An independent K-12 school on a beautiful wooded campus, 3 miles from Washington, DC

Faculty Professional Development

When Potomac opened in 1904, the founders promised “thoroughness in the three fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic.” To fulfill this pledge, they sought out the nation’s leading thinkers and education’s most innovative ideas.

The founders’ spirit lives on at the School. Today, dedicated and passionate teachers seek the best practices from all over the world to bring out the best in students. Thanks to generous support from parents, alumni, and friends of Potomac—nearly $1,500 per teacher last year—the School offers a wide range of grants for study and travel that lead to professional growth and classroom innovation.

Faculty can apply for grants to study and travel to develop a particular intellectual interest or attend curriculum and technology institutes and workshops. Faculty who are new to the Lower and Middle School will attain proficiencies in the teaching strategies of Responsive Classroom, which aims to enhance student engagement and build social skills. These teachers will also attend Columbia University’s Reading and Writing Project, which trains young children become avid and skilled readers. Teachers in the upper grades learn Understanding by Design techniques.

Each year, a majority of our teachers received funding for professional development and curriculum work. Here are a few stories about their work and the impact on the classroom.

Past Year's Grants

Camille Agcaoili, fifth grade teacher, amps up her creativity and teaching skills at a workshop in Spain.

Learning by experience with others: Cara Vernon, band director, attends bandmasters convention in San Antonio.

The value of learning an old craft: Bern Hoffmann, sustainability coordinator, works with a master chair craftsman to sharpen his woodworking skills.

Upper School English teacher Dawn Jefferson savors reading, writing, and discussion at a six-week graduate program at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.