The safety, security, and well-being of our students, staff, and visitors has been, and will continue to be, a priority for our school division.  Prior to the tragic events last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there were many safety processes and protocols that had already been in place.  Following this event, we planned for and implemented many more practices to increase the safety and security of our facilities and school division operations.  I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on the status of our ongoing safety initiatives.

Personnel

In mid-January, Deputy Scott Leabough began his full time assignment as School Resource Officer at Goochland Middle School.  Deputy Leabough was selected through a collaborative interview process with the school administration and the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.  He has a tremendous amount of experience that will contribute to the overall safety, security, and climate at Goochland Middle School.

We continue to strive toward meeting the many socio-emotional needs of our students.  My proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year includes a request to increase school counseling staffing at Goochland High School through the summer months as well request for a full time License Mental Health Counselor to serve as a resource for teachers and administrators and to provide direct services to students at our secondary complex.

Infrastructure and Capital Improvements

There have been many changes to access to our division’s facilities that are easily noticed by our visitors and guests.  Exterior access controls and door position sensors have been installed at strategic locations on all of our division’s facilities.  In addition to these measures, ALL exterior locks are currently in the process of being re-keyed. These devices will allow our school division to restrict and control access, while also having documentation regarding the dates, times, and locations when facilities are accessed.  Bids have been secured for the installation of cameras at our elementary schools, with installation to begin in the Spring. An additional layer of security has been added with the installation of transaction windows at both Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School. These transaction windows allow our staff and families to more efficiently handle routine transactions at our schools-dropping off items for students, sign in and sign out-while reducing traffic in our office areas and thereby minimizing risk associated with individuals moving past the secure lobby areas of the middle and high schools.

Crisis Planning and Training

Our proactive approaches to improve and increase safety and security continues through the work of our School Safety Task Force as well as our ongoing collaboration with Goochland County Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services and the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.  As a result of this collaboration, staff have been trained in bleed management techniques. In the next month, bleed management kits will be installed in strategic locations (like our AEDs) for use in a crisis situation. We continue to conduct drills with students and staff on all of our safety processes as all division-wide crisis plans have been reviewed and revised.  Future training and collaboration will focus on scenario exercises and drills that will be conducted with our different partner agencies.

Our School Safety Task Force, comprised of staff, students, and partner organizations, meets bi-monthly to discuss areas of concern, provide action items to school leadership, and gather feedback toward enhanced safety.

Safe Schools Anonymous Reporting

Please remember that we have a division-wide anonymous reporting system.  This system allows you to report any threats or concerns related to bullying anonymously via text message, website, e-mail, or phone call.  Links can be found on any school website and also here.

Threat Assessment Training for Parents

This past Fall, all of our students and staff at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School received training and awareness of our division’s threat assessment process.  Parents can also access this training at www.schoolthreatassessment.com Enter the parent code to begin:  pncwub

Transportation

Throughout the Fall, we have been working in collaboration with the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office and Goochland County Administration to develop an ordinance (pp. 140-141) that will allow our school division to issue a summons for a $250 fine to a motorist who does not obey the flashing lights on our buses when stopped.  We are able to complete this process now that exterior and dash cameras have been installed on the routes where this happens the most. The Goochland County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on this Ordinance tomorrow (February 5) at 7:00 p.m.

Although we initiated and completed many safety initiatives in the past 12 months, we do not want to become complacent.  Your feedback, recommendations, and thoughts on areas of improvement or concern are always welcome. Please feel free to contact me via phone, e-mail, or in person when you see me at many of our division’s events.  Thank you, as always, for everything that you do to support the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools!

 

 

The Virginia Department of Education recently announced that National School Counseling Week will be recognized February 4-8, 2019.  Sponsored by the American School Counseling Association, the organization states: “School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing academic concerns, social/emotional issues and career awareness for postsecondary options.  Comprehensive school counseling programs help to increase student achievement and are a vital part of the educational process for all students.”

Our team of school counselors is one of the very best anywhere!

