ANSWERS

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 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.

What is this initiative, and why is it good?

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

  1. The centrality of the Western tradition in the study of history, literature, philosophy, and fine arts;

  2. A rich and recurring examination of the American literary, moral, philosophical, political, and historical traditions;

  3. The use of explicit phonics instruction leading to reading fluency, and the use of explicit grammar instruction leading to English language mastery;

  4. The teaching of Latin;

  5. The acknowledgement of objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth intrinsic to the liberal arts;

  6. A school culture demanding moral virtue, decorum, respect, discipline, and studiousness among the students and faculty;

  7. A curriculum that is content-rich, balanced and strong across the four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history;

  8. 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;

  9. A school that uses technology effectively but without diminishing the faculty leadership that is crucial to academic achievement; and

  10. 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.

Visit the Barney Charter School Initiative website for more information.