GCPS JOB FAIR APRIL 18

Goochland County Public Schools will host a Job Recruitment Fair at Randolph Elementary School Saturday, April 18th from 9AM to 1PM. On-sight interviews will be conducted for candidates interested in positions in the following areas:

  • Teaching
  • Food Service
  • Maintenance/Custodial Services
  • Bus Drivers
  • Substitute Teaching
  • Administration/Leadership

This event is open to the public and we are especially interested in meeting those who live in Goochland that would be interested in employment with the school division.

Please click here to pre-register and secure your interview today!

For more information, contact Lisa Hobbs at (804) 556-5630.

Amie Potter Named Interim Goochland Middle School Assistant Principal

We are thrilled to announce that Amie Potter has been appointed Interim Assistant Principal of Goochland Middle School, a position that will be temporarily vacant when Mrs. East takes her maternity leave. “I am confident that Amie will be an invaluable asset to GMS and will do an exemplary job in this role!” stated GMS principal, Jenn Smith.

Amie joined the GCPS team in 2009 and currently serves as the coordinator of GIST (Goochland Instructional Support Team) at Randolph and Goochland Elementary schools, where she collaborates with teachers to develop instructional strategies and interventions to support student learning. Prior to her work with GIST, she taught Kindergarten and First grades at Randolph Elementary School. She has served as the elementary summer school principal and has contributed to a variety of school-based and division-wide initiatives, including the division’s balanced assessment committee, coordination of the division’s teacher mentorship program, as well as having served as the division’s teacher leader for first grade.

To ensure a smooth transition, we anticipate Amie to begin shadowing Mrs. East within the next couple of weeks.

Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Potter!

VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan Opt-In Period

Eligible Plan 1 and Plan 2 members (those currently enrolled in the VRS) may elect to opt-into the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan during a one-time election period from January 1 to April 30. An election to opt into the Hybrid Retirement Plan cannot be changed after April 30.

The Opt-In Period for VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan Ends April 30

The Hybrid Retirement Plan combines the features of a defined benefit plan, which pays a monthly retirement benefit based on age, total service credit and average final compensation, and a defined contribution plan, which provides a retirement benefit based on contributions to the plan and the investment performance of those contributions.

Read the Special Issue of Member News  262kb for more information about the plan, eligibility, how to opt in and resources available to you, including the Hybrid Plan Calculator (available in early January) in your myVRS account. A detailed instruction guide is available once you access the calculator. Also, you should frequently check the VRS website for additional educational opportunities.

Log in or create a myVRS account to access the Hybrid Plan Calculator (available in early January), check your member account balance or create a benefit estimate. Subscribe to Member News to receive the latest information about your VRS benefits.

Questions? Contact Demetra Harris or Peter Gretz.

School Board Approves Stipends for Middle School Athletics

During its regularly scheduled meeting on September 13th, the school board voted to increase middle school coaching stipends and approved a first-ever supplement for the middle school athletic director. The coaching stipends have been stuck at $500, considerably lower than regional counterparts currently offer. The board raised those stipends to $1,000 each.

“This is much more suitable considering the work and the time these coaches pour into our students,” said superintendent, James Lane.

The middle school athletic director has never received any additional stipend, but will begin this year receiving $2,500. ”I’m grateful to the board for their support and believe this to be absolutely appropriate,” Dr. lane added.

GCPS Welcomes New Volunteers

As we begin a new school year, I wanted to take a moment to remind our staff and community that background checks are necessary for any volunteer who will:

  1. have repeated exposure to students
  2. be unsupervised with students

The checks are done at our expense and to the degree possible, at your convenience. We truly appreciate the generosity of our great community and we embrace the opportunity to partner with our tremendous group of volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering in our schools (or you are interested in recruiting an excellent volunteer) please use the application process detailed on this page.

Your Child’s Safety Not Negotiable

One of the hallmarks of the current school year – and our tremendous County – is the presence of an army of community volunteers. These selfless people give their energy, time and unique skill sets to the greater mission of inspiring and maximizing the potential of our students.

In past years, we’ve had misunderstandings, even discrepancies, concerning how we require and administer the background checks for volunteers. That’s been cleared up, as reflected in this post.

But we still seem to have some unrest among some community members regarding this issue.

The Code of Virginia requires that:

As a condition of employment, school boards of the Commonwealth shall require any applicant who is offered or accepts employment after July 1, 1989, whether full-time or part-time, permanent, or temporary, to submit to fingerprinting and to provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the applicant’s fingerprints through the Central Criminal records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information regarding such applicant. (Code Reference)

 

Let’s be clear. School Boards in Virginia are required by law to do a background check on anyone who’s going to work in the school division – no matter what capacity or how long they plan to work. Hourly tutors doing remediation for a week, evening custodians, substitute teachers – doesn’t matter. If we’re going to employ them for even one hour, the law says they need to be fingerprinted.

