Our Mission & Distinctives
What does it mean to say that Coram Deo Academy is a school that emphasizes classical scholarship? As a classical Christian school, we say that we prioritize the Great Ideas and the Great Books, but what makes CDA different from other schools?
When we say ‘scholarship,’ we are referring to passing on timeless truths to the next generation. (We are not using the term scholarship to refer to a grant of financial support for academics.) For a fuller description of what classical scholarship looks like in the day to day classroom, please visit ‘Tough minds, tender hearts, timeless truths’
Are kids just pencils to be sharpened?
What is a child and what is a child for? Are the boys just frogs and snails and puppy dog tails and the girls simply sugar and spice and everything nice? Are the kids merely bags to be filled or pencils to be sharpened? The factory model of education utilizes the cram-test-forget model and views children as parts to be assembled for a productive society. The progressive model of schooling places subjective feelings over concrete facts and views children as oppressed victims of their environment. The classical model of education has recovered the lost tools of learning and sees children as image-bearers of their Father with dignity who need to be redeemed by Christ from their human depravity. The classical model works with the virtuous grain of the child in their dignity but seeks to sand away the vicious nature of all fallen humanity in their depravity.
What is the point of school anyways?
The purpose of education is to prepare students for life, not merely for college and career. If you pursue that higher goal, you get the lesser goal as well. Mortimer Adler wrote, “Schooling is for the young. Education comes later, usually much later. The very best thing for our schools to do is to prepare the young for continued learning in later life by giving them the skills of learning and the love of it.” By handing the next generation the lost tools of learning through the liberal arts and sciences, they are set up to play whatever position on the field of life following God’s call.
How do you feed a mind?
Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” All men, by nature, desire to know, and the mind is made to feed on great ideas from great teachers. Classical scholarship nourishes students’ minds on the ideas that have stood the test of time and interprets them under the light of Scripture. Cicero said, “Whoever is ignorant of what happened before he was born will perpetually remain a child.” Our students go back to the original sources that have shaped our civilization rather than imbibing pre-digested pellets of information from textbook corporations.
Do we focus on education or training?
80% of college graduates work in a field outside of their major, so we focus on graduating cultured generalists. Many professionals today are well-trained in the skills needed for their fields but are poorly educated in how to think for themselves. When children specialize too soon, they narrow their options for later in life. Classical education seeks to broaden students’ horizons by spending the majority of their education in forming a strong intellectual foundation. By prioritizing the language arts of the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and the mathematical/scientific arts of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and harmonics), students are going through the same training experienced by many of the greatest minds in human history.
How do we know, love, and challenge all students?
Our commitment at Coram Deo is for every student to be ‘known, loved, and challenged’ every single day. We know the truth about each student, impart goodness to them in the way that they are treated, and challenge them to create beauty with their lives. We view K-12 classical schooling like laying a castle foundation; it only happens one time, and a lot will be built upon it for decades to come. This means that the stakes are high and so are the expectations. Our students are able to read the Vulgate in Latin by the end of 8th grade, converse in Spanish by the end of 10th grade, and read the New Testament in Greek by the end of 12th grade. What students achieve in the higher grades is due to the foundational work done in the earlier grades.
“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” -Charlotte Mason