Aristoi Classical Academy
Aristoi Classical Academy, is a K-12 school in Katy, Texas. The school opened in 1996 as West Houston Charter School, with an emphasis on fine arts. In 2006, the student population declined, and there were many unfilled seats. After careful deliberation, the school’s board of directors voted to transition to a classical school model, an educational option previously available only in area private schools. Enrollment began to increase immediately with the new focus as many began to see the value of securing a free classical education.
Aristoi Classical Academy in Katy, Texas is a second generation public charter school in its 20th year of operations. The school opened in 1996 as West Houston Charter School, with an emphasis on fine arts. In 2006, there were many unfilled seats. After careful deliberation, the school’s board of directors voted to transition to a classical school model, an educational option previously available only in area private schools. Enrollment began to increase immediately with the new focus as families began to see the value of securing a free classical education.
“Aristoi” is a Greek term referring to nobility. The school’s mission is to provide students with an academically challenging Classical Liberal Arts education that encourages them to develop a passion for learning that gives them the means to become responsible citizens of virtuous character. ACA uses “the trivium” to organize the stages of learning based on a child’s natural stages of intellectual development. The grammar stage (K-4 th grades) provides a thorough foundation in phonics, spelling, grammar, literature, vocabulary history, biology, and basic mathematics. The logic stage (5th -8 th grades) focuses on higher mathematics and the application of logic to all subjects (e.g., paragraph construction, thesis writing, textual analyses, the scientific method, and historical questions.) In addition, beginning skills in logical argument and debate are fostered in this stage. In the rhetoric stage (9th -12th grades), students learn to write at a collegiate level, speak eloquently, and defend original ideas. Public speaking becomes second nature. Seniors present and defend a thesis prior to graduation.
This open enrollment charter school has become enormously popular in the Katy community. Once permission to add a high school was granted by the state, 9 th grade was added in 2014, with a new grade level added each subsequent year. The 2016-17 school year opened with 761 students in grades K-11 and a waiting list totaling 258. In 2018, ACA celebrated its first graduating class. The increase in enrollment is a testimony to the success of the rigorous classical education model. ACA students scored impressively on the 2016 STAAR test. In high school, for example, 100% of ACA students earned Level II (satisfactory) scores for English I, compared to 62% statewide. Similarly, ACA scores for Algebra 1, Biology, and English II were 93%, 95%, and 90%, respectively, compared to statewide scores of 68%, 49%, and 63%. The school has outgrown its small campus in historic Katy and had to lease additional space to serve the growing student body. Therefore, 22.16 acres of land was purchased at Morton Road (Katy) to build a K-12 campus. The first phase included a multipurpose facility with a gymnasium, stage, offices, restrooms, locker rooms, an adjacent kitchen and service area, and three modular buildings with space for twelve classrooms each. An athletic field on the northeast corner of the property will be used for sports and physical education programs. Limitations of charter school funding create financial challenges that traditional public schools do not face. For example, charter schools receive less funding per student as they are ineligible for local tax revenue, and they receive zero funding for facilities. Thus, ACA must rely on philanthropic support in its ambitious efforts to provide children in Katy and West Houston with an excellent classical education and suitable learning environment.
Aristoi Classical Academy has two campuses. Aristoi's Main Campus (5618 Eleventh St.) houses the school's district offices and elementary grades, Kindergarten through 4th Grade. The newly built Morton Road Campus (5610 Morton Rd.) houses 5th through 12th Grades.
Aristoi Classical Academy uses a classical curriculum.
Classical education traces its roots to ancient Greece and Rome, the civilizations that first systematically explored the meaning of human existence. The literature, poetry, philosophy, and political experience of those ancient cultures serve as the foundation of Western civilization and form the basis of classical education. Classical education recognizes the experiences of historical peoples and societies as a rich source of wisdom for the present.
With the exception of Latin, much of the scope and sequence cited below is taken from the Core Knowledge® Sequence (not to be confused with “Common Core” standards prohibited in Texas schools), which compments classical education. As a public charter school, Aristoi also teaches all subjects and topics required by the Sta of Texas. The summary below is only a portion of what is taught at every grade level. For example, whereas all public schools are required to offer basic “social studies,” ACA offers that as required, plus a greatly enhanced history of theorld and the United States in all grades. Somtopics are covered in multiple grades. This is the classical education method of covering an important subject at the depth approate for the child’s development. Younger students learn basic facts (such as when the Civil War was fought a who fought) while older students learn comprehensive details (such as why the Civil War was fought and how it shaped America’s future
Students in grades Kinder through 5th wear red polo shirts, navy bottoms, white socks and solid-white tennis shoes. In grades 6th through 8th, students wear red polo shirts, navy bottoms, and black dress shoes. High school students wear white shirts (polo or button-down), navy or khaki bottoms, and black dress shoes. On Fridays, students may wear school-approved spirit-wear and tennis shoes. The detailed dress code policy can be found at this link: Aristoi Classical Academy - Student Dress Code