What makes our standards unique
Our students are taught from a Biblical World View in all their academic subjects. We look to create lessons using best teaching practices while ensuring our students gain the skills and content knowledge they need at each grade level. One privilege a private school has is that we get to decide, using the state and federal standards as our guide, what will help our students experience the most success as a whole learner. We use a combination of learning styles to help our students be an active owner in their learning process. This creates deeper more relational learning that helps our students apply the skills and content they learn to their lives.
Why academic challenge is important
God has called us to work with our Hearts, Minds, and Souls in everything that we do. As we prepare our students to enter adulthood our hope is that they would be equipped as Christian Leaders in their colleges, workforce, and families. Our brains were designed to allow us to be curious learners. When our students are engaged in the academic process they grow to be lifelong learners.
We hold high expectations and then work with our students to achieve those expectations. Having high expectations is important in order to prepare our students for the next steps in life. Giving challenges to students and helping them to overcome those challenges helps students to face the obstacles they will face in the future. We provide the tools necessary for success.
We strive to teach the whole child
We value art, music, computers/technology, and more that is added to the existing core standards in math, English, science, and History. We enrich our curriculum with field trips, camps, and thought-provoking activities in the classrooms to provide our students with a more comprehensive education.
We have the Honors English level/split for 8th grade to help prepare students for the Honors level their freshman year in high school. This class does not necessarily always have more assignments, but it has a depth and intensity to it that is at a more challenging level and pace than the College Prep level class. Incoming 8th-grade students are invited into the class based on the average of the 7th grade Language Arts scores from their Terra Nova Standardized Tests, their cumulative GPA for 7th grade, their average grade in English in 7th grade, and their overall effort/determination as seen by the teachers during 7th grade.
Visual Art |
At Ventura Missionary School, Visual Art education is a dynamic and in-depth program. We believe, as studies have shown, that when children are engaging in the Visual Arts, they perform better in their academic learning, enhance their educational experience and expand their creative thinking abilities.
We additionally believe, that God created us to express our own unique creativity. Ventura Missionary School is committed to nurturing each individual child’s abilities to express themselves through our carefully designed program in Visual Art. We joyfully encourage and teach each child to articulate and grow their God given personalities and gifts through our curriculum.
Our stellar Visual Arts program has a rich history of success, with many students continuing on to high school and college Art programs with highly developed skills.
Our philosophy of Visual Art education is grounded in the California State and National Art Education standards. Students receive instruction by a specialized teacher who is experienced and holds a college degree in Art.
Elementary Visual Art
Students in grades 1 to 5 receive Visual Art instruction weekly. We have a uniquely designed program where the student is taught Art Production skills through studio art projects and Art History through the close study of a featured “VMS Artist of the Year” representing an important period of Art History. Students receive instruction in painting mediums, oil and chalk pastels, colored pencils and more. Ventura Missionary School has a strong program in drawing development. This program begins in first grade with an excellent young learner drawing course and workbook which lasts the entire year. Each year, drawing skills are developed and improved through a structured sequential course which takes students from drawing with line to full three-dimensional forms with shading techniques. Learning to draw is foundational to our curriculum.
Middle School Art
Students in grades 6 and 7 receive one-quarter of Visual Art instruction each year. Sixth grade Art is an art skill building class. Students enjoy projects in pencil drawing techniques that take their drawing abilities to the next level. The course progresses to using color in art. Students learn the artist’s viewpoint of using color in traditional and contemporary art. Students draw, paint and design in this course. Seventh-grade students enjoy a course that focuses on individual creativity and exploration. Taking the skills that they have learned, they are encouraged to find their voice in their art through projects in illustration, painting, and design.
Students in grade 8 may opt for our elective Advanced Art class. This class meets weekly and is for the student who loves art and is highly motivated to develop personal pieces of art to compile in a portfolio prior to entering high school Art. Students work with the teacher’s guidance to create their best work. The Advanced Art class also puts forth our “VMS Art Chalk Festival.” This is an iMadonari type of artwork where the students illustrate their art in chalk pastels on the cement area of our courtyard and students and visitors may see them in action working on their art. Each year it is always an amazing experience for everyone.
