Tue, Dec 18th, 2007


Great Valley Academy will be a place for all types of students.  Our program is designed to offer a safe, nurturing place where students will learn to love learning.  By combining proven knowledge of human development and needs, best practices in education and strong character education, we will help each child to discover their inherent gifts.


In addition to the core curriculum, which will be standards based in compliance with all California and Federal regulations, GVA will offer the students an enriched curriculum and school culture with the following components:

  • Spanish - all students will receive Spanish instruction, starting in Kindergarten.  We will teach our students Spanish the same way they learned their primary language; through experience and immersion.  They will first learn to speak and listen in Spanish, and will later be asked to write and read it.
  • Physical Education - the students will receive physical education from a specialist.  This will ensure that the children have developmentally appropriate activities that will help them mature both physically and intellectually.
  • Same teacher for at least 2 years - Students will be with the same teacher for at least two years, allowing the relationship between them to fully develop.  It is a much more efficient instructional model because the teacher doesn't have to learn the intricacies of the learning skills of each student every year, and allows for meaningful partnerships to maintain themselves.
  • Businesses - All GVA students will earn a salary and have jobs to do, pay bills, and develop their own business.  The younger children will rely more heavily on teacher support, but all kids will experience the responsibility, creativity and satisfaction of building a business.
  • Longer school day/More school days - Simply, by having more time available, we will be able to create a more relaxed environment, and still teach to a greater depth.
  • Less Homework - You send your kids to school to learn, and that is where we will teach them.  Compulsory homework has proven ineffective, and even detrimental, to quality education.  We will expect our students to read at home, but the teaching and learning will occur at school.
  • Academic Excellence - We will expect mastery from all our students, not just the top percentage.  We will work with our students to learn each topic well and get at least a "B".  If the quality is less than that, we will continue to help the student until mastery occurs.  This may initially limit the breadth of topics of study, but ultimately it will accelerate progress.  When students discover their abilities to do quality work, they will be more motivated, and will realize they don't have to spend meaningless time on a topic if they can demonstrate mastery, allowing them to move forward at a more rapid and meaningful pace.
  • American Sign Language - All teachers know that learning is enhanced when different modalities are included simultaneously.  Sight words and vocabulary introduction will include American Sign Language, allowing even non-reading students the opportunity to develop vocabulary, and make a more permanent imprint of the new language skill.
  • Teachers eat lunch with the students - The students will eat family style with their teachers, allowing for deeper relationships and a healthier eating environment.  Students will be expected to use good manners and eat healthier lunches.  It also helps to avoid many of the conflicts that often occur during the institutional environment of a cafeteria, fostering a safer, more nurturing place of learning.
  • Nutritious Snacks - Students will be encouraged to eat snacks during the day to help maintain the energy level required for quality work, and parents will be expected to send healthy food items.
  • Uniforms - Research clearly indicates that students who wear uniforms are more productive and successful.  Teachers and students alike will wear uniforms, fostering a sense of community and unity.
  • Child Care - GVA will offer before and after school child care.

THREE UNDERPINNINGS OF OUR SCHOOL PROGRAM ARE:

Integrated Visual Learning - Each student will enjoy a customized learning program, ensuring success.  They will be asked to do developmentally appropriate tasks and given the tools to do them well.

Choice Theory   - The school culture will be defined by positive relationships and placing the needs of the children before the school curriculum.  In other words, we will teach children, not a subject matter.

Reality Character Education - It does us no good to produce highly educated, gifted learners if they have no moral compass.  We will teach our students "to do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do".