2015-16 Started with a Spark!

Ron Clark is known for motivating everyone to learn, so much so that he travels the world sharing his approach with others. Thursday morning he came to Goochland and helped us hit the ground sprinting into the approaching 2015-16 school year.

Internationally renowned educator and author Ron Clark spent the morning with us on Thursday, a magical day indeed.

Wellness Concerns for Students Preparing for the School Year

We are happy to share a link to this Student Health & Wellness Guide, developed by the communications team at OnlineColleges.net. Though it has been created with college students in mind, the information is appropriate for our older students as well.

Physical health and nutrition have a direct, profound impact on students’ school experience.

As we seek together to maximize the potential of all learners, let’s keep students’ health at the forefront!

School Performance Report Card Survey

The Virginia Department of Education is asking parents and other members of the public to complete a 16-item online survey on improving annual School Performance Report Cards for schools, school divisions and the commonwealth.

The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous.

The survey may be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/schoolreportcards and will remain active untilFriday, August 14, 2015.

ANNE MOORE RECEIVES PRESIDENTIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING

Goochland Middle School teacher, Anne Moore, was recently named by the President one of 108 mathematics and science teachers to receive the prestigiousPresidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This year’s awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The educators will receive their awards at a Washington, DC, event later this summer.

“It is an incredible honor to be chosen from a field of distinguished educators to receive the Presidential Award. My journey was possible with the support of family, students, and colleagues,” remarked Mrs. Moore. “The award offers me the opportunity to meet with our country’s policymakers, as well as consulting with other professionals who strive for excellence in science and technology education. Knowing that an award of this caliber can be life changing, I look forward to exploring the opportunities that lie ahead.”
GMS Teacher Anne Moore
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The awardees named today teach 7th through 12th grade. “We are incredibly grateful for Mrs. Moore’s amazing contributions to education in Goochland and globally,” said Goochland superintendent James Lane. “We are so fortunate to have her in Goochland and appreciate so much the passion she brings to her work with our students every day.” Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony, as well educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration. “These teachers are shaping America’s success through their passion for math and science,” President Obama said. “Their leadership and commitment empower our children to think critically and creatively about science, technology, engineering, and math. The work these teachers are doing in our classrooms today will help ensure that America stays on the cutting edge tomorrow.” Anne Moore has been an educator for 17 years, teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade STEM and Technology at Goochland Middle School for the past two years. Previously, Anne taught science at Robious Middle School, with five years of experience in the Center Based Gifted Program. Through the implementation of rigorous and relevant project-based learning activities, colleagues describe Anne’s classroom as “serious fun.” Anne’s passion for environmental issues has been a driving force for the development of the Prothonotary Warbler Interactive Study in conjunction with Virginia Commonwealth University and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. By tapping into local and state experts and resources, her students are exposed to critical environmental issues. They work to discover solutions based on practical application processes and fieldwork. Anne’s previous awards include the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science Education; Air Force Association Teacher of the Year – Richmond Region; and Outstanding Gifted Teacher, Chesterfield County and the State of Virginia. Receiving over $15,000 in grants, her favorite has been the Fund for Teachers grant, which allowed her to travel to New Zealand to study environmental sustainability.

NEW DIRECTOR OF EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION NAMED IN GOOCHLAND

After an exhaustive search the Goochland County Public School division has named Mrs. Jennifer Waggener as Director of Exceptional Education. Mrs. Waggener replaces Debbie Beasley, who is retiring after a 40 year career in education, 27 of which were spent in Goochland.

“We are sad to see Debbie retire officially this year,” superintendent James Lane commented. “We are ecstatic about Mrs. Waggener’s leadership and believe she is the perfect choice!”

Mrs. Waggener has been with the division for 10 years and has worked in every school. She was initially hired as a school psychologist and has most recently been a supervisor of special education.

“I’m deeply honored to take on this new role,” explained Mrs. Waggener. “I’m especially excited to continue supporting and advocating for our students in this new capacity as part of team Goochland!”

Mrs. Waggener and her husband, Chris, live in Chesterfield with their two-year-old twin children, Wilson and Caroline. She begins her new position officially in July.

GES’ Annual Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Day

GES held its annual “Full STEAM Ahead Day” yesterday (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).

