Voyagers’ Community School History
Voyagers’ Community School was opened in 2004, initially as a homeschool resource center. The following year, the school offered both full-time and part-time enrollment. From September of 2006 to June of 2010 the school resided in rented facilities with 43 acres.
In this space we added grades 5 through high school, increased our enrollment, and established the connection of curriculum to nature as we started everyday with a walk through wooded trails. From the Fall of 2010 through the Spring of 2015 enrollment increased to 60 students, ages 5-18 and we outgrow our facilities.
In the Fall of 2015 the school moved to a 13,000 square foot facility that was fully renovated with our needs in mind. In this larger campus we added Toddler and Preschool classrooms for ages 14 months to 5 years.
Since it inception, inspired by John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Reggio Emilia Schools and others, the school has offered a progressive, constructivist teaching and learning environment where children are seen as powerful, resourceful and competent and the whole child is understood to be essential and fully recognized today.
Located Eatontown, New Jersey
Voyagers’ Community School is located in Eatontown, New Jersey, in Monmouth County, on the Jersey Shore. Eatontown boasts a large land mass that was once a military base and is now being developed for business, housing and community use.
The school is located at the site of a historic Eatontown elementary school near the former Fort Monmouth. Within 15 minutes of the school one could be at the ocean or in the forest. There are also many opportunities to be in town, county, or state parks within 20 minutes.
Our school has an excellent relationship with the town and surrounding communities. We maintain this relationship through community service and the establishment of Indexed Tuition and The Innovator Scholars Program each of which makes our school affordable to a greater number of students.
Education Program In The Future
Now in our larger space Voyagers’ Community School can accommodate growth. We are accepting more students with a mind toward sensible growth. Our plan reflects a conscious effort to grow with care.
We are increasing faculty alongside increased student enrollment and maintaining our ratio: 5/1 for Toddlers, 7/1 for Preschool, 10/1 in Lower School, and 12/1 in Upper School. We are also offering a greater variety of topics and deeper exploration in Computer Coding, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Music and Culinary Arts.
As we grow, we are establishing teams and clubs including cross country track, Model UN and Robotics. We are continuing to broaden our reach and step up to meet children’s wants and needs.
Elementary And Secondary School Accreditation
We are proud to share, Voyagers’ Community School is among 2,800 schools across the United States and in nearly 100 countries, accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools
According to MSA-CESS, the profile of a Middle States-Accredited institution:
- Adheres to the Middle States Standards for Accreditation;
- Uses its mission, beliefs, and goals as the basis for daily decision-making;
- Operates in the public interest and in accordance with ethical practice;
- Accepts responsibility for the level of performance of its students;
- Remains committed to continuous improvement in student learning and to its capacity to produce the levels of learning desired and expected by its community;
- Operates in a collegial and collaborative way with all of its stakeholders;
- Sustains its focus on implementing recommendations, addressing monitoring issues and correcting stipulations that may be part of its notification of accreditation and
- Fulfills its maintenance requirements to the Commission.
Voyagers’ Learning Philosophy
Our Philosophy of Education falls under five subheadings. The thought reflected within these headings express who we are, why we exist, and what we hope to accomplish in and outside of our school.
- The culture as teacher – Culture is a way of being in existence with others. The culture at Voyagers’ is reflected in the atmosphere that exists within our boundaries and among our members. Together we recognize and encourage intellectual and social prowess.
- The teacher as learner; the learner as teacher – The acquisition of knowledge is not limited by individual imagination but is bolstered by the power and richness of thinking and sharing. Knowledge grows from relationships of trust, fairness and regard for others. Through intellectual exchange, we teach each other and learn with each other.
- The administrator, teacher, student and parent as colleagues – The sense of responsibility and passion that rises in our students when they are involved in community work contributes to their evolution as good, civic-minded individuals who give and support others in society.
- The community as teacher and communicator – At Voyagers’ there is never a stagnant mind, an expected way of doing things or a prescribed right and wrong. There are always questions to ask and answers to be found. Learning is driven by the need to know and the thrill that emerges in sharing and debating ideas. Together in dialogue we enrich each other’s lives.
