Teton Valley Community School

Where Learning Comes to Life

Academics

Whole Child Education

A great education engages all aspects of the mind and body and addresses the multiple layers of human intelligence. In addition to providing a solid academic foundation, learning at TVCS includes artistic and musical expression, healthy social and emotional development and physical activity and coordination.

Every day students at TVCS have opportunities to build, create, care for farm animals, interact with peers and adults, play outside, sing and dance. This allows all students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civilly.

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

TVCS uses this active approach in which students learn through real-world questions and challenges. Projects integrate studies across a variety of subjects, and cultivate invaluable social skills like communication and collaboration. In PBL, the teacher is the facilitator, helping students ask constructive questions, scaffolding tasks appropriately, providing exciting resources, and encouraging social skills for the specific task at hand. The challenge for teachers is to plan, oversee, and assess the project while creating space for student voice and choice throughout the process.

Through projects, students learn grade-level academic content, develop 21st century skills (such as critical thinking, analysis and communication), and end up creating quality products and presentations to authentic audiences. Students come out of a project with an in-depth knowledge of the subject and research shows that students better retain knowledge through PBL than through more traditional textbook learning.

Restorative Practices

TVCS uses restorative practices as a way to empower each and every student to make positive contributions to the school community. Restorative practices are both proactive and reactive, ranging from relationship and community building activities to effective processes for dealing with disruptive student behavior and violence.

When systematically employed on a whole school basis, restorative practices allow students to take responsibility for making their school better. The use of restorative practices stands in stark contrast to the prevailing reliance on punishment that is used in most schools today.

Authentic Assessment

At TVCS, we aim to give every student and parent feedback that is accurate, perceptive, and reflective of the unique character and growth of the individual child. We believe that assessment of learning is best achieved through close observation and deep knowledge of students on the part of teachers.

Informal and ongoing assessment occurs daily at TVCS and is used to provide students with clear constructive feedback. Teachers tailor instruction to the specific needs of each student and challenge students in appropriate ways. Report cards are completed three times per year and are primarily used to track student progress over time.

Throughout a child’s tenure at TVCS, a student portfolio is kept to document their growth through their own unique representations of their learning experience. We chose this method for assessment because grades assigned to student work or performance are generally not adequate (or at best are only one-dimensional) indicators of competency and progress.

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