Our Approach » Design Elements

Design Elements

The Valley Charter School Design Elements are the heart of everything we do- from designing learning experiences for students to developing professional development with our staff. These elements were written collaboratively by a team of parents, teachers, administrators, and board members. They represent those things that set our school apart and guide the decisions we make.
Design Element 1: We value process over product. Learning is experiential, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and relevant to students’ lives.
Teachers design and develop their own standards-based curriculum and constantly retool their practices to better meet the unique needs of their students. Working as a team, teachers facilitate student collaboration with peers to gain more than they would have individually. The learning experience is accessible at any academic level as teachers and staff individualize the process. All Valley Charter School stakeholders believe that focusing on the learning experience leads to a love of learning. Knowledge is a journey that never ends.
Design Element 2: Social-emotional development and self-advocacy are the foundational principles of student learning and personal growth.
We build experiences through a student-centered curriculum that focuses on cultivating safe, secure relationships. These experiences and relationships develop students’ confidence, self-awareness, empathy, and perseverance. Discussion, self-expression, and conversation are vital to the growth of these personal attributes and life skills. Our students are reflective thinkers who take responsible risks and learn from consequences.
Design Element 3: We develop effective communicators who are able to connect with varied audiences.
We develop strong speaking, writing, and listening skills. We establish an environment that fosters independence where students are empowered to express themselves. Students who communicate and advocate for themselves in any environment experience social, emotional, and academic success.
Design Element 4: Learning is a social process accomplished through authentically collaborative work.
Teachers create purposeful groupings where each student is actively engaged and has a role to play. These experiences allow students to respectfully listen and question information, ideas, and perspectives. Decision making and negotiating are embedded in collaborative work. Students share collective responsibility and accountability.
Design Element 5: We are committed to building intentionally diverse schools. Our core values and foundational principles are authentically realized through this diverse community.
Our community reflects varied races, ethnicities, learning styles, languages, achievement levels, family structures, socio-economics, cultures, and self-identities. Students who learn in a diverse environment build compassion, empathy, and understanding of others’ perspectives. Our backgrounds and skills deepen students’ experiences. This prepares them to navigate and lead in the world in which they live.