Established in 1969, The Academy is a small independent school in Berkeley, California, that supports approximately 115 students in grades K-8. The Academy has earned a long-standing reputation for providing a high quality, rigorous, classical education in a small, nurturing community. Throughout The Academy’s history, its educational philosophy is steeped in the roots of classical education.
What is Classical Education?
At The Academy we lift up grammar, logic, rhetoric (the verbal arts of the trivium), arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the mathematical arts of the quadrivium). This approach to education also includes the study of Latin. The classical approach teaches students how to learn and how to think.
It is precisely this kind of education that has produced countless great leaders, inventors, scientists, writers, philosophers, theologians, physicians, lawyers, artists, and musicians over the centuries. Classical education never really disappeared, but it did diminish starting around 1900 with the advent of progressive education. In an effort to restore this most proven form of education, the K–12 liberal arts tradition has been being renewed and expanded again over the last thirty years.
Students learn in vibrant classrooms with highly skilled teachers who embrace the Socratic method to stimulate critical thinking, reflection, and thoughtful dialogue that is guided by evidence, reasoning, logic, and input from others. This method allows students to develop a strong sense of ownership in the knowledge and beliefs they construct and to gain confidence in their ability to problem-solve in a world filled with complexities. Class size averages 12–15 students, which promotes the development of meaningful relationships with teachers and peers and fosters a climate in which students are comfortable expressing their beliefs, refining their ideas, and taking risks.
Originally a family-run, for-profit school, the founding family closed the school in June 2014. In the following weeks, a core group of parents united to “save” the school. Subsequently, The Academy was reopened as a nonprofit, independent school with a governing board of trustees. This grassroots movement arose from the commitment of parents and teachers to The Academy’s educational philosophy and their dedication to the school community as a whole.