Goochland County Public Schools Ranked #8 Division in the Commonwealth

The Goochland County Public Schools were recently recognized by Niche.com as the 8th Best School District in Virginia.  This rating is based on a rigorous analysis of statistics as well as student and parent reviews for schools across the Commonwealth.  In a statement released by Niche, GCPS “achieved this ranking by scoring highly on a variety of factors including SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio, the quality of colleges that students consider, and reviews from students and parents”.

When determining a rating, Niche ranks various factors and weights different performance measures.  The greatest weight is placed on an academic measure and is 50% of the rating.  Culture & diversity, health & safety, student & parent surveys, and teacher quality are each weighted at 10%.  Resources & facilities are 5% of the overall assessment, while clubs, activities and sports are weighted at 2.5% each.

In addition to receiving this recognition as one of the top school divisions in the Commonwealth, Goochland High School ranked in the top 100 of public high schools in the state.  Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent for Goochland County Public Schools, attributes this success to the talented employees who work for GCPS and the investment that the Goochland County Community has made in public education.  “This accomplishment is made possible by the skills and talent of our dedicated workforce who strive every day to maximize the potential of every learner.  In addition, this success is the result of a supportive School Board and community that values excellence”.

Goochland County Public Schools have demonstrated their superior performance across all dimensions of the total school experience .  In addition to this most recent rating, GCPS is only one of 10 school divisions in Virginia to have all of its schools fully accredited for 10 straight years.  On state assessments, Goochland students outperformed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas.  Goochland students had the 6th best social studies scores in the state and the 11th best reading SOL scores when compared to other students in the Commonwealth.  In addition, GCPS has received recognition by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for serving as a model for budget development and Kenny Bouwens, a teacher at Goochland High School, represents the division as the State Technology Education Teacher of the Year.  

“Goochland County Public Schools is a proud and successful school division that has demonstrated its success as a leader in providing students with innovative and authentic learning experiences that will allow students to gain the skills and abilities that are needed to be successful in a changing global economy.  We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continually striving to inspire and prepare our students to make a positive impact in the world around them”. – Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent

For a full list of the 2017 rankings methodologies and data sources from Niche, visit k12.niche.com/rankings

Goochland County School Board Selects New Student Representative

The Goochland County Public Schools School Board selected Miss Chloe Lyda, current 11th grade student at Goochland High School, to serve as the student representative to the Board at the November monthly meeting on November 8.  Her term will begin with the December monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 13.

Miss Lyda has distinguished herself at Goochland High School both in and out of the classroom.  She has volunteered with the Goochland Education Foundation, served as the 9th and 10th grade class president, received the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award in 10th grade, and attended the Brown University summer program for the past two years.  Miss Lyda currently serves as the Goochland High School SCA president and is a member of four different academic honoraries, including National Honor Society, as well as the Minority Advisory Council.

Mr. Christopher Collier, Principal of Goochland High School, is excited for Miss Lyda’s work representing the student voice on the Board. “Chloe will provide a true representation of our entire student body and is passionate about making a difference in her community. I have no doubt that Chloe will represent the students of Goochland County Public Schools well”.

Student representatives to the Goochland County School Board participate in many aspects of the Board’s work, and provide feedback during monthly meetings from their seat on the dias.  

Goochland Education Foundation and GCPS Partner to Award 2016 Strategic Innovation Grants

Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools, was joined yesterday by members of the GCPS Executive Leadership team at Goochland High, Goochland Middle, Goochland Elementary, and Randolph Elementary to surprise the recipients of the inaugural Strategic Innovation Grants.  These grants include funding from between $450 and $2500, and were awarded based on a rigorous selection process that involved a committee of school and community representatives.  

2016 Grants were awarded to:

  • Wes Farkas, Lucas Gibbs, Tim Greenway, Mike Verrastro and Amy Henneberger from Goochland High School for the construction of an archery range for the secondary complex.
  • Beth Alvis and Kim Austin from Randolph Elementary for the purchase of Osmo,  an augmented reality platform aimed at developing social-emotional skills, creativity, and collaboration.
  • Erica Borges, Jennifer Curfman, Auster Hecker, and Heather Wilckens from Randolph Elementary for the development of Brewing Justice,  a partnership with nonprofits toward developing global responsibility.  
  • Megan Glasco and Tara Stacey from Goochland Elementary, for Creative Writing with Legos, to acquire Lego Education StoryStarter materials to teach literacy.
  • Michele Hope from Goochland Middle School, for design of instructional stations with a focus on environmentalism designed in direct response to student interest.
  • Krystle Demas (ITRC at GES, RES, and BES) and Sarah Smith from Goochland Elementary for the development of Ozobots to integrate computer science concepts and content in an effort to promote innovation and creativity.
  • Stephanie Clark, Elizabeth Ferguson, Jennifer Gates, Katie Hadd, Gloria LaFlamme Brandi McCain, Valerie McLaughlin, Jaime Sprouse , Suzanne Taylor and  Susan Vaughan from Randolph Elementary for redesign of the student-led nature trail aimed at enhancing sustained experiential learning opportunities.

