BES Student Artist Recognized

Congratulations to BES student, Everett Brewer, whose original artwork was chosen by the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts to be displayed as part of the Highlights from the Annual Area Youth Art Month Exhibition.

Everett’s piece, titled “Pumpkin Patch”, will be displayed throughout the fall of 2016 and he will be honored during a special reception at Longwood.

Well done, Everett!

GCPS and Historical Society Celebrate Start of Incredible Partnership

The History in our Hallways event at Goochland High School last week was a tremendous success. What started as an idea in superintendent James Lane’s vision for decorating school hallways has blossomed to become a thriving partnership between the Goochland Historical Society and the school division, involving students and community members in an inspiration project.

DSC_0174 DSC_0161 DSC_0197 DSC_0188 DSC_0169 DSC_0195 DSC_0208 DSC_0221

During the reception, the photographic displays were unveiled as community members toured the high school, treasuring the memories depicted. Members of Mr. Bouwens digital productions class stood by the photos and gave living captions, including unique pieces of history surrounding the shots. Chef Charnes and the Goochland Tech culinary arts students provided refreshments, served throughout the school.


“This is only the beginning,” remarked Dr. Lane. “We intend to expand this project to involve more and more photographs and community members. The possibilities are really limitless.”


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!

Information About the School Nutrition Program

Healthy meals are an important part of how we create an educational environment in which every learner’s potential can be maximized. Please take a look at the information below and contact your child’s principal if you have any questions or concerns about how lunch or breakfast will be served, how to pay your child’s meal fees, or how to apply for free or reduced meals.

Meal Payment 

We really encourage you to prepay meals. This will speed up service and provide your child more time to enjoy lunch.  Pre-payment may be made for the week, month or year. Students may pre-pay in the cafeteria by cash or check.

You always have the option to pay or check balances online at or use our telephone system @ 1-866-572-6091.

Balances left on your child’s account at the end of the school year will carry over to the next school year. Refunds are only issued if a child will be leaving Goochland County Public Schools.


Our menus are designed to average fewer than 30% calories from fat and 10% calories from saturated fat each week. Lunch menus will always provide one-third of the daily-recommended levels for protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and calories. Breakfast will contain one-fourth of these daily recommendations. The daily menus will consist of a minimum of two main entrees, cold plates and salads, choice of two fruits and two vegetables and three selections of milk. All bread items served are whole grain.

Monthly menus will be posted on our county web site at

 A La Carte Items

The purpose of a la carte sales is to enhance, not replace a balanced meal.  We encourage you to talk with your child about how many and which of these items you prefer him or her to choose. All a la carte items contain no more than 35% calories from total fat as served, and no more than 35% by weight sugar content per serving. In addition, these products are prohibited from having caffeine or being carbonated. 

Lost or Forgotten Lunch Money

Sometimes our students lose or forget their lunch money. We strongly recommend prepayment to help avoid this, but we understand it’s going to happen. Students who lose or forget their breakfast or lunch money will always be served a meal. The principal will send you a notice requesting that the students’ account be reconciled. Once a student’s account has reached a deficit of $10.00, the student will be provided an alternative meal of a ham or turkey sandwich, fruit, vegetable and milk. 

Parents, you are invited and encouraged to eat lunch with your children any time during the school year.   We simply ask that you schedule these opportunities with your child’s principal. Adult lunches are $3.75.

Applications for Free and Reduced Meals

These applications are provided to every student at the beginning of each school year. Applications are also available at all school sites or from the Food Service Office (804-556-5604).  Only one application is needed for all students in a household, but you will need to complete a new application each year. If you receive a Letter of Direct Certification, you do not need to fill out a free and reduced application. 

Applications may be returned to your school’s cafeteria manager. This information is kept in strict confidence within the division. If you have any questions about who has access to your application, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Food Allergies

We cannot stress enough the importance of your communicating with us about your child’s food allergies. Please be sure to notify your school office as well as the cafeteria manager at your school site of any FOOD ALLERGIES your child has.  Any allergies or special needs requiring substitutions to the regular school meal will require a physician’s statement.

