With the sudden flush of articles about Will and Jada's New Village Academy, I paid a visit to the school's website to see if they'd made any changes since I was last there. Interesting.
Here's the new curriculum page: New Village Academy » Curriculum » NVA Program Overview
Here's the old one: New Village Academy Curriculum
We know they've removed the list of staff. To be able to count the number of Scientologists on faculty was just too much information for the public.
But I've noticed a couple of other significant changes:
1) Heron Basics given the boot for 2008?
The "Language Arts" section of the Curriculum overview used to read:
Now, however, it starts:Language Arts
Literature exposure begins with exposure to books, reading aloud, and visits to the library. For reading and writing, NVA uses the Heron Basics Program, which covers reading, writing, handwriting, phonics and spelling, all done in concert with a high volume of writing and reading. It is a traditional reading program that utilizes phonics and literature, phasing out phonics as children become fluent readers. Students develop increasing comprehension skills relating to inference, sequencing, prediction, and character motivation as they explore various genres. The key ingredient of this program is that it is completely individualized for each child, and pace is at the exact level of the student.
Heron Books is a Delphi Schools (ie Scientology) organisation.LANGUAGE ARTS
Language Arts begins in Pre-kindergarten with exposure to books, reading aloud, and visits to the library. For our language arts program, NVA has chosen to adopt the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Programs for Fall 2008. Additionally, literature circles with higher level chapter books integrate social studies concepts into language arts. Students develop increasing comprehension skills relating to inference, sequencing, prediction, and character motivation as they explore various genres. The key ingredient of our reading and spelling programs is that it is completely individualized for each child, and pace is set to the exact level of the student.
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2) Ethics Program Gone Under Cover?
This aspect of NVA sounds disturbingly like Scientology (being hauled in to see the Ethics Officer) and the Delphi Schools.
We asked some questions about this ethics program when first we came across the NVA site. It seems, someone has been reading enturbulation.org, because NOW it reads:Ethics
Character development through ethical choices is integrated into the curriculum. From their first days on campus, students learn of the School’s expectations as outlined in the School’s 3 R’s. This code highlights desirable attributes and responsibilities, which are addressed daily in classrooms and all programs. Weekly all-school assemblies also emphasize values of good behavior and community service. A well-established ethics system is used to help students who have made poor choices learn to make better ones. The School, as a community, takes on projects to assist the greater community.
Students are expected to respect the rights of others, as well as respect civil laws and authority. In addition, students need to respect school property, others’ property, and to respect others’ feelings. We teach them to be cooperative workers who demonstrate the abilities to negotiate and compromise.
One of the biggest advantages to being a student at NVA is being a member of a group of people who are very much a family in addition to an educational community. We stress the concept that we are a “village” and so work as a team. Along with being a team member goes the responsibility of personal ethics and integrity. An understanding of basic ethics helps students prosper as individuals while being a part of a group. Ethics is simply the choices and actions a person takes on himself, and the ability to take responsibility for his or her actions.
Our Ethics program is a unique aspect of NVA. Our faculty help the students make decisions that are in their best interest and in the best interest of the class. Being aware of how their behavior impacts those around him or her then is expanded to include how decisions (by both children and adults) can affect the community and eventually the world.
Although academics is the focus of the school, there are sometimes behavior, attitudes, relationships and other situations that can compromise one’s ability to do his/her best. Our faculty, specifically teachers who are trained to work with our children on ethics, are available to students when they are having difficulties in any situation. Students are very comfortable asking adults for help, and going to them when they have a problem.
A. What happened to the well-established ethics system and why are you not talking about it now?LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Leadership and character development through ethical choices is integrated into the curriculum. From their first days on campus, students learn the School’s expectations as outlined in the School’s 3 R’s. This code highlights desirable attributes and responsibilities, which are addressed daily in classrooms and all programs. Weekly all-school assemblies emphasize values of good behavior and community service. The School takes on various service-learning projects that assist the greater community as well as provide our children with opportunities to learn about Los Angeles and about other children in our diverse city.
