A goal of education is to learn to love that which is worth loving. – John Hodges
 
Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Staff:
 
A parent once said to me, “I really like the school culture you all are creating at Founders – I’m not actually sure if the phrase included “you all,” “y’all,”or “yall.”  This statement got me to thinking about the culture we have at FCA, and the culture that is forming… 
What is the actual culture at Founders Classical Academy?  Before answering that question, perhaps a definition of school culture is in order.  A school culture describes the shared principles, virtues, relationships, practices, and traditions that characterize a school.  A school culture should be rooted in goodness, truth, and beauty, and specifically in the school mission and the spirit of our nation.  On this last point, a school is in some ways a microcosm of our nation, and a model of self-government. 
My hope is that as a result of the parent meetings we have held, the school messages and publications that have been circulated, and the experiences you have had with your students and their teachers, you can see and understand the type of culture we are striving for at Founders.  Our efforts are aimed at a culture of teaching and learning, a culture of high academic, civic, and moral standards, and a culture built on strong relationships. Since the majority of messages I send pertain to academics and the pursuit of virtue, I thought I would say just a little something about school culture in the context of practices and traditions relating to esprit de corps, or common school spirit. 
Human beings create and maintain important practices and traditions. They are also influenced greatly by symbols.  Just look at how much religious or patriotic practices, traditions, and rich symbols touch our lives throughout the year.  Additionally, in a place like Texas, many people become energized and are positively impacted by athletic traditions and symbols.  As a matter of fact, while at a Texas Rangers game yesterday, I, along with thousands of other fans, stood at attention and sang along, with hats off and hands over hearts, as a member of the armed forces sang God Bless America during what is known in baseball as the seventh inning stretch.  
Here at school we also have daily practices and symbols that help build school culture; some relate to academics, some relate to discipline and school order, and still others relate to extra-curricular activities. The practices and traditions in the latter category are the newest in the sense that while we have had extra-curricular academic clubs, athletics, and performance groups from the start, these offerings have increased in number and have become enriched with each passing year. 
As you know, we are in the midst of our first “Spirit Week.”  Practices and traditions surrounding Spirit Week and Homecoming have been started this fall that may last generations.  These type of activities help build in students affections for school that can greatly enrich their overall experiences.  My hope is that during these times school spirit will grow, and as a result, our students, parents, faculty and staff will develop greater love for, and deeper appreciation of, our school mission and the benefits of a classical education. 
We are only in our third year at FCA; we’ve accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time. With esprit de corps in mind, thank you in advance for your support of Spirit Week and for the other activities listed below, and for your general support of Founders Classical Academy as we continue to form our classical school culture. 
 
 
Reminders and Announcements:
 
Spirit Week: Please mark your calendar for the remainder of our Spirit Week events. 
        TuesdayTeacher Day, students dress like teachers
        WednesdayAmerica Day, students wear patriotic dress with regular school bottoms
        ThursdaySpirit Day, students wear blue jeans and spirit wear shirts, or homecoming t-shirts
        ThursdayPep rallies for grammar and upper school
        Thursday Homecoming Football Game, 7 p.m. at the field at Carrollton Christian Academy
        Friday Class Color Day, students were shirts representing class colors, students were regular school bottoms
        Friday and Saturday EveningsMiddle School Social and High School Homecoming Dance
*Note that students will not have homework on the night of our homecoming football game, nor any tests on Friday…
Scholastic Book Fair: The book fair continues today through Thursday, October 2nd, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  in the Grammar School Library.  You can also make purchases online through October 5th at http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/foundersclassicalacademy.
Donuts with Dad, a special event associated with the book fair, will be held Wednesday, October 1st, from 7:15 a.m. – 8:15 a.m., in the Grammar School cafeteria just before Hot Chocolate with the Headmaster.
 
Hot Chocolate with the Headmaster:  The topic for Wednesday morning, October 1st, is homework and studying.  HCWHM will begin at 8:15 a.m. in the grammar school cafeteria (next door to the grammar school office building) right after Donuts with Dad.  Reminder: These meetings are not meant for Q & A on a variety of school questions, nor for questions about a particular child.  Presentation and discussion will pertain to the topic at hand. 
 
