John Paul the Great Academy offers a Christian, classical education in the Catholic Tradition. To see how how we live out our mission, click here and visit "Our Charisms" page.
Christian, Classical Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts and the four sciences so that, in Christ, the student is enabled to better know, glorify, and enjoy God. Classical education follows two modes of instruction: mimetic and socratic (explained below).
The seven liberal arts are the arts that every free person is free to master. They include the Trivium and the Quadrivium. John Paul the Great Academy has an emphasis on the Trivium, which are the arts developed to refine our ability to use language:
John Paul the Great Academy also has an emphasis on the four sciences.
1. John Paul the Great Academy emphasizes the transcendentals of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. We believe that "we are what we behold". JPG strives to preserve its beautiful historic grounds inherited from the De La Salle Christian Brothers, provide tranquil classrooms and environments, display classical and student artwork around campus, incorporate beautiful plays and poetry recitation into the life of the school, and much more.
2. John Paul the Great Academy seeks to cultivate a sense of wonder and awe in each and every student. We want our students to have a genuine love for discovering the truths of this world.
3. John Paul the Great Academy adopts a classical approach to teaching, following two main modes of instruction:
Socratic Instruction: the method by which teachers guide their students through an analysis of ideas through a Socratic dialogue to discover truth. Typically in Socratic Instruction, the students read a text and come to class prepared to engage in a discussion. In a guided discussion, the teacher leads the students on their discovery of the truth at hand. Student then internalize the truth, and finally, express it themselves. Many classes of the humanities classes at John Paul the Great Academy are discussion-based, seminar-style classes, and the sciences take on a hands-on approach.
Mimetic (Didactic) instruction: the method by which the teacher models and facilitates a skill or concept, and the student’s role is to imitate. This method applies the Christian classical idea that humans learn and become virtuous by imitation.
4. In order to best facilitate a classical approach to teaching, John Paul the Great Academy adopts small classroom sizes. Each class has 15-18 students. In the Upper School, classes are both co-ed (enrichment courses) and single-gendered (core classes.
5. In the classical model of education, parents are viewed as the primary educators, and teachers are viewed as co-educators.
6. In the classical model of education, the teachers take on a mentorship role in relationship to their students.
7. In the classical model of education, teachers teach for mastery of content.
8. The classical model at JPG adopts a distinctive curriculum:
The curriculum incorporates many “Great Books”, such as The Iliad & the Odyssey, Homer, Shakespeare, and more.
Within the curriculum, priority is given to primary texts priority, rather than secondary texts or textbooks.
JPG offered a number of unique courses such as Latin, philosophy, logic, rhetoric, speech & debate, horticulture, art, creative writing, music, and more.
JPG offers and integrated curriculum with interdisciplinary classes. For example, the humanities sequence in 9th-12th grade combines literature and history into one class: Ancient World, Medieval World, Modern World, and American Studies.
Mr. Peter Fletcher, Headmaster of John Paul the Great Academy, answering the question "What is Classical Education?" in our February 2016 Guardian:
Over the past several weeks, many, many prospective families have come to visit John Paul the Great Academy. Having heard good things around Lafayette, they now seek to experience first hand the charisms of our school and the vision that makes our education unique.
For thousands of years, the approach of classical education, which is modeled at JPG, has been the primary tool for forming both courageous, effective leaders and humble, holy citizens, both of this world and the next. What indeed is the heart of classical education? Is it the study of the collected wisdom of Western civilization? Is it the learning of Latin, and the study of the trivium - grammar, logic and rhetoric? Is it the focus on Socratic seminar discussions and the study of great books? Is it the memorization of poetry and the development of public speaking skills?
It is all of these things, of course, but it may help to think of classical education not only in terms of what it is, but rather in terms of what it is not. Dr. Brian Philips of the Circe Institute said at a recent conference, “There is nothing wrong with job training - it is important and is meant to be done in apprenticeships and trade schools, but it is not, I repeat, not education.” A key problem with modern education, which the Common Core movement has only made worse, is the effort to limit and restrict education to mere job training. No doubt, the skills of critical thinking, persuasive writing and eloquent speaking will serve our graduates well in the workplace, but this is not the heart and soul of education, at least not of classical education.
Education is, by contrast, the formation of the soul, the training (directing) of the will, the ordering of the passions, the development of discipline and courage, and the cultivation of the imagination! It is the enriching and widening of the soul.... All of which orders the human person to seek the true, good and beautiful in the ONE who is Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Himself.
This is the heart of the classical, Catholic education that we seek to cultivate here at JPG. Please join me in sharing this vision with prospective families and others who may be interested in supporting the unique mission of John Paul the Great Academy.