(from left) Beth Curfman, GES; Beth Fowler, GHS; Kathy Albert, BES; Ashton Guza, GHS; Sarah Ambrose, RES; Roberta Watson, GMS; Stacey Rainbolt, GMS; Doug Getter, GHS

B Y R D   E L E M E N T A R Y   S C H O O L

African-American History Museum

All classes have selected a famous African American who has contributed to the shaping of our country through action and literature.  Students will demonstrate their learning through school-wide displays.

G O O C H L A N D   E L E M E N T A R Y   S C H O O L

Celebrations and Contributions of Famous African Americans

Classes will research a famous African American and depict his or her contributions and accomplishments in shaping our country.  Students will create a three-dimensional printed artifact, green screen video, and/or life-size representation of the famous African American to be displayed in the library.

R A N D O L P H   E L E M E N T A R Y   S C H O O L

Explorations of Contributions: Famous African Americans

In addition to mastering the famous American curriculum embedded with each grade level, students will be studying and exploring the profound musical contributions of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Marian Anderson and Aretha Franklin.

G O O C H L A N D   M I D D L E   S C H O O L

Carving the Path for Discovery: Exploring the Academic Impact of African Americans

Students will explore the impact African Americans have had across the core academic content areas: science, history, English, and mathematics.  Students will create slides that document contributions; these slides will be projected on the school’s daily digital announcements.

G O O C H L A N D   H I G H   S C H O O L

African-American Legacies

Academic departments have designed project-based lessons and planned classroom activities that spotlight contributions of African Americans.  Daily announcements will highlight African-American heroes, culminating with presentations and student performances during the final week of February that showcase African-American culture.

On Tuesday evening, I presented the Goochland County School Board with a balanced, needs-based 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 proposed budget align with our strategic plan and are aimed at maintaining our position as a leader in the Commonwealth.

The full presentation is available here, and the following includes a summary of the different aspects of the proposed budget.

Goal 1:  Prepared for Life through Deeper Learning

  • 1 English teacher at Goochland High School
  • 1 math teacher at Goochland Middle School
  • 1 division-wide mental health counselor
  • Increasing one school counselor contract at Goochland High School from 11 months to 12 months
  • Maintaining administrative intern and assistant athletic director stipends at Goochland High School, Dean of Students stipend at Goochland Middle School, adding a division-wide lead school nurse stipend and senior project advisor stipend at GHS
  • Additional funding for dual enrollment, Advance College Academy, and Maggie Walker tuition
  • Increase funding for instructional materials and supplies at each school
  • Additional funding for Career and Technical Education and Robotics
  • Funding to support students taking online, virtual courses
  • Assistance to provide equitable field trip experiences for all preschool through fifth grade students
  • Summer enrichment camp experiences for students
  • Funding for additional classroom software
  • Initiatives to support students in alternative education settings

Goal 2:  Improved School Climate – Attract and retain quality teachers and staff

In December 2018, Governor Northam presented his proposed budget for consideration by the General Assembly.  His proposal included funding for the state share of a 5% raise.  In order to receive this additional state funding, localities must provide a minimum average raise of 5% “during the 2018-2020 biennium, either in the first year or in the second year or through a combination of the two years” (slide 45).  Should the Governor’s plan be approved, our division will be the beneficiary of some additional funding for the state share of this initiative. It is, however, important to note that the vast majority of funding (69%) for our division’s personnel, instructional, and operational budget comes directly from funds provided to us from funds appropriated to us by the Goochland County Board of Supervisors, not the state (slide 74).

Providing all of our employees with an overall competitive compensation plan is a priority in this proposed budget and aligns with the proposed compensation plan that the School Board is currently considering.  This policy, under consideration by the Board, includes the goal of becoming “the leader in overall compensation among competitive regional divisions”.  My recommended budget includes a proposed 3% raise for all employees.  This proposed raise, in conjunction with the 2% raise that employees received this year, will allow us to receive the additional state funding referenced in the Governor’s proposal.

