GHS Robotics Students Interact with Leading Engineers in Chicago

Samantha Haynes, a GHS freshman and robotics team member, and Logan Monk, a GHS Senior and the student robotics leader, are in Chicago this week attending Rockwell’s 2015 Automation Fair, the largest engineering conference of this type in North America in which over 25,000 engineers will attend from all over the globe. What an incredible opportunity!

GHS robotics team members Logan Monk and Samantha Haynes meet the president of Rockwell international in Chicago.

BES Student Artist Recognized

Congratulations to BES student, Everett Brewer, whose original artwork was chosen by the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts to be displayed as part of the Highlights from the Annual Area Youth Art Month Exhibition.

Everett’s piece, titled “Pumpkin Patch”, will be displayed throughout the fall of 2016 and he will be honored during a special reception at Longwood.

Well done, Everett!

Annual School Report

Team Goochland,

We have released our annual school report!  This document is a publication that outlines all of the success in GCPS and all our schools over the past year along with data to support our trajectory of excellence.  We sent one home with every student in our community; however, you can also find the entire report online HERE.

Instructions for Entering Numbers and Email Addresses into Powerschool

Parents,

Just a reminder that getting set up to receive important notices from the schools on your cell phone by text or email is very easy! You can enter multiple phone numbers and email addresses so school messages will come right where you want them to.

Instructions are here.

We strongly encourage you to take a few moments and do this!

Message to our Community

Hello GCPS Families,

We are writing to make you aware of a situation that occurred today.  Through various outlets including social media, many students and families have become concerned that there have been threats of violence at Goochland High School tomorrow. We wanted to be sure our information was verified and  accurate before releasing an official statement to our community.

We are aware of these threats and have been working diligently with law enforcement to determine an appropriate response.  Additionally, as we have been made aware of students that are involved in this incident we have asked our law enforcement partners to contact or visit families of the rumored student(s) this evening if they have not already been in touch with the families.  Whereas our investigation has not led us to believe there are any credible threats, we are handling each students’ situation per our student code of conduct and our law enforcement partners are also considering consequences.

We are treating this situation with utmost seriousness and attention. As an added measure, the Sheriff has agreed to have a deputy on site immediately.  Additionally, we will have the entire shift at the GMS/GHS complex tomorrow along with another unit at GES.

The safety of our students and staff is our absolute top priority. Our law enforcement partners and the GCPS administration believe there is no credible threat at this time; however to ensure the security of the school we will have additional law enforcement presence throughout the day.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  Thanks!

School Inequity Symposium at University of Richmond

On Friday, October 23, 2015, the University of Richmond Law Review will host its annual Allen Chair Symposium: School Inequality: Challenges and Solutions.

The Symposium will bring together the nation’s leading education policy scholars to identify the critical inequality issues affecting public schools, and offer ways to address them.

The event begins at 9:00AM on Friday, October 23, 2015 and will take place in the Moot Court Auditorium of the University of Richmond, School of Law. Boxed lunches will be provided, as well as hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine at the reception. There is no cost to attend, but guests must register as there is limited space available.

Register for the Symposium by clicking: here.

 

GCPS Wins National Award for Data Use

The Data Quality Campaign today announced Goochland County Public Schools (GCPS) is the winner of the 2015 Flashlight Awards for District Data Use. The award recognizes one school district a year for its use of data to answer questions, empower educators, and transparently communicate with parents and the public.

“We are pleased to honor Goochland County Public Schools for creating a culture in which education data are used as a tool to empower parents and educators,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign. “Goochland leaders and teachers are now using data to help make the best decisions possible in the greatest interest of each student.”

Data are much more likely to be used—and to be used well—when they meet the needs of teachers, families, and the community. In light of this, GCPS’s three-tier approach to measuring student progress—student academic growth, social-emotional measures, and school climate—was created in collaboration with parents, school leaders, and the community. The district then crafted an action plan with key benchmarks and a data system to support and report their progress.

GCPS’s roadmap to student data success relied heavily on professional development and data literacy training for school leaders and teachers. District leaders rolled out their data-driven initiative slowly, to give teachers an opportunity to reflect, respond, and ask questions. They also specifically emphasized that data would be used as a “flashlight and not a hammer” to help teachers improve their impact on students success.

