Academics

2021-2022 Academic Calendar Print: 2021-2022_IVA_Academic_Calendar_May_3_2022.pdf

2020-2021 Academic Calendar Print: 2020-2021_IVA_Academic_Calendar_January_13_2021.pdf

2019-2020 Academic Calendar Print:  2019-2020_Academic_Calendar_February_12_2020.pdf 

2018-2019 Academic Calendar Print: 2018-2019_IVA_Academic_Calendar.pdf

2017-2018 Academic Calendar Print: 2017-2018 AcademicCalendar.pdf

2016-2017 Academic Calendar Print: IVA_Academic_Calendar_2016-2017_030617.pdf

2015-2016 Academic Calendar Print: IVA_Academic_Calendar_2015-2016_10.6.2015.pdf

2014-2015 Academic Calendar Print: IVA_Academic_Calendar_2014-2015.pdf  Print:IVA_Academic_Calendar_2014-2015_greyscale.pdf

2013-2014 Academic Calendar Print: 2013-2014_Academic_Calendar.pdf 

Research has shown that the attitudes, behavior and achievement of children are enhanced when parents or other caregivers are involved in their children’s education. To that end, IVA has adopted this parent involvement policy in order to promote learning and provide a more positive learning experience for the students of its schools. This policy is incorporated into the the school plan developed pursuant to NCLB, and submitted to the California Department of Education with the LEA’s Consolidated Application.

Parent and Guardian Feedback
Although Parent Academies are structured for parents to receive input, the collaborative nature of these meetings generates feedback that the Principal and leadership team integrates into various aspects of the school, from structure of parent conferences to newsletter content to Office Hour and discipline practices. IVA seeks regular and ongoing feedback from parents through these means in addition to an annual family survey. Families can also participate in the school through the PTA or IVA's Stakeholder Engagement Committee

Parent and Guardian Support of Students
Parent involvement and support plays a critical role at IVA due to the unique educational model of the school. All parents are given information about intellectual virtues, their importance to learning, and how they can play a role in their child’s intellectual character development. Parent Academies are held to assist parents in supporting their student’s experience at IVA and the school will regularly communicate with parents about their student's progress and about school activities through report cards, regular grades, a weekly newsletter and email communication. Learn more about how to "apprentice" your child at IVA in the Parent Resources section of our Curriculum and Instruction page

Modeling Lifelong Learning - Parent Academies
At IVA it is not only the student that gets to take time to think, process, and explore ideas together. IVA offers numerous Parent Academy evenings, in conjunction with our PTA, in order to support growth in and understanding of the practice of intellectual character virtues for our parents and guardians. Based on parent feedback, IVA schedules multiple Parent Academies in the first month of school to help acclimate families with technical questions and big questions about how thinking and learning works at IVA.

In addition, IVA provides Parent Academy nights annually include a focus on:

  1. educational theory and practice;
  2. our Advisory program and helping students towards intellectual exploration;
  3. developmental psychology of our middle school kids and;
  4. mindful parenting.

Our speakers are selected together by the IVA Administration and the PTA and are inspiring and educational nights that shouldn't be missed. 

Check out a partial record of our previous nights below: 


2020-2021

Understanding Intellectual Virtues & How to Use Them with Our Children :: November 12, 2020

 

Navigating Middle School Struggle Together :: October 15, 2020

 

 

POW (Problem of the Weeks) How Can Parents Help? - PART 1
IVA Parent Academy - Presented by Math Teachers Ms. Cari Noble, Ms. Deborah Chen, and Principal Bryant, September 15, 2016

POW (Problem of the Weeks) How Can Parents Help? - PART 2
IVA Parent Academy - Presented by Math Teachers Ms. Cari Noble, Ms. Deborah Chen, and Principal Bryant, September 15, 2016

Working Together to Develop Powerful Thinkers and Learners
Presented by Ron Ritchhart, March 12, 2015

 The Challenges and Strengths of an Intellectual Virtues Educational Model
IVA Parent Academy - Presented by Dr. Steve Porter, January 22, 2015

 

Raising Real Kids in a Digital World

IVA PTSA General Meeting - Presented by Certified Simplicity Parenting Coach, Mary van Geffen, November 9, 2017
b_570_326_16777215_00_images_digitalworld.png

Raising_Real_Kids_in_a_Digital_World_11.9.17.pdf

Middle School Support

IVA Parent Academy - Presented by Principal Bryant, September 14, 2017 

b_572_388_16777215_00_images_PA_MSSupport.png

Parent_Academy--Middle_School_Support.pdf

 

Google Classroom & Illuminate
IVA Parent Academy - Presented by Principal Bryant, September 7, 2017

b_573_423_16777215_00_images_PA_Google_9.7.17.png
Parent_Academy--Google_and_Illuminate_9.7.17.pdf

 

Math & Science Extended Problem Support
IVA Parent Academy - Presented by Ms. Noble, Ms. Chen, Ms. Gordon, Mr. Burns, and Principal Bryant, September 21, 2017 

b_624_347_16777215_00_images_PA_MandS.png

Math_and_Science-_Parent_Academy_09.21.17.pdf

 

 

In Long Beach, middle school families have many choices for what high schools they can apply. These choices include almost 40 LBUSD school options, private schools, and one charter school, Intellectual Virtues Academy High School. It takes both knowledge and attention to make the appropriate choice for your child and we want to partner with our IVA families in making this decision. In this webpage we offer more information about Academy and LBUSD options.
To see our Class of 2018's high school intent data click the link here.

LBUSD


Options

IVA is in close connection with LBUSD to support the transition of our 8th graders to through the High School CHOICE Program. IVA students have the same opportunity for admissions to all LBUSD schools as any other student within the LBUSD. Below is helpful information to consider when choosing a high school. If you have any further questions about the 8th grade transition to high school, contact the High School Choice Helpline at (562) 997-8306.

Comprehensive High Schools vs. Small Thematic High Schools 
There are 11 schools to choose from within LBUSD: six comprehensive high schools (Cabrillo, Jordan, Lakewood, Millikan, Poly, and Wilson) and five small, thematic high schools (CAMS, McBride, Renaissance, Sato, Browning). Comprehensive high schools typically have a large student population (2,500-4,000 students), offer a wide variety of classes, athletic team programs, and specialized/traditional small learning communities. Attendance boundaries also allow for residential priority, meaning students who apply to schools outside their neighborhood would be put further down the list for admission. Small thematic high schools tend to have smaller student populations (400-1,200 students), offer a limited menu of class options, and limited or no athletic team opportunities. Though this may be the case, there are no attendance boundaries, meaning students who live outside of the region can apply with no priority given to neighborhood families. We strongly encourage our 8th grade families to research thoroughly the right high school for your student. 

Pathway Programs
All students in LBUSD High Schools belong to a pathway. All comprehensive high schools have pathways that have no criteria and give priority to residential students and pathways that require minimum criteria for acceptance in which most do not give priority to residential students (i.e., Secondary Specialized Programs). All small, thematic schools are seen as Secondary Specialized Programs, which means they too have minimum criteria (except for Renaissance and Browning) and do not offer priority to any residential students. For information on the selection methodology of these options, visit the LBUSD HS Choice webpage

For more information on the LBUSD HS Choice Process, please visit the LBUSD HS Choice webpage or contact the HS Choice Helpline at (562) 997-8306.

