A classical school has a curriculum that bestows upon students our rich cultural heritage. Its focus is on fundamental academics such as language, math, history, and science. However, while our academics are fundamental, they are not plain. A classical curriculum is also characterized by a rich exposure to music, drama, the visual arts, and athletics. It is not unusual to find SJA students “bringing their studies to life” by writing and performing a skit on the life of Benjamin Franklin, discovering the solar system through painting or making models, or even creating costumes, music, and activities for a fanciful Medieval feast.
A classical school also uses the Trivium, a teaching method that tailors the curriculum to children’s natural cognitive development and teaches them how to think. The Trivium is, literally, the “three-fold path” of grammar, the knowledge of each subject’s facts; dialectic, the understanding of the relationships among those facts; and rhetoric, the eloquent expression of that knowledge and understanding. These stages of learning are emphasized in the elementary, middle, and high school, respectively. For example, an elementary student will know, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”; a middle school student will understand, “Why did Columbus set sail to the west in 1492?”; a high school student will eloquently express, “What is a fair evaluation of Columbus and the significance of his journey?” Each stage of the Trivium is built upon and reinforces the others, giving students the tools they need to become life-long learners.
We are unapologetic in the assertion of doctrines central to orthodox Christianity, but students and faculty are welcome to their personal and denominational views on issues about which genuine believers disagree. The result is the cultivation in each student of an appreciation for the views of others, while maintaining a confidence in one’s own views and those of one’s family and denomination. The following are foundational beliefs on which St. John’s Academy is based. The Apostles’ Creed will be considered primary doctrine at St. John’s Academy and will be taught in various ways through all grade levels. Secondary or divisive doctrines and issues will not be presented as primary doctrine. When these types of issues arise, they will be referred back to the family and local churches for final authority.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty: From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost: the holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints: The Forgiveness of sins: The Resurrection of the body: And the Life everlasting.
We believe that the Bible clearly instructs parents, not the church or the state, to “Bring children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Therefore, we teach in a manner consistent with the Bible and a Godly home environment.
We believe that God’s person and character are revealed not only in His Word, but also in every facet of creation (Romans 1:20). Therefore, we teach that all knowledge is interrelated and instructs us about God.
We believe that God wants us to love Him, as He said, “with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength” (Luke 10:27). Therefore, we teach how to learn and reason through the centuries-old, classical method of education.
We believe that God wants us to do all things “heartily, as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). Therefore, we teach that excellence is the standard for each person’s endeavors.