GES Distributed 10K in Food Lion Cards to Needy Goochland Families

The Goochland Education Foundation (GEF) recently distributed over $10,000 worth of Food Lion gift cards to Goochland families in need to make sure the children had food over the holidays. After receiving a $5,000 grant from the Richmond Christmas Mother Fund via The Community Foundation, a private donor matched the funds for the 2nd year in a row!  Our donors enabled the gifts to be distributed to 188 student families who participate in the Goochland County Public Schools “Brown Bag Program”.

Each family received two $30 Food Lion Cards, which were distributed through the school principals directly to the families before Goochland schools closed for the Winter Break.

“We appreciate so much the Goochland Education Foundation who applied for the grant, Food Lion, and the private donors who made these gifts possible,” remarked superintendent James Lane. “This kind of extraordinary generosity and collaborative work is what makes our community so special.  We have a significant number of students that leave our schools and don’t have enough food on weekends or the holidays.  This support helps so much.”

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!

Robotics Teams Excel in the Region

Congratulations to the six Goochland robotics teams that competed at L C Bird  HS in Chesterfield last weekend!

  • BES- first place, Project Design Award;
  • GMS- first place, Core Values – “Dumpster Divers”
  • GMS – first place, Robot Design Award – “Clean Up Crew”

The award-winning GMS Dumpster Divers robotics team!

And, the GMS Dumpster Divers are going to the state competition at JMU the first weekend in December!  We celebrate the work of these exemplary coaches: Anne Moore, Carly Dachelet, Lisa Brown, Nate Potter, Candice Labbott, and Sherrill Kauffman.

Fall Athletic Success and Upcoming Events

Our scholar athletes have achieved tremendous success this fall!


Join us in congratulating the Varsity Volleyball team beat R.E. Lee on Thursday night 3-1 in the semi-finals of Region 2A East Volleyball Tournament!  With the win, GHS will host the finals of the tournament at 5:00 pm on Saturday, November 14.  Admission for the game is $6.00.

Also with the win, the VB Bulldogs will play in the semi-finals of the VHSL State Volleyball Tournament on Tuesday, November 17.  With a win on Saturday, we will host and if we lose on Saturday we will be on the road.


We will host Wilson Memorial tonight in the first round of the Region 2A East Football Playoffs.  We are ranked #1 and Wilson is ranked #16.

With a win on Friday night, we would host the winner of Brunswick/Greensville game next Friday night, November 20 in the second round.

With a win on November 20, we would host again vs. another second round winner on Friday, November 27 in the third round.

And if we win on November 27, we would host again on Saturday, December 5 vs. the second highest ranked team from the West in semi-finals of the VHSL State Playoffs.   This would be a 2:00 game on that Saturday.

Cross Country:

Cross Country Bulldog Austin Bruce will be competing in the VHSL State Cross Country Meet on Saturday at Great Meadow, The Plains, VA.  2A runs at11:30.  The boys’ team won the conference meet and the girls came in second! Both teams competed in the 2A East competition last Wednesday.


Theater is competing in the 2A East Competition this Saturday at Prince Edward at 1:30.


Competition cheer finished 2nd in the conference! Well done!


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.

Apple Executives Present GCPS with International Award

For its 1:1 iPad program at Byrd Elementary, Goochland Elementary, Randolph Elementary, and Goochland Middle Schools, Goochland County Public Schools is pleased to announce that it has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2015–2017 for its implementation of deeper learning with iPad Mini and iPad Air.

Apple representatives presented the award during last night’s school board meeting. Pictured here, left to right: John Hendron (Dir. Strategy & innovation), Meg Wilson (Apple executive), Lauren Langley (Apple executive), Quentin Ballard (GHS Asst. Principal), Tom DeWeerd (Dir. Technology), James Hopkins (BES Principal), Jennifer Rucker (GMS Principal), Tina McCay (GES Principal)

What Programs Should GCPS Career & Tech Offer Next?

The Career and Technical Education Department is seeking community input about current and possible future CTE courses at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School.  The survey will be available from now until November 20th, 2015.  The survey consists of approximately 10 questions and should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

Click here to access this survey.

The information will help the CTE department with program evaluation and help identify future needs within CTE.  Please note that no identifiable information will be gathered or used. The survey is completely anonymous.


Congratulations Dr. Ballard!

Please join us in congratulating Goochland High School assistant principal, Quentin Ballard, who has earned his doctoral degree! Quentin earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Virginia Tech last week.

Quentin Ballard, Ed.D., GHS assistant principal

Quentin’s research was focused on how students access advanced math and science courses in Virginia’s high schools.

We are extremely proud of the work he and his family invested in this tremendous accomplishment. His commitment to scholarship and excellence is an exemplar for our students!