The entire student body spent the morning collaborating and creating … all in search of the perfect solution to their grade level’s design brief. (Here’s an example of one of the six design briefs undertaken during today’s event: 5th grade design brief.) Some groups created wagons, others catapults (all from household recycled materials and “clean trash”), as they worked to meet the challenges set forth in their project-based assignments.

Thank you to Mrs. Lisa Brown, GES’ Gifted Resource Teacher, and the entire faculty for fostering creativity and critical thinking in this amazing school wide event. Mrs. Brown commented, “This truly is the best day of my year. I am always amazed at what children can imagine and create when the problem is open-ended.”

Grade 2 Catapult Design

Grade 5 “Fourth Little Pig” Home Construction

Student Summer Job Fair

Students!

You are invited to participate in the Capital Region Workforce Partnership’s first annual InspireYouth@Work Summer Opportunities Fair.  This unique, regional job fair is a free opportunity for government, businesses and not-for-profit organizations to publicize their summer job, volunteer and leadership development openings suitable for youth ages 14 – 21. Some of the attending organizations include Lowe’s, Chick-fil-A, Richmond Kickers, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Henrico Parks & Rec, DTLR, American Red Cross, Shamin Hotels, and many more.

Please plan to attend! Registration is online at www.InspireYouthatWork.org, and you can  contact Felicia Ainsa at804-226-1941 x 235 or ain001@henrico.us with any questions.

GMS EAGLES ACCEPTED TO SUMMER RESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

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.

State Board Approves “Expedited Retakes” of SOL Tests in Grades 3-8

Student achievement as measured in traditional ways (like multiple choice tests) provides great insight into students’ literacy skills, math skills, as well as their mastery of content (i.e. Do they know historical facts?). In Virginia achievement on the state’s SOL tests (Standards or Learning) is also directly tied to state and federal accountability for schools.

With our division’s strategic plan as a foundation, GCPS has prioritized individual student growth over traditional achievement. This is not to be confused with a disinterest in achievement or a lack of recognition that achievement is important; quite the opposite, student achievement is critically important. In isolation, however, traditional achievement tests provide an incomplete picture of student learning. Paired with individual growth measures, like the division’s MAP assessments (Measures of Academic Progress), students, families, and teachers now have a more complete picture of student learning at both a prescribed point in time as well as over time (i.e. fall to winter to spring and from year to year).

Moreover, we believe a prioritization of individual student growth allows our school community to focus on the division’s mission to maximize the potential of every learner; as such, strong achievement results are a natural byproduct. Perhaps equally important, we believe a focus on individual growth decreases stress associated with high stakes state testing and increases the likelihood of students being fully engaged in their school experience.

Just a few days ago the Virginia Board of Education equipped schools with a new means of further reducing undue pressure on students by providing students in grades 3 through 8 with the opportunity to “retake” failed SOL tests depending on the associated circumstances. You can read the Board’s full press release here.

In response GCPS is working to develop a May testing calendar that provides efficiencies for these new allowances for students. Additionally, we are creating further means of communication for our families in preparation for another spring testing season.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s principal, school counselor, Mrs. Jennifer Bocrie (Division Director of Testing), or me if we can answer questions or provide additional information. Many thanks!

Goochland County Schools Featured in the 19th Annual VSBA “Showcases for Success” Directory

The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 19th annual VSBA Showcases for Success directory, highlighting successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools. Featured programs fit within one of two categories –Virtual/Blended Learning and Career & Technical Education.

Goochland has been specifically recognized for three programs, the 1:1 mobile device initiative, Goochland Middle School STEM partnership with VCU, and JASON Learning project. Full descriptions of the programs are available here.

“In addition to highlighting some of the best practices taking place in Virginia’s schools, the Showcases for Success directory can serve as a starting point to develop similar programs in other school divisions,” said Gina G. Patterson, VSBA executive director.

“We are extremely proud of our inclusion in the ‘showcases’ document,” remarked Bruce Watson, Director of Career and Technical Education. “Goochland’s approach to implementing these initiatives will be an excellent model for other divisions hoping to develop similar programs.”

For more information about the VSBA Showcases for Success, contact Gina Patterson, VSBA executive director, at gina@vsba.org or434-295-8722.

