To Whom It May Concern: I am writing in support of the Virtues Project. I feel those exposed to it can potentially have an inspiring, life-changing experience. Valley New School is an innovative, project-based, student-driven charter school in the Appleton Area School District. Students, grades 7-10, attend the school. I am an advisor and administrator at VNS. Our mission is ?to create a learning community that empowers individuals to become purposeful adults.? Staff and students alike are proactive about building a positive culture that promotes individuality, personal freedom, and self actualization so that students feel confident and equipped to pursue their passions and life goals. Such a culture requires that all members are
accepting of each other so that community members feel safe to take risks. When I was introduced to the Virtues Project at the Youth Worker Coalition conference in the spring of 2007, I was inspired to attempt to expose my entire school community to the positive outcomes the project can create. Terry Rahn and Valerie Hess, Master Facilitators of the Virtues Project, administered a day-long workshop at Valley New School to staff, students, and parents on November 2, 2007. A member of the administration for the Appleton Area School District as well as an Appleton Area School District School Board Member attended as well. The response from the VNS community and the positive outcomes from this day were overwhelming. Students reacted with comments like, ?I feel the [Virtues] project could help people discover about themselves what they want to improve, and shows people parts of themselves they never thought about before,? and ?The way we act affects others just as much as ourselves,?and ?I learned Change can be simple.? The VNS community as a whole was inspired to integrate Virtues philosophies into our culture. One student states, ?I feel hopeful that the Virtues Project will have a positive impact on our school culture. We have interacted with everyone in a way that changes our perspective about each other.? I have personally observed several instances where students or staff have utilized Virtues acknowledgements to empower a fellow VNS community member. Also, the district administrator was inspired to share the opportunity with other principals in the district. I have seen the power of the Virtues project and its ability to spread. I strongly believe that the implementation of the Project into any setting will have strong positive impact on the culture and individuals involved.
Nicole Luedtke, Valley New School, Appleton, WI