IVA HS Choice Parent Academy Slides

 Parent Academy LBUSD HS Choice Info Night 2019.pdf

 

Intellectual Virtues Academy High School - The Academy


As you know, IVA is recognized for its research-based, intellectually challenging and supportive academic program. In the fall of 2016, the Academy began extending the intellectual virtues education model to the high school, equipping every student to think well: critically, creatively, and with a capacity for self-growth.

The Academy invites you to learn more and experience the high school firsthand at one of the upcoming open house events or school tours, which are tracked on this link here. You can find valuable school information on the Academy website. If you are interested in completing an application for the 2018-2019 school year, you may complete an online application here or you may request a paper copy of the application by calling the Academy front office at (562) 283-4456. Read a summary of instructions for applying to the academy here: Academy Process for Enrollment.

Academy students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and “habits of mind” needed for success in college, careers, and beyond! The Academy Team looks forward to getting to know your family as your child transitions into high school.

 

 

Central to IVA's mission to create an atmosphere that inspires growth in the personal qualities of excellent thinkers is a weekly, virtues-based Advisory, in which every student participates. 

Throughout the year, groups of around students meet with their assigned advisor, a trained adult mentor who creates opportunities for the practice of intellectual virtues. Curriculum developed for Advisory includes direct instruction in the nine master virtues, methods for self-assessing intellectual character growth, and the opportunity for each student to explore, in depth, a topic of specific and intrinsic interest to him or her.

Devoting time to self-initiated study helps develop students’ natural curiosity, a master virtue, and gives students a practical way to grow in this capacity with their peers. We protect our Advisory hour in order to protect the development of students' curiosity. 

Moreover, Advisory offers a safe environment for students to discuss their personal development of intellectual character through the weekly check-ins and conversations. Students are guided to bring what they are curious about to the group for intellectual exploration and play. Advisors teach students how to creating a big how or why question, choose a Thinking Routine or protocol for exploring the question together, and choose a text, which can be a podcast, Ted Talk, video, article, or other reading selection. 

Advisories Cultivate Cultures of Thinking

Practices like Advisories create, "... a dynamic group of people who feel that they are learning together and creating something greater than that which any individual might produce. It feels good to be a member of a culture of thinking...A culture of thinking produces the feelings, energy, and even joy that can propel learning forward and motivate us to do what at times can be hard, and challenging mental work."
- Ron Ritchhart, Creating Cultures of Thinking

Bring Advisories Home with Family Advisories:
Families - try out one of our Family Advisories at home. We "assign" these optional and fun conversation guides occasionally over the holidays. The following examples aim at guiding families to explore what they are curious about together using an Advisory-type approach. Develop a culture of thinking together where you can reflect on and learn about ideas as well as how you approach learning. 

These conversations should be fun where intellectual exploration and play combine with the safety of a supportive environment that practices the types of values that IVA has adopted as an organization. 

Thinking Routines at Home?
Download the reference sheet that is provided to students and try out one of these Thinking Routines in your own conversations. Thinking_Routines_with_Intellectual_Virtue_Connections.pdf

Read About Our Virtues
Our co-founder Dr. Jason Baehr has written extensively on each of the intellectual virtues and our faculty and staff as well as our students study the virtues in Advisory. Learn about our bookshelf and resources to learn more here. The selection below comes from Dr. Baehr's virtues implementation guide available online called Cultivating Good Minds
OPEN-MINDEDNESS.pdf

Advisory groups, which meet 8:20 to 9:25 a.m. every Thursday, are one of the most important and distinct features of IVA students’ education. 

Check our our Advisory in a Minute video to catch a glimpse. 

Interested in being an Advisor? 

The main purpose of the advisory groups is to further the personalization of IVA’s educational model by having weekly, in-depth check-ins with an adult mentor (the advisor). The overarching goal is for the advisors to get to know their advisees as thinkers and learners and to create opportunities for intellectual exploration and the practice of intellectual virtues. A curriculum developed for advisory groups will help form the texture of these groups. We anticipate that advisory groups will become a safe environment for students to discuss their personal development of intellectual character.

Much of the success of IVA’s Advisory groups depend on securing Advisors who are committed to their own growth in our nine master virtues, who have some insight into the minds of middle school students, and who can foster meaningful conversation amongst the members of their group. Parent and community volunteers help provide adult role models of thinkers and learners at school that represent to our students a greater diversity of adult leaders than our small staff. 

Developmental theory suggests that middle school students are in a period of separation from primary adult caregivers (parents, etc.) but remain in dire need of meaningful interaction and emotional connection with adults. With that developmental tension in mind, advisory groups we have realized are one of the most important features of IVA students’ education.

Practically speaking, Advisors will need to commit to:

  • Required Training: 4-hour training on our first Faculty Academy day in September (potential summer training too)
  • Weekly Advisory Schedule: each Thursday from 8:20am-9:20am during the school year
  • Ongoing Training: One Thursday every other month Advisors will meet after school for the hour after school gets out from 1:30pm-2:30pm for discussion and further training. 
  • Training “on the job”: The first four Advisory blocks of the upcoming school year will be conducted in a full school program introducing IVA Values and concepts that will be valuable for creating a safe culture of thinking such as growth mindset and kinds of listeners. Advisors will need to attend these meetings as they are an introduction to concepts and relationships we develop with students.

All Advisors complete an application process, are tested for tuberculosis, and complete a Live Scan (Our office will make arrangements for all of this and the school will pay for the cost of the Live Scan).

Common Instructional Policies and Thinking Routines
Using the process described above, our teachers also develop common instructional practices for student and teacher. Please review this document to learn more about our late work, make-up work, and similar policies. Please also click here to see the syllabi for each class to see the curriculum at a glance. Included below is a document that we provide to our students for their use in Advisory. This document can help explain the instructional protocols that all teachers utilize to help students make their thinking visible in class and to provide for differentiation and formative assessment during class as the teacher leads the students in a culture of thinking together towards a deep understanding of content.

In his book Creating Cultures of Thinking, senior research associate, Ron Ritchhart describes a culture of thinking that these policies and practices create, "People often mention that in a culture of thinking , they feel committed to the learning of others and not just to their own. It is this commitment and the recognition of the symbiotic relationship between one's individual learning and that of other group members that help create a sense of community." To learn more about the educational philosophy behind these instructional practices see the books in our Resource Library

Teacher Resource :: Thinking Routine Quick Picks for IVA's Advisory Thinking Routines with Intellectual Virtue Connections

Teacher Resource :: Ch. 26 Creating Opportunities from Cultivating Good Minds - CGMCh26.pdf 


IVA's Special Education Model
For purposes of Special Education, IVA is a school of the district. Learn more about how we implement special education within IVA's model. Please reach out to LBUSD's special education team for any questions about our model. 


