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The Village Leadership Academy (VLA) has Kindergarten – 8th grade classrooms.  Our program is responsive to individual differences in each child’s ability and interest.  Interaction and activities are designed to develop children’s self-esteem and positive feelings toward learning.  Our staff works hard to offer you and your child a high quality educational service along with a safe and nurturing environment.

We work to prepare our children for the 21st century, for tomorrow belongs to the children who are prepared today.

The “Village” Philosophy: We believe that collective interaction between parents, staff, children and the community will help our children reach their fullest potential.  The child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development will be nurtured through independent and group activities.  Our philosophy is that children learn when placed in an environment that reflects the culture and value of students and their families and is conducive to learning.  Our goal is to create such an environment at our school.

Assessments: Prior to engaging a child in a classroom instructional program, an assessment test will be conducted.  All assessment test will be administered by a trained staff member. The assessment test are used to plan lessons at a level of optimal difficulty for each child, and to set benchmarks for the progress that each child will make throughout the year.

Teacher to Student Ratios: At Village Leadership Academy we believe that instruction should be based on the needs of the individual child. To ensure that we maximize the potential of all of our children, each of our classrooms will enroll no more than 20 students. In addition to a full time highly qualified teacher there will also be a full time teaching assistant in each of the kindergarten programs.

Literacy: At Village Leadership Academy we understand that if children learn to read, then they can read to learn. As a result we cultivate a love of reading in all our students.  In the early stages we prepare students with the foundation skills of phonemic awareness, a strong site word vocabulary and text comprehension.  We also introduce strategies for analyzing and synthesizing text.  At all stages we use a balanced literacy approach, which includes culturally relevant literature. This approach consists of several carefully planned activities that work together to develop reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.  For example, our teachers use “read aloud” to build student interest, increase their motivation to read, and model skills that lead to reading success.

Mathematics: The goal of our mathematics program is to provide all of our children with a mastery of basic and advanced mathematical concepts. Toward this end we use both procedural and conceptual instruction. Procedural instruction is used in order to help students master the steps of mathematical problem solving, while conceptual instruction helps students gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying mathematical concepts involved in these procedures.

Social Justice: The goal of our social studies program is to equip our students with a worldview that inspires them to use their knowledge to create a more socially just world. We encourage our students to view all social constructs through a critical lens, and to examine these constructs as they relate to them as a person and to the world in general. Students create community projects that are designed to bring positive change to their lives and the lives of others.

Science: Students at Village Leadership Academy explore physical, life and earth sciences throughout the school year. We implement a hands-on approach to science, where students conduct hands on experiments two to three times each week. All activities encourage divergent thinking and inquiry skills development, while building understanding of scientific concepts and content.

Youth Violence Prevention Initiative: Through generous funding by the Illinois Youth Violence Prevention Authority, students at Village Leadership Academy participate in activities to assist them in managing anger, reducing violence, and finding positive, constructive ways to deal with strong emotions.  This program is an important facet to the VLA curriculum because it strives to ensure that all of our students are equipped to handle any negative issue they might encounter in their daily lives in a positive way.  All students participate in this daily program at Village Leadership Academy.

Other Activities: All students at Village Leadership Academy will take a foreign language class, music class, art class and technology class during each program year. They will also have the opportunity to engage in various cultural. Physical and artistic activities during our after school program. These activities may include, but are not limited to dance, swimming, choir and Capoeira. All children will also learn about good hygiene and proper nutrition.

Check out our blog: www.justusseekingjustice.wordpress.com

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