Above all, a classical education will push and keep wide open the two doors of higher learning: numbers and words. At Thomas Jefferson (TJ), you will learn both ancient and modern languages; you will read and discuss a collection of books that are at once both timeless and timely; and you will write and face scrupulous line-editing almost every day, including while on vacations
On the other hand, you will also take an accelerated math sequence culminating in AP calculus or statistics. AP courses in science and history will also be required and will give you a head start on college. If you think you can’t do all this or if you think you have math anxiety or no imagination in reading, have faith! Practice and guidance will prepare you for pre-law or pre-med, history or computer science. We believe that you can do it, and we will help you through the hard parts. (We don’t pretend it’s not hard; we just think it’s necessary – and completely possible.)
We don’t want a previous weak and lopsided background in high school to decide which door in life you choose to open. We want you to be able to choose freely. Liberal education, after all, has as its root and end freedom – freedom of the most important kind, intellectual freedom based on a head well filled and well formed. The job market will always be looking for that, and the world will always be better off for it.
Finally, a classical education involves more than just the best books and study materials. It requires the active, patient, inspiring, demanding mentorship of well-educated adults who look for the best version of you. Plato needed Socrates, Alexander the Great Aristotle, and Thoreau Emerson. It requires a community of lively, motivated peers similarly engaged in the pursuit of the best and highest things. And it requires lofty goals to keep everyone looking up and ahead.
A classical liberal-arts approach to education is the basis for the TJ curriculum. It offers an intense and stimulating way to learn, with the emphasis on your own efforts. Class periods are short, and teachers seldom lecture; instead, you will be called on to answer questions and generate discussion. Since the typical class size is 15, and the overall student-teacher ratio is 7:1, your ideas will be heard and examined each day. During afternoon and evening study time, students have a good deal of freedom in choosing when and where to do their homework, with help readily available from faculty members. Younger students and those having academic difficulty benefit from the additional support of supervised afternoon or evening study halls.