In Goochland, we have chosen to closely follow the guidelines for employees as we consider our volunteers. We have flexibility, but have chosen only to exercise it in very unique circumstances.

The guidelines I have provided to principals include two simple questions:

  • Will the volunteer ever be unsupervised with children?
  • Will the volunteer be regularly spending time with children?

If the answer is “yes” to either question, we require a background check. Like the Code, we don’t not attempt to draw lines among people – those we know/don’t know, those our friends know/don’t know, those who seem trustworthy/seem suspicious, those with whom we’ve worked before/those who we’ve never met.

That’s a fruitless exercise and a very slippery slope. Like you, I know people I trust explicitly and would never suggest they are a danger to your children. Our commitment is to ensure every parent that we will not give any adult access to their children, unsupervised or repeated, without ensuring that adult has completed the background check – the same one required by law of our employees.

We believe it’s our obligation to confidently look our community in the eyes and say we are doing all we can to ensure your children are safe at school.

It can be awkward to require those who have been volunteering in past years without the background check and doing inspiring work in our schools to submit to a fingerprint check. Those are often individuals who are well-known to be powerful positive influences in our community. It seems to be an affront to the selfless and generous spirit those people have poured out when we ask them to go through a criminal background check. It’s as though we think they might be criminals.

We don’t. Just as we don’t suspect the exemplary candidates to whom we offer jobs in our division to be criminals either. But as the law requires that we screen all employees, we extend that same level of precaution to all adults who will have repeated or unsupervised access to your children. No matter who they are.

Not because we suspect they need it, but because we want every parent to rest easy that we aren’t making that kind of subjective judgement call when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of their children.

I commend our School Board for supporting this perspective and ensuring that we’ve identified the funds to make sure these background checks are done on our dime, not the volunteers’.

We would never want to offend anyone, especially our wonderful volunteers. It’s even more important to us that every parent, after they put their children on a bus or drop them off at the school doors, goes into the day will absolute certainty that their children are safe.

Your child’s safety is non-negotiable.

 

Volunteer Background Check Fees

Good morning Goochland!

This post is designed to offer some clarity to an issue that has been causing some turbulence among our community members. Let me get right to the heart of the matter and deliver the punchline first, then we’ll unpack some of the details that may be of interest to you.

We will NOT ask our volunteers to pay for their own background checks. I realize this is in conflict with what you’ve recently heard, but this is the final word. I credit our five principals entirely with finding creative ways to fund these background checks, which cost $44 regardless of the school in which you volunteer.

Upon learning that there was no funding available for these checks, our principals appropriately turned immediately to the issue of your children’s safety. They began relaying the unfortunate news about our inability to support the fees internally. Again, I support them completely – their instinct, despite how it would be received, was to ensure our students’ safety.

But immediately thereafter, they adamantly responded to what we all felt: that it was unconscionable to visit the fee upon the volunteers, themselves. We pulled together under the direction of the School Board, and found a way to make this right.

Demetra Harris, our specialist who administers personnel service and benefit programs, is responsible for scheduling, completing and processing the background checks, which have two parts:

  1. FBI Fingerprint Screening ($37), which checks for criminal history, prior arrests, etc.
  2. Social Services Clearance ($7), which checks specifically for any founded or pending cases of abuse or neglect of children assigned to the individual’s care

Mrs. Harris processes the checks during the work day, but is offering an option to accommodate those whose work schedule won’t allow them to come in during the day for the screening. If you’ve completed the Volunteer Application and are in need of the background check, please contact Mrs. Harris at (804)556-5603 and she will schedule a time for you accordingly.

What happens with the information we receive? If there are any indications of “flags” on the screening results, that information comes in a sealed envelop to Mrs. Harris. She delivers that documentation to me personally and I contact the individual to let them know we have received that information and, if necessary, ask them to engage in a discussion with me about the incident until we can reach resolution about the individual’s work in our schools with your children.

It is kept in the strictest confidence and Mrs. Harris and I are the only two employees with access to the information.

So where’d we find the money? From a tiny portion of a residual grant fund from a past year, we will be able to capture about $3,000 in revenue this year that was unexpected. This will give us just enough flexibility to process the background check fees on behalf of our volunteers.

Again, I applaud our principals for their determination to help us work through this dilemma, maintaining the School Board and division’s commitment to keeping every child safe at school while extending this courtesy to our generous community members who sacrifice their time and talents for the benefit of our children.

This collaborative effort between our School Board and Leadership has enabled us to appropriately welcome our selfless volunteers with respect and gratitude. We are also able to say to you, our parents, with absolute certainty that we have expended every effort to ensure that your children will not be exposed to any individual who poses a threat to their safety at school.