Featured Teacher: Kimberly Clifton, 5th Grade

Mrs. Clifton joined the Tualatin Valley Academy team in 2013. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Art from Walla Walla University. Her Fifth Grade class is both fun and challenging, pushing students to learn and grow. 

When asked why she became a teacher, she replied: 

"I became a teacher because kids have so much potential and it is an awesome job helping them realize all that they can do."

She loves her class, the people she works with and the friendships she has created here at TVA, and we are very glad she is part of our family! 


Fun Facts About Mrs. Clifton: 

Biggest fear: Snakes
Proudest accomplishment: Becoming a teacher
Snack of choice: Apples with cinnamon
Qualities I most admire about others: Honesty, a good sense of humor, kindness
What inspires me: My students
When I was a kid, I thought I would grow up to be a: Journalist
In my free time I like to: Travel, do art and photography
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Ireland
Sports I love: Tennis, Volleyball
This store has a lot of my money: Target
If calories didn't count I would eat: Caramel apples with a side of cinnamon rolls

Ending on a High Note

Tualatin Valley Academy is fun and exciting place to go to school and to teach!  I have immensely enjoyed the diversity of our student's and our school community.  Our student’s are privileged to attend a school where there is such a variety of cultures and backgrounds.  Did you know that approximately 53% of our students come from ethnic backgrounds other than white?  Nineteen different languages are spoken in the homes of our students.

Our spring music program in May highlighted this diversity with the celebration of music and traditional clothing from around the world.  It was a fun evening where we got to hear music in many languages and songs from different cultures.  All of our students from preschool through ninth grade were able to participate and celebrate the wonderful diversity of our world.

It really enhances our school culture when we can do things together in a positive and uplifting way.  Speaking of doing things together, our recent Walk-a-thon was a tremendous success with all of our students participating, walking or jogging laps.  Although we were nervous about the weather it turned out to be a great day to be outdoors and everything went well.  Our students with their sponsors raised over $16,000 dollars to be used to upgrade our Spynergy assembly room to improve and widen its scope of use.  A huge thank you to Angie Peterson for leading this effort and organizing the day.  We also appreciate and thank all the parents who came out and assisted in the day’s activities.

The school year is flying to a close with 9th grade already finished with Golf and Fencing classes and a visit to the Daimler research facility.  Grades seven and eight held a Modern Events Fair last week and we are now in the middle of swimming lessons for grades 1-6.  Another big thank you goes to all the teachers who plan and arrange all of these special activities while still providing outstanding classroom instruction.  It’s been a great year and we have been blessed to be here at TVA.

3rd and 4th Grade International Fair

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Wednesday, May 24 Tualatin Valley Academy's third and fourth grade classes took students on a trip around the world.

Hands on learning has been proven to be the most effective, so each student researched a country, learning about things like that country's culture, food, clothing, economy, government and places of interest. They then made a presentation board and did an art project to represent their country. The day of the fair they dressed in traditional clothing from that country and brought food for their classmates to try.

Students presented their countries to other TVA students, family and friends who toured the fair.

A great time was had by all!

Featured Teacher: Phil Kahler

In early May Mr. Phil Kahler, our science teacher (grades 7 – 10) flew to Ithaca, New York where he participated in the BirdSleuth Strategic Planning meetings held at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  The team was composed of Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff and an advisory board consisting of seven education professionals including K-12 classroom teachers, a 4-H STEM Coordinator, and the Director of Education at the Atlanta Audubon Society.  Members were tasked with the responsibility of developing a 5-year plan for organizing, disseminating, and further developing BirdSleuth programs using the rich STEM resources at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds and is known for its scientific excellence and technological innovation.  BirdSleuth is Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s K-12 inquiry-based approach to science curriculum that engages kids in scientific study and real data collection through the lab’s exciting citizen-science projects.  Mr. Kahler and his students at Tualatin Valley Academy have had a long history of collecting bird observation data on campus at our bird blind to share with eBird, one of the lab’s citizen-science projects.  While participating in the BirdSleuth program, Mr. Kahler’s students conduct scientific investigations to discover answers to their own questions.   Over the years, we have had many Tualatin Valley Academy students publish their bird research reports and artwork in the BirdSleuth Investigator, a publication written by and for students.

