As we have done with past newsletters, I am deferring this week’s column to a Chamber member for their use. This month Cameron Curry, CEO of The Classical Academies, has written a message the Chamber would like to share.
It all started with a simple premise in 1999; parents are the primary educator of their children. Working with credential teachers, we could capture the best of both worlds; home and education met, and our community was never the same. Over the past twenty-two years, The Classical Academies has grown in programming, support, and number of locations. It has also been recognized as a model of excellence locally, regionally, and statewide. Not a year goes by that we are not contacted by an existing school, leader of a school district, or a parent in another state wanting to know about what we do and how we do it. Our educational model has also been copied from time to time and we are flattered that we pioneered a movement that embraces a partnership with parents’ model where parents and guardians play an active and meaningful role in the education of their children.
The Classical Academies personalize the education for each student. Our team’s approach is to review each student, find out where they are academically, and then target learning through the use of tools, resources, curriculum, and information under the umbrella of independent study. Visiting our campuses, it would appear that we are a five day in seat traditional public school program. In reality, students can work independently, be at home, or be on campus for one class or several during the course of the week. It all comes down to supporting what each student needs. Not every student is successful in this model of education and that is where some families choose our model for one student and then a traditional public school for another.
We are fortunate to be one of the many high quality public schools in Escondido offering parents’ choice in the education of their children. Add to that, we are helping our local school districts meet the diverse needs of students throughout the community. One size does not fit all and when it comes to students and their education, families have come to expect more from all options. As a result, all schools in the community have improved over the past two decades and local leaders have complimented the work of so many that made that happen. Escondido can be very proud of the educational options available to families.
With the onslaught of the pandemic, The Classical Academies moved forward with offering students access to new academic content, grading, and daily interaction with a credentialed teacher. Where some parents across the county voiced great concern over their school not engaging with students for weeks, we found ourselves in the spotlight as a model that was working, students were learning, and we credit our team with keeping the needs of students first. We were also pleased to be able to share information with others and played an active role with the San Diego County Office of Education’s task force on distance and virtual learning. This work helped establish regional guidelines for schools to follow as they started and managed their distance and virtual learning platforms.
The State of California made the decision last year to withhold school funding for students that moved from one school to another in search of academic support and quality programming. When The Classical Academies enrolled 1,200 new students, with 1,000 students still on the waiting list, we sued the state to secure the $10 million in lost funding. For the first time, the court recognized our case as a class action suit, and we were the lead plaintiff with 300+ other schools offering independent study, serving more than 200,000 students, statewide. Our case is currently in the appeal process, and we expect the case to be heard in the spring of 2022. Whether or not we win, we are on the right side of standing up for students and their access to a great public school experience.
With the 2021/2022 school year in full swing with students back on our campuses in Escondido, we know that what started as a seed of innovation twenty-two years ago is continuing to flourish today. We have worked incredibly hard on our brand and reputation one student at a time. Our story is not written, we have each day to help students to think, communicate, and achieve on their academic journey to becoming graduates, college students, professionals, and great citizens in our community. That is only possible through a strong partnership with parents who play an active and meaningful role in their children’s education. I am grateful we have never strayed from this foundational element that has driven our success at The Classical Academies. For more information on The Classical Academies, please visit www.classicalacademy.com
Sincerely, Cameron Curry