The mission of the Intellectual Virtues Academy is to nurture the deep personal qualities essential to excellent thinking and lifelong learning. It is with great joy that I welcome you to learn about IVA and to consider reimagining middle school education.
For me personally, this position has also been a reimagining of the professionalism of educators who themselves desire to grow in their intellectual virtues and find ongoing meaning and purpose in our the opportunities we create for students to enter into thinking, learning, and understanding together. IVA educators use the principles, postures, and practices of an intellectual character education that consider the whole person and how we contribute to a culture of thinking together.
Whether we are in person or learning from a distance, our mission and vision are compelling as they direct us toward each other.
At IVA we aim to guide students into deep, complex learning and, in that adventure, support individual character growth. We know that growth in intellectual virtues occurs in the context of positive relationships and is the product of rigorous and reflective engagement with academic content. Therefore, we work hard to foster a safe and respectful school environment and to equip students to take an active role in their learning. Our caring and dedicated teachers are passionate about their subject areas and excited about providing students with opportunities for challenge, struggle, and achievement. Our students are learning to connect their daily challenges with the larger and more essential goal of intellectual character growth. Our parents are embracing the chance to communicate with their children using the language of intellectual virtues, to reflect with their children on the value of intellectual struggle, and to model thoughtfulness and continued learning. With students, teachers, staff, and parents united by a shared educational vision, I cannot imagine a more fruitful and flourishing middle school environment.
IVA is well-equipped to help students meet the demands of a 21st century education. Our curriculum emphasizes conceptual understanding, evidence-based problem solving, and critical thinking. Therefore, we are in an excellent position to help our students excel in the new Common Core State Standards. We are also implementing a wide range of cutting edge research in education, including Angela Duckworth’s work on grit, educational strategies developed by researchers at Harvard’s Project Zero, and research described in Paul Tough’s bestselling book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character (2012), the rich account of what education can be described in Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine's book In Search of Deeper Learning (2019). Most supportive to our mission is the implementation guide offered by our co-founder Dr. Jason Baehr's new book Deep in Thought (2021).
The opportunity to reimagine school is an educator’s dream. I am honored to be part of this small school team who thoughtfully consider and humbly reflect together to do our part in these exciting broader educational movements.
To learn and live well,
Principal Jacquie Bryant
Intellectual Virtues Academy