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.

GCPS and Historical Society Celebrate Start of Incredible Partnership

The History in our Hallways event at Goochland High School last week was a tremendous success. What started as an idea in superintendent James Lane’s vision for decorating school hallways has blossomed to become a thriving partnership between the Goochland Historical Society and the school division, involving students and community members in an inspiration project.

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During the reception, the photographic displays were unveiled as community members toured the high school, treasuring the memories depicted. Members of Mr. Bouwens digital productions class stood by the photos and gave living captions, including unique pieces of history surrounding the shots. Chef Charnes and the Goochland Tech culinary arts students provided refreshments, served throughout the school.


“This is only the beginning,” remarked Dr. Lane. “We intend to expand this project to involve more and more photographs and community members. The possibilities are really limitless.”



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.

GCPS Robotics Success

We want to congratulate our Robotics Program and the coaches & sponsors who are so faithfully pursuing the GCPS vision, inspiring the next generation to make a positive impact. This account from coach, Anne Moore, certainly offers evidence of that!

“Yesterday, the four GMS and three GCPS elementary robotics teams traveled to Deep Run HS to compete in the regional VA FIRST robotics competition.  This was a great day for teamwork, creativity, problem solving, and FUN!  We could not be more proud of the manner in which our 36 students represented GCPS!

The stands were filled with team members’ family and friends and the noise level was deafening while the teams worked relentlessly to improve their mission scores. Behind the scenes, teams continued to fine tune their presentations and skits.

We are happy to report that the one GCPS team, Project Prevention, that competed in the Level 2 Division won the Core Values Award.  This award is presented to the team that best represents and embodies the core values of Gracious Professionalism, Teamwork, and Respect!  To us, this is the most important award as these students have developed skills that will continue to mold them into future leaders, as well as their understanding the importance of the saying “There is no I in TEAM!”.”

GMS Team Project Prevention won the Core Values Award!

BES Robotics Team Interacts with Professional Robotics Experts

Perrone Robotics, a company located in Charlottesville, VA that develops infrastructure software, hosted the Byrd Elementary Robotics Team on October 9th. Students learned from experts in the field how technology can be used to support the design and creation of robotics and automation vehicles.

“It was a great experience!” exclaimed BES teacher, Glenda Hawk. “The students represented the school and division so well, asking thoughtful questions and displaying gracious professionalism.”

With special emphasis on safety in designing autonomous vehicles, the Byrd Team was able to ask questions and share their own solution for their First lego League challenge. They met “Tommy II,” a robotic car and even attempted to outbeat the laser of the security system developed by Perrone!

“The Goochland STEM program represents such a well focused program,” said Richard Carchman, member of Goochland’s STEM Advisory Committee. “How rewarding to see this robotics team of elementary children joyfully stretching their minds.”

The story made the front page of Charlottesville’s Daily Progress.

Charlottesville paper, The Daily Progress, features BES students on the front page this weekend.

Erin Yearout Patton to Present in Boston

Goochland High School teacher and former GCPS Teacher of the Year, Erin Yearout-Patton, has been selected to be a presenter at the annual conference of the National Council of the Social Studies, held in Boston this November. Social studies educators from around the world will gatherto explore the civic mission of schools in the 21st century. The 94th NCSS Annual Conference will showcase powerful practices and initiatives aimed at preparing all students for college, career, and civic life.

We can think of no better educator and citizen to be a part of this wonderful event than Mrs. Yearout-Patton, bringing her expertise and the special qualities of GCPS to educators from across the globe.

GMS TSA Competition Success

This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Goochland Middle School Technology Student Association (TSA) team competed at the state conference.  Over 2,000 students participated in the event and it was a great experience for our team.  Four students attended the conference and as a team entered the Junior Solar Sprint event.  Students designed and constructed a solar-powered model car using a specific motor and solar panel.  The students put in countless hours after school designing and problem solving. They used unique industry software to draw their design and used the Maker Bot 3D printer to make their design a reality.

Out of 20 total entries, the team of sixth graders ranked 5th: Hunter Clark, James DeLouche, Austin Payne and Conner Speight .

TSA is a extremely competitive event and even placing top ten at the state conference is a huge milestone that can often take several years for a chapter to accomplish.  We offer our sincere congratulations to these students and their teacher, Mr. Bouwens, on this amazing success!

Dr. Lane at the Insights Conference in Richmond this June

The second annual Insights Conference, “Bridging the Data Divide,” will be held on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Conference Center. Our superintendent, James Lane, will serve as a panelist!

