TCA Titan's Blog

  • Our Core Values

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 6/2/2023

    The Classical Academy (TCA) located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a charter school that is committed to providing its students with a high-quality education that is grounded in a set of core values. These core values are at the heart of TCA's mission and are reflected in everything the school does. Let's take a closer look at these values and what they mean for students, teachers, and parents at TCA.


    Documenting our core values was a process. It started with a subcommittee of our board of directors. Over the next two years, the conversation included input from the founding board members, past and present board members, and all of TCA’s administration leadership.

    Once it was complete, the board of directors approved it and enjoyed the support of the school administration. It now serves as our compass to keep TCA on its course, both now and in the future.

    Dignity and Respect

    One of our core pillars is our belief that all humans deserve dignity and respect. This starts with how we treat our children. We also demonstrate a culture of respectful, civil interactions between adults in all situations and, by modeling that, teach our students to do the same.

    Unalienable Rights

    The Declaration of Independence listed unalienable rights and we build on that. Our children are taught to value freedom and recognize that the sacrifices made by our veterans are something to be honored. We also cultivate a culture of service and placing others first. We develop virtuous character and teach the importance of the Constitution in our lives. In addition, we teach personal economic liberty and the virtue of a free enterprise system.

    Exemplary Citizens

    At the root of it all, our system is set up to help children grow into exemplary citizens. To achieve that, we start with the idea that education addresses mind, body, and spirit.

    We see cultivating virtuous character including excellence with honor, moral courage, compassion, and relational grace as important steps in the development of our children. We believe our education efforts should uplift the student through the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness across disciplines. And we help our students understand the relationship between the domains of science, philosophy, and religion, as well as their limitations.

    We also place value on an education that encourages creativity, complex analytical thinking, and discernment while exploring the marketplace of ideas.  We place an emphasis on the study of Western traditions and its ideals of democracy, equality before the law, property rights, political rights, and religious freedom. Additionally, we recognize and value the achievements and contributions of many peoples, cultures, and nations.

    Parents First

    Our staff is aware of the responsibility and trust being placed in them by our parents and views it as an honor. As part of this, we respect the domain of the home in areas such as sex education and religious upbringing. In turn, we value parents that respect the staff and model respect for their authority in the school domain so their children can learn by that example. Our practices are counter-cultural when culture encourages indulgence. We expect a higher standard of civility and decency from our children, staff, and parents.

    These are a few of the Core Values that guide what we do here at The Classical Academy. If you would like to see more about them, please explore our website or contact our offices at 719-484-0091. We look forward to meeting you.

    Remembering our Roots

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  • From Vision to Success: The Classical Academy History

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 5/8/2023

    You already know The Classical Academy (TCA) is a public charter school that offers a classical education to students in grades K-12. But how it started and how it has grown are also very interesting pieces of The Classical Academy's history.

    The Start

    The Classical Academy began from the vision of Mary and Jim Kretchman. They had become concerned about the quality of education in their local public schools. They felt that many schools were failing to provide a challenging and meaningful education to their students, and they began exploring alternative educational models. One of the models they were particularly interested in was the classical education model, which had been used for centuries in Western civilization. Mary had attended a private school herself and was a founding staff member of a private classically-based school in Virginia. She and Jim decided they wanted to use that experience to create a high-quality public education experience in the Colorado Springs area.

    They found like-minded families to partner with. The other co-founding families were Vance and Betsy Brown, Barry and Tamra Farah, Dwight and Sandra Grant, Ron and Catherine Mast, Rick and Lisa Mueller, Dale and Linda Schauer, Bobby and Ann Silva, and Steve and Vicky Tomberlin joined to contribute their unique gifts to the development of the dream.

    The Model

    Classical education is based on the Trivium, which consists of three stages: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. During the grammar stage, students learn the basic elements of language and how to use them correctly. In the logic stage, students learn how to reason and think critically. In the rhetoric stage, students learn how to communicate effectively and persuasively. The classical education model also emphasizes the study of literature, history, mathematics, science, and the arts, as well as character education.

    The Growth

    In the fall of 1997, the founders of The Classical Academy opened their first school, which served nearly 400 students in grades K-6. Each year, a new grade was added, and the school quickly grew in popularity. In 2002, the North campus was completed and continues to serve as an integrated K-12 campus.

    In 1999, the Cottage School Program was started to serve families who prefer to homeschool. This program comes alongside those families and partners with them to supplement, not replace, the role of the parent as the primary educator.  In 2009, the College Pathways program was added as a hybrid online high school/college partnership for 7th through 12 grade students.

    Over the years, The Classical Academy has expanded its programs to include a full range of extracurricular activities, including athletics, music, drama, and clubs.