This summer Mr. Kahler will make his fourth trip to the Amazon, where he will represent the BirdSleuth program as he works with science teachers participating in the Educator Academy workshops in Peru.   He will lead bird watching adventures while training teachers how to collect and enter bird observation data into the eBird data base.  “Early morning birding by boat is the most intense rapid-fire birding I've ever experienced”, recalls Mr. Kahler.  “At times our guides would be calling out 4-5 birds at the same time from opposite sides of the boat...all of which I had never seen or heard of before.  There just wasn't time to look in the field guide until afterwards.  The other teachers and I just wrote down names as fast as we could as the birds were being pointed out.  Later, we compared our notes back at the lodge as we compiled a complete checklist of birds observed that morning.  During my first three trips to the Amazon I have helped teachers report over 325 different bird species to eBird!  The diversity of bird life is simply incredible in the rainforest.”

During Mr. Kahler’s trips to the Amazon he became friends with Lucio Pando, one of the local Amazonian bird guides, who also had a passion for teaching children about birds.  “While talking with Lucio I learned he did not have adequate access to binoculars needed for teaching the children.  I just knew I had to do something to help Lucio obtain binoculars for his students!” exclaimed Mr. Kahler.  Sadly, last November Lucio unexpectedly passed away just as the Amazon Binocular Project began collecting donations of used binoculars.  Fortunately, two other bird guides who have been using the BirdSleuth-International curriculum in remote schools along the Amazon River are very excited to use the binoculars we have been collecting.  Some of Mr. Kahler’s students have been helping him evaluate, clean, and pack up the binocular donations.  Mr. Kahler recently shipped 23 pairs of new and used binoculars to a school group who volunteered to deliver the binoculars to the bird guides during their visit to the Amazon in early June.

Mr. Kahler feels honored to be on the BirdSleuth Advisory Board as he looks forward to the next five years of the program.  He enjoys hiking, beekeeping, and photographing birds.  

Featured Class: Preschool

Here at Tualatin Valley Academy, Preschoolers are engineers. They are scientists. They are musicians. They are artists. They explore the world around them through play, guided by a creative, interactive curriculum and an amazing staff of 3 teachers. 

TVA's preschool program is very popular with parents, and for good reason. Allison Moor, the preschool program director, uses a curriculum that challenges her students to learn while allowing them to be kids. The curriculum is dynamic and unique. They tackle one theme a month and learn about it through STEAM-based projects such as engineering parachutes out of half an Easter egg, straws and coffee filters, designing catapults and shooting pom poms from them to discover what makes the pom pom fly the farthest, using bread as petri dishes to discover why hand washing matters, creating 3D moon paintings with paper mache, doing baking projects and making jellyfish that dangle from the ceiling of the classroom. 

Topics taught include everything from the desert to the ocean to life skills. Not only do the students learn about the world around them, but they are taught about it through the lens of how God created the world they interact with. 

Another unique characteristic to Mrs. Moor's classroom is that she has incorporated wobble stools at all the tables the students work at. This allows kids to be kids - to wiggle and move while they work without being disruptive. It improves their focus and attention to the task at hand.

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The class is led by three amazing, patient and dedicated teachers: Mrs. Moor, Mrs. Werner and Mrs. Connell. They find joy in working with their students and are focused on teaching them not only academics, but how to treat each other and a host of other life skills as well. They take pride in getting to know each student and their family and are often heard asking about siblings, parents and family events. 

In addition to the class teachers, the preschool class has buddies from both third grade and sixth grade. They sit together in chapel, read together and do fun activities. This allows the preschoolers to get even more individual attention and helps the third and sixth graders learn leadership skills through mentoring someone younger than themselves. 

