Lionheart Classical Academy (LCA) provides students a full and complete liberal arts education which challenges each student to excel both in learning and in character. Combining a content-rich, classical education with civic virtues, LCA strives to develop the minds and improve the hearts of its students. The goal of the academy is to graduate students who are highly literate, can communicate effectively, are virtuous, possess cultural literacy, are prepared to continue academic achievement and are ready to become active and productive members of American society.
LCA collaborated with Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI) in design and execution of the educational program. Begun in 2010, BCSI collaborated with its first school openings in the fall of 2012. Since that time, BCSI has assisted in the launch of dozens of schools across the country. BCSI has a proven educational model that drives academic achievement as well as develops character and civic virtue for all students from different economic and demographic backgrounds.
To help teachers provide an American classical education to students, Hillsdale College created a scope and sequence for kindergarten through 12th grade. The K-12 Program Guide reflects recommended curriculum. To create the K-12 curriculum, Hillsdale leverages established, research-based learning programs such as Rigg’s Institute’s The Writing and Spelling Road to reading and Thinking, Singapore Math Dimensions, and the Core Knowledge Sequence for history, literature, music art and science, and has adapted these programs based upon the expertise of the College’s staff and faculty, and the experience of using them in hundreds of classrooms around the country.
Having an established content curriculum not only assists achievement but it also cultivates a strong learning culture among students, teachers, and parents. From month-to-month and year-to-year, students know what they are responsible for learning. Teachers build on learning from prior grades and are able to focus their efforts on new learning and creating effective lesson plans instead of identifying “what” to teach. Parents are aware, engaged and can support the learning. Instead of asking the general questions “What did you learn today in school?”, parents can ask “What did you learn today about Ancient Greece? Electricity? The Gettysburg Address?”
The Core Knowledge Sequence (not to be confused with Common Core) is based upon E.D. Hirsch’s idea of cultural literacy. The Core Knowledge Sequence provides a grade-by-grade sequence of specific topics to be taught in grades K-8. Topics taught include history, geography, literature, visual arts, music, language arts, science, and math. The content of the topics is based upon basic principles that are lasting and solid. For example, important events of world history, essential elements of math, and essential elements of written expression.
As learning becomes more meaningful if knowledge is built on prior knowledge, the Core Knowledge Sequence provides a specific outline of the skills and content to be learned grade by grade. Thus, all children are exposed to knowledge needed to be included in a shared literate culture. Teachers and parents are all on the same page, and the chance of repetition and/or gaps as children move from grade to grade are eliminated. The curriculum constitutes approximately 50% of what is taught so teachers have the freedom to develop their own knowledge goals as well.