Becoming educated, moral, and compassionate global citizens
The Miami Valley School’s curriculum fosters in students a deep sense of humanity and a commitment to advancing peace in their community and around the globe.
One of the four core values of MVS is kindness. Learning to practice kindness requires empathetic, compassionate engagement with others in our school, our community, and around the world. We provide frequent and on-going opportunities for our students to practice kindness—to care, both in spirit and action, about the freedom, dignity, and well-being of others. We are not alone in pursuing this ideal. We partner with companies, not-for-profits, and service organizations in Dayton and around the world which give our students unique opportunities to acquire the experience and tools to make meaningful contributions in service to others.
Giving back to the community is an integral part of the MVS culture and experience. Our Community Service program begins as early as three years old with students in the Early Childhood School. In Lower School, community service projects takes place by grade. For Middle School and Upper School, the Community Service program is more specifically incorporated throughout the year.
In middle school, the service curriculum provides context and hands-on experience for students to understand ways in which they can better the Dayton community and make a difference. Students complete service projects both on and off campus throughout the year and study one major theme of social justice.
Sixth, seventh and eighth graders travel off campus twice a year for their major service projects.
Each year, the Upper and Middle School share one cause of social justice to augment students' understanding of the value and meaning behind serving others. This often translates into meaningful visits from experts in that field.
Off campus, sixth graders spend time at the United Rehabilitation Service and the Five River MetroParks, experiencing first-hand the joy of serving others and helping the environment. At the United Rehabilitation Services, students spend time doing crafts and socializing with adults who have disabilities. At the MetroParks, students engage in a variety of activities, ranging from invasive species removal to see planting.
At 4 Paws for Ability, seventh-grade students play with puppies and socialize young dogs, who will be trained to work with children who have disabilities. Seventh-grade students also provide service to the environment with Five River MetroParks and the Centerville Washington Parks District.
The service program in the Upper School is designed to get students out of their comfort zones and off campus, providing context for students to learn about issues of social justice. Students identify issues affecting our area and explore ways to better the Dayton community through service.
The biggest push for service in the Upper School revolves around the Advisory system. There are three full school days throughout the year dedicated to community service. During these days, students go off campus in their advisories (12 students and one faculty) to complete projects in the Dayton community. Projects include socializing future service dogs at 4 Paws for Ability, working with adults who have disabilities at the United Rehabilitation Services, working at the Homefull microfarm downtown, and many more. Through this program, students are exposed to myriad nonprofits in the Dayton community and receive 20 hours of community service at the end of the year after successful completion of the program.
Two major highlights of the service program are Charity Challenge and the social justice theme each year.
Charity Challenge takes place in the afternoon in the spring and is a field day for all students to compete for the charity of their choice. Students are on a team with their advisory, and each advisory votes for one local charity to which they will support. After an afternoon of competitions and races, the winning team is awarded a $500 donation to present to their charity.
The social justice theme is voted on by students each year. The theme allows students to learn in-depth about an issue plaguing today's society and how they can help mitigate this issue through community service.
There is also a service Immersion offering every year known as Be the Change. Be the Change differs from year to year, and it has included a service trip to Ecuador to rebuild a school, and it has also been a local Immersion involving personalized internships at nonprofits and a deeper exploration of what service means.