Signature Programs

The Immersion Method

Defining Dayton’s Best Education Since 1964

The Miami Valley School’s academic program is guided by the school’s signature pedagogy, the MVS Immersion Method. The Immersion Method is grounded in our shared belief that learning is rooted in direct experience, which leads to engagement and the discovery of passion by each individual student. At MVS, teachers serve as guides and collaborators rather than lecturers, and deep knowledge of concepts is privileged over rote memorization.

Everything we do at The Miami Valley School is carefully sculpted to create a community of student and adult learners who are supported in pursuit of their individual passions. Here, our advanced courses are designed to replicate the experience and small-group dynamic of a college-level seminar, favoring depth over breadth in course content.

The Immersion Method reflects MVS’ articulation of the best practices of education, founded on the principles of deep student experience and tailored to meet the needs of the individual learner.
Here, students explore, connect, share, and reflect as essential elements of the learning process on their way to becoming self-sustaining learners and compassionate global citizens.

Here, Immersive Learners...

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  • Explore

    At MVS, students and teachers explore by mentally, physically, and virtually venturing from where they are today to expand the footprint of their collective experience and the boundaries of their comfort zones. Through exploration, students and faculty combine big ideas and themes and begin authentic problem-solving on a wider scale.
  • Connect

    At MVS, students and teachers connect by linking frequently, closely, and authentically to the past and future, considering their own backgrounds, perspectives, and goals. Students and teachers collaborate in learning with and from a wide range of other people, places, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • Share

    At MVS, students and teachers share their work by designing, creating, building, making, discussing, publishing, presenting, and otherwise contributing original and derivative work in real time to the collective body of human knowledge and experience. Students and teachers take their findings outside the four walls of the classroom and make their learning public.
  • Reflect

    At MVS, students and teachers make a habit of stepping away from the everyday routines of a typical school day and seeking understanding about the why, how, and what if of the learning process. Students and teachers consider their position within the work of learning and think deeply about how their work can be integrated with their other interests, passions, and expertise.

Immersion Term

Deepening Passions through Real-World Experience

Since 1974, Immersion Term has been a signature component of the MVS academic calendar. Students in all four divisions of the school participate in Immersion Term, which allows them to explore one area of academic interest in-depth. Immersion Term offers opportunities for overnight travel, independent research, authentic learning, and valuable professional experience. Past Immersions have included Marine Ecology, Winter in Yellowstone, Interactive Journeys in Healthcare Professions, and Civil Rights: A Living History.

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  • Upper School

    In the upper school, Immersion Term spans the four weeks of January, separating the winter and spring semesters. Students may apply to take part in a group Immersion course or create their own independent study. Upper school Immersions from the 2021-2022 school year include: Animal Behavior & Marine Biology at Maine Department of Marine Resources (independent), STEM & Building the Electric Guitar, and Mission: Space Exploration.
  • Middle School

    In the middle school, Immersion Term takes place over three weeks in January, separating the winter and spring semesters. All students apply to take part in a group Immersion course based on individual areas of interest. Middle school Immersions from the 2021-2022 school year include: Farm 2 Fork: Regenerative Farming, Government in Action, and Out of the Delta: Jazz, Blues, and the Great Migration
  • Early Childhood & Lower Schools

    Students in the early childhood and lower schools take part in two Immersions each year, with each one lasting one week. During the fall semester, students brainstorm ideas about things they would like to know more about. Then, faculty members create Immersion courses based on those interests. Early childhood and lower school Immersions from the 2021-2022 school year include: Wild Ohio, Dig Into Dinosaurs, and Clever Chemists.

    In its 50-year existence, Immersion has earned national attention and made MVS a recognized leader in experiential education. In addition to numerous articles in local newspapers, MVS’ Immersion Term has been featured in the ISACS Journal, the professional magazine of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) devoted a chapter to MVS’ Immersion in a 2004 book.

    From its roots in the 1970s, Immersion is now an integral part of The Miami Valley School’s identity, simultaneously an innovative and evolving program and an expression of the school’s founding principles: to educate self-sustaining learners and compassionate global citizens.

Sue Rudd '80, Associate Director of Admissions, St. Catherine University

Working for 20 years in college admissions has made me realize just how unique my Immersion experience was in high school.  How great to empower students to choose their teacher and subject interest.  It’s just another area that makes MVS so special!

Makerspace & Computer Science

Immersive STEM Education

The MVS Makerspace & Computer Science curriculum is one of the most comprehensive in the state of Ohio. Students gain exposure to computer science, engineering, and design in lower school science courses, starting with block-based programming languages like Scratch. In middle school, students take a required semester-long Makerspace & Computer Science course every year, progressing to coding in Python and Javascript by 8th grade and tackling numerous engineering challenges such as building a solar oven, coding a virtual tour of Ancient Egypt, and designing an original video game. Multiple Computer Science courses are offered in the upper school each year, with past offerings including Cybersecurity, Robotics, Big Data, Web Design, and Java.

MVS’ campus is home to one of the area’s premier Makerspaces, where students can use 3D printers, laser cutters, Sphero robots, and more in pursuit of their design dreams. Makerspace students explore, connect, share, and reflect on their work and present their work to outside experts from the community. MVS Makerspace & Computer Science students have previously collaborated with community partners from the University of Dayton, the Hub, Brixilated, and Chalkline 4D, to name a few.

College Counseling

Preparing for College and Beyond

At The Miami Valley School, our unique blend of experiential education and challenging core academics makes our students ready for the challenges of college and beyond. Every one of our graduates is prepared for the rigors of a competitive four-year college. However, the MVS college process is not one-size-fits-all. Our Director of College Counseling works with every senior to find an institution that is the best place for them. At MVS, personalized attention in the college admissions process is integral to student success.
College Resources

The Miami Valley School College Report

Learn about the MVS college counseling process and see the next steps for the Class of 2023.

Library Facts

List of 4 items.

  • 13,819 items

    in the library catalog
  • 21 formal research

    instruction sessions this year
  • 6,376

    average number of library checkouts per year
  • 8 different types of seating

    found throughout the library

MVS Library

Library Mission: To guide inquiry and support free, open access to information and ideas that enrich an MVS education.

This happens through:
  • Space:providing a welcoming library environment that supports the immersion method, through spaces where students feel safe to explore, connect, share, and reflect.
  • Resources: meeting the community’s ever-changing information needs through developing the library collection
  • Teaching: working with classroom teachers to provide effective research instruction
  • Communicating: promoting library resources and services across the community
  • Inspiring: encouraging self-driven exploration of ideas and reading for pleasure
View Online Catalog

Zorniger Environmental Lab

Green Thumbs Make for Great Minds

The Zorniger Environmental Lab is a hub at the heart of our campus. In this multidisciplinary learning space, students in all divisions of the school explore the vital relationship between humans and the environment.

Z Lab Vision Statement

The Zorniger Environmental Laboratory serves as a setting for multidisciplinary, experiential, learning opportunities where our community can explore, dream, share, reflect, connect, and grow ideas for a more sustainable future.

Admissions at MVS

We are thrilled with your interest in The Miami Valley School and look forward to discussing how we foster a lifetime love of learning that ignites students’ curiosity and empowers them to make an impact. Our Admissions Office is dedicated to guiding you through the process, making it an individualized and personal experience.

International Admissions

The Miami Valley School invites students from all over the world to attend. In the 2023-2024 academic year, MVS has welcomed 16 international students from 6 countries, creating a truly global learning community. Applicants are evaluated thoroughly to ensure that they have the greatest potential for success in the English speaking environment of a rigorous American academic institution.
Admissions Process
International Admissions
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