“Our teachers continue to amaze us with their constant commitment to being more innovative and engaging in their classrooms”, said Dr. Raley, Superintendent.  “We are very appreciative for the support of the Goochland Education Foundation on behalf of our students.  This is hopefully only the beginning of what we can do to continue to support deeper learning in our classrooms”.  

The Goochland Strategic Innovation Grants will culminate in a professional development symposium in June of 2017, where winners of these grants will come together to share what they learned, collaborate on new ideas focused around deeper learning, and share how their risk-taking can be implemented in regular instructional programming.strategicgrants

Goochland County Public Schools Celebrate American Education Week on November 14

Schools across the country will host guests and events to celebrate American Education Week during the week of November 14, 2016.  Goochland County Public Schools will participate this year with special events in and out of the classroom, along with many special guests from the community.

Several distinguished guests have already shown their commitment to Goochland County Public Schools by taking part in school activities.  Mr. John Budesky, Goochland County Administrator, and Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew read to students at Goochland Elementary School last week.  

The work of the GCPS staff will also be highlighted during American Education Week.  Members of the GCPS Board recognize the work of district staff.   “Goochland County Public Schools is a leader in public education and we have achieved success in a multitude of settings. None of our success would be possible without the dedication and talents of our exceptional employees. Our employees are role models who diligently labor every day for the students in Goochland County”.   

Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent of Schools, agrees. “Our successes come as a direct result of the countless hours all of our employees have dedicated to our school division.  Each day, our entire instructional team works together to provide an academic atmosphere where students will be empowered to collaborate with their peers, think critically about content, solve problems, be creative, and communicate with others in a variety of ways”.

Goochland County Board of Supervisors District 1 Representative Susan Lascolette and Goochland NAACP President Sekou Shabaka will visit Goochland High School, while District 2 Representative Manny Alvarez will visit Randolph Elementary.  All schools will be open to visitors from the community during normal school hours during the week of November 14.  

Activities featured in schools to commemorate American Education Week will also include a Google Hangout online discussion with a local legislator, teacher recognition, middle school mathematics night on Tuesday, November 15, and guided tours, among many other activities.  

Any citizens who wish to take part in American Education Week activities can call their child’s school or GCPS Central Office at 804-556-5630.  

Goochland Middle School Students Featured at VSBA “Hot Topics Conference”

A group of students from Goochland Middle School was featured at last Tuesday’s Virginia School Board Association’s Hot Topic Conference, held at the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center in Midlothian, VA.  The conference was dedicated to showcasing educational technology.  Among the presentation topics at the conference were “The Mobility Revolution”, “Coding in the Real World”, and “Rewiring Digital Content:  From Consumers to Creators”.  An innovation showcase was also included in the day’s events, featuring best practices in technology from across the Commonwealth.  The audience included school board members, superintendents, and educational leaders from across Virginia.  

Goochland Middle School students, selected based on their membership in a student-driven club formed to continue the work in coding and making that began in elementary school,  were asked to demonstrate their learning with the iPad at this year’s conference.  The students assumed the role of “iDocumentarians”, and in only a few hours collaborated to produce a single video that documented the experience of all of the conference’s participants.   

“This was all possible because we haven’t just given students iPads, but we have also taught them how to use these incredible tools for communication. These are the same tools that students have the opportunity to use to further their study both in and outside of school”, said Dr. John Hendron, Director of Innovation and Strategy.  “Kudos to our teachers at GMS for giving students the soft skills on how to use the iPads in this way. Participants were impressed—no doubt—by the amount of applause our ‘iDocumentarians’ received.”

GCPS, as part of its commitment to deeper, personalized learning and preparing students to be career ready, provides an iPad to each student in grades 3 through 8, and is planning to extend personalized learning to students in grades 9 through 12 with MacBook distribution to all high school students in 2017.  

GCPS Career and Technical Education Continues to Thrive

Goochland County Public Schools’ investment in Career and Technical Education has resulted in significant growth in student enrollment and offerings since 2014.

According to Mr. Bruce Watson, GCPS Director of Career and Technical Education, the number of sections of CTE classes has grown from 72 to 100, and the total number of students enrolled has increased from 1,424 to 1,788, a 26% increase in 3 years.  

Goochland County Public Schools, in cooperation with the School Board and Board of Supervisors, has made Career and Technical Education a priority since the current School Board assumed office in 2011.  An investment of over 2.5 million dollars and the repurposing of facilities created state of the art culinary, heavy equipment, carpentry, nurse aide, and robotics classrooms that have attracted a wide variety of students, male and female, from across the district.  Career and Technical Education has created results across the curriculum.  “The skills students are exposed to in an authentic context in CTE classes reinforce the significance of many core content classes, including most math and science classes.  The success of CTE is the success of our entire district”,  said Watson.  

