Intellectual Virtues Academy of Long Beach Receives $2 Million Grant to Found New, Tuition-Free High School


Photo courtesy of Intellectual Virtues Academy. 

The Intellectual Virtues Academy (IVA) of Long Beach has accepted a $2 million grant to expand its middle school to include a new tuition-free high school, the institution announced Tuesday. After a comprehensive review by the John Templeton Foundation, whose motto states, “How little we know, how eager to learn,” the school was included in the less than 10 percent of proposals submitted by top researchers and organizations worldwide.

IVA received a $1 million grant from the same foundation in 2012, when the academy was just getting started.

According to the announcement, the review included a rigorous analysis of the proposed high school’s education program, business plan, and middle school’s track record of success. The IVA Board of Directors voted to accept the grant and appoint James McGrath to the position of founder.

"With colleges and employers clamoring for critical thinking and reasoning skills, we’re excited and honored that the Foundation found merit in our proposal," said James McGrath, founder and project leader for the grant proposal, in a statement.

He said the grant will allow the academy to create a small and safe learning community, one that can implement an engaging and challenging curriculum that will prepare its students for their futures.

The high school will be based on an “intellectual virtues educational model,” according to the release, which combines rigorous engagement of academic subjects with a focus on cultivating intellectual character virtues like curiosity, intellectual carefulness, humility, open-mindedness and intellectual perseverance.

According to Eric Churchill, chairman of the board for IVA, location and staffing has yet to be determined, but the board is in talks with McGrath on putting together an “all-star lineup of teachers.”

“We recognize the success Long Beach Unified has had in education, and we look forward to being a part of that legacy,” he said in a statement.

The high school will stand as a public charter school, will not charge tuition and will be open to all interested families, as space permits. It will include a comprehensive A-G college preparatory program, AP courses and extracurricular activities, including sports. The school has yet to be authorized by a governing agency.

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