Last month with the first semester nearing its end, I asked department leaders to tell me what they would consider to be the best things about first semester. After careful thought, the ideas began to roll in, and I realized much had been accomplished thus far this year. As I read their lists, I realized the ideas had to be shared. During the December 2013 faculty meeting, I highlighted what we called, “the best of first semester”.
The high school held its first orientation for freshmen in August and half of the Class of 2017 attended. Members of the freshmen class attended the first banner-signing assembly to express their commitment to graduate. The banner now hangs in the cafeteria. By all accounts at GHS, the New Teacher Academy was a success. When school opened on August 19, everyone turned out; all buses arrived safely and lunch was on time.
As the events of the year began, we welcomed new teachers and new classes, many of which were Career and Technical Education courses offering new learning experiences for our students. Sports events got underway and Homecoming saw the return of many former students. GHS held its first Annual Junior Ring Ceremony to honor members of the Class of 2015 with the formal presentation of class rings. Mid-November, with much community support and enthusiasm, we introduced the instructors for the newly authorized Marine Corps JROTC program that will be organized for the fall of 2014.
Subject specific ideas that were shared include: building a periodic table wall in science; launching an astronomy program; painting an art mural in the library media center; hosting a Google “hangout” with Congressman Cantor; planning a Poetry Out Loud event; conducting the first combined Fine Arts holiday program; developing a math “tool box” for class and personal use; organizing a food drive; collaborating with an elementary class for a history project; collaboration with UNOS; and sharing more engaging curriculum within departments.
An informative College Panel Night was held and ten college and university representatives shared tips on applying to college. A Career Fair provided the opportunity for students to talk with many business representatives about future opportunities. Senior Project initiatives were launched and clubs and activities grew.
Academically, the middle and high school math departments have collaborated to assure vertical alignment; the foreign language departments have been collaborating to strengthen the world language learning options; assessment strategies have increased with Interactive Achievement and MAP testing options.
As second semester begins, it is exciting to think about the above ideas growing and all that will be added in the next few months. It is an exciting time to be part of Goochland High School.