GCPS Continues to Exceed the Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate

Today the Virginia Department of Education released state-level data on the on-time graduation rate for the class of 2017, noting that 91.1% of the 95,348 students of the class of 2017 earned a Board of Education-approved diploma, a slight decline from the 91.3% of students of the class of 2016 who earned diplomas.  This represents a dropout rate of 5.8% for the class of 2017.  In the Commonwealth, 88.4% of black students graduated on time while 94% of white students did the same.  Among students with disabilities in the Commonwealth, 87% graduated on time.

In Goochland County, Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, presented GCPS graduation rate data as part of the overall student assessment presentation to the Goochland County School Board at its September 12 meeting.  Goochland’s overall on-time graduation rate for the class of 2017 exceeded the state, with 96% of GCPS seniors graduating on time in 2017.  This represents the latest step in overall improvement from the GCPS 90% on time graduation in 2013.

Among student subgroups, GCPS also exceeded state averages for on-time graduation.  93% of black students, 97% of white students, and 90% of students with disabilities graduated on time from among the Goochland class of 2017.  “The work our faculty and staff in Goochland has undertaken to provide various programs and options to become career ready, including Career and Technical Education, online learning, and dual enrollment courses, has really opened up pathways to students who may not have been as engaged in their experience in the past” said Dr. Geyer.  “There is always work to be done to focus in on how we can tailor the Goochland experience for all of our students to ensure that each graduates prepared for the demands of the 21st century”.

More details, including cohort reports for schools, school divisions, and the state are available at www.doe.virginia.gov.

Goochland Prepares to Celebrate Farm to Table and National School Lunch Weeks

Beginning next week, Goochland County Public Schools will join divisions across the Commonwealth and the nation to celebrate the work of our School Nutrition Services with “Farm to School” week October 2 through 6, and National School Lunch Week October 9 through 13.

The GCPS menu will feature locally grown produce next Monday through Thursday, including broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and lettuce direct from Goochland farms to celebrate Farm to School week.  On October 4, GCPS will participate in the “crunch heard ‘round the Commonwealth”, with all students having the opportunity to enjoy a Virginia grown apple at 10:00 a.m.  Apples are being donated by Richmond Restaurant Service.

On Friday, October 6, Farm to School week ends with locally sourced entrees on GCPS menus, including beef from Brookview Farm and chicken from Keenbell Farm, both located in Goochland County.  The Goochland Culinary Arts class will prepare a local squash soup and apple dessert to be served by students in the cafeteria.  Dr. Jeremy Raley, superintendent, will serve lunch to students to add to the celebration.

“We have worked to add variety and quality to our options for our students in the past few years, including the popular ‘My Way Cafe’ options offered weekly and the inclusion of locally sourced ingredients in several offerings”, said Lisa Landrum, Supervisor of GCPS Nutrition Services.  “Our staff is proud to serve breakfast and lunch each day to our students, and we look forward to celebrating in the weeks ahead”.

In addition to the offerings during Farm to School week, National School Lunch Week will include a new improved burger, a new crispy breaded chicken drumstick, and coloring activities for elementary students.  All students will receive a free Italian ice on Friday.

Goochland County Public Schools Seek Opportunities to Provide the Victims of Natural Disasters with Support

As the residents of Houston, Texas and other parts of the nation continue to recover from the tragedies and destruction brought by recent hurricanes, the students and staff of Goochland County Public Schools are working together to support those affected.

Goochland County Public Schools is extending their mission of maximizing the potential of every learner through various activities in most division schools to help the victims of recent natural disasters. “Helping others is a way to build positive relationships”, says Randolph Elementary School principal Dan Gardner.  “This is deeper learning and social emotional awareness in action, and we are excited to help”.

Goochland Middle School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) will be partnering with Randolph Elementary School’s fourth grade students to collect items to be sent to those in need.  A generous parent will be assisting in the transportation of those items.

