Our mission is:
Chesterfield Innovative Academy for Girls, founded in 2014, was borne from a desire to take on a personal challenge by two public middle school teachers. They wanted to create a unique private school, within a diverse socio-economic sphere, to address the needs of girls at a younger age to meet their individual developmental challenges. They wanted to build the girls’ education from the ground up with attainable goals set within a creative framework, boosting their academic and social confidence by the time they arrive at middle school. If they could learn to believe they could achieve, they would succeed in middle school and high school with higher self-esteem and confidence to launch them into a constructive future.
Our teachers have identified unique talents, skills and abilities of each of the girls, along with challenges faced by each student. Challenges can be due to their personal circumstances, or challenges can be developmental; our teachers have created an individual cognitive and social environment to ensure that each student strives to overcome their personal challenges. Student-led problem-solving is the main focus of their creative learning process, using the Reggio Emilia curriculum from Italy. They choose to change their behaviors that conflict with reaching a goal. Through developmental coaching and positive feedback, students build the social and cognitive skills necessary to share their knowledge with the rest of their school community.
Our girls spend a lot of time outdoors, creating an ongoing sustainable vegetable garden and master the harvesting, winterizing, planting, preparation, and sharing of food on a daily basis to engage them in the importance of food and the challenge of healthy nutrition. Verbal expression, listening skills, and building a working vocabulary are challenges that are met with discovery and investigation: planting, investigating worms and spiders, feeding birds and building birdhouses, or making water balloons and sand houses all enhance a child’s ability to grow, learn, and investigate the world around them. Ideation, organizational development, communication skills, and positive emotive vocabulary building develop from creative play: organizing a restaurant started with food prep, design, and hiring the waitress; telling a student’s story evolved into student-directing their own theatrical production; inventing a love story grew into planning and performing the wedding ceremony; and building a pretend-bus in the middle of the classroom led to a field trip to Jupiter!
Like many young independent schools, our growing challenge is financial survival. Expenses include but are not limited to teacher and staff salaries, staff training, rental of the school building, and advertising for recruitment and enrollment. We have one full-time salaried teacher and one part-time salaried teacher and a part-time salaried executive director. We are raising funds to pay the second teacher and the executive director a full-time salary. The board of directors created a mission statement and a vision for the school’s future. The board works diligently to help support the school through community outreach, volunteering their time and talents to the students, networking to bring other volunteers into the school, and launching a fundraising mission. The board has instituted several steps toward financial growth and stability: it held a retreat to build a fundraising framework and learn fundraising strategies; each board member donated to the school annually; each shared both his or her personal monthly fundraising efforts and calls to prospective families to increase student enrollment. The board has also applied for grants and monetary donations via a community telethon and fashion show; donations of books, school furniture and equipment from other schools and educators; and monthly donations of snacks from food companies have all helped. Tuition has been low to help families in need. Increased enrollment may help to increase revenue.
The impact that Chesterfield Innovative Academy for Girls is having on our students is remarkable. Parents notice confidence in their daughters’ ability to grow forward, not just up: to discover, learn, communicate and collaborate in a diverse and innovative community.
By 18 weeks, girls will achieve skills 80% of the time:
Early Childhood Education
The research is overwhelming about the importance of quality child care and schools for early childhood education. Researchers at The Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, documented that many students are not ready for kindergarten in the area of self-regulation and social skills. Chesterfield County has a population of 4,000 four year olds and provides 500 slots for four year olds in kindergarten.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia7501 Boulders View Drive, Richmond, VA 23225804-330-7400 | www.tcfrichmond.org