Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women Announce the 5th Annual STEM Essay Contest

Governor Terence R. McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women have announced the 5th Annual STEM essay Contest. The Council will award five scholarships (one in each of five regions) to a female junior or senior who will be pursuing a STEM education at an institution of higher education. Essays will be judged by a panel of Council members and women who hold a degree in or work in STEM fields.

You may access full details here.

One District, One Book

Dear Elementary Families,

On behalf of the GCPS team, we hope your family had a restful, happy holiday season. We’re looking forward to an engaging, productive spring semester and a successful 2016 for our students, families, and professional educators.

This month, once again, Goochland County Public Schools will be embarking on a special project, a division-wide book club called One District, One Book (ODOB). ODOB is a unique program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period. Curious as that may seem at first, it actually makes sound educational sense. Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level; the same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.

Our ODOB committee selected a title that can be followed, understood, and enjoyed by younger students, but that will still captivate older children. As the centerpiece of the program, every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to share the literacy experience during the month of January. The title was announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book today, and your child should have come home today with his/her very own copy. Families should also receive a shared community reading schedule so everyone can keep up at home. Generally, you are asked to read one chapter each night—about 10-15 minutes. We hope that you will find the time to participate in this special activity focused on community and the importance of literacy.

Reading aloud at home is incredibly valuable as it helps develop a strong foundation for all learning, as well as models lifelong literacy; moreover, it’s also a fun, worthwhile family activity. With the ODOB program, we aim to build a community of readers across our elementary school communities. Everyone—students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, and administrative staff—will be participating.

In school, your child will be engaged in literary discussions and invited to answer daily trivia questions to encourage and celebrate participation. We encourage you to make sure your family participates so your child can be included. You will find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story. Throughout the month, everyone will be talking about the book!

Good luck! We hope to talk with both you and your child about the book throughout the next four weeks. When an entire school division reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about. With your help, we will strengthen a community of readers in Goochland!

Governor McAuliffe and Virginia Council on Women Announce the 5th Annual STEM Essay Contest

Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced the 5th annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for high school junior and senior girls.

The Council will award five $5,000 scholarships to female junior or senior high school students who will be pursuing a STEM career at an institution of higher education. One scholarship will be awarded in each of five geographic regions across the state. Additional scholarships may be awarded at the discretion of the Council.

The STEM Essay Contest was launched in 2012 with 170 young ladies from across the Commonwealth submitting essays focusing on the student’s vision for a future STEM education or career. The Council raised $10,000 and made three scholarship awards.

Last year, the Council received 381 essay submissions and thanks to the generosity of sponsors, distributed $33,000 in scholarships to five girls.

Please access contest guidelines and the application here.

GHS-JMU Partnership Thriving

Students at Goochland High School have the opportunity to take several college level courses, perhaps the most unique of which is the result of our partnership with James Madison University. During the 2015-16 school year we are hosting two JMU courses that pair a member of our high school faculty with a university professor within a co-designed and co-taught structure. The courses deliver 4-year college level rigor to juniors and seniors.

Monday, December 7, 2015 – Dr. David Dillard, History Professor & Graduate Program Director at James Madison University, facilitates a lively discussion in Mr. Patrick Brook’s “Civil War America” class, one of two JMU courses currently offered at Goochland High School

Library Book Fairs Bring Smiles

Our library media specialists wear many hats: teacher, literacy expert, technology coach, research specialist …

Sometimes the hat is a goofy one that compliments a friendly monster costume.

Our students and families tell us each year how much they enjoy the book fairs our schools host. The events bring energy, excitement, and smile after smile.

We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our library media specialists and their teams for the tremendous amount of work that goes into hosting a book fair – in preparation, during, and following. Thank you, also, to our families for supporting these great events!

Chamber Honors Dr. Joseph Turner for School Volunteerism

The Goochland Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Joseph “Jody” Turner today at their annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Turner is a professor within the Chemistry Department at VCU. He brings his expertise, leadership qualities, and passion for student learning to his volunteer work within the schools. Dr. Turner is an active member of the division’s STEM Advisory Committee (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and is a fixture at events like our annual summer STEM camp and Conundrum Day. Dr. Turner is also a regular guest instructor in our secondary science department and presenter in our elementary schools. His generosity of time and expertise have provided hundreds of students with opportunities for educational enrichment.