Students are expected to respect the rights of others, as well as respect civil laws and authority. In addition, students learn from an early age to have regard for school property, others’ property, and to pay attention to others’ feelings. We provide tools and skill sets that enable our students to be cooperative leaders who demonstrate the ability to negotiate and compromise. Teachers talk to students as individuals, much as one would with a close family member, and take each individual into consideration when redirecting behavior. Conflict resolution techniques are used when a student experiences problems with another student.
Our Leadership Development program is a unique aspect of NVA. Our faculty helps the students make decisions that are in their best interest and in the best interest of the class. As students move from grade level to grade level, being aware of how their behavior impacts those around them is expanded to include how decisions (by both children and adults) can affect the community and eventually, the world.
B. Are these lovely teachers who are like family members the same ones who were "trained to work with "our" children on ethics"? Who conducts the training? Who accredits it? What is the basis of the training?
C. The ethics program was "a unique aspect of NVA". Is the new "Leadership Development" program the same as, different from, or does it incorporate, the ethics program?
D. Most importantly, just what IS the ethics system of NVA?
Parents of potential NVA students should be asking these questions.
Exscientologykids.com has a board about Scientology education. A couple of comments:
They had CONDITIONS? (When a Scientologist is in lower condition, they get punished.)Apple School was established February 4, 1974 by Bonnie Bishop. It used Hubbard study technology. It started with 15 kids. I first attended September 1974 as a fifth grader.
Because it was small at first, multiple grades would be merged into a single class. And it had all trappings of simple org -- conditions, ethics officer, etc. I remember how time consuming looking up words, demo kits, etc. all was. But then we would have to make a certain amount of progress in our academic work to gets points and stay in power.
It's also a really safe campus (but I think that's probably true for many private schools).
But they go way overboard with "ethics handling", to the point where it becomes psychological abuse. Treatment like that can really smash one's self-esteem, especially for kids.
I completely agree with you 100%! I had extremely low self-esteem most of the time while I was at Delphi. I desperately wanted to graduate from there while I was there... but I lacked the focus, and I felt really horrible, like I wasn't being an ethical person, I wasn't doing M3 enough. I was in and out of ethics all the time for falling behind target. Being at Delphi was very stressful for me.
Students are made to write up their O/W's (basically a written confessional). They may be assigned a "lower condition" and have to follow formula steps to get out of that condition.
When you are on the condition of LIABILITY, you have to make amends for being a bad student. Amends can be anything from bulk mail, cleaning, working in the scullery, etc. And then after you do this, you have to go around the school asking people to read your liability formula and get them to sign it, giving you permission to rejoin the group. It is rather degrading.
When you think about it, being sent to Ethics is sort of the equivalent of a combination of being sent to the principal's office and seeing the school guidance counselor. But in a regular school, you are free to disclose or withhold anything going on with you, and the guidance counselor won't pass judgment on you, only try to help you work through it.
I also want to add -- Scientology claims that counselors/therapists are bad because they "evaluate" your problems for you. But just think about all the times an Ethics Officer evaluates for you when you're in Scientology. "You are being out-ethics," "You are PTS," "You are in a condition of Treason," etc. Not only are they evaluative, they are judgmental, which in my opinion, is worse than being evaluative, and can be detrimental to the person who is trying to get better.
There were two faculty members who were ethics officers. The other ethics officers were students who were earning credit to finish their Form (it's sort of a leadership kind of thing, since you're expected to be a leader before graduating from Delphi). I guess technically, they'd be more like "assistant ethics officers." The ethics officers weren't the supervisors/teachers, they were basically the "principal's office" you were sent to if you got in trouble for anything.
Although, one time, when I was speaking to the Ethics Officer, I talked with her about this. She said, "If you don't agree with it, then why are you here? You have to keep your integrity in on this. If something isn't working for you, like Method 3 Word Clearing, then you have to be honest and say, 'Hey, this doesn't work for me.' And if you honestly feel it doesn't work for you, then you shouldn't be here, you should be some place else. Because everybody in this group believes it works, that's why we are in this group, and if you don't believe it works, you're only pretending to be part of the group. And then you're not being honest with us or yourself.
