Culture: The Mount Vernon Norms


At the core of Mount Vernon’s Continuum are people-centered design principles that guide teaching and learning.

Relationships are Foundational for Learning

Fundamentally we believe the most important relationship at Mount Vernon is the one between a teacher/coach and a student. Recognizing each student possesses particular learning styles and abilities, our teachers get to know, encourage and nurture each child.

Our connected community is demonstrated in a variety of ways, particularly through our advisory model and personalized-college counseling program, both of which provide high-quality mentoring, academic and life coaching, and accountability

Curiosity & Passion Drive Learning

The engine which drives discovery and moves the world forward, is curiosity. According to Thomas Friedman,

Curiosity and passion are key prerequisites for education in a “flat world,” where information is readily available and where global markets reward those who have learned how to learn and are self-motivated to learn.

Naturally, we are all curious – inquisitive about our world and the way things work. At Mount Vernon, we foster passion and embody curiosity – as a culture, a norm and a fundamental principle for learning.

Learning Demands Interactive and Flexible Spaces

Through research and years of observational work, we have discovered student engagement increases and learning is maximized when students are given a variety of seating options as well as space configurations. Two particular texts have influenced our learning principle. One titled, The Third Teacher discusses ways to transform teaching and learning through the design of the learning environment. In Making Space, the team who designed Stanford University’s d.School, has created a tool to help people intentionally manipulate space to ignite creativity.

Empathy Influences Learning

With design thinking, otherwise known as human-centered problem solving, infused across the curriculum of Mount Vernon, empathy is at the core of what we teach. Understanding an individual’s needs is essential, and we believe it empowers students to be agents of positive change. Through design thinking challenges and project-based learning, our teachers and students are continuously collaborating and discovering how to make an impact in the world.

Learners Apply Knowledge to make an impact

We live amidst a fundamental reordering of how we think about school: from the centuries-old belief that content knowledge is its central currency, to the nascent understanding that what you know matters less than who you are, and what you are uniquely capable of impacting. At Mount Vernon we are school of inquiry, innovation, and impact. While these words make up our mission statement, we live out these words every day because we believe students have the unique opportunity to influence their world now.

As Tony Wagner states,

The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know.

MV Expressions of Principles & Practice

Ideas Come to Life at the Invention Convention

Ideas Come to Life at the Invention Convention

Imagine an easier and perhaps improved life with tools like a “Dog Quieter”, a “Body Blankie” or a “Sticker Vader”. Mount Vernon’s second graders went beyond imagining to bring these tools to life through the 5th annual Invention Convention. read more
Girl Power: Building Confidence Through Accomplishment

Girl Power: Building Confidence Through Accomplishment

At Mount Vernon girls The Girls on the Run (GOTR) program encourages lifelong health and fitness builds confidence through accomplishment. Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are also developed and reinforced throughout the program. read more
A Change in Perspective Through Interviews

A Change in Perspective Through Interviews

Teaching sixth grade grammar and composition, new faculty member Jayne Liu has already become part of the Mount Vernon fabric. In effort to have students understand the importance of how context or perspective might shape the meaning of a word, her students conducted interviews with Mount Vernon neighbors who are two, even three generations removed. read more