What grade levels do ACSI schools serve?

Typically, schools open with grades K-6, then add a grade per year to become K-12 academies.

Will there be busing?

Transportation is provided within the primary attendance zone. Routes and pickup locations are developed based on student enrollment.

Is there a cost to attend an ACSI school?

No. ACSI schools are tuition-free public schools.

Founding Principles

What is an American classical education?
  1. A traditional education in the liberal arts and sciences, defined by an emphasis on the American traditions of literature, philosophy, and history.
  2. Classrooms where teachers instruct students and convey the tools of learning so that students are prepared for the pursuit of truth.
  3. Curriculum that engages students with ultimate questions of truth and beauty that define the human experience.
  4. School culture defined by a seriousness of purpose and emphasis on the development of character and preparation for civic engagement.
When ACSI uses the word "liberal," what does that mean?

The word liberal is derived from the Latin word libertas, which means freedom.  When classical educators use the phrase liberal to describe any part of the education offered within a classical school, they are referring to the education befitting the citizens of a free country.

What is the Hillsdale K-12 Program?

The Hillsdale K-12 Program (also known as the Barney Charter School Initiative) is an outreach program of Hillsdale College.  The Hillsdale Office of K-12 Education supports the establishment of American Classical Schools throughout the United States.  ACSI schools apply to become member schools within this initiative.  ACSI schools utilize the Hillsdale K-12 Program Guide (a complete K-12 scope and sequence) and faculty members receive training and support from curricular and pedagogical experts at Hillsdale College.  The services offered by Hillsdale College are provided to member schools free of charge. 

What is ACSI's and its member schools' motto?

Virtus (Virtue), Scientia (Knowledge), Felicitas (Happiness)

What is the school pledge?

I will learn the true.

I will do the good.

I will love the beautiful.

Why is moral virtue important?

Aristotle wrote about virtue in Nicomachean Ethics (around 350 BC) and explained that humans are not born with virtue, but rather become virtuous through practice. The culture that you can expect in an ACSI school is one that nurtures the development of virtuous character. As James Madison explained in Federalist Paper No. 55, “…there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.” In other words, a virtuous citizenry is not only possible, but also a necessary component of our representative form of government.

How is virtue taught in ACSI schools?

We are dedicated to the formation of virtuous citizens.  Our school virtues are courage, courtesy, honesty, perseverance, self-government, and service.  When students arrive at a school, these qualities will be one of the first ideas that they see posted on the walls.  They are taught in every subject, at every grade level, and permeate all aspects of school culture.  If these concepts are as important to you as they are to us, then you will find that we are the best partners you could have in helping your children grow up to be virtuous citizens.

What is a school founder?

Per Idaho Code 33-5202A, founder means a person, including employees or staff of a public charter school, who makes a material contribution toward the establishment of a public charter school in accordance with criteria determined by the board of directors of the public charter school, and who is designated as such at the time the board of directors acknowledges and accepts such contribution. Accordingly, the ACSI Board of Directors defines founder status as requiring a minimum of: (1) 100 documented volunteer hours, and (2) attendance at 90% of scheduled Community Founding Group meetings. Community Founding Groups may propose additional requirements for ACSI Board approval. Per Idaho Code 33-5206, this admission preference shall be limited to not more than 10% of the capacity of the public charter school. The school leader will recommend a slate of founders to the ACSI Board of Directors well in advance of the first lottery.

Enrollment & Lottery

What is an intent-to-enroll application?

An intent-to-enroll is a non-binding way to demonstrate your interest in enrolling a student in a future school. Intents-to-enroll are crucial during the founding phase of a school because they demonstrate demand for the school to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission.

Do ACSI schools enroll students with learning disabilities?

Yes. As public schools, ACSI schools welcome all students and have robust student support programs for students who need additional support.

Will there be a lottery to determine enrollment?

After the school’s charter is approved, school leaders will determine an enrollment window to apply for a seat in the school. If the number of applications per grade exceeds the total number of seats available, a lottery will be conducted to determine admission for that grade. Typically, the lottery is scheduled in the early spring of the school’s opening year. 