“Our culture is one of trust. We’re going to check our egos at the door and use this data to maximize the potential of every student,” said GCPS superintendent Dr. James F. Lane. “It’s a totally different conversation when you can peel away to a deeper level of detail, to help a parent really understand what their child needs to work on, as opposed to that they just need help in general.”

Today, Goochland teachers are better equipped to individualize instruction for students, driving their continued success and resulting in high levels of academic success for students. GCPS is 1 of 22 school divisions—out of the 132 in Virginia—to have had 100 percent of schools reaching full state 2014-15 accreditation.

Does GCPS Have Rules About Homework That Requires Internet Usage?

Teacher assigned schoolwork to be completed at home should never require Internet connectivity.  One of the tremendous benefits of 1:1 student technology (currently iPads in grades 4-7) connected with a division-wide learning management system (Schoology) is that content can be downloaded to student devices so that access is “anytime” and does not require Internet connection.  An additional benefit is that parents can also have access to the same learning materials as their child.

One issue we have seen come up occasionally involves missed classwork versus homework.  There have been instances when a student has missed work that was facilitated in class relying on the Internet connection available within our schools.  In these cases we expect our teachers to work individually with students to ensure makeup and mastery of the missed classwork in a manner that does not require Internet connection at home (i.e. the student may make up the missed work during school hours or the student may be given an alternate assignment that does not require Internet connection to be completed at home).  A major project may also require internet usage, but our teachers give students either time in class or after-school to complete any necessary research.

The digital conversion in schools is a transition (not unlike the transition that took place in education hundreds of years ago when students were provided copies of course textbooks); GCPS will be most successful when we partner with our families along the way.  If something’s not working well for you or your child, please let us know.  The best way to begin this dialogue and problem solving is by connecting directly with your child’s teacher and/or principal.

If you would like more information about how to connect to your child’s schoolwork in Schoology or if your child is being assigned homework that requires the internet, please contact your child’s principal or teacher to share your concerns.

Goochland Education Foundation Amazing Raise Needs You

Goochland Education Foundation (GEF) is in the game this year and we need YOU on our Amazing Raise Early Bird team!

The Amazing Raise is our region’s 36-hour online giving challenge that inspires and empowers our community to support Central Virginia nonprofit organizations in an amazing way, regardless of where you call home. And, we need you to help show the region our #GoochlandPride by supporting GEF with a $50 tax-deductible donation during the Early Bird Challenge on Wednesday, September 16th, at 6am. The first 15 organizations to have 50 donors giving $50 will win a $2,500 prize which would be an awesome victory for providing programs and scholarships to our GCPS students.

Let us know if you plan to be an Early Bird team player by visiting WeGotSpirit.org. We’ll keep you posted on event details, share GEF prize announcements, and send a few email reminders as we get closer to the big day.

2015-2016 Back to School Information

GCPS Community and Parents,

As the excitement about beginning a new school year builds, we look forward to the many “back to school” events that are scheduled in our schools. Please mark your calendars for these important activities we hope you can attend:

All Schools:

  • Kindergarten Orientation, 1:00-2:30PM, August 20
  • Business Night, 3:00-7:00PM, August 20
  • First Day of School, August 24

GHS:

  • Business Night, 3:00-7:00PM, August 20
  • Back to School Night/Open House, September 17
  • Freshman/9th Grade Orientation, 9:00AM, August 18

GMS:

  • Business Night, 3:00-7:00PM, August 20
  • Back to School Night/Open House, September 17
  • Eagle Evolution Parent Night, 6:00PM, August 17
  • Eagle Evolution 6th Grade Student Orientation, 9:00AM, August 18

RES

  • Business Night, 3:00-7:00PM, August 20
  • Back to School Night/Open House, September 10

GES

  • Business Night, 3:00-7:00PM, August 20
  • Back to School Night/Open House, September 10 (Tentative)

BES

  • Business Night, 3:00-7:00PM, August 20
  • Back to School Night/Open House, September 15

Please contact your child’s principal for specifics or information about any of these and other events.  Principals will also be sending home a letter to all families later this week with even more information.

