by Megan Schiffres
Students at Northumberland High School won’t be the only ones receiving reading assignments this year. Principal Travis Burns says teachers and staff will study Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess, throughout the upcoming fall semester.
Teach Like a Pirate is an educational philosophy that emphasizes the importance of presenting information to students in a way that is thought provoking, engaging and most importantly, fun. Educators who dare to teach like a pirate, according to Burgess, are risk takers willing to sail into uncharted waters without a map and test new ideas without a guide. They’re innovators who look for exciting and new ways to convey knowledge to their students using creativity and infectious enthusiasm for the material they are teaching.
“Our efforts with this book study are ultimately aimed at enhancing instructional delivery, relationships with students and student achievement,” said Burns.
Due to changes in Virginia’s school accreditation system made in 2017, this year teachers at the high school will also be expected to incorporate Virginia’s 5C’s of Learning—critical-thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and citizenship—into their classrooms.
“It will also be an expectation that teachers embed learning activities in their lessons that promote these skills throughout the school year. The 5C’s are all about developing the unique talents of students,” said Burns.
The high school has partnered with Rappahannock Community College this year to offer a career development counselor to advise students and families on how to transition out of school and into a career or secondary education. Parents are also encouraged to become involved throughout their child’s high school education by joining the Family Advisory Council, which meets at 6 p.m. on second Tuesdays at the school library.
“This is an opportunity for parents to provide feedback on the day-to-day operations of the school,” said Burns. “Families are critical actors in what I like to call the talent development ecosystem. Schools are all about developing talent. Schools cannot effectively build on the unique talents and interests of students without input from our families.”