In TVA's preschool, kids are challenged to grow not just academically, but spiritually and as leaders as well. Creativity and critical thinking are encouraged. TVA's preschool cares for the whole person, and it shows!

Featured Teacher: Steve Moor, 7th-9th Grade

Steve Moor, or Mr. Steve as he is known to his students, has a simple goal for his teaching career: 

Teach students how to build a better world.

How does he do that? Through mentoring. Mr. Steve has BA's in Religion and English, and a Masters in Teaching, and he uses that knowledge to really reach kids. He mentors students by modeling Christ's behavior and asking kids to apply Christian principles to everyday problems and life events. 

Mr. Steve has many interests, and this year he is most excited to be teaching and mentoring students in the areas of Music, Videography, Yearbook and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). He incorporates communication technology into his English, Social Studies and Publications classes, which enriches students' learning and gives them valuable skills in today's world. 

Mr. Steve prepares students not just for college, but for life through his mentoring and skill building. We are glad to have him as part of our TVA team!


Fun Facts About Mr. Steve:

Proudest accomplishment: Being a dad
Snack of choice: Maui potato chips
Quality I most admire about others: Expertise
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Doctorate
When I was a kid, I thought I would be a: Psychologist
3 qualities to describe myself: Quirky, passionate, flexible
If I could be any literary character, it would be: Willy Wonka
In my free time, I like to: Write music and shoot video
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Koh Phi Phi Island
Sport I love: Basketball
This store has a lot of my money: Amazon
My at bat song would be: Everybody's Got Their Something (Nikki Costa)
If calories didn't count I would drink: Smoothies
Best movie ever was: Lord of the Rings

2017 Walk-A-Thon

Last Friday at Chapel,  our Home & School leader, Angie Peterson, announced the fundraising kick-off for this year’s Home & School Walk-A-Thon.  On April 28, all students will participate in a run/walk for laps around our track.  All students who raise $25 or more will be eligible for prizes!  Last year, we raised over $19,000 to help pay for our new parking lot.  I know all of you have appreciated the new surface and the clearly painted lines.  Some of our students actually raised over $1000 individually!

This year Home & School has chosen to raise money to remodel and improve our “Spynergy” assembly room.  The goal is to turn it into a professional presentation room where our students at all grade levels could use it to present their projects and research results. The goal for this year’s Walk-A-Thon is $30,000 for this  project.  That sounds like a lot but if every student raised at least $150, we would reach and exceed our goal.  Please assist your student in reaching out to friends, neighbors and family to get sponsors so that they can help us be successful.

All of us here at TVA, appreciate the continuing support of our community as we work together to improve our school.  If you would like to help on the day of the Walk-A-Thon, please call the school or contact Angie directly.

Meet Our New Principal, Christina Orozco-Acosta!

Christina Orozco-Acosta has been selected to be Tualatin Valley Academy's new principal beginning July 1, 2017. Read on to learn more about Ms. Orozco-Acosta!


Dear TVA Families, Students, and Staff,

It is an honor for me to have been selected as the principal. I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to take on this role and be a part of the TVA community and family. I am excited to see what God has in store for us at Tualatin Valley Academy. I know that He has big plans for our school. I look forward to meeting and getting to know each and every one of you. I ask that you keep me in your prayers so that I may serve God, the community, and families in the best way possible. May God continue to bless TVA and your family.

Blessings,

Christina Orozco-Acosta


Biography

Ms. Orozco has an impressive resume of teaching and leadership experience. She has worked in the Hillsboro School District for the last fifteen years teaching at three different schools and filling several district program positions successfully. Most recently she has worked as a Bilingual Programs Instructional Coach. Her experience includes the administration of summer school programs, coaching teachers, and participating in leadership team planning groups. Ms. Orozco holds a Master of Education degree from Portland State University.

