"Children must learn about the world, but they must also learn how to be in the world. We can and must teach both academics and something much bigger, how to be human. In fact . . . each type of learning can actually enhance the other. When we pay attention to the culture of community in our classrooms, we are not taking time from academics; we are building a foundation and purpose for academics."
--Kathy Greeley --Why Fly That Way
+ Excellence -- We believe in striving for excellence.
We believe in striving for excellence. Within a school climate that challenges each person to reach his or her personal best, students and teachers rise to the high standards expected of them.
"I believe that work of excellence is transformational. Once a student sees that he or she is capable of excellence, that student is never quite the same. There is a new self-image, a new notion of possibility. There is an appetite for excellence. After students have had a taste of excellence, they're never quite satisfied with less; they're always hungry."
-- Ron Berger - An Ethic of Excellence
Striving for excellence is a way of life at Venture Academy. Students present to parents and other audiences their personal best work. Teachers draw students outside of their comfort zone, helping them develop courage to overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can. A culture of craftsmanship, perseverance, and significant achievement is pervasive throughout the school.
Students learn to give and receive feedback on their work in an atmosphere that is friendly and constructive. "Revise, revise, revise" is the mantra. Ongoing assessment is woven throughout expeditions, pushing students to higher levels of performance in pursuit of excellent work. Students are not penalized for trying again. Students take personal responsibility for their learning, therefore assessment is primarily "for" learning, not just "of" learning.
What Excellence Looks Like:
We strive for our personal best. Self-esteem comes from accomplishments not compliments.
We learn from our failures and persevere through difficult challenges.
We display excellent work in portfolios, often showing the progression from draft to final product.
We produce work that is authentic, purpose-driven, and responds to real issues. Celebrations of Learning are held regularly to share the excellent work produce by students.
We exhibit excellence at every level of the school: governing board, administration, staff, students, and parent crews. Beyond academics, we strive for excellence in character, citizenship, service and leadership.
+ Service -- We believe that service to others makes learning meaningful.
We believe that service to others makes learning meaningful and is vital in the development of good leaders. We make service within the classroom and the community an integral part of our curriculum.
"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement, You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."
Students and staff are strengthened by acts of service to others. Students are taught how to reach outside of themselves, and to look a their neighbor and community for opportunities to make things better.
Service learning in intentional at Venture Academy. We take seriously the responsibility of being crew, not passengers. We adhere to the belief that "if it is to be, it is truly up to me". Individual and group service projects are part of the curriculum.
What Service Looks Like:
We recognize our connection to the community as we learn how to identify needs and work with community members.
Service is real, spontaneous, and relevant.
We strive to develop compassion for others.
Teachers and students educate themselves on the needs of the surrounding community and plan service learning projects to address these needs.
A general feeling of gratitude and unselfishness prevails. Phrases like "thank you," and "how can I help you?" are heard often.
+ Leadership - We believe that students can shape their world.
We believe that through the teaching of sound principles, students will be empowered to take the initiative in shaping their world.
"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy."
-- Gen. H. Norman Schwartzkopf
Leadership is born from habits of service and excellence. At Venture Academy, students learn from the greatest and most noble leaders throughout history. In addition, great effort is focused on providing students with leadership opportunities at the school where they learn to think, direct, delegate, articulate, plan, and execute.
Venture Academy students learn how to become leaders now by making a difference in both their school and throughout their community.
What Leadership Looks Like:
We have frequent public speaking opportunities and present materials to authentic audiences.
We learn to work as members of a "crew". Together we draw on the strengths of the whole class, with students mentoring other students.
Being a good leader requires that one also be a good follower. Students learn when to lead and when to follow.
We exhibit true leadership abilities by demonstrating etiquette and good manners, values, service, and patriotism.
We seize the opportunity to study passionate leaders in history and great speeches given in the past.
We take time to reflect. Students write in journals daily and take time at the end of a class or at the end of the day to think about our learning experiences.
+ Enthusiasm -- We believe that learning is a choice.
