The greatest number of our students benefit when the intellectual and moral bar is set high in the classroom. Lowering expectations is an act of misguided sympathy, not of love and mercy.
Students long for order in their lives, and habits of personal order cultivate habits of intellectual order.
We evaluate the student as a liberal artist (his or her sense of wonder, depth of inquiry, commitment to finding the truth) and do not just crunch numbers to arrive at a grade.
While students do learn at different paces, we believe that true education (as the formation of the soul) is a matter of development over time and within a stable community. In short, we give our students individualized attention, but within a common, compulsory, one-track curriculum.
Thoughtful depth about a subject is preferable to broad or rapid “coverage.” Our goal is to shape minds and souls, not to cover material quickly.
Every high school student must experience the beauty and truth of calculus and a rigorous four-year study of laboratory science.
Children and teenagers have the capacity and desire to be trained in all the arts and sciences, and they have the ability to participate in seminars on a high level. We do not believe they should focus on a narrow course of specialized study which offers only a partial fulfillment of their many capacities and hopes.
A Great Hearts lower school is characterized not only by an academic rigor and a depth of study not often seen at the K-5th level, but also by a student population that is engaged in a joyful and classical study of the liberal arts. Our curriculum focuses on the foundational “grammar” of liberal arts education, and though instruction is more didactic and classrooms formal and traditional, Socratic instruction has an essential role.
We believe that there is mercy in candor, in speaking the truth when we evaluate our students. But we never pigeon-hole them or give up hope in their potential to improve.
Great Hearts academies established in traditionally underserved communities culminate in a high school experience and curriculum that is identical to all Great Hearts network schools. While making necessary modifications to the curriculum to bridge the achievement gap for elementary school students who enter the academy below grade level, we seek to remain consistent with Great Hearts’ classical values, and yet also create a more regimented learning environment that is focused on acquiring foundational knowledge.
The skills of reading and writing are best taught by reading, discussing, and writing about great literature.