In the first two years of operation, Vega was ranked #1 and #2 in the state, respectively, for math growth.
For too many students, demography determines destiny.
Vega Collegiate Academy is designed to create a vibrant, successful future for every child.
Vega Collegiate Academy is more than a school. Vega Collegiate Academy is a mission. We are on a mission. Our mission is to be a high-quality public school that takes any student who is chosen in our random lottery and prepares him or her with the knowledge, skills, and character to go on to college and to have a successful, happy life. We fulfill this mission by being focused on the needs of our students, by building a real community that shares core values and supports each other, and by using every minute of the day to help our students achieve academically and personally.
Vega Collegiate Academy expects more from its students, more from its families, more from its teachers, and more from its leaders. For only by expecting more can we achieve more. Our high expectations require us to push our children to reach higher, work harder, and learn more than they have been asked to do before. This pushing requires us to be both tough and loving. Our children may come from difficult circumstances so we must be strong to marshal them to our cause. But we must also let them know that we care deeply for them as people. It is a tricky balance but one that will truly help our children succeed. In many ways, we must act as an additional set of parents and live by the standards that whatever we would do for our own children is what we will do for our students. We must show our students the love and respect we have for them and for our profession, while still holding them accountable to our higher standard for work and behavior.
If we truly care about our students we need to use our energies to ensure that they have the skills they need to succeed. If we only show caring but do not give them the tools to go to college we have not given them enough of a gift. We must ensure that they have the talents that will open doors of opportunity and give them the freedom to choose a future that will be happy. They need a strong knowledge base, the ability to read, write, calculate and problem-solve well. They must be able to analyze, synthesize, apply, and evaluate – to think well. Therefore, at VCA, academics come first, for they will provide those tools.
One of the greatest motivators is success. We need to help our children be legitimately successful, not by giving some false praise to bolster so-called ‘self-esteem’, but from real gratification from real learning and real work. They must see and believe that they can achieve. Success increases belief, and belief will motivate them to work for greater success. But for our students to be successful and make it to college, we must be tenacious with them. VCA sets a high bar for our students to get over. We cannot lower our high expectations nor can we feel we have done enough if large numbers are failing. So, we must cajole, push, coax, demand and even drag our students until they get over this bar. Again, we must do whatever we would for our own children to ensure they get over the bar. Only this kind of tenacity will achieve what has eluded so many other schools with students like ours.
Good teaching is the answer. Teaching that is engaging, rigorous, and exciting will make the difference; teaching that is focused on attaining important standards; teaching that is focused on what students learn, not just on what we teach; teaching that gets kids working, involved, and having fun. We should not minimize the importance of making it enjoyable and joyful, nor should we ever minimize the importance of real results. Real learning yields real results on tests. Remember that teachers are the soul of the school; it is the teachers who make the real difference in the lives of children and teachers who make results happen.
However, we must be real about the challenges that we face. The challenges of life in Northwest Aurora can breed resilient anger, despair, and hopelessness. The gains we make every day can be undermined and even torn down by the forces of negativity. We must work every day to get our children to believe in the vision of hope that we have for them. We must work to get them to internalize it – to truly see their purpose as people.
Our mission is nothing less than to ensure that every child is equipped with the tools to fulfill his/her life purpose. We believe we are a part of the civil rights crusade of our time. And like our forebears in this movement, we must commit ourselves fully to bringing change for our students. We want to give students opportunities to change their own lives and circumstances and we want to create students who will be agents of change for the future. We need to empower our students with both the knowledge, and skills to better their own lives and the character to better the lives of others. This is no small task, but if not us, who, and if not now, when?
We must be strong, unrelenting, tenacious, and loving with an almost religious zeal. Nothing should be able to stop us in our collective endeavor to help our children – not poverty, not racism, not poor parents, not the state bureaucracy, not even a low budget. None of these should keep us from teaching well. We can make no excuses. We have the power to make a difference.
We touch lives daily. We are teachers
Our beliefs are inspired by and drawn from Nashville Classical and Brooke Charter Schools - schools that are changing the trajectory of student achievement every minute of every day.