Student Conduct in the Cafeteria

We intend for your child’s breakfast or lunch time to be enjoyable. It’s time that can be spent socializing with peers and interacting with adults, both integral to the education process. In order to provide the very best experience for all students during meals, we ask that students practice good table manners and converse in a normal speaking voice. Your child’s school may have other, more specific cafeteria rules in place (such as where to sit, how to return trays and discard trash). Generally speaking, we just ask that everyone be respectful and enjoy the food and the time!

GHS MCJROTC Cadets Train at Parris Island

I am extremely proud of our 46 cadets from Goochland High School’s new MCJROTC program, who traveled to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island, SC during the week of March 13th.  The cadets got a first-hand view of how they “make Marines” at Parris Island.  While some cadets will never serve in any of our Armed Forces, the ROTC program is intended to provide the students with the most realistic experience possible.

The cadets stayed in a military barracks, ate in a military “chow hall” and carried out some of the challenging activities that Marine Corps recruits are required to master.  Some of those activities included navigating an obstacle course, visiting the gas chamber, challenging the confidence course and leadership reaction course.  Cadets also received some personal attention from a Marine Corps Drill Instructor who taught them about drill, perseverance, teamwork, motivation and pushing through adversity.

The response from the Cadets was overwhelming positive and it was an experience they will never forget.

Taking Control

As educators, we sometimes bat around terms like “student-centered” when we are talking about learning and teaching in the classroom. A recent article by Katrina Schwartz features some of the ideas by Alan November that may make this term and this idea, more clear.

I wanted to pull a few out as we explore the concept of students taking control of their learning.

  1. “November says that instant feedback trend should be embraced as a powerful learning tool.” Instant feedback, the author points out, is something built into video games, but also activities an engineer might engage in, such as writing a compute program. By extension, tools we can use to give feedback during a quiz are better than a quiz that just tallies up a score at the end. We need to find tools and methods that provide students quick, and if possible, continuous feedback loops.
  2. “The benefit of technology is that is has opened the door on the scope of global problems that students can involve themselves with, making their problem solving skills immediately relevant and encouraging self-direction.” This reminds me of the challenge-based learning model espoused by Apple several years ago, out of their ADE community. It certainly resonates with a number of our G21 projects.
  3. “Have students lost the ability to define the question?” I love stopping to ask students what they are doing, or better yet, “what are you learning right now?” There is such a satisfying feeling when a student can say “Right now, I’m trying to figure out…” or “We’re studying…” It’s clear with these types of responses that students are owning the learning process a little bit more. The next step is directing them how to ask big questions, embracing an inquiry-based approach to learning, so that conversations might be “I don’t know how this works, but I’d like to know (this) and (that)… gimme a second, and let me what I can find…” It’s teaching question-creating but also how to leverage the internet to course-correct their thinking, too.
  4. Role forming should take place. “One way to replicate that ownership now is to give students classroom jobs, allowing them to contribute something powerful to the classroom dynamic.” You see this most often in the context of a project-based approach, where students learn their role within the larger group, developing a mindset around working collaboratively. But there’s no reason, following November, why this concept cannot be expanded to an entire classroom or even a school.

More of November’s idea’s are found here.

