Updated: Jul 26, 2020
If you are looking for the right school for a student grades 6-12, this is the blog to read! As the title says "If this speaks to you," then sign up for our free virtual open house this Thursday, July 30th at 7:30 p.m. You will find a link to get invited at the end.
Why would you choose Drive Virtual Academy? Why is education different at Drive?
We believe that the purpose of an education is to become an independent and informed thinker, to be able to adapt to change, to nurture and hone what makes one unique while becoming adept at essential skills for success. Students must build a foundation of knowledge and history from multiple sources and varying perspectives. As a result, students become lifelong learners that exercise their power and responsibility as productive citizens.
We designed Drive to reflect and support the most current beliefs on teaching and learning. Here are 7 reasons to choose Drive.
1. We are small. We are only accepting 50 students. This is less than a third of the usual number of students assigned to teachers. The reason for this is that we will be able to really get to know our students and vice versa. We can truly give each student the time and support they need. We can spend more time on valuable feedback and choosing content and tasks that challenge but do not discourage growth. We can plan and tailor lessons specific to the student that include their interests or speak to a specific strength or weakness.
Another benefit to being so small is that it will empower the students in the building of a tight-knit school culture. Because we serve grades 6-12, we look forward to students of different ages working together and learning from each other. We feel that our school is big enough to find and form close friendships while being small enough to respect and include everyone. To get to know each other, students will be involved in activities, games, projects, Esports, and virtual field trips. Students will each have an advisor that will help them become more independent, set goals, build their portfolios, check in regularly, and connect with others.
2. We are safe. As we face so much uncertainty, it is comforting to know that my students, my colleagues, and I will be safe this year, from probable exposure to the virus and to the regular threat of gun violence. I’m not sure that parents fully understand what it feels like to actually think there is a shooter in your school, to plan how you will come between this threat and your students, and to sit for hours in silence and in fear. Obviously this pales in comparison to a real threat and I hope that I never know that experience. With tensions at an all-time high though, it does make me grateful that we are virtual.
3. Our students will be tech savvy. Do you ever stop to think about what technology allows us to do? How it inspires and enables learning anytime and anywhere? It is the most powerful tool with which to teach, learn, create, connect, and communicate. Students can visit the Great Wall of China. They can “meet up” with a student in Brazil. They can start their own podcast and build a worldwide audience. Experience with technology is an asset in everything we do, every job, managing money, traveling, literally everything. At Drive, students will learn how to use digital citizenship skills to effectively navigate the digital world.
4. The community is our classroom. The community is the perfect springboard for learning. When students spend time learning about their neighborhood and meeting the people in it, they care for it. They experience a need for change or see a need for change in the lives of the people they care about. Every community has a government, economy, cultural history, and natural environment that a student can explore, interact with, and positively impact. We plan to connect the students to their communities through projects that empower them to learn and create. This is a recipe for deep and lasting learning. It focuses on what educators call the four C’s of 21st Century skills- communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
5. Our students will stand out. I know this is number five but, in my heart, it is the number one reason I would send my son or daughter to Drive. I have taught roughly 3000 students over the last 23 years. When I think of my past classes, I think of so many students. They were creative and smart and funny and kind and passionate about so many things. For the majority of them, school made them feel small and dumb. School values reading, writing, and the regurgitation of antiquated math devoid of context or practical application. If this isn’t your jam as a student, if you don’t assimilate and comply, school is difficult for you. I have seen it negatively impact many students’ sense of self worth and sense of their own potential.
Drive will distinguish each student. This means that the reading, writing, and math that each student studies is relevant and appropriately challenging to that student. Students will connect with people and opportunities that help refine, hone, and expand what each student values or wants to pursue. It means helping a student build a portfolio that tells the story of the whole student. Each student needs someone who is looking for schools, programs, internships, scholarships, and opportunities that fit that student. At Drive, that person is Tamica. It is her job to amplify the access to opportunities for each student.
6. We are flexible. At Drive, each student's schedule will be shaped by their needs, goals, and interests. This will speak to the times that work best for our families and when a student may be most productive. A student may have commitments or a condition that requires a flexible schedule. Flexibility does not imply imposition. Our school schedule is year round. We want to be able to adapt to what makes sense for our students and their families.
7. We have the best teachers. I know I am a little biased here, but we do. We all hold at least one certification in required course disciplines: math, science, language arts, and history. Outside of the traditional box, we have a teacher that enjoys DJing, one that can’t wait to build a competitive Esports program, and one that is hoping we have a student or two that love plants, among many other interests. We are also a diverse group of five and feel very strongly that the inclusion of voices from differing backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives is invaluable to our teaching and learning.
In traditional school, each of us was known for going above and beyond in our classrooms. We value the student teacher relationship above all and have track records of exemplary test scores. We are all passionate about education. Since we have known each other for years, most of us have collaborated together on projects in the past so we know that we work well together and trust each other.
“When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” -Alexander Den Heijer
Okay, you got me. I’m the teacher that loves plants. In all seriousness though, Drive was designed to allow for the teachers to tend a small “garden” of students. We provide the best conditions for the growth of each student based on what the student needs and what will help them thrive in the world. If this speaks to you, click here to get an invite to our free open house. We would love to explore whether Drive is a good fit for your child and your family.