PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION IN ACTION AT ROSS VALLEY CHARTER

When you visit a multi-age classroom at RVC, look for evidence of a vibrant, joyful and inquisitive learning community. When you observe children and adults together in action, you can notice how our school’s practices align with values, goals and approach to learning.

RVC is a tuition-free public school in Fairfax, California for students in Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade. Visit us at the White Hill Campus in Fairfax. 

CLASSROOM SET-UP
is modular and flexible to foster movement, freedom, collaboration, and connection

RVC Stands for Ross Valley Girls - Girls engage in classroom discussion at RVC.

What you will see...

  • tables with chairs all around rather than individual desks
  • a large, central open space with a rug for whole class to gather
  • comfortable areas for learning and working (bean bags, couches, rugs; clipboards available so students can sit on the floor while working)
  • different “activity centers”
  • outdoor working areas
  • ample supplies, good books, art materials, animals and plants, science apparatus
  • laptops available in upper grades for students to write and do research

Because RVC students...

  • move around regularly and sit in different places throughout the day according to their task and who they’re working with
  • take initiative to access the materials they need, while working independently or collaboratively
  • interact freely with older and younger classmates through modeling, teaching and demonstrating
  • often choose where or with whom they’d like to work; other times teachers assign spots, partners, groups
  • collaborate and problem-solve with confidence
Art created by Ross Valley Charter Students at the White Hill Campus

AROUND THE ROOM
you see a gallery of self-expression, explorations, and discoveries exhibied in student-driven works

What you will see...

  • walls covered with students' work and projects – unique, not uniform or conforming to a predetermined outcome
  • student-made signs and exhibits of learning, information and ideas
  • student-generated agreements for classroom behavior rather than rewards/consequences charts or school- mandated lists

Because RVC students...

  • are intrinsically motivated to learn, interact and behave in an environment in which all students feel recognized and successful
  • share responsibility for maintaining a positive and inclusive learning environment based on guidelines they develop together
  • take responsibility for clean-up and keeping classroom in order
  • celebrate individuality and creativity

STUDENTS
are e
ager, enthusiastic, excited, engaged, and active

Ross Valley Charter Students Perform a skit at White Hill in Fairfax

Students...

  • interact comfortably with each other and adults
  • are eager to explain or demonstrate what they're doing to a visitor or connect with  a visitor as a resource
  • exchange ideas and generate a buzz of activity
  • sometimes engage in quiet working time (reading, writing)
  • sometimes are seated in a circle for class conversation, singing together or creating a shared community experience

Because RVC students...

  • take responsibility for their learning and decide to work independently or collaboratively
  • make individualized choices throughout the day
  • know their thoughts, opinions and ideas are valued and respected by teachers, parents, and each other
  • are comfortable with all members of the school community, younger and older
  • feel empowered as members of their class and school community
Ross Valley Charter Teacher works with students

TEACHERS

collaborate more, direct less

Teachers...

  • often work alongside and among students (at a table, on the rug, etc.) so it may take a visitor a few moments to find her/him
  • speak in a respectful, sincere, warm manner
  • integrate other adults (parents, volunteers, support teachers) who come in the classroom to work with individuals and small groups
  • make ample time and space for questions

Because RVC teachers...

  • are facilitators, not keepers, of the knowledge and learning process
  • support children’s social-emotional development and growth, critical to their ability to focus, learn and participate
  • invite student reflection, perspectives and ideas that influence the direction of the lesson
  • listen more than lecture
  • ask questions that prompt students to keep thinking, not to give a particular answer

ACTIVITY & INTERACTION 
is attuned to student needs as they arise

Ross Valley Charter Students become museum docents in the Regional Tribes classroom project

Activities...

  • often take place simultaneously
  • frequently are completed by pairs or groups of students
  • often integrate the arts with singing, visual and performing arts components
  • incorporate class discussions, where students often sit in a circle and address one another directly, creating community, trust and a sense of safety

Because the learning involves...

  • younger and older students teaching and helping each other, either as in-class multi-age pairs and small groups or with students from another class
  • an emphasis on thoughtful exploration of issues
  • students working at their own pace or doing different projects as needed to suit their individualized development, growth and interest
  • engaging activities designed to foster creativity, curiosity, self-awareness and self-confidence