Our Academic Program
The instructional model of Vision Academy is grounded in our belief that every child has the ability to succeed at high levels. We will accomplish this by developing a school that embraces research-based instructional models, collaborative and aligned curriculum design, strong character education and high academic standards. These components coupled with a highly trained staff and distributive leadership will prepare scholars to succeed on their path to college and create the vision for their future.
Our instruction focuses primarily on literacy.
Vision proposes to radically change the trajectory of underserved children by providing them with a strong literacy foundation starting in kindergarten. We know that “[o]ne in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade fail to graduate from high school on time, four times the rate for children with proficient third-grade reading skills.” To target scholars’ literacy gaps, we intensely approach literacy at the early elementary level and enhance reading and thinking skills as scholars grow. We employ a “balanced literacy” approach incorporating these specific components: read aloud, word study, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. During guided reading, our model supports differentiation at each grade level based on the academic needs of individual scholars and allows teachers to work with scholars in small groups as well as individually throughout the literacy block.
Our instruction is driven by data.
We immediately target scholars’ academic needs through intensive academic supports. On-going data analysis from frequently administered assessments ensures our teachers’ instruction maintains alignment with scholar performance and progress. Scheduled, regular observation and data meetings provide a system to ensure all scholars are on track to achieve their academic goals. With this sharp focus on data, all curricular and instructional decisions are well informed. PowerSchool, our student information system, tracks and displays trends in scholar data. The data collected using this tool allows teachers and leaders to collaborate during planning and professional development to make informed curricular decisions, instructional strategies, and adjust scholar grouping as needed.
Our staffing model ensures targeted, differentiation support and intervention.
We prioritize literacy development at the earliest years of a child’s education. We use a three-teacher model at each grade level in grades 1-8 and two teachers in each classroom at the Kindergarten level. This provides a structure to support scholars who achieve well above grade level as well as those not yet meeting academic standards. Our Response to Intervention (RtI) model is a structure that ensures we provide extra support for scholars who are not yet meeting grade-level standards. RtI interventions include, but are not limited to: small group pull outs by the grade level lead teachers, small group work with classroom teachers and after school tutoring. Through our balanced literacy approach, teachers at all grade levels group scholars in a variety of ways in order to differentiate instruction based on the individual needs of each scholar.
Our instruction provides scholars with the skills and knowledge to set a vision for their future.
Vision Academy educates using a unique program that provides scholars with the skills, experiences, and knowledge to generate their own vision for their future. We believe intrinsic motivation is key to scholar success, but research shows that if scholars are verbally encouraged to remember “school is important,” rather than experiencing for themselves, they will not fully assimilate this idea. Vision Academy implements a curriculum through which scholars are exposed to a multitude of professional and educational options and then allowed the opportunity to chose what motivates and excites them. Scholars will then set and map their own vision based on their choice. Through our curriculum, scholars will produce and defend a presentation that is a synthesis of their academic learning and their personal future goals.
Our instruction incorporates effective instructional strategies.
Teachers and school leaders at Vision Academy will implement effective instructional strategies to support scholar learning and develop a positive school culture. Our staff will be trained in and employ effective techniques to establish and maintain high expectations with each Vision scholar. Effective techniques such as those researched by Doug Lemov have proven to set scholars up for success and establish a school culture focused on academics and positivity. We also utilize the gradual release method of instruction to model academic expectations, support scholar understanding and mastery, and allow for independent practice and assessment. This method is used to provide scholars with basic and higher-level skills and thinking strategies that ensure college-readiness.
 Reported in Annie E. Casey Foundation (2010), “EARLY WARNING! Why Reading by the End of Third-grade Matter” A KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Baltimore, MD. Anne E. Casey Foundation.
 Husman and Lens (2010). p. 123.