The Chamber’s program for today’s event described Dr. Turner as “a ‘doer,’ someone who gives selflessly of his time, resources, and talents.

November 12, 2015 – Dr. Joseph “Jody” Turner receives recognition as one of Goochland’s 2015 volunteers of the year.

One District, One Book Preview

In January Goochland County Public Schools will be embarking on year 3 of a special project, a division-wide book club called One District, One Book (ODOB). ODOB is a unique program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period. Curious as that may seem at first (the notion of fifth graders reading the same book as kindergarteners), it actually makes sound educational sense. Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level; the same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.

Our ODOB committee selected a title over the summer that can be followed, understood, and enjoyed by younger students, but that will still captivate older children. As the centerpiece of the program, every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to share the literacy experience during the month of January.

The title will be announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book immediately following the winter holiday, and your child will come home that week with his/her very own copy. When the books are distributed, families will also receive a shared community reading schedule so everyone can keep up at home. Generally, you will be asked to read one chapter each night—about 10-15 minutes. We hope that you will find the time to participate in this special activity focused on community and the importance of literacy.

We look forward to this year’s exciting announcement in January!

Kindergarten Mother Goose Performances at RES

The kindergarten team’s Mother Goose Performances at Randolph Elementary School have become one of my very favorite demonstrations of student learning.

The spoken language, “sing-song” rhythm of nursery rhymes are perfect for early readers to begin to master what’s referred to by educators and literacy researchers as “concept of word.” Concept of word is the match between the spoken word and the printed word; it represents a continuum of knowledge and helps form a critical bridge for children between key literacy skills.

Perhaps more importantly, the children get to flex their creative muscles. And the audience enjoys every minute.

GHS Advance College Academy Informational Night

Goochland High School’s Advance College Academy (ACA) is a program partnership with J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College that provides students with the opportunity to earn an Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree alongside their Virginia high school diploma.

We will host an ACA informational evening for families on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30PM in library media center at Goochland High School.

GCPS’s Advance College Academy is coordinated by Ms. Raye Rector, Coordinator of Gifted and Federal Programs, in cooperation with the leadership team at Goochland High School and J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College.

Instructional Rounds – Year 4

The division leadership team has been engaged in instructional rounds for the past three years. This morning marked the beginning of year 4 of “rounds” – and, yet again, 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.

Here are some moments captured from this morning’s instructional rounds:

GCPS Wins Competitive Grant from Dominion

We were recently notified that our Dominion Solar for Schools Program grant proposal was selected from among more than fifty applications from across Virginia. The program is an instructional one and will provide our school community with a unique teaching & learning tool.

This project will help enhance our STEM program (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and integrates seamlessly into our core secondary courses as well as our annual summer STEM Camp for students in grades K-8. Equipment installation will take place on the campus of Goochland High School this fall, and students and teachers will begin to benefit from the opportunity within the next few weeks.

The grant evaluation committee stated the following regarding our proposal: “Your application was complete, provided all the relevant information needed and was highly rated by our reviewers.

2015-16 Started with a Spark!

Ron Clark is known for motivating everyone to learn, so much so that he travels the world sharing his approach with others. Thursday morning he came to Goochland and helped us hit the ground sprinting into the approaching 2015-16 school year.

Internationally renowned educator and author Ron Clark spent the morning with us on Thursday, a magical day indeed.

STEM Camp 2015

More than 160 elementary and middle school students completed design challenges, built racetracks, created bubble gum, developed “vegetable cars,” and spent a day exploring the Science Museum of Virginia.

Interests were sparked. Discoveries were made. Relationships were strengthened. Talents were revealed. Accomplishments were celebrated.

It’s safe to say everyone’s already talking about STEM Camp 2016.

(The camp was the product of the Goochland school-community’s STEM Advisory Committee – and way too many smart, talented, dedicated, caring people to list.) We thank each and every contributor.