Are there preferences in the lottery?

Per Idaho code, the following preferences are usually granted:

  1. Students whose parent or guardian are full-time employees at the school (up to 10%)
  2. Siblings of currently enrolled students
  3. Students who live within the primary attendance zone.


Do you offer a civics education program?

For as man is the best of the animals when perfected, so he is the worst of all when sundered from law and justice.

Aristotle, Politics, Book I (around 350 BC)

The civics program begins with a strong foundation in American history, geography, and the founding documents of the United States and eventually concludes with a deep dive into moral and political philosophy and American government in grades 10-12. Through this program, we seek to foster a deep understanding of how our system of government came to be and how it operates. This knowledge contributes to an appreciation for the American experiment with self-government and a sense of responsibility for the role citizens ought to play in the civic life of the nation. We refer to the ability to meaningfully contemplate these matters as “thoughtful patriotism.”

Will Christianity or any other religion be part of the curriculum?

ACSI schools are public schools, which means they are strictly non-sectarian and without religious affiliation. The classical model is inspired by the ancient Greek and Roman traditions of art, literature, philosophy, history, and language that are intertwined with Western and American traditions. These traditions had a tremendous influence on the development of the modern world and appear in the curriculum as essential historical context. When information about the major world religions is taught, it is included for its historical, cultural, and literary significance.

Why do ACSI schools teach classical literature?

The classical tradition acknowledges objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth. These concepts can be illuminated through an education that is full of time-tested literature. Children have an incredible intellectual inheritance available to them through more than two millennia of contemplation documented in the Great Books. We take pride in supporting parents and their efforts to raise children with excellent character by using literature to help them consider the questions examined by profound thinkers from ages past.

How is mathematics taught?

Mathematics is taught conceptually using Singapore Mathematics. This approach involves an emphasis on developing number sense using concrete tools (such as base 10 blocks), followed by the introduction of pictorial strategies that begin with images on a page and grow into visual models. Once students master the concrete and pictorial approaches, abstract concepts such as algorithms and equations are introduced. This cycle occurs when teaching specific concepts and broadly throughout the curriculum.

Students are organized into ability-level groups for mathematics. This means that students work on mathematics at their current ability level and may spend extra time on concepts or accelerate their learning as appropriate.


What languages do students learn?

Mathematics is taught conceptually using Singapore Mathematics. This approach involves an emphasis on developing number sense using concrete tools (such as base 10 blocks), followed by the introduction of pictorial strategies that begin with images on a page and grow into visual models. Once students master the concrete and pictorial approaches, abstract concepts such as algorithms and equations are introduced. This cycle occurs when teaching specific concepts and broadly throughout the curriculum.

Great emphasis is placed on mastery of the English language. Students also learn two other languages. Spanish is taught in grades K-5. Latin and Greek roots are introduced in grades 4 and 5, then all students take Latin from grades 6-9. In grades 10-12, students take advanced coursework in either Latin or other language (depending on student demand).

Does the curriculum include fine arts?

Students in K-8 alternate between art and music every day. In grades 9-12, students have the option of selecting art or music as elective course options in their schedule. We never use the word “specials” to describe the fine arts, because we believe that a broad education in all subjects is necessary for children to grow into well-rounded adults. In that regard, we consider an education in the fine arts to be normal, rather than “special.” One lesser-known fact about the curriculum we use is that all students will learn how to read music by the end of fifth grade.

Will students be physically active during the day?

Students receive structured physical education. Elementary students also have access to recess daily.

Do ACSI schools have extra-curricular programs?

ACSI schools introduce extracurricular activities (athletic, clubs, and fine arts programs) over time, based on student demand, available resources, and facility access. Examples of team sports include cross country, basketball, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, and softball. Examples of clubs include airplane and rocketry, outdoor pursuits, strategic games, color guard, and Science Olympiad. Examples of fine arts include strings orchestra, choir, and drama.