The conference will open at 8:00 AM with registration, networking, and a demonstration of the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS). Sessions will run from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM with a break for lunch. The latest agenda is available here:

Goochland Superintendent, James Lane, will serve as a panelist at the Center for Innovation Technology’s Insights Conference June 24 at the Richmond Hilton Hotel & Conference Center

Speakers will include Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s former Secretary of Technology, who also was appointed by President Obama as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, and Karen Jackson, the newly appointed Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth. Registration for participants and speakers is now open.

Early bird registration of $75 is available until May 15, 2014 and a block of rooms is available. Registration and additional information can be found here: We hope to see you on June 24, 2014!

GMS Students Gain First Hand Experience in Transportation Engineering

Last week, ten seventh and and eighth grade GMS students attended a VDOT-sponsored event accompanied with instructors, Amy Spoonhower and Anne Moore.  Dozens of women in fields that ranged from engineering to paleontology presented, mentored, and worked with the girls to solve transportation dilemmas.  Using aerial photographs, students determined where stop lights, cameras, and signage should be placed within a determined budget.  Students also constructed bridges within challenging deadlines.

Students experienced a tour of Richmond to see the locations of current and future VDOT projects.

Conundrum Day 2014 A Huge Success

You only need to see a few of these video clips to get a glimpse of what a tremendous success our 2014 Conundrum Day was this year. Parents, advisory members, teachers, staff and students came together to create a remarkable experience for students in which they stretched their engineering, analytical, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.

Take a look!

GES Teacher Receives Personal Note From Delegate

GES fifth grade teacher, Jennifer Cosby, received a personal note of congratulations from Delegate Peter Ferrell. The note was specifically in response to the Goochland Elementary World Faire, created and hosted by the GES fifth grade team and GCPS ITRT, Zoe Parrish.

Our thanks to Ms. Cosby and the fifth grade team, Mrs. McCay, and the many others who supported the event.


Grace Creasey Appointed to Virginia’s Commission on Civics Education

Please join us in celebrating GMS teacher, Grace Creasy’s appointment to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Commission on Civics Education.  Among other things, the Commission is charged with:
  1. Making recommendations to the Board of Education regarding revisions to SOLs for civics and government.
  2. Submitting an annual report to the General Assembly and the Governor regarding the work of the Commission.
  3. Identifying civics education projects around the Commonwealth and provide technical assistance where needed.
  4. Building a network of civics education professionals and strengthen partnerships to assist in the sharing of information.
  5. Developing and coordinating outreach programs to help schools across the Commonwealth in improving their civics education programs.
  6. Developing all civics education resources provided to DOE – lesson plans, resources, bulletin board ideas, events calendar, best practices, etc.
Each year the Commission is also responsible for a day-long professional development conference for Virginia civics and government teachers.  The conference always takes a particular focus on one SOL topic (i.e. the judicial branch) and members of the professional community are brought in to speak to teachers about the SOLs in action which helps to breathe life into our teaching practices.
Grace will be working with 4 members of the House of Delegates, 2 members of the Virginia Senate, 3 citizen members, 1 representative of the Commonwealth’s We the People Project (based at James Madison’s Montpelier) and ONLY 3 other current or retired Civics/Government teachers.
“I cannot wait to begin work on the Commission as this is such a unique opportunity,” Grace shared. “I am so proud and honored to be able to represent Goochland County Public Schools by serving the Commonwealth in this capacity.”
We extend our heartfelt congratulations and admiration for Mrs. Creasy’s work with the Commission and representation of our great county and school division.

Board Provides Science Equipment to GMS Students

You might recall that part of last year’s budget process involved the board’s consideration of funding some much-needed science lab equipment for Goochland Middle School. The school, when originally designed, had included some specific equipment needs that had been unfunded in past years.

The board supported these equipment requests last year, bringing the middle school science labs to full functionality. The result: our middle school students are able to realize the full capabilities of these modern labs and maximize their learning.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the fruit of the board’s support in action, below. GMS teacher, Carolyn Elliott, shared an experiment in the physical science chemistry lab on exothermic and endothermic reactions. They used the electronic scales, thermometers, graduated cylinders and lots of beakers for three different chemical reactions:

GMS students using new equipment in Ms. Elliott's science lab.

Student Mentorships Continue

You may recall the news about the incredible collaboration between the Goochland High School senior students and Randolph Elementary 3rd graders. That partnership resulted in a renovated RES courtyard, some shared reading experiences, and an inspired group of high schoolers ready to tackle their own courtyard.

