Information Meeting with Dr. Terrence Moore – September 28

Information Meeting with Dr. Terrence Moore – September 28

Dr. Terrence O. Moore

Dr. Terrence O. Moore, founding Principal of Ascent Classical Academy in Douglas County, will be presenting Thursday, September 28.  Dr. Moore is one of the leading advocates of classical education in the United States and its importance in the formation of our children.

Please invite your friends to attend to learn more about Ascent Classical Academy, opening in the fall of 2018 in northern Douglas County.

The event will be held at the Lone Tree Library, 1005 Library Way, Lone Tree, and begin at 6:30pm.

No “L” in STEM – How a Classical School Develops Leaders and Thinkers

No “L” in STEM – How a Classical School Develops Leaders and Thinkers

There Is No “L” in STEM:

How a Classical School Develops Leaders and Thinkers

As every parent knows, there is a great deal of buzz these days surrounding STEM education under the larger umbrella of “college and career readiness.”  Why our schools have not been preparing students very well for either college or careers over the last several decades—despite “innovation” in the form of fad after fad (many of them relying heavily on technology)—is a subject not brought up in polite company.  Nonetheless, we are assured that Every Child Left Behind a Screen is the new silver bullet for educational “excellence.”

There are many questionable assumptions built into this career-first approach to education.  For starters, it is far from established that the best way to study either mathematics or science is with a job in mind or by introducing technology as soon as possible.  How has giving calculators to students as early as the second and third grade honed the mental math skills of the nation’s youth?  Consider the last time you relied a clerk in a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop to make change with real money.

The larger concern, though, is what becomes of our children and our society when we view students as merely cogs in a large impersonal wheel.  The deliberate narrowing of our aims of education leads straight to a narrowing of human excellence.  A career-driven education (or training, really) fails to develop educated leaders and thinkers, the kind our nation badly needs.  Whatever modern innovations may strike our fancy, those in charge of schools should keep in mind certain permanent realities about the nature of human beings and their education.

The future of this state and this nation will be largely determined by the power and creativity of the human mind.  Jobs do not make the human mind.  The human mind makes jobs.

The human mind is largely the product of education.  The education that trains the human mind first and foremost inevitably creates leaders and thinkers.  The education that corrals young people into careers before their minds have been formed produces only technicians and job-fillers performing below their potential and little able to rise in the ranks of any career or profession.

The current chorus of “college and career readiness” is the siren calling youth to specific, predetermined careers but not to become leaders and thinkers.  For example, some states require programs that compel high-school students to choose “pathways” in specific careers, such as engineering.  Colorado is considering such programs.  Where is the pathway that invites a young person to become a judge, a military officer, a professor of history, a writer, or an entrepreneur?  Furthermore, does an entrepreneur, even one in the tech industry, not struggle as much with human problems as with technical problems in building an organization?

In whatever walk of life people choose, they must be guided by thought lest they act rashly.  Their thought must be informed by action to gain insights into human nature and achievement.  The best education in thought and action is the deliberate study of the greatest thinkers and actors of the past.  The most original thinkers in history have been those who have mastered the thoughts of the past: who have admitted themselves to be dwarves standing atop the shoulders of giants.  The greatest statesmen have been those who followed in the footsteps of previous heroes.

A traditional, liberal education—called these days a classical education—engages young minds with the greatest leaders and thinkers of the past.  The curriculum immerses the student in the written word, logic, rhetoric, moral and political philosophy, and the histories of great leaders.  Students must engage in Socratic discussion requiring them to formulate and express logical arguments in speech and in writing.  Students in a classical school encounter arguments, documents, philosophical positions, and examples of leadership not normally explored until college, if even then.

A thorough study of the sciences teaches one to observe, to understand, to live and thrive in, and often to wonder at, the natural world.  A thorough study of the human arts—of English and literature and history and government—teaches one to live and thrive in the human world and, when called upon, to lead.  Both courses of study are essential to human flourishing and necessarily support each other.  Both are taught well in any classical school worth its salt.

And, yes, the graduates of classical schools go on to get “good jobs” and often make their own jobs.  The mind trained on the classics will prove to be an agent of clarity and conviction in a confusing world.  The reader of Cicero will not fail to make his point in a modern business meeting.  The student of political philosophy who has learned to reason from first principles will not falter in writing her organization’s compelling mission statement.  The student of oratory who cut his rhetorical teeth on Patrick Henry will manage to make Power Point exciting—or even be so bold as to speak to, nay inspire, an audience without it.