Parent Resources :: Home Thinking & Helping Students Access Resources

In order to focus on thinking and learning in all aspects of education at IVA we have changed the name of homework to home thinking. Some classes call it HoT for short. This name change helps remind teachers, students, and parents that the purpose and value of assignments at home is thinking. Home thinking is a great place to practice intellectual autonomy, a capacity for self-directed , since the students classmates and teacher are not there to support the learning. When parents are able to help, the document below can offer some questions to guide the thinking process. We hope this document can be useful for our parents! We want our students to have the opportunity to struggle through complex learning and feel the reward of figuring it out for themselves. We also provide resources for students. Our families can help equip your children by apprenticing them in organization and troubleshooting so that students know how to use the resources that teachers provide. This apprenticeship into self-advocacy and intellectual autonomy, to think and reason for oneself, is part of the foundations of a love of learning. 

Family_Guide_for_Student_Support_Updated.pdf 

Families_Helping_Students_Think_at_Home.pdf


Grading Rubrics

Working together, IVA teachers created "Criteria for Marks" -- a guide for assigning letter grades while upholding IVA's mission to foster meaningful growth in intellectual virtues. This guide is also a resource for feedback language on benchmark, or summative, assignments and daily, or formative, assignments. We encourage our students to see struggle and challenge with a growth mindset -- in which they believe they have not learned it, yet -- and our grading rubrics are crucial to this approach. We also encourage students to live within the daily expectations of deadlines, so that they may practice the virtues of an attentive, intellectually careful, and intellectually thorough student. For more information on grading practices and to see the foundation document for our teachers' rubric creation, please review the document below.

Criteria_for_Marks_at_IVA.pdf

  • What is the curriculum at IVA? +

    Fostering intellectual virtues is not an alternative to a rigorous, standards-based curriculum. On the contrary, it is through active and reflective engagement of core academic knowledge and skills that students learn to practice the intellectual virtues. In selecting IVA's curriculum, the school's founders and teachers searched for existing published curricula in core areas that (1) aligned with the Common Core State Standards, (2) aimed at deep understanding, and (3) provided opportunities for the practice of intellectual virtues.

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  • The Writing Process in Lit/Comp and Parent Support +

    How is the writing process taught at IVA? 
    We utilize a varied approach to teaching writing at IVA. As school we have not adopted any official writing curriculum. Throughout each unit students read a variety of texts, discuss them as a class, and eventually write about those texts. Although it may seem strange, the readings and conversations are in many ways the first steps of the writing process. As students get comfortable with the texts we are reading and develop their understanding of what the authors are saying, they are better situated to write about those texts. 
     
    Each unit, teachers generally assign a quiz with a few questions about the current novel. Students are asked to write a few paragraphs using evidence from the text as they respond to the question. These responses are collected, graded, discussed allowing students to see one or two sample student essays, and then passed back to students. 
     
     
    A similar process happens at the end of each unit. Students are generally asked to write an analytic essay with introduction, body, and conclusion responding to a specific question about the book. They are given tips on what to include in their introduction, body and conclusion, but they are necessarily assigned a specific outline for their essays. The hope is that as students continue to write, see other students' writing, reflect on their own writing, and ultimately rewrite (see below) portions of their essays they will gain an understanding of the elements of powerful essays. 
     
    Two other elements of the writing process are staples in the Literature and Composition classroom: Timed Writes and Sentence Composing/Combining. 
     
    Every three weeks (usually on Thursdays), students are presented with a quote or question and asked to write a mini in-class essay arguing a particular point (or thesis). We first look at a few articles, TedTalks, news stories, or other "sources" to collect evidence about that day's question or quote. After reading and discussing the "sources" students write a brief four paragraph essay in the last 15 minutes of class. These essays do have a suggested outline. Students are only graded for these timed in-class essays based on their participation. They only need to give a genuine effort and attempt to write for the full 15 minutes to receive full credit. The essays are placed in the students writing portfolios (kept in class). Toward the end of the semester, students will take one of these "Timed Writes" and, using their original essay as a rough draft, develop a full 4-6 paragraph essay. These essays are read carefully and graded for content. 
     
    With regard to language development and grammar, our main source for exercises is Sentence Composing by Don Killgallon for 6th and 7th grade. 8th graders use a similar workbook called Sentence Combining by William Strong. Both of these books push students to create different types of sentences by studying effective models. Students are asked to look carefully at components of a sentence and create sentences of their own that are varied, creative, and powerful. These exercises are generally done once a week in class. About once a month one of these exercises will turn into a "quiz" in which students turn in their sentences and they are graded using a rubric. 
     
    There are, of course, other elements of the writing process that take place in class, and in other classes as well, but hopefully the brief sketch outlined above will at least give families a small picture of some of things students are asked to do in class with regard to writing
     
    How is writing graded at IVA? 
     
    Writing at IVA is generally graded based on rubrics. While each teacher may vary the rubrics based on the particular assignment, in general each rubric measures students' content and ideas, word choice and syntax, and grammar and spelling. For a list of each rubric, see Illuminate or Google classroom for the given assignment.
     
    Handwritten responses, such as quizzes, are read carefully and given a grade based on the rubric. Specific comments and feedback are generally not given on handwritten responses (see below for more information on feedback). Typed responses, such as performance tasks and take home writing projects, are read carefully, given specific comments and feedback. Following these larger assignments, students are then asked to rewrite some aspect of their response taking in the teacher comments and feedback. 
     
    It should be noted that although handwritten responses are generally not given specific teacher feedback, students are always welcome to bring their writing to office hours to get a better understanding of the areas they are doing well in and the areas for improvement with their writing
     
     
    What is your process on giving students feedback on their writing? 
     
    As noted above, handwritten responses such as quizzes are generally not given specific feedback. Specific feedback is reserved for larger assignments such as performance tasks and take home writing projects which are generally typed out using Google Docs and submitted on Google Classroom. 
     
    There are several reasons for this decision regarding when feedback is given. One, students are asked to write A LOT throughout each unit. Providing specific feedback on every written assignment is unfortunately not always possible. Two, often the setup of paper documents can make it difficult for teachers to write exactly what they are trying to say. There may not be enough room on the page, or, if the page is somewhat messy or disorganized, the feedback can be confusing or unclear for students. Three, a good rule of thumb in education is to not provide students with specific feedback unless you are going to provide them with an opportunity to put that feedback into action immediately (i.e. rewriting). Each time specific feedback is given on performance tasks and take home projects, students are asked to rewrite and put that feedback to use. This helps students grow as writers. 
     
    Retaking tests and quizzes is encouraged!
     
    In Literature and Composition as in many other classes, students have the option to rewrite. If a student so choses, she could rewrite the same essay or quiz response a dozen times to try to improve her score. The reason for this is the belief that rewriting is one of the best ways to grow as a writer (see above). The best writers will all acknowledge that their first draft of any project is rarely their final product. 
     
    One common condition on this freedom to rewrite is that the rewriting of tests and quizzes needs to happen at school during office hours with teacher supervision. This condition is in place to ensure that the "testing environment" is secure and students are only relying on their own skills and knowledge to rewrite. 
     
