Class of 2018, I look forward to meeting you at the GHS freshmen orientation on August 6, 2014, 9:00 am to 1:30 pm. We will have the opportunity to talk about the high school routine, opportunities, and how four short years can make a lifetime of difference for you. I am so excited you’re part of the “bulldog” family.
We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of building relationships and getting to know our students. Getting to know our students is essential, and I believe there is no substitute for motivating, encouraging and inspiring students. Relationships help build trust, confidence and a sense of importance. Knowing students and letting them know us as the adults in the school can strengthen school culture in many ways.
On the last day of school in June, a student stopped by my office. We talked about summer plans and the change in our routines that summer would bring. I don’t remember everything we said during the brief conversation, but I will never forget the last thing the student said to me. Turning to walk away, he said, “Thanks for knowing my name.”
A seemingly simple matter of knowing a students name is a great beginning for building a relationship with each student.
Congratulations to Mr. Josh Rooke on being selected as the GHS 2015 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Rooke teaches Spanish and has worked at Goochland High School for six years. He is a respected member of the faculty and a valuable colleague.
Simply walking into Mr. Rooke’s classroom can be an inspiring occasion. Typically, he is standing in the middle of the room and speaking with students. Students are always engaged in Mr. Rooke’s classroom and take an active part in the lesson. I have often felt that I could learn to speak Spanish with Mr. Rooke as my teacher. It is the interaction with students that makes the difference in his classroom. Lessons are fun and academic and always include a reinforcing message that encourages everyone to do their best.
Reflecting upon being selected as the teacher of the year, Mr. Rooke said, “I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen as Goochland High School’s teacher of the year. During my six years at GHS, I have had the privilege to work with many outstanding teachers, administrators, and students and I am proud to be part of such a wonderful team.” We are extremely proud of the work Mr. Rooke accomplishes each day and for the contribution he makes to lives of his students and colleagues.
Congratulations, Mr. Rooke – 2015 Teacher of the Year for Goochland High School.
Goochland High School will hold its 2014 graduation ceremony at John Paul Jones Arena on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. The school’s administration is recommending to the Goochland school board that the original date of May 30, 2014 be changed to Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. This date change is due to circumstances originating with JPJ Arena. We believe the May 29th alternate date is the best option offered to us. Final approval of the date change will rest with the school board.
I met with the senior class on Monday of this week to discuss the potential change in our graduation date. I have since met with every 12th grade government class to further discuss the impact of a date change. Student concerns focused on dated announcements and travel plans. Seniors have been advised that there will be no additional costs to them in reprinting dated materials such as announcements. They felt with a May 29 graduation date, celebration plans already made would not be negatively impacted.
On May 29th the high school will operate on a regular bell schedule with seniors to be released from school two hours early. Any school division employee planning to attend graduation (especially those that are parents of graduating seniors) who may require more flexibility with time in order to get to JPJ earlier are asked to contact their principal or direct supervisor (or the superintendent) to work out the details. Following graduation on May 29, all graduating seniors will be excused from the final six days of school (May 30 – June 6). We will work out details of final exams for seniors in the near future.
We are sensitive to the scheduling challenges a date change will cause. Every effort is being made to have the date shift be as smooth as possible for all families. Graduation announcements and other dated materials will be reprinted and available to students very soon. We apologize for the inconvenience you may experience and look forward to seeing you in Charlottesville for the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2014 on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), was celebrated this week to focus public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors and to remind us all of the impact counselors can make in the lives of their students.
The special week honoring school counselors provides recognition for all they do. Counselors are actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents. They work in partnership with parents and colleagues and focus on positive ways to enhance students’ social/personal, educational and career development opportunities. Needless to say, school counselors are integral to student success.
Goochland High School is proud of its counselors: Ms. Avakian, Mrs. Fowler, and Mrs. Watson. We sincerely appreciate your role in our school and all that you do to support our students.
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.