About our School
Message from the Headmaster
Welcome to Founders Classical Academy. The mission of Founders Classical Academy is to train the minds and improve the hearts of young men and women through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in good character and civic virtue. It is a high calling, and a difficult one, but is a calling that brings great rewards for those who strive.
Our school hopes not merely to care for our students, but to help them fill their minds with knowledge. Our methods are the old-fashioned ones—we diagram sentences, we read the great and difficult books, we memorize and recite poetry, we do mathematical proofs. We do things the hard way because we know that there are no shortcuts when it comes to understanding, and because we believe that the things we study are worth the effort. At Founders Classical Academy, we want to really know things, not just appear to know them.
We stand against many of the trends that have overtaken American education for the sake of providing something increasingly rare: an education that is good for its own sake. At Founders Classical Academy, we believe that a liberal education in the sciences and the humanities is inherently good—something worth having apart from the many good things that can come from it. Our work is to teach our students to be men and women with sound minds and well-formed characters. We hope to help them become thoughtful judges of their own happiness and students of the good, the true, and the beautiful throughout their lives.
In choosing Founders Classical Academy, our families choose a very particular kind of place. To honor the choice that they make, we promise to treat our students’ education as an end in itself. We promise to help them learn to be virtuous, not just credentialed. We promise to educate them to be thinkers, not merely to train them for a particular profession. We promise to challenge them to help them see what they are capable of. We promise to pursue the truth boldly. We promise to help our students know themselves, and to help them cultivate their minds and their characters in accordance with virtue.
Dr. Kathleen O’Toole
A classical charter school established in 2014 by Responsive Education Solutions and Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative, Founders Classical Academy of Leander serves students in grades K through 12. The school is tuition-free with an open admission policy and is accredited through the Texas Education Agency.
The mission of Founders Classical Academy is to train the minds and improve the hearts of young men and women through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in good character and civic virtue.
Founders Classical Academy graduated its inaugural class in May of 2017. Even among a very small senior class, totaling 12 students, one student achieved the rank of National Merit Semi-Finalist Scholar. The Class of 2018 is 30 students strong, and each class of graduates will have approximately 50 students in future years.
The faculty of Founders is selected based on their mastery of academic disciplines in the liberal arts and sciences and is dedicated to instilling a love of lifelong learning. The student to faculty ratio in the Upper School is 14:1, and as of the 2016-2017 school year 75% of the teachers hold advanced degrees.
The curriculum teaches the liberal arts and emphasizes the intellectual and moral virtues through a content-rich, cohesive course of study. The Western tradition is central to the study of history, literature, and philosophy at Founders, and within the Western tradition, students engage in a rich and recurring examination of the American literary, moral, philosophical, and historical traditions. Courses are rooted in primary sources and taught in the Socratic method, emphasizing intellectual analysis and dialogue. Students are encouraged to improve their minds and their character in accordance with virtue. The aim of the academics is to cultivate a love of the just, the beautiful, the good, and the true, and to make the pursuit of these things a way of life.
Graduates are well prepared to enter institutions of higher learning as liberally educated young men and women. All students complete a common, challenging college preparatory curriculum totaling 28 credits. The requirements include, at a minimum, four credits of Mathematics and of the Sciences, four credits of Literature, five credits of History, two credits of Philosophy, three credits of Latin with the option to continue or to enroll in a modern Foreign Language, and courses in Composition, Rhetoric, Performance and Fine Arts, and Physical Education.
The senior thesis, a requirement for graduation, serves as the culmination of the student’s study at Founders. Seniors conduct in-depth research, formulate a thesis worthy of debate, write and refine a rigorous academic paper, and defend the work publicly before a panel of their teachers, peers, and members of the school community.
Grade inflation is discouraged, and students are challenged to strive for improvement and mastery. Students are not only challenged in the classroom, but graded on a rigorous scale.
At the end of each academic year, students are honored for academic, athletic, and moral achievements. Students who have demonstrated excellence in a particular subject are recognized with subject awards. The highest awards are determined by faculty committee and given to students demonstrating the utmost level of Excellence in Attendance (Spartan Award), Excellence in Moral Virtue (Aeneas Award), Excellence in Athletics (Achilles Award), Excellence in Fine Arts (Homer Award), and Excellence in Intellectual Virtue (Odysseus Award).
To cultivate the development of self-government, organization and execution, and leadership, the entire student body is divided into one of six houses (Beethoven, Da Vinci, Euclid, Herodotus, Newton, and Shakespeare) for their 7th-12th grade years. Each house, led by a Mentor Teacher, competes against the others in a series of academic and athletic competitions. Throughout the year, a student earns points for his or her house when recognized for distinction in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in words and deeds. Each house is also responsible for planning a school event and undertaking a community service project. Houses are led by a head boy and a head girl, chosen by their mentor, and by student representatives for each grade, elected by their peers.