Mrs. Sarah Voyack & Mr. Joe Fowler Named 2014 Gold Star Teachers

Goochland High School teachers Mrs. Sarah Voyack and Mr. Joe Fowler have been recognized by the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Program as 2014 Gold Star Teachers. This honor is the result of Mrs. Voyack’s and Mr. Fowler’s students achieving a 90+% pass rate on the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Test.

In a statement W!SE officials expressed their appreciation to Mrs. Voyack, Mr. Fowler, and other exceptional teachers across the Commonwealth: “We at W!SE are both grateful for and impressed at the accomplishments of Virginia’s educators as they relate to teaching personal finance.”

Congratulations, Mrs. Voyack and Mr. Fowler – and congratulations to our students for their outstanding achievement!

Sixteen GCPS Teachers Complete Personalized Graduate Course

Congratulations to our team of sixteen teachers who completed TEDU 494 last night, a VCU course personalized for Goochland County Public Schools.

(l to r) Tiffany Adams, BES; Beth Ferguson, RES; Suzanne Taylor, RES; Erin Yearout-Patton, GHS

(l to r) Corey Jacobson, GMS; Jennifer Gates, RES; Joe Beasley, GES; Jennifer Cosby, GES

(l to r) John Dacey, GHS; Molly Abbott, RES; Katie Hadd, RES; Kim Norman, GES

(l to r) Susan Duty, GHS; Kim Austin, RES; Alison Gooding, RES; Mary Kay Dinger, RES

Final class meeting – November 17, 2014

School Psychology Awareness Week

As we wrap up the Virginia Department of Education’s School Psychology Awareness Week, we wanted to recognize our talented school psychologist team – and say thank you.

Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Steven Staples, states, “School psychologists work with students, teachers, administrators, and families to support the academic achievement, positive behavior, social-emotional wellness, and resiliency of all students, especially those who struggle with barriers to learning.

(from left) Mrs. Jennifer Waggener, Dr. Emily Bryant, and Mrs. Meredith Wilkinson

GCPS Plays Host to First-Ever Dual Enrollment Information Meeting

The term dual enrollment refers to high school students (typically juniors and seniors) taking college courses with the goal of earning both college and high school credit for the same course. Goochland County Public Schools is pleased to offer a broad range of dual enrollment opportunities. Goochland High School’s program is already one of the most expansive in the state for high schools with less than 1,000 students – and it’s growing, offering coursework from Reynolds Community College, Longwood University, James Madison University, and the University of Virginia.

Last night we welcomed more than one hundred families to our Dual Enrollment Information Night at GHS. Following a brief welcome and overview of the evening’s program, officials from James Madison University, Longwood University, and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College led “breakout sessions” in 30-minute periods over the course of 2 hours. The program offered overviews of the division’s current dual enrollment offerings (as well as those planned for 2015-16).

Our dual enrollment description and fee schedule for the current school year may be accessed here.

We look forward to hosting a similar informational evening for our families annually.

Dr. Miles McCrimmon (upper right), J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, discusses Goochland’s Advance College Academy program with interested families at last night’s Dual Enrollment Information Meeting.

Goochland Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Tina McCay, Recognized by VASCD with 2014 Impact Award

It was announced today, November 11, 2014, that Tina McCay, Principal of Goochland Elementary School, is the recipient of Virginia ASCD’s 2014 Impact Award for Region 1. In the announcement made by Laurie McCullough, VASCD‘s Executive Director, Mrs. McCay was commended as follows:

There are many aspects of your professional practice for which we could commend you. You have brought engaging innovations like student engineering and student leadership to the elementary grades at your school, while also showing high achievement and remarkable individual student growth. In addition, your colleagues speak of you as a supportive, inspirational leader who personalizes learning not only for your students, but also for your staff.

On behalf of the entire GCPS community, please join us in congratulating Mrs. McCay!

Mrs. Tina McCay, Region I recipient of VASCD’s 2014 Impact Award, works with two students this week at Goochland Elementary School.

AP Chemistry Lesson – Community (and University) Partnership

Last week I had the opportunity to spend part of an afternoon with Ms. Casey Rogers’ Chemistry class at Goochland High School. Ms. Rogers has the reputation of bringing science to life every day for her students, and it doesn’t take more than a few minutes in her classroom for that to reputation to be affirmed. She’s energized by both the course content and by her students.