    The Success

    One of the keys to The Classical Academy's success has been its commitment to academic excellence. The school's curriculum is based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, which is a comprehensive, content-rich curriculum that emphasizes the development of strong reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. The school also uses a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, discussions, and hands-on projects, to engage students and help them learn. Students engage with rich academic content and the world of ideas in a way that invites relationship and encourages student voice. TCA remains dedicated to small classroom sizes to strengthen student’s learning experiences.

    Another important factor in The Classical Academy History and its success has been its strong community support. Parents and faculty partner together to create “exemplary citizens” and grow students as a whole person, developing habits of mind, body, and spirit. Parents are invited to share their resources—time, talent, and treasure—to strengthen and support TCA. Parents volunteer over 35,000 hours annually.

    Today and Beyond

    Today, The Classical Academy serves over 3,500 students on three campuses in Colorado Springs. The school has earned numerous awards and accolades over the years, including the John Irwin Award for Academic Excellence in 2022 by the Colorado Department of Education (elementary, high school and College Pathways). The school has also been recognized for its strong academic performance, with students consistently scoring well above the state and national averages on standardized tests. All schools ranked in the top 15% by Colorado Grades Schools and the TCA High School and College Pathways Program have received The Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award for demonstrating exceptional student growth.

    The success of The Classical Academy has inspired other schools around the country to adopt the classical education model. Today, there are hundreds of schools across the United States that offer a classical education to their students. The popularity of this model can be attributed in part to the growing recognition that traditional educational approaches are not meeting the needs of many students. By emphasizing critical thinking, character development, and a love of learning, the classical education model offers an alternative that can help students succeed academically and personally.

    To learn more about The Classical Academy's history, our Core Values or other topics, please visit our website.

    Child Reading

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  • What makes a charter school different?

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 4/12/2023

    How are Charter Schools Different?

    Most people have heard of charter schools, but they don't necessarily know what makes them different from traditional public schools.

    Since their inception in the 1970s, charter schools have become increasingly popular in the United States as an alternative to traditional public schools. These schools are unique in their design and operation, and they offer parents and students an alternative to traditional public schools. Let’s explore what makes a charter school different from other types of schools and how they offer a unique educational experience.

    What is a charter school?

    Charter schools are public schools that are independently operated and managed. They are typically established by parents, teachers, or community organizations and are authorized by a state or local government agency. The schools operate under a “charter,” which is a contract between the school and the authorizing agency. This contract outlines the school’s goals, curriculum, and performance standards, as well as its operational and financial requirements.

    More flexibility

    One of the most significant differences between charter schools and traditional public schools is the level of autonomy that charter schools have. The schools have more freedom to design and implement their educational programs and are not bound by the same regulations and restrictions that traditional public schools face. This autonomy allows them to be more innovative and flexible in their approach to education.

    More choices

    Charter schools also offer parents and students more choices in terms of the type of education they receive. Unlike traditional public schools, which are generally assigned based on where a student lives, charter schools are open to all students, regardless of where they live. This means that parents and students can choose a school that meets their individual needs and interests, whether that be a school focused on science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) education, the arts, or even a specific language.

    Increased accountability

    Another important difference between charter schools and traditional public schools is their accountability structure. The schools are held accountable for their performance and are required to meet specific academic and financial goals outlined in their charter. If a charter school fails to meet these goals, it can be closed or have its charter revoked. This accountability structure incentivizes the schools to strive for excellence and continuously improve their programs.

    Attracting top teachers

    Charter schools also have more flexibility in their staffing and hiring decisions. They can hire teachers who may not be licensed in their state, allowing them to attract top talent from around the country. These schools can also offer their teachers more opportunities for professional development and growth, which can lead to better outcomes for students.

    Despite these differences, charter schools are still subject to many of the same laws and regulations as traditional public schools. They must comply with federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and they must provide the same level of accountability and transparency as traditional public schools.

    Charter schools are unique in their design and operation, offering parents and students a choice in the type of education they receive. They are autonomous, innovative, and flexible in their approach to education, and are held accountable for their performance. The schools also offer their teachers more opportunities for professional development and growth, which can lead to better outcomes for students. While charter schools are not for everyone, they offer a valuable alternative to traditional public schools and can provide a high-quality education for students who may not thrive in a traditional public school setting.

    The Classical Academy (TCA) is the largest K—12th-grade charter public school in Colorado. For over two decades, we’ve cultivated one of the finest academic programs in the state. With recognition from government agencies and national media, it is easy to see why TCA is a first choice for so many families. Our proudest achievement isn’t the awards or popularity, it is the thousands of students who have graduated from our programs and entered life ahead of their peers. Contact us and find out how your student can excel with The Classical Academy. 



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