WHAT IS “CLASSICAL” EDUCATION
In the classical method of education, the foundational goal of all instruction is producing graduates who have mastered the art of learning so that they may skillfully acquire and apply knowledge, reason critically and articulate persuasively.
The three-stage approach, Trivium (Latin for “three ways”), consists of the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages, each building on its predecessor. Basic factual content and rules – the “grammar” – of any subject must first be mastered; then an understanding of how to apply the facts– the “logic” – must be discerned; and finally, the ability to synthesize the foregoing into an articulate argument – the “rhetoric” – must be developed. The progression of stages in learning is seen in the Bible in the admonition to pursue knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
Classical education corresponds with the maturing capacity of the child’s mind. The curricular emphasis during the grammar school years is on learning facts and figures during the time when children love to memorize (and when they are best at doing so). The subsequent emphasis during the middle school years on logic and analysis trains students to think critically and deeply about academic subjects. This emphasis corresponds with the middle-school student’s bent toward exploration, questioning and a desire for deeper understanding. Finally, the emphasis during the high school years shifts toward honing rhetorical skills, including writing and speaking. This experience prepares students to write college-level theses, as they utilize their grasp of proper grammar as well as their ability to think logically and critically. The Trivium structure recognizes that there is an ideal time and place for each part of learning: memorization, argumentation, and self-expression.
WHAT IS THE ACADEMIC ROLE OF THE PARENT AT FORTIS ACADEMY?
Under the leadership of the classroom teacher, the parent acts as a co-teacher in grades K-5 and gradually transitions to the role of mentor as the student becomes increasingly more independent in grades 6-12. In the lower grades, the parent truly is a teacher. Therefore, the parent filling this role is expected to take advantage of training sessions offered throughout the year in order to become familiar with the curriculum and basic teaching techniques.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO TEACH EACH WEEK?
Classroom teachers teach the key objectives in class and assign reinforcement or application activities to be completed at home. Weekly lesson plans for both the classroom and the satellite classroom (the home) are available through our communication blog each Friday at 4 pm. The co-teacher (parent) or student is expected to print off plans for the week and to prepare for the assignments in advance.
IF I DO NOT HAVE AN EDUCATION BACKGROUND, HOW WILL I BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY TEACH MY CHILD?
It is critical that co-teachers commit to attend training opportunities throughout the year. Trainings are held each summer. Curriculum workshops, parenting workshops, and Q&A sessions are offered at various times during the summer as well as other times in each semester. New co-teachers are required to attend these trainings.
ON WHICH DAYS WILL MY CHILD ATTEND CLASSES AT FORTIS ACADEMY?
Grammar (K-5) students attend classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9am-3pm. School of Logic (6-8) students attend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am-3pm. School of Rhetoric (9-12) students attend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am-4pm. For students in grades K-5, Fridays are considered “flex” days with the exception of math and reading, where the parent may determine how this day is to be used by the student. If more time is needed to complete home assignments from the week, then the day may be used for this. Optional assignments given by the teacher may also be completed on this day if the parent deems these to be necessary.
HOW WILL I COMMUNICATE WITH MY CHILD’S TEACHER THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
Communication is key in a University-Model School®. Teachers communicate frequently with parents typically via email, telephone, face-to-face meetings and beginning in the 2017-2018 school year Fortis Academy will use a Learning Management System (LMS) to smooth this process.
WHERE DO I OBTAIN MY STUDENT’S BOOKS?
In the late spring/early summer, Fortis Academy provides registered families with a comprehensive grade-level list of books and resources that will be required for students for the upcoming school year. Optional books and resources are also listed.
WHAT IS AN “ELECTIVE” COURSE?
Electives are formal, non-core classes taught by paid teachers at Fortis Academy and are held on class days. They include such courses as choir, Spanish, theater, art, and sports. They do NOT include the “core” subjects of Language Arts/English, History, Mathematics, Science, Latin, and Logic.
WHAT ARE THE TEACHER-STUDENT RATIOS AT FORTIS ACADEMY?
The student-teacher ratio will not normally exceed 16:1 for grades K-5 and 18:1 for grades 6-12.
IS PLACEMENT TESTING REQUIRED FOR MY CHILD?
Students that have been accepted into Fortis Academy and are entering grades 1-12 are required to take entrance testing in early spring/summer.