Frequently Asked Questions
What is a classical education?
Classical education is a “getting back to the basics” approach to providing a strong liberal arts foundation - a general knowledge in the core subjects of literature, history, science and mathematics - as well as providing further depth by teaching students timeless skills of logic, critical thinking and self-expression. More than a pattern of learning, classical education is language-focused: learning is accomplished through words — written and spoken — rather than through images. Image-learning allows one’s mind to be passive, whereas language-learning requires one’s mind to work harder resulting in better understanding and retention. For example, when reading the brain is forced to translate a symbol (words on a page) into a concept, which requires more mental muscle. Images, such as those in videos or on television, allow the mind to not work nearly as hard. A language-focused classical education follows a specific three-part pattern: the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of facts, and finally equipped to express conclusions. Students who have mastered the English language — grammar and vocabulary, logical reasoning, and persuasive, eloquent speaking and writing — have the requisite tools necessary to study and master any subject they choose. By getting back to the basics, we are truly preparing these students for college and the rest of their lives.
Strong character development is also a cornerstone of classical education. The academic environment at LCCA will reinforce clear expectations of self-discipline, responsibility, and high achievement. Surrounding our students with examples of goodness, truth, and beauty from history and literature will enable them to make good judgments in their own lives. Learning to know, imitate, and seek excellence will enable our students to become productive, responsible, caring citizens, able to function well in a diverse society. By developing an atmosphere of respect, responsibility and compassion, LCCA hopes to be a close-knit community where everyone cares and respects one another, encourages each other and celebrates each others’ successes.
What are the benefits of becoming a BCSI affiliate school?
LCCA has been selected as an affiliate school of the Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI), an initiative of Hillsdale College. BCSI works as a curricular advisor to 20 existing charter schools throughout the U.S. and has a complete set of curricular and resource recommendations from Kindergarten through 12th grade. We are humbled and honored to be a part of the BCSI family of charter schools, which will provide LCCA with the needed support and guidance in the school founding process and beyond.
What curriculum will LCCA use?
LCCA will adopt a curriculum with a core focus on science, math, English language arts, and history. Second to these four cores, though integral to the curriculum, are the subjects of art, music, and foreign language. In high school, LCCA will also include government, economics, and moral philosophy as classes that are integral complements to the four core areas of study.
The basis of the LCCA curriculum is a collaboration between the school and the BCSI. In K-8, the basis of this curriculum is the Core Knowledge Sequence, prepared by the Core Knowledge Foundation and used widely across the United States for well-over twenty years. Following BCSI recommendations, LCCA will supplement the Core Knowledge Sequence with the literacy program developed by the Riggs Institute—The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking. BCSI, in collaboration with literacy experts at Access Literacy, LLC, recommends a few minor adaptations to the Riggs Program to improve implementation of the program; LCCA will make use of these adaptations and this overall program. LCCA will supplement the Core Knowledge Sequence in mathematics by using the Singapore Math curriculum from grades K-7. LCCA will also include instruction in Latin, beginning on a formal basis in 6th grade, preceded by the teaching of Latin and Greek roots in grades 4 and 5. The Well-Ordered Language curriculum will be the basis for formal grammar instruction in the upper elementary grades. In high school, LCCA will follow the BCSI course sequence. This includes four and a half years of history; four years of literature, math, and science; three years of foreign language; one year of composition, and a semester each of government, economics, and moral philosophy.
What instructional strategies will be used at LCCA?
LCCA will use time-tested instructional approaches with proven track records of success. These methods are the cornerstone of classical education and support mastery of the State Standards. These instructional strategies include:
(1) Explicit and Systematic Phonics Instruction: Through the direct teaching of letter-sound relationships through a specified sequence, the foundation for literacy is established and provides students the ability to decode the printed word.
(2) Explicit English Grammar Instruction: Using tools such as diagramming and the study of root words, students will be equipped to speak and write with a high degree of communicative competence. As students learn to identify parts of speech and seek to develop syntax, they are able to communicate more clearly on all levels. The more they learn about the English language and its structure, their ability to easily and fluently express more complex thoughts becomes evident.