We believe that learning is a choice. As we create the atmosphere and inspire the mind, students pursue learning with passion and develop a love for learning.
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
Venture Academy teachers create challenging learning experiences that are meant to engage and stretch students. Special effort is given to identifying compelling topics and developing guiding questions that create a need to know in each individual. Learning call for intellectual inquiry, exploration, and service.
What Enthusiasm Looks Like:
We are actively engaged in each classroom. No one falls between the cracks.
We are excited to come to school.
We are eager to share what we know with our crew, our school, and our community.
A positive, upbeat vibe permeates the school. There is low absenteeism and no bullying.
We have long blocks of time for expedition work, rarely sit in rows, and celebrate creativity and inquiry.
+ Respect -- We believe all people have value and deserve respect.
We believe all people have value and deserve respect. Our students and staff show proper respect to others, property, and self, by appropriate communication, dress, and actions.
"Those who are truly educated have learned more than the sciences, the humanities, law, engineering, and the arts. They carry with them a certain polish that marks them as loving the better qualities of life."
--Gordon B. Hinkley
Education must go beyond academics. While the sciences, humanities, and arts are all important, Venture Academy believes in conforming to high standards of morality and virtue. Students and staff take great effort to live in accordance with a sense of right and wrong.
We believe in civility. Good manners and genuine kindness are alive and well at Venture Academy.
What Respect Looks Like:
Students have a high regard for policy, guidelines, and instruction, and show respect for other people's opinions and beliefs.
We take responsibility for our actions. Our behavior is orderly, safe, and considerate. Venture Academy is bully-free.
We exercise emotional and physical self-restraint. Physical displays of affection are not allowed.
Students keep the school and any fieldwork locations we may visit clean by practicing the "Leave No Trace" principles. We take pride in our building and keep our learning spaces clean and inviting.
We use positive and constructing language.
+ Integrity -- We believe in honesty.
We believe in honesty, accountability, diligence and loyalty.
"The first step to truly living a good and fearless life, is accepting responsibility for your actions. Accepting what part you had in any situation. Difficult, to say the least, but liberating."
Integrity is at the core of every other Venture Academy Value. Without integrity, the other values can never be fully realized.
At Venture Academy, we strive for honesty at every level. Each person does his or her best no matter what the task. We acknowledge or mistakes and constantly seek for improvement. We are encouraged to speak our mind in an optimistic, respectful way.
What Integrity Looks Like:
We are honest in what we say and do.
We take responsibility for our own actions and how they affect others.
Individuals are accountable for their own learning.
We give praise for demonstrating integrity in difficult situations, and we encourage each other to stand up for our beliefs.
We are open to learning because a feeling of trust abounds throughout the classrooms and among students, staff, and parents.
+ Patriotism -- We encourage civic responsibility.
We believe that love for country is developed at an early age and we encourage civic responsibility in the community. We teach and live the principles taught by the founding fathers of the United States of America.
"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."
At Venture Academy, we firmly believe that living in America is one of the greatest privileges granted to us. A feeling of deep gratitude for our many liberties and those who have sacrificed to protect them is fostered within our students.
Students are taught that unity has made us what we are as a country and will keep us strong in the future.
We support and uphold the Constitution. Good citizenship is developed through commitment to uphold the law, on both a Federal and State level.
What Patriotism Looks Like:
We are loyal to the United States of America and proudly display our nation's flag properly and with respect. We begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance or other moment of patriotism.
Patriotic holidays are observed and discussed and members of the military are honored for their service in preserving our rights.
The names "George Washington", "John Adams", and "Thomas Jefferson" are recognized. We know the Founding Fathers and what they stood for.
We provide unbiased and equal representation to all sides of political issues being studied.
Students are aware of current and local political issues. They know the names of their representatives, how to contact them, and why.
+ Individuality -- We believe each student is gifted.
We believe each student is gifted and offers a unique contribution. We know each student individually and tailor teaching methods to fit individual needs.
