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Curiosity Moves Us Forward

 
May 15, 2024
 
Dear James River Community,
 
For over 50 years, James River has provided its students with amazing academic and athletic opportunities while recognizing the need to honor the sanctity of childhood. It has been my greatest pleasure to meet so many constituents over the last year who have been a part of James River throughout its history and see the outcomes of a James River education. Last night, I had the privilege of meeting with many current parents to share a bit about the future of James River, and I am excited to share this journey with the entire community today.
 
I have spent my first year as Head of School learning deeply about James River, refining our current practices, and looking to the future of James River. One area that needed further review was our mission statement and core values. Best practices suggest that schools review their mission and values every ten years. Our mission statement was last reviewed in 2011, so it was time to do a deep dive.
 
Over several months, I led several small-group, generative conversations about the school’s mission and values. Engaging faculty, trustees, and parents, it became clear that we needed more than an update, and we explored a complete revision; however, we valued the language of the current mission statement as inherent in the school’s core beliefs. Collaboratively, a new mission statement was crafted, along with establishing community pillars, core beliefs, and an updated portrait of a graduate (now called the Portrait of a Cardinal). The Board of Trustees approved our new mission statement on March 13, 2024. I am ecstatic to share this work and a new brand story with you today.
 
Our new mission statement reflects the purpose of James River Day School, which is to serve students during their critical years of development while on campus and beyond. It speaks to the joy of childhood, a child’s natural curiosity about the world, and the vital work we do to develop character in our students:
 
James River Day School cultivates intellectual curiosity
and strength of character in a joyful community. 
 
While the new mission is authentic to our school community, we recognized the school's history and previous mission statements are inherent in the values of the school, and we adapted them into our core beliefs:
 
We understand and cherish childhood.
We do not want to accelerate the precious childhood years unnecessarily; therefore, we believe the K-8 model is an ideal learning environment designed to meet the developmental needs of children through early adolescence.
 
We commit to the whole child and foster academic excellence.
We are dedicated to a challenging, student-centered, well-rounded academic and co-curricular program. Our students engage in a variety of leadership activities, and collaborative, inquiry-based learning, and still have plenty of time to play and socialize with peers.
 
We care about developing strength of character and meaningful relationships.
We are passionate about our students developing strength of character, integrity, curiosity, responsibility, and compassion. Our character education emphasizes developing empathy as a foundational character strength.
 
We value a diverse and inclusive community.
The JRDS community is committed to ongoing evaluation and enhancement of our school culture, curriculum, and practices to foster an inclusive learning community enriched by and reflective of a diverse and global world. Our historically inclusive community ensures that our students and faculty have a deep respect for people of different backgrounds.
 
We recognize every child can make a positive impact on their community.
Students are actively encouraged to engage in service to their school and the greater Lynchburg community through regular outreach. They will emerge confident, poised, and equipped to continue contributing to their community.
 
Additionally, our revised portrait of a graduate, now known as a Portrait of a Cardinal, reflects not only our alumni's qualities but also our students' capacity while they are attending James River Day School. 
 
Create Boldly
Our “learn by doing” philosophy is critical to James River’s educational approach. Rooted in the belief that today’s students will become tomorrow’s scholars, innovators, artists, and activists, James River’s ongoing commitment to intellectual curiosity and creativity prepares students to meet challenges with bold ideas.
 
Question Thoughtfully
Learning begins with thoughtful questions. Inquiry-based academic coursework fosters curiosity, discovery, and collaboration to deepen our students' love of learning.
 
Lead Empathetically
James River students lead compassionately, acting with kindness, empathy, and purpose to contribute meaningfully within their communities.
 
Grow Courageously
James River students feel secure in taking intellectual risks and viewing challenges as a means toward progress and self-discovery. They learn to adapt and face disappointment while developing perseverance, determination, and problem-solving capacity.
 
Act Responsibly
Each member of our community commits to approach decisions with trustworthiness, kindness, and respect both on and off campus. James River students learn that being honorable and contributing community members is expected and rewarding.
 
Finally, we enlisted the help of local marketing firm Odd + Even, who knows the James River Day School community well, to advise on updating our branding. We aimed to update our brand story to incorporate our new community pillars, create a recognizable cardinal, retain our cardinal red color, and adapt our gold to a more internet-ready color (now called "Honey"). We also added "Slate" as a primary school color.  We feel strongly that our new branding represents our joyful community well and has applications across many platforms. This new branding will appear in our materials over the summer, with a new website going live by July 1, 2024. 
2024 James River Day School primary logo    new school badge for James River Day School   new abbreviated logo form for James River Day Scool
Because curiosity moves us forward, we are assured of a bright future for James River Day School.
 
Let’s Fly!
Jenn