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Our Approach

Teaching & Learning

Impact Ready

The world needs leaders. Leaders who know how to thrive in a constantly changing environment with complex challenges. At Mount Vernon, students engage in real-world problem solving in a variety of ways throughout their experience. Consequently, they learn to make a positive impact in their local community by implementing Mount Vernon’s habits, skills and dispositions. As graduates, they are empowered to make a difference in our world.

Inquiry-Based Learning

At Mount Vernon, we pay attention to students’ questions. every inquiry signals a path of exploration that will motivate and encourage deep learning. Through methods such as project-based learning, problem-based learning, design thinking, and visible thinking routines, faculty facilitate engagement in key knowledge areas in math, English language arts, science and social studies by connecting learning objectives to student interest.

Competency-Based Education

Instead of reporting on learning in the form of percentages in traditional categories such as homework, quizzes, and tests, Mount Vernon utilizes competencies to more clearly assess, track and inform student learning. Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower learners to truly understand and take more ownership of their learning journey. Examples of competency areas include reads critically, writes effectively, expresses ideas skillfully, communicates mathematical reasoning, and develops experimental designs. Students develop and apply a broad set of skills and dispositions while leveling up through progressions of learning.

Curricular Highlights

An educational experience that is informed by recent research, responsive to current local and global landscape, and driven by a curious spirit.

Design Thinking

With pioneers like Stanford University’s d.School and the company IDEO, Mount Vernon continues to lead educational innovation by using human-centered problem solving frameworks that are categorized as design thinking. The result is engaged learners who see that their efforts make a real difference in designing a better world.

Social-Emotional Learning

One’s emotional quotient - EQ - is an equally important critical skill for today’s leaders. Mount Vernon supports social-emotional learning in young people so that they can better navigate, negotiate, and communicate with others. Healthy self-awareness and healthy, positive relationships are emphasized.

Maker, Design & Engineering

Mount Vernon utilizes four maker spaces to engage students in active building, experimenting, and engineering. Through MDE, students develop a deep sense of agency, competence and confidence with drafting and designing. And they have a ton of fun bringing their ideas to life.

Co-Curricular

Outside the school day students have the choice to participate in arts performances and over 50 competitive athletic teams. Beyond a vigorous academic experience, Mount Vernon students encounter interdisciplinary learning through clubs, leadership opportunities, and affinity groups.

External Partnerships

By fostering meaningful relationships with global, national, state and local partners who align with the School’s mission, students experience a variety of opportunities in diverse industries and environments (corporate, nonprofit, and civic). Expanding learning beyond the walls of the School, provides connections for authentic exploration, experimentation, and impact.

Service Learning

Developing hearts of service within the Mount Vernon community is a critical component of being grounded in Christian values. Recognizing the importance of developing responsibility, compassion, and generosity in our students, Mount Vernon partners with not-for-profit organizations for multiple and varied hands-on service activities throughout the year. As an entire Mount Vernon community, learners spend over 15,000 hours serving the needs of others in and around the Atlanta area.

Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary learning allows our students the opportunity to explore content in an authentic environment to better understand where their learning actually lives in the world. Without field visits, they would not be able to collect data, curate artifacts, or make the connections necessary to enhance their knowledge. We believe that wondering and wandering beyond our classrooms can be a rich and valuable experience that makes learning more like real life.

Technology

Our strategic plan challenges us to provide access to emerging technology as an interactive tool to collaborate, construct, and/or contextualize learning. Mount Vernon has developed a school-wide strategy to provide age-appropriate access to technology in the classroom and at home, while students are fully supported as they learn how to engage with online resources, build new content, and utilize technology effectively and safely.

Relationships are Foundational for Learning

As a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact we know the most important relationship in school is the one created between a teacher and student. We believe that to design a better world requires teachers and students to see themselves as learners, connectors, networkers, and designers.

Learner

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In a complex world of exponential change, the most important thing is to be a learner. Anyone and everyone at or associated with MV is a learner. To continually develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to actively design a better world, one must learn to thrive in any context. This requires engaging with a diverse network and participating on a variety of project teams — giving/receiving feedback, reflecting on one’s learning, and revealing next steps along the journey.

Diverse Network

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A diverse network creates and cultivates connections between people, ideas, and sectors. Developing meaningful relationships catalyzes local and global partnerships within the education community, corporate sector, non-profit community, and civic environment. These experiences are not limited to time or place. Wandering beyond the walls of the School (in-person, virtual, or blended) mobilizes a more relevant, contextualized opportunity to collaborate and contribute with peers and experts. Ultimately, as an active participant in the ownership of learning, it allows the learner to follow sparks of motivation, interest, and curiosity.

Research, Design, and Iteration

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A learning organization is a dynamic environment, actively seeking ways to grow and better itself and the world. In order to meet the needs of this generation, we must remain agile to new ideas. As producers of research and design, we are committed to tweaking certain systems and methodologies, adopting new approaches, and/or thinking differently as if our industry no longer existed. MV values being research-informed in successful instructional practice and emerging innovative models. We value people-centered design principles that guide teaching and learning. Central to achieving this, robust partnerships within a diverse network are imperative. We grow, fail, and progress together.

Learning Demands

Interactive And Flexible Spaces

New, renovated, and innovative learning spaces are flexible, interactive, and reflective of research in neuroscience and human development.