Each day, you entrust us not only to teach but to protect the most precious people in your life. We take that responsibility seriously. The safety of your children is of utmost importance at James River. And I speak of safety in all its many forms--emotional, academic, and physical.
Emotional safety means each individual respects, and is respected by, those around them. Good character emphasizes kindness and doesn’t tolerate bullying. Our students also know they have numerous trustworthy adults to whom they can turn if they need help. This promotes a feeling of emotional safety.
Academic safety means students feel safe taking risks in the classroom, asking questions and tackling challenges. A safe academic environment is one in which students are willing to engage in tasks with the potential for failure in order to learn. Failure/making a mistake is seen as a stepping stone to success.
Physical safety means that we, as a school, prepare for what to do in a number of emergency situations. We have a crisis management plan built through consultation with the appropriate authorities and experts and revised as needed. Our crisis management team meets on a regular basis to review our procedures. We also conduct drills of tornado, fire, and shelter-in-place situations to ensure that teachers and students will know what to do should these (unlikely) events occur. These practices help everyone respond calmly and quietly.
I feel as you do about your children: I want the absolute best for them, and academics alone is not enough. I want them to feel a sense of belonging. I want them to feel comfortable being themselves. I want them to feel free to ask questions and be confident enough to take academic risks. This is the essence of what we mean when we say “cherish and challenge” in our mission statement.