As a product of Adventist education herself and as a parent of students who have attended our schools, Ms. Orozco brings a wealth of talent and experience as well as a depth of understanding with her to help broaden our school’s ability to reach every student. She shared a vision for TVA that includes collaborating with teachers and board to work toward two important goals: 1) that the school strive to represent our Seventh-day Adventist beliefs consistently with both our own students as well as those from the community who choose to attend TVA, and 2) that the school strive to ensure delivery of the highest quality education for its students. Both the staff and school board felt that the skillset she possesses is just what our school needs as we strive to grow our students as followers of Christ, improve the quality of our programs and course offerings, and increase our relevance in the community.


We are excited to welcome Christina Orozco-Acosta to our TVA family! 

We believe that she will be successful in leading our school as we continue to grow and work to provide the best in Christian education in our community. We ask for your continuing support and prayers for our school and administration as we move forward in educating our most precious family of students.

STEAM at TVA

Recently, during my walk-a-bouts in the classrooms of TVA, I found students working on a variety of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) projects. Here are a few pictures and a little info about two of them. 

In Mrs. Beck's Algebra I class, students are using pendulums to study standard deviation. They first took measurements using a "standard pendulum" and recorded its periodic movement. 

The second pendulum was designed by the students to be different from the standard pendulum in at least one way. Changing the length of the string, the length of the bob, or the amplitude (the angle of release). 

They will compare that data to the standard pendulum to determine which variable affects the period of a pendulum -- length, weight, or amplitude. Attached is a graph showing our original data (time for 5 periods of the pendulum). 

In Mr. Kahler's Seventh and Eighth Grade Science classes, students have been studying magnetism. During science lab this week our 7th and 8th grade students used Vernier Software's LabQuest 2 data loggers and magnetic field sensors to explore the strength of Earth's magnetic field, determine magnetic north, and calculate declination. the LabQuest 2 data loggers help students collect data and graph it in real-time. Current technology like Vernier's sensors and probes bring interest and excitement to our students as they conduct their scientific investigations. 

Movements in the Earth's liquid outer core produce a magnetic field that protects us from the harmful effects of the solar wind, allows us to navigate with a compass, and helps birds find their way during seasonal migration. True north is the geographic location at Earth's rotational axis. Because magnetic north moves (currently in northern Canada), we need to know the difference between the two when using a compass. The difference between magnetic north and geographic north is called declination.

This is the kind of quality teaching and student learning that is a regular and daily part of the experience that students have at TVA. Our teachers continue to create and provide outstanding learning experiences for our students. You will notice that up to date digital equipment as well as common items like strings and washers are used to explore important scientific and mathematical concepts. Guided by dedicated professional teachers, our students experience the best that education has to offer. 

7405 E. Main St.

Tualatin Valley Academy moved to its present location in the 1940’s.  At that time, the school was set in a very rural area surrounded by farms. Situated between the small towns of Beaverton and Hillsboro, the location was meant to serve the surrounding area and churches with a quiet location close to nature.

Seventy years of growth have completely changed our neighborhood and now we are in a very urban environment.  Hillsboro has grown until the city limits of Beaverton and Hillsboro meet east of us and we are now actually in Hillsboro.  

Recently, we received notification that our address is being changed.  We no longer will have a building number that is sequenced from downtown Portland.  Also the street name will change from Baseline Rd. to Main St.  Some of you will know that Baseline runs directly into Main St where it crosses Cornell Rd. in Hillsboro.  

As of February 15, 2017 are new address is:
7405 E. Main St., Hillsboro, OR 97123

I have already had one person, who having heard of our new address, asked me if the school had moved! No, we are not moving but it will be a mental shift to get used to our new address.  We have until February 15, 2018 to complete the change.  The Post Office will deliver mail to us with either address until that date.  We will begin changing our stationary and other uses of our address with the goal of having the changeover complete by July 1 of this year.   

