Submitted by Learning Academy of Teton Valley
This piece was originally published in the June 9, 2016 issue of the Teton Valley News as part of the weekly Nonprofit Spotlight presented by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
When you consider the qualities you want your children to exemplify, what comes to mind? Are honesty and goodwill most important? Do you want them to be hardworking? Kind? A leader? A problem-solver? Aware of others and the world around them? Generous? Respectful?
At The Learning Academy of Teton Valley (LATV), we want those things for your child too.
So much of your child’s education is, indeed, intangible. Academics are intermingled with life lessons that cultivate the development of the child as a friend and peer, as well as a contributing, accountable, respectful member of their community. We believe that these “intangibles” are equally as important and our focus on nurturing them and infusing them into our academic day are embodied in our approach to education.
Intangibles aside, we have created a vibrant community of learners and an expectation of success that promotes incredibly high academic achievement. Student growth is measured on a learning continuum uninterrupted by grade level requirements. Most students aren’t even sure what grade they are actually in; rather they work in a “track” that is created specifically for their unique learning needs. LATV’s curriculum encourages our students to create, collaborate, make connections, be aware, and to take ownership of their learning.
Plus, it just feels good to be here! Our kids are happy and love coming to school. Our teachers and support staff love our kids, our school and their jobs. This feeling is palpable the instant you walk in the door.
Behind the castle wall, our youngest students are immersed in a world of discovery. Imaginative play generates laughter, color erupts from brushes, and you can measure, sift, stack, cut, sort or balance to your heart’s delight. Older students can be found in the tipi cutting and tooling leather for their pioneer journals or measuring angles to erect the roof of their homesteader’s cabin. In May, they journeyed to San Diego to kayak in kelp forests and sea caves, dissect fish at the Scripps Institute and tour the Maritime Museum’s fleet. Last year, it was the Olympic Peninsula. The year before, the Grand Canyon.
We love to read, work together to solve tough problems and answer the unknowns, do computer research, paint, cook, act, sing and build. Sometimes we blow things up or send them rocketing into the sky. Other times we work together to clean up our school, and our beautiful play yard or to help a family in need. We walk the plank on our pirate ship, build tire towers, and play drums on buckets. We love our bunny, bird, turtles and dog friends. Drama and improv are a blast and music class has us strumming the banjo and stomping our feet. We LOVE to dance! Other cultures and languages fascinate us. We think that our valley and our world are miraculous and we want to be stewards of our environment. We also love each other. There’s never enough time together, our days brim with the richness of learning, creating and developing into our best selves.
More and more families are noticing what’s happening here and they want to join in. We are bigger now than we have ever been in our eleven years of existence. With financial aid and academic scholarships available, we are able to make this educational journey accessible to those who know that this is the right place for their child.
Recently, we took part in our external review to renew our accreditation through AdvancED. A team of administrators visited our school. They compared us to the 32,000 schools that they accredit nationwide, and the 20 million students that they serve.
The Learning Academy of Teton Valley scored higher than any school they had reviewed this year. Our scores beat the national average by a landslide in every category. We are often told to tout our achievements more often, but that’s hard to do sometimes. This, though, is something we think you ought to know. We are having great success in this big red building. And we are really proud of that. What we are doing matters…. a lot.
If you are affiliated with a Teton Valley nonprofit, we want to hear from you! Help us share why Teton Valley nonprofits matter. Each week, the Community Foundation will highlight a local nonprofit in the pages of the Teton Valley News. Email Dawn Banks, Marketing and Programs Director, at [email protected] or call 208.354.0230. We look forward to helping share your story!