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Educational Philosophy

The core of Optima Classical Academy’s educational philosophy is as simple as it is profound: we expose students to the good, the true, and the beautiful all around them, and equip them to find it, foster it, and defend it for themselves.  To do this, we study great books, learn about great men, women, and moments in history, and use the best instructional materials from an over 4,000 year educational tradition to find opportunities to teach civic virtue, establish moral certitude, and develop academic and intellectual excellence for all students.

We have an immense cultural inheritance, both as Americans and as beneficiaries of western culture and thought, and at OCA we see ourselves as stewards of that heritage for the next generations.  Through the study of our founding documents, the canon of great books in western society, practice in rhetoric and oratory, logic and critical thinking we equip students to understand, embrace, and further the cultural and intellectual traditions they are steeped in upon graduation.

A Note on Curriculum

At Optima Classical Academy it is our priority to equip students with the virtues, tools, knowledge, and intellectual fortitude necessary to understand, engage, and impact their world now and in the future. With that goal in mind, we strive to examine great books, authors, historical figures, and primary and secondary source documents that represent many different viewpoints, intellectual periods, cultural and religious perspectives, and sensibilities. We train and trust our faculty and our scholars to treat all course materials as learning opportunities and as steps in the process to understanding why and how ideas and conclusions have become cultural norms, stereotypes, public opinions, and “common knowledge” today.

We believe that if we are to train students with the growth mindset to be intellectually curious, adept at building and delivering an argument, following a line of reasoning, and truly capable of understanding and impacting their culture, we must teach them how it has changed and developed throughout the course of time. We understand that some periods in history (represented in literature, art, rhetoric etc.) are not in line with our current moral and ethical standards for respect, human dignity, and civil liberties. However, it is imperative in our classical academy that we examine and understand those time periods so that we not only understand how far we have come, but also why and by what means.

We are confident that we can do this great and important work at Optima Classical Academy because we have committed to treat all members of our school community with dignity and respect, to be curious and courteous, and to learn with and from one another. The opportunity to be well-informed and to trace the development of ideas, norms, and information throughout western history is essential to creating the next generation of intellectual leaders, and one that we do not want to miss or dilute.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your scholar’s teacher or the Director of Family Success and we will be glad to speak with you.