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Mission and Vision

about 1 month ago

  Mission Statement

We treat every student as a whole “unique” person, providing individualized instruction in a community model with project-based learning to nourish their talents, skills and desires. 

Vision Statement

Terra Academy helps students become independent lifelong learners who are respectful of other cultures, are  productive, and are stewards of our environment.







“Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

–Albert Einstein

      This charter was created out of the need for something new and different stemming from the belief that all children have something inside of them that is special to share with the world.  As educators, we want to collaborate with children as individuals to develop and reach their full potential. Not unlike genes, turning on by environmental triggers, a child’s brilliance can also be developed by their environment.  However, we are not saying every child will be an Albert Einstein; why would we want numerous Albert Einstein’s running around?  A wise grandmother once said, “Wouldn’t life be dull if we were all cut from the same cookie cutter?” It is time we stop trying to fit all people into the same mold.  Every student has different desires and passions.  In addition to academics, we need to encourage their dreams, foster their development and FACILITATE their learning by providing an environment that will fuel those passions and dreams.  That is what this charter strives for.


     The founders of Terra feel that we should simplify, look at the big picture and start with the most basic and important element of the school…“the child”.  The children are the reason we do this, after all.  The most basic component of the school should be addressing the “whole child”.  Too many times we leave out the human factor and forget that the reason a child struggles may have less to do with school but more from lack of basic necessities.  We must account for all aspects making up the child and the environment they come from before we can address what he or she needs from school and its educators.  To do this, the charter curriculum will address health, wellness and character development.  Furthermore, we will initiate a mentor program to help students create and sustain solid relationships with others. 


     The next focus is that every child is a unique individual and that should be celebrated.  The curriculum offerings will do that with unique “Individualized Learning Maps” (ILM) for each child.  This map will be as unique as the talents, intelligence and strengths each child brings to his/her educational experience.  Embracing those differences and what those differences offer the world is the ultimate goal. 


     This leads to the third item addressed in the charter which is to teach students to identify their strengths and to become independent, self-motivated learners.  This will be accomplished through project-based learning, hypothesis inquiry, blended learning and peer group models.  In addition, a cumulative “long term” portfolio will be created for each student which represents the best evidence of their hard work evolving over time, and shows growth and accomplishments.

Education can be a rewarding experience or it can be a tireless job.  We aim for the former by treating each child with the respect they deserve, as an individual, who will impact our world of tomorrow from what we help them become today.  It takes a village to raise a child and Terra Academy will strive to be a key component of that village.


Student numbers: 650 total, 50 students in each grade k-12


Curricular Methodology: Project based learning, individualized educational plans for each child, mentoring, real world applications, hypothesis/project- based learning, blended learning and peer group instructional models, entrepreneur studies/internships, outdoor classrooms (edible schoolyard), community service, sustainability and stewardship models.With these models students will keep a cumulative portfolio which represents the best of their hard work and shows their growth over time. Terra Academy will strive to instill in students the fact that their time is worthwhile and everything they do is important in some way; every mistake can be turned into a learning experience. The cumulative portfolio will grow and evolve over time, displaying the tremendous individual growth and the various talents each student possesses. Students can be proud of the work in their portfolios.


Learning Environment: Daylighting : Daylighting in Schools” by the energy efficiency consulting firm Heschong Mahone Group, examined 21,000 students in three elementary school districts in California, Washington, and Colorado and found that students in classrooms with abundant daylight had up to 25 percent higher learning rates and test scores in reading and math than their peers in rooms with less natural light. 


Furnishings: Preferred paints and furnishings will be made of low-volatile organic compounds (VCO), and carpets should be made of non-VCO materials as they impact air quality. Asthma is the primary cause of poor school attendance and schools with poor indoor air quality usually have numerous asthma precursors. By using the materials described above in the building process the school hopes to decrease the number of sick days due to asthma and other respiratory disorders.


Mobile and flexible learning environment: Furniture, rooms and study areas will be mobile, flexible, comfortable and easily made to configure to the task at hand. Highly efficient learning areas will be created for students that will cater to their immediate learning needs.


Energy conservation: The school will incorporate the use of high efficiency HVAC systems, lighting, and energy saving accessories, such as motion detecting light switches and faucets. In consultation with the design team the school will determine if things like geothermal and solar power are options for the school. While the initial cost of building may be higher than usual school construction costs, Terra Academy recognizes the value associated with healthier children and the substantial costs in energy savings in the long term.


Landscape Design: Another aspect surrounding the facility will be the landscape design, which will include an edible school yard and utilize low maintenance native plants. Outdoor classrooms will also be an extensive aspect and included in the design. 

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Instant FAQ's

over 2 years ago

Instant Info

Name:  Terra Academy


Grades Serving:  k-12

Students per Class:  25

Classes per Grade:  2

Kindergarten:  half day

Address:  267 Aggie Blvd., Vernal, UT 84078

School Type:  Public Charter School

District:  We reside in Uintah County School District but we are not run by Uintah School District.

