A first is happening just outside of Dexter at the Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy
The Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy is a newer school option in the community that has the mission to provide a classical education in an Orthodox Christian environment.
Located at 9900 Jackson Road in Lima Township, just outside of Dexter, the Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy is in its second year of a blended program for school-aged kids. It’s looking to soon become fully in-person. To learn more about this unique learning option, the Sun Times News connected with Father Gregory Joyce of St. Vladimir Orthodox Church where the school is located.
In answering the question, why did the church set out to establish a school, Fr. Joyce said, “Our parish started a school for several reasons.”
“The first - our parents asked us to. We have a lot of young families in our parish and they are keenly interested in the education of their children.”
“The second - the secular humanist takeover of the public school system and the indoctrination of the pupils into this secular humanist worldview, which we see as contrary to the Christian worldview.”
“The third - although a good number of our parish families home school their children, this is not possible or preferable for everyone.”
“The fourth - there is no Orthodox Christian parochial school in Michigan, and we hope that ours will be the first of very many. In this vein, we have already been contacted by several parishes in Michigan about our experience in hopes of beginning their own parish school.”
Fr. Joyce said they “are in our second year of a blended program, some days meeting in person and some days being on line at home.”
“God willing our new multi-purpose building at St. Vladimir’s will be completed by May,” he said. “This building contains classrooms which Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy will utilize to add a fully in-person option beginning in the Fall of 2024, in addition to our on-line and microschooling options in support of homeschoolers. We also offer a weekly catechism for preschoolers.”
He said the school is for everyone and all are welcome to apply.
“We believe that Classical Education is the best pedagogical approach for the vast majority of children, in that it teaches students how to think logically and to communicate their thoughts effectively and persuasively to others,” said Fr. Joyce. “Ultimately, this type of educational system strives to develop students' wisdom and virtue, in Christ, in a way that is developmentally-appropriate (and entirely achievable) for children of every age group.”
In describing who they are, he said, “Our school is a Classical Academy, but it is also imbued with Orthodox Christianity. Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of everything we do. We are humbly unapologetic in this regard. Christ-centered Classical Education is our goal, and it is important for those who consider our parish school to understand this.”
Asking him what the community should know, Fr. Joyce said, “Parents will be informed of and consulted about everything that happens in the life of their child in our school. Our school is a community - not a top down indoctrination where ‘experts’ keep parents in the dark. Students will never hear words along the lines of ‘… don’t tell your parents …’ or ‘… we won’t tell your parents …’ in our school - ever. We will partner closely with parents, understanding they know what is best for their child.”
And finally, he said they offer small class sizes, which allow all students to receive adequate instructional attention to thrive academically.
For those interested, enrollment for fall 2024 is now open. To learn more please visit: https://www.a2oca.org