As the year progresses, each school will update an individual calendar. Division-wide events will also be updated and all calendars can be accessed here, by navigating the scroll bar on the right side of the page (you will be able to select an individual school’s calendar or view multiple calendars).  Additionally, the 180-day school calendar as approved by the school board (i.e. includes dates for Winter and Spring Breaks, etc.) is here.  This last calendar that we linked is the one you most likely print and stick to a magnet on your fridge!

Supply Lists

All supply lists for students are located in this blog post.

Transportation Questions

We are extremely proud of our transportation department and the service we provide to families. Thanks to the school board and board of supervisors, we were able to purchase two new buses last year and have a plan to regularly replace outdated vehicles to maintain maximum safety for our students.

Bus route information will be mailed to the homes of all students NEW to GCPS, including families of rising Kindergarten students. In addition, all rising 6th graders and those whose route may have changed received information regarding transportation. Families with any questions about transportation are encouraged to contact 556-5367.

Cafeteria Information

We are proud of our award-winning School Nutrition Program. Each week our school cafeterias feature locally grown produce through the Farm to School Program. Student meals can be prepaid at your child’s school or using www.MyPaymentsPlus.com. Students use their student ID numbers to access the online payment system. These numbers are given out during business night at each school on August 20. For information related to cafeteria services, including the Free and Reduced Meal Program, please contact 556-5604.

Fees

Each year the board updates the community on potential fees and how to qualify for a waiver.  Please visit school board policy JN for more information – linked HERE.  If your child takes dual enrollment, ACA, or college level courses, additional fees to the colleges for these programs can be found HERE.

GCPS Finance Professional Earns VA Contracting Certification

Please join me in congratulating Robin Powers, GCPS Accounting Technician, who recently completed all certification requirements through the VA Institute of Procurement to become a Virginia Contracting Associate. The certification requires a rigorous program of classroom instruction and a comprehensive exam.

Through this certification Robin has demonstrated an exemplary knowledge of procurement law, regulation and policy and has positioned GCPS to reach even higher levels of excellence in purchasing.

We applaud Mrs. Powers, pictured below with GCPS Director of Finance, Debbie White, for her commitment to excellence in public purchasing!

Robin Powers, left, with Debbie White.

GCPS 2015 Teachers of the Year

I am thrilled to announce and celebrate our 2015 Teachers of the Year, selected at each school:

  • Goochland High School: Wes Farkas
  • Goochland Middle: Rhonda Kass
  • Goochland Elementary: Betsy Alvis
  • Byrd Elementary: Marcy Meiller
  • Randolph Elementary: Kim Austin

These teachers are selected by their peers using a school-based process designed to recognize the dedication, knowledge, and skill of exemplary teaching in Goochland.

A division selection team of nine individuals, using a rubric and criteria provided by the State Program selects a division representative to advance to the State level competition. The 2015 GCPS Teacher of the Year is Wes Farkas, Health & PE teacher at Goochland High School. We are extremely proud to announce Mr. Farkas as the GCPS Teacher of the Year. He exemplifies the excellence and honor associated with both this recognition and the GCPS Core Values, in general.

After coaching the Varsity Baseball Team to an 11-0 victory over Buckingham, Mr. Farkas was able to join us last week in the school board meeting to receive his trophies and monetary award provided by the Goochland Education Foundation.

Please join me in honoring these 5 outstanding educators who sacrifice daily to pour into the lives of students and families – and their colleagues.

 

GCPS Employees One Month Free and No Joining Fee at the YMCA

The YMCA is offering all GCPS employees one month’s free membership and wavier of the joining fee for joining the Y! This is the Y’s way of expressing appreciation for the amazing work you do for our great community.

Just in time to enjoy the incredible pool this summer!

To redeem the offer, simply click the picture below and take the flyer to the YMCA:

 

 

Healthy Kid Day this Saturday

Summer is the time for kids to get up, get out and grow. But for some kids, exposure to activities that stimulate the body and mind ends with the school year. In fact, research shows that kids are prone to gain more weight and fall behind in studies. On May 16, the Goochland Family YMCA will celebrate Healthy Kids Day®, our national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids.

CLICK HERE to see volunteer opportunities!

Support the Goochland Ed Foundation at Rassawek

I’m excited to share that the Goochland Education Foundation (GEF) will again be a Rassawek affiliate this year for the Rassawek Spring Jubilee. This event will be held during the weekend of June 6 and June 7 in Columbia, VA (western Goochland) at the Rassawek Vineyards.

