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“A society that wishes to be both ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, wants what never was, and never will be.” - Thomas Jefferson


Building upon the foundation of the Core Knowledge Sequence, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy partners with families to educate students in grades K-12 in the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, thus graduating thoughtful, articulate young adults who are prepared for college and for a lifetime of citizenship and active intellectual inquiry.
Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy is a public, college-preparatory charter school in Rutherford County, North Carolina, founded in 1999 and based on the classical curriculum. The classical model of education is the key to the school’s identity. The classical approach to education makes maximum use of the different developmental stages through which children and young adults progress. TJCA’s charter and the essay on which it is based (the late Dorothy Sayers’s "Lost Tools of Learning") emphasize that the trivium is foundational both for further studies and for post-collegiate life. For these reasons, TJCA requires all students to take two years of Latin (with an emphasis on grammar), one year of logic, and one year of rhetoric, culminating in a senior rhetoric thesis. Sayers emphasizes that grammar, logic, and rhetoric are stages of learning as well as foundational disciplines. During the grammar stage of learning (kindergarten through early adolescence), teachers provide a rigorous grounding in the "grammar" (or basics) of English, history, mathematics, science, art, and music by using the Core Knowledge Sequence developed by E. D. Hirsch. In accord with Sayers's essay, teachers emphasize observation, memorization, and recitation during the grammar stage. During the dialectic or logic stage (early adolescence), Socratic questioning, logical argumentation, and discursive reasoning come to the fore. Later, during the rhetoric stage (later adolescence), teachers emphasize public speaking, presentations, and a synthesis of the knowledge gained in the various disciplines. Thus, TJCA's curriculum is a unified whole in which the grammar stage prepares students for the logic stage, which in turn prepares students for the rhetoric stage, thus preparing graduates for a lifetime of active intellectual inquiry and citizenship.
TJCA is a proud member of the
Alma Mater
Thomas Jefferson, our Alma Mater,
Our noble guide, the beacon of our youth:
In your footsteps we gladly follow,
For in your hands you hold the torch of truth.
Thomas Jefferson, we’ll always love you,
And we’ll always love your burgundy and gold,
For we take with us your gift of knowledge,
And face the future courageous and bold.