After School Art Program
Ventura Missionary School has had an After School Art program operating successfully for over twenty years. This popular program is offered to students during third and fourth quarters of the school year and is one hour of instruction one day per week directly after school in our Art studio room on campus. Students in grades 1st through 8th may purchase lessons in After School Art so they can enjoy more in depth instruction and personal growth.
Our program begins in Kindergarten using the Symtalk Program which teaches students the fundamentals through visual symbols that represent nouns, verbs, prepositions and other parts of speech. Students learn to associate a word or expression with its symbol which they then translate into speech and written expression.
Students learn to say a sentence at the 1st lesson, beginning in Kindergarten. They learn songs in Spanish and perform them at Kindy Promotion.
First graders begin writing sentences in Spanish. They also have oral practice where they learn to have small conversations with greetings, i.e., “How are you? And What is your name?”
In Third grade students begin conjugation and using it in sentences. The curriculum grows from there and culminates in an optional Honors Spanish course in 8th grade. Our graduates continue to higher level Spanish courses in High School where they are very successful.
We believe learning a second language is key to success in life. It is a way for our students to reach other people and share the love of God with them. We have seen our students go on to the mission field or doing business in foreign countries. It is beautiful how God prepares our students early to fulfill the plans He has for them.
We believe God created music and that it resonates with the heartbeat of God within our souls. In the creative space of music class, students learn and appreciate the creativity that God has placed inside each one of them. Since VMS began, it has been committed to an Arts-Enriched Education, including Music Performance & Theory. VMS presents two musicals each year, one at Christmas and one in the Spring. These are opportunities for VMS students to perform and experience personal growth both in front of an audience and behind the scenes with stage and technical teams. VMS also presents an Annual Talent Show, where individual students and student groups present their unique talents before God and their peers.
Got Faith Choir
Middle School students have a unique opportunity to participate in the VMS Got Faith Choir. This choir performs in the bi-annual musicals, as well as participating in competitions in Southern California. Choir students also have the opportunity to perform in our community at different venues.
At VMS, we place God First and Winning Second. Although we do love to win, we are committed to honoring God with our best in Perseverance, Teamwork, Godly Character, and Good Sportsmanship. VMS students pray together as a team before each game. They show respect to their coaches and officials. VMS students are challenged to practice good character on and off the field.
Boys & Girls Basketball
Boys & Girls Soccer
All VMS middle school students are encouraged to play sports. There is no experience required and training will begin pre-season.
VMS offers Bible class in all grades with specific and comprehensive curriculum. But it doesn’t stop there! We are committed to interweaving the truths of God in every subject and in each teachable moment throughout the day. We pray with our students and inspire them to love others, forgiving one-another as Christ has forgiven us. Our staff and our students are filled with joy and hope, and look to God’s word when faced with challenges and hurdles.
Faith at VMS is real. It’s expressed through worship in weekly chapels, events and most importantly, in the hallways and classrooms here on campus.
We are passionate about serving others and not our own interests. Our students, families, and staff are highly committed to community outreach opportunities like Missions Day, our Canned Food Drive, Coats for Kids, and Shoe Drives and more. Our Middle School students are required to submit Outreach Hours each quarter. Middle School students also enjoy our week-long Outdoor Ed program in the great outdoors where they experience excellence in science education, along with amazing sessions of Biblical teaching and worship time. At the end of 8th grade, we see the beautiful reflection of Christ in our students as they close out their education with the 8th Grade Retreat, Testimony Chapel, and Graduation.
Walking alongside our students in their spiritual growth is such a privilege and we continue to be amazed by the impact God makes in each student’s life. It is at the core of everything we do here at VMS.
Computer Lab & Technology |
In today’s culture, technology is everywhere and all consuming. In our Computer Lab, we teach our students first and foremost to be good digital citizens. They are encouraged to be Christ-like in their applications and connections on-line. They learn about the importance of citing work and respecting copyright laws. They learn to honor God in all they do while treating others with respect and kindness. They learn that being a good digital citizen is no different than being a good citizen in life. These character traits are emphasized at grade level appropriateness and infused within the lessons along the way.
We believe it’s important to expose our students to different platforms, and in 2014, the VMS iPad Academy was introduced. Our students enjoy many math and language learning apps on our iPads, but the most popular is our Computer Coding iPad class which begins in 4th grade and continues in middle school.
