Instructional Council Begins Work

About two months ago we “put out a call” (via the division Web page, paper copies, etc.) to see if school-community stakeholders would be interested in helping to chart the course for the future of GCPS’s instructional programming. We tagged the team GCPS’s Instructional Council. The response was overwhelming.

The significant interest resulted in the creation of a strong and varied group of stakeholders representing a balanced cross-section of our school-community stakeholders. Membership includes:

Grace Creasey, GCPS Employee; Jo Ann Dabney, Parent/Community Member; Christin East, GCPS Employee; Beth Ferguson, Parent/Community Member/GCPS Employee; Daniel Gardner, Parent/Community Member; Stephen Geyer, Parent/Community Member/GCPS Employee; Emily Holloway-Costa, GCPS Employee; James Hopkins, Parent/Community Member/GCPS Employee; DJ Johnson, Community Member (Recent GHS Graduate); Patricia Keel, Community Member; Wendy Murray, GCPS Employee; Deanna Nichols, Parent/Community Member/GCPS Employee; Adam Norman, Community Member (GHS Student); Stacey Rainbolt, GCPS Employee; Sara Rowan, GCPS Employee; Andrew Snead, GCPS Employee; Jamie-Ellen Spessard, Parent/Community Member/GCPS Employee; Dean Young, Parent/Community Member

Our first meeting took place in December – and we used two central questions as a springboard for our time together as a council.

  1. What’s important to you?

  2. What do you want for your children … from GCPS?

The questions are expansive by design. And, wow, did they generate some amazing discussion. The themes that emerged through the discussion mirrored those that have been at the core of the work our division leadership team has been engaged in since June.

The importance of relationships, learning engagement, and our commitment to maximizing the potential of every individual stand out.

The council met again last week – and we have two additional meetings scheduled for this month. Together we’re reading Daniel Willingham’s book Why Don’t Students Like School? Willingham is a cognitive scientist who has dedicate much of his career to answering questions about how the mind works and the implications for PK-12 education.

I believe most students like school; however, I also believe there’s a tremendous amount we (professional educators) need to learn in order to ensure learning engagement for students throughout their school experience. One notion that’s abundantly clear in the growing body of research regarding student engagement is that it wanes over time:

The Goochland School-Community is talking openly and honestly about learning engagement and its importance. And the fact that we’ve chosen to make the issue an area of specific focus is a significant step in the right direction.

Stay tuned.

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