The founding board of Pinnacle Classical Academy realized that for a school to be successful, there had to be a clear philosophy of education. The board had to define clear goals, a clear path, and clear expectations, and then take the necessary steps to accomplish them.
In its charter application to the North Carolina State Board of Education, Pinnacle Classical Academy’s founding board of directors stated that in addition to drawing on the Core Knowledge Foundation’s K-8 sequence, “classroom curriculum and instruction will be based on Dorothy Sayers’s The Lost Tools of Learning and the classical education model.”
The founding board added:
Using Dorothy Sayers’ The Lost Tools of Learning as a guide, the classical education program allows students to grow and refine their knowledge by focusing on developing their ability to use logic to reason and to infer. Students then progress to use these skills to communicate their thoughts in a reasonable and effective manner.
Drawing on Leonard Peikoff’s Teaching Johnny to Think, Pinnacle Classical Academy’s board of directors also adopted a “Beyond the Mission” statement to make clear the school’s educational philosophy:
Pinnacle Classical Academy offers more than an exemplary college preparatory education. PCA embodies a philosophy, a passion and a strongly held belief that the purpose of education is to teach a student to live by developing the mind to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He must be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past, and equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.
In addition to Sayers and Peikoff, Pinnacle Classical Academy looks to Aristotle, who influenced them both with his commitment to reason and the life of the mind. The school’s values are ultimately derived from Aristotle’s Ethics, and the school’s outdoor Lyceum recalls Aristotle’s own school in Athens.
The focus of PCA is to offer a comprehensive academic agenda utilizing educational programs and teaching methods for which there is data available that indicates evidence of success. Among the concentrations and programs to be utilized are the following:
A content-rich learning experience for all students.
To assist students in developing their critical thinking and logic skills.
A heavy emphasis on the courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to prepare students for the future workplace.
Courses in all areas of the arts/music and an emphasis on all students experiencing the enrichment to their lives through the arts.
Integrity and service to others will be an overlay in the total school program.
Critical thinking skills in all content areas to produce globally competitive students.
Beginning in the junior year, students have the opportunity to be part of a program that culminates in an Associate in Science degree from Cleveland Community College (74 credit hours). In addition, students will be able to select AP courses that allow them to potentially earn college credit beyond that awarded through the Associate in Science degree. (Acceptable test scores are required for admittance into this program.)
Parent involvement in the school will be an expectation, and various opportunities will be afforded for parents on a regular basis.
Professional opportunities for faculty will be ongoing to give teachers every opportunity to possess the tools they need to be effective classroom teachers.