- The work of learning – In our school there is joy, passion, kindness, liveliness, acceptance, and inclusion as we learn. All members work to participate with intellectual, social and political awareness. Knowledge is power and all children deserve the best possible opportunity to learn and feel confident and smart.
Voyagers’ Community School Mission
Our mission is to foster the natural joy of learning within people while empowering members of the school community to develop personal responsibility and the confidence to create the lives they want for themselves as global citizens.
Voyagers’ Community School Vision
Voyagers’ Community School is a place…
- where a child can grow and learn as a whole person.
- where children can develop thinking and working attitudes that empower them to take over their own growth.
- that honors and encourages children’s vision, tenacity, initiative, imagination, generosity, and exploration.
- that is defined by the bounding level of excitement, enthusiasm, creativity, ingenuity, inquisitiveness and individual and community satisfaction.
- that invokes vibrancy and trust among children and adults alike.
- where children can find their voice and participate in a democratic community.
- where learning is defined by no one and by everyone.
Core Values In New Jersey Education
The students are partners in the design of their education. Because wisdom teaches that everyone learns at different rates, and that peer teaching is one of the most effective ways of learning, the students are encouraged to depend on and support others in their quest for knowledge. Their accountability is to themselves and to those around them, including the faculty. Natural curiosity and a genuine desire to learn should be the motivation of each student’s interest in his/her education.
Trust and Support
A major tenet of our school is trust. We trust that each student, empowered to follow their own interest at their own pace, will learn, develop and discover the world in the ways that are right for them. Students are supported in their endeavors by a caring and compassionate faculty.
Much of the day-to-day running of the school is governed democratically by the students, faculty and staff. This is achieved through regular school meetings in which students get to share their input and pose new possibilities. In order for it to truly be their community, they must be a part of the design of the environment and operations.
Family, friends, and the community at large are all important parts of a child’s education. The school welcomes individuals wishing to share their knowledge and skills. The caveat is that the subject matter must suit children’s interests, the person’s style must match our philosophy and the timing must suit our schedule. Through this engagement, he community benefits from the school as the school benefits from the community.
Diversity is inherently valuable and therefore it’s important that the school is accessible and welcoming to people of all economic classes, races, ages, orientations, and abilities. Our creative, Indexed Tuition Plan and Innovator Scholarship Program make the school as affordable as possible. We aim not to turn students away for financial reasons.
The school atmosphere is one that allows for the whole expression of each individual. This means that in addition to the freedom to explore their mental and physical capacities, students are also given the freedom to explore their emotional selves. As children learn the faculty supports, assists, facilitates, and recognizes teachable moments and interpersonal tensions.
It is our aim to be as sustainable as possible, considering always the long-term welfare of the school and its environment. This means ecological responsibility – using environmentally conscious products and supplies, participating in green energy programs, etc. It also means financial sustainability – funding for the school and its operations comes from a diverse number of sources (tuition, fundraising, donations, grants, etc.). This assures that a dependency on a single source is not formed. All members of the community assist in this endeavor providing ideas, contacts, volunteer labor and encouragement to those pursuing outside funds.
Our licensed and professional staff truly makes Voyagers’ a one of a kind learning community. Get To Know Our Teachers
Why Choose Our School?
Amazing Learning Happens Here!®
Voyagers’ Community School curriculum is shaped by pieces and parts of many approaches
- Montessori Schools where, in its true form, education is child-centered and plays is child’s work
- Waldorf Schools where a play-based approach exists with predictable structure and routines
- Reggio Emilia schools where learning is project-based and driven by children’s interests. Many are heard to say that learning is “child-originated and teacher-framed.”
- Holistic Education where, According to Ron Miller, each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace.
- The Socratic Seminar Method which is student-centered and challenges children to develop their critical thinking skills and engage in analytic discussion. Lessons are adapted to fit a changing society.
The Cycle of Learning
We recognize that each child is strong, confident and capable. We bring these tenets alive in the classrooms through a deep understanding of educational theory and cutting-edge pedagogical practices.
