Goochland County Public Schools is pleased ​to announce that four of its five schools have been recognized as Apple Distinguished Schools for 2017–2019 for focus on deeper learning with the 1:1 computing program using iPad. This year, the division expanded its program to K-2 classrooms in elementary schools, and students at Goochland High School now use MacBook Air. Students use these devices to help develop world ready skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. The division also uses innovative software to help achieve its mission of maximizing each student’s potential through software that can individualize a student’s specific needs in areas such as mathematics.

Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence that use Apple products to inspire creativity, ​collaboration, and critical thinking. They showcase innovative uses of technology in learning, teaching, and the school environment, and have documented results of academic accomplishment.

This year, Byrd Elementary School, Goochland Elementary School, and Randolph Elementary School were awarded this designation, alongside Goochland Middle School. Goochland High School was not eligible to apply for this recognition because of the developing stage of its program.

“This recognition highlights the strong support of our technology department, the commitment of our teachers toward deeper learning, and the support of our school board to incentivize instructional innovation,” remarked John Hendron, Ed.D., Director of Innovation and Strategy for the division. “We’re proud to bring cutting-edge, engaging experiences to students,” said Goochland County Public Schools superintendent, Jeremy Raley, Ed.D. “Using these devices, we’re preparing students for an uncertain future, but one we know will require technology savvy and critical thinking.”

Examples of student engagement using iPads can be found chronicled in a series of books that were produced by the principals and staff of each school, which was submitted for consideration for the title of Apple Distinguished School. Each school’s book is available on their school website. Teachers are using Apple Classroom to manage devices and Schoology is used by students and teachers to manage digital materials, to check for understanding, and engage in virtual discussions. Parents can use the Schoology system to monitor student progress in grades 3-12.

Goochland County Public Schools provides an innovative learning environment for over 2500 students in central Virginia across five schools. Every one of Goochland’s schools is fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education. The division’s vision is inspiring and preparing the next generation to make a positive impact. Learn more at goochlandschools.org.

Contact Dr. John G. Hendron at 804-556-5623 or jhendron@glnd.k12.va.us for more information.

This year, during the week of November 13, schools and school divisions across the country will be celebrating American Education Week.  This week gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on what makes us proud to serve our community as members of the Goochland County School Board.  Our school division is recognized for excellence on many fronts: student performance, school safety, engaging instruction, financial management, balanced assessment, technology integration, community partnerships, and a commitment to innovation.  The achievements of our division are grounded in our strategic plan and would not be possible without the contributions of our dedicated employees and supportive community.

American Education Week marks a great opportunity to celebrate our schools, our students, and our team members.  It is also the perfect time to extend a special invitation to our families and community members to join us in our schools and see firsthand what makes our division so strong.

We are steadfastly focused on the quality of every student’s school experience.  We believe it should be engaging, relevant, and personalized.  On any given day in our schools, our talented and dedicated employees are providing students with exceptional academic experiences that are focused on providing them with the content knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve future success.  We have teachers who give countless hours before school, after school, and on Saturdays to provide students with additional instruction to ensure their success.  We have a fine arts program that rivals those of divisions twice our size.  We have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) programs recognized by the state of Virginia as models of school, community, and business collaboration.  

In Goochland, we have teachers who have organized their classrooms around Scrum, an innovative approach used in the business world to facilitate collaboration and engage participants toward the completion of a task.  We have team members who’ve partnered with state and national experts to develop student assessments that move past traditional multiple choice test items to important skills like communication, critical thinking, and creativity.  We have team members and community partners who’ve come together to provide our students with real world learning opportunities like internships, work site apprenticeships, and experiential learning at places like the Goochland Courthouse Green and Second Union Rosenwald School Museum.

We also have a talented and dedicated support staff of team members whose work is often behind-the-scenes, but without their attention to detail and focus on excellence would not allow our school division to shine.  It is the contributions of all of our Team that has allowed us to perform at this high level.  During this week of national attention on education we want to thank everyone who gives of themselves to make Goochland County Public Schools a school division of excellence.

