August 14, 2019
August 26 at 8:15 a.m.
8:15 a.m. to 1:57 p.m.

August 27 at 8:15 a.m.
8:15 a.m. to 1:57 p.m.

August 28 at 8:15 a.m.
First Day of School
September 2, 2019
No School- Labor Day

September 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Back to School Night

September 18 at 8:30 a.m.
Family Alliance Meeting

Happy Summer!   We are excited to have started planning for the upcoming year. This year, we will see our founding class graduate, welcome our fourth class (now serving students in 9th through 12th grade), sending our students off to college, careers, and beyond!
In June, Intellectual Virtues Academy hosted an  international conference on intellectual character education sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF). The IVI model of education is receiving notable attention from educators world-wide on preparing students for our current world.

Experts from Africa and Harvard -- as well as members from our staff and founding board member Dr. Jason Baehr -- led discussions with teams from Australia, South America, Europe, Canada, across the United States. Additionally, we were invited to share our experiences and successes at Boston University’s Center for Character and Social Responsibility . Lastly, some of you may recall that earlier this last year, our program was celebrated in the NY Times’ Top 10 Bestseller The Coddling of the American Mind as a school who is successfully developing learners for a changing world.

Parents and students have continued to report student intellectual virtue growth. CCTST test scores also demonstrate, yet again, critical thinking improvement far beyond control group average. While some may worry that a successful focus on “21st Century Skills” comes at the expense of traditional rigor, we now have three years of testing that show proficiency growth beyond the national average  on every test given.  In fact, our sophomores last year (juniors this year), had the best scores since our opening. 
Our planning for the new school year builds upon last year’s successes and your constructive feedback.  One, through a $45k generous grant from Andeavor Foundation (now Marathon), we are building out our S.T.E.M. program by (1) purchasing tech and lab equipment to offer high-end info-tech-lab capabilities, including a 3D printer, and (2) offering our first AP Biology course headed by Mr. Garcia.  Two, through another $45k sub-grant from JTF, Mr. Schmidt is starting our study of the mindsets, skills, and social-emotional components of creativity.  This study will compliment Mr. Navarro-Picken's courses in AP Studio Art and Art II: Mural Production; as well as Mr. Rodriguez’s integration of journalism and creative writing in his English courses.
Terra Acevedo - Office Clerk
"As a person who struggled in traditional education growing up, I chose the Academy because I wanted to be part of a community-based reinvention of how academia can be used to empower young learners to grow intellectually as well as in their individual identities and interpersonal communications. The Academy's Master Virtues of Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Self Growth make this possible, and I look forward to seeing the positive changes being made."
Cynthia Angheven - Office Clerk and Translator
Ms. Angheven started working for Intellectual Virtues Academy (IVA) Middle School in 2015. She currently attending California Statue University, Long Beach. She loves to read, spend time with her family, and travel around the world.
Daniel Avery - Math Teacher
"I chose the Academy because its core virtues look at advancing education in innovative ways. My goal is to find and implement new, research-supported methods to teach math, and to help students think critically while integrating technology in ways that extend and support student learning."
Jessica Balague - Special Education Teacher
Jessica graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Special Education. Her experience in the country provided her with exposure to both urban and rural settings. She has worked with children with special needs in the marginalized areas of the Philippines, and here in the United States created instructional materials for classroom instruction to facilitate their learning and increase the number of educational resources.
"I truly believe that "learning never stops" and the Academy provides opportunities for teachers to continuously grow professionally and hone their craft. Moreover, the core virtues of the Academy provides the faculty with an innovative way to educate the students. In return, it enables the students to embrace the curiosity and wonderment of their surroundings. Hence, I am very grateful to be a part of a team that shares the common goal for student achievement."
David Brudney - History Teacher
“I have been amazed at the openness, friendliness, seriousness of purpose, and intellectual humility that make the Academy such a special community. The Academy turns its Intellectual Virtues into a part of everything that happens on campus. The community is genuinely remarkable, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to learn from, and work with, the students and teachers of Intellectual Virtues Academy High School!”
Julissa Cardenas - Teacher Aid
"This team truly cares about creating opportunities for their students, and staff as well, to thrive in a community with like-minded individuals who want to explore education as more than just a learning objective, but as a true foundation for becoming a free thinking member of society. Kids need to know they aren't just another passing face in the system. I firmly believe the Academy proves that our students matter to us. The Academy gives me a chance to utilize my skills to make a difference to students who may not get as much focused attention from a more populated school setting."
Laura Cipperly - Community Outreach Coordinator
Ms. Laura was born in Guatemala City, emigrated here as a young child and grew up in Orange County. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Anthropology with an emphasis on Cultural Studies and a minor in History. She is currently finalizing her Masters in Education & is looking forward to earning a PhD in Cultural Studies & Historical Education. She cares about diversity in schools, as well as representation for people of all backgrounds. She loves to hike with her dog, read, and spend time with her family.

