Every child participates in the Homebase program, which is a defining element of a VMS education. Homebase is a daily meeting between students and an advising teacher which serves as a time to reflect, plan, prioritize and support each other in a family environment. In addition, the Homebase class provides a venue for “dinner table conversations” which teach ethics and build character through discussions of real-life challenges. As a social, emotional and physical hub to daily life, the term Homebase is used interchangeably to refer to the actual meetings, a group of students within a grade, and the physical space that they call their own. In addition, Homebase advisors are advocates for students who are in touch with all aspects of student’s lives and who facilitate communication between students, teachers, coaches, and parents ensuring a true learning partnership.
Middle School Homebase meets at the start and end of every day, and an additional 50 minutes per rotation, which gives teachers time to address issues such as honesty, empathy, goal setting, and healthy risk taking through discussions, games, written reflections, cooperative challenges and role playing.
In middle school, the Homebase class serves as a supportive community to help students form their identity and talk through the challenges of adolescent life. In addition, this time provides a chance for teachers to support student executive functioning skills and help them prepare for their classes.
An extension of the homebase program is Town Meeting, a once-a-week, student-led gathering of the middle school. Homebase classes present the news for the week, give 'shout-outs' to their classmates, and lead a character-based lesson of their own design.