"I wanted students to see each other differently. We don't see whole people in school. We see only pieces. Teachers . . . often see only a small slice of who their students really are . . .Students also see each other through narrow lenses. [We] tend to categorize each other quickly, not realizing that one is a gifted violinist, or another is a star hockey player, or that another has worked for years to build the strength to do an arabesque . . . If I could start my students off with something about which they, individually, felt passionate and self-confident, all of them would be more ready and willing to do 'the school thing,' that is, learn research and writing skills. I also believed that the students in the class would begin to see each other differently if they witnessed this passion and self-confidence at work in their peers."
-- Kathy Greeley, Why Fly That Way
It is not a student's outward difference that is celebrated at Venture Academy, it is their inward uniqueness; the distinctive set of qualities that identify their good character. As they engage in the process of self-discovery and come to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses, they learn to value themselves for their gifts and all that they have to offer.
They are taught to set goals to overcome their weaknesses and further develop their strengths, always striving toward their best.
Groups are made up of individuals. Individuality increases the richness of ideas, creative power, and problem-solving ability of the whole.
People discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected.
What Individuality Looks Like:
We strive to build an atmosphere of confidence and self-worth amongst all students and staff.
We investigate and value our individual differences, our unique outlook on life, our different histories and cultures.
We learn to draw on the strengths of the whole class as we work in small groups and as members of our crew.
Teachers know students as individuals.
Students compile in-depth portfolios that illustrate their individuality and help them recognize their progress, as well as identify their strengths and gifts. Students recognize weak areas and make intentional plans to improve in those areas. Students are able to articulate and clearly explain these things to other while taking personal responsibility for their learning.
+ Family - We believe family is the center.
We believe that the family is the fundamental unit of society. The greatest influences in shaping a child's future are the experiences and teachings that happen within the walls of their own home.
"Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens at the White House, but what happens inside your house."
-- Barbara Bush
Next to our students, parents are Venture Academy's most important stakeholders. We recognize that many families have chosen Venture Academy in an effort to preserve values that their family holds dear. Maintaining these values for families becomes one of our most important stewardships.
Special consideration is given to the impact of school policies and practices on the families we serve. Siblings are always granted priority enrollment status in school lotteries.
The strength of families is a key factor in the overall health of society. Venture Academy will always strive to support and strengthen families.
What Family Looks Like:
Family time is honored.
Homework is minimal and relevant.
School schedules and calendars take into account their impact on families.
Special effort is made the avoid scheduling more than one evening activity in a given week. We will provide families with at least one consistently clear evening of the week with no activities scheduled.
+ Adventure -- We can accomplish more than we think possible.
We believe outdoor adventure helps participants learn teamwork, courage, craftsmanship, perseverance and compassion, while discovering they can accomplish more than they thought possible.
"'Now this road, the one on the left,' she said, her heavy eyes glowing, 'this road keeps right on going, as far as anyone cares to go, and if you take it, believe me, you'll never find yourself wondering what you might have missed by not taking the other. Up this road, which looks the same at the beginning, but is really ever so different,t things will happen that you never could have guessed--marvelous, unbelievable things. Up this way is where adventure is. I'm pretty sure I know which way you'll go.'"
-- "A Wise Alligator and an Adventurous Dog" by William Steig as told by Greg Farrell
"The world is our classroom" is a reality at Venture Academy. The use of natural and community settings allow learning to extend beyond the confines of school walls. Summer and winter outdoor activities with moments of solitude and reflection provide significant educational and personal growth opportunities for students.
Utah is unique with its beautiful landscapes and national parks. Students At Venture Academy have the opportunity to experience this natural beauty while participating in academic and physical challenges. We undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. Through these experiences, we help one another overcome or fears and discover we can do more than we thought possible.
What Adventure Looks Like:
Curiosity is fostered through exploration in the natural world.
Students learn the value of challenging themselves while trying new things.
Students develop an appreciation for the natural world and a desire to protect and respect nature as they are inspired to explore the world around them.
Carefully planned learning targets and a spirit of adventure accompany each outdoor adventure. Journaling and time for reflection are always included.
A feeling of excitement is alive within the Venture Academy community.