What is a Charter School?
A charter school is a tuition-free, non-selective, public school operated by an independent board of directors. Unlike neighborhood schools, charter schools are given flexibility to articulate a distinct mission, design a curriculum around that mission, and hire faculty who can best deliver it. The result is a unique and innovative educational model that responds to the needs of different students and their families. All students are welcome to apply to a charter school, and if the number of applicants exceeds the number of available spots, students are chosen by lottery.
The core principle of all charter schools is that parents have the primary right, authority, and responsibility to direct the education of their children. The state has a concurrent obligation to protect families in making this decision, not by dictating answers but by providing options.
Golden View Classical Academy is one such option. We consider our work to rest upon a partnership between the family and the school. That partnership is guided by our mission, which is clear and direct: to train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a classical, content-rich education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue in an orderly and disciplined environment.
Our mission provides parents with something to contemplate and discuss with their students. Some families will find this appealing, and others will not. The beauty of the charter school movement is that even while taking a stand in favor of the classical model, we can still recognize that reasonable people will disagree.
This moderate approach to education protects the primacy of the family and is therefore something that we at Golden View Classical Academy wholeheartedly support.
Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative
Golden View Classical Academy is one of sixteen charter schools in the country to be a part of Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative. The Barney Charter School Initiative is an ambitious program to begin and sustain classical charter schools across America.
The Initiative conducts ongoing professional development at all of its schools, beginning with two weeks of intensive training before the opening of every new school. Then, each summer thereafter, each school sends their teachers to Hillsdale for further professional development, collaboration, and instructional design. Hillsdale College does not charge a fee to, or seek reimbursement from, the schools for the support it provides.
Why is this relationship with Hillsdale a good thing for a classical school like ours to cultivate?
In the first place, their content experts provide real training both in lessons and classroom management, of a kind and focus that one cannot find in typical education schools. In the second place, Hillsdale College is a sturdy defender of the liberal arts, with a long tradition of supporting people from many backgrounds in learning them. Hillsdale was the first American college to prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, or sex in its charter, and was the second college in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women.
There are ten pillars of the Barney Charter School Initiative model
The centrality of the Western tradition in the study of history, literature, philosophy, and fine arts;
A rich and recurring examination of the American literary, moral, philosophical, political, and historical traditions;
The use of explicit phonics instruction leading to reading fluency, and the use of explicit grammar instruction leading to English language mastery;
The teaching of Latin;
The acknowledgement of objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth intrinsic to the liberal arts;
A school culture demanding moral virtue, decorum, respect, discipline, and studiousness among the students and faculty;
A curriculum that is content-rich, balanced and strong across the four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history;
A faculty where well-educated and articulate teachers explicitly convey real knowledge to students using traditional teaching methods rather than using so-called “student-centered learning” methods;
A school that uses technology effectively but without diminishing the faculty leadership that is crucial to academic achievement; and
A school with a plan to serve grades K through 12, although the grades at school opening may be scaled back if reasonable.
As a school that believes that any student who works hard can succeed with a demanding curriculum in a structured environment, this is a tradition that Golden View Classical Academy wholeheartedly supports.