We have been crowded a little by the urban growth around us.  However, we still have our wetland to the north of us with our bird blind and creek.  We are thankful for the physical plant we have and will continue in our current location for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for your understanding of this change.  If you have any questions please contact me at my email address:   edt@tvja.org

Featured Class: Mrs. Youker's Third Grade

Mrs. Youker is excited about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). She attended the EXSEED Conference in Loma Linda, CA last year and brought home a lot of new, exciting ideas she was excited to try out! 

Always one to be on the cutting edge of education research, one of the first things she did was add stability balls to her classroom instead of chairs. Research has shown that kids need to be able to move while they learn, and she wanted them to be able to have that flexibility as needed. The kids enjoy the ability to move during class, and one parent observed that even though everyone in the classroom seemed to be moving, they were all quietly focused on their work. 

My child thinks ‘science’ so intuitively this year as a direct result of Mrs. Youker’s focus on the thought processes involved such as ‘asking questions, experimenting, trying new things’. By the 3rd week of school, my child was seeing ‘science’ in everyday activities and I loved it.
— Third Grade Parent

The other STEAM emphasis Mrs. Youker is doing this year is adding as many science experiments to her curriculum as possible. The class science textbook has many fun experiments to do to complement the materials they are learning. The class has enjoyed looking through dirt, testing the hardness of rocks, and running around the school's track to learn about acceleration, just to name a few. 

One Friday a month all 3rd grade students get an extra science experiment. When they do this experiment each month, they talk about the Scientific Method and use it to guide their learning. 

Mrs. Youker's class has had a lot of other fun learning experiences this year too. At Christmas they took part in a play with other 3rd and 4th graders called "Star of Wonder", which showed how Jesus came to this Earth to be born for us. They have also taken exciting field trips to the state capitol and OMSI. The class has learned about their communities and the 3 branches of government. They are learning cursive and handwriting. And, most importantly, they are studying about the Bible and Jesus' life on Earth. 


As a parent, I very much appreciate the moments when Mrs. Youker connects with my child to model solid Christian values of respect, kindness and integrity. During a video presentation she’s not hesitant to call out moments that conflict with the greater values she wants the kids to internalize. For example, on one occasion she stopped a video and was explicit with the class to say ‘This is a way of speaking to each other that I will not have in this classroom.’

I appreciate her commitment to learning new technologies and implementing them within the classroom such as the stability balls. The stability balls are AWESOME! She’s also expanded the Bible and Math curriculum. She embraces parental involvement without sacrificing the strong role of the teacher. That’s difficult and she does it with creativity, grace, fairness and strength. I highly value that skillset and the value I know it provides my child.
— Third Grade Parent

Mrs. Youker is working hard to prepare her students well not only for 4th grade, but for college and beyond. She is guiding them through this school year with an eye to each student's future, and her students have benefitted greatly from her guidance. 

Important Life Lessons: Service and Teamwork

Matthew 25: 35-40

"'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"


Hear What Our Students Said: 

“…It also has inspired me to help others. Maybe I will help others in my church’s pantry”
“We really worked together to make a difference. It was the work of God. I felt like Jesus helping the needy. Thank you for giving me this opportunity”
“Today’s experience at the food bank was amazing. As we were loading the oats into the bags, it made me happy knowing that the meals we were putting together were going to people who really need it…It felt great to make a difference. We worked for an hour and a half and ended up making 4153 meals. It was amazing to help out at the food bank and I would like to help again soon.”
“It inspired me to also make a difference. Someday I want to be part of something like this operation. I want to make an impact on people like the community service center does and to be able to see people become so happy because I helped give them a better life.”
“This taught me that helping others is very important. The church tries to help others too. When driving back I thought of all of the hungry people that I helped.  A nice lady told us that I helped about 69 people.  I reflected on how Jesus has helped others.  This has made me feel joy of helping others.”

