GCPS Wins National Award for Data Use

The Data Quality Campaign today announced Goochland County Public Schools (GCPS) is the winner of the 2015 Flashlight Awards for District Data Use. The award recognizes one school district a year for its use of data to answer questions, empower educators, and transparently communicate with parents and the public.

“We are pleased to honor Goochland County Public Schools for creating a culture in which education data are used as a tool to empower parents and educators,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign. “Goochland leaders and teachers are now using data to help make the best decisions possible in the greatest interest of each student.”

Data are much more likely to be used—and to be used well—when they meet the needs of teachers, families, and the community. In light of this, GCPS’s three-tier approach to measuring student progress—student academic growth, social-emotional measures, and school climate—was created in collaboration with parents, school leaders, and the community. The district then crafted an action plan with key benchmarks and a data system to support and report their progress.

GCPS’s roadmap to student data success relied heavily on professional development and data literacy training for school leaders and teachers. District leaders rolled out their data-driven initiative slowly, to give teachers an opportunity to reflect, respond, and ask questions. They also specifically emphasized that data would be used as a “flashlight and not a hammer” to help teachers improve their impact on students success.

“Our culture is one of trust. We’re going to check our egos at the door and use this data to maximize the potential of every student,” said GCPS superintendent Dr. James F. Lane. “It’s a totally different conversation when you can peel away to a deeper level of detail, to help a parent really understand what their child needs to work on, as opposed to that they just need help in general.”

Today, Goochland teachers are better equipped to individualize instruction for students, driving their continued success and resulting in high levels of academic success for students. GCPS is 1 of 22 school divisions—out of the 132 in Virginia—to have had 100 percent of schools reaching full state 2014-15 accreditation.

GMS Teacher to Attend Back-to-School Climate Education Event at the White House

Goochland Middle School’s Anne Moore has been invited to join a diverse group of key education leaders for a climate education event that will also be live-streamed.
On Thursday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is hosting a special Back-to-School Climate Education Event from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM. We are so proud to have our very own Ms. Moore at the table, included in teh discussion and impacting education on a national level! For this event, OSTP will welcome approximately 200 participants – including exceptional high school students, educators, and key leaders in the education community from government, academia, philanthropies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Presentations will demonstrate new and innovative ways to increase climate-learning opportunities for students and to equip educators with science-based information and resources. The program will consist of an interactive climate “assembly,” fireside chats with senior officials, demonstrations of new free online educational resources, and a panel featuring outstanding student leaders. From 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM EDT on Thursday, August 20, you’re invited to tune in to the livestream of the Back-to-School Climate Education Event.

GCPS Finance Professional Earns VA Contracting Certification

Please join me in congratulating Robin Powers, GCPS Accounting Technician, who recently completed all certification requirements through the VA Institute of Procurement to become a Virginia Contracting Associate. The certification requires a rigorous program of classroom instruction and a comprehensive exam.

Through this certification Robin has demonstrated an exemplary knowledge of procurement law, regulation and policy and has positioned GCPS to reach even higher levels of excellence in purchasing.

We applaud Mrs. Powers, pictured below with GCPS Director of Finance, Debbie White, for her commitment to excellence in public purchasing!

Robin Powers, left, with Debbie White.

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.

GCPS Leaders Participate in Future Ready Summit

Goochland County Public Schools is sending a team of school district leaders to Raleigh, North Carolina, Feb. 11-12 to participate in the first of 12 Future Ready Regional Summits, designed to help district leaders improve teaching and learning through the effective use of technology. President Obama announced the regional summits at the ConnectED to the Future ConnectED to the Future Convening, hosted at the White House Nov. 19, 2014.  The summits are being hosted by the U.S. Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education at N.C. State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

“We are honored to participate and eager to learn from our colleagues,” remarked division superintendent, James Lane. In addition to the superintendent, other participants are Dr. Steve Geyer, assistant superintendent for instruction, Dr. John Hendron, director of strategy and innovation, and Jenn Rucker, principal of Goochland Middle School.

Dr. Lane and the division leadership  are furthering Goochland’s commitment to becoming future ready by engaging in a series of workshops that offer expert support to create or build upon an existing digital learning plan that aligns with instructional best practices, is implemented by highly trained teachers, and leads to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities.

“Superintendents provide critical leadership to ensure that every child in their district benefits from what we know matters and what we know works for kids,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The Future Ready Regional Summits will be a forum where local leaders can share knowledge with their peers, engage leaders from outside their region and better equip themselves with skills and tools necessary to provide students with what they need to be successful in life.”

The summits are an important step toward realizing the goals of the ConnectED Initiative announced by President Obama in 2013 to connect 99 percent of students to igh-speed Internet and empower teachers with the technology they need to transform teaching and learning. The regional summits are expected to engage more than 1,300 district leaders nationwide. The other 11 Regional Summits will be in Vancouver, Washington; Baltimore, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona; West Warwick, Rhode Island; St. Louis, Missouri; Redwood City, California; Denver, Colorado; Wadsworth, Illinois; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Dallas, Texas.

“Future ready is about helping district leaders leverage technology to empower teachers, engage students, and close persistent equity gaps by creating a learning environment where all students have access to the tools and expertise they need to be prepared for the future,” said Richard Culatta, director of the Education Department’s Office of Educational Technology (OET).

The summits are open to district leadership teams that have made a commitment to developing the human and technological capacity needed to transform teaching and personalize learning using digital tools, by signing the Future Ready District Pledge. Already, more than 1,500 district superintendents nationwide have taken the pledge.

For more information about the OET, including resources for students, parents and educators, visit http://tech.ed.gov.  #FutureReady

Goochland Top Performer in Writing

Having focused on student engagement and maximization of individual student academic growth, we are thrilled to report that Goochland was a top performer on last spring’s SOL tests. We were the top scorer in the region on the writing test, and second in reading, math and history – 3rd in science.

Read the full press release here.

This confirms our belief that a focus on pedagogy and improved relationships with our students with a passion for seeing every learner grow academically is of utmost importance. And scores on achievement tests, such as the SOL’s, will reflect that commitment to excellent instruction.

Great work, GCPS community!

February is School Board Appreciation Month

Please join us in celebrating and recognizing the leadership and service of our school board members during School Board Appreciation Month. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Local Schools, Local Decisions,” reflects the importance of ensuring that the future of public education remains in the hands of the community it serves. Local school boards keep the public in charge of public schools, since they represent their community’s beliefs and values.

Read the original PRES RELEASE here.

We are extremely proud of the work our board members do to support the mission of the division and pave the way for exemplary success. Please join us in expressing our sincere appreciation to them this February.

One District One Book Official Press Release


Goochland Community Adopts One District, One Book, Division-Wide Book Program  

The Goochland County Public Schools are excited to announce a new initiative, One District, One Book, a program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period. Every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to participate together in a literacy experience during the month of February. The title of the book will be announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book on Monday, February 3.

What about reading the same book with students of varying ages and reading abilities? “Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level,” explained Dr. Steve Geyer Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. “Those same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.”

The initiative is intended to generate a shared experience in which all members of the school community read and discuss the same book. Activities, such as trivia games, will be provided to students during school with the hopes that families and community members will participate as well.

The books are being provided through the generosity of The Goochland Education Foundation (GEF) and Ms. Tamra Adams, Director, Adams International School. “We are thrilled with this partnership,” said superintendent Dr. James Lane. “We see this as a powerful way to boost literacy and further engage the community in the heart of our work with students.”