December 18, 2015
Mission Vision is a newsletter providing an in-depth look at how students and their families experience Sycamore Valley Academy. This publication highlights the organization's mission statement and looks at how the mission is put into practice at SVA.

In each volume, Mission Vision examines one phrase of the Sycamore Valley Academy mission statement. This second volume invokes the community spirit of the season and explores our collaborative community.

The mission of Sycamore Valley Academy is to provide a rich, meaningful education in a nurturing environment, where students are continually challenged and their natural curiosity, creativity, and talents can thrive. Sycamore Valley Academy is a 
collaborative community of educators and families working together to help our students grow into virtuous, courageous, and intelligent citizens, equipped with a love of learning and a love of life, and eager to contribute to a better world.

Collaboration at SVA

There is a remarkable feeling that arises from being part of a group; the sense of togetherness inspires feelings of warmth and motivation.  That is why collaboration is an essential element of Sycamore Valley Academy's mission.  Not only does research show that collaborating is an effective path to learning/acquiring a new skill, but it also provides learners with many benefits and opportunities. At SVA, student collaboration creates opportunities for the development of skills beyond the mastery of academic content. Staff collaboration serves to solidify our culture of excellence and inclusion.  Family collaboration furthers the success of students by providing consistent reinforcement of the academic and social lessons students are acquiring at SVA.


Working collaboratively allows students to grapple with more complex problems in greater depth than they could while working alone. Collaborative learning provides the opportunity for our learners to achieve deeper understanding through the processes of discussion and reflection. Students share and learn from diverse perspectives and begin to challenge their own assumptions. Doors open to immense learning possibilities as students acquire the ability to examine a topic from multiple perspectives. 

The development of high-level thinking skills is the foundation of future success for our 21st Century learners and is aligned with Common Core State Standards. The collaborative experience provides students with more than simply a novel way to learn academic content; it provides opportunities for students to develop critical thinking, social, organizational, and communication skills. Student collaboration in the classroom is an important part of preparing today's students for the demands of college and careers in the 21st Century.

While developing life-skills and delving deep into complex topics, students are also having fun and discovering the joy and the reward of learning. The learning experiences designed by our teachers inspire excitement for learning, academic enthusiasm, and this is the key to continued success.  SVA understands that nurturing a love of learning and inspiring student curiosity is the key to developing momentum for student progress and growth.  Within our school culture of academic excellence, students are not only held to high standards, but are also taught with methods that cause them to become more curious about the content they are studying.  One of our 5th/6th grade teachers recently noted how genuinely excited about academics her students are. She said, "Kids in this age group typically think it's uncool to be excited about Social Studies... but our students could inspire classes at other schools with their enthusiasm!"  It's clear our constructivist, and largely collaborative, teaching methods foster student excitement.


Our staff is a large part of the collaborative culture of the school.  Each and every staff member is valued for their creative talents. All work together in a professional atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation toward the common interest of ensuring student success. Teachers are provided collaborative time in their schedules to ensure that the ability to support each other is built in. Sharing ideas with peers in cooperation and having a professional support system in place is part of what makes SVA a wonderful place to work.  In addition, SVA teachers, aides, and administrators are all part of our instructional team, and the typical divisions between roles that sometimes plague other institutions simply do not exist here.  Communication lines are open, and all staff are direct, honest, professional, and transparent with one another.

Feel the Love! 

The Sycamore Valley Academy community feels like family, and for many of us, it is! 

Over half of our staff members, 25 to be exact, have children or grandchildren who are SVA students or alumni. 

Our staff also includes three married couples! 

Family Parnters

At SVA, we rely on the support of families to ensure student success. SVA parents/guardians are partners in their children's education.Each and every parent/guardian at our school can support the education of their children at home. A great first step to true partnership with SVA is taking the time to understand the school's philosophy, programs, and practices.  This prepares parents to best reinforce student learning. 

Our Bus Driver
shows his SVA spirit!

Our grandparents' idea of community meant potlucks and barn raisings; they could rely on their community to show up when a task was too much for one to do alone. Community is not only a group of people in proximity to one another or sharing some characteristic, it is also the sense of togetherness among that group. For generations, individuals have relied on their communities to fill social needs, provide them with a sense of camaraderie, and to act as a support system when in need.
The Sycamore Valley Academy school community is truly something exceptional. Student collaborative learning in the classroom, staff professional collaboration, and parents partnering and working with us as teammates all combine to create a culture of kindness that is beyond compare. The common goal of all, of course, is student learning and success, but in focusing so, our entire community is cohesive and supportive.  This is why many call SVA a family. 
Ensuring student success is not a result that can be achieved through the influence of teachers alone. This task is indeed a place for the community to come together to get the job done.  That is why our staff engages one another and SVA parents as partners in their child's education, and that is why we ask parents to provide support at home of the learning that occurs at school.
A strong community benefits the individual, the community as a whole, as well as the greater society. People of all ages who feel a sense of belonging tend to lead happier and healthier lives, and strong communities create a more stable and supportive society.  At SVA, our community furthers student success and fulfills the mission of our school. 

Sycamore Valley Academy | 559.622.3236 | [email protected]
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