June 27, 2019

The end of the school year at Jacksonville Country Day School is a good time to reflect on what we have achieved, update you on some important changes, and look forward to a successful 2019-2020 school year.

Our "We are Connected" initiatives this year have been an overwhelming success. Staff members and specialists attended Morning Meeting in a different class each Wednesday, where students asked about their passions and roles at school, among other topics. In addition, as part of our new dining program, we also had the opportunity to each lunch with a mixed grade-level table of students every Wednesday. And, some among us spent time in early learning classrooms at lunch. As a community, everyone agrees, we are more connected than ever. In fact, one of my colleagues mentioned that they had more requests than ever before to sign yearbooks!
In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are constantly assessing how we can improve the educational experience and academic effectiveness at JCDS. Learning Design and Curriculum Coordinator Tricia Finkenberg, working with teachers and administrators, has taken a close look at our curriculum in her first year and we are looking forward to the enhancements and new programming in the coming school year.

As we look to the future, we are most excited about how the new Center for Learning, Innovation, and Collaboration will help to prepare students for success in the 21st century. Literally and figuratively, we are tearing down the walls between physical and digital learning in this new space. The renovated building will merge the best of physical and digital learning together to create hubs and common spaces for exploration and connection.

Our school focus remains on creating transformative learning experiences for our students. We will be rolling out several new initiatives in the coming school year to enhance the academic program and continue to challenge our students. Here are some highlights.

  • Writer's Workshop was piloted in 1st and 2nd grades and will be fully implemented in Kindergarten through 6th grade next year. Professional learning communities were formed in 1st and 2nd grades to study and reflect on the implementation of the methodology.
  • A life science and engineering unit will be added to Kindergarten next year to increase experiential, project-based learning.
  • Enhanced computer coding instruction will be programmed in grades Pre-K 3 through 6th grade and we have made a large investment in upgrading our robotics programs for all grades.
  • A fall Washington, DC field trip is being added to 6th grade calendar, starting in the 2019-2020 school year, as a culminating academic experience so students can see firsthand what they have been learning about the U.S. and our system of government at JCDS since 2nd grade.
We look forward to having our students back on campus for an exciting new school year. Thank you for your continued support of our school.

Have a wonderful summer!
Pat Walker
Head of School

Head of School Pat Walker has 35 years of experience as an educator, including seven years teaching 1st grade at JCDS. She also served as Director of Admissions for thirteen years prior to being named Head of School in 2014.

Ms. Walker holds a BA in Education from Wake Forest University. She and her husband, James, are parents of twins who are alums of JCDS. Ms. Walker is passionate about character education and serving the children in her care.

She is active in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), for which she has served on several FCIS evaluation committees, and the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA).
Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.