Today's announcement from the Governor that schools are officially shuttered through the end of the academic year was not exactly unexpected. But it was jarring nonetheless.
The reality of what we will now certainly miss has settled in. For any of us who were clinging to hope that just maybe we'd get a few weeks in together before summer, those hopes are dashed. And yet, as much as we grieve these cancelled plans and missed memories, we recognize that we are blessed to be in a position where our students' school year is not, in fact, cancelled. Not in the least.
There is real, active learning happening in the homes of our students and teachers. A rich curriculum, marching forward and engaging students along the way, has not stopped for coronavirus. I thank God for the technology we have that allows us to do this, because if Veritas had to truly screech to a halt two months before the finish line, much more would be lost than some reading, writing, and arithmetic skills.
It's worth noting that, as a private school, we recognize that our smaller size and general situation affords us the ability to continue school in this comprehensive way. We could give Chromebooks to any family who needed them, and we can communicate closely with all of our parents and students. I feel for our brothers and sisters in the public school realm who, understandably, cannot realistically make the same thing happen. Those teachers, administrators, and parents are doing wonderful things in the capacity they are given to enrich their students' learning. And so we are truly blessed, grateful, and humbled to be able to continue our school year. Because the way we saw it, we didn't have another option.
We had to keep it going.
The very nature of Classical Christian Education - and of our school's principles - forbids us from laying it all down. There are three main reasons why one simple cannot cancel Classical - for the sake of our families, our students, and even our culture as a whole.
1. A Commitment to Keep
The commitment that we made to our parents when they enrolled at our school required us to move forward.
During our first faculty meeting after the decision to shut down—back when we could meet in larger groups—I mentioned this commitment. We made a promise to parents and students and they were counting on us to keep that commitment. They made a promise to support the work of our school with their prayers, efforts, and payments. We needed to make good on our end of the promise by continuing to provide an excellent, Classical, Christian education for their child or children, whatever the distraction or obstacle. I am so proud that our teachers rose to that challenge and kept that commitment.
Supporting Families is one of our core values. We are trustworthy partner to our parents, and as such, we will do all it takes to support your family in discipling and training your children's hearts and minds towards truth, beauty, and goodness and prepare them for their foray into the world.
2. A Curriculum That Connects
The connected, cumulative nature of a Classical curriculum meant that we needed to move forward. In a Classical school, the curriculum is built so that teachers in the future need to have confidence in the work that is being done by teachers today.
Our grammar school history moves from one era to the next, in a cohesive timeline that beautifully strings together from each grade to the next. As second grades ends their studies with Egypt falling to the Rome, third grade is there to pick it up with the rise of the Greeks to the fall of Roman empire, then fourth grade jumps right into the Middle Ages, and so on. And because each grade's era of focus encompasses so much more than just one subject - truly, it flavors all of their studies - missing the last quarter would sever the experience.
Likewise, our Omnibus, or Great Books classes, move from Ancient to Medieval to Modern. Our rigorous math and science classes are built with the understanding that we have to move forward or we will continually be playing catch up. Our year-end senior thesis presentations and defenses are the capstone of the study of Rhetoric - the final stage in our Classical curriculum - giving our students the confidence and practice in communicating winsomely and effectively, reasoning soundly, and listening respectfully.
For these reasons, I am so happy that we have been able to continue to move forward so that we can close most of the gaps that would occur, and that we are able to protect the future learning of our students.
3. A Cognizance of True Education
A Classical Christian education thrives in a pandemic because this sort of time reminds us of what real education is all about, and why we should be pursuing real education during any circumstance.
Classical Christian education, as Augustine observed, understands that students need to learn to have rightly ordered loves. Often, education can be centered around parents’ or students’ desires about the future. Real education, however, is not about the acquisition of position, wealth, or power. It is about learning to receive the delightful things of God’s world, reflect on them, and know Him through them.
The pandemic actually reminds us of this by scrambling all of our plans and by, hopefully, quieting our hearts. When faced with uncertainty, we can discover what we really love and whether what we really love is worthy or not. Classical Christian education raises our eyes to love worthy things, and, above all, to love Christ, in whom all things true, good, and beauty hold together. This time then is perfect for students and families to take hold of a Classical Christian education. And I am so thankful that the faculty, staff, parents, and students of Veritas Academy have pulled together to make sure that we can still pursue this education through a time of crisis. We need it...and we will all be better off for it.
If you're looking for a holistic, rigorous, joyful learning experience at a school that partners with your family to raise up your children in the truth, beauty, and goodness of God, then we invite you to explore Veritas Academy. We'd love to meet you! Schedule a virtual tour to meet our administrators, faculty, and students and see our curriculum in action OR sign your child up to audit one of our online classes for FREE while schools are closed!
We look forward to getting to know you!