Understanding Student Cultures

Great tools and insight from the VSBA this month regarding the creation of culturally safe school environments.
    There is no “one size fits all” way of communicating with all of the cultures that comprise our wonderfully diverse schools. Each one comes with its own set of family values and its own preferred methods of communication. A good place to start is by creating a welcoming, inclusive environment. Parents often are nervous about coming to school for any reason and need all the visual and verbal help you can provide to make them feel welcome and comfortable. They “scan” offices, classrooms and hallways for clues about how inclusive your school may be.
      Some ways we can make our schools inclusive are:
      • Post photos of all students and student artwork on the walls
      • Include lessons in the classroom that incorporate various cultures and traditions
      • Offer school-wide cultural activities
      • Recruit staff and volunteers who come from similar backgrounds
      Becoming familiar with the cultural traditions of all of your families and including them in the school culture enhances your ability to create a welcoming and respectful school environment.
        Go to the Families
          Sometimes, when families can’t come to the school, the school has to go to the families. Meeting families in other settings, such as community centers or churches, can provide an informal way to start building a relationship, especially if your non-English speaking families feel shy or nervous about going to the school. You might also try planning parent or family events around the schedules of the families, especially if they are working a couple of jobs.
            Reaching Out
            • Visit your students’ neighborhoods. Find out where families are congregating and who local community leaders are that can connect you with parents.
            • Collaborate with apartment complex managers to make a recreation room available for families.
              • Consider contacting parents’ employers about parent schedules or holding conferences closer to parents’ workplaces.
              • Don’t limit yourself to meetings. Ask your families what kinds of events they would find enjoyable, beneficial and convenient.
            Building your communication bridge to families
              Grand gestures and small details will help in reaching families effectively. Here are 10 tips to help build communication bridges to the cultures in your school community:
              1. Avoid scheduling important events such as conferences or tests on major holidays and celebrations that large numbers of students are likely to miss.
              2. Do an “inventory” of your student population to find out the countries and cultures they represent. If most are English speakers and American-born, they may be acclimated to our American culture and would resent be singled out for any special attention. If they aren’t English speakers or American-born, then find out more about their family values and who the primary person to contact is. For example, in Latino and Asian Pacific Islander families, involving fathers as well as mothers is essential.
              3. Share information about cultural celebrations with teachers so that they are able to positively support them and incorporate them into lessons. Even a simple memo that explains why students will be out and offers some ideas for follow-up activities will be helpful. Use the diversity of your school population as a teaching opportunity. Invite families to share their cultural celebrations, plan an International Day, encourage teachers to include lessons in other cultures and diversity as part of the curriculum.
  1. Create a parent room (such as a lounge or classroom) with bilingual information and magazine subscriptions, a bulletin board, a lending library and a computer.
  2. Invite parents to share food, activities, and music at school events and in the classroom. Encourage students to share traditions in school assemblies, talent shows, potlucks, and fairs
    1. Offer cafeteria food that reflects the cultural influences of your families.
    2. Explore a variety of options for communicating with diverse populations, such as Spanish language newspapers, radio and television stations.
      1. Create a welcome DVD in multiple languages. This may even be a great student project!
      2. Connect new families with a contact person who speaks their language as soon as they enroll in the school for guidance and information.
        1. Create an “ambassador” program in which students and parents are trained to give tours.


Vintage Photo Project at Goochland High School

This wonderful piece appeared in Richmond Magazine, detailing the ongoing work of the Goochland Historical Society in preserving and publishing treasured vintage photographs depicting life in the county. One of the installations is in the hallway of our high school, where pictures have been mounted and captions developed by GHS students and teacher, Kenneth Bouwens.

We look forward to additional promotion of this ongoing partnership between the school division and the Historical Society in the future.

Board Continues to Welcome Student Leadership

The Goochland County School Board is pleased to welcome a new student representative to the board, Jaymi Bell. Ms. Bell is an eleventh grader at Goochland High School and comes to the new position with principal Michael Newman’s highest accolades.

Jaymi Bell, GHS Junior, addresses the board after their unanimous approval of her appointment as student board member.

Matt Austin, a senior, completed his final meeting as student board member December 9th, during which time board chair, Michael Payne, passed the gavel to Austin and allowed him to lead the entire meeting. Mr. Austin was the recipient of the VSBA Scholarship Award, awarded to only three individuals in Virginia and presented during the annual conference in Williamsburg in November.

“These students bring an invaluable contribution to our work as a board,” explained Mr. Payne. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to partner with the students and to get an authentic view of what’s going on in our schools through their eyes.”

Front, L to R: exiting student member, Matt Austin, newly appointed student member, Jaymi Bell, Jaymi’s mother, Princess Bell, Bath Hardy.
Back, L to R: Kevin Hazard, John Wright, John Lumpkins, superintendent James Lane.


Jamie Bell will assume her seat on the school board for the first time during the January 13, 2015 school board meeting.

October Anti Bullying Month

We are honoring anti-bullying month in each of our facilities. Each school is pursuing activities to bring the issue to the forefront of student attention and to set the stage for a yearlong focus on honorable, respectful behavior among all GCPS community members.

GMS Principal Jennifer Smith stands next to the box in which students are encouraged to place anonymous feedback regarding bullying and behavior in the school.

We encourage you to note the updates we will offer throughout the month in the blogs and GCPS Facebook and Twitter feeds.

School Board Honors First ECCHO Award Recipients

GCPS is serious about living, working and leading in alignment with the five Core Values expressed in our strategic plan. Additionally, we are thoroughly committed to the pursuit of our vision which calls us to be intentional about having a positive impact on those around us.