Beth Hardy, Chair, District 4 John Wright, Vice Chair, District 5 Mike Payne, District 1 Kevin Hazzard, District 2 John Lumpkins, District 3

 

Now that the leaves have fallen from the trees and there is a chill in the air, we are definitely in the midst of autumn.  With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are thinking about the arrangements that we need to make for travel, meals, and visiting guests.  Thanksgiving is definitely a time for us to pause and give thanks for our many blessings.  It is a time for us to share our gratitude with others and reflect on life’s simple pleasures.

This week during American Education Week, I want to pause to give thanks for you.  In the words of former President John F. Kennedy, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”  For over a year, it has been a true pleasure having the opportunity to serve alongside you as we strive to accomplish our school division’s mission.  I have witnessed on many occasions the amazing opportunities and experiences that you provide our students inside and outside of the classroom.  You have spent countless hours at night and on weekends, giving of your time, talents, and financial resources to ensure that all of our students have access to the resources that they need in order to be successful.

I am proud of your optimism and your devotion to maximize the potential of every single one of our learners!  You believe in our students, share resources, and collaborate to ensure each student’s success!  Our instructional staff are leaders and masters at your craft and demonstrate great skill in the art of providing students with engaging experiences that are relevant and geared toward preparing them to be global citizens.  At the same time, our support team faithfully provides the resources and environment that allows innovation and excellence to happen in our classrooms.

Earlier this month, I attended a professional development activity with instructional staff from other school divisions.  As I listened to conversations among these colleagues, it reinforced for me the exceptional work that we are doing in Goochland to prepare our students for future success.  This experience only strengthened my unwavering belief that the Goochland County Public Schools has the best teachers, administrators, and support staff in the Commonwealth!  I am so very lucky to serve our students and our community with you!

Helen Walton, wife of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton has said,  “It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells the kind of life you have lived.”  As educators, you have made a far reaching impact on the lives of our students that will last a lifetime.  Thank you for everything that you do to make a positive difference in the lives of our children!

The ending of daylight savings time marked the transition from one competitive season to another.  As our students begin to make preparations for tryouts and the extra-curricular events that will take place this winter, we want to celebrate the many successes and accomplishments of our students and our staff from the Fall.

Team Goochland has achieved a tremendous amount of success this season!  This success is a direct result of all of the sacrifices, dedication, and hard work that made these accomplishments possible!  It is exciting to see that all of this success was not isolated to one team or one school.  All of our teams had an amazing Fall season!

The Goochland High School Band participated in several competitions this Fall and even hosted one event at GHS.  In every one of these competitions, our Marching Bulldogs excelled as they were recognized for their talent at each event!

Goochland High School Band

Our GHS Cheerleaders had also had a very successful Fall as they qualified to compete in the AA cheerleading state finals this past weekend.  Your hard work and dedication has paid off!  Congratulations on a great Fall!

Goochland High School Cheerleaders at the state AA competition.

Senior golfer Meghan Wright represented Goochland High School at the state golf tournament.  Meghan is the first golfer in recent memory to represent the Bulldogs at this event.

Senior golfer Meghan Wright

Another success from this past Fall was our high school production of Little Shop of Horrors!  Many, many hours of set design, practice, and choreography  resulted in an exceptional event earlier in October!  Our parents and community came out in strength to support our thespians.

Goochland High School performs Little Shop of Horrors

For the first time in school history, Goochland High School has two District Skills USA officers.  Taylor Guy and Derek Powers will be representing us in these leadership positions for this Career and Technical Education student organization.  Students in our heavy equipment operators class demonstrated their skill at the State Fair this fall and were also recognized for their talents at the Richmond Area Municipal Contractor’s Assocation annual banquet in October.

We still have several of our teams who are still actively competing at the state level.  Our varsity football team finished their regular season with a perfect 10-0 record and will be playing in the first round of the regional playoffs this Friday at 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.