Those seniors sent a gift to the 3rd graders, a table that was made by their fellow GHS students in Mr. Greenway’s class. I thought this was a great way to start the new year – with a reminder of the generous and caring spirit that is at work in our students, and just how much of that potential is waiting to be tapped…

RES 3rd grade students collect donated canned foods on a table that GHS students made for them, a “thank you” for the partnership in the courtyard.

Representative Cantor Visits GHS Government Class

GHS U.S. Government teacher, Mrs. Yearout-Patton (“Mrs. EYP”, as she’s known by her students) hosted a live Goggle “Hangout” in which representative Eric Cantor engaged with GHS seniors and answered their specific questions. Joined by superintendent, Dr. Lane, the group enjoyed an involved discourse on several pertinent issues the students had been exploring in Mrs. EYP’s class.

ITRT, Bea Cantor, helped to make the meeting possible by facilitating the live internet event.

Big Bold Bulldog

Please join me in congratulating GHS teacher, Bridget Parker, and her students on the upcoming grand opening of the Big, Bold Bulldog! Students participating in the management of this coffee shop will exercise career readiness skills in a real-world setting.

The shop is open to all Goochland County Public Schools faculty, staff and parents. I plan to grab a cup!

Annual Convention Brings Together 1,000 Education Leaders From Across the Commonwealth

Next week, more than 1,000 school board members, superintendents, division administrators, education officials, and others will attend the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) annual convention in Williamsburg, VA. The convention provides school division leadership the opportunity to learn about nationwide and statewide trends, meet and learn from key policy officials, and bring back new best management practices to their home school divisions.

Convention HighlightsProfessional Development – More than 50 workshops, clinics and critical issues sessions focused on topics such as boardsmanship, developing local capacity, technology integration, school law, best practices, STEM integration, advocacy, school improvement, educational trends, and energy/sustainability practices. • Student Achievement Fair – Highlighting examples of great student achievement and of exemplary programs that are improving student achievement across the Commonwealth. • Exhibitors Scholarship – The scholarship, funded by exhibiting companies at the VSBAʼs annual convention, was made available to spring 2014 graduating seniors who had served as student school board representatives. Scholarship winners will be announced at the convention. • High School Video Contest – The annual student video contest challenged high school students across Virginia to create a 30-second video around the theme of “Whatʼs Super About Public Schools”. The winners will be announced at the opening general session of convention, and the videos will shown to the conventionʼs 1,000 attendees. • Exhibition of School Architecture – From ambience and multi-functionality to sustainable design and security, there is a direct relationship between good design and effective teaching and learning. The VSBA Exhibition of School Architecture gives attendees the opportunity to see this in action. • Education Foundation Workshop – Held in conjunction with the VSBA Annual Convention, this workshop is designed for education foundation professionals, volunteers, and those interested in starting an education foundation. Topics covered will include getting started with foundations, creative fundraising methods, ways that foundations have helped school divisions recover from a natural disaster, and best practices.

General Session Presentations “Leadership and a Culture for Learning: Closing the Gaps Between What Sounds Good & What Gets Done” by Jim Bearden Organizational culture is an intangible, but very real—and powerful— phenomenon. A school divisionʼs true culture is revealed by the behavior of the people working in that division. Creating cultures that reinforce and support behavior essential to learning (student achievement) is one of the most important things division leaders are called on to do. Using plenty of humor and drawing from his corporate and military leadership experiences, as well as from his work with NSBA and multiple state school boards associations, Bearden will offer fresh insights on the relationship between leadership behavior, district culture and student achievement with his keynote presentation.

“Raised Expectations with No Excuses” by Jeffrey May In this session, May will highlight how raised expectations, discipline and “no excuses” led his Westside Elementary School (Roanoke) debate team all the way to Marshall, Texas to debate before the World-Renown Great Debaters of Wiley College. May will explain how incentive programs like step and debate not only improve academics, behavior and attendance, but also how they affect real change within the lives of the children who participate.

“Disruptive Demographics: Implications for K-12 Education in Virginia” by Dr. James Johnson Six disruptive demographic trends of the first decade of the new millennium—the South rises again, the browning of America, marrying out is “in,” the silver tsunami is about to hit, the end of men?, and cooling water from grandmaʼs well…and grandpaʼs too—will dramatically transform all of this nationʼs social and political institutions. Using data from Census 2010 and other sources, Dr. Johnson will describe these trends and assess the specific implications and challenges they pose for the Virginia public education system.

