TOLEDO, Ohio — Northwest Ohio Classical Academy (NOCA) is enrolling students right now. It’s the Toledo area’s newest charter school.
Board member Janet Ragan said if there was a word to describe it to make it easier for people to understand, that word would be traditional.
“It strives for excellence in academics and excellence in helping to form students to be virtuous citizens and thoughtful leaders," said Ragan.
The school has been in the works for about four years.
“The nice thing about charter schools or community schools is that they're grassroots,” Principal Phillip Schwenk said. “So the only significant attribution I can give it is that there’s families here that care a lot about this type of work and they care about their kids in these types of environments.”
Matthew Dietrich, a father who has enrolled his children, is one that feels that way.
“All parents, regardless of where you live, want their children to have the best education that they can have," he said. “And we feel that the classical model is that way.”
The Dietrichs were introduced to classical education in Texas years ago.
They're excited to have the option back.
“What we noticed the difference between classical schools and more traditional schools was the emphasis classical schools have on the dignity of the person of the student,” Michaela Dietrich said. “The character development that classical schools really strive to instill in the students.”
Demand for charter schools is way up according to publiccharters.org.
Enrollment across the country has been on the rise for the past several years, but enrollment in Ohio and Michigan experienced a slight dip in the 2017-2018 year.
NOCA has about 160 students enrolled so far. It's beginning as a K-8 school this Fall, but the plan is to eventually offer 9th-12th grade as well.
As a charter school, it is tuition free. Publicly funded, charter schools are open to anyone but are run independently.
“We read classical literature, we study history through various sources and original documents,” Ragan said. “We have a mathematics program- we use Singapore Math-which is one of the highest rated Math programs in the world.”
NOCA is an affiliate of the Barney Charter School Initiative of Hillsdale College-located about 70 miles northwest of Toledo. The mission- content rich classical curriculum producing thoughtful leaders and virtuous citizens.
“I think classical education is offering something that historically we've understood, that increasingly we're moving away from,” Schwenk said. “I think increasingly we're defining human beings as what you do and that’s who you are. And I think classical education sees you for who you are and that you have purpose. And there’s something beyond than what you do as a career.”
You can learn more or enroll, here.