“I believe that Career and Technical Education gives all of our students a step up. It enhances the transcripts of all students, not only our college bound students”, said Mr. Michael Payne, Goochland County School Board representative from District 1 and Career and Technical Education Teacher.  “It gives them an opportunity to gain skills that can make them career ready after high school. I am very happy with the progress we have made in Goochland over the last five years and look forward to us moving forward with our business partners in giving our students apprenticeship and internship opportunities.”

GCPS plans to seek opportunities to grow its CTE offerings and explore partnerships with local businesses to fulfill its mission to make our students career ready.   

GCPS 8th Grade Students to Participate in “Mission Tomorrow”

P R E S S   R E L E A S E

Date: October 14, 2016 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mr. Andrew R. Armstrong, Executive Director of Business Operations aarmstrong@glnd.k12.va.us | (804) 332 0965 | @glndschools www.goochlandschools.org

Headline:   GCPS Students to Take Part in Mission Tomorrow

8th graders from Goochland Middle School will join about 12,000 8th graders from across the region at Mission Tomorrow, being held October 27 and 28 at the Richmond International Raceway. Mission Tomorrow is the Richmond region’s first interactive career exploration event for students and will feature over 100 regional businesses.

Among the goals of Mission Tomorrow are exposing students to a better understanding of the characteristics of 21st century careers, promoting their preparation for those careers, and delivering several planning resources, such as “Invest in What’s Next”, the “Virginia Education Wizard”, and various Career and Technical Education programs that have become a distinguishing trait of Goochland County Public Schools.

8th grade students have been targeted for participation because of the importance of the 8th grade year for decisions on scheduling and coursework pathways through high school and beyond.   “I am thankful for the work of Chamber RVA and for the opportunities that will be provided to our students at this event”, said Dr. Jeremy Raley, GCPS Superintendent of Schools.   “Career development begins early in a student’s academic career. This will be a tremendous opportunity for our students to experience the breadth of options that are available in our area. Our school division is working hard to prepare our students to be career ready in an ever-changing global economy. This event certainly supports our efforts!”

GCPS Career and Technical Education, Goochland Middle School, and the Department of Transportation have partnered to promote and organize this opportunity for students.

Goochland County Public Schools Director of Finance Receives GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

 

Mrs. Debbie H. White, Director of Finance for Goochland County Public Schools, received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for her work in developing and presenting the GCPS budget for 2016.

The award represents a significant achievement by Mrs. White and Goochland County Public Schools. In order to receive the award, the budget had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess the budget’s effectiveness in the areas of a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications device. For budgets beginning in 2015, approximately 1,550 participants received this award. Award winners have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

The GFOA is a major professional association servicing the needs of approximately 18,700 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. The association is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with offices, in Washington, D.C. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

This represents the fourth year Mrs. White and GCPS have received this award.

GCPS Releases Assessment Data for 2015-2016 School Year

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at Goochland County Public Schools, presented the annual “State of the Division In Numbers” at the monthly Goochland County School Board meeting held at the Goochland County Administration Board Room on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.  The presentation highlighted data from the GCPS instructional program across the dimensions of student growth, student engagement, and student achievement.  Among the highlights were:

  • All 5 Goochland schools remain fully accredited by way of performance on the 2016 Virginia SOL tests.  GCPS is one of only 10 districts in Virginia to be fully accredited for 10 straight years.
  • Over 90% of Goochland students in grades K-2 met or exceeded the PALS literacy benchmark, a 6% improvement over the Virginia state average.
  • Goochland students outperformed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science)
  • Goochland students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11 taking the SOL Reading test earned a pass rate that placed GCPS 11th among Virginia districts and 1st among nine nearby regional school districts including metro Richmond.  In the same regional comparison, Goochland pass rates were the best in Social Studies and 2nd in Math.
  • Students in Goochland earned the 6th highest History SOL pass rate in the Commonwealth.
  • Goochland County has demonstrated SOL test results that place our student achievement levels within the top 4 of the highest funded districts in the State of Virginia;  Goochland County Public Schools is the 42nd highest funded district in the State of Virginia according to the Virginia Department of Education, with a per pupil expenditure that is $145 less than the state per pupil average.   
  • Goochland High School students earned scores of 3, 4, or 5 on AP tests at a 17% higher rate on average compared to 2015 in 10 of 13 AP tests administered

While these distinctions are based in traditional achievement measures, school leaders have chosen to focus on what is best for students.  “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 are proud of the tradition of excellence in Goochland and we embrace the challenges of continuous improvement”.  

Dr. Geyer cites this district-wide focus on student growth as a key to the division’s success.  “We have definitely prioritized individual student growth over traditional achievement measures.  Every child’s learning is important, and there needs to be an urgency there.  Our focus on individual growth ensures that urgency-and strong outcomes on traditional measures like SOL tests simply become a byproduct of doing what’s best for students.  Our teachers have embraced this philosophy, and it’s their talents and commitment to our children that make our division’s success possible”.  

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 students with disabilities and our African American students.  We have made some great progress in these areas, but we have more work to do.  We are committed to closing these gaps, while continuing to raise the bar for every student.”