    How can I support my child at home with writing
     
    There are a number of ways parents can support the writing process at home. The most important way is to encourage your child to read as much as possible. While reading and writing are by no means the same thing, the two processes are intimately connected, and generally speaking, students who read often have a decided advantage when it comes to writing
     
    The performance task and quiz writing prompts will usually be posted on Google Classroom and Illuminate a few days before that actual test or quiz. You could encourage your child to look over the questions, make sure he understands what they are asking, prepare a few ideas of things he would like to write about in his response, and collect any quotes from the book that might strengthen his response. Quizzes and performance tasks are almost always open note and open book. Having ideas ahead of time can make the test or quiz day a bit more manageable. 
     
    There are a few writing tutorials posted on Google Classroom in the Literature and Composition classes that provide students models of writing in addition to some general feedback and tips for strong writing. Within those classes you can view these videos by searching for the "Writing Tutorials" topic on Google Classroom. Students could view these videos at home, take note of a couple elements of good writing as well as the types of mistakes to try to avoid in their writing
     
    Finally, a good way to support your child is by checking Illuminate on a regular basis to see how your child is doing. If you notice your child is missing a test, quiz, or project encourage him to come to office hours to make up or finish that assignment. Thanks to all of our families for their time and support! Please feel free to contact teachers by email or set up an appointment with additional questions. Our IVA teachers look forward to continuing to work with your child as they grow as writers!
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  • Mathematics +

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  • Science +

    IVA's science curriculum, It’s About Time Project-Based Inquiry Science, carefully leads students to a deep understanding of science topics. Lessons begin with a lab, where students actively explore the topics through hands-on experiments or demonstrations before reading the text.

    An important component of the curriculum is writing explanations: students are presented with a question to explore in each lesson and each unit. Students make a claim about the question and support the claim with science knowledge, from the text, evidence from experiments, or personal experience.

    Students take on real-life issues -- planning erosion control around a basketball court or writing a proposal for a potential asteroid strike on Earth. This hands-on program draws students into the material and gives them the opportunity to explore the topics on their own, creating interest in the text, which also becomes more meaningful as they seek additional information.

    Home thinking might include 2 assignments a week that allow students to think autonomously through the days lesson or to prepare for the next class. The HoT will be in the form of a short activity or reading followed by a writing reflection. Students will also work on their science fair project at home throughout the year by carrying out a procedure, analyzing their data, and putting together their display. 

    Syllabus for Science Classes:

    IVA_EarthScience6Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_LifeScience7Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_PhysicalScience8Syllabus.pdf 

     

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  • Literature & Composition +

     

    Novels make up the bulk of what students read, discuss, analyze, and write about in Literature and Composition (LitComp) classes at IVA. Guided by the teacher, students engage in activities and thinking routines to explore each novel. These thinking routines serve as a launching point for discussion, when students share their ideas with partners as well as the whole class. The teacher creates frequent opportunities for students to ask meaningful questions and seek thorough and thoughtful answers to questions in the novel. Students, encouraged by the teacher and IVA's classroom culture, offer comments, observations, and wonderings – habits they come quickly to enjoy and take pride in. Through the novel, students in IVA LitComp classes have explored themes such as what it means to be human, how race and racism can affect a community, the meaning and value of friendship, how an adventure can change you, what makes beautiful language beautiful. 


    Some novels students may take on include:

    Grade 6

    • The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein,
    • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, 
    • A Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
    • The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, 
    • The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes. 
    • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
    • Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle

    Grade 7

    • The City of Ember by Jeanne Dupreau
    • Robinson Crusoe by Daniele Defoe
    • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
    • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
    • A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare

    Grade 8

    • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    • Enders Games by Orson Scott Card
    • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
    • To Kill A Mockingbird  by Harper Lee
    • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo
    • Macbeth by William Shakespeare

    Much, but not all, of classroom language and grammar development is based on Sentence Composing for Middle Schoolers by Don Killgallon and Sentence Combining by William Strong. Students learn to be better writers by studying good writing. Students analyze excerpts of sentences taken from well-written classic and current novels, break the sentences down into meaningful parts, then write ones of their own imitating the styles they see in the book. Over time and with this practice students grow into their own voice and style.

    Through deep and practiced analysis of novels and the elements of strong writing, IVA's students can expect to be able to demonstrate all the English Language Arts skills in the Common Core State Standards.

    Home thinking is primarily reading from the current novels. Students will be encouraged to read a certain number of chapters each week and think about/write down one question and one concept or connection.  

    Syllabus for Literature & Composition Classes:

    IVA_LitComp6Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_LitComp7Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_LitComp8Syllabus.pdf 

     

     

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  • Social Science +

    In order to think like historians and social scientists students will be encouraged to continually practice all of the intellectual virtues during various points throughout the year. The Intellectual Virtues share in an important partnership with historical study and ultimately form the basis of what it means to think like a historian and social scientist. Understanding different interpretations, analyzing challenging texts, and asking provocative questions requires a growth mindset that can be traced directly back to each master virtue. Class discussions, activities, and thinking routines will require students to push their thinking, practice open-mindedness, and form strong connections. Historical projects and writings will further provide students the opportunity to think carefully and critically about what evidence to include, what to exclude, and how to frame a concise argument about the past. These types of assessments will require students to practice intellectual attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, and intellectual thoroughness. Although students are not separately assessed on the virtues, the practice and awareness of them help to continually develop the personal qualities of an exceptional thinker and learner. Therefore, such virtues as curiosity, intellectual humility, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity will also be practiced in the IVA History classroom to further encourage students to embrace and overcome intellectual challenges and struggle.  

    Students will be using the History Alive! textbook created by the Teacher’s Curriculum Institute as a basic framework for content information. However, this book is meant as a curriculum guide and will only serve as one source from students to learn. Throughout the year students will explore, discuss, and analyze secondary sources, primary sources, maps, data, and visuals in a meaningful way by utilizing thinking routines. These thinking routines are tools that will promote a deep understanding and questioning of the content. It is through the different sources presented to them and the daily practice of thinking routines that students will explore the unit-aligned essential questions and the daily Central Historical Questions.

    The subject matter of historical study is immense, encompassing all of human affairs in the recorded past. Historians must rely on the fragmentary records that survive from a given time period in order to develop as much of a full picture as they can. In order to help do this, historians create questions to frame the inquiry at hand, a practice occurring in this class as well. Students will use effective questioning methods in order to study the past and form their own inquiry-based arguments. While an initial place to start, these essential questions may change or be added to as new authentic lines of inquiry arise through class discussions and activities.

    Syllabus for Social Science Classes:

    IVA_AncientCiv6Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_WorldHistory7Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_USHistory8AdamsonSyllabus.pdf

    IVA_USHistory8FountainSyllabus.pdf

     

    Syllabus for 8th Grade Social Science related Elective Classes:  

    IVA_SocJustice8Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_InterpersonalComm8Syllabus.pdf 

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  • Physical Education +

    IVA students learn Physical Education through a Teaching Games for Understanding approach. Under TGfU, students take part in different categories of activities that encourage movement, engagement, and thoughtful applications of skills and strategies. Each year of physical education focuses and builds students in their development of a greater understanding of strategies and skills as they make their way through cooperative activities, individual and dual activities, and sport-focused activities. Each lesson and activity is designed to develop students’ physical and cognitive abilities and challenge students’ understanding towards themselves as thinkers and movers.

