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.”

ALL Goochland County Public Schools Fully Accredited

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GOOCHLAND, VA – AUGUST 16, 2016

Goochland County Public Schools Continues to have 100% of its Schools Meet Full State Accreditation Standards

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 twenty-one benchmarks by an average of 18%.

Goochland remains one of just a handful of school divisions in Virginia to have all of its schools meet full accreditation standards each of the last five years.  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.”

Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on student growth as a key to the division’s success.  “We have definitively 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 makes 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.”

The school division plans to present its annual comprehensive data report to the School Board at its October 11 meeting, following the Virginia Department of Education’s finalization of statewide School Quality Profiles scheduled for late September/early October.

 

Kenny Bouwens Receives 2016 Virginia High School Technology Education Teacher of the Year Award

Mr. Kenny Bouwens was recognized on Tuesday July 26 by the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association with their annual High School Teacher of the Year Award.  Mr. Bouwens is beginning his seventh year as a public educator and is starting his third year as a teacher with Goochland County Public Schools.  Mr. Bouwens teaches video, photography, and engineering at Goochland High School.

The Virginia Technology Engineering and Education Association High School Teacher of the Year Award is one of the highest honors given to Technology and Engineering Education classroom teachers and is presented in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the profession and their students. The Teacher Excellence Award provides public recognition at the local, regional, state and international levels. Mr. Bouwens will be presented with an engraved plaque and other awards at the association’s annual, international conference.

Candidates for the Teacher Excellence Award are nominated by their local school divisions for providing Technology and Engineering Education instruction of high quality.  Nominees provide student-centered instruction in the field of technology.  Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley celebrated Mr. Bouwens’ success as a leader in technology and engineering instruction. “Kenny is an example of the many talented professionals who work tirelessly every day to provide Goochland County’s students with authentic, deeper learning experiences. We are very proud of Kenny and the exceptional learning experiences that he is providing to our students.”   Director of Career and Technical Education, Bruce Watson agrees.  “Mr. Bouwens is a tremendous asset to the GHS Career and Technical education department and brings a variety of talents and interests to his students. Kenny is very deserving of this award and it speaks volumes to his commitment to students and the program that he is receiving this award.  His honor is well deserved.”

Goochland County Public Schools is a leader in providing students with instructional opportunities to become career ready in all 16 career clusters identified by the Virginia Department of Education. Mr. Bouwens acknowledged the work that the school division is doing to support students in earning the technical skills they will need in order to be competitive in the future job market. “I am thankful to work for a school division and community that has such strong support for Career and Technical Education. I can’t wait to see where we go from here because we have already done so many things in such a short time.”