McTeacher Night: Thursday, October 2nd, from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. our first grade teachers, Ms. Reed, Mrs. Kaszynski, and Mrs. Lopez, will be at McDonald’s on 121 W. FM 407 in Lewisville. Mention FCA in the drive-thru lane or put your receipt in the FCA box in the restaurant and our first grade teachers will receive 25% of all purchases. After your meal, head to the homecoming football game and cheer our Eagles to victory.
FCA PTO: A message from the officers: Thanks to all the families who joined PTO and signed up for the school directory. Directories will be delivered once the printing is complete.  If you ordered a water bottle, they will be sent home with your child next week.
Want to help? Visit http://fcapto.com for details on upcoming events and activities where volunteers are needed. Afraid you might miss something? Click on the “follow” button to the left of the FCAPTO home page to be added to our email list. When we update our site, you will be notified via email of the new information. You may also “like” us on Facebook at https://facebook.com/fcapto.
Around the Corner: School photos will be taken on October 7th for students in grades K-6, and photos will be taken on October 8th for students in grades 7-12.  Columbus Day is October 13th, school will not be in session.  October 17th is an early release day for students (Noon release for Grammar and 12:15 p.m. release for Upper); teachers will participate in professional development in the afternoon.            
Online School Calendar:  Keep up with Founders activities at http://foundersclassical.com/calendar/
  
Kind Regards,
 
Jason Caros
Headmaster, Founders Classical Academy
469-464-3415 (grammar school)
972-219-2370 (upper school)

“A pupil from whom nothing is ever demanded which he cannot do, never does all he can.” – John Stuart Mill
Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Staff:
 
Where do we go from here?  At the first Hot Chocolate with the Headmaster meeting a few weeks back, I discussed our K-8 curriculum which is anchored in Core Knowledge (CK) and enhanced by Greek and Latin roots, additional classical literature, Singapore Math, etc.  In a nutshell, our K-8 curriculum is knowledge-rich and it effectively builds in students what one might call the grammar of each subject; it prepares students for more advanced studies in later grades.  CK provides a systematic course sequence built upon the following ideas: 1) learning is built upon previous learning, 2) reading comprehension and overall academic success are dependent upon solid academic background knowledge, 3) there is a common body of knowledge all citizens should learn, i.e. cultural literacy, and 4) students must be better prepared to become more informed and responsible citizens of our republic.  If our K-8 curriculum does all of this, how and for what purpose does our high school curriculum prepare students? 
 
Everything I described in the four points above continues at the high school level but in more complex ways; for example, students continue building upon the knowledge learned in previous grades, but they dig deeper.  There is also a shift in focus from mostly building the grammar of various subjects to an emphasis on logic, and ultimately training students in the art of rhetoric.  Rhetoric, perched upon accumulated knowledge and systematic/rationale thought, refers to the ability to use all possible means to convince others of the truthfulness of one’s claims (oral or written).  Our vision is to see wiser and more eloquent young men and women go forth from Founders Classical Academy.
 
After a broad experience in grades K-8, students in high school experience a curriculum more focused on the Western Tradition – our cultural, intellectual, and spiritual roots – and they are challenged to come up with answers to weighty questions such as “what does it mean to be human,” “how does the world work,” and “what is my place in it?”  Students are given the tools of learning necessary to discover, appreciate, and defend truth, beauty, and goodness.  In short, each student receives a liberal education that prepares him or her to live a good life in a free society. 
 
If you are saying to yourself, “Mr. Caros, all this sounds well and good but what about graduation requirements, and how about college?  Will our children be well prepared?”,  then I say to you, they will be very well prepared.  College and career readiness, two buzzwords in 21st century education, serve in the classical understanding of things, as by-products of a good education, not first things.  In other words, if one receives a classical education he or she will be more than prepared for college and work.  In fact, even though our classical school is designed for bigger purposes than making successful college students, it ends up, naturally, serving as the ultimate college prep.  
High school students at Founders are, in many instances, already engaged in college-level activities.  As previously mentioned, each student that experiences a classical education receives a “knowledge-rich” education, learns how to think systematically and rationally, contemplates weighty topics, develops the ability to express himself articulately, and learns to use tools he needs for academic success (e.g. annotating during reading, taking effective notes, asking the right questions, organizing time well, etc.).  These things all lead to success in college and beyond.
 