    Students are also challenged in their application and understanding of health-related physical fitness skills and concepts. Daily activities push students to practice autonomy and tenacity in the way that they strive to achieve goals and learn how to apply principles that can allow them to become lifelong movers. The combination of health-related and skill-related physical fitness gives students an opportunity to develop a more holistic understanding of Physical Education. 

    A variety of assignments are given to students throughout the year. Class learning assignments involve formative peer assessments and activities that require students to apply their knowledge of skills by giving feedback and using movements correctly. Home thinking assignments might include reflective journals and other tasks that will set up for and expand on thinking that is addressed during class time. Students will also be assigned 2-3 performance tasks per semester (individual and group) that will connect to the specific units that students are involved in and require students to demonstrate their knowledge and application of skills. 

    Our Physical Education Curriculum is well summarized in one 8th grade students' end-of-unit Performance Task reflection: "In PE class we don't just exercise, we learn how to exercise, how to play games and think about the components that help us succeed in physical activity, the skills and strategies we learned while playing these games and thinking about these skills and strategy help us play more games and be more successful."

    Physical Education Syllabus:

    IVA_PhysicalEducation6Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_PhysicalEducation7Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_PhysicalEducation8Syllabus.pdf

     

    Read More
  • The Arts +

    Students in IVA Art classes will think deeply about how humans use art to communicate. IVA creates a meaningful approach to recognizing and understanding what and how artists communicate by offering an art-centered curriculum where students study examples of art throughout history and from many cultures.

    Students develop understanding by creating their own art, using and experimenting with the elements of art and design principals. For example, students look at artists who communicate through Geometric Art. Using thinking routines and classroom activities, they will create a  working understanding of how artists communicated their ideas. Students then use attention to formal design to communicate their own ideas. In this way, they come to understand recognized artists and their work and also develop an open-mindedness about the nature of art and their own ability to act as artists.  

    There is no textbook used in the art classroom. Rather, the California State Standards and Common Core State Standards are covered though curriculum designed with IVA’s mission and vision at the forefront. Art projects and the study of recognized artists act as a means to develop the students' creative communication and offer an opportunity for their own thoughtful response to the art of others.

    The Music class at IVA is a semester-long course designed to introduce students to music history, analysis, and vocal technique and performance. Students will think about how music has functioned historically (and functions today) in culture. They’ll begin learning music theory, with a goal of better understanding how composers communicate with performers. They’ll also be performers themselves; we’ll learn choral music together and talk about vocal technique and how we can sing well together. The goal is that students engage deeply in each unit’s specific topics and periods in music history, rather than attempting a broad and thus shallow overview of music history.

    Music asks us to grow in our Attentiveness—students will practice noticing and attending to detail and nuance, both when looking at music, and when listening to it. They’ll also pay attention to what they are doing with their bodies while singing, and how the whole class sounds singing together. The performance of music requires Intellectual Courage—students will need to persist in thinking, participating, and performing in spite of fear of embarrassment or failure. Opportunities to self-assess and reflect upon their performance let students focus on growth.

    Syllabus for Art & Music Classes:

    IVA_Art7Syllabus.pdf

    IVA_MusicSyllabus.pdf

      

     

    Read More
  • 1

Parent Connections with IVA
Parents can connect with the school through two online systems. 

  • ParentSquare is the two-way messaging system for families to contact teachers & receive school news. 
  • Aeries is the Student Information System where families can view attendance records and current gradebooks. Students also have Aeries access.

Note: IVA teachers & students use Google Classrooms for assignments. Google Classroom is not the same as the gradebook and will not necessarily line up. Please have your child attend Office Hours or connect with their teacher for any questions. 

PARENTSQUARE LOGIN:
To log in to your account: https://www.parentsquare.com/signin. If you did not receive an invitation to ParentSquare, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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AERIES LOGIN

Parents, are you having trouble logging into Aeries? 
Here's a step by step on how to get your Aeries access.
  • Visit https://intellectualvirtues.aeries.net/ 
  • Select Parent/Student portal.
  • Select “Forgot Password”.
  • Please enter the email address that’s registered with IVA. Then, select “Next”.
  • An email should go through within a few minutes, which will allow you to set up your account on your own. However, if you did not receive an email, do check your Junk mail.
  • If all else fails, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the school at 562-912-7017 and someone from front office will assist you.

DIRECT LINK: https://intellectualvirtues.aeries.net/student/LoginParent.aspx?page=Dashboard.aspx

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JOBS AT IVA

To see any available jobs at IVA click on this link to EdJoin and review the job descriptions.
We process applications for all of our positions through EdJoin. Only applicants who complete the application process will be contacted. IVA's hiring season is ongoing as needed. If there are no current jobs posted below please check back again in the fall.  

Thank you for applying!  

Note: All credential requirements are in line with IVA’s Charter. 

  • View the 2023-2024 IVA Teacher/Counselor Salary Schedule:  IVAMS Salary Schedule 2023-2024
  • **We recommend any interested applicant take a tour of the school to learn more about our program!

CERTIFICATED TEACHER POSITIONS - SCIENCE FULL TIME POSITION SPRING 2024 - Apply by November 17, 2023

Thank you for your interest in teaching at IVA - we have one temporary teaching position currently available. 

FULL TIME & TEMPORARY SCIENCE SUBSTITUTE TEACHER POSITION. See the Job Description. We encourage all candidates to schedule a tour of the school, which are available on a weekly basis to learn more about what it is like to be a teacher at IVA. Apply directly on EdJoin.

  • This position includes 5 classes. 3 8th grade Science classes, 1 7th Grade Science Class, & 1 Interpersonal Communication Class. 

All applications are collected through our job postings on EdJoin. Please check back at the end of the 23-24 year to see if there are any teaching positions open for next year. 


OPEN CLASSIFIED SUPPORT STAFF POSITIONS

There are no open positions at this time. All applications are collected through our job postings on EdJoin. Please check back at the end of the 23-24 year to see if there are any teaching positions open for next year. 

We encourage all interested candidates to schedule a tour of the school, which are available on a weekly basis to learn more about what it is like to be a teacher at IVA. Apply directly on EdJoin.

 

 


 Learn about Teaching at IVA

 Interested applicants can learn more about our educational model by reading IVA's charter and Ron Ritchhart's Intellectual Character: What It Is, Why It Matters and How To Get It.
 
Below is an excerpt from our job description, focusing specifically on teaching with an intellectual virtues model. Prospective teachers might find this description interesting as they learn more about how teaching at IVA will encourage genuine professional growth and development. Working at IVA is  an opportunity to teach rigorous content in a school-wide culture of thinking with a collaborative staff. As a small school with a small and close knit educator team, IVA teachers work closely with their colleagues and other school staff to help shape a culture of thinking and a collaborative community of care. Each IVA teacher and staff member functions as a valuable thought partner working closely with the Principal to implement the school’s mission and vision. Adult educators at IVA implement IVA’s values related to the functions described below and provides an opportunity for a competent person to be a part of something transformational and rewarding with an impact on the lives of our educators, students, and the IVA community.
 