"I joined the academy because I believe in cultivating students into becoming independent thinkers and IVA really empowers them to discover who they want to be and how to contribute to society."
Makenna Engert - Attendance and Support Specialist

Makenna is passionate about arts integration, empowering youth, and organization. She comes to the Academy with a counseling background from California State University, Fullerton and has a wealth of knowledge in supporting youth. Makenna now oversees attendance as well as providing student support services. 
Courtney Folsom - Physical Education Teacher
Courtney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University and earned a Master's Degree in Sports Administration and Coaching.  As a collegiate water polo athlete, she developed a passion for health, fitness, and coaching. After graduation, she coached water polo for four years and was a substitute PE and health teacher.  
"I am so humbled and honored to have been asked to join the incredible and accomplished staff at the Academy. The determining factor was the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded professionals in such a tight-knit community. I am so excited to grow as an educator and to share my passion for health and fitness. It is my goal to show that being active is not something to be dreaded; it can be FUN and WILL be fun in my classroom!"
Joseph Garcia - Science Teacher
"I chose to come to the Academy because I was looking for a school that looked beyond traditional teaching methods  in order to most effectively engage students.  I am looking forward to continuing to grow as an educator, and use my knowledge and experience to educate and mentor the students at the Academy."
Phenice Hurtado - Office Manager
A Southern California native herself, Phenice grew a passion for education in under-served communities early in her career, serving as an Office Manager for one of the top performing charter middle schools for 11 years. She brings her attention to detail, dedication to excellence, and genuine love for students and their families to IVA this 2019-2020 school year. She is committed to continuing to foster an enrollment experience that students and their families will appreciate while here at the academy. Aside from life at the Academy, Phenice enjoys playing and watching sports, food, and spending time with her family. 
Julie Lee - Associate Director and Special Education Teacher
"I chose the Academy because it was an awesome opportunity to make a difference in the underserved community. This population is near and dear to my heart, and I wanted to continue to foster the fun in education while inspiring students to continue on the path to success. I also was intrigued by the challenge of being a part of a start up/inaugural year of a school."

Marisol Marquez - Spanish Teacher
Marisol is excited to begin her teaching career with the Academy. Marisol graduated with a B.A. in Spanish from California State University, Long Beach, where she also obtained her teaching credential. Before teaching, she worked for three years with children with social-cognitive deficits. She is looking forward to showing her students that language learning can be personable, engaging, and culturally relevant to their lives. 
"I am eager to be involved with the community and growing as an educator at the Academy. In the future, I hope to pursue a Master's degree in either Teaching Spanish as a Second Language or Social & Cultural Analysis of Education."
James McGrath - Founding Director
Mr. McGrath comes from an extensive background in education and has served as our founding director since opened. He believes in preparing students to solve real-world problems and pave their own path.

He is are excited to welcome all the new families that have joined the Academy this summer. He is looking forward to seeing our founding class graduate, attend prom, and sending them off to college, careers, and beyond!
Greg Navarro Pickens - Art Teacher
“I chose to teach at the Academy because I was very inspired by the concept of the Intellectual Virtues being the school’s guiding principle. I was excited to see “Creativity” listed at the top of these virtues which is something I hadn’t encountered in a school before. The opportunity to help create a meaningful arts integrated curriculum in such a supportive, friendly environment was very compelling and I happily joined the team.” 
John Rodriguez - English Teacher
"I firmly believe in the role of character growth on academic achievement. I say things like, "Effort equals results," and "I don't teach English; I teach humans." Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Intellectual Virtues Academy was completely staffed by like-minded professionals! I chose to work at the Academy to bring my enthusiasm, creativity and rigor to this community. I also chose to enroll my son at the middle school. I'm all in."
Summer Sanders - Director
"I am inspired to be a part of a group of people who value supporting and challenging students through care, connection, and a growth mindset. Together, we are aware that we are not only educating students in academic subjects, we are also supporting the discovery of who they want to be, what matters most, and inspiring them to make  positive  contributions to our world now, and in the future. With an open-mind and heart, we learn from our students as much as they learn from us. This school was founded on these beliefs- that is a rare find. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a community committed to manifesting a cohesive vision."
Dustin Schmidt - Associate Director and Humanities Teacher
"The Academy offers a rare opportunity for students and teachers to develop habits of mind that support good lives, strong relationships, and inclusive communities. It allows us space to investigate big, philosophical questions, apply our thinking to real, relevant social issues, and reflect on our thinking in a way that fosters critical, engaged, and compassionate citizens. This is, I think, the best we can hope for as we try to build supportive, forward-thinking communities. I am humbled to be part of such a passionate, intentional community of inquiry."
Darren Taylor - English and ELD Teacher
Darren has sixteen years' experience as an educator. He loves studying and teaching languages. In addition to Mandarin and Spanish, he has also taught a bit of French and Japanese. Currently, Mr. Taylor is studying Classical Chinese, Farsi, and Vietnamese. 

"I am looking forward to getting to know everyone at IVA and working with the amazing students!"

The Academy is currently enrolling students going into 9th through 12th grade for next school year. Interested families should start the process by submitting an  application  today.

Personal tours are available by contacting our office at 714.595.2473 or [email protected] .

CHANGE IN ENROLLMENT - We understand life circumstances change. To help us anticipate any additional spaces available for the upcoming year, please let us know if your Academy student will not be returning by emailing Mrs.Cipperly or Mrs. Sanders .
  • If you have trouble accessing your Illuminate account, please email us at [email protected].
Intellectual Virtues Academy, A Long Beach Public High School 
1637 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, California 90813
562.283.4456 |
The Intellectual Virtues Academy is a public Long Beach high school, open to all students, authorized by Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).