How does a good classical education help students gain admittance into good colleges?  College admissions officers like to know potential college students can handle demanding college coursework.  Well, the entire curriculum at Founders is rigorous.  When admissions officers see course names on high school transcripts such as Western Civilization, Latin, Logic, Rhetoric, Advanced Placement Biology, Greco-Roman Literature, Moral Philosophy, Calculus, etc., they will take notice (for a list of courses our students take in high school, including Advanced Placement courses, read pages 6 and 11 in our school handbook).  Admissions officers also like to see a well-rounded student profile. All our students will experience rich art, chorus, drama, philosophy, and other courses.  In addition, students at Founders have a good variety of extra-curricular academic, athletic, fine arts performance, and service activities from which to choose.  One more really nice thing about our curriculum is that it enables students to earn more distinctions than normal in Texas’ new Foundation graduation plans. 
 
Texas’ new graduation plans allow students to graduate with one of three levels of diplomas – a Basic Foundation Diploma, a Foundation Diploma with Endorsements, or a Distinguished Achievement Diploma with Endorsements.  With regard to the two diploma options that include endorsements, students around the state can graduate with one or more of the following five endorsements: Arts & Humanities, Business & Industry, Multi-Disciplinary Studies, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  Most students in Texas that earn diplomas will most likely graduate with one endorsement due to the nature of today’s high school curricula.  At Founders, the great majority of our high school students that experience our curriculum from the start will be able to earn Distinguished Diplomas with three endorsements.  Yes, three endorsements.  They include: Arts & Humanities, Multi-Disciplinary Studies, and STEM (for math and soon science) endorsements. 
 
While there are factors outside of school that play into college admissions including civic life, faith-based activity, etc., the main ingredients to college preparation are more than accounted for by a classical education.  
 
 
Reminders and Announcements:
 
Progress Reports:Progress Reports will be sent home by this Friday, 9/26, for students with grades of “C-” or lower in given subjects. 
Spirit Week: Please mark your calendar for FCA’s first ever Spirit Week.  It will take place during the week of September 29th through October 4th.  Each day of the week, students in grades K-12 will be able to dress according to a theme of the day, there will be in-school grammar and upper school pep rallies, our first Homecoming Football Game will be played on Thursday, October 2nd at 7 p.m. at the Carrollton Christian Academy football stadium, and a middle school social will be held on Friday, October 3rd and a high school homecoming dance will take place on Saturday, October 4th.   Stay tuned for a detailed schedule of Spirit Week events.  Note that students will not have homework on the night of our homecoming football game…
 
See You at the Pole: See you at the pole is a student-initiated and student-led national/international prayer event.  I understand some Founders students, faculty, and staff will be gathering at the flagpole near the grammar school Wednesday morning before school. 
 
Hot Chocolate with the Headmaster:  Last week’s HCWH discussion centered around our high school curriculum, graduation requirements, and college preparation (the talk is summarized above).  The topic for next Wednesday morning, October 1st, is homework and studying.  It will begin at 8:15 a.m. in the grammar school cafeteria (next door to the grammar school office building) right after Donuts with Dads.  Reminder: These meetings are not meant for Q & A on a variety of school questions, nor for questions about a particular child.  Presentation and discussion will pertain to the topic at hand. 
 
Online School Calendar:  Keep up with Founders activities at http://foundersclassical.com/calendar/
  
Kind Regards,
 
Jason Caros
Headmaster, Founders Classical Academy
469-464-3415 (grammar school)
972-219-2370 (upper school)

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson
 
Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Staff:
 
Within a period of a week we will have participated in two civic remembrances/commemorations.  The first was Patriot Day on September 11th.  Are you familiar with the second?    If not, it is “Constitution Day.”  Constitution Day commemorates the creation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, by the visionary delegates to the constitutional convention held in Philadelphia.  I referred to the framers of The Constitution as visionary because they gave us a framework for government that is good, true, and in its own way, beautiful.  Beyond those classical descriptors, I can say that The U.S. Constitution, and The Declaration of Independence that preceded it, are among the most influential documents in the history of the world, and among the most enduring. 
In 1956, and again in 2005, the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate passed acts designating this week as Constitution Week and September 17th of each year as Constitution Day. The observance is meant to encourage us to learn more about the Constitution – schools and government offices are to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding on the Constitution. 
 
