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!

In recent years, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has significantly expanded its view of school success to include measures beyond state tests.  This broadened scope doesn’t overlook traditional achievement measures, rather it includes elements of student success such as engagement, critical thinking, and citizenship.  This expanded view is best captured in what’s been deemed “The Profile of a Virginia Graduate.”

The VDOE has described their Profile as “the knowledge, skills, and attributes that students must attain in order to be successful in college and/or the workforce and to be life ready in an economy and a world characterized by rapid change.  Moreover, the Board has determined that a life-ready Virginia graduate must:

  • Achieve and apply appropriate academic and technical knowledge (content knowledge);
  • Demonstrate productive workplace skills, qualities, and behaviors (workplace skills);
  • Build connections and value interactions with others as a responsible and responsive citizen (community engagement and civic responsibility); and
  • Align knowledge, skills and personal interests with career opportunities (career exploration).”                                                                                             – www.doe.virginia.gov

Beginning this year, school divisions are required to implement The Profile of a Virginia Graduate.  Provisions are afforded to allow divisions to simply adopt the Department’s Profile or to work within their local school-community to develop their own.  It’s probably no surprise, we decided on the latter.

We undertook an extensive and inclusive process in the creation of our Profile of a Goochland Graduate.

The early stages of this work began in January 2017 with informal discussions among teachers and administrators focused on the critical skills and characteristics necessary for Goochland High School graduates to achieve success after high school.  In September 2017, a task force was convened comprised of educators from all five schools; this team’s charge was to develop a framework that would serve to facilitate future discussions with a much broader stakeholder group. These discussions included parents, community members, business and industry partners, representatives from higher education, military officials, recent graduates, and current students.  

The most substantive work took place from December 2017 through April 2018 when we engaged all of the aforementioned stakeholder groups through venues like our Business & Education Roundtable, our CTE Advisory Committee, our Gifted Advisory Committee, our Special Education Advisory Committee, our Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee, our STEM Advisory Committee, and various student organizations.  We received an incredible amount of input, and with each discussion our Profile evolved.

Each stakeholder group provided a unique perspective related to the attributes, skills, and competencies they value most in our graduates.  For some it was the ability to problem solve and think creatively. For others it was the ability to communicate effectively. For many it was simply hard work.  And for others still it was personal responsibility.

Over time our localized Profile began to take shape.  We reviewed all of the data we collected throughout the process and identified clear priorities, areas that overlapped, and others that complemented one another.  At this point, the task force reconvened and took the myriad of feedback we received to begin crafting working definitions for each of the six Profile features that emerged.

Finally, in May 2018, our Profile work went before our School Board for their review and feedback.  The following month, the Board approved the Profile of a Goochland Graduate.

Our Profile represents eighteen months of hard work and eighteen months of collaboration with our community.  More importantly, it provides a clear vision for our graduates and a roadmap for the kind of PK-12 school experience our students need to be prepared for lifelong success.