Our Charter

IVA proposes to serve 150 students in grades 6-8. The school anticipates opening with two sixth grade classes of 50 students in year one, adding one grade and fifty students per year through year three. Projected enrollment in the first five years is as follows:


  AY 2013-14 AY 2014-15 AY 2015-16 AY 2016-17 AY 2017-18
Grade 6 50 50 50 50 50
Grade 7 0 50 50 50 50
Grade 8 0 0 50 50 50
Total Students 50 100 150 150 150


Educational interests

IVA’s target population is not defined in terms of specific geographical, socioeconomic, or performance-level criteria. Rather, our aim is to serve students and the parents of students

who value:

  • A small, personalized learning community; 
  • Small class sizes;
  • An educational approach that stresses a felt appreciation and genuine understanding of academic content;

who believe that:

  • Learning and knowledge are good and that education, properly conducted, should have a humanizing effect;
  • One of the greatest things an education can provide is a genuine “love of learning” and an ability to think deeply, carefully, and well;
  • Education, properly conducted, is personally transformative, affecting many of one’s most fundamental beliefs, attitudes, values, and skills;

who are open to:

  • Becoming curious, wondering, reflecting, asking questions, and thinking for themselves;
  • Engaging their education actively and intentionally;
  • Enjoying knowledge and learning for their own sake;
  • Having their intellectual character stretched and molded by their education.

Given its unique focus, IVA is especially well-positioned to embrace the rich diversity of the student population in Long Beach. IVA’s instructional vision speaks to the humanity of its subjects. As such, it is likely to appeal to students and parents in ways that are independent of their more particular identities and backgrounds. We do not expect students and parents will already be familiar with an intellectual virtues educational model, much less that they will already possess the dispositions in question. Rather, our expectation is that students and parents who are exposed to the model at information sessions or through other outreach channels will find the model compelling and be motivated to apply.

While emphasizing the humanities, other liberal arts and sciences, and academic rigor, IVA’s vision is far from elitist. To illustrate, we note that students who might do reasonably well in exclusive or elitist educational settings could fail to flourish at IVA. A student with a very high IQ or with a capacious memory, for instance, might nevertheless lack curiosity or inquisitiveness—indeed, might be intellectually unreflective, narrow-minded, or intellectually arrogant—and thus be unlikely to feel comfortable or do very well at IVA. Similarly, the ethos of many exclusive or privileged schools is marked by extreme academic competition and an overriding concern with grades and other external markers. There is, however, significant tension between an ethos of this sort and the spirit of an intellectual virtues approach. The latter prizes intellectual humility, curiosity, and a genuine love of learning—a love that overrides concerns with status and other forms of external recognition. Finally, we note that a student who might struggle in many elite educational settings might do quite well at IVA. For instance, a student of mediocre intelligence (understood in the traditional sense), or with a weak ability for memorization or rapid recall, might nevertheless be very reflective, curious, intellectually careful, and intellectually thorough. In many academic settings, such a student would be unlikely to flourish. At IVA, however, the unique needs of students like this will be known and attended to by their teachers, they will be given the tools and strategies they need to maximize their intellectual potential, and their curiosity, reflectiveness, and other intellectual virtues will be nurtured and rewarded. IVA will be an ideal setting in which to “hook” such students, thereby creating an environment in which they are far more likely to master skills and habits important for success in more traditional academic environments.

IVA will be a diverse and inclusive environment that welcomes, supports, and nurtures students from a wide range of backgrounds and with a range of different gifts and abilities. The common commitment among our students and their parents will be to understanding and practicing those personal qualities or intellectual virtues that are essential to being a true “lover of learning” or “lifelong learner.”