Updated 2:04 p.m. CST July 22, 2014
Founders Classical Academy staffers have been working to recruit parents, enroll students and order supplies for the Aug. 25 opening of Leander’s first full-time classical charter school.
In late June, trucks arrived with chairs and desks that helped the building—which formerly hosted Summit Christian Academy—begin to feel like a real school, Headmaster Dr. Kathleen Arnn said.
“It’s a reminder that we’re actually going to have kids here,” Arnn said.
Founders will provide a classical education for up to 480 children from kindergarten through 10th grade in 2014–15 and plans to add 11th and 12th grades in the next two years. The Lewisville, Texas-based company Responsive Education Solutions bought the buildings at 1303 Leander Drive in July 2013.
As a charter school, Founders is overseen by state law and can use state and federal funds for its operations. Responsive Ed owns the school and is investing funds to give the school a head start that most charter institutions don’t have, Arnn said.
Scott Davis, national director of classical schools with Responsive Ed, said the school has reached out to parents in Leander, Cedar Park and the surrounding area. The school held a public lottery in January to randomly select students and still has a long waiting list, Davis said. Founders has also hired teachers from throughout the nation, many of whom have extensive classical education training.
Assistant Headmaster Dr. Robert Garrow said classical education teaches overlapping subjects such as basic learning—or grammar—for younger children; logical tools for older children; and rhetoric and composition in the teenage years.
Founders will also emphasize subjects such as cursive handwriting and historical narrative. Even kindergarten students will receive early introductions to mythology and literature, Arnn said.
“Our goal is to teach them about some of those figures in those great epic poems when they’re little so that when they get to ninth grade and they’re asked to do this really serious work, that world is not foreign to them,” she said. “We think that even little ones can learn real history.”
Students in grades 7–10 will learn in temporary trailer classrooms until Founders adds a third building north of the existing buildings. Construction is expected to finish in 2015, Davis said.
The school will also host sporting events using its outdoor field and indoor gym.
“[The gym] still says ‘Summit Christian’ on the floor,” Arnn said. “It won’t for long.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to name Lewsiville, Texas as the city in which Responsive Education is based.