Undefeated Goochland High School football team

Our Bulldogs varsity volleyball team finished the regular season without losing a set!  Four Bulldogs made the James River first team with one making the second team.  Alexis Wiggins was named James River District Player of the Year and Coach Erixson was named District Coach of the Year.  Our Bulldogs have two wins in regional play and will host the regional finals Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. versus Poquoson.  Let’s pack the gym and support our lady Bulldogs!

Goochland High School volleyball team

Our boys and girls cross country teams have also had a very successful Fall season!  Both of our teams made it to the state meet for the first time ever.  They will be competing in the state meet this weekend.  Good luck Bulldogs!

Goochland high school cross country teams

This past weekend, our elementary and middle school robotics teams competed in the regional First Lego League competition.  Our students fared well as the team from Randolph Elementary finished second and our team from Byrd Elementary finished first!  Both of these teams will represent us at James Madison University at the state level competition.

Randolph Elementary Lego Robotics Team

 

Byrd Elementary Lego Robotics Team

In addition to these accolades, our employees have received notoriety as well.  Beth Ferguson, 4th grade teacher at Randolph Elementary has received the honor of serving our community this year as the Goochland Christmas Mother.  Jim Frago, science and social studies teacher at Goochland Middle School, was recently recognized for his instructional innovation in a nationally-recognized publication, Education Week.  Melissa Black, athletic trainer at Goochland High School was recognized by NBC 12 for demonstrating Excellence in Education.  Earlier this Fall, Debbie White, our Director of Finance was awarded the Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations (SFO) certification by the Association for School Business Officials International.  She is only one of seven professionals in the Commonwealth of Virginia to earn this credential.

Beth Ferguson, Goochland Christmas Mother

Stay tuned for an announcement that will be made publicly early next week that has affirmed our position as a leader in technology integration with our one to one digital initiative!

We continue to be a leader in the Commonwealth both inside and outside of the classroom.  I’m continually impressed by the level of engagement and instruction that is taking place inside our schools every day!  We have talented and hard-working students who are supported by dedicated teachers, coaches, families, volunteers, and community!  Our accolades would not be possible without the contributions of everyone on Team Goochland!   There is no doubt that the Goochland County Public Schools is a school division of excellence!

 

 

Can you believe that our first nine weeks grading period ends today and that we are now a quarter of the way through this school year!  Time flies when we are having fun, and this is certainly true this year as our division has had an exciting first quarter.

Our division continues to excel in every dimension of our work with students every day.  During the last two weeks our school division celebrated the contributions and accomplishments of our food service team as we served locally sourced meals to students for Farm to School Week and recognized our dedicated employees during National School Lunch Week.  These teammates work hard each and every day to provide our students with nutritious and healthy meals that provide the fuel for our students to succeed in their academic endeavors!

Dr. Raley serves lunch to students at Goochland Elementary School

 

This week, we celebrated the service of our transportation team during National School Bus Safety Week.  Our dedicated transporters ensure that our students are delivered to and from school safely every day with extreme care and caution.  In addition to the exceptional work of our drivers, I want to recognize the work of our transportation department leadership who assisted the Goochland County Fire and Rescue Department during an accident on Interstate 64 this week.  Students from a private school were travelling back from a field trip when one of their drivers experienced a medical emergency, resulting in the bus running off the road.  Our transportation personnel responded to the scene and transported the students who were delivered back to their school safely.  I am very proud of their response and their support of these students during a very stressful time.

Goochland Public Schools mechanic works on school bus in bus garage.

 

Students in our classrooms continue to be provided with exceptional academic experiences, and I continue to be proud of our hard working students and our dedicated instructional staff!  Each time I am in one of our schools, I am impressed with how our teachers make learning fun while providing students with deep and engaging learning opportunities.  Our scholars who participate in extracurricular activities continue to shine in and out of the classroom!  Our athletic teams are in the midst of successful fall sports seasons, and the students and staff who participated in our fall production at the high school were fantastic!  Little Shop of Horrors was amazing!

