Value Schools has adapted a model that research has demonstrated is highly effective in educating low-income and minority students. This approach is characterized by an environment that provides a strong academic program in a small school setting, with a decentralized structure that can respond to the particular needs of students and their families. The approach emphasizes responsible behavior and provides an underlying inspirational vision of what it means to be an educated person in the 21st Century.
The schools that first developed this model were faith-based schools, particularly Catholic schools. Researchers Dr. James Coleman, Dr. Anthony Bryk and others, studied Catholic schools to identify what made them work. In Catholic Schools and the Common Good (1993), they concluded that shared beliefs and values were the key to a school’s success. A compelling ideology motivates students to see the importance of succeeding in school in the context of a broader vision. School becomes not just something to be endured here and now, but the means to future achievement and a full life.
The importance of the five core values cannot be overstated.
Our Five Core Values
- Academic excellence is the means to a full life. Academic learning develops a person's capacities to enjoy life, to live cooperatively and comfortably with others, to contribute to the economic well being of oneself and society and to be an active citizen. Anything less than striving for excellence deprives both students and society. The fundamental means to excellence are teachers who offer expert instruction with high expectations for performance, students who are disciplined learners, and standards of accountability for both.
- Each student can develop to his or her fullest potential. Each person is different, but each is gifted with talents and abilities. While each ought to excel in an area of special talent, each also should develop the whole range of human talents to the maximum extent possible. Schools have the responsibility of assisting parents and the students to identify areas of special talent and, at the same time, guiding students so that no area of learning is neglected.
- Each individual is unique and deserves respect. Each person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights accord each with dignity that is to be respected by all. This dignity implies that in society there are rules that limit certain behaviors so that all might have the fullest exercise of their rights. These rules are the laws enacted by government, codes of conduct set by institutions, customs and practices found in civil society and the moral norms freely adopted by individuals. Good schools set high standards for student behavior.
- A safe, nurturing community is essential to academic excellence. Rules of conduct that protect each person's dignity are not enough to create community. A community grows from common ideals and shared experiences. A community is composed of persons who genuinely care for each other and who seek good for each other. In a community, everyone belongs and feels valued by the others. In community, each feels secure and is supported in efforts to grow in every way.
- Service to others and the community is a responsibility of an educated person. An education completes a person by developing his/her talents and abilities. However, an educated person is not satisfied only with personal development. Talents and abilities perfected through an education need to be used to make a better world for all.