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Classical Education

Content + Classical Methodology + Culture of Excellence = True North Classical Academy


The heart of classical education is the liberal arts curriculum. The word liberal derives from the Latin libera, meaning “freedom.” The classical liberal educational model reflects the education of freedom and a free person. It presents students with a rich and varied array of content and an introduction to the history of human thought and great ideas.

Great learning requires a great curriculum. In elementary and middle school, the curriculum is planned, sequential, and focused on mastery and attainment of the knowledge needed to proceed to higher level learning. The specificity of the curriculum ensures consistency within each grade level and prevents repetition and gaps in content from year to year. Each level develops a shared base of knowledge from which to build future learning.

The curriculum is carefully sequenced, but the specific content is just as purposely chosen. Reading is not just for readings sake. What our children read is just as important as the time they spend reading.


Classical Methodology

There is a specific educational methodology to the classical approach. A traditional, classical liberal approach strategically plans student education through the three stages of the Trivium: grammar, the study of basic forms; logic (or dialectic), the skill of abstracting from particulars; and rhetoric, the ability to speak and write persuasively. Each stage builds upon the other in order to produce a student who is prepared not only to think analytically but to effectively express those thoughts to others. The Trivium is the map for the mastery of any language or subject as every subject has its own grammar, logic and rhetoric. Every type of learning requires knowing the facts (grammar), being able to reason clearly about it (logic); and be able to argue and support its ideas creatively and persuasively (rhetoric). In other words, the learner must not only be able to acquire the basic information of a subject (the grammar), they must be able to take this basic knowledge grasp it intellectually and then use it in a meaningful and purposeful way.


Culture of Excellence

True North’s environment is built upon a culture of excellence grounded by two overriding principles. The first principle is the belief that all children should have access to the highest caliber education that encompasses knowledge and a body of wisdom fundamental to human life. Mortimer J. Adler, influential American philosopher, educator, and author, believed equality in education is a moral imperative in a democratic nation. By equality he did not just mean children having access to education for the same quantity of time, but that rather each child should have access to the very best quality education that is at times reserved for only the “brightest” students. As the great American Educator Robert Maynard Hutchins said “The best education for the best is the best education for all.”

The second component that supports a culture of excellence is the belief that there is a certain body of knowledge that is fundamental to human life – that “all persons should acquire; they should be in the possession of, regardless of their individual differences.”

These two driving principles: equality of educational opportunity and the ability of all children to pursue knowledge in a body of wisdom, creates a culture of excellence – a culture of high expectations and achievement. It transforms one-dimensional student learning into a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and the good life.