James River Day School

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Distance Learning

This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available. (Last updated 05/01/2020, 12:47 p.m.)
In this unusual time, James River faculty, staff, students, and parents will need to employ flexibility and patience. Our faculty will continue to provide our students the structure and quality educational opportunities they need and help them find a sense of normalcy and connection in distance learning. Please see the explanations below of the avenues of communication and learning being used.
synchronous learning graphicSynchronous Classes
Real-time learning and community building occurs among a group of students and their teacher using virtual tools.
asynchronous learning graphicAsynchronous Learning
Guided by our expert teachers and James River’s curriculum, students work at an individual pace on pre-recorded class lessons and assignments.
frequent communication graphic
Frequent Communication
We are providing consistent communication through multiple channels such as our Weekly email newsletter, virtual parent meetings, emails and more.
one on one support graphicOne-on-One Support
Teachers and advisors are available to students and parents through email, phone calls, and virtual help sessions.
advisory meetings graphicAdvisory Meetings 
Students in grades 5-8 regularly meet with their advisor and peers.
specials classes graphicSpecials Classes
Committed to nurturing the whole child, we will continue to enrich student learning through our Music, Art, PE, and Technology classes.
schedule graphicDistance Learning Schedule
We will follow the schedule below to reserve "screen time" for classes. The intent is to minimize (though it is impossible to completely eliminate) the amount of time that a household might have overlapping class meetings, while still keeping the length of the instructional day reasonable. These reserved times do not mean a class will meet digitally every day during that time, it simply affords teachers, students, and families a timetable within which to work. When a teacher is not holding an online meeting during his/her reserved time, that teacher is available to students via email/SeeSaw/Google Classroom/phone for questions. Keep in mind that these small windows of time are not all the time your child should be spending on schoolwork. This is simply the time slot reserved for a class to have its online component as needed. We know that the schedule outlined below will evolve from week to week as we gain experience and obtain feedback from parents, students, and faculty.
lower school distance learning schedule
middle school distance learning schedule
Frequently Asked Questions graphic
What if we (students, parent, or both) are feeling overwhelmed? What if we can get our WiFi or devices to handle distance learning properly? If you or your students are feeling like "I just can't" or "this isn't working"--PLEASE, please contact the school. You may call the main number (434-384-7385) during normal school hours and Julie Coppage will have the appropriate teacher, resource teacher, and/or administrator get in touch with you immediately. You may also use the contacts listed in the online directory on FACTS/Renweb to contact school employees directly via email or phone.
Will the eighth graders be able to have graduation?
We want to celebrate our graduates with a traditional ceremony. Current conditions dictate looking at fall dates for this. As decisions are made, they will be communicated to the Class of 2020 families. In the meantime, we do have a surprise planned for our graduates at the end of May.
What about All-School Awards?
The school community is invited to a culminating, all-school webinar on Thursday, May 28, at 10 a.m. An email invitation with the webinar link will be sent later in May.
Will we be able to return to "regular school" this fall?
We are making plans to welcome everyone safely back to campus in the fall. It is our intention to provide in-person instruction and we look forward to being together again. Simultaneously, we are sharpening our distance learning model in the event that COVID-19 changes our ability to gather. We will be ready to pivot and deliver a James River education regardless of the circumstances.
Will my child be behind next year? While we may not be able to cover as much material as we traditionally have, all children everywhere are experiencing the same phenomenon. We are confident that our students will still maintain the educational advantages you have come to expect from James River.
How can my child be successful at distance learning?
There are several key elements, which help students learn in a digital environment.
  • Use a designated "school" space and appropriate technology: Students need a comfortable space to work in each day, along with an iPad, laptop, or other computer and WiFi to access their course content. If you need help with technology or access, reach out to your child's teacher. That faculty member will see that you receive any needed assistance.
  • Time management: Remind children that these are not snow days; these are school days. Each student needs to attend and participate as he/she would ordinarily.
  • Communication: Students are responsible for their learning more than ever in this format. Encourage, even insist, that they reach out to teachers with any questions.
  • Building solid study habits: Help students set good habits right away, using the time given for each class to complete the assigned work. Check in with your child periodically during their online time to help ensure they are using it appropriately and not playing games or using social media when they should be doing schoolwork.
  • Self-motivation: Simply get started each day. If it feels daunting, encourage your child and reach out to our faculty if you need assistance. We are here for our students and their parents.
  • Organization: Those students who have a James River agenda book should note their assignments in it just as they would normally. If a child doesn't have an agenda book, a simple notebook or pad of paper will suffice. Writing down the tasks for the day will help students focus on and complete those assignments.
  • What else can parents do to help children be successful?
    Define your expectations for your child, monitor his/her study habits and participation, set up a routine schedule, encourage him/her get some exercise each day, and practice patience with your child and with yourself.
  • Netiquette for Middle School Students
    When you are in your online meetings and classes, please use good netiquette (online etiquette). That means:
    1) Be up and dressed. It shows you are taking this seriously.
    2) Have a set place to do your schoolwork.
    3) Use your own name as your screen-name on Zoom unless otherwise instructed. Since the teacher has to allow you into the class each time, they need to know who you are. Don't make them guess.
    4) Leave yourself muted until called upon to speak. Your teacher will let you know his/her expectations in class.
What digital tools will teachers and students use?
Kindergarten and first grade will continue to use SeeSaw for classroom communication.
Second through eighth grades will use Google Classroom. This is new for second and third grade families. James River's faculty and staff will be assisting students and families as they learn this new technology.
What about screen time? I am concerned.
So are we. Teachers will be varying their activities and including those that do not require your son or daughter to be facing a screen all the time. Please let us know what is working and what might need to be changed.
How will we support students who start to struggle?
Teachers will reach out to the student, parents, learning specialists, or whomever would be most appropriate given the situation. You may certainly also contact teachers if you have questions or concerns. We know this is an adjustment for all of us, and we're in it together. We will do our very best to monitor and support students, families, and teachers.
What about originally scheduled “No School” days?
We will not have school (a.k.a. distance learning) on Monday, April 13 (Easter Monday), Wednesday, April 22 (Conference Day), or Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day).
Other Questions?
Feel free to reach out to your child's teacher(s) or Mr. York.
Providing a James River Education During State Mandated School Closure

