James River as an institution has a “growth mindset.” This means that our school and each person who works here are constantly striving to improve. To that end, we devote several days each year to professional development. The world is continuously changing and staying up to date with teaching methods and curriculum requires us to dedicate time to developing professionally. Do we teach what we say we do? Do we need to adjust what we teach or how we teach it? Do we have the proper amount of rigor?
On Friday, October 8, while the students enjoyed the first day of a four-day weekend, the faculty and staff took the opportunity to enhance their skills.
- The faculty continued its work on the book What Great Teachers Do Differently. We divided the nineteen traits of good teaching cited in the book into four broad categories: Professionalism, Classroom Management, Effective Instruction, and School Community. Each faculty member chose an area in which they considered themselves “expert” and one area in which they would like to improve. The experts paired with those seeking improvement. Each teacher served both as an expert and as the recipient of advice from colleagues on how to grow their skillset. This collaboration also helped strengthen our sense of community.
- We discussed what the school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statement means to each of us and how this commitment to a culture of fairness and belonging for all translates into the work we do with our students.
- Each department also took the time to discuss the Enduring Understandings they aspire to instill in their students and the essential skills needed to achieve their goals. The departments looked critically at how they assess student work, making sure their assessment methods elicit the skills and understanding desired.
The faculty at James River are consistently challenging themselves, learning and trying new ideas in their classrooms, and collaborating with colleagues. They are lifelong learners who model a growth mindset for their students and share with them an excited commitment to learning.