Learning the Classics at Atlanta Classical Academy
I started my day in a classic way as I took a trip last week to Atlanta Classical Academy. I was greeted by Principal Terrance Moore and board Chairman Matthew Kirby who both have children attending the district’s newest charter school. As I walked through the halls I noticed large pictures of influential and historic figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Student artwork also lined the halls. Instruction is based on art history and there were examples of projects everywhere, including those inspired by post World War II art.
It’s been an exciting first year. The school opened its doors August of 2014 with grades K–8. Currently, there are about 50 students in each grade level. The mission is to develop students in mind and character through a classical, content-rich curriculum that emphasizes the principles of virtuous living, traditional learning, and civic responsibility.
During my tour, I peeked into several classrooms where students and teachers were engaged in lessons that add to the classical feel of the school. In one seventh grade class, students were studying the Shakespeare classic, The Tempest. The students were asking questions and were truly engaged in the lesson, which I am always happy to see.
I also had the opportunity to sit in on Miss Cousino’s fourth grade class discussion on Robin Hood, another classic story that is reinforced in other instructional areas throughout the school. She and her students took time to really immerse themselves in the text and explore each and every paragraph. Throughout the visit I saw examples of classical instruction in various content areas, including math.
Atlanta Classical Academy allows students the freedom to explore an education based on a liberal arts curriculum but their beautiful playground also invites the freedom to play. Over in the cafeteria, Principal Moore explained 60-70% of the students bring lunch from home. Yet, that number changes drastically on pizza Friday. Hmmm, I wonder why…
I am looking forward to seeing continued improvements to the site and key supports for students – such as getting the library stocked – and also the grade level growth which comes with adding a ninth grade class next year.