Oregon has one of the highest food insecurity rates in the United States. When we look at the data, one in five Oregonians faces food insecurity, the inability to get enough affordable, nutritious food, on a daily basis. 

One in five. 

On February 15th, Tualatin Valley Academy's 7th-9th grade students were joined by Scappoose Adventist Christian School's students to work at the Oregon Food Bank. They spent an hour and a half packing oats to be distributed to people in need. It was an exercise in teamwork, as packing food at the food bank works something like a well-oiled assembly line, but it also opened students' eyes to what they themselves can do to serve others, just like Jesus did. 

During their shift, students packed 4 pallets of oats into 2 lb bags. They packaged 4983 lbs of oats in total, which is the equivalent of about 4153 meals or 69 meals per student. 

Students were amazed that a hour and a half of their time produced 4153 meals for people in need.

That afternoon the students headed over to Beaverton Seventh-day Adventist Church to continue the day of service and teamwork. Students were broken up into 5 groups, each captained by 9th grade students, and rotated through stations. The first station was the church's community center. Students learned about the local and global (ADRA) Adventist mission. The second station gave students the opportunity to journal about their experience, reflecting on what they learned and how they felt about the morning's activities. The remaining 3 stations were team building stations. Students did activities ranging from turning a tarp over with the entire group standing on it to building newspaper tables to support as many books as possible to doing a trust walk.

It was a fun day, and one full of learning and reflection. Students gained valuable life skills, and the experience is one they will not soon forget. 

Service Project Update

Last December our First and Second Grade students did chores for family and friends to earn money to purchase toys and fun bandaids to donate to Randall Children's Hospital. It was part of a STEAM-based project based learning assignment that both classes participated in. You can read the original article here

We wanted to give you an update on how the project went. Our students raised $520 to purchase toys and bandaids for kids who had to be in the hospital at Christmas! The students were proud that they earned the money themselves, and they were excited to have the toys delivered to the hospital. 

Teaching kids to serve others like Jesus served each of us is important. It's something we work hard to instill in our students, and we are so proud of our First and Second Graders for their servant's hearts!

The STEAM Work Continues!

TVA's 9th Grade STEAM class, Project Integration, is keeping our students busy learning about new technologies. 

Check out the compilation video below for their second quarter projects focusing on stop motion, animation and video experiments. All of the videos were entirely student created and produced. We are proud of our students!

Featured Teacher: Clark Woodworth, Kindergarten

Clark Woodworth joined the Tualatin Valley Academy team as our Kindergarten teacher in 2015. He earned his Elementary Education degree from Walla Walla University, and dove right into teaching some of the most curious, energetic learners out there - Kindergarteners!

Hearing students ask well thought-out questions is one of the highlights of Mr. Woodworth's job. He loves interacting with students, and the reason he became a teacher was to promote a love of learning in the kids he teaches, both in his classroom and on the basketball team he coaches. 

Mr. Woodworth has a knack for making students feel heard. He draws out even the most quiet of students, getting to know them for who they are and encouraging them as they get their start in an academic learning environment. 

We are very glad Mr. Woodworth joined our team!


Fun Facts About Mr. Woodworth:

Least favorite food: Zucchini
Biggest fear: Fish
Snack of choice: Orange juice
Qualities he most admires about others: Honesty and genuineness
What inspires me: Passionate people
Least favorite household chore: All of them
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Dunk a basketball
As a kid, I wanted to be this when I grew up: NBA player
In my free time, I like to: Read, work out, play piano, listen to music
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Laos
Sport I love: Basketball
This store has a lot of my money: Nike
If calories didn't count I would drink: Soda
Favorite color: Green

Dreams Can Come True!

10th Grade is Back!

A dream we have pursued over the last four years was achieved this year with the return of ninth grade to Tualatin Valley Academy.

Our ninth grade students are enjoying a great year of excellent classes and exciting activities! They are enrolled in a full slate of ninth grade classes taught by fully qualified teachers. The class size allows teachers to give them individual attention and to take learning out into the real world often for things like a Marine Biology trip, a service day at the food bank and much more. 