Here is the complete VSBA Annual Convention schedule, along with speaker and presentation details.

About the Virginia School Boards Association The Virginia School Boards Association, a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards, promotes excellence in public education through advocacy, training, and services. The Association offers conferences, information, training, and counseling designed to meet the needs of the Commonwealthʼs educational leaders.

GCPS Year Round Schools Study to Air on NPR

Those who would like to hear more about the Year Round Feasibility Study we are pursuing through a recent grant award are encouraged to tune into NPR this Thursday afternoon, November 7. John Ogle recently interviewed Dr. Lane and Dr. Geyer about the study. The interview will air at 5:30 PM on All Things Considered.

To determine the best way to access the radio program, click here.

Regular Student Features: Take a Look

Take a look at this new student feature, published by Zoe Parrish. The elementary iPad initiative continues to amaze the educational community and gather media attention.

Zoe Parrish is allowing students to tell the story through Student EduSLAM!. By hosting a brief educational video on her blog, students will give us regular snapshots of how learning is bring transformed at GES.

iPad Implementation Continues to Receive Recognition

I am thankful to the Richmond Times Dispatch for helping to share the great progress our GES teachers and students are making towards bringing innovative learning to life in our classrooms. The story of our iPad initiative continues to reach the Richmond area and beyond. More importantly, the work being done throughout the school is transforming the face of instruction in Goochland.

Great work Mrs. McCay, Mr. Hendron, Mrs. Cantor and the wonderful staff and students of Goochland Elementary School!

A Colleague Shares Expertise

I was privileged to have Bea Cantor, GCPS ITRT, virtually visit a class I am teaching on assessment and student growth. A group of 12 teachers from the Metro Richmond area interacted with Bea via video chat regarding the G21 model and, specifically, how it encourages measurement of what VCU’s James McMillan calls “21st Century Disposition.” I think McMillan’s term much better captures what we (educators) mean when we refer to 21st century skills. It’s the attitude, beliefs and values that comprise a student’s personality and character.

Bea was exceptional. Those of us familiar with her work would expect no less. Her ability to articulate the conceptual model of G21 and, more importantly, engaging, project-based instruction left a profound mark on my students.

Bea Cantor explains her work with teachers in designing and implementing project-based lessons to Richmond-area teachers.

But what I most want to share was just how evident it was to me, hearing somewhat objectively the questions and answers, that our G21 model reflects the tenants of great instruction and great assessment. It’s a framework custom-designed to speak to these oft-referenced 21st century skills, or “dispositions,” encouraging teachers to emphasize problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity through a student-centered, self-reflective process.

I’ve been sold on Hendron’s model for a while now. This just put a few more blocks in the foundation.

Many thanks, Bea!



Student Mentoring at RES

When I went to RES last week to read to the Kindergarten classes, I had the opportunity to step into the courtyard to see the great work happening there. High school students had spent the day reading with students and helping them realize a grand vision in the outdoor learning space.

Sing created by the students for display in the courtyard.

The ideas at work were exemplary, of course. More impressive to me was the sense of ownership our high schoolers took in mentoring and leading their younger colleagues. We are fortunate to have such great young men and women among us.

RES Teachers Published

RES teachers, Beth ferguson and Sarah Rowan, have published their recent work creating the Measurement Fair with fourth graders. The article, Measuring Up With STEM, appears in  the recent issue of the Virginia Children’s Engineering Journal.

We are so proud of the collaboration and innovation represented in this wonderful project. We are also thrilled to see GCPS teachers sharing their expertise and success by publishing their work in educational media sources.


BES Weatherbug is Official!

I am excited to announce the official WeatherBug Dedication at Byrd Elementary School will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 6th at 10:00 AM in the Multi-Purpose Room. Channel 12 meteorologist, Andrew Freiden, will be the featured guest speaker

I’m thankful to BES teacher, Glenda Hawk, GCPS CTE Director, Bruce Watson, and community member, Richard Carchman, for unwavering support and diligence in bringing this project to fruition!

Minority Student Achievement Discussion Tonight

Dr. Geyer and I had the opportunity to talk with WCVE’s John Ogle, promoting the upcoming Minority Student Achievement forum and discussing the way we see this important conversation dovetailing into our strategic planning process.

Hear the news interview here.

Monday night, October 21, Goochland County Schools are inviting faculty and staff to hear a discussion on the campus of J. Sargent Reynolds Community College and learn more about minority student achievement from an expert at the University of Virginia.

I hope to see you there!