We provide children with meaningful experiences for play and exploration, which is their work, while nourishing their potential as individuals. In our space children learn in a continuum; they move from easier to more difficult material and from simple to more complex strategies at their own pace, rather than being promoted once a year or waiting until the next school year to move forward in the curriculum.
Children take part in the entire cycle of learning: Interest, investigation, questions, inquiry, research, dialogue, connections, reflections, expression… Interest
The collaborative philosophy of the school is carried out by its administrators, teachers, students, parents and board members who all work together in an effort to create a learning environment that results in academic success, as well as social and emotional growth.
Developing curriculum through mapping is approached that enables faculty to lookout a course of study from all angles. Curriculum mapping includes:
- A Statement of Topic
- An answer to the questions, “Why Bother?” and “What enduring understandings are desired?”
- A list of essential questions and big ideas.
- Anticipation of direction, changing direction and possibilities
- Specific skills that can be integrated across curricular and tied to other projects
- Anticipation of student needs. “How will I reach all types of learners?”
- Areas/ ideas for possible project culminations.
- Opportunities for assessment
- Materials that may be required
- Resources in the community (field trips/ visitors/ community members) and books, videos, websites, etc.
- Past experience and advice
- How does this meet our School learning philosophy/image of the child?
Individual Learning Assessment
Each child has a set of goals developed by the faculty based on age, grade, prior knowledge, current skills and a sense of possibility. We measure/assess/review and keep track of children’s learning based on these goals. We embrace all the skills and abilities the student possesses, rather than assessing based on academic performance alone. Students who do struggle with certain skills, whether social, emotional or academic, are given tools, direct support, and additional assistance.
Our assessments show the process of learning from start to finish rather than compared to an end result. For example, when a new class is proposed, teachers create a curriculum map that follows students’ curiosities and interests. A class description is written and the course of the class is documented. Throughout the class, the teacher documents student work in various forms and returns to the curriculum map to plan the course’s direction. The teacher further documents each student’s performance and participation by recording anecdotal notes regularly in each student’s digital portfolio.
Parents are given access to their child’s portfolio online supported by Seesaw, where they can see the work through images, video, and audio recordings. They also see the child’s reflections and the teacher’s assessment through written narrative. The parent comes to understand their child’s performance in each class, as well as their social/emotional development, community involvement, and general academic progress. Parents can even add their own comments, words of praise, and questions.
High School students receive a grade report three times each year. They earn a Grade Point Average (GPA) and receive an official transcript. Parent/Teacher/Student conferences are scheduled up to three times each year. An open line of communication is kept between the parents and teachers at all times
Our High School Graduates
Voyagers’ Community School is a place where a child can grow and learn as a whole person. Voyagers’ is recognized for excellence in the depth and breadth of its academic, cross curricular, constructivist pedagogy. Voyagers’ offers an integrated approach to education through engaged, project-based, experiential and vigorous studies, supported by an involved school community.
Our graduates will know how to:
- maintain thinking and working attitudes that continue to empower them to take responsibility for their own growth.
- continue in life with vision, tenacity, initiative, imagination, generosity, and a deep sense of curiosity.
- show a bounding level of excitement, enthusiasm, creativity, ingenuity, inquisitiveness.
- find their voice and participate in a democratic society.
- work effectively and collaboratively as part of a team.
- help define their own life-long learning goals.
- remain resilient in the face of adversity.
- participate in all aspects of life as discerning global thinkers who are able to examine,
- assimilate, and integrate a wide body of information.
- understand that hard work and perseverance are part of learning.
- effectively evaluate evidence, consider diverging perspectives and draw conclusions.
- rely on and recall well developed academic skills.
- adapt to change and calculate risk.
- use their higher-order thinking skills for post-secondary school success, where knowledge and perspective must constantly be adapted to a rapidly changing world.
Voyagers’ graduates see themselves as citizens of the world. They understand that they are part of a democratic nation and a global society. They recognize the adage “with privilege comes responsibility.” They are unabashedly vocal about the environment, human rights, global justice, and world issues. They are inclined to be politically and civically active and socially engaged.
Voyagers’ Thinks Differently; See Why