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8th Grade Career Shadowing

eighth grade career shadowing exhibitThe Career Shadowing Experience is an off-campus learning project designed to expose eighth graders to a vocation about which the student expresses a high degree of interest. Each eighth grade student will spend a day shadowing a professional mentor in the greater Lynchburg community. No eighth grade classes will be held on the day after spring break to allow for the Career Shadowing Experience. No two students may have the same professional mentor. All students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner, to dress appropriately, and to follow the directions of the professional mentor on the shadowing day.


On Career Day, each student will share a display booth and presentation with the entire James River Day School community, to demonstrate what he or she has learned as a result of the shadowing experience. The student’s faculty advisor and parents will provide guidance and support throughout the process. Please refer to the timeline below the video for the various deadlines.


Take a look at James River's Career Day in the video below.


Student Responsibilities 

  • Meet all applicable deadlines (see timeline below).
  • Research professional mentor candidates and select a professional mentor.
  • Ensure the completion of all permission forms (these will be provided to the eighth graders).
  • Research specific education requirements, salary ranges, and future challenges of the profession selected.
  • Shadow a professional mentor in his/her work setting.
  • Maintain journal describing the professional mentor’s activities during the Career Shadowing Experience.
  • Write a thank you letter to the mentor following the shadowing experience.
  • Set up a display booth to teach JRDS students about their Career Shadowing Experience. This will include a 3-5 minute verbal presentation to James River classes.

Parent Responsibilities

  • Counsel the student in the process of selecting a professional mentor and approve that final selection.
  • Provide transportation, supplies and any accompanying expenses related to the Career Shadowing Experience.
  • Counsel and aid the student in preparing the display booth for James River's Career Day.


Parent FAQs

May my child shadow a professional who works out of town?

May my child shadow a professional for more than one day?


Yes to both questions, depending on the family’s and/or professional mentor’s willingness to facilitate a more extended shadowing experience. The school’s requirement is to spend one day with a local professional. We do not intend to tax the resources of either the family or the professional mentor, nor do we intend to curtail a student whose family wishes to support a more extended shadowing experience. If a family desires a multi-day experience, we ask that it be scheduled during the Spring Break so that the student will not miss classes. No eighth grade classes will be held on the Moday following Spring Break, and that is the “official” shadowing day, but any day or days during the break are fine.This provides flexibility for both families and mentors.


Advisor Responsibilities

  • Assist the student in meeting all deadlines (see timeline below).
  • Assist the student in utilizing school and community resources to research professional mentor candidates, including the library, the internet, and media resources.
  • Counsel the student in the process of selecting a professional mentor and to approve the final selection.
  • Provide the student with all permission forms and to ensure that all forms are completed by the deadline.
  • Ensure the student writes a thank you note to the mentor.

Professional Mentor Responsibilities

  • Complete permission form as provided by the student.
  • Allow the student to shadow and record professional activities on Career Shadowing Day.
  • Closely supervise the student during the Career Shadowing Experience and to take all reasonable precautions to assure the safety of the student.
  • Communicate special requirements and/or expectations to the student, via the permission form.
  • Answer student questions about his/her profession.
  • Provide the student with professional literature and information about applicable professional organizations.


General Timeline
Mid to Late February
– Students complete preliminary research of
possible mentors and report to faculty advisors.
Early March
– Students secure a commitment from a
professional mentor.
Early March
– Both permission forms are due (parent & mentor).
Monday, March 25, 2019
– Career Shadowing Experience
Monday, April 1, 2019
– Students and advisors email Peter York, Associate
Head of School for Operations and Finance, with any special requirements
they have for Career Day set-up, particularly if there is need for electricity for
the display.
Monday, April 8, 2019
– James River Day School Career Day in Carrington
Field House, 8:30 to 11:30am.
Friday, April 12, 2019 or before
– Thank you letters to mentors sent.


 Documents (Please watch for updated permission forms to be posted in February 2019.)