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.

RES Students Raise 3K for Charity and Celebrate Honor

Randolph Elementary kicked off the school year with the theme of “Recognizing Every Strength.” Not only did students acknowledge their academic strengths, they also found other ways to show they were strong — as leaders, athletes, good citizens and great friends. One initiative resulted in a fundraising competition with Kent Horner from HCA Virginia Sports Medicine.

For two weeks, students from RES competed against Horner, a local Physical Therapy Assistant, through a fundraising battle. RES 4th graders raised just over $1,150 for Wounded Warrior Project.  Students wanted to honor recent veterans because, “They fought for us, now we can fight for them.”  Horner collected $2000 for IamRVA, a new nonprofit focused on bike safety.  IamRVA funds will benefit area kids who have suffered a traumatic brain injury from biking accidents.

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The culminating event was an athletic challenge between RES students and Horner.  Volunteers from HCA Sports Medicine and IamRVA met with about 55 students after school on September 23rd.  Horner’s team brought out a variety of fitness equipment and set up several events.  The afternoon included planking and wall sit competitions, a kickball challenge, tire and telephone pole flips, obstacle courses, and a kettle bell toss.  The highlight was an all-time classic:  Tug of War.  The students defeated Horner, the volunteers, and the teachers…twice!

The students were declared victorious in the athletic portion of the competition, while Horner took the fundraising.  With a tie resulting, it seems there is no choice but to schedule a rematch for spring!

If you are interested in supporting either cause or would like more information please contact: Jennifer Gates (


GCPS Receives 24K Grant to Support Safety Upgrades

Goochland County Public Schools have been chosen to receive $24,000 in funding to support safety preparedness initiatives during the 2015-16 school year. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced last week that the Commonwealth has awarded $6 million in School Security Equipment Grants to help ensure the safety of Virginia’s schools.

The committee that developed the grant application included:

  • Sonny Turner, Maintenance Supervisor
  • Peter Martin, Network Administrator and Technical Services Coordinator
  • Robin Powers, Accounting Technician
  • Tom DeWeerd, Director of technology and Administration
  • Bruce Watson, Director of Career & Technical Education
  • Peter Gretz, Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations

The grant funds will support key initiatives, identified through the work of the GCPS Crisis & School Safety Task Force as well as continued partnership with the Goochland Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue Department. Specifically, this year’s award will enable the division to:

  • establish communication between Goochland High School and Goochland Tech,
  • establish communication between Goochland High School and Goochland PREP,
  • upgrade communication between Goochland Elementary and the ESCE Preschool (2nd floor of Goochland Tech),
  • provide new two-way radios to all schools, including Goochland Tech, the ESCE Preschool, and Goochland PREP,
  • install amplification of the intercom system in shop labs at Goochland Tech where noisy equipment and machinery can make communication challenging, and
  • purchase and implement a “Panic Button” software solution that will enable access to a mobile panic alarm, emergency notification, real-time location tracking, and a mass update system to better facilitate communication and resolution of emergency situations in all school facilities.

“We intend for our schools to be places where students, staff and community members can pursue deeper learning,” superintendent James Lane said. “As we work together to maximize the potential of every learner, we must also commit to ensure that all of our schools are safe.”

The School Security Equipment Grant program was established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the December 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Virginia students, teachers, administrators, support staff — and the parents and others who visit our schools throughout the school year — are safer today because of this program,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “This program enhances school safety and gives our schools and first responders the tools they need to keep out intruders and respond quickly and effectively if a security threat does arise.”


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.

BES Students Announce Year’s Theme

We were inspired by a group of exemplary students from Byrd Elementary School who confidently shared their school’s 2015-16 theme with the school board last week.  Students took turns sharing the meaning of “KEYS” (K= know your potential, E=everyone involved, Y=you give your all, S=setting high goals).

BES Eagles wait to address the school board.

Well done BES Eagles!

Sandie Warwick Presented with VSBA Media Award

The GCPS school community was honored to join the school board in highlighting the fair and balanced communication of matters related to the schools and education in the commonwealth that are so characteristic of Sandie Warwick’s work as a local blogger. Board chairman, John Lumpkins, presented Mrs. Warwick with the VA School Board Association’s annual Media Honor Roll Award during its regularly scheduled September 8 business meeting.

GCPS school board chair, John Lumpkins, honors Goochland blogger, Sandie Warwick, with the 2015 VSBA Media Honor Roll recognition.


Mrs. Warwick has maintained her blog, Goochland On My Mind, since 2008. Please join us in thanking her for faithfully reporting the activities – both the triumphs and the challenges – of the local schools and government.

Congratulations Mrs. Warwick!