Situated in Sevierville is a Christian home for children called Wears Valley Ranch. Affiliated with this ranch is a school called St. Andrews, the school provides an accredited tutorial education for residential youth from the ranch. The St. Andrews school has an underlying philosophy of providing all its students with straight A’s. We here at Valley View Elementary attempt to mimic this philosophy as closely as possible.
Students come to Valley View Elementary from different backgrounds and with different needs. Earning the trust of these students is a task we face daily. Perseverance is needed by the entire staff to accomplish this goal. A majority of parents today are failing to give their children what they need and we are responsible for filling this gap. Just as St. Andrews’s school philosophy is to give its students straight A’s we have a desire for our Valley View students to receive straight A’s. They can then pass these A’s on to the future children in their lives.
Positive attention is the first A.
If positive attention is unavailable students will often behave in a negative way to get negative attention. Most students would rather be disciplined than ignored. There is no excuse for depriving children or attention.
Affection is the second A that our students need.
Affection can be verbal and nonverbal. Affection for the most part needs to be directed toward them. However, they need to witness affection between others. Students need to learn a kind work or deed is all part of the language of love.
Lots of the third A is needed for us to make a positive difference in our student’s lives.
Affirmation is the third A. This will require a vigilant determination from our staff to speak helpful words when they constantly receive negative feedback from our students to almost everything they do. Children should be reprimanded for bad behavior, but not ridiculed. Our students need direction not sarcasm.
The fourth A our students need is acceptance.
The school staff is often the most important authority figure in our student’s lives. Unconditional acceptance from the staff should be experienced by all students. This will facilitate self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is a healthy understanding by the students of their personal strengths and weaknesses.
Accountability is the fifth A.
We as a staff must keep our word to our students. Whether we promise reward or warn of painful consequences. We must keep our commitments. Sometimes our judgment may be faulty but our integrity must be impeccable.
Our goal is for Valley View Elementary School students to become responsible young adults. The labor we expend on their behalf will be richly rewarded. We can make no more important investment than when we make an investment in the lives of our students.