Goodness, Truth, & Beauty
Our aim is to root a comprehensive understanding of education in a compelling and beautiful vision of reality worthy of students’ love. This vision is intended to govern every facet of the school’s life. Its aim is twofold: first, to communicate a certain body of knowledge; and second, to cultivate a certain kind of person, to develop as far as possible what is uniquely human in him, and so to equip him with the skills, habits, and aptitudes necessary to embrace truth and to become the person he was truly created to be. Immediately it becomes clear that no aspect of a school’s life is truly “extra-curricular” or falls outside of its core mission of education, because every aspect of its life – from the dress code of the students and staff, the arrangement of furniture in the classroom, the paint and posters on the wall, the activities during recess, the way technology is used and the songs the children sing – reflects the school’s judgments and priorities about the meaning of its educational mission. Everything a school does teaches something. Everything a school does is education of some sort. The important thing is to be sure that it is good and coherent education and that policies, procedures, pedagogical methods, and the culture of the school are not at cross purposes with its vision.
Curriculum, pedagogical methods, and all the details of the school’s life should therefore be constantly assessed both in light of the conviction that knowledge and love of truth, beauty, and goodness are ends in themselves and in light of the twofold goal of the Vision Statement.
Every activity, program, policy, method, or proposal should be tested by the following criteria, which follow from this vision, though not all are equally applicable to each of these facets of the school’s life:
1. Is it beautiful?
2. Are we doing this because it is inherently good, or as a means to an end? If the latter, what end?
3. Does it encourage the student to think of education itself as a high and noble enterprise, or does it cheapen education?
4. Is it excellent? Does it demand the best students and teachers have to offer, and hold them to the highest standard they are capable of achieving? Or does it give in to the gravitational pull of mediocrity? Is excellence the highest standard, or is excellence subordinate to lower standards such as convenience, popularity, or marketing considerations (i.e. consumer appeal)?
5. Does it encourage reverence for the mystery of God and the splendor of His creation?
6. Does it encourage reverence for the mystery of the human person and respect for the student’s own human dignity?
7. Does it encourage him to desire truth, to understand such virtues as courage, modesty, prudence, and moderation and to cultivate these within himself?
8. Does it help the student to see what difference God makes in all the facets of the world, or does it make God’s existence seem irrelevant, trivial, small or private?
9. Does it assist in passing on the received wisdom of the Western tradition, or does it create obstacles to reception of that tradition?
10. Does it encourage real searching and thinking? Does it provoke the student to ask “why?”
11. Does it encourage conversation between and across generations or does it hinder it?
12. Does it help to develop to the fullest extent what is uniquely human in the student: the powers of attending, deliberating, questioning, calculating, remembering, and loving?
13. Does it encourage the student to become patient, to take time, and if necessary, to start over in order to achieve excellence, or does it subordinate excellence to speed, ease, and efficiency?
14. Does it encourage the student to value rigor and discipline?
15. Does it deepen the role of the family in the life of the school and the role of education in the life of the family, or does it erect a barrier between family and school?
At Veritas Classical Academy, we will strive to fulfil this vision and hold true to its promise.