Week of April 18, 2017


The MLWGS PTSA Board will be seeking a vote for the election of the following candidates for the 2017-18 PTSA Executive Board. The vote will be held at the MLWGS General Membership PTSA meeting on May 2, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. 

The current MLWGS PTSA Board is pleased to present the following candidates:

President:                                       Anthony Taylor
President Elect:                               Natalie Smith
VP Finance:                                     Rachel Downey
VP Membership and Communications:  Mary Michael Schweiker
VP Events:                                      Sarah Van Dam
Treasurer:                                      Christine Pimblett
Secretary:                                      Jessica Coffey

Graduation Paraphernalia Arrives This Week!

Herff Jones will be at MLWGS during lunch on Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21 to deliver caps, gowns, announcements, and any other graduation paraphernalia that you ordered.  Seniors should go to the downstairs commons area to pick up their items.  If there are any errors with the order, please call Herff Jones directly:  804-598-0971.

The class photo taken on the outdoor steps of the school will be photographed by Strawbridge Studios on Tuesday, April 25. Seniors need to bring their cap and gown with them for the picture.  Information to buy the picture will be distributed after Spring Break.  Photos cost $15.00.

If you have any questions, please contact Kerry Sheppard, graduation coordinator, at ksheppard@gsgis.k12.va.us or 801-354-6800 ext. 3304


Have an amazing experience this summer! Host a student from Spain or France (ages 13-17) in your home for 3-4 weeks. Learn about their culture while he or she learns about living in an American family just being a part of what you regularly do. There are a variety of programs to suit a family’s work or non-working schedule. Families receive stipends to help out with expenses. We can help work out transportation or vacation concerns. This will be a rich experience for your family!

Contact Debbie Hardy 909-3190 or debbiehardy2003@yahoo.com.

Letter from Jeff Hall, Coordinator of Instructional Technology

In the Fall of the 2017-18 school year, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School will begin a small one-to-one laptop pilot with a small percentage of incoming freshmen.  The goal of the pilot is to explore the impact that having ubiquitous technology resources and internet access would have on the instruction and learning of our gifted students. Additionally, we are constantly seeking to enhance the learning of students through the effective use of technology.   This letter is meant to provide the community with an update on the status of this initiative.

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School is a truly unique school designed to meet the special instructional needs of gifted students. As a part of our school technology plan, we are continually evaluating the effectiveness of various instructional technologies. Specifically, instructional leaders have been asked to explore the possibility of providing equitable access to computer hardware across the entire student body (Technology Plan #5.03.08). Therefore, during the first semester of the 2017-18 school year, we have been approved to launch a small pilot to explore what impact a one-to-one laptop program might have on learning at MLWGS.   There is no predetermined outcome of this pilot.  Specifically the pilot is designed to collect data on a variety of hardware, software, and services in order to determine which products best meet those unique instructional needs.  Additionally with our small IT staff of two, we need to determine which products provide the management support that will allow for effective deployment and ongoing maintenance of such a program. Lastly, this pilot will act as a catalyst to deepen the conversation on establishing “clear and concise” instructional goals for a possible proposed one-to-one (1:1) program.    

This pilot calls for the deployment of three different kinds of devices to 45 students, 15 per device. This deployment would take place at the beginning of the 1st semester in 2017-18 school year and end June 2018.  In addition to hardware, this would allow us to pilot the various management systems, updated projector systems, printers, along with ‘on-demand’ high-quality instructional content providers.   

While the deployment of devices will begin with the start of the 2017-18 school year, the process of planning began in the 2016-17 school year in order to ensure a successful outcome. Thanks to the hard work of our Technology Office, we have begun to address the wireless network which has been identified as essential for the success of any such pilot. Under the supervision of the One-to-One Pilot Advisory Committee, which is made up of stakeholders including faculty, students, parents, and administration, we are in the process of procuring the equipment, software, and services needed. Over the course of the next few months, we will continue work with the Technology Office to establish the criteria for determining candidates, specific tools that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the devices, participating faculty and student training, as well as the process of deployment.

It is our goal to engage the entire MLWGS community in this conversation. To that end, there will be multiple presentations about the pilot to the PTSA and with faculty. This letter is meant to bring the members of our current community up to speed on the pilot and its objectives.  We look forward to a productive and collaborative conversation as we initiate and move forward through this exciting process.

Our ongoing instructional technology goal is to “Create. Connections.” for our students by providing them with authentic learning opportunities where they can collaborate both locally and globally.  Members of our community can expect regular communications through the Smoke and Scales newsletter, PTSA meetings, and faculty meetings.  In the meantime, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Jeff Hall, the Coordinator of Instructional Technology, at jhall@gsgis.k12.va.
Thank you for your continuing support of our unique school and its mission.


Jenny Han (Class of 1998) will be in Richmond soon for a stop on the book tour for her Young Adult novel Always and Forever, Lara Jean (http://www.simonandschusterpublishing.com/alwaysandforever/), the final volume of the bestselling To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before.  Jenny will be at the Chesterfield Towne Center Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m.
(http://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061850596-0).  She would be delighted to see any Governor's School students, parents, and alumni who can attend.