Director:  Cassie Hays

School Start Date:  August 20, 2015

School Start Time:  8:00 am

School End Time:  M-H 3:00 pm   Fridays:  Noon

Enrollment: Pre-lottery enrollment will open by October 15th.  Official lottery opening is the end of May each year for open spots available.

Busing:  There is no busing, however we are on the public transit line.

Frequently Asked Questions

over 2 years ago

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a "Charter School"?

A charter is a independent school which is publicly funded.  It is a school which has been established by parents, teachers and/ or community groups under terms created within a charter under a local or national authority.  Our local authority is the Utah State School Board.  


How much does it cost to go to Terra Academy?

Charter schools are free to the public so the cost is nothing.  The only thing that could be charged is a nominal fee of $5 for secondary level students consistent with Utah State Code 53A-12-103.


Does Terra Academy answer to the local school district? 

No.  Our charter is independent from Uintah School District.  


Can students attending Terra Academy still participate in sports with the local school district?

Yes.  Terra Academy students can still participate in Uintah School District's sports programs and extracurricular programs.  For more specifics on this, you can contact the Terra Academy Director.


Is Terra Academy a private school?

No.  Terra Academy is publicly funded and must adhere to rules of the Utah State Office of Education. 


How do I enroll my student in Terra Academy?

You must enter your student in the lottery which begins October 15th and runs through March 1st.  You can come back to this website to enroll your child or contact us directly for information.  


What is a lottery for enrollment?

The lottery is used as a fair way to enroll students in the charter school without preferential treatment.  For more detailed information on the lottery that will be used, please click here:  Lottery definitions.


Does Terra Academy offer benefits for its employees?

Absolutely...As a matter of fact, our benefits are as good or better than public school benefits, including retirement and insurance.


Does Terra Academy offer competative pay as a charter school?

​Again...we absolutely do.  We offer competative pay for all staff.  Our first priority is to use money wisely so that we can put as much money as possible into the classroom and our teachers.


Do you follow the Common Core standards?

Yes. As a publicly funded school, Terra Academy must use the Common Core and the Utah Core as guidelines for education. Any school which recieves federal funds, including virtual academies, private schools or charter schools must use the Utah Core and the Common Core standards.  There is a lot of misinformation out there about the Utah Core and the Common Core.  Please research it with VALID sources so that you have a true picture of what these are.  ONLY MATH and ENGLISH are common core standards.  SCIENCE and HISTORY are not common.  They are still Utah based standards.  Keep in mind that the Core standards are used only as benchmarks to determine student progress on an individual basis.  These core standards help us to know that our children can compete successfully not just in Utah but in other states as well when they go out to gain employment, go to colleges in Utah and outside of Utah. Something to keep in mind........................


"By law, the Utah State Board of Education must establish the standards in core subjects for public schools. This is an important distinction from the curriculum and the instructional methods. Local schools and teachers control the curriculum and instruction. The core standards do not dictate the curriculum or delivery of content. Utah’s core standards and the curricula are not the same. The curriculum includes content, instructional elements, methods, pedagogy, materials and resources that are used to teach the high standards Utah has adopted. The standards help teachers organize and prepare for instruction just like building codes help an architect prepare a blueprint. Homes built using building standards or codes are not identical. They are built based on the individual needs and values of the owner but still use the code. The curricula used to implement the core standards vary according to district or charter and the individual needs of students. Locally-selected textbooks are used as tools in implementing the core. At a state level, research-based strategies and materials are recommended, not mandated, leaving the final instructional decisions to districts, charter schools, and classroom teachers. Local stakeholders will continue to innovate and make improvements to their curriculum over time. Teachers are not restricted to a specific grade level or timeline of standards. If children need to review or move slower, the teacher is in command. If students need to go faster or further the same applies" (



What is the difference between the Utah Core and the Common Core?

The Utah Core are the standards that Utah has put out for Science, History, Art, Educational Technology etc.  We have had these standards for decades.  The only ones that have changed are the standards for English an Math which are "common" standards to 45 other states in the United States.  For a specific description of these standards please see the following link:


What standards are really adopted in the Utah Standards?

Only English and Math are common with 45 other states in the United States.  The other standards are unique to Utah.  Science and History are NOT being looked at to be common with other states.

It gives a more level playing field for our students out in the world.  The following link is a great place to start on what the Utah Core is and what its intended purpose is.

Utah Core Standards Definiition and Purpose.


Does the Charter School have a Board?

Yes, the charter school does have a board of 5-8 members which make policy for the charter school.  1-2 members of the board will always be voted in by parents each year so there will always be parent representation on that board.


Does the Terra Academy serve lunch?

Yes, the school will serve lunches for students.  We will be involved in unique programs including "Edible Schoolyard" and  "Farms to Schools" to help provide nutritious lunches for students at the school.  It is the belief of Terra's founders that a healthy diet helps improve the education and overall wellness of the students.  


What are some of the unique things Terra Acadmey will offer students?

There are numerous things that the school will offer students including but not limited to:

project-based learning, "Edible Schoolyard", outdoor classrooms, individualized education maps (IEM's), student goal sheets, student portfolios, blended learning model, mentors, service learning and environmental stewardship.  For more information on these, please see the charter under section 9 "Comprehensive Program of Instruction".