Goochland Elementary School will be supporting a police department as well as a Houston school starting in October.  GES recently established the “Hands Helping Houston Covey Club”, with the goal of meeting every month to plan and implement fundraising opportunities.  This month they plan to start a “dollar drive” to support the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The Randolph Elementary School Community will be collecting personal items as well as school related items to support disaster victims.. “As a Journey School we teach how acceptance isn’t just about tolerating and embracing differences,” says Gardner.  “It’s also about accepting the burdens that others may face”.

For more ways to support those affected by recent events, please consider these charity options located in the most highly affected disaster areas:

  • Houston SPCA
  • Houston Humane Society
  • Houston Food Bank
  • Food Band of Corpus Christi
  • San Antonio Humane Society

Goochland County Public Schools’ efforts toward providing hurricane relief support the division goal of  inspiring and preparing the next generation to make a positive impact.

Goochland County Public Schools Continues to Reach Full State Accreditation in all Schools

Yesterday the Virginia Department of Education released accreditation results for schools and school divisions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, noting that 86 percent of Virginia’s 1,823 public schools were rated as fully accredited for the 2017-2018 school year based on performance on the 2016-2017 Virginia SOL tests.  65 of 132 divisions statewide included all schools designated as fully accredited for 2017-2018.

Goochland County Public Schools continues its strong track record of having each of its five schools fully accredited by the State of Virginia.  State accreditation is based on student pass rates on Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English, mathematics, history, and science, as well as the division’s graduation rate.  GCPS exceeded each of the state’s five overall benchmarks by an average of 15%.  Goochland County Public Schools also has the distinction of receiving fully accredited status in all schools for the 11th consecutive year, sharing the distinction with only 10 of the 132 divisions in the Commonwealth.

While this distinction is determined by traditional achievement measures, school leaders believe it’s the division’s focus on what’s best for students that has led to the success.  “Our mission to maximize the potential of every learner is at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent.  “Accountability is important, but Goochland is far beyond a singular focus on minimum proficiency tests – and that’s really what the state’s SOL assessments are.  We’re proud of the tradition of excellence in Goochland and we embrace the challenges of continuous improvement.  These results are one of the many indicators of the excellence that is pervasive in our school division.  There are many ingredients that go into accomplishing these results.  The key ingredients are all of our hard working and dedicated employees who strive every day to meet the academic needs of all of our division’s learners and a supportive community that places a significant value on the importance of education”.

Goochland’s overall performance and accreditation rating was the result of a division-wide portfolio of strong achievement in many content areas.  Highlights from the division’s Spring 2017 SOL results include:

  • Goochland students out-performed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science)
  • Goochland’s fifth grade science scores ranked first when compared to fifth grade students from 132 other school divisions in the Commonwealth
  • Goochland’s world geography scores ranked first when compared to other students from 132 other school divisions in the state.
  • Students in Goochland earned the 5th highest SOL pass rate in social studies in the Commonwealth 
  • Goochland’s reading scores ranked 2nd in the region and 14th in the state
  • Student’s scores in writing, math, and science ranked in the top 25 in the state

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on academic optimism as a key to the division’s success.  “Every child’s learning is important, and our school division has created a culture built on academic optimism.  Our belief that every student can be successful and that every student has strengths to celebrate is a primary reason for our continued strong performance.  Moreover, we have remarkable teachers who work incredibly hard every day on behalf of our children and families.”

Despite the school division’s exceptionally strong overall results, team members remain committed to continuing to elevate expectations, as well as to targeting areas of relative weakness.  Raley stated, “While we certainly have a lot to celebrate, we face the same challenges that most school divisions across the state and nation face when it comes to achievement gaps for our African American students.  We have made some great progress in reducing the achievement gap for some of our subgroups with exceptional growth for our students with disabilities.  Even with this growth, we still have more work to do.  We are committed to closing these gaps, while continuing to raise the bar for every student.”