The day I visited I also got to see firsthand the power of community partnership with our schools. Dr. Joseph Turner from VCU’s Chemistry Department co-taught alongside Ms. Rogers that afternoon. He gave of his time and expertise in an effort to enhance the learning experience for our students. Dr. Turner is an active member of our STEM Advisory Committee, as well as a committed volunteer who’s presence is consistent: from our annual S.T.E.M. Camp to Conundrum Day to last month’s outdoor classroom dedication at Goochland Elementary School.

Dr. Turner’s partnership with Ms. Rogers and with GCPS is one of many that helps make our division an exceptional place for students and staff. To Dr. Turner and all of our supportive community volunteers – thank you.

Ms. Rogers sets the stage for the day’s lesson on diffusion.

Dr. Turner conducts a first-person demonstration of the way gas molecules disperse.

Outdoor Classroom Opens at GES

Goochland Elementary School students, parents, and staff celebrated the official opening of their “S.T.E.A.M. Farm” outdoor classroom Saturday afternoon (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). The celebration featured student speeches, remarks from school and community leaders, and a Rube Goldberg Machine that filled the pavilion with balloons and confetti.

Goochland Elementary School’s “STEAM Farm” Outdoor Classroom – Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Firsthand Look at Learning

I spent Tuesday afternoon in classrooms at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School, the absolute highlight of my week. Thank you to our teachers and students for the incredible hard work that goes on throughout our division every single day!

Ms. Brooks’ Grade 6 English class has become a 1:1 learning environment!

Students demonstrated impressive courage and creativity during this dramatic monologue exercise in Mr. Burch’s Theatre Arts class.

Evidence of student design and creation are ubiquitous in Mr. Herbert’s Grade 7 Inventions and Innovations class.

Eagle Block in Mr. Hecker’s classroom was filled with thoughtful discussion about opportunities after high school graduation. This particular conversation focused on the benefit of pursuing further education at the college and university level, as part of GMS’ “College Week” event.

Goochland High School Named “Blue Star School”

Goochland High School was recently named a 2014 Blue Star School for achievement in financial literacy education by the W!SE organization in New York, New York. The is the second consecutive year GHS has received W!SE’s highest recognition.

This schoolwide recognition also comes on the heels of the teacher-level honor bestowed on Mr. Joe Fowler during the 2013-14 school year.

Congratulations GHS!

Governor’s Schools Informational Evening a Success

We welcomed more than 100 interested family members to this evening’s informational meeting. Officials from Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School and Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School joined us to present overviews of both programs. Eighth grade students and families interested in applying for either Governor’s School opportunity should contact the Goochland Middle School Guidance Office at (804) 556-5320.

Strong Men & Women in Virginia History – Writing Contest

Dominion Resources and the Library of Virginia have partnered to present Strong Men and Women in Virginia History, an annual program recognizing achievements of African Americans in the Commonwealth.

As part of the associated writing contest, high school students across Virginia are are encouraged to actively participate. The contest provides students with the opportunity to write a creative piece from an essay prompt chosen by Dominion Resources & the Library of Virginia.

Four essayists will be selected to receive an Apple iPad Air.

You may access a larger, printable copy of the writing contest guidelines here.

Byrd Elementary School Named a “Virginia Naturally School” for 4th Consecutive Year

Congratulations to Byrd Elementary School, who has been recognized as a Virginia Naturally School for a 4th consecutive year. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries determines eligibility for this recognition based on “efforts in supporting environmental conservation and stewardship.” BES is one of 52 schools to be named a 2014 Virginia Naturally School.

Free K-5 Professional Development at the MathScience Innovation Center

As Institutional Members to the MathScience Innovation Center, all GCPS educators have the opportunity to participate in exceptional professional development workshops throughout the year at no cost. MSiC’s current PD feature is designed for elementary teachers and is entitled “Fall Into Math & Science.” Workshops include Spooktacular: A Virtual Celebration of Math & Science (grade 3), Making the Most of Math Workstations (K-2), STEM: The Recipe (3-5), and Mastering Math Tasks (grade 3).

The “Fall Into Math & Science” series is scheduled for October 7 & 8 from 4:30-7:30PM.

Please visit their full invitation to learn more.