Read More & Comment

IVA’s Nine Master Virtues

Intellectual virtues are the personal qualities of a good thinker or learner. At IVA, we focus on promoting and fostering nine master virtues: curiosity, intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy, attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, intellectual thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and intellectual perseverance.

These virtues fall into three categories, corresponding to three stages or dimensions of learning: getting the learning process started and headed in the right direction; making the learning process go well; and overcoming challenges to productive learning.

Below are brief definitions and "slogans" for each of IVA's master virtues:

Getting Started

1. Curiosity: a disposition to wonder, ponder, and ask why. A thirst for understanding and a desire to explore. Slogan: Ask questions!

2. Intellectual humility: a willingness to own up to one’s intellectual limitations and mistakes. Unconcerned with intellectual status or prestige. Slogan: Admit what you don't know!

3. Intellectual autonomy: a capacity for active, self-directed thinking. An ability to think and reason for oneself. Slogan: Think for yourself! 

Executing Well

4. Attentiveness: a readiness to be “personally present” in the learning process. Keeps distractions at bay. Strives to be mindful and engaged. Slogan: Look and listen!

5. Intellectual carefulness: a sensitivity to the requirements of good thinking. Quick to notice and avoid intellectual pitfalls and mistakes. Strives for accuracy. Slogan: Think with care!

6. Intellectual thoroughness: a disposition to seek and provide explanations. Unsatisfied with mere appearances or easy answers. Probes for deeper meaning and understanding. Slogan: Go deep!

Handling Challenges

7. Open-mindedness: an ability to think outside the box. Gives a fair and honest hearing to competing perspectives. Slogan: Think outside the box!

8. Intellectual courage: a readiness to persist in thinking or communicating in the face of fear, including fear of embarrassment or failure. Slogan: Take risks!

9. Intellectual tenacity: a willingness to embrace intellectual challenge and struggle. Keeps its “eyes on the prize” and doesn’t give up. Slogan: Embrace struggle!

IVA Families are invited to view and download the Student Parent Handbook by clicking on the link below. Our handbook is presented during Orientation and provided electronically to families before the school year begins. Hard copies are also available in our front office upon request.
 
For your convenience, we have provided direct links to a few of our policies in the right-side navigation menu. These policies may be particularly helpful as you prepare for the school year. Some of our policies will continue to be reviewed and adjusted with parent and student input throughout the year. If you have any questions about these policies or would like information on any other policies, please do not hesitate to call the office or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 
 

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To PRINT the 2023-2024 Academic Calendar: 2023-2024_IVA_Academic_Calendar

Instructional Calendar and a Culture of Thinking:

The IVA Academic Calendar includes between 175-177 days of instruction, using curriculum and pacing that support a culture of thinking. As a charter school, IVA has flexibility so that we may use 5 Faculty Academy days where students do not attend. These days are opportunities for our faculty and staff to think, alone and together, about each student's work and progress toward goals within our mission and vision. As we take this time for thoughtful evaluation, we ensure that our students are offered the most rigorous, yet personalized, instruction. Faculty Academy Days days are often scheduled for the day before school starts, after the first month of classes, at the end of the fall semester, halfway through the spring semester, and after the last day of the school year.

Because we are committed to providing an excellent education for all students, our staff also works to continually develop our own growth in intellectual virtues, so that we may model the sort of thinking and learning that creates the desire to always want to know more.

IVA is the first school to be founded on the principles of intellectual character growth, and our calendar reflects our commitment to IVA's mission.


Archived Calendars 

How is the writing process taught at IVA? 
We utilize a varied approach to teaching writing at IVA. As school we have not adopted any official writing curriculum. Throughout each unit students read a variety of texts, discuss them as a class, and eventually write about those texts. Although it may seem strange, the readings and conversations are in many ways the first steps of the writing process. As students get comfortable with the texts we are reading and develop their understanding of what the authors are saying, they are better situated to write about those texts. 
 
Each unit, teachers generally assign a quiz with a few questions about the current novel. Students are asked to write a few paragraphs using evidence from the text as they respond to the question. These responses are collected, graded, discussed allowing students to see one or two sample student essays, and then passed back to students. 
 
 
A similar process happens at the end of each unit. Students are generally asked to write an analytic essay with introduction, body, and conclusion responding to a specific question about the book. They are given tips on what to include in their introduction, body and conclusion, but they are necessarily assigned a specific outline for their essays. The hope is that as students continue to write, see other students' writing, reflect on their own writing, and ultimately rewrite (see below) portions of their essays they will gain an understanding of the elements of powerful essays. 
 
Two other elements of the writing process are staples in the Literature and Composition classroom: Timed Writes and Sentence Composing/Combining. 
 
Every three weeks (usually on Thursdays), students are presented with a quote or question and asked to write a mini in-class essay arguing a particular point (or thesis). We first look at a few articles, TedTalks, news stories, or other "sources" to collect evidence about that day's question or quote. After reading and discussing the "sources" students write a brief four paragraph essay in the last 15 minutes of class. These essays do have a suggested outline. Students are only graded for these timed in-class essays based on their participation. They only need to give a genuine effort and attempt to write for the full 15 minutes to receive full credit. The essays are placed in the students writing portfolios (kept in class). Toward the end of the semester, students will take one of these "Timed Writes" and, using their original essay as a rough draft, develop a full 4-6 paragraph essay. These essays are read carefully and graded for content. 
 
With regard to language development and grammar, our main source for exercises is Sentence Composing by Don Killgallon for 6th and 7th grade. 8th graders use a similar workbook called Sentence Combining by William Strong. Both of these books push students to create different types of sentences by studying effective models. Students are asked to look carefully at components of a sentence and create sentences of their own that are varied, creative, and powerful. These exercises are generally done once a week in class. About once a month one of these exercises will turn into a "quiz" in which students turn in their sentences and they are graded using a rubric. 
 
There are, of course, other elements of the writing process that take place in class, and in other classes as well, but hopefully the brief sketch outlined above will at least give families a small picture of some of things students are asked to do in class with regard to writing
 
How is writing graded at IVA? 
 
Writing at IVA is generally graded based on rubrics. While each teacher may vary the rubrics based on the particular assignment, in general each rubric measures students' content and ideas, word choice and syntax, and grammar and spelling. For a list of each rubric, see Illuminate or Google classroom for the given assignment.
 
Handwritten responses, such as quizzes, are read carefully and given a grade based on the rubric. Specific comments and feedback are generally not given on handwritten responses (see below for more information on feedback). Typed responses, such as performance tasks and take home writing projects, are read carefully, given specific comments and feedback. Following these larger assignments, students are then asked to rewrite some aspect of their response taking in the teacher comments and feedback. 
 
It should be noted that although handwritten responses are generally not given specific teacher feedback, students are always welcome to bring their writing to office hours to get a better understanding of the areas they are doing well in and the areas for improvement with their writing
 
 
What is your process on giving students feedback on their writing? 
 