Here at Founders we are happy to promote The U.S. Constitution on the 17th, but promoting The Constitution and the principles expressed in our Declaration of Independence, are part and parcel of what we are all about.  Teachers will emphasize the Constitution tomorrow, but teachers will also instruct about it in more in-depth ways during the course of their lessons in history during the school year. 
 
If you are interested in a refresher on The Constitution, U.S. History, or the principles of our free market economy, I encourage you to sign up for one or more of Hillsdale College’s free online courses:  https://online.hillsdale.edu/constitution101/info.
 
Reminders and Announcements:
 
Reminders and Announcements:
 
Hot Chocolate with the Headmaster:  HCWH will take place this Wednesday morning, September 17th, at 8:10 a.m. in the grammar school cafeteria (next door to the grammar school office building).  The talk will pertain to our high school curriculum: how it complements our Core Knowledge curriculum, for what it prepares students, how it coincides with Texas’ new graduation requirements, endorsements and distinctions, and how a student is prepared for college as a result of receiving an education at Founders.  Reminder: These meetings are not meant for Q & A on a variety of school questions, nor for questions about a particular child.  Presentation and discussion will pertain to the topic at hand.  For parents unable to make these sessions, notes will be posted to our web site. 
 
8th Grade Washington D.C. Trip Meeting:  A parent/student meeting will take place Wednesday, September 17th, at 6:30 p.m. in the upper school building.  Enter through the front door, walk into the hallway on the ground floor, turn to the right and enter into the first classroom on the right.  If your child is already registered for this trip you do not have to attend the meeting. 
 
Early Release Day: Friday is an early release day. Grammar students will be released at 12:00 p.m., and upper school students at 12:15 p.m.  There will be no after school care.  Faculty and staff will participate in professional development from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students): This Friday, September 19th,from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. FCA’sWatch D.O.G.S will be having the 2nd annual ‘Dads and Kids’ Pizza Night at our school.  The meeting will be held in the school gym at 6:30 p.m. for FREE pizza and drinks.  At 7:00 p.m.a presentation will be madeabout our WATCH D.O.G.S.® (Dads Of Great Students) ProgramWATCH D.O.G.S.® is an innovative program being used by schools across America which helps them to be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their students lives.  Our goal is to have you spend at least one day this year at the school to be a positive male role model and to provide an extra set of eyes and ears.  To contact the program coordinator, e-mail Mr. David Jemison at founderswatchdogs@gmail.com. 
 
Picking Up Grammar School Students: When entering the school parking lot after 2:45 p.m., please use the entrance near the Upper School building to enter the Grammar School lot.  We have been and will continue to close the grammar entrance at 2:45 p.m. in order to reduce traffic congestion and to keep the area safe during carline.  Thank you for your help and understanding.
 
Students on Campus After School:  Unless your student is on campus for after school care, scheduled tutoring, or school related extra-curricular activities, he or she must be picked up by 4:00 p.m.  Students are not allowed to remain in school buildings after 4:00, and should not remain on campus unsupervised.
 
Campus Handbook Review – Student Dress Code:  Please review the school dress code beneath the electronic signature.  I have included a small portion of it here, as our faculty have noted a good number of skirts or skorts that are not meeting length requirements.  Please be advised that students will receive demerits when out of dress code.  Thank you in advance for helping us maintain our school policies and promoting modesty in dress:  Skirts and skorts must be worn at the waist; hem may be no higher than 3 inches above the knee.  Privacy shorts or briefs must be worn with skirts. School shorts must be worn with a solid color brown or black belt.  Shorts should go to just above the knee but not below, and should not be excessively tight or loose fitting. Shorts should be worn at the waist, and no boxers or undergarments may be visible – including at athletic practices and games. Once again, the entire dress code policy appears below. 
 
Substitute Teachers: FCA is looking for qualified substitutes familiar with classical education.  If you are interested, or know of qualified individuals that would like to serve, please contact Mrs. Thomas, cathomas@responsiveed.com, or Mrs. Wallace, cwallace@responsiveed.com, in our offices.
 
Extra-Curricular Activities: Congratulations to our volleyball and cross country teams on the victories last week.  Parents, be on the lookout for a notice about the start of school clubs and performance groups.  It should be mailed out by the end of this week.  
 
Online School Calendar:  Keep up with Founders activities at http://foundersclassical.com/calendar/
  
Kind Regards,
 
Jason Caros
Headmaster, Founders Classical Academy
469-464-3415