"Let's say we give you a recipe for a cake. We want you to make that cake using the exact recipe we gave you. Then you make the cake, but you change the recipe a little bit. It might still be a good cake, it might even be a better cake than the recipe we gave you. But.... is it still the same cake? No, it is not. Here at Delphi, we're making a specific cake, and we want you to stick to that specific recipe."
Almost all of the above comments are from: Ex Scientology Kids :: View topic - Delphi Education: Good or Crappy?
Our original thread about the New Village Academy: http://forums.enturbulation.org/7-gener ... ool-14380/
UPDATE to OP:
Another story about ethics on http://exscientologykids.com/eskforums/ ... 149da5e801
I would like to give an example about how they could go overboard on the Ethics.
My first year at Delphi, I went to Ethics because I felt like a social outcast and my faculty advisor had suggested I go to Ethics for a cycle to focus on how to establish more comm lines with other kids. I was fourteen years old, I wanted to be "normal," you know?
Well, about the same time, I went down to Ethics for falling behind target and for falsely attesting to having made my reading target (which I confessed to). I wrote up all my relevant O/W's.
Later, I was working with one of the student Ethics Officers about how I apply my study tech, since I was falling behind target. We were reading a book together, and then I yawned a little bit (yawning being a symptom of having a misunderstood word). I told the student Ethics Officer that I had an MU, but she said it looked to me like I had just taken an extra gulp of air. And I was telling her it felt like a yawn to me, when all of a sudden, the main ethics officer comes out and she's really irritated and she says impatiently, "He's wasting our time! If he does it again, you send him down to the scullery!" And then to me, "KNOCK IT OFF! You know the study tech, you know the symptoms, you know how to apply it, YOU ARE WASTING EVERYBODY'S TIME, KNOCK IT OFF!"
Anyway, after she leaves, I feel pretty "enturbulated," shaken up, I'm trying not to cry. The student ethics officer tries to console me. Then the main ethics officer tells me to organize my stuff. So, I'm doing that, still crying silently, when finally the main ethics officer says, "You are really getting on my nerves! Take your stuff to your room and don't come back until you're ready to clean up your act!"
So, I go to my room, feeling really upset, ashamed, stressed out, scared for my future, crying...
Finally, I go back to the ethics reception. The Ethics Officer takes me into her office and she says, "Okay, so your faculty advisor asks me to have you come in here so that we can help "Mr. Weirdo be more 'normal'" and then at the same time, your life completely falls apart! You are constantly being disrespectful of Scientology, always attacking it, etc." (True, I was constantly disagreeing with things Hubbard wrote and getting into arguments with my Scientologist roommate) "Why are you here if you don't like it?"
"Well, I.... I..." I said, stammering, raising my arm in an awkward gesture (I'd always had awkward, weird mannerisms).
"Stop doing that with your arm! Quit being weird!" she snapped. "I think you have EVIL INTENTIONS. I think you have MORE OVERTS AND WITHHOLDS TO WRITE UP. Write up as many as you can think of!"
So... I believed her. I was an evil person with lots of overts and withholds. I started writing up every single thing I could think of, every little bad thing I had done my whole life. I even wrote down thoughts I had, like how I hated certain staff members. At the time, at fourteen years old, I was entertaining suicidal thoughts, because I felt like a social outcast and I was so afraid of failing and growing up to be a loser. I wrote down my suicidal thoughts in my O/W's.
The next day, I was sent home and expelled. That was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I'd had in my life.
And that was my ruin that really brought me into Scientology. I wanted to be accepted back into Delphi, because I felt like I was no good unless I was able to graduate from there.
This Ethics Officer, I won't say her name... she had an irate, sarcastic personality. She knew how to be intimidating and she'd be intimidating on purpose to get out-ethics students to shape up. But in this case, I think she went a little overboard to the point where it was psychological abuse. I wouldn't have written about any suicidal thoughts in my O/W's if she hadn't been so hard on me.
But... I have to take responsibility because it was my choice to be there. After all, she did ask me, "If you don't like Scientology, then why are you here?" I should have taken a hint that perhaps the school wasn't the best fit for me.
The other times I was in Ethics at Delphi, my ethics cycles weren't so stressful or scary. It was just that one cycle during my first year when I got expelled.