Concordia University is giving a new meaning to undergrad.
On Monday, university officials announced they will open a small Lutheran high school rooted in classical education on Concordia's Seward campus this fall.
Trinity Academy will be a so-called microschool — a private, intentionally small school — and will cap enrollment at less than 50 students, according to a news release.
The school will offer a Christ-centered curriculum based on the classical liberal arts tradition "inspired by centuries-old, time-tested practices in education," the university said.
"Like many microschools, it will serve families who seek a small-yet-vibrant school community focused on a content-rich curriculum of Christian education," the release states.
Officials say the school is not meant to compete with other high schools such as Seward High School or Lincoln Lutheran High School, but offer a distinct educational model that highlights "how humanities, math and sciences have a common meeting point within a Christian worldview."
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The academy will function separately from Concordia's education college and Concordia students will have the chance to observe classes, which will run on a typical five-day school week. An eight-member advisory board will oversee the school.
"After years of studying different models of education throughout the United States and other parts of the world, I've come to believe that there is no one perfect approach to education, but that a thriving education ecosystem is one that offers a wide array of options, models and approaches," Concordia President Bernard Bull said in a statement.
Microschools are essentially small learning pods of students whose parents have opted for home school, said David Jespersen, a spokesperson for the Nebraska Department of Education.
Many popped up during the pandemic, but Jespersen doesn't know of a case of a college or university in the state opening its own.
"I haven't heard of a college saying, 'We're going to run a high school,'" Jespersen said.
Microschools are not accredited by the state and carry the same "exempt" status as a single-family home school. That means they cannot hand out diplomas, although colleges often accept exempt students using other benchmarks, such as college-entrance exams, Jespersen said.
Trinity Academy is pursuing accreditation from the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education and the National Lutheran School association, rather than state accreditation, a spokesperson said.
The school is in the process of hiring two full-time teachers and part-time staff will be added as necessary. As an exempt school, teachers are not required to be certified, although they may be.
"The initial hires will be highly credentialed and experienced Lutheran teachers," the spokesperson said.
Classical liberal arts education has also increasingly gained traction in recent years, promising a time-tested curriculum that emphasizes learning from primary texts, an appreciation of the arts and study of classical languages such as Latin and Greek.
The Catholic Diocese of Lincoln implemented a classical curriculum at St. Teresa Catholic School this school year following a pilot program, with plans to possibly expand it to other diocesan classrooms.
Trinity Academy is primarily recruiting for grades 9-10 in its first year. Families interested in grades 11-12 for the first year are asked to contact email@example.com to inquire about arrangements.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-473-7225. On Twitter @HammackLJS