We have designed our schools to nurture a rich intellectual life for teachers. We give our faculty access to accomplished master teachers and sophisticated professional learning opportunities.
Progressive Education Institute
Through the Progressive Education Institute, we aspire to build an enduring institution that will prepare the most inspiring, effective teachers this country has seen. Our plan is to create a new approach to teacher preparation while showcasing our obsession with exquisite instruction.
A Month of Vibrant Learning Every Summer
HVA’s annual month of learning is the centerpiece of our continual improvement cycle. This month gives teachers an opportunity for reflection on the prior year and planning for the upcoming year. Starting with our opening Community Day and culminating with our Closing Ceremony, it is truly a special experience. Teachers observe master lessons, develop unit plans, study pedagogical methods, improve school systems — all while playing ping pong, basketball, yoga or dancing, eating real fruit pops, and building bonds of friendship with colleagues throughout our school system.
Throughout the school year, teachers receive individual or small group instructional coaching and feedback. A typical coaching cycle may involve a brief seminar, professional reading, observing a master teacher, co-planning a lesson, teaching the lesson, reviewing and analyzing a video of one’s own teaching, looking at student work from the lesson, then reflecting on the cycle with colleagues or a mentor.
Looking at Student Work
During our authentic assessment sessions, teachers look at student work together and discuss implications for instruction and curriculum. While we do analyze quantitative assessment data, we do not value shallow analysis of numbers alone. We value deep analysis and thoughtful discussions of student work.
Lectures and Guest Speakers
Our in-house master teachers and coaches will offer monthly and bimonthly lectures, based on teacher needs and topics of interest. In addition, we invite experts from the field for full-day speaking engagements on topics requested by our teachers.
School Visits, Conferences, and Retreats
Over the years, we have given teachers the opportunity to observe educators at other charter, district, or private schools; to attend conferences; and to design their own professional learning retreats. These offerings vary each year, based on teacher interest and school priorities.
Peer Observation and Feedback
Our classroom doors are always open! We embrace constructive feedback to improve our instruction. On any given day, teachers observe each other and debrief to share ideas and strategies.
Workouts take our faculty meetings to a new level. Originally inspired by Jack Welch, workouts are sessions in which teachers and staff identify school-wide problems and tap into our collective wisdom to develop solutions and continually improve our schools.