Five GMS Eagles were accepted into the 2015 B.L.A.S.T. (Building Leaders for Advanced Science & Technology) Program, held on site at VT and UVa this summer:

  • Hailey Hall
  • Angela Thurston
  • Margaret Black
  • Berkley Winston
  • James Hardy
BLAST, a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia, provides a residential opportunity to current 8th and 9th grade students. Faculty members lead hands-on activities and demonstrations that seek to motivate and inspire students for STEM studies and careers.

GHS Senior, Cary Pillow, finished the Monument Avenue 10k in the TOP 100 men category.  The paper reported 26,413 people finishing the race.

“Cary is a leader on the GHS Cross County team and finished in the #88 spot in the 10k,” remarked GHS principal, Mike Newman. “We are very proud of him!”

Please join us in congratulating the GHS Dance Company class! The team earned two High Gold ratings in its competition last week. Sophomore dance student, Katheryn Parrish, earned a High Gold performing a Tap Solo!

Great work Dance Company and Mrs. Black!

Student achievement as measured in traditional ways (like multiple choice tests) provides great insight into students’ literacy skills, math skills, as well as their mastery of content (i.e. Do they know historical facts?). In Virginia achievement on the state’s SOL tests (Standards or Learning) is also directly tied to state and federal accountability for schools.

With our division’s strategic plan as a foundation, GCPS has prioritized individual student growth over traditional achievement. This is not to be confused with a disinterest in achievement or a lack of recognition that achievement is important; quite the opposite, student achievement is critically important. In isolation, however, traditional achievement tests provide an incomplete picture of student learning. Paired with individual growth measures, like the division’s MAP assessments (Measures of Academic Progress), students, families, and teachers now have a more complete picture of student learning at both a prescribed point in time as well as over time (i.e. fall to winter to spring and from year to year).

Moreover, we believe a prioritization of individual student growth allows our school community to focus on the division’s mission to maximize the potential of every learner; as such, strong achievement results are a natural byproduct. Perhaps equally important, we believe a focus on individual growth decreases stress associated with high stakes state testing and increases the likelihood of students being fully engaged in their school experience.

Just a few days ago the Virginia Board of Education equipped schools with a new means of further reducing undue pressure on students by providing students in grades 3 through 8 with the opportunity to “retake” failed SOL tests depending on the associated circumstances. You can read the Board’s full press release here.

In response GCPS is working to develop a May testing calendar that provides efficiencies for these new allowances for students. Additionally, we are creating further means of communication for our families in preparation for another spring testing season.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s principal, school counselor, Mrs. Jennifer Bocrie (Division Director of Testing), or me if we can answer questions or provide additional information. Many thanks!

We wanted to share a tremendous thank you to everyone who supported this year’s Fine Arts Festival. It was an amazing showcase of our students’ & teachers’ talents, dedication, and hard work.

We also wanted our community to know that the associated Empty Bowls fundraiser raised $665 for the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services. Thank you to our families, students, and our entire fine arts team!

The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 19th annual VSBA Showcases for Success directory, highlighting successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools. Featured programs fit within one of two categories –Virtual/Blended Learning and Career & Technical Education.

Goochland has been specifically recognized for three programs, the 1:1 mobile device initiative, Goochland Middle School STEM partnership with VCU, and JASON Learning project. Full descriptions of the programs are available here.

“In addition to highlighting some of the best practices taking place in Virginia’s schools, the Showcases for Success directory can serve as a starting point to develop similar programs in other school divisions,” said Gina G. Patterson, VSBA executive director.

“We are extremely proud of our inclusion in the ‘showcases’ document,” remarked Bruce Watson, Director of Career and Technical Education. “Goochland’s approach to implementing these initiatives will be an excellent model for other divisions hoping to develop similar programs.”

For more information about the VSBA Showcases for Success, contact Gina Patterson, VSBA executive director, at gina@vsba.org or434-295-8722.

Virginia Commonwealth University is offering a Mini-Economy Training Institute free of charge this summer to interested upper elementary and middle grades teachers. The 3-day institute carries 18 recertification points and is described as demonstrating “how teachers can design a mini-economy, integrate it with classroom instruction, and leverage the unit as a performance assessment.”

The full description and registration information is available here.