As noted above, handwritten responses such as quizzes are generally not given specific feedback. Specific feedback is reserved for larger assignments such as performance tasks and take home writing projects which are generally typed out using Google Docs and submitted on Google Classroom. 
 
There are several reasons for this decision regarding when feedback is given. One, students are asked to write A LOT throughout each unit. Providing specific feedback on every written assignment is unfortunately not always possible. Two, often the setup of paper documents can make it difficult for teachers to write exactly what they are trying to say. There may not be enough room on the page, or, if the page is somewhat messy or disorganized, the feedback can be confusing or unclear for students. Three, a good rule of thumb in education is to not provide students with specific feedback unless you are going to provide them with an opportunity to put that feedback into action immediately (i.e. rewriting). Each time specific feedback is given on performance tasks and take home projects, students are asked to rewrite and put that feedback to use. This helps students grow as writers. 
 
Retaking tests and quizzes is encouraged!
 
In Literature and Composition as in many other classes, students have the option to rewrite. If a student so choses, she could rewrite the same essay or quiz response a dozen times to try to improve her score. The reason for this is the belief that rewriting is one of the best ways to grow as a writer (see above). The best writers will all acknowledge that their first draft of any project is rarely their final product. 
 
One common condition on this freedom to rewrite is that the rewriting of tests and quizzes needs to happen at school during office hours with teacher supervision. This condition is in place to ensure that the "testing environment" is secure and students are only relying on their own skills and knowledge to rewrite. 
 
How can I support my child at home with writing
 
There are a number of ways parents can support the writing process at home. The most important way is to encourage your child to read as much as possible. While reading and writing are by no means the same thing, the two processes are intimately connected, and generally speaking, students who read often have a decided advantage when it comes to writing
 
The performance task and quiz writing prompts will usually be posted on Google Classroom and Illuminate a few days before that actual test or quiz. You could encourage your child to look over the questions, make sure he understands what they are asking, prepare a few ideas of things he would like to write about in his response, and collect any quotes from the book that might strengthen his response. Quizzes and performance tasks are almost always open note and open book. Having ideas ahead of time can make the test or quiz day a bit more manageable. 
 
There are a few writing tutorials posted on Google Classroom in the Literature and Composition classes that provide students models of writing in addition to some general feedback and tips for strong writing. Within those classes you can view these videos by searching for the "Writing Tutorials" topic on Google Classroom. Students could view these videos at home, take note of a couple elements of good writing as well as the types of mistakes to try to avoid in their writing
 
Finally, a good way to support your child is by checking Illuminate on a regular basis to see how your child is doing. If you notice your child is missing a test, quiz, or project encourage him to come to office hours to make up or finish that assignment. Thanks to all of our families for their time and support! Please feel free to contact teachers by email or set up an appointment with additional questions. Our IVA teachers look forward to continuing to work with your child as they grow as writers!

Students in IVA Art classes will think deeply about how humans use art to communicate. IVA creates a meaningful approach to recognizing and understanding what and how artists communicate by offering an art-centered curriculum where students study examples of art throughout history and from many cultures.

Students develop understanding by creating their own art, using and experimenting with the elements of art and design principals. For example, students look at artists who communicate through Geometric Art. Using thinking routines and classroom activities, they will create a  working understanding of how artists communicated their ideas. Students then use attention to formal design to communicate their own ideas. In this way, they come to understand recognized artists and their work and also develop an open-mindedness about the nature of art and their own ability to act as artists.  

There is no textbook used in the art classroom. Rather, the California State Standards and Common Core State Standards are covered though curriculum designed with IVA’s mission and vision at the forefront. Art projects and the study of recognized artists act as a means to develop the students' creative communication and offer an opportunity for their own thoughtful response to the art of others.

The Music class at IVA is a semester-long course designed to introduce students to music history, analysis, and vocal technique and performance. Students will think about how music has functioned historically (and functions today) in culture. They’ll begin learning music theory, with a goal of better understanding how composers communicate with performers. They’ll also be performers themselves; we’ll learn choral music together and talk about vocal technique and how we can sing well together. The goal is that students engage deeply in each unit’s specific topics and periods in music history, rather than attempting a broad and thus shallow overview of music history.

Music asks us to grow in our Attentiveness—students will practice noticing and attending to detail and nuance, both when looking at music, and when listening to it. They’ll also pay attention to what they are doing with their bodies while singing, and how the whole class sounds singing together. The performance of music requires Intellectual Courage—students will need to persist in thinking, participating, and performing in spite of fear of embarrassment or failure. Opportunities to self-assess and reflect upon their performance let students focus on growth.

Syllabus for Art & Music Classes:

IVA_Art7Syllabus.pdf

IVA_MusicSyllabus.pdf

  

 

IVA students learn Physical Education through a Teaching Games for Understanding approach. Under TGfU, students take part in different categories of activities that encourage movement, engagement, and thoughtful applications of skills and strategies. Each year of physical education focuses and builds students in their development of a greater understanding of strategies and skills as they make their way through cooperative activities, individual and dual activities, and sport-focused activities. Each lesson and activity is designed to develop students’ physical and cognitive abilities and challenge students’ understanding towards themselves as thinkers and movers.

Students are also challenged in their application and understanding of health-related physical fitness skills and concepts. Daily activities push students to practice autonomy and tenacity in the way that they strive to achieve goals and learn how to apply principles that can allow them to become lifelong movers. The combination of health-related and skill-related physical fitness gives students an opportunity to develop a more holistic understanding of Physical Education. 

A variety of assignments are given to students throughout the year. Class learning assignments involve formative peer assessments and activities that require students to apply their knowledge of skills by giving feedback and using movements correctly. Home thinking assignments might include reflective journals and other tasks that will set up for and expand on thinking that is addressed during class time. Students will also be assigned 2-3 performance tasks per semester (individual and group) that will connect to the specific units that students are involved in and require students to demonstrate their knowledge and application of skills. 

Our Physical Education Curriculum is well summarized in one 8th grade students' end-of-unit Performance Task reflection: "In PE class we don't just exercise, we learn how to exercise, how to play games and think about the components that help us succeed in physical activity, the skills and strategies we learned while playing these games and thinking about these skills and strategy help us play more games and be more successful."

Physical Education Syllabus:

IVA_PhysicalEducation6Syllabus.pdf

IVA_PhysicalEducation7Syllabus.pdf

IVA_PhysicalEducation8Syllabus.pdf

 

In order to think like historians and social scientists students will be encouraged to continually practice all of the intellectual virtues during various points throughout the year. The Intellectual Virtues share in an important partnership with historical study and ultimately form the basis of what it means to think like a historian and social scientist. Understanding different interpretations, analyzing challenging texts, and asking provocative questions requires a growth mindset that can be traced directly back to each master virtue. Class discussions, activities, and thinking routines will require students to push their thinking, practice open-mindedness, and form strong connections. Historical projects and writings will further provide students the opportunity to think carefully and critically about what evidence to include, what to exclude, and how to frame a concise argument about the past. These types of assessments will require students to practice intellectual attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, and intellectual thoroughness. Although students are not separately assessed on the virtues, the practice and awareness of them help to continually develop the personal qualities of an exceptional thinker and learner. Therefore, such virtues as curiosity, intellectual humility, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity will also be practiced in the IVA History classroom to further encourage students to embrace and overcome intellectual challenges and struggle.  

