Children come first. We put our children’s and families’ needs before our own. The well-being and achievement of our children and families is our highest priority, and all our decisions are based on what’s best for them.
We seek to develop our cultural competence. As educators, it is particularly important that we are reflective about issues of privilege, race, class, gender, and inclusion, and especially sensitive to the cultural identity and cultural norms of the students and families we serve.
We revere teachers. Schools should be designed to respect, nurture, and support teachers in every way possible. The greatest role models in our community are master teachers, and we believe that no calling is more noble.
We’re positive. We energize each other with positive talk, attitudes, and actions. We don’t engage in negativity, complaining, arrogance, divisiveness, or gossip.
We hold ourselves accountable for results. We take ownership of our work and assume personal accountability for student achievement. We do not believe in blame or excuses—as individuals and as a team—just results and hard work.
We are passionate and driven to attain excellence, not satisfied with incremental gains. We work for social justice with seriousness and a sense of urgency. We are resilient even in times of stress, because our work is a sacred calling.
Team before individual. We approach our work with humility rather than seeking the limelight. We treat one another with kindness and put the interests of the group above those of the individual.
We’re continually improving and learning. We take initiative to continually improve everything, every day. We are relentless about excellence and about a strong work ethic. We believe that great teachers are always learning, so we put in the time and effort to maximize our own development.
We listen thoughtfully to one another. Real communication happens here—and the most important part is listening. By truly hearing one another and assuming the best of one another, we work through disagreements and difficult situations. We use email judiciously, and never for conversations.
Everyone here is an entrepreneur. We banish roadblocks and minimize bureaucratic nonsense. When a problem arises, we’re able to talk to each other, figure out a solution, and implement it fast.
These values, they’re not just words on a piece of paper. They are the guiding document that throughout the whole year shapes how we do this work, the ethic that we bring to it, and the way that we view children. It’s this set of guidelines that makes HVA really different from other schools I’ve worked for.
Our very first value is that students come first and that students are at the center of all decision making. There are always interests that compete with our kids, and I think having these values at the center of everything we do guides us to always stop and ask if that’s really what’s best for the kids.
We’re more of a community than a large organization and our values reflect that. We’re different because we’re smaller and we have a very family-like atmosphere. We feel like a family and we treat each other like a family.