How is NSCA different from TCA?

How is New Summit different from The Classical Academy?

Note: This document was updated on 3/8/18 in part to correct some factual errors and clarifications relative to TCA’s program and may be subject to further revision from time to time. For more details on The Classical Academy and TCA’s programs, please visit their website.

This question comes up occasionally, but not as often as you think. That is because most families aren’t considering choosing between the two. If The Classical Academy had been an option for them, they likely would’ve already applied and are either happily attending or waiting in frustration because their grade is full on the campus they want. Or, in some cases, they have already left and are waiting for another option to come along that they like better.

If they were choosing between the two, there are some important things to note. First of all, we do have some major things in common that make us, well, cousins.  You see, the Core Knowledge Curriculum comes from E.D. Hirsch, Jr., sort of our common grandfather (he is in his 80’s now). Hirsch’s writings establish some important bonds. These include believing that content matters and that systematic sequential phonics are important to unlock the keys to reading. There are some absolutes in terms of a knowledge base kids should have, to be “culturally literate” (read his book Cultural Literacy for more on what that means) and to become productive, thoughtful citizens.

But just as Chick-Fil-A, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Popeye’s Chicken are all fast food chicken restaurants, it doesn’t make them completely the same, and no two Core Knowledge schools are completely alike.  Some parents might like the sandwich format of one, and others might prefer the red beans and rice of another. The service and atmosphere of one may be stellar, and another might have more comfortable seating and better parking.

So here are some items that we know are different between the New Summit Charter Academy and The Classical Academy.

New Summit Charter Academy The Classical Academy
A contemporary approach to classroom atmosphere. Strong Charlotte Mason 1800’s influence
Computer/Technology friendly (but not focused), encouraging computer assistance only where appropriate, starting as early as 1st grade. Less computer friendly (starts in 5th grade)
Literacy First With Tier 2 Intervention Assistance using Highly Qualified Literacy Interventionist in addition to classroom accommodation/differentiation and Special Ed services Tier 2 intervention for reading and math struggles is provided by paraprofessionals directed by classroom teachers and Special Ed services. Literacy Interventionists are not part of the staffing plan.
Singapore Math with fact Math Mastery supplementation Saxon, Envision, and Prentiss Hall Math
Startup School Established Culture
Character Formation Project Core Knowledge Version Peterson and Seligman Character Strengths and Virtues and VIA Character
Focus on Lifelong Love of Learning

An academically rigorous but nurturing environment

Excellence With Honor
Entry Level Computer Programming for enhanced logic instruction starting in elementary, Latin is not offered. Latin starts in 6th grade, and computer programming is offered beginning in middle school.
Collaborative Teams to ensure fidelity to the curriculum Administrative Directors of Instruction to ensure compliance with Charlotte Mason theme and other curriculum direction
Skill Level Grouping includes moving to higher grade classes for gifted children, for Math and Literacy, to let kids learn at their highest level Classroom grouping only doesn’t move children to higher grades for Math or Literacy
Core Knowledge Language Arts Spalding
Single Campus K-12 if at all possible Multiple campuses feeding larger high school
Offering Sports Programs and Club Activities Complete sport programs
Serving southern Academy District 20 (targeting mainly south of Briargate Parkway) Serving mainly northern Academy District 20, with the heaviest presence in the Northgate area
The Kindergarten cutoff of 8/15 follows Academy District 20 and the Colorado Department of Education and offers Full Day Kindergarten Kindergarten cutoff of 6/1. No Full Day Kindergarten option.