Philadelphia classical education

I’m an enormous fan of what Chris Mominey is doing to reform the Philadelphia Catholic school system. The latest is news that Cardinal O’Hara High School will be incorporating classical curriculum. This will be in partnership with the Regina Academies, which sprang up a number of years ago as a private alternative to the mainstream Catholic schools, which were adrift:

Tom Fertal, President of Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, (Delaware County) announced the formation of a new classical education track option called the “Regina Chesterton Academy” at Cardinal O’Hara High School.

The Academy will be integrated into the Cardinal O’Hara educational program for grades 9-12. It will offer a curriculum created by the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, now in use in several schools around the country. The Academy’s goal is to graduate literate and articulate leaders prepared to face the unique challenges of the 21st century. The curriculum features a neoclassical model that emphasizes Logic and Rhetoric, as well as Math, Science, Philosophy, and the Humanities to include Art, Music, Drama, Latin and Greek. The principal mode of learning will focus on a Socratic dialogue in which the teacher moderates an informed classroom discussion of the primary works of the masters of classical thought. …

The Regina Chesterton Academy will be initially available to freshman and sophomores beginning in September 2016 and migrate to a full, four-year program by September 2018. It will be a collaboration with the Regina Academies of Philadelphia. Part of the Chesterton approach is to augment the educational curriculum with frequent communal prayer, the study of Sacred Scripture and landmark papal encyclicals, and bi-annual trips to Rome for juniors and seniors. “In a real sense, this program is something of a retrieval,” said Regina Academies Chairman Tim Murnane. “Classical catholic liberal arts education has always been anchored in the great thought and discoveries of ages past. This track will re-open wide the doors to the very foundations of western civilization.”

I didn’t benefit from a classical curriculum, but my grandmother did. Her life was shaped by that experience, and she has shaped my life. So it’s a tradition I’m excited to see return for Philadelphia families.