Next year the fulfillment of the dream continues with the addition of tenth grade, a plan that is approved and supported by TVA's school board. Curriculum will include Bible, Biology, Global Studies, Geometry, and Sophomore English, all taught by certified and experienced teachers in our fully accredited program. Students will continue to be taught using Project Based Learning, a method that helps them understand how curriculum taught in the classroom intersects with real-world problems, which has been a core strength of the 9th grade program this year. 

As we continue to build our secondary program, we will need to continue to build enrollment in our upper grades. We invite your participation and support as we market our school to students who desire an excellent Christian education in our area. Please help us by putting us in touch with any students you know that would benefit from our program.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Featured Class: 9th Grade STEAM

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Getting students excited about learning can be hard. Sometimes it's not easy to see how algebra or geometry will impact daily life, or how certain parts of science have real-world application that will impact a student directly. 

That's where Tualatin Valley Academy's STEAM* class comes in.

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The STEAM class is taught to TVA's freshmen, and it's designed to get kids excited about learning in a fun new way. The class is based on Project Based Learning (PBL), a technique that has students identify a real-world problem or need and look for ways to solve it. STEAM is dynamic, engaging and solution-focused. Students learn skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork as they work together on various projects. 

This year's 9th grade class is passionate about producing videos and writing music, so Michael Blackburn, the STEAM instructor, is teaching different technology skills to students through the lens of a music video. 

How can 3D modeling be used in a music video?
What do you need to learn to use MIDI and instrumental recording?
If you're going to use time lapse in this video, what math do you need to use to figure out how you're going to do that?
A Rube Goldberg machine in the video does sound cool. How do science and engineering impact the machine you want to make?
Can computer programming be used to do slow motion or stop motion for the video?

By researching and learning these various techniques, students are building a foundation of needed skills for bigger projects to be accomplished in the years to come. For example, the students learning computer programming have chosen to learn Javascript specifically so that they can explore creating a computer game in the future. 

Student individuality is embraced in this class. Not every student will learn extensively about every component of what will go into the video they are writing and producing. Students are encouraged to pick an area or areas of interest to focus on. Some prefer computer programming. Others prefer learning how MIDI works. The end goal, however, is one group project that will combine all of their talents, skills and abilities. 

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Each student in the class is exposed to each technique being taught at some point. The whole class spent all of first quarter and half of second quarter learning 3D modeling in SketchUp. They will continue to have mini lessons as a group on this skill and others throughout the school year so that they are exposed to different technologies, can develop a few basic skills in each area, and decide if they are interested in learning more about it or not. 

Ultimately, this class is about 2 things: Getting kids excited about learning via technology and helping them develop skills for college and life. To that end, each student has set up a "locker" - an online portfolio where they can store their projects and work for the next 4 years to use in the college application process. 

It has been exciting to watch the 9th graders develop new skills and find that they enjoy things that they never thought they would like. Things are not always easy. Much of what they are learning is brand new to them, and that comes with some frustration. They are learning skills often taught in sports - perseverance, teamwork and dedication. But most importantly, they are learning that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. 

We are excited to see that video at the end of the year!

 

*STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math

Teaching Students to Have a Servant's Heart

Tualatin Valley Academy's first and second grade students are learning about service this Christmas. 

Mrs. Wendt and Mr. Darby are dedicated to Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL is a technique that helps students engage in learning in a dynamic environment. They study real-world problems and work to solve them. The classes have done things like study farming, learn about other careers, and this month, they are learning about serving others. Each learning module combines a variety of STEAM-based teaching techniques to enhance students' learning ranging from crafts to computer projects to engineering to comparing and contrasting related literature and then writing their own version. 

As part of these projects each student and their parents work together on a monthly homework assignment. This month's assignment is all about service. Students are doing chores for family, friends and neighbors to earn money to buy fun bandaids and toys for patients at Randall Children's Hospital. They are learning the value of giving of themselves to help others who need it - helping to brighten someone's day through their own actions and hard work.

