Visionary Leadership & Engaging Instruction
What a great, great week in our schools.
Just this morning I was privileged to hear Bruce Watson, our Director of CTE, address the Goochland Rotary Club regarding how Career & Technical Skill preparation is finding its way into our classrooms and future plans. Among the topics were STEM, children’s engineering, the GHS IT Academy, and opportunities for business support and partnerships. Quoting Ben Franklin and touting the necessity of hands-on learning, Bruce reminded, “Involve me and I learn.”
Bruce Watson addresses Goochland Rotarians, the Ben Franklin quote in the background is the heart of CTE.
During Bruce’s talk I couldn’t help but draw some parallels to the recent Yong Zhao message at U of R. Today’s employers are desperate for creative, independent, skilled people who can “think through situations” (to quote a Rotarian). Zhao referenced the rise of what’s referred to today as the “creative class“ of “black collar workers” (named for Steve Jobs’ influential entrepreneurship & black turtle neck). People who are innovative and take initiative, can think creatively and not only foster a unique skill – but use it in connection with a larger idea and in collaboration with a team. Thanks to Bruce for leading the charge toward that greater mission of building innovation and entrepreneurial creativity into our classrooms.
We need children to master the bigger, more in-demand skills that those hands-on, engaging, project-based CTE programs teach: entrepreneurship, innovation, ingenuity, creativity and collaboration. That’s what employers need right now – and that’s what the jobs that don’t yet exist will demand of today’s students once they get there.
I’m thrilled to announce the School Board’s recent approval of three additional slots now available to rising GCPS ninth graders who aspire to attend the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. By resolution, the Board formally expressed the intention to increase total enrollment of GCPS students in the MLWGS program from 16 (currently) to 28 over the next four years. This is a big commitment on both the Board’s and the school’s part – and represents the importance the Board places on expanding our ability to maximize all students’ potential.
Please don’t miss these two very important posts:
- Click here to make sure you understand the admissions process for MLWGS
- Click here to get an even better handle on why we require our volunteers to be fingerprinted
I enjoyed being a part of the GHS Academic Awards Assemblies this morning. Students were honored for academic excellence during the most recent semester (last spring) as well as some current year honors. The stage was set for a year of stellar accomplishment and bright futures.
We have begun the process of developing the 2013-14 school budget. This process, and the final product, will be reflective of the values held close by our school community, represented through our continued vision and mission development, feedback collected from staff and community, recommendations of advisory committees, the Capital Improvement Planning process, and budget priorities that will be established by the School Board. Take a look at this new site where you’ll soon find relevant updates, documents and references helpful to making this important process accessible to all stakeholders.
Speaking of the budget, our new Director of Finance, Debbie White has been working daily this past week to load budget and actual information for the current and past three years into “BudGen,” the new budget software program. By the end of the week, we were able to send FY14 Budget Request worksheets to each cost center manager that showed three years of actual costs per account with the current year approved budget and input areas for additional comments and justifications. Furthermore, salary information input into BudGen is now being reviewed by staff so that, following training in a week, we should be able to run salary-related scenarios effortlessly and accurately. Isn’t that everything we ever wanted from a budget planning tool? Effortless and accurate. Debbie is working diligently to make the finance department more accessible to us all. We are delighted to welcome her to our leadership team!
Please don’t miss JSRCC’s Goochland Campus Community Night on Tuesday, October 30, 5:30 PM. Among the exciting offerings that night, Dr. Eric Barna, Director of the Center for Teacher Education (and former co-principal in Orange County!) will lead a session about the Center and future programming of special interest to our teachers. Take a look at this flyer and make plans to be a part of this tremendous event!
If you’ve been to school or are currently in school, you undoubtedly have some examples of things that inspired you – activities, lessons, events or people that were especially meaningful in your educational experience. Please click here to tell our instructional leadership about them. We need your involvement in building a lighthouse program.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to the Goochland Women’s Club Monday night. What a committed group of community volunteers with such a passion for investing into the life of the county. I was especially proud to hear from one member of the audience, who mentioned her involvement in our partnership with the Food Pantry. She had picked up over 80 pounds of food from the schools last week and delivered it to the Pantry for distribution among the community.
Can I please just give you an iPad?? We announce the beginning of our United Way Campaign to help support the vital programs and services in the Goochland Community & Greater Richmond Area. The Goochland Ed Foundation has generously donated an iPad2 to be raffled among any GCPS staff who commit a donation of at least $5 per paycheck ($60 total) to the service of their choosing. More details to come!
From the Administration & Teachers
- Mike Newman has much to say about the behavior of our seniors here.
- Sandra Crowder tells us about the landscaping you see in front of RES here.
- Is that guy actually on top of a table?!? Dianna Gordon writes about it here.
- Tina McCay & the GES PTA need your help (and your loose change!). Click here.
- Dr. Matt Covington describes a useful tool to motivate younger learners here.
- How do you actually create within yourself (or someone else) the desire to learn? John Hendron explores that & much more here.
- Engagement in Mr. Jarvis’ class here.
- National math competition & Saturday Enrichment, here from Mrs. Hawk
- I love the layout & the message of Mr. Tomlin’s page, “better than decaf…“
- Mrs. Wilcox describes Pet Day 2012 at BES here.
- Salad and Fireworks from Mrs. Cantor and Mrs. Rohrer here.
District Volleyball Tournament is coming next week! Come out and support the Lady Bulldogs on October 30!
It’s All About Forgiveness
Last week my family had what may be a familiar experience to some of you – especially those with young children. We had the minivan packed, it had been a long, fun morning. Nap time for our three was definitely upon us (and maybe for the parent as well). We were tired, hungry, and we were still in Richmond with the short trip home to Goochland still ahead.
Rather than wrangle our squad into a restaurant, we chose to “grab & go” at a familiar & popular establishment off of Broad Street. After several minutes in line, we placed our order. Then it happened. No wallet, no cash. We were stuck in a long procession of cars, no escape, with no way to purchase all of the food we ordered.
After what felt like a year we arrived at the window and apologized for the mistake and the inconvenience we had caused, but explained we’d have to move on without. You can imagine the impact it had when she cheerfully and quickly responded, “No problem. This one’s on us,” and handed our order through the window, smiling and asking us to enjoy our day.
That we did.
And while they lost about 20 bucks with that stunt, they also secured the Gretz family’s business for a lifetime. Pretty smart, actually.
It made me think about how we invest into the relationships that define our school community. Sometimes our best move, not only for our “business” but more importantly for the purpose of improving the life of another, involves compromise. In fact, sometimes we have to compromise our position in a given situation in order to NOT compromise our values.
And as I thought about this unexpected blessing that made our lives so much easier that day traveling back to Goochland, it hit me that the real issue here is forgiveness. Forgiveness of a debt, or a slander, or maybe just forgiving someone for being plain wrong. We clearly didn’t deserve a break, but got one anyway.
Forgiveness is not about looking back and realizing we were wrong to feel hurt, or angry, or betrayed by an event or person. On the contrary, it’s being absolutely justified in feeling that way but choosing not to.
We’ve talked about the importance of humility in leadership. And our vision for the impact we hope to have as a division continues to revolve around improving other people’s lives.
Let’s look for opportunities this week to invest in other people – and give someone a break, even when they don’t deserve it. Just because it’s the right thing to do.
We’ll find that the right thing is also the smart thing – and though we may give up a few inches of ground today, we’ll gain a whole world of ground tomorrow.