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

Faculty Professional Development

Check out the video below to see how professional development activities enrich our teachers' work and our students' learning!

What defines an excellent teacher? At Potomac, we talk about "the who" and "the what" of excellent teaching; that is, the personal qualities and character, and the professional knowledge and skills, that together position a teacher to have a lasting positive effect on students.

We hire with "the who" and "the what" in mind, and we empower our faculty to continually expand upon their personal and professional strengths. In fact, Potomac's budget includes more than $300,000 for professional development each year, enabling 100% of our teachers to take advantage of exciting opportunities to continue to learn and grow. This helps ensure that Potomac teachers bring the very best instruction, ideas, and inspiration to their students every day!

Science Teacher Studies Environment, Identity

Intermediate School science teacher Sarah Hollingsworth traveled to Mexico along with several other science teachers from across the nation through a fellowship with Ecology Project International (EPI). She explains, "The fellowship is a professional development opportunity for science teachers to think about innovative, research-based ways to look at ecology. EPI promotes ecological conservation worldwide, but a lot of their focus is in the Americas."

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Studying the Eastern Woodland Indians

During the summer of 2016, second grade teacher Jenni Hoffmann spent time preparing to teach her students about the Eastern Woodland Indians. Jenni worked with Renée Gokey, student services coordinator at the National Museum of the American Indian. Renée, who herself is of Eastern Shawnee, Sac and Fox, and Miami descent and is an enrolled member of those tribes, continued to work with Jenni throughout the course of the curriculum unit, connecting with the second graders via video conference.

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Read, Research, Reconnect

Upper School Librarian Kari Dalane began working at Potomac during the 2015-16 school year, during which she had the opportunity to attend the Association of Independent School Librarians (AISL) conference in Los Angeles. In addition to attending information sessions about teaching techniques, Kari and librarians from across the nation had the opportunity to visit several schools to develop a sense of the design of their physical library spaces and the library programming and research instruction at each school.

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Taking Note of New Approaches

Middle School music teacher Russell Nadel has participated in many professional development opportunities during his six-year career at Potomac. Each year, he has attended the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) National Conference, which most recently was held in Atlantic City in November 2016. "Orff-Schulwerk is the pedagogy by which Lower School music teacher Tara Clayburn and I structure our teaching," says Russell, who is the past president of the local AOSA chapter. "There are many different ways to approach music education and many different things a teacher can emphasize in a music classroom, but both of us are trained in this particular approach, which is child-centered, creatively oriented, and hands-on in nature."

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