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Community Voices & What People Are Saying 

Student Voices

"This school is different than a traditional high school. Here, when you see somebody, you automatically become friends with them." 9th grade student  

"We treat each other like family." 9th grade student  

"I have not had any negative experiences here. At my old school, there were so many bullies. I did not like going to school. I felt unsafe. This school has been so positive for me. I love coming to school now." 9th grade student

"Members of the staff are very nice, considerate, and approachable. You can talk to the other students like you have known them your whole life, but you have only known them for a few weeks. Everyone at this school is very understanding. If you need to talk to someone about something, whether it is about school or at home, they are always open-minded. Everyone at the school is polite and positive. I have not had any negative experiences. If you want to do well in school, then Intellectual Virtues High School is the place to go. ...We are here to learn and excel through high school. The classes may seem long at first, but they go by so fast. When I am learning, it doesn't seem like it because the teachers make it so fun, and help us learn things in a new way. We are a learning community. We are here to help each other out." 9th grade student  

"I want to share my experience about the difference between our school and a regular public high school. For example, the teachers are focused on ur education. They want to see us succeed, other schools are too busy to be worrying about all of the students. All of the students are like a family. We treat everyone with respect. We are a school were we are heard and not shut down for our opinions. There is no fighting. We handle things differently. Instead of physically fighting one another, we learn how to talk it out. It is so small, so we have to get along. It is a school with new ideas, new rules. I love coming everyday. I think, "Wow! What am I going to learn today?" I am always learning something new." 9th grade student  

"All of the teachers really want to make (your) learning experience fit them individually." 9th grade student    

Parent Voices

"My child goes here and I can't tell you how happy we are to be apart of this great school. My daughter loves it here. Small classes, and unique teaching styles unlike any other school."

"I wanted to tell you that I am so relieved and excited for my child and how he has been so successful at IVA High. He has a history of resisting going to school but has not tried to get out of it once since attending IVA High. He is genuinely enjoying his experience there and told me yesterday that he feels his acquaintances have become friends. He is also happy to share about the work he has been doing in the classroom and all the interesting ways the teachers have to engage the students. I couldn't be happier with the school so far. Thank you so much for creating such an educationally rich and emotionally supportive environment for my son. It means the world to me."

"My son has not come home from school so excited in quite some time! Keep doing what you're doing..."

 "My son attends here and he is absolutely thriving. I love the emphasis on the different virtues... autonomy, open mindedness, curiosity, etc. I feel like he is learning to be a thoughtful and intelligent human being, rather than just memorizing information. And they took his least favorite subject and made it is favorite - math!! The small size also allows for a more personal approach and being new, they were able to take the most recent research into account to create the culture of the school. Love it!"

Expert Voices (About IVA)

From Ron Ritchhart, Senior Research Associate, Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of Intellectual Character: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Get It, Making Thinking Visible (with Mark Church and Karin Morrison, 2011), and Creating Cultures of Thinking (2015):

“As an educational researcher, I have to say that I am very impressed with what the school, its teachers, and leadership have been able to accomplish in just two short years. There is a deep level of commitment among all stakeholders to combine high standards, intellectual rigor, disciplinary understanding, and development of students’ dispositions of thinking. Such a commitment is rare in education today. Often schools settle for just one of these lofty goals while perhaps giving lip service to the others. Not IVA. At IVA, the teachers view these goals as not competing but complementary. They view their students as learners capable of deep thinking and understanding and eagerly apply the tools I have provided to support their students in a comprehensive fashion. This means that each student is known by all of his or her teachers, classes operate as a community of learners supporting each other, and teachers provide the level of intellectual challenge and support needed by each child.”

“In my work with schools around the world, I visit hundreds of schools each year. Most of these schools desire but struggle to create a true culture of thinking for their students. Too often there is not a strong understanding and commitment to this goal or teachers and leaders at the school lack a vision of how a school might be other than what they have known. I would love for these teachers and leaders to visit IVA to see how school might be construed differently. Such a visit would allow them to see how a public school can both prepare students academically, engage them intellectually, and foster the development of habits of mind for a lifetime.”

From Philip Dow, Superintendent of Rossyln Academy, Nairobi, Kenya, and author of Virtuous Minds (2013):

“As I have spoken on intellectual virtue education around the world (most recently in Germany, Portugal, the US and Kenya – with a conference in Thailand next month), I am consistently asked for examples of where intellectual virtue education is being done well. Despite the fact that it has only been in existence for a few years, at the very top of my list is IVA in Long Beach. There are many schools that are beginning to integrate the ideas and practices of intellectual virtue education, but no school (including my own) has done so with the thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and effectiveness of IVA … [I]n my opinion, there is no school that is better poised to be the model for schools in the US and around the world who are beginning to implement an intellectual virtue approach in their classrooms.”

From Karen Bohlin, Head of School at the Montrose School in Medford, MA, senior scholar at Boston University’s Center for Character and Social Responsibility, and author or editor of several books on character education: 

“The teachers, the academic program, the opportunities for reflection, the evaluation rubrics at IVA all conspire to keep students in the driver’s seat of their own learning. It helps, too, that the intellectual virtues are visible, attractively worked into the motif of every classroom. You get the distinct impression that everyone in the school community, from Principal Jacquie Bryant and her teachers, to every student, knows that he or she is part of something larger than themselves—and this ‘something’ is quite exciting.”

From Richard Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, and winner of three lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association:

“Both my own research, and developmental science more generally, have discovered that the healthy and positive development of America’s youth depends fundamentally on their possessing the life skills to succeed not only in regard to academic tasks but, more importantly, in the endeavors required to have a life marked by personal and social well-being and by commitment and positive contributions to civil society and democracy. As summarized in several books I have authored or edited, researchers and educators have learned as well that such academic, personal, family, and community successes rest on a foundation of character virtues. Of course, the translation of this knowledge into educational programs providing this foundation is a significant challenge. However, the IVA continues to be an exemplar for our nation of how to productively meet this challenge!”