(3) Singapore Math: By using a three-step learning process — concrete, pictorial and abstract — students are taught to learn and master fewer mathematical concepts in greater detail. In the concrete step, students use hands-on learning using concrete objects such as bottle caps, dice or pennies. This is followed by having the students draw pictorial representations of these mathematical concepts. Students then use numbers and symbols to solve mathematical problems in an abstract manner.
(4) Ability Groupings in the core subjects of Reading, Writing and Math: To best differentiate instruction, providing individualized supports for all learners while maintaining the same expectations of outcome, ability groupings will allow LCCA to tailor instructional techniques and class time to meet the needs of all students.
(5) Utilization of Primary Source Documents: Primary sources are materials that were created by those who participated in or witnessed the events of the past. They can include letters, reports, photographs, drawings, sound recordings, motion pictures, and artifacts, as well as books. Although sometimes life lessons (e.g., motives, ethics, and “cause and effect”) are not necessarily obvious or easy to define, primary sources can bring them to life. They reflect events and experiences that actually occurred and introduce students to the individuals who lived them.
(6) Teaching of Study Skills: Time management, organizing, memory techniques, note taking, and outlining will be emphasized throughout LCCA and integrated throughout the curriculum to equip students for higher learning. Developing stamina for challenging and complex work is imperative for the promotion of a strong work ethic.
(7) The Socratic Method: The use of direct, intentional questions to guide students’ understanding of problems and their solutions will be a fundamental part of instruction, particularly in literature and history courses.
Why study Latin?
In addition to boosting SAT scores (college-bound seniors who took Latin had a mean score of 685 in critical reading and 682 in writing; data taken from College Board SAT Total Group Report, 2016), Latin provides a a bridge to improving students’ reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar. Latin is the root tongue for 60% of English words (90% of words over two syllables) and 80% of Spanish. Greek and Latin equip a person with the strongest single foundation for mastering the romantic languages of French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. In addition, a Latin student’s awareness of the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome promotes tolerance and understanding of the different customs and values of other people today.
What role do teachers play in a classical school?
All knowledge and content will be delivered to students through compelling teachers. We want to put the teachers back up on the stage, leading the instruction in the classroom. Teachers will remain the heart of the classroom — not facilitators using so-called “student-centered” or “student-driven” learning methods. This doesn’t mean teachers will just lecture to students — the students will still participate and play an active role in class and small-group discussions. Technology will never take the place of teacher-delivered instruction.
What role do parents play in a classical school?
LCCA will work with and for parents. As a classical school, authority over children will be delegated to us from parents who have enlisted us to help them in their educational task. This means that teachers will serve the parents by listening carefully to their feedback and forge true relationships with parents in order to best understand and educate their children. Parents will be welcome in the classroom, meaning that parents will take their responsibility seriously by reviewing and helping with homework, encouraging their children to be disciplined and diligent, and generally supporting teachers and staff of LCCA. There will also be opportunities for parents to be involved at LCCA through various volunteer opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.
How will technology be utilized in the classroom?
LCCA is not against the use of technology; however, technology will never take the place of teacher-led instruction at LCCA. Depending how each student learns best, students may use digital tools to supplement teacher-led lessons (as homework) and advanced students may have the ability to work ahead using digital tools.
When do you hope to receive authorization, and what school district will you be in?
We are currently seeking authorization as an independent (2r) charter school and we hope to receive approval by August 2019. If we receive approval, LCCA won't be associated with another existing school district. As an independent (2r) charter school, LCCA will be its own school district.
If approved, when will enrollment for LCCA begin, and who can apply?
As an independent (2r), public charter school, anyone is welcome to enroll their children as long as space allows. Depending on the demand/interest, a lottery system may be used for new applicants. If approved, online enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year will begin in November 2019.
Where will Lake Country Classical Academy be located?
We are currently searching for a potential school location. Once we receive the necessary approvals and funding, we will move forward with securing a space for LCCA somewhere in Waukesha County.
For any other questions, please email us at LakeCountryClassical@gmail.com.
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