The Computer Lab Experience begins in Kindergarten, where our students are taught weekly the basic standards of using a desktop computer, while learning grade level standards in math and language arts. Kindergarteners also enjoy learning apps in the classroom weekly on Wednesdays.
Successful keyboarding techniques are crucial to learning in the 21st Century, and we help our students meet these high standards with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing starting in 3rd grade. Keyboard Recognition programs are also vital for our K-2 students in the lab. Our desire is to offer every advantage for our students to be successful in their education and in life, and we believe keyboarding is KEY!
All elementary students receive weekly instruction in the Computer Lab with software dedicated to each grade level. We introduce Microsoft Word and Microsoft Power Point at young ages. We introduce the basic MLA format in fourth grade, followed by a more in-depth formatting in fifth grade, where they are well prepared to create their reports and create their presentations for middle school and beyond.
In middle school, we emphasize advanced skills with the Microsoft Office Suite. Students apply their skills in classes through presentations and in-depth writing. Also, VMS 7th grade students have a unique opportunity to be creative with forming a mock business or non-profit, where they apply their skills at creating business forms and letters, presentations, a logo, and business cards. This year many of those students chose to make a real business to run during the summer months. Many of them are raising money for missions or college.
At VMS, technology is beautifully balanced with a hands-on learning environment that goes beyond the classroom. We are committed to providing the tools and training for our students to succeed in their academic endeavors and in their future life-goals.
“Bullying is a cultural problem, requiring a community to fix.”
Our community here at Ventura Missionary School is focused on presenting an anti-bullying program that offers faith-based solutions to stop bullying, cyberbullying, and unkindness. Grades 1-3 utilize a program called Coping with Conflict which teaches communication and problem resolution skills. Grades 4 through 8 use a program called the Protectors. With this program, students are taught how to recognize bullying and stand up for students who are being bullied. Both programs aim to help restore hope, love, and justice and teach strategies and solutions that will help our community here at VMS be bully free.
Annually, our school focuses on “Stamping out Bullying” by participating in activities that remind our students just how important it is that we treat each other with kindness and respect.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a
Middle School Student Ambassador Program |
We developed this program as a way to further teach and encourage students who are already leaders. These students are held to a higher standard at school because this was a choice they made to be in this position. These students are recommended by former Student Ambassadors and teachers, are asked to explain their faith in Jesus, and asked to represent Jesus, their families, and the school both in school and outside of school.
The Face of VMS
These students would all be able to share their love for VMS. They would recognize that not all aspects of school are fun, but they would genuinely be able to express how much they have enjoyed going to VMS.
Becoming an Ambassador
Students are nominated, then they are invited to participate, they must fill out an application with recommendations needed, and then they are accepted or denied after evaluation of their paperwork.
“Being a leader and helper around the school has meant a lot to me this year.”
“My favorite parts of being a Student Ambassador are when we hang out before meetings as a group getting to know one another and laughing together and getting to serve at events for the school like at Thanksgiving Chapel when we helped with the collection of the Operation Christmas Child boxes.
Middle School Student Council |
Student Council’s simple purpose is to serve the students and faculty of VMS. As a school, we value the voice of our students. We also desire to create real experiences in the basics of democracy. Each year our Student Council applicants fill out their application and seek character references. They create speeches that they present to the entire middle school. Then their classmates participate in an anonymous vote.
Our Council members serve for an entire year. They meet each week to help plan future events such as Spirit Weeks, lunch volleyball and basketball tournaments, and Dances. The members take surveys of their classmates on topics like their interests in clubs, food for the dances, and themes for Spirit Week.
Each year we also serve our community by organizing canned food drives, donating money or items to specific causes like the tsunami in Japan or the earthquake in Haiti, and creating class competitions to raise money for children with leukemia. Our hope is that we would teach our leaders the importance of looking ‘out’ at other’s needs instead for ‘in’ at our own needs.
Some of the leadership skills we try to help our students develop our intuition: recognizing a need around campus and having a thoughtful solution, knowledge: being able to analyze and recognize the details that need to be organized to run a large event, and lastly character: helping our leaders develop Godly character through their thoughts, attitudes, and actions – they are called to a higher standard as Christian Leaders on our campus.
Lessons and instruction are presented and worked through from Jeff Meyers on youth leadership and John Maxwell. Both of these men are respected Christian experts on leadership.