The ECCHO Awards will be given monthly at the school board meeting in recognition of students and staff who have exemplified that positive impact and the display of our Core Values.

During the September 9 board meeting, we recognized seven employees with the first ECCHO Awards:

  • Tim Greenway
  • Mike Verasstro
  • Kenny Bouwens
  • Zach Herbert
  • Daniel Allen
  • Staff Sgt. Dan Strong
  • Major Mike Petruzzielio
The nomination specifically highlighted these individuals’ display of Excellence, citing that “they performed quality work, painting the preschool facility as though it was their own home”, and Honor, because they are “committed to sacrificial service and leadership, intentionally had positive impact on others, thinking about the needs of another school and other teachers and students above their own.”

Goochland County Public Schools ECCHO Award winners. L to R: Dr. James Lane, superintendent, Tim Greenway, Mike Verasstro, Kenny Bouwens, Zach Herbert, Daniel Allen, Dan Strong, Mike Petruzzielio, Michael Payne, school board chair.

Congratulations to these employees who are giving hands and feet to our mission and vision!

We invite our employees to use the form below, found on the right of this page (“Educator Resources” page) to nominate colleagues or students for this award in the future:

Gallup Student Poll Coming in October

GCPS families,

We will again be administering the Gallup Student Poll measuring Hope, Engagement and Well-being.

The poll is absolutely anonymous and will be administered during school hours. Over 600,000 students from over 2,000 schools, nationwide, will participate in the survey. The data we receive will not identify any specific students, but will give us a picture of how our students are perceiving their experience with us generally.

View the Student Survey Questions Here.

If you would like to opt your child out of the survey, please contact me directly in writing, either by email or letter, no later than Monday, October 6, 2014.

Marine Corps JROTC at GHS

Major Michael Petruziellio addresses the school board during its September 9 meeting, sharing video and explaining the work the cadets are doing in the new MCJROTC Program.

Two GHS cadets also addressed the board, offering remarks about the leadership being developed through the program.

Don’t miss the Opening Ceremony on October 1, where this exceptional program will be officially recognized.

BES Students Provide Clean Water in Zanzibar

This year students at Byrd Elementary School focused on ways to help others by being great citizens both locally and globally. Their art teacher, Mary Beth Flippen, talked to the students about CHaRA. She told them about what CHaRA does in the schools of Unguja Zanzibar. The students at Byrd wanted to help as well! A Spring Farmers Market was held at the school. Classes, students, and families worked to make goods to sell at the market. The goal was to raise money to donate to help schools in Zanzibar through CHaRA. Through the efforts of everyone at Byrd Elementary School, $1,500 was raised! All students in the school voted and it was decided that this money would go to provide a clean water storage tank for a school in Zanzibar.

Thank you to all the students, teachers, and parents of Byrd Elementary for an awesome gift of clean water for Zanzibar Schools!

GMS TSA Competition Success

This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Goochland Middle School Technology Student Association (TSA) team competed at the state conference.  Over 2,000 students participated in the event and it was a great experience for our team.  Four students attended the conference and as a team entered the Junior Solar Sprint event.  Students designed and constructed a solar-powered model car using a specific motor and solar panel.  The students put in countless hours after school designing and problem solving. They used unique industry software to draw their design and used the Maker Bot 3D printer to make their design a reality.

Out of 20 total entries, the team of sixth graders ranked 5th: Hunter Clark, James DeLouche, Austin Payne and Conner Speight .

TSA is a extremely competitive event and even placing top ten at the state conference is a huge milestone that can often take several years for a chapter to accomplish.  We offer our sincere congratulations to these students and their teacher, Mr. Bouwens, on this amazing success!

Spring Band Concert a Success

Congratulation to Jay Sykes and the Band for a wonderful concert last week! Some of the band alumni came out and played a very moving tribute to GHS & Maggie Walker student, Katie Anderson.

The first Katie Anderson Beginning Band award was given to Taylor Teague and Coleman Boatwright. This award went to the students that have consistently displayed Excellence, Creativity, Courage, Honor and Optimism. Alexis Wiggins and David Tremain received the Outstanding Eighth Grade Band member award.

Spring Dance Recital May 13

The GHS Dance Department and Showcase Dance Studio (GCPR) under the direction of Susan Doczi will be performing a joint Spring Recital on Tuesday May 13th at 6:30 pm. Please make plans to come enjoy the show and support the students enrolled in these programs.

