ensure that we are able to resume operations as soon as possible in the event of closing.  We are taking all necessary precautions in our facilities and in our transportation department to plan for the worst, and we will continue to make student safety our priority in all of our decisions.

Please stay tuned to our Twitter feed at @glndschools and Facebook at @goochlandcountyschools for the first notifications of any changes.  Make sure your contact information is updated on PowerSchool to receive SchoolMessenger email and phone notifications. Stay tuned to local TV and radio outlets.  

We will update our community as conditions change.  Thank you for your support, and please stay safe!