GEF will receive 25% of the ticket sales purchased IN ADVANCE through this link

It is important to be aware that only tickets purchased through this specific link and in advance will benefit GEF. If you are interested in attending this wonderful event, please consider obtaining your tickets using the link above in advance.

GHS MCJROTC Cadets Train at Parris Island

I am extremely proud of our 46 cadets from Goochland High School’s new MCJROTC program, who traveled to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island, SC during the week of March 13th.  The cadets got a first-hand view of how they “make Marines” at Parris Island.  While some cadets will never serve in any of our Armed Forces, the ROTC program is intended to provide the students with the most realistic experience possible.

The cadets stayed in a military barracks, ate in a military “chow hall” and carried out some of the challenging activities that Marine Corps recruits are required to master.  Some of those activities included navigating an obstacle course, visiting the gas chamber, challenging the confidence course and leadership reaction course.  Cadets also received some personal attention from a Marine Corps Drill Instructor who taught them about drill, perseverance, teamwork, motivation and pushing through adversity.

The response from the Cadets was overwhelming positive and it was an experience they will never forget.

VCU Concert to Benefit Goochland Rotary Club

The Goochland Rotary Club donates a tremendous amount of time and resources to our school division. Members contribute instructional materials and work directly with our students as mentors and tutors, volunteering personal time and energy to help us achieve our mission of maximizing the potential of every learner.

I encourage you to come hear the VCU Singers & Chamber Musicians tomorrow evening at 7PM, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. The proceeds will benefit our students directly and you’re sure to enjoy a wonderful night of beautiful music.

Clarification on Make-Up Days

Happy Snow Day Everyone!

At this point we have missed 10 days of school (March 5, 6; February 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 27; January 14, 27 – plus BES missed an 11th day on January 12).  Our division calendar only calls for 2 make-up days at this point – February 16 and March 23; however, we did not do a make-up day on February 16 since we had not yet reached the required number of missed days at that point to require school on that day.  As communicated previously, March 23 is now a school day and parent conferences will be held from 4:30-7pm on that day.

Fortunately, based on our calculations of the required 990 hours of instruction per year, we will not have to do any additional make-up days since we missed February 16 and we are able to forgive the extra missed day at BES.  At this point, our calendar does not call for any additional make-up days.  It is important to note that we will follow the board approved calendar, thus, if we miss any more days, we will begin assigning school during Spring Break (for instance, if we miss another day, April 10 will be an assigned day).  Let’s all hope the winter weather is behind us!

As a side note, we are also required to have 140 clock hours of instruction in GHS and GMS verified credit courses (classes at the high school level with an SOL).  Our calculations have each block right at 140 hours of instruction if we do not miss any more time.  In the past, we have done early releases for high school students on the last day of school, we may no longer be able to do early release on this day, but will let everyone know ASAP.  We will notify high school and middle school parents immediately if anything else changes, but at this time, we are not requiring any additional make-up time at GHS and GMS.  Again, based on this requirement, if we miss any more time, we will have to do the make-up days already listed in the calendar as mentioned above.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Charitable Fund Established to Support GHS Student House Fire Victims

GCPS community,

Many of you are aware that a recent fire took the home of three of our students. GHS is accepting monetary donations from the community through its bookkeeping office that will go directly to this family. Students and families wishing to contribute to this fund can make checks payable directly to GHS. Cash donations are also acceptable, and receipts will be issued for every donation.

Please consider donating to this important cause.

Principals Appreciation Week

I am pleased to announce that Governor Terence R. McAuliffe has signed a Certificate of Recognition declaring January 25-31, 2015, as Virginia Principals Appreciation Week.  I hope that you and others throughout your community will join me in acknowledging the tireless efforts of our school principals in Goochland!

GCPS Principals: Tina McCay, Dan Gardner, James Hopkins, Jenn Rucker, Mike Newman

The role of the principal as the instructional leader of the school is critically important to ensure students are provided the opportunity to learn.  Our principals work diligently to help students and teachers excel, and their leadership and hard work are essential to the success of our schools.  They deserve all the recognition and praise we can give them.

IMG_6590 IMG_6592 IMG_6591 IMG_6586

Please take a moment this week to express your appreciation this week to your child’s principal!