Cross Classical Academy

By Cassidy Horn

5Cross Classical Academy is a University-Model® Classical school located in Brownwood, Texas.  Although small and still fairly young in conception, the school and its unique model of education has captured the hearts of parents, educators and families from Brownwood and its surrounding communities.  While students at CCA are able to participate in timeless school activities like preparing a science fair presentation or participating in a field trip to an art exhibit, the parents of CCA students don’t have to ask the question that kids everywhere have been asked for decades, “What did you learn at school today?”

Students at Cross Classical Academy experience what mimics a traditional school setting two days a week, and are given assignments that are completed at home the other three days of the school week.   “Parents are considered co-teachers at CCA,” says Kristy Mitchell, director of marketing for the school.  Mitchell said, “the days students spend on campus, core classes such as math, grammar and language arts are taught by certified teachers. The remaining days of the week parents take the responsibility of teaching the same subjects at home.”

2789Cross Classical Academy currently offers a Pre-K through eighth grade and has almost 50 students on campus for the 2016-17 school year. CCA also has additional students, some international, who are enrolled in their e-enrollment program, a distance-learning alternative. CCA has a strong core educational program in math and language arts, and also maintains a diverse curriculum offering that consists of foreign languages such as Latin and Spanish, etiquette training, and public speaking. Students are also offered electives courses and opportunities that include music, theater, robotics and art.

CCA is a certified member of the National Association of University-Model® Schools (NAUMS), a college preparatory education program based on Christian Values. The NAUMS website states that classical education teachers believe education is much more than transmitting skills, it is about forming souls while cultivating maturity and wisdom. Cross Classical Academy is one of 29 NAUMS accredited schools in the state of Texas. Their personal mission statement states, “Cross Classical Academy partners with Christian parents to provide for their children a classical education founded upon a Biblical Worldview. This form of education encourages children to love the Lord whole-heartedly and to become Christ-like leaders in their home, churches, communities, and the world.”

The school’s history began in 2010 with a group of parents and community members who desired an alternative educational experience for students in the Brown County area. This group had a diverse background in public, traditional, private and homeschooling, but knew each option was not the desired ideal for their families. Through research they learned about the University-Model® approach to education and knew it would be the perfect alternative.

2806Stephanie Davis, CCA’s current Administrator, licensed attorney and one of its original founders, explained the school’s pilot year. “We started CCA in 2010 with three Kindergarten students in a small Sunday school room at Midtown Baptist Church in Brownwood. We quickly grew from three students in our pilot year to over 20 students the next school year.”

With that growth came the need for a new location that the school could call home. Union Presbyterian Church in Brownwood quickly stepped up to fill that need. “We were so thankful UPC had a home for us beginning our second year, because our third year we experienced another growth spurt and doubled in size to almost 40 students. We have a wonderful relationship with Union Presbyterian. Although we aren’t directly affiliated with the church (CCA is a non-denominational school), we have embraced each other and supported each other’s ministries. They have been a blessing to our school.”

Norita Hallum, a member of Union Presbyterian Church and board member of Cross Classical Academy, has been involved in CCA since it moved to its current home at UPC. Hallum, who also teaches art at CCA says, “I feel blessed because God opened a door for me to journey with CCA from its beginning. Through the years some of my most memorable moments have been teaching children at this school and sharing my love of art and faith in God with them. Being a part of CCA is belonging to a family of God who does not just talk about their faith, but they live it every day.”

8When CCA is on campus, their school day always begins with a chapel service. This service is a time of worship and learning for students, teachers, parents, and community visitors. While chapel presentations are sometimes student-led, often pastors from surrounding churches visit the school to present in chapel. Hand-in-hand these individuals form a circle around the students and pray over them before they begin the academic portion of their school day.

Administrator Davis attributes CCA’s success of the on-campus portion of their school to the diversity and experience of the teaching staff. “To be such a young school, we have been blessed by the quality of educators we have on campus. We have certified teachers teaching our core classes, some of them with over 30 years of experience in the classroom, and some with their Masters in Education. We also have specialized teachers teaching our elective courses. We are so blessed that these teachers have brought their time and talent to CCA and desire to be a part of this ministry.”

“The educational experience is a family experience at CCA,” says Kristy Mitchell. “As a co-teacher in my child’s education, CCA makes the home portion an enjoyable teaching and learning experience. The opportunity to spend time with your children on home days and watch them learn and discover is a truly fulfilling experience. Sure you question your own teaching abilities at times, but you are their parent and you know your own child’s strengths and weaknesses better than anyone.”

2798Mandi Moore, one of Cross Classical Academy’s founders and current chairman of its school board, said, “Parental involvement is considered to be one of the most important factors that ensures education success of children. Parents have a unique influence on the hearts and minds of their children, which allows them to shape their affections. Spiritual formation and academic success are two of the most important benefits that result from parents being co-teachers.” Moore also stated, “For example, homes in which the families read together, especially when the father reads aloud, statistically cultivate children who become strong, avid readers.”

When Davis was asked if she could see the impact the school is making on in their families or in the community, she immediately had an example in mind. “Over the summer an anonymous donor reached out to our school conveying that they had witnessed firsthand what a difference our school had made in the life of one of our students. As a result they believed in our mission and wanted to support our school and its ministry. They ended the conversation by conveying to me their desire to bless that student’s family by covering the student’s tuition for the upcoming school year. I will never forget the encouraging phone call I had with this individual, or the phone call I got to make to the family notifying them of the blessing that they had just received.”

Overall, Cross Classical Academy can be described as a unique educational option for Brown and surrounding counties.

However, the uniqueness, the joy, the dedication of parents, teachers and administration at CCA is hard to capture on paper. Instead, it is truly something to experience in person.

For families looking for a unique and effective way to be more involved in their children’s academic success, Cross Classical Academy offers a wonderful model of education.  For more information, visit http://www.crossclassicalacademy.com.

Photos by Riley Studio and Provided by Cross Classical Academy