Order in Service to Joy

Bona Verba from the Headmaster

At Cincinnati Classical Academy, the core philosophy that “order is in service to joy” guides our educational approach and commitment to nurturing an environment where students can flourish. CLASSICAL recognizes that providing structure and consistency is essential for enabling students to engage in learning with enthusiasm, creativity, and a true sense of joy.

In the realm of classical education, order is not merely a means to an end, but a fundamental principle that permeates every aspect of the learning experience. It is rooted in the ancient Greek concept of kosmos, which denotes a harmonious, well-ordered universe. Just as the celestial spheres move in perfect harmony, so too should the classroom be a microcosm of order and balance.

At CLASSICAL, this order manifests in myriad ways. The curriculum itself is carefully structured. In early grades, students acquire the building blocks of knowledge, memorizing facts, dates, and vocabulary, often through chorale response and in song. This foundational order is essential, for it provides the raw materials that will be shaped and refined in the later years.

As students progress, they begin to organize and analyze the knowledge they have acquired. They learn to construct arguments, to identify fallacies, and to think critically about the world around them. Here, the order of the classroom becomes a crucible for intellectual growth, as students engage in rigorous debates and discussions, always led by the wisdom of the teacher.

As our students move into the upper school experience of grades 7-12, they learn to express themselves with clarity, eloquence, and persuasive power. They take the ordered knowledge they have acquired and the logical skills they have honed, and they use them to craft compelling arguments and beautiful prose. Here, the joy of learning reaches its apex, as students experience the deep satisfaction of mastering a subject and communicating their understanding to others.

But the order of the classical classroom extends beyond the curriculum itself. It is reflected in the very atmosphere of the school, in the reverent hush of the library, the measured tread of students moving between classes, the gentle murmur of intellectual discourse. It is present in the respectful relationships between teachers and students, in the care and attention given to every detail of the learning environment.

This order, however, is not a rigid, inflexible thing. It is, rather, a dynamic equilibrium, a delicate balance between structure and freedom, between discipline and creativity. Within the ordered framework of the classical classroom, students are encouraged to explore, to question, to wonder. They are given the tools and the guidance they need to embark on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery.

And it is here, in this space of ordered freedom, that true joy emerges. It is the joy of a mind awakened to the richness and complexity of the world, the joy of a heart stirred by the beauty and tragedy of the human condition. It is the joy of a soul that has found its place in the grand scheme of history and culture, that has learned to love what is good, true, and beautiful.

At Cincinnati Classical Academy, this joy is not a fleeting, ephemeral thing—like shouting from a rooftop. It is, rather, the enduring fruit of a classical education, a joy that will sustain and nourish students throughout their lives. And it is a joy that is made possible by the order and structure of the classroom, by the careful cultivation of minds and hearts in an environment of disciplined excellence.

In a world that often seems chaotic and disordered, Cincinnati Classical Academy stands as a beacon of clarity and purpose. Its commitment to order in service to joy is a reminder of the enduring value of a classical education, of the transformative power of learning in a structured and supportive environment. And for the students who are fortunate enough to experience this education, it is a gift that will enrich and enlighten them for years to come.

Torches Up!
Mr. Michael Rose

Michael Rose - Headmaster

Mr. Michael Rose

Meet the Headmaster

Mr. Rose has taught various courses at Brown University, Cincinnati Moeller, and The Summit Country Day School. As a part of his degree work in education, Mr. Rose’s research interests included the Great Books curriculum, the Paideia teaching method, and the “effects of emerging digital technology on student reading, writing, and researching.” Read More