Part of Valor Academy’s mission is to expose students to the wonders of the world. As such, the culmination of the 2011 school year was an exciting sleep-away field trip at Astrocamp for fifth graders.
Valor Academy is a 5th through 8th grade charter school for the communities of North Hollywood, Arleta, and Panorama City. The school was chartered by the Los Angeles Unified School District in April of 2009 and opened in August of that year with a class of 5th graders.
Astrocamp, located in the San Jacinto Mountains, was the destination for 75 of Valor’s fifth grade scholars who braved a long bus ride up steep mountain roads to start three days of fun, science, and nature education.
The scholars played teambuilding games, leapt off the power pole and slid down zip lines. The aim was to build trust and teamwork among students and to foster confidence by taking them out of their comfort zones.
“The zipline was so much fun because I got to go down with my friend, Alondra,” said Maria Diaz. “I also liked the power pole because I conquered my fears.”
Building on their science learning, students constructed and launched rockets. At night, they took an astronomy hike and got to peer into telescopes at stars, galaxies and planets including Saturn.
During the same weekend, 75 6th grade scholars journeyed to Santa Catalina Island, 22 miles by boat from Long Beach. The trip exposed Valor 6th graders to a host of fun and educational marine activities. The kids kayaked and snorkeled in the chilly Pacific. They hiked in the hills towering above the ocean, and learned about marine fish and mammals from staff biologists. Students received hands-on biology training by dissecting a squid. Many students had never been kayaking or swimming in the ocean but they used team-building techniques to dive into the new challenges.
Valor Academy is committed to putting every child on a clear path to college using proven techniques that include a longer school day, excellent teachers, free tutoring, a disciplined school culture that teaches self-respect, frequent communication with parents, an intense focus on literacy and math and enriching after school programs.