The students are excited and eager to earn as much as they can to help the kids at Randall's, and they will be giving a presentation to their class at the end of the project about what they learned by giving of themselves to help others. 

It's an important lesson that will last a lifetime. 

Evidence of High Quality Education

How Do Tualatin Valley Academy's Test Scores Rank When Compared Nationally?

Standardized testing may not be the perfect way to measure individual student success, but it allows us to do something very important. It allows us to benchmark ourselves against other schools across the nation to ensure that we are giving a high-quality education overall to our students. Tualatin Valley Academy has consistently scored above average in nationally standardized tests in past years, and this year was no exception! 

This year our test scores were 13 points above the national average. 

This result confirms that TVA continues to provide a high quality education for our students.

In September, our students in grades 3-9 took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS).  This is the one nationally standardized test we administer each year.  This test assesses Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science.  Scores will of course vary from class to class and by individual students, but our school averages are outstanding.

If you're wondering how your student did specifically, individual student reports are available and your student’s teacher will provide them to you.  Teachers are able to discuss the details of your student’s report and how they are doing in each subject area tested.  Language Arts and Mathematics both have subtopic areas that show a little more detail.  Teachers can use these details to focus on areas where each student can improve.

Does Adventist Education Matter?

Test scores are all good and well, but some may ask, does Adventist Education really matter? Does it provide an education to my student that is truly higher in quality than what they would receive in public school or another private school? From 2006-2009 a research project called CognitiveGenesis studied how more than 50,000 students in more than 800 Adventist schools performed academically compared to students across the United States. The study had some compelling results. 

Adventist school students in the United States scored half a grade level higher than their predicted ability in all subjects.

Students who transferred into an Adventist school saw a significant improvement in their test scores. 

Also, the more years a student attended an Adventist school the more their average achievement increased compared to the national norm. 

Our ITBS results confirm this research and show that we have a high quality program here at TVA.

Featured Teacher: Sara Beck, 7-9 Mathematics

When a close friend of Mrs. Beck's was unable to pursue his dreams in college because he couldn't pass the necessary math prerequisites for his major, she determined to become a math teacher so that she could help other students pursue their dreams by teaching them solid math skills. 

"I want all students to gain the math and reasoning skills needed to pursue their dreams."

With 10 years' experience, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with minors in Education and Chemistry, a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics and Professional Teaching Certificates in Advanced Mathematics (Middle and High School) and Chemistry, Mrs. Beck is definitely well-equipped to make an impact on Tualatin Valley Academy students' education! She has taught subjects ranging from Pre-Algebra to AP Statistics, and is always pursuing new ways to capture students' interest in her math classes. 

When asked what she loves most about her job now, she says "I enjoy being able to openly worship and pray with my students. I am grateful to work at the same school my children attend. I am excited about the possibilities as we expand into high school."

We are excited that Mrs. Beck is pouring her knowledge, dedication and passion for learning into our 7th, 8th and 9th grade math students!

Fun Facts About Mrs. Beck: 

Bucket list item: Take my daughter scuba diving with manta rays
Proudest accomplishment: Developing a proficiency grading system and program with the technological support of my husband
Snack of choice: Dried young coconut and mangoes
Qualities I most admire about others: Work/Life balance
What inspires me: Possibilities
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Writing Pre-Algebra and Algebra textbooks
3 words to describe myself: Observant, purposeful, prepared
In my free time I like to: Contemplate, plan, cook, watch cooking and travel shows, read, spend time with my family
Favorite place I've travelled: Cook Islands or Little Cayman
This store has a lot of my money: Costco
My at bat song would be: Multiplied by Needtobreathe
If calories didn't count I would eat or drink: Haagen-Daz or Ben&Jerry's ice cream and Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke
Favorite color: Turquoise