The school, which teaches kindergarten through 11th, balances physical activity with a rigorous curriculum. Kindergarten through second grade has three recess breaks each day, about 15 minutes each. There is also a 30 minute physical education class daily. Headmaster Kathleen O’Toole said the key to success is more than just classroom time.
I had the opportunity to visit Founders Classical Academy. Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, headmaster of the charter school, kindly gave me a tour of several classrooms. The education there is a classical education and includes Latin. The curriculum is more demanding than in other schools, but Founders Classical believes in its children and considers challenges tend to motivate them. The first thing that struck me was the organization of the tables: all facing the teacher, theater-style, something I had last seen in France. The students, from kindergarten to grade 10, were barely distracted by us entering the room: they were focused on their teachers; they enjoyed the class and the lesson.
Mr. and Mrs. Cid have five children, and when Founder’s Classical Academy, a public charter school, opened this past August, they were excited to have a free option for their three eldest kids to receive a quality education. “The teachers and the curriculum make the difference,” Mrs. Cid explains. “All of my kids have grown a lot and been challenged, and if we had to pay I wouldn’t be able to send them there.” Their fourth son is on the kindergarten waitlist, along with more than 700 applicants for roughly 50 spots.
[Founders Classical Academy] is open to all students and, “anyone can be successful at this school,” said [Headmaster Kathleen] O’Toole. The education is more rigorous or demanding than traditional public education, but this focus on “developing the right habits…can benefit any child.”
“But there are great charter schools that are thriving right now and which prove that a public education can be great and that parents are quite capable of reviving an important civic institution: the public school,” Moore said. “Frankly, this is an opportunity for public-spirited people who want to follow in the moral, political, and educational tradition of the Founding Fathers to prove themselves.”