A Classical Education in Hyattsville

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A private Catholic school in Hyattsville is gaining national attention for its unique curriculum.

St. Jerome Academy in downtown Hyattsville, which adheres to a “classical education” focusing on Western civilization, Latin and other fundamentals, was featured today on CNN.

The curriculum covers students from primary school up to college. Starting in kindergarten, they focus on grammar — basics such as spelling and phonics. In the fifth grade, they move on to logic, learning how to analyze and question and practicing proposing and defending a thesis. In the ninth grade, students shift to a focus on rhetoric, working on writing and speaking.

Four years ago, in an attempt to save St. Jerome from declining enrollment and financial troubles, a group of scholars, parents, homeschoolers and parishioners got together and created a 119-page document, which became the country’s first Catholic version of the classical curriculum.

The school, which opened in 1943, is now going through a renaissance, with applications up and plans to increase enrollment to as many as 300 students.

While St. Jerome appears to be the only school in the Washington, D.C. metro area to offer a classical education, according to CNN, the number of classical schools across the nation, both public and private, are growing.

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