IVA is a free, non-sectarian, public charter middle school in Long Beach, Calif., and the first to offer an education based on an "intellectual virtues" model. The school opened its doors in the fall of 2013 to a founding class of 6th graders. IVA added a 7th grade in 2014 and promoted its first 8th graders in Spring 2016. IVA is growing slightly to strengthen the instructional program until it reaches a full school size of 235 students. IVA is chartered by Long Beach Unified School District.
The goal of an intellectual virtues educational model is to foster meaningful growth in the personal qualities of a good thinker or learner: curiosity, wonder, attentiveness, open-mindedness, creativity, intellectual tenacity, and related traits. Intellectual virtues are sometimes referred to as “habits of mind,” “thinking dispositions,” or “non-cognitive skills,” and include grit and persistence.
Teaching for intellectual virtues is not an alternative to teaching rigorous academic content. Rather, rigorous content provides an opportunity for teachers to foster intellectual character growth. IVA's curriculum is closely aligned with the recently adopted Common Core State Standards. Our teachers approach the curriculum thoughtfully and reflectively so that students may develop a deep understanding of the material and practice good thinking, while mastering the standards.
IVA’s focus on intellectual character transforms the typical teacher-student interaction, student-student interaction, and even teacher-teacher interaction. Our model encourages discussion, argument, deep conceptual understanding, and metacognition -- the ability to decide when and how to use a particular problem-solving strategy. Our intellectual virtues model also determines our homework, make-up work, and grading policies.
IVA is closely connected to cutting-edge educational research on intellectual character education. Founder and board member Dr. Jason Baehr is director of the Intellectual Virtues and Education Project at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. IVA's curriculum and teaching model make significant use of Harvard's Project Zero research, especially the work of Ron Ritchhart and his colleagues.
IVA was founded by a group of parents, educators, and community members who love Long Beach and are passionate about public education. Founders and board members include public school teachers, a charter school administrator and social worker, four university professors, a scientist, a university administrator, a marketing and advertising expert, a graphic designer, a human resources expert, a corporate VP, a finance and real estate expert, and an attorney. The opening of IVA was made possible in part by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
You can view the public hearing of IVA’s charter petition to the Long Beach Unified School District here.
Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)
Each school district must engage parents, educators, employees and the community to establish the LCAP. The plan will describe IVA's overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions IVA will take to achieve the vision and goals. LCAPs must focus on eight areas identified as state priorities. The plan will also demonstrate how IVA's budget will help achieve the goals, and assess each year how well the strategies in the plan were able to improve outcomes.
School Accountability Report Card
You can view IVA's Public School Accountability Report Card on the California Department of Education's website. IVA first opened its doors September 2013. Consequently, there are no state testing results from previous years and no API scores to report. When testing results resume for California schools in spring 2015, IVA will report standardized test scores in the fall of that year.