On Monday, March 23, Governor Ralph Northam gave James River a clear directive when he mandated the closure of all public and private K-12 Virginia schools for the remainder of the school year. Physical access to the school building is restricted, but this does not mean that our students' education will stop. We will continue to provide James River students a quality education through distance learning for the balance of this school year.

Distance learning rolled out on Monday, March 30.


James River's faculty and staff are committed to our students and their families. In our mission we say, James River Day School cherishes children and challenges them to become scholars, leaders, and citizens for the 21st century, in a community of academic excellence.


This remains our guiding principle. We will employ our talents, experience, knowledge, flexibility, and patience as we help students and families adjust to this new learning environment. We see it as a unique opportunity to build community in new ways and to excite student curiosity in new avenues.

Helpful Information
Prior Email Communications from the School
Google Classroom Tips
ZOOM Meeting Tips
(Thank you, Nancy Hardison for this instructional video.)
Link to Accelerated Reader Tests
Other Helpful Websites
  • Understood.org has helpful articles for families during this unique time, such as: 
    • Apps to Help Kids Stay Focused
    • Managing Anxiety
    • GoNoodle Channels
Academic Extension Materials for middle school students are listed in the PDF attached below.
Parent Meeting Recordings
If you were unable to attend the Zoom parent meetings for your child's grade level and would like to watch a recording of that meeting, please contact our Director of Operations, Sarah Lesko. (We apologize, but the recording for the 6th/7th grade meeting is unavailable due to a technical glitch.)