This will help us to retain the incredibly talented professionals we currently have and to attract exceptional candidates when vacancies occur.  The budget includes a total of $814,028 in funding for salary improvement, funding for revisions to certain classified salary scales (professional support staff & bus driver) and administrative scales, and funding for salary scale adjustments.  Drafts of the proposed revisions to specific salary scales will be presented to the Board at their February 5 budget work session.

This proposal includes funding that will allow the school division to absorb the projected increase in health insurance premiums. This means no increase in out of pocket health insurance costs to employees who choose our high deductible plan or our $500 deductible plan (slide 54).  This is important in our ability to remain competitive in attracting and retaining the most talented educators, as other neighboring governments may pass some or all of any increase in health insurance premiums to their employees.

One further employee benefit that is outlined in the proposed budget is an increase in funding for recruiting initiatives and a plan for subsidizing preschool opportunities for employees’ children if there are slots available in the programs at our elementary schools.  These initiatives should help us retain our most talented and reliable employees as we strive to be responsive to the changing needs of our workforce.

Goal 3 – Safe Schools with Effective Management

  • Increasing staffing in the central office Finance Department
  • Funding for software needed for division-wide operations
  • Additional funding for utilities and the maintenance of facilities

In addition to the personnel resources and programs identified for us to accomplish our strategic objectives as outlined above, this proposed budget includes opportunities for us to re-purpose and reallocate current resources by abandoning specific practices and processes, thus allowing us to use the funds previously allocated to these practices to fund our strategic needs.  These recommendations are outlined on slide 63.

In all, the proposed budget for next year includes additional expenditures in the amount of $1,298,689 or 4%.  Overall, 70.3% of next year’s budgeted expenditures will be focused on our instructional program with another 7.7% in Technology.  These additional expenditures are offset by new revenue from state, Federal, and local sources. The proposed increase in funding from the Goochland County Board of Supervisors is in the amount of $740,000. Total funding from our local government for the fiscal year is up 3.3% and is at a projected $23,330,000.

Through our budget process, there were programmatic and personnel needs that have been identified, but are currently unfunded in this proposal.  These needs were given very careful consideration. If additional revenue is available in the future, the following needs have risen to the next level of funding priority for future consideration (slide 77):

  • CTE teacher for Secondary Complex
  • Subscription of No Red Ink for GMS and GHS
  • Instructional technology coach
  • Funding for furniture replacement
  • Part time compensation and human resources analyst

In summary, this proposed 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.

Several public meetings will be taking place in the coming weeks as the School Board and the Board of Supervisors make final budget decisions for next year.

  • February 5th – School Board Budget Work Session – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6  p.m.
  • February 12th – Public Hearing on School Board Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 6:30 p.m.
  • February 26th – School Board Approves 2019-2020 Budget – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6:30  p.m.
  • March 5th – Presentation of School Board Approved Budget to Goochland County Board of Supervisors – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 6th – Districts 4 and 5 Town Hall – Hermitage Country Club – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 13th – Districts 2 and 3 Town Hall – Central High School Cultural and Education Complex – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 18th – District 1 Town Hall – Company 4 Fire House – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 2nd – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 16th – Board of Supervisors Approve County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.

I hope that you are able to attend.  As always, please let me know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding anything contained in this proposed budget.

 

Dr. John Hendron, our Director of Innovation and Strategy, and I recently had the opportunity to take our 360 degree camera inside Goochland High School to see the excellent work of our students and staff.  We also had the chance to speak with students, staff, and Mr. Collier, GHS principal.  Take a moment to use your mouse (or your fingers on your phone) to get the full 360 degree experience of the awesomeness of Goochland High School!

As we begin a new calendar year, we reflect on the successes of the first half of our academic year and look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead for us in the Spring!  January is also a time for us to accelerate our planning for the start of another school year in August. This future planning begins with the development of our annual operating budget, a budget aligned with our vision, mission, and core values that will provide the resources to allow us to build upon  our many past successes and our desire to continue to shine as a leader in providing students with an exceptional academic experience.

