Educational Philosophy

Educational Philosophy

The Classical Academy is dedicated to developing self‑motivated, life‑long learners through this six-fold vision:

  1. To pursue academic excellence with an emphasis on mastery of the “basics” and development of critical skills through clearly articulated standards in all subjects.
  2. To encourage individualized learning through smaller workshop sizes, understanding of learning styles, the teaching of specific study strategies, and the understanding of each child’s uniqueness.
  3. To maximize the effectiveness and enjoyment of learning through multi‑sensory, interactive instruction methods, including critical thinking skills, effective, innovative teaching strategies, and integrated teaching across the curriculum.
  4. To provide a content‑rich education that inspires excellence by holding forth examples of classic works of literature, music, and art, which have stood the test of time and been widely recognized as the very best.
  5. To prioritize an enriched curriculum inclusive of computer technology, science, art, music, drama, Spanish, and PE.
  6. To foster the whole child's development through strong parental involvement with an emphasis on positive character development and service‑learning in the community.

One of our core values is that “rigor and relevance are personalized, acknowledging that all learn differently.” For this reason, personalized learning is part of the educational environment, and curriculum design, and is infused within the content delivery.

Personalized learning is the tailoring of instruction, curriculum, and learning environments to meet the needs and aspirations of individual learners. Teachers, working with parents, create learning plans for students that can include technology, classrooms, labs, electives, and independent study options to complete their assigned academic program.

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning allows students to develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside the traditional academic setting. Experiential learning can stimulate academic inquiry by promoting interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement, career development, cultural awareness, leadership, and other skills. Students can experience the world beyond their neighborhood or community. Grades 4-8 can attend overnight field trips, such as Astro Camp, Adventure Camp, Catalina Island, Safari Park, Sacramento, and the East Coast.

Students in grades 9-12 can participate in internships, tour colleges, and travel abroad. All students are encouraged to volunteer and serve in their communities.

The 8 Keys of Excellence

The 8 Keys of Excellence is a character education program that provides a common framework for teachers and students. The 8 Keys inspire students to model excellence in and out of the classroom.

The Classical Academies focus on the 8 Keys of Excellence through specialized lessons, assemblies, workshops, speakers, community service, and field trips. Teachers begin the year by presenting an overview lesson of the 8 Keys of Excellence to their students and reinforcing positive behavior throughout the year.

1. Integrity – Match behavior with values
Demonstrate your positive personal values in all you do and say. Be sincere and real.

2. Failure Leads To Success –Learn from mistakes
View failures as feedback that gives you the information you need to learn, grow, and succeed.

3. Speak With Good Purpose – Speak honestly and kindly
Think before you speak. Make sure your intention is positive, and your words are sincere.

4a. This Is It! – Make the most of every moment
Focus your attention on the present moment. Keep a positive attitude.

4b. This is it! – Speak honestly and kindly
Think before you speak. Make sure your intention is positive, and your words are sincere.

5. Commitment – Make your dreams happen
Take positive action. Follow your vision without wavering.

6. Ownership – Take responsibility for actions
Be responsible for your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions—"Own" the choices you make and the results that follow.

7. Flexibility – Be willing to do things differently
Recognize what's not working and be willing to change what you're doing to achieve your goal.

8. Balance – Live your best life
Be mindful of yourself and others while focusing on what's meaningful and important in your life. Inner happiness and fulfillment come when your choices nurture your mind, body, and emotions.

The 8 Keys of Excellence were developed by Bobbi DePorter and our friends at the Quantum Learning Network – www.QLN.com.

Arts Integration

Teaching and learning are enhanced using visual and performing arts as integral pathways to knowledge. Arts integration differs from traditional arts education by its inclusion as both an arts discipline and a traditional subject as part of learning.

The goal of arts integration is to increase the depth and breadth of general subject areas while fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of visual and performing arts throughout grades TK-12.

Community Service

The Classical Academies values civic responsibility and encourages students to give back to their community through volunteerism and service. By participating in community service projects, students form positive habits such as focusing on others, empathy, service, and the ability to collaborate as part of a team.

Students who attend Classical or Coastal Academy High School are required to log 37.5 community service hours annually, resulting in a total of 150 volunteer hours by graduation. Through community service, students build relationships with community members, gain valuable work experience, develop their character, and help strengthen our community.

State Standards & Assessments

State Standards:

The Classical Academies adhere to all California State Standards. In the last ten years, we have seen significant changes to English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and history standards. These changes have strengthened our educational programming and enhanced learning at all levels. We continue to work with our teachers and parents to ensure that the integration of these standards fits within the uniqueness of our program.

Standards provide a clear and consistent road map as we plan curriculum and instruction. They offer a clear understanding of what students are expected to know and be able to accomplish academically. The state standards articulate goals and learning targets for TK-12 students. The purpose behind these standards is to best position students to compete successfully in the global economy, thus thoroughly preparing all students for college, career, and citizenship.

Assessments:

We use a variety of assessments to track understanding, monitor progress, and celebrate accomplishments. Assessments include formative assessments during learning and summative tests that provide end-of-unit data on learning. We implement the use of teacher/parent-created tests as well as standardized testing. Various questioning techniques are used in assessments, including, but not limited to, multiple-choice, free response, project-based, and performance-based.

Beginning in the fall of 2021, we monitor annual personal growth using Renaissance STAR assessments. We also administer the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in grades 3 – 11 each spring. Under California Education Code Section 60615, parents/guardians can opt out of annual testing by submitting a written request to excuse their child from any or all of the CAASPP assessments. High School students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes take the College Board AP exams. High school students are also encouraged to take the SATs and/or ACTs as required for college admissions.

Academic Scorecard

The Academic Scorecard is a few sets of data points or indicators that provide useful information in allowing us to target the various learning needs of our students. These indicators are derived from our internal growth assessment system in which we test every student at least once in the fall (baseline) and again in the spring (growth) using the Renaissance Star Assessments for reading and mathematics. The following results are from the assessments administered this past Fall (2021) and Spring (2022).

Critical Race Theory

The Classical Academies do not promote or use Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the curriculum's instructional dialog, design, development, or implementation. The topic is controversial and has divided many communities. Parents who wish to supplement or enhance their academic program with CRT can access numerous online resources and tools. Our goal is to provide opportunities for civility with a backdrop of valuing one another and individual opinions. The beauty of our program continues to be the active engagement of parents in their child's education. No matter the grade level, we still believe that parents are the primary educators of their children.