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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.

The truest measure of a school’s mission is its impact on each student. A school may accept a myriad of responsibilities for the raising and shaping of students, but its main task is to impart knowledge and skills—its mission is academic. How that happens in each student’s experience is sometimes difficult to judge, but the priorities for the major aspect of that experience at Trinity are clearly articulated.

Academics and Christian discipleship. Trinity students are expected to have their faith shaped by their studies, not apart from their studies or in spite of them.

  • The faculty are theologically informed Christians who can apply what is being learned to faith and life as the study of God’s character, creativity, grace, and sovereignty.
  • The most important relationships that students have within the school are with the faculty. As students learn and as they develop a sense of their own identities, they feel secure to question, wonder, and even doubt.
  • Students and faculty regularly discuss the importance of intellectual maturity as a key component of spiritual growth.
  • The faculty is motivated to develop relationships with students outside of the classroom through co-curricular activities.


Academic standards. By merely having academic standards to which the faculty and administration adhere, a school distinguishes itself in this day and age. Trinity combines academic standards with a challenging curriculum, which prescribes topics and a range of studies not found in many schools. There is no way around it—a Trinity education is a rigorous education. Therefore, these rigorous requirements must be managed so that they make sense in the lives of our students.

  • Purposefulness of work. Academic work in the Rhetoric School is both challenging and essential. Students are only assigned work which moves them toward the stated goals of a course and which can be adequately assessed as a measurement of progress toward those goals.
  • Graduation requirements. Students who enter the Rhetoric School with the expectation that a certain course of study will result in graduation can be confident that those requirements will not change, will remain consistent, and serve a valid purpose toward their future educational endeavors.
  • Good standing. Rhetoric School students will remain in good standing as long as they are adhering to the school’s academic policies and there is a mathematical chance that they can meet graduation requirements. Low grades or failures will result in probationary status and ineligibility for co-curricular activities.  While the ultimate goal of these measures is to help the student improve his performance, probation and ineligibility are always imposed in combination with other accountability measures designed to give struggling students and the faculty more time together to address shortcomings.
  • Work management. Major assignments and assessments are scheduled by semester, negotiated in department or general faculty meetings, and published for faculty, students, and parents. Students are given due notice of schedule adjustments, and syllabus changes are published.
  • Workload. There is no such thing as a “typical” workload at the secondary level, as measured by time. Students should not be surprised that homework may require 2-3 hours per night at times, with work on weekends. Still, workloads do ebb and flow with the academic calendar, and students are encouraged to use periods of lighter work to make progress on long-term assignments.
  • New students. While Trinity values the contribution that new students and families can make to the school community, care is taken to admit new students to the Rhetoric School in a manner that is consistent with the school’s overall academic standards. Furthermore, students seeking admission at the secondary level may be held to a higher standard than younger students regarding their academic habits and independence.
  • Academics and co-curricular activities. Every effort is made to encourage students to develop areas of interest and skill outside of the classroom. The benefits of a Trinity education extend beyond the classroom, and the faculty, coaches, and other staff work collegially to help students to participate successfully in a full range of school-related activities.

Updated August 2021