Our annual budget development process began in October as input was solicited from key division leaders regarding their identified programmatic, personnel, and other resource needs.  In addition, our leadership team was asked to critically analyze our current processes to determine whether or not there were opportunities to abandon past practices in an effort to re-allocate funding to newly identified needs.  Feedback from our community has also been a part of this budget development process as input was sought from our stakeholders, including staff, citizens, and students regarding their perspective on our division’s budgetary needs. There was a lot of valuable feedback that was shared through this process.  The results of this community survey was shared with the Goochland County School Board in December and can be found here.

So far this month, the Goochland County School Board has conducted a budget work session aimed at identifying the many different personnel, programmatic, and resource needs of our school division that have been identified through the process to date.  My presentation shared with the School Board on January 8 can be found here.  The budget development process will require a prioritization of the future needs of our school division and the utilization of available financial resources in alignment with our division’s identified goals in our strategic plan.  These goals include providing the curricular and personnel resources that will enable us to maximize each student’s academic potential as we prepare our students for the challenges of learning and working in the modern global economy.  Additionally, we will work to provide a total compensation package for our employees that is competitive in our region so that we can ensure that we can retain the incredibly talented professionals we have and attract exceptional candidates when vacancies occur.

Fiscal efficiency and transparency are also critically important as we work to develop our future spending plan.  There will be several future meetings where there School Board and the Goochland County Board of Supervisors will be discussing and making decisions regarding next year’s budget.  I hope that you are able to attend the School Board’s next meeting coming up on Tuesday January 29 at 6:30 p.m. when I will be presenting my recommended spending plan for next fiscal year.  Please also join us at the many other upcoming public meetings on our budget.

  • February 5th – School Board Budget Work Session – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6  p.m.
  • February 12th – Public Hearing on School Board Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 6:30 p.m.
  • February 26th – School Board Approves 2019-2020 Budget – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6:30  p.m.
  • March 5th – Presentation of School Board’s Approved Budget to Goochland County Board of Supervisors – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 6th – Districts 4 and 5 Town Hall – Hermitage Country Club – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 13th – Districts 2 and 3 Town Hall – Central High School Cultural and Education Complex – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 18th – District 1 Town Hall – Company 4 Fire House – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 2nd – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 16th – Board of Supervisors Approve County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.

Our school division is the beneficiary of a supportive community of parents, citizens, and volunteers who have made an investment of their time, talent, and resources to ensure that our students are provided the resources and opportunities that they need in order to receive an exceptional education.  Thank you for the part that you play in making this possible!

 

 

Today we kicked off Goochland Reads 2019, a program that encourages a larger community to engage in a common literary experience during a common period of time.  Each one of our elementary students, teachers, and support staff received a copy of the Goochland Reads book at no cost – and throughout the month of January our schools facilitate a reading schedule that includes trivia questions, awards and recognition, and other engaging activities.  This year’s selection is Wendy Orr’s Nim’s Island.

The Goochland Reads 2019 calendar can be accessed here, and a copy of the program’s welcome letter that came home with our elementary students can be accessed here.

Happy reading!

We have had an exceptional first half of this academic year!  As I walk through our schools, I continue to see countless examples of the excellence that is ever-present in the Goochland County Public Schools.  Our highly dedicated, talented, and expert instructional staff are providing students with exceptional learning experiences on a daily basis.  I continue to be amazed by what I see taking place!

Thanks to everyone on Team Goochland, including our staff, students, parents, volunteers, and supporters who contribute daily to the many successes of our school division. Your investment of time, labor, and resources in our community’s future, our students, is why our school division continues to be recognized as a leader in public education in the Commonwealth.  I am truly humbled to be able to live in and serve in this wonderful community!

As we approach a break in our instructional calendar, I hope that you will have an opportunity to rest, relax, connect with those who are important in your lives, and allows you some time to do what you enjoy!  Best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

Seasons Greetings from the Goochland County Public Schools