Investing in SLOCAHS Students: Additions Coming 2024-25 - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Investing in SLOCAHS Students: Additions Coming 2024-25

What do Shakespeare, math, Chuck, and sodium sulfite have in common? They are all part of our investment in our high school this fall! Read on to see all that we have in the works for this school year.

We have some exciting (and really interesting) new courses—expanding on our core classes to provide more options for our students to fulfill their course requirements. And of course, they also fulfill our values for good rigor and twists on traditional offerings. Here are the three new classes coming this fall for upperclassmen:


This is a current events course with a classical twist. In the age of the never-ending news cycle, in which we are endlessly bombarded with “breaking news,” it can be hard to discern the significance of what we read, see, and hear. This course will enable students to become an active, rather than passive, consumer of news about the world around them. They will learn this skill by investigating the historical roots of some of the most important national and global issues confronting us today. Importantly, this course will not be a place to vent, grandstand, vilify, or preen. What is more important in this course is not what knowledge or opinions students possess before they start the course, but how much they deepen their understanding of the topics we explore together. Indeed, together we will seek to revivify the dying art of civility in our own small way. The topics we explore will be determined in some part by the course of events, which cannot be predicted.


This psychology course is designed to be a hands-on introduction to the science of psychology, accompanied by Classic Texts and important works within the field. It will survey the essentials of psychology from classical theories to current trends, emphasizing discovery through experiments and projects. The course will allow students to examine personality, intellectual abilities, adjustment, learning, memory,  perception, emotions, motivation, personality disorders, and biological influences on behavior. We will dive into the history of psychology to better understand how the field has developed over time. Much of the course will include reading books and having many dedicated Socratic Seminar classes. Note: This course is NOT approved as a Science (Area D) course, but is submitted as a Social Science (Area A) course for A-G.


Students will start by reviewing basic math then dive into topics relevant for any career such as mortgages, banking, interest, consumer credit, and more. Later they will touch on important topics for business owners including payroll, markup, markdown, trade discounts, business statistics and more. Lastly, they will cover topics for those close to business recordkeeping like government agencies, lending agencies, depreciation, inventory and financial statements.

Included with tuition this year: 8-week HS Seminar course to set students up for success in high school. This course is required for all freshman and transfer students and will run 1x/week for 8 weeks. We believe this practical, applicable course will have far-reaching, life preparing benefits to our students long after high school.

This short seminar course is designed to help our incoming freshmen, transfer students, and current students thrive academically at SLOCA. The transition from Middle School to High School can feel steep—parent involvement decreases and student ownership increases, but academic ownership isn’t mastered the moment students walk through our doors freshman year. Additionally, transferring at any grade into SLOCAHS can be difficult as students adjust to new ways and rhythms of learning. 

During these 8 classes, we will learn valuable skills needed to be successful at SLOCAHS and any further schooling a student might undertake. Offered either as a zero period or Thursday class, students will learn skills including organization, study habits, study techniques, stress management, note-taking, close reading, Socratic discussions, public speaking, Google Applications, navigating Google Classroom, and working professionally with your teachers. The workload for this course is minimal, but with a big payoff in other classes! For example, navigating Google Classroom and submitting a properly formatted paper will count towards points in SLOCAHS Seminar, but will be carried out for a normal day-to-day English paper. We are excited to offer this course and better support student transition into SLOCAHS!

Did you know our new Head of High School/Executive Director of Academic Life, Dr. Desi Cameron, has her PhD in Educational Theater? We’ve long desired to develop a theater program, and as Michele Stevens has been busy building theater at our Grammar & Middle School, it’s the right time to lean into theater at the high school level. Dr Cameron will begin by teaching both an Immersive and Elective course while casting a long-term vision for an established SLOCA Theater program:


What do Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, The Scooby Doo gang, Miss Marple, Sam Spade, and Batman have in common? They are all ‘detectives’ who love to ‘solve’ crimes. In this exciting winter immersive, you will develop your acting and technical skills by playing a role on and/or off stage to mount a one-act comedic mystery production. This performance will not only be shared with the SLOCA community but will also be brought to other schools and community settings! This immersive will include a possible trip to see a show!


This course will involve delving into multiple plays – both Shakespeare and others – and performing Classics To Go (a traveling theatre troupe). We will select scenes from different plays and weave them together into a theatrical journey, similar to Shakespearience. Even if you are not very familiar with the Bard’s work or theater in general, this class will get you pumped about it!

We’re not done yet—there are even more new classes heading to SLOCAHS. We see a need to offer more hands-on immersives that teaches students practical skills that will open up future career opportunities or find new passions and widen their skill sets. When needed, we are bringing in professionals in their field to teach