Confidence, Leadership, Academic Excellence
Derby’s academic curriculum builds from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8, creating confidence through achievement and emphasizing the strong work ethic needed for long-term success. Our students learn by doing, using Derby’s classroom and facilities for exploring creative problem-solving.
Engaged faculty and cross-disciplinary projects foster the essential skills of innovation, critical thinking, collaboration – and a lifelong passion for learning. Our graduates gain admission to top secondary schools and succeed wherever they choose to go after Derby.
Teaching and Learning
The Department of Teaching and Learning is a big part of our approach to education and ensures that everyday, each child is engaged and inspired by an educational experience in line with our school’s motto, “Improve Both Mind and Heart.” The department provides research-based instructional and curricular support to our talented faculty by focusing on four aspects crucial to the success of an independent school: Growth, Feedback, Choice, and Community.
Collective teacher efficacy is the strongest predictor of student growth at an educational institution. Essentially, a faculty that has the tools and training to positively impact student learning, creates a school with great student success. The Department of Teaching and Learning contributes to this success through:
Creating a culture of learning and growth for both students and teachers
The Derby Academy Faculty and Evaluation and Growth Plan is anchored in the belief that teachers are also learners who continue to grow throughout their careers. This plan provides teachers with the structure and resources needed to embrace a growth-mindset approach to their teaching, with students as the principal beneficiaries of their increased professional learning and success. Teachers cycle through phases that have them “Growing” and “Giving” back to the Derby educational community.
Research and Best Practices
The department has created the Derby Foundational Skills Program that builds essential skills students need for future success : goal-directed resilience, time management/prioritizing, organization, flexible thinking, and study skills. In fact, educational researchers have found these foundational skills to be one of the best predictors of future academic success.
Our faculty are trained to use student-specific data to drive their next instructional moves and teaching points for each individual student. We make our small classes seem even smaller with math and literacy specialists who support and enrich the classroom learning for students in the Lower and Middle School. In the Upper School, resource periods provide students the time to meet with faculty for one-on-one or small group instruction.
Lower School Library
A place of independence, the Lower School Library serves as a safe, collaborative, and flexible learning space for our youngest students to develop a love of learning. An expansive collection of books, iPads, and programming and coding apps aid our classroom lessons, develop our students’ personal interests, and support our social emotional curriculum.
A gathering area for the School, the library is a space where our students are encouraged to be creative, explore their interests, and engage with appropriate materials that promote creative play and develop reading and writing. Research and database skills are introduced as students learn how to find and access resources that will prepare them for becoming responsible digital citizens.
George S. Terry Library
With an impressive collection of digital and print resources, Middle and Upper School students are able to expand and build on the research skills introduced in the lower grade levels. Our students learn what responsible and safe online behavior entail as they develop their digital citizenship.
Proper citation and advanced research skills are enhanced as students access the Gail and OverDrive databases to support their classwork, and our collections promote our students’ love of independent reading across the different genres. A hub of activity for the Middle and Upper School grades, the Terry Library is a collaborative and welcoming space where reading and writing flourish.