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Classical Christian Education for TK-12th grades

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Course Guide (Rhetoric School)

An Academic Overview

For 2,500 years, education in the West has prepared students to make a difference in the world. At Trinity, our goal is to equip students for purposeful lives characterized by virtue, wisdom, purpose, and courage. The last six years of our program, the Rhetoric School, intensifies this effort in the lives of each student. Upon graduation, our students will step into the world of adult responsibility, and we want them to be ready as thoughtful, active Christians who can make the most of the educational opportunities that follow.

You can download and/or print the guide or view it live below in a mobile responsive format.

First page of the PDF file: 2021-22_Rhetoric_School_Academic_Guide
click on the sub-headings below to open up details for each section. The first section is displayed by default.

Trinity’s quality academic program requires the combination of curriculum, skilled faculty, and an intentional instructional design. Together, they determine the faculty’s perspective on teaching and learning and, ultimately, how Rhetoric School students spend the time they commit to learning.

Attitude Towards Instruction

  • Deliberate. Faculty approach their work with a clear plan, beginning with the philosophy of instruction in each discipline and extending to the assessment of student learning. While flexibility and spontaneity are desirable traits of faculty, the larger, planned curriculum structure ensures that knowledge is gained and standards are met.
  • Improvement-oriented. While objective standards are crucial to the measurement of quality, the faculty also concentrates on the progress that students make toward their individual academic potential. Students are constantly encouraged to grow toward higher levels of achievement, and faculty maintain an optimistic perspective regarding the potential of each student.
  • Participatory. Participation in the whole process of gathering and organizing information, analyzing its usefulness, and synthesizing it with other knowledge is the goal of every classroom experience. The more students and faculty collaborate in each of these activities, the more meaningful and permanent the knowledge gained.
  • Respectful of ideas. Encouraging students to realize their potential and to collaborate meaningfully in the learning process requires that the faculty respect students and their ideas. Students are viewed as necessary partners in shaping the school community and in their own education. As such, their ideas about school and learning are heard and shaped respectfully.

Essential Instructional Skills

  • Engaging lectures. One important role of faculty is to dispense information, whether strictly factual or analytical in nature. Rhetoric School faculty work hard at developing their own oratorical skills, both for the sake of helping students remain attentive and to model rhetorical skills for students.
  • Logical thinking. In addition to rhetorical excellence, Rhetoric School faculty also model logical thinking in their instruction. Faculty encourage students to think critically about the subjects they are learning, and they employ formal principles of logic in their approach to instruction and assessment.
  • Skillfully facilitated discussion. A key distinguishing characteristic of the Rhetoric School classroom environment is that it is highly conversational. Faculty and students are regularly engaged in discussion about the importance of the things being learned. Rhetoric School faculty are trained to encourage and facilitate meaningful discussion that accomplishes curricular goals and involves students in the learning process.
  • Skillful assessment. Rhetoric School faculty work hard to align assessments of student learning to curricular goals. They put as much energy into the variety and design of assessment as into the other aspects of curriculum delivery.


Curriculum Materials

  • Secondary nature. The faculty determines the objectives and instructional priorities for each course and selects curriculum materials and resources, which correspond to those goals, not the reverse.
  • Accuracy and timeliness. The faculty chooses texts and other resources for the quality of information they contain. Texts, which are well-written and well-designed for instruction, are generally preferred to texts or materials which are inferior in quality but which agree with a particular worldview or philosophical position.
  • Primary source documents. When practical, students read primary historical documents in subject areas, which are key to our classical or western identity. We believe that a firsthand familiarity with significant texts is necessary to a critical understanding of the various ways in which those texts are interpreted in the modern age.

Updated August 2021