Admission is free, but donations of any value are greatly appreciated. Donations go to help fund the purchasing of dance shoes and costumes used by the students.

Be a Part of the GHS Distracted Driver Campaign

Someone is killed in a distracted driver accident every 11 minutes.

Goochland High School will be hosting a “Distracted Driving Campaign” next week, May 12-16. GHS teacher and coach, Wes Farkas, and his students developed the slogan “Don’t Be Next!” All students and staff who drive will have the opportunity to sign a pledge to safe and undistracted driving. Please encourage your student to sign the pledge!

Next Friday, May 16, the entire 10th grade class will be wearing either a pink or black T-shirt to give the school a representation of the number of people that are killed during an 8 hour time period (an average school day), due to distracted driving. Drivers are not only distracted by cell phone use and texting, but also eating, music, drinking or other various things that take our attention on the driving task.

T-shirt designed by GHS 10 grade students and teacher, Wes Farkas.
















The Pink Shirts represent individuals that are alive due to NOT being distracted, and students wearing black shirts will represent those who are killed. Studies estimate that someone is killed in a distracted driving accident every 11 minutes. There will be 43 GHS students wearing black T-shirts. They will not be allowed to talk or use their cell phone for the entire school day.

Please wear pink in support of this effort next Friday, May 16, and sign the pledge to driving without distractions.

Matt Austin is Mr. GHS

Congratulations to GHS senior and student school board representative, Matt Austin, who was named Mr. Goochland High School. The competition was held at the school last week. Quincy Carter and Hunter Bailey were 2nd and 3rd runners up, respectively.

Mrs. Black and the GHS Dance Company, along with master of ceremonies, Parker Crompton, made the evening a quality production!

Come to the BES Farmer’s Market

Byrd Elementary would like to invite you to its second “Byrd Farmers Market” event on April 22, 2014 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM in the Multi-purpose Room. The theme at Byrd Elementary School this year is, “Growing Great Citizens-Locally and Globally”.

Students, individually or with their class or families, are creating products to sell at the Farmers Market to raise money to be donated to assist schools in Zanzibar, Tanzania Africa through an organization called CHaRA – Construction Health and Relief Acts.  Funds will be used to purchase school desks, provide clean water for schools, provide school uniforms and supplies, as well as to support food programs for a school. This organization is a global partner in an endeavor to give BES students an opportunity to expand their knowledge and help others in need outside our community.

For more information visit:

Prices will be reasonable!


Come join us at the Byrd Farmers Market!

GMS Students Gain First Hand Experience in Transportation Engineering

Last week, ten seventh and and eighth grade GMS students attended a VDOT-sponsored event accompanied with instructors, Amy Spoonhower and Anne Moore.  Dozens of women in fields that ranged from engineering to paleontology presented, mentored, and worked with the girls to solve transportation dilemmas.  Using aerial photographs, students determined where stop lights, cameras, and signage should be placed within a determined budget.  Students also constructed bridges within challenging deadlines.

Students experienced a tour of Richmond to see the locations of current and future VDOT projects.

A Third GHS Student Selected for the Cochran Summer Economics Institute

Since receiving the wonderful news of the two GHS students to be admitted to the Cochrane Summer Economics Institute, another Bulldog has been selected for this distinguished opportunity!

Chase Doczi is the third GCPS student to have been chosen to attend this institute, joining J.T. Massey and Meghan Edwards.

Only 35 rising seniors have been chosen from among the entire Greater Richmond area. This is an incredible honor for these three scholars as well as the Goochland community. Not only to have students participate, but to have multiple students in a given year chosen during such a competitive process speaks volumes about these students’ commitment to excellence and the support they’ve been given by their GHS teachers and parents.

We look forward to learning more about their experience at the Institute and the internship this summer.


Energy Efficiency an Important Area of Study for Students

Energy efficiency is quickly becoming a key player in Virginia’s growing economy. The field has been shown to generate more than $300M in economic activity, supports 9,400 jobs, according to a report released today by the nonprofit trade association Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC).

Based on a census conducted last fall to which 300 firms responded, the report underscores energy efficiency’s critical role in meeting energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, cost savings, job creation and other state and national goals.

This is an important area for us to consider as we continue to enhance our career and workforce development opportunities for students.