Much like our scholars who we serve, our story is one of resilience and perseverance. Founded in 2013, Mana Academy was created in response to concerns of low academic performance in underserved communities, specifically ethnic communities in the west side of the Salt Lake valley with a high population of Pacific Islanders and Latin American/Hispanics. Armed with a mission and a mandate to close the opportunity gap in their community, the founders of Mana Academy created a unique school model that taps into and leverages the shared cultural values of our school community to create a space where our scholars feel a sense of belonging, connectedness and purpose. With this foundation in place, we engage key partners—educators, parents, cultural practitioners from our community, local colleges and universities and experts in various professions—to create learning experiences that will develop life long learners equipped with the 21st century skills and competence to succeed in life.
We believe the most powerful, valuable skill an educator can bring into a place of learning is the ability to build positive, authentic relationships with learners. Because our scholars come from native cultures where building and maintaining quality relationships is a significant core value that we also share, we harness that cultural practice to create a strong foundation and environment where our scholars can feel a sense of ownership and purpose, contribute to a healthy and positive school climate and truly reach their full potential. We further support this core belief by engaging our parents as partners in education through home visits and in academic parent-teacher teams.
We believe that all our scholars are capable of mastering interdisciplinary, higher-order thinking skills through rigorous learning experiences guided by high expectations and holding scholars to a high standard; providing timely, meaningful, actionable feedback; by providing 1:1 mentoring; by developing habits of success; sharpening cognitive skills through rich, real world projects and responsive tiered interventions.
We believe in data-driven results and use data to inform all instructional decisions and practices and to customize learning experiences for each one of our scholars. We believe in data literacy and transparency and we empower parents and scholars with the knowledge on how to access, navigate, monitor and interpret progress data so they can feel a sense of ownership of their academic progress.