Henrico’s Top Teachers – Danette Brady
Jackson Davis E.S., third grade
Children have always been the focus of Danette Brady’s life.
During a 12-year career in the mental health profession, she worked extensively with children and families. After she had her own children and spent several years at home with them, she was ready to get back into the working world, but this time with a different focus.
Now in her sixth year as an elementary school teacher (four at Sandston Elementary and the past two at Jackson Davis), Brady believes she’s right where she should be.
“I like the opportunities I have to work with a diverse group of children who all bring their own special talents and unique abilities to the classroom – to be able to bring those as strengths,” Brady says.
Parents of her third-graders say Brady has reached them in ways other teachers can’t.
“My son was actually hoping to get a different teacher because he knew her and was comfortable with her,” one parent wrote. “However, we met with Mrs. Brady and my son instantly liked her. He has really struggled over the years with school due to ADHD, OCD, and tic disorder. Mrs. Brady is always very patient and understanding and genuinely cares about the success of her students. [This year], he is thriving. We attribute it to the special attention Mrs. Brady gives to her students.”
Wrote another parent: “She has made my daughter, who has never been a lover of school, turn over a new leaf this year. She is now excited to go to school and learn new things.”
Brady makes a point to engage her students through real-world examples and build their confidence through cross-curricular reinforcement.
“You have to take any lesson you’re doing and bring it alive to them in ways that they can connect to,” she says. “I try to make sure that they’re actively engaged, exploring concepts, and not just memorizing things.”
Brady uses a personal blog and her classroom Promethean board to connect with students and works consistently to give each one the confidence needed to succeed. Sometimes that requires her to be more than a classroom instructor.
“As a teacher, you wear a lot of different hats – cheerleader, coach, mom, teacher,” Brady says. “I feel like a child that’s engaged is a child that’s learning. If you cannot motivate that child and make a connection with that child, you’re at a huge disadvantage. If you can get them to believe in themselves, the possibilities are going to be limitless.”
Brady makes a point to identify each student’s strengths, then works to enhance them in class.
“[In education], we’re real good at diagnosing all the problems,” she says, “and we don’t ever look at ‘What are the things he or she can do. I try to base my whole classroom on that. How can I put students in leadership positions, where they can feel good every day?’ When you can do that, you don’t have nearly as many behavioral problems as they’ve had in other classrooms.”
Though increasing curriculum demands and daily schedules that are more crowded than ever can be stressful, Brady finds that the positives far outweigh any occasional negatives.
“There are days when I’m feeling like ‘I just don’t want to go to work today,’ but I go in and have 28 smiling faces and all these reasons pulling at my heart. They make you want to be here.”
Citizen Staff Reports 04/25/2016
The sign up period for the Richmond Community Solar Co-op will close on April 30. Nearly 150 homeowners and businesses have joined the group to save money and make going solar easier. The group has started installations and is working with VA SUN to learn about solar technology and the process of going solar.
“If you’ve ever thought about going solar, this is a great opportunity to do so,” said Sekar Veerappan Co-op member and the group’s first installation. “Working with the group helps members learn about going solar and make an informed decision.” > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 04/22/2016
The YMCA of Greater Richmond will host its "Healthy Kids Day" April 29-30 at all local branches.
The event is part of the Y's national initiative to improve families' health and well-being.
Each event features games, healthy snacks, arts and crafts and physical activities, among other events. Its goal is to motivate and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home. > Read more.
Another great weekend of outdoor activities awaits you in Henrico! Walk MS, an annual charity run for multiple sclerosis, and the third annual Movin’ & Shakin’ 5K, to benefit the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center, both take place in Innsbrook tomorrow. Another charity event, the CASA Superhero Run, will be held at St. Joseph’s Villa. On Sunday, live music can be found at Belmont Recreation Center, featuring the John Winn Quartet, and at Shady Grove United Methodist Church, where pianist Sylvia Cooper will be performing. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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