Our New Curriculum Coordinator

It goes without saying that the pandemic of the last two years has had a major impact on all of us individually, society in general, and the field of education. For example, we are seeing increased (non-school related) screen time by our students that often results in lack of sleep and shorter attention spans in class. While the James River community is feeling these changes to a much smaller degree than society as a whole, they still exist.
As I look ahead to next year, the question that occupies my thinking is: “Which of these changes are permanent and which are temporary?” How can we anticipate what the needs of the children will be so that we are properly prepared for the upcoming year?
Human beings are funny in that we have a natural tendency to think that whatever is going on presently is the way that things will always be. If it’s hot outside, we think it will always be hot. If inflation is high, we think it will always be high. I don’t want to make curricular or pedagogical adjustments if the issue I’m dealing with will go away naturally. On the other hand, I don’t want to turn a blind eye to a change that will continue to be with us. Differentiating between the two is the challenge. In other words, I need to figure out what will be best for the child next year in a world that continues to evolve daily.
Adapting to these changes taking place in our children, our classrooms, and our society requires a major and ongoing effort. To lead this effort, I have asked Jeannie Heishman, currently one of our fourth grade teachers, to become the K-8 Curriculum Coordinator for James River. Jeannie has extensive knowledge and expertise in the areas of both curriculum and faculty development and is the perfect person for the job. While Jeannie will teach two sections of English in the middle school, her primary focus will be on keeping us up to date with the changes I have referred to above. In addition, she will be heading up our self-study in preparation for our accreditation visit in the spring of 2024. I am so excited for Jeannie and the future of James River Day School.