This site will give the reader a thorough understanding of public charter schools and in particular of the innovative teaching and learning methods used by the charter schools established by the Great Valley Education Foundation (GVEF), which is a non-profit Charter School Development Organization that was founded by Keith Bandy in 2004 to gather funds and initiate activities for the purpose of creating new charter schools in Central California and elsewhere that serve primarily disadvantaged/low-income students and prepares them for college or the real-world of work and responsibility.GVEF?s educational structure is founded upon the principles of Project-Based learning (PBL) and Teacher-Ownership in which California State Learning Standards are injected into student projects that follow student?s interests and where the school?s operational structure, including its budget, is managed by the school?s teachers through their cooperative called a Teacher Professional Practice (TPP). Through PBL, students create projects around subjects in which they have interest into which academic content is injected so students will be prepared for state and federally mandated tests. All Foundation schools have a performance-based rather than a rule-based instructional format. This means that lessons and projects are created and graded according to how successfully they contribute to student learning in each situation, not according to how they have been rated by some district or state committee. Assessment and planning are conducted using a unique set of guidelines that have been created through rigorous experiments, which have provided proven and accurate measures of what students are learning. Students in GVEF schools are not confined to traditional classrooms adorned with rows of seats/desks. Instead, they spend most of their school day working within what is called an advisory group in which 25 or fewer students work at their personal workstation within a large open space. Advisory groups are separated by low partitions giving the appearance of a commercial office building rather than a traditional middle/high school. However, when needed, group lessons are given in the traditional manner within a traditional classroom setting. An on-line progress tracking system is available that parents may use at any time to view their student?s daily up-dated academic and behavioral records. This system allows parents to be continuously aware of their students? progress in school and in constant contact with their teachers. Each traditional class setting has twenty or fewer students. But, because of the open nature of school facilities, many students work one-on-one or in small groups of three or four students with their teacher/advisor or paraprofessional aide.
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