BES Student Honored in Essay Contest

BES’ Alyson Foskey was awarded 3rd place overall in the Richmond District PTA Citizenship Essay Contest.  The topic of the essay was, “I can positively influence my peers by…”  Her family was invited to a reception held last week Atlee High School, where she received a very nice certificate!

We understand Alyson’s teachers are encouraging her to share her exemplary essay at the 5th grade graduation ceremony!

Well done, Allyson!

GCPS NAMED A DISTRICT OF DISTINCTION

In recognition of the innovation and success of its Values Based Leadership (VBL) initiative, Goochland County Public Schools (GCPS) has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration. Goochland County was among 62 districts across the nation that were honored in the March 2015 round of Districts of Distinction, the magazine’s national recognition program for K12 school districts.

“We are pleased to honor Goochland County as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Goochland County Public Schools serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”

GCPS began its journey into values based leadership in 2012 in partnership with Luck Companies.

“A big congratulations from all of us here at Luck Companies for yet another round of recognition of your commitment, hard work and leadership,” remarked Mark Fernandes, Luck Companies Chief Leadership Officer. “We look forward to our continued work together in support of your mission to ensure all students are provided to opportunity to realize their full potential.”

“The next step in that process for us is to develop the leadership potential in our students, through the development of a leadership curriculum that includes the identification of each student’s own values,” Hendron adds. “We are indebted to the Luck Companies of Goochland, Virginia, for sharing their decade-long experience with values-based leadership.”

GCPS introduced the VBL model to its leadership team and launched a six-year strategic planning initiative that is still underway. Currently, the district is designing a leadership curriculum for students. The district’s ECCHO awards recognize the “excellence, creativity, courage, honor and optimism” in staff and students working to better their schools.

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.

Parent Conferences March 23

GCPS staff & families,

This is a reminder that the student holiday originally scheduled for March 23rd will now be a regular instructional day, in accordance with the 2014-15 school calendar. Parent-teacher conferences will still be held on March 23rd at each school from 4:30 to 7:00PM. This is a great opportunity to dialog with your child’s teachers about his or her progress in school.

2015-16 School Calendar Draft

The draft 2015-16 school calendar is available for review. The school board will consider the calendar for adoption during its regularly scheduled meeting March 10th.

Highlights of the calendar:

  • 180 instructional days
  • First day for students is August 24, 2015
  • 3 full & 2 half professional days built in
  • full 2 weeks for winter break
  • Wednesday before Thanksgiving remains a holiday
  • Spring break a full week after Easter
  • 9 full make up snow days built in
  • School year ends June 3rd

As in past years, a committee of faculty and parent representatives from each school collaborated to develop this draft, incorporating the sentiments that have been expressed through personal interaction and survey responses. We are confident this calendar serves the GCPS students and community well, but we certainly want to hear from you.

You can contact your child’s principal or any member of the GCPS leadership, simply reply to this blog post, or contact your school board representatives directly.

 

 

SPARC Performing Arts Camp Opportunities in Goochland

SPARCLERS “FROZEN FOLLIES” – PreK (4+) through Rising Kindergarten | Rising 1st-4th Graders

Length: One Week Dates: July 20 to July 24 Hours: PreK-K 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Rising 1st-4th and Rising 5th-8th 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cost: $170* | $230 Location: Randolph Elementary School (Goochland County) * Extended care available for SPARCLERS Jr. (1:00-3:00 p.m.) for $60. Journey with us through the world of performing arts in just one week! SPARC’s youngest campers will learn the building blocks of performance—singing, acting, and dancing—as they work together to create a final show for family and friends on Friday. Every day of SPARCLERS will be filled with imagination, friends, and lots of fun! Frozen Follies is all about having a really cool summer! Campers will have fun exploring some of their favorite cold weather characters through storytelling, song, and dance—from penguins, to snowmen, reindeer, ice castles, and more! Join us as we explore an Icy Summer Wonderland filled with fun surprises!

Registration Options – Register now for a summer of fun at SPARC!

SPARC PERFORMING ARTS CAMP – Rising 5th – 8th Graders

Length: One Week Dates: July 27 to July 31 Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cost: $230 Location: Randolph Elementary School (Goochland County) This one-week camp focuses on acting, singing, and dance. Students will learn age-appropriate games, exercises and performance material that will be showcased for friends and family on the last day of camp.

Registration Options – Register now for a summer of fun at SPARC!