Academic Program

Our Harkness table approach in the humanities is pleasing to students and golden retriever, Buddy.

Our Harkness table approach in the humanities is pleasing to students and golden retriever, Buddy.

We are a dynamic community of students, faculty/staff, parents, and alumni dedicated to lifelong learning, service to others, personal growth, and the success of each student. Our school strives to develop young men and women of moral integrity who will be responsible leaders and citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world.

Since its founding in 1965, the genuine emphasis on educating the whole person has always been essential to Middleburg Academy. Our classical liberal arts education is not only the best college-preparatory curriculum, it is an education aimed toward living a noble and fruitful life.

No locks on our lockers, no bells interrupting classes, we have a college-like feel to the day. There is educational maturity. The small class ratio means we learn to work together in an incredibly diverse community. There are no social cliques. It is a real-world experience as we work together pursuing both our collective and personal achievements. It is an education that demands participation - it was such a critical time in my life.
— An Alumnus

Classical education in the liberal arts helps students to thoughtful freedom and virtuous leadership, offering deep, humane instruction in English, history, and languages, natural science and mathematics, as well as logic and rhetoric. Using a mixture of lecture and Socratic seminar, we put students in dialogue with the great poets, thinkers, and leaders of history.

The liberal arts are often cataloged as seven—the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric; and the quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. They take their foundations from ancient Greek philosophy, history, poetry, and rhetoric. The birth of the term dates from centuries after Athens’ golden age when the great Roman humanist and orator Cicero referred to them as the artes liberales. They consisted of education, literature, and eloquence; later humanists would reveal a fourth category implicit in Cicero’s presentation, namely the laws, the traditions of humanity and the dictates of practical reason.

This is an important way to approach a classical curriculum in the liberal arts, and it is a hallmark of their practice at Middleburg Academy—to think of them as “the arts of liberty,” as those things we must know and practice to be free.

Middleburg Academy’s motto, Cognoscere, Ducere, Servire (To Learn, To Lead, and To Serve), raises important questions: What to Learn? Where to Lead? How to Serve? The liberal arts ask complementary questions, ones that help Middleburg Academy fulfill its motto for families and students: What must we know in order to be free? and What must we do in order to be free?

In keeping with Middleburg Academy’s mission to offer students an enriching classical liberal arts education, all 8th and 9th grade students complete yearly core requirements in the Humane Letters, a sequence of complementary English and history courses designed to deepen students’ understanding of the major tenets of Western thought and tradition. These courses center on primary documents, Socratic discussions, critical thinking, and writing skills.

Across our curriculum, we have an emphasis on the great authors whose celebrated works have influenced Western civilization, and in light of which other texts are often understood: Chaucer, Frost, Hemingway, Homer, Martin Luther King, Shakespeare, Twain, and more. Our students learn to develop and present their ideas based on factual, reasoned arguments across all fields, from the humanities to the sciences to mathematics and beyond, taking into account original sources as well as diverse scholarship as they learn that the liberal arts are not simply something to be studied, but a way of life.

You will also find that our 90-acre, historic campus is home to a community that strongly upholds our Honor Code, an expected standard of integrity that ensures a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. Each student belongs to an Advisory, a small group led by a Faculty Advisor who acts as another “parent” on campus, serving as the main point of contact for families regarding their child’s progress and overall well-being. Our Student-Parent-Advisor Conferences help students to take responsibility for their own education.

Our classical curriculum and educational model—to study the liberal arts as a means of living and understanding the good, the true, and the beautiful—has been and will continue to be developed in on-going association with Hillsdale College.