Dr. Terrence O. Moore– Dr Terrence O. Moore – Founding Principal of Ascent Classical Academy of Douglas County

Summer Reading Suggestions

Summer Reading Suggestions

Girl Reading in LibraryWith school out for the summer, many parents want to know what kinds of books their children should be reading.  The following suggestions are taken from our sister-school Golden View Classical Academy.

Download the summer reading list

Kindergarten – Second Grade


The most important thing you can do to help your incoming Kindergarteners is to read to and with them. Devote some time every day to reading aloud with your child, and help your child think about the book by asking thoughtful questions as you go. For instance, why do you think a character does what she does? What do you think they are thinking about when they do something interesting or notable? If your child is especially interested in a particular character or passage, ask him or her to repeat part of the story to the rest of your family. Visit the library and explore new subjects. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes, by Robert Frederick Publishers
  • The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose, by Arnold Lobel
  • The Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables, by Don Daily

First Grade

As with Kindergarteners, students in the First Grade benefit greatly from reading aloud with parents. At this age, listening to a parent read will expand their vocabulary and broaden their interests. Here are some suggestions that a First Grade student might enjoy:

  • The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss. Other rhyming books are great, since rhymes help students hear, see, understand, and remember the building blocks of words.
  • Aesop’s Fables: The Tortoise and the Hare, The Lion and the Mouse, The Ant and the Grasshopper, etc. (By all means, keep reading fables if your child likes them; doing so will not spoil those read in the next grade.)
  • Curious George books, by H.A. Rey
  • Books by Beatrix Potter, including The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Tom Kitten, and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.
  • Fairy tales, including The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Ugly Duckling, etc.

Second Grade

As with Kindergarten and First Grade, students in Second Grade should read aloud with parents and, if they can, take turns reading. At this age, listening to a parent read will continue to expand their vocabulary and broaden their interests. Here are some suggestions that a Second Grade student might enjoy:

  • Aesop’s Fables: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Dog in the Manger, The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, The Maid and the Milk Pail, The Fox and the Grapes
  • Stories by Hans Christian Andersen (Parents should read these ahead of time to make a good selection, since there are some more adult scenes.)
  • Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
  • George and Martha series, by James Marshall
  • The Biggest Bear, by Lynd Kendall Ward
  • The Magic School Bus books about weather, magnets, tools, the body, insects, animals, and plants.

Third – Sixth Grade

Beginning in Third Grade, students are assigned one or two particular books as part of their summer reading.

To help students think about these books, here is a list of productive questions for every grade:

  1. Who are the important characters?
  2. What is the story’s setting? In what place and time period does the story occur?
  3. What are the major events of the story, and in what order do they occur?
  4. What conflicts arise, and how are they resolved? Do any remain unresolved?

Third Grade

  • Little House on the Prairie (ISBN: 978-0064400022)

Fourth Grade

  • Guns for General Washington (ISBN: 978-0152164355)

We also recommend the following books:

  • The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame
  • The Sword in the Tree, by Clyde Robert Bulla

Fifth Grade

  • The Shakespeare Stealer (ISBN: 978-0141305950)

We also recommend the following book:

  • Number the Stars (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), by Lois Lowry

Sixth Grade

  • The Golden Fleece (ISBN: 978-0689868849)

We also recommend the following non-fiction books:

  • Herodotus and the Road to History, by Jeanne Bendic
  • Archimedes and the Door of Science, by Jeanne Bendic
  • Augustus Caesar’s World, by Genevieve Foster
  • Up From Slavery (Dover Thrift Edition), by Booker T. Washington

Upper School

In the Upper School, students should make notes in the margins to develop a habit of slow reading. It is good practice to write questions where puzzling passages or ideas arise, when repetitions occur, when characters are introduced and developed, and in general anything that strikes them as important.

To help students think about these books, here is a list of productive questions for every grade:

  1. Who are the important characters?
  2. What is the story’s setting? In what place and time period does the story occur?
  3. What are the major events of the story, and in what order do they occur?
  4. What conflicts arise and how are they resolved? Do any remain unresolved?

In High School, there is a main question paired with each book that students must answer. Each answer must be one page and one-sided, typed, double-spaced, in Times New Roman and 12-point font size. These answers are due on the first day of school in literature class, and will be collected for a grade. The late policy for homework will apply.