 

Goochland High School performs Little Shop of Horrors

 

On Tuesday October 10, the steering committee charged with working to develop our school division’s long term facility master plan presented their recommendation to the Goochland County School Board for consideration.  This recommendation was the result of many hours of data analysis, dialogue, and discussion by these volunteers.  I want to thank them again for their engagement and dedication to the process.  On November 28 at 3:30 p.m. the School Board and the Board of Supervisors will conduct a joint work session to discuss this topic further.  This is a public meeting and everyone is welcomed to attend.

This weekend, we celebrate Homecoming at Goochland High School with a football game tonight at 7 p.m. against Randolph Henry and the homecoming dance tomorrow night at 7.  Next week, our high school will be hosting a viewing of the film Chasing the Dragon, and will be having a discussion regarding the dangers of prescription opiods and heroin.  This event starts at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday October 25 and is open to the public.  In early November, students have the opportunity to attend a college preparation seminar sponsored by Partnership for the Future to learn more about the college admission process, financial aid, and budgeting.  This event is free and is open to all high school students.

Please keep in mind that schools will be closed on Monday October 23 for parent conferences and Tuesday October 24 for a professional work day for our staff.  There will be a lot going on in the coming weeks as we will be developing the next three years of our instructional calendars as well as making preparations for next year’s budget.  Stay in touch with all of the excellence taking place in our division by liking our facebook page and following us on twitter (@glndschools) and instagram (@goochlandschools).  Additionally, you can stay up to date with all of the great things happening in our schools through our division leadership blog: http://leadership.goochlandschools.org and on our division website.  

Have a great Fall weekend!

 

 

Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools, was joined yesterday by members of the GCPS Executive Leadership team and Mrs. Cyndy Brown, Executive Director of the Goochland Education Foundation, at all Goochland schools to surprise the recipients of the 2nd annual Goochland Education Foundation Strategic Innovation Grants.  These grants total nearly $15,000 dollars, including funding from between $400 and $2700 for 12 separate grants, representing each school in the division.  Goochland Strategic Innovation Grants were awarded based on a rigorous selection process that involved a committee of school, foundation, and community representatives.  2017 grant awards and descriptions can be found at this link.

“We were beyond excited about the response we received this year to our call for faculty and staff to apply”, said Dr. Raley, Superintendent.  “The Goochland Education Foundation worked hard to provide us with even more resources this year to recognize the work that our innovative teachers are doing to plant the seeds for continued deeper learning in every classroom, and we cannot wait to showcase this work at our 2nd annual Strategic Innovation Grant symposium in June”.    Mrs. Cyndy Brown, Goochland Education Foundation Executive Director, is excited to see the grants in action this year.  “I am thrilled with the way the teachers responded to the Goochland Education Foundation’s challenge of ‘taking risks’ in order to reach new heights in innovative educational practices. All of the proposals reflected the GEF’s vision of visionary educational experiences that will help prepare the students for living and working in a fast-changing technological 21st century.”

The Goochland Strategic Innovation Grants will culminate in a professional development symposium in June of 2018, where winners of these grants will come together to share what they learned, collaborate on new ideas focused around deeper learning, and share how their risk-taking can be implemented in regular instructional programming.

 

GCPS team members spent much of last school year developing consensus around what skills and abilities they believe to be essential for their graduates to possess in order to be successful after high school.  To begin this year, the division has convened a special committee to take the work accomplished last year, review the guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Education, analyze what’s being shared from business and industry, and create a framework for codifying our own local GCPS “profile.”

Once complete, this committee’s draft will be shared with other community stakeholders for input before it’s finalized.