Students will be using the History Alive! textbook created by the Teacher’s Curriculum Institute as a basic framework for content information. However, this book is meant as a curriculum guide and will only serve as one source from students to learn. Throughout the year students will explore, discuss, and analyze secondary sources, primary sources, maps, data, and visuals in a meaningful way by utilizing thinking routines. These thinking routines are tools that will promote a deep understanding and questioning of the content. It is through the different sources presented to them and the daily practice of thinking routines that students will explore the unit-aligned essential questions and the daily Central Historical Questions.

The subject matter of historical study is immense, encompassing all of human affairs in the recorded past. Historians must rely on the fragmentary records that survive from a given time period in order to develop as much of a full picture as they can. In order to help do this, historians create questions to frame the inquiry at hand, a practice occurring in this class as well. Students will use effective questioning methods in order to study the past and form their own inquiry-based arguments. While an initial place to start, these essential questions may change or be added to as new authentic lines of inquiry arise through class discussions and activities.

Syllabus for Social Science Classes:

IVA_AncientCiv6Syllabus.pdf

IVA_WorldHistory7Syllabus.pdf

IVA_USHistory8AdamsonSyllabus.pdf

IVA_USHistory8FountainSyllabus.pdf

 

Syllabus for 8th Grade Social Science related Elective Classes:  

IVA_SocJustice8Syllabus.pdf

IVA_InterpersonalComm8Syllabus.pdf 

IVA's science curriculum, It’s About Time Project-Based Inquiry Science, carefully leads students to a deep understanding of science topics. Lessons begin with a lab, where students actively explore the topics through hands-on experiments or demonstrations before reading the text.

An important component of the curriculum is writing explanations: students are presented with a question to explore in each lesson and each unit. Students make a claim about the question and support the claim with science knowledge, from the text, evidence from experiments, or personal experience.

Students take on real-life issues -- planning erosion control around a basketball court or writing a proposal for a potential asteroid strike on Earth. This hands-on program draws students into the material and gives them the opportunity to explore the topics on their own, creating interest in the text, which also becomes more meaningful as they seek additional information.

Home thinking might include 2 assignments a week that allow students to think autonomously through the days lesson or to prepare for the next class. The HoT will be in the form of a short activity or reading followed by a writing reflection. Students will also work on their science fair project at home throughout the year by carrying out a procedure, analyzing their data, and putting together their display. 

Syllabus for Science Classes:

IVA_EarthScience6Syllabus.pdf

IVA_LifeScience7Syllabus.pdf

IVA_PhysicalScience8Syllabus.pdf 

 

 

Novels make up the bulk of what students read, discuss, analyze, and write about in Literature and Composition (LitComp) classes at IVA. Guided by the teacher, students engage in activities and thinking routines to explore each novel. These thinking routines serve as a launching point for discussion, when students share their ideas with partners as well as the whole class. The teacher creates frequent opportunities for students to ask meaningful questions and seek thorough and thoughtful answers to questions in the novel. Students, encouraged by the teacher and IVA's classroom culture, offer comments, observations, and wonderings – habits they come quickly to enjoy and take pride in. Through the novel, students in IVA LitComp classes have explored themes such as what it means to be human, how race and racism can affect a community, the meaning and value of friendship, how an adventure can change you, what makes beautiful language beautiful. 


Some novels students may take on include:

Grade 6

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein,
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, 
  • A Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
  • The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, 
  • The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes. 
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle

Grade 7

  • The City of Ember by Jeanne Dupreau
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniele Defoe
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
  • A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare

Grade 8

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Enders Games by Orson Scott Card
  • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  • To Kill A Mockingbird  by Harper Lee
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Much, but not all, of classroom language and grammar development is based on Sentence Composing for Middle Schoolers by Don Killgallon and Sentence Combining by William Strong. Students learn to be better writers by studying good writing. Students analyze excerpts of sentences taken from well-written classic and current novels, break the sentences down into meaningful parts, then write ones of their own imitating the styles they see in the book. Over time and with this practice students grow into their own voice and style.

Through deep and practiced analysis of novels and the elements of strong writing, IVA's students can expect to be able to demonstrate all the English Language Arts skills in the Common Core State Standards.

Home thinking is primarily reading from the current novels. Students will be encouraged to read a certain number of chapters each week and think about/write down one question and one concept or connection.  

Syllabus for Literature & Composition Classes:

IVA_LitComp6Syllabus.pdf

IVA_LitComp7Syllabus.pdf

IVA_LitComp8Syllabus.pdf 

 

 

Fostering intellectual virtues is not an alternative to a rigorous, standards-based curriculum. On the contrary, it is through active and reflective engagement of core academic knowledge and skills that students learn to practice the intellectual virtues. In selecting IVA's curriculum, the school's founders and teachers searched for existing published curricula in core areas that (1) aligned with the Common Core State Standards, (2) aimed at deep understanding, and (3) provided opportunities for the practice of intellectual virtues.

As a publicly funded independent charter school, IVA students, as any other public school students, take the state-sponsored academic achievement test known as the Smarter Balanced assessment presented through the California Assessment of Academic Progress or CAASPP site. While we believe these tests measure something important, they do not begin to capture everything that is involved with growth in intellectual virtues like curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity. Therefore, we believe they are only partly reflective of the quality of education offered at IVA. For further indicators of this quality, see here.

In its yearly LCAP IVA creates goals for the next year based on previous year data, which includes CAASPP data and feedback on school goals. See more information about IVA's LCAP and a slideshow for more information about test scores by student demographic group, as well as IVA's other goals. 
For an overview of IVA's Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) and the School Accountability Report Card (SARC), please see the governance page. The results from the last three years' assessments are as follows:

*Note - Results from previous year test scores are accessible to schools at the beginning of the next school year.  

IVA's 2021-2022 test scores are in the highest 10% of all schools in LA County. 

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CAASPP STATE TEST - SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT 

% of Students who Met or Exceeded Grade Level Standards

 

IVA

Local (LBUSD)

State
(CA)

English Language Arts 2021-22

70% 48% 47%

English Language Arts 2020-21

N/A N/A N/A

English Language Arts 2018-19

77% 53% 50%

English Language Arts 2017-18

75%  45%  48% 

 

     
  IVA   Local (LBUSD) State
(CA)
 

Mathematics 2021-22

56%

33%

33%

Mathematics 2020-21

N/A

N/A

N/A

Mathematics 2018-19

59%

44%

38%

Mathematics 2017-18

61%

34%

35%
       
 

 IVA

 Local (LBUSD)  State
(CA)
Science 2021-22 57%   29%

Science 2020-21

N/A

N/A

28%

Science 2018-19

70%

30%

28%

IVA has results from the CAST Science test given to our 8th grade students. IVA only has 8th-grade students, so its averages do not include 5th- or 11th-grade student results based on the CAST test. New Generation Science Standards version of the test began as a pilot in the 2016-2017 school year.