“Internet Essentials”

Internet access is a challenge in many parts of Virginia, our community is no exception. While success in school is certainly not dependent on connectivity at home, we are always pursuing creative solutions for our students to extend and deepen their learning outside of school hours (i.e. the creation of rich, digital learning content that does not rely on an at-home Internet connection; the pursuit of grant opportunities that could result in free MiFi devices for in-home use; etc.).

We wanted to make our families aware of a program called “Internet Essentials from Comcast” that provides broadband access at significantly reduced rates for families who “have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program.”

If you have questions about the National School Lunch Program, please contact your child’s school or Ms. Lisa Landrum, Supervisor of School Nutrition, at (804) 556-5604.

Instructional Council, Year 3 – a Call for New Members

Dear GCPS Community,

The beginning of the 2014-15 school year marks the third year for the division’s Instructional Council. The Council was formed in September 2012 in an effort to serve in an advisory capacity to the school division on matters related to instructional programming and student learning.

By design, the Instructional Council has been comprised of a broad range of stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members.

When the Council first began meeting, the team’s discussion had influence on the school division’s strategic planning process. Since then, our School Board adopted a formal strategic plan (December 2013), and while the Council’s focus remains the same (instructional programming and student learning), the team’s impact has shifted to prioritization, implementation, and reflection.

We have a core team of about ten Instructional Council members who have been together since 2012 – and we’d like to expand the team to between 15 and 20. Generally, we meet in the evening (6:00-7:00PM), quarterly.

If you would like to be considered for membership to the Instructional Council for the 2014-15 school year, please contact Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction by Friday, October 3: sgeyer@glnd.k12.va.us | (804) 556-5609, direct office.

Many thanks!

2014-15 Dual Enrollment Description & Fee Schedule

GCPS has partnerships with several postsecondary institutions, in part to bring dual enrollment opportunities to our students. Please access our 2014-15 Dual Enrollment Description and Fee Schedule HERE.

Questions regarding our dual enrollment programming may directed to our Goochland High School guidance department (804-556-5322) and/or to Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction (804-556-5601).

Marine Corps JROTC Program Opens with Resounding Support at Goochland High School

Semper Fidelis is Latin for “always faithful” or “always loyal.” It is also the motto of the United States Marine Corps, signifying loyalty and dedication to the mission, to the Corps, and to the United States of America.

The opening of the 2014-15 school year marked the opening of Goochland High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) program. The application and approval for this program has been more than a year in the making and has included a visit from the colonel in charge of the East Coast MCJROTC programs, Colonel James Lenard, as well as final approval from Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus.

We are pleased to welcome Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Dan Strong to Goochland High School and to the GCPS team. We are proud to have these fine Marines lead our program and join the Goochland community.

(left to right) Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Daniel Strong

The instructional program introduces students to the MCJROTC curriculum, which includes leadership, teamwork, discipline, history, communication techniques, study habits, management skills, first aid, drug abuse prevention, map reading, physical fitness, workplace readiness skills, military customs and courtesies, proper uniform wear, and U.S. citizenry rights and responsibilities.

Our MCJROTC program is open to all students in grades 9-12 and begins this year as a one-year course that will grow over the next four years into a four-year comprehensive sequence. MCJROTC is an annual elective course and there is no commitment or obligation for a cadet to join the military upon graduation.

A heartfelt thank you to our School Board and our Board of Supervisors for making the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program a reality for our students and our community.

As for the level of interest from our students . . .

In order for the program to sustain and be considered successful, the expectation from the Marine Corps is that we have approximately 80 students enrolled by the program’s third year (2016-17). The current enrollment for the 2014-15 school year is 115.

During the opening week of school, SSgt Strong summarized one of the program’s foundational beliefs when he told his students, “To lead your peers will be the most challenging thing you will ever do. Using the MCJROTC model, you will have the opportunity to master the art to motivate and inspire others to accomplish things they never thought they could do.”

On his transition to Goochland, Major Petruzziello commented, “The community and school leadership, as well as the faculty, staff and students at Goochland High School, have all been extremely supportive and welcoming to SSgt Strong and I. We couldn’t be happier to be here.”

GCPS will hold a dedication ceremony for the MCJROTC program on Wednesday, October 1 at 2:00PM in the GHS stadium. Weather permitting, this event will be open to the public.