The special committee tasked with moving forward the school division’s “Profile of a Goochland Graduate” hard at work earlier this month

It is so hard to believe that we are now finishing our sixth week in school!  Summer was very reluctant to let go, but the cooler temperatures this morning lead me to believe that Fall is finally here.  The great start to our school year has now become a routine of great things happening every day in our division, both in our classrooms in all of our schools during the day and at our extracurricular activities outside of normal school hours.  Every time that I visit a school campus, I see our students engaged in multiple authentic learning opportunities and our dedicated staff working to provide students with an exceptional and individualized experience.  All of this great work is supported by our parents, citizens, and volunteers who have dedicated their time and energy to make an investment in our community’s future.  Team Goochland continues to shine in many ways!

Public safety and culinary arts students learn CPR

 

Fifth grade students read to preschool students

 

Students working in Spanish at Goochland High School

Our student athletes continue to excel on the field, on the court, and on the cross country trail.  The Bulldogs and Eagles have had a very strong start to the fall sports season.  Congratulations to our student athletes and thank you to our parents, coaches, and community who support our programs.  Remember to check in with our athletics on Twitter at @GoochlandSports and @gmsathletics for updates, and come out and enjoy this beautiful weather while supporting our teams!

 

Goochland High School girls cross country team

 

Goochland High School band practice

The drama department at Goochland High School has been working hard this fall to prepare for its performance of Little Shop Of Horrors.  Mark your calendar and plan on supporting our thespians for three performances (Friday October 13 at 7 p.m., Saturday October 14 at 7 p.m., and Sunday October 15 at 2:30 p.m.).  Adult tickets can be purchased online in advance.

 

Little Shop of Horrors at Goochland High School

Next week, we will be hosting an informational meeting for parents and students who are interested in attending the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School and the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School.  Students and parents in grades 4 through 8 are encouraged to attend to learn more about these opportunities.  This meeting will take place on October 5th in the Goochland High School auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m.

There’s a lot going on in our food service department!  During the week of October 2, we will be celebrating Farm to School Week with menus that include locally sourced products and a sampling of various locally grown items prepared in collaboration with our culinary arts program.  The following week of October 9 is National School Lunch Week-thank you to our dedicated food service professionals for prepare warm and healthy meals that provide needed nourishment to our student’s growing minds and bodies!

Did you know that you can get our school lunch menus sent directly to your google calendar?  There’s no need to worry any more about what’s for lunch.  Click here to view the daily lunch menu.  Then click the + Google Calendar button to add it to your own personal google calendar.

This past Tuesday, our long term facility master plan steering committee held its last meeting to finalize its recommendation that will be shared with the Goochland County School Board. This recommendation will be presented on October 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 250 of the County Administration Building and is open to the public.  This recommendation represents great ongoing dialogue that has taken place not only at this meeting, but throughout this process that started in June.  Thank you to our committee members and citizens who have been involved in this process.  A copy of the presentation that was shared with the committee this past Tuesday can be found on our project website.  

In addition to the October School Board meeting, we will be hosting three different Town Hall meetings in collaboration with our partners on the Goochland County Board of Supervisors.  This schedule is as follows:  

  • District 1, Monday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Station 6, 4810 Three Chopt Road, Louisa
  • Districts 4 and 5, Tuesday, October 17, 7:00 p.m. at Hermitage, 1248 Hermitage Road, Manakin-Sabot
  • Districts 2 and 3, Monday, October 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Co. 5 Firehouse, 2710 Fairground Road, Goochland

Hope to see you at our many upcoming events in the next few weeks!  Keep in touch with all of the excellence taking place in our division by liking our facebook page and following us on twitter (@glndschools) and instagram (@goochlandschools).  Have a great weekend!

The division leadership team has been engaged in instructional rounds for the past five years. This morning marked the beginning of year 5 of “rounds” – and, as always, it provided us with a firsthand look at the incredible teaching and learning that happens every single day in our classrooms, libraries, labs, and gymnasiums.

The “rounds” model is one borrowed from the medical field in order to better connect division administrators to the most important work that takes place every day in our division.

Our division leadership team spent the morning at Byrd Elementary School.