Seventh and Eighth Grade students do not have assignments to turn in, but must be prepared to discuss the books on the first day of school.

Seventh Grade

  • Watership Down (ISBN: 978-0743277709)

Eighth Grade

  • The Last of the Mohicans (ISBN: 978-0120000302)

Ninth Grade

  • The Odyssey (ISBN: 978-0140268867) – What kind of man is Odysseus?

Tenth Grade

  • Beowulf (ISBN: 978-0393320978) – What kind of man is Beowulf?

Eleventh Grade

  • My Ántonia (ISBN: 978-0486282404) – What is the American West?

Twelfth Grade

  • Anna Karenina (ISBN: 978-0679783305) – What kind of woman is Anna Karenina?
Classical Schools Model Still Among the Best Overall and in STEM

Classical Schools Model Still Among the Best Overall and in STEM

The US News and World Report recently released its 2017 rankings of the top schools in the United States and classical and liberal arts schools retain a strong showing in Colorado, demonstrating the success and strength of the classical model.

Among the Top 10 schools in Colorado are:

#4 – Liberty Common School
#5 – D’Evelyn Jr/Sr High School (liberal arts)
#6 – Vanguard Classical
#7 – Twin Peaks
#8 – Ridgeview Classical Schools

Find the full list here.

The US News and World Report also ranks the highest performing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.  Again in Colorado, classical and liberal arts schools excel in the rankings.

Classical and liberal arts schools took 5 of the 7 ranked spots of Colorado schools in the STEM school ratings.

Those schools ranking highest in STEM are:

#2 – Liberty Common School
#3 – D’Evelyn Jr/St High School (liberal arts)
#4 – The Vanguard School
#5 – Ridgeview Classical Schools
#7 – The Classical Academy

Find the full STEM list here.

Nationally Known School Reformer Joins Ascent Classical Academy in Douglas County

Nationally Known School Reformer Joins Ascent Classical Academy in Douglas County

Dr. Terrence O. Moore

Dr Terrence O. Moore – Founding Principal of Ascent Classical Academy of Douglas County

Ascent Classical Academies are pleased to announce that Dr. Terrence O. Moore has joined the Ascent team as the founding principal of the Douglas County K-12 classical charter school’s launch in the fall of 2018. Dr. Moore brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the realm of classical charter schools as well as previous experience in Colorado.

Dr. Moore served as the founding principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins for seven years.  During that time, Ridgeview’s high school was twice ranked as the top public high school in Colorado and also as the fourth highest open-enrollment school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

From Ridgeview, Dr. Moore went on to become a professor of history at Hillsdale College and to help establish the Hillsdale Barney Charter School Initiative.  That initiative advises founding boards of classical charter schools, provides training and guidance to school principals, and offers a wide array of professional development for teachers.  Among the sixteen Hillsdale-affiliated schools now in operation are the Atlanta Classical Academy, where Dr. Moore has been the founding principal for the past three years, and Golden View Classical Academy in Golden, currently in its second year.

Dr. Moore has written and lectured frequently on liberal education and school reform, publishing editorials in The Coloradoan, The Denver Post, The Claremont Review of Books, The Washington Times, Touchstone, The Family in America, and The Wall Street Journal.  He has also been a leading voice in the Common Core debate, testifying before seven state legislative bodies and writing The Story-Killers: A Common Sense Case Against the Common Core.

Along with the many school founders, professors, and parents who have joined the classical school movement, Dr. Moore holds that no education is more suited to modern times, when people are in danger of letting their machines do their thinking for them.  “It may seem paradoxical in this age in which seemingly everyone is addicted to a device,” he says, “that we are sitting down with children and saying, ‘Let’s read this great book and see what it tells us about the ways of man and nature,’ but that is precisely our aim.  We think the precious years of a child’s life should be spent learning and vigorously discussing things that are foundational and timeless, not clicking buttons to receive so-called ‘information’ that is ephemeral, superficial, and dull.”

In addition to the opportunity of being able to work on founding new classical schools, Dr. Moore and his wife, Jennifer, are glad to be returning to the state where their four children were born and they consider home.

Complete a confidential and non-binding Expression of Interest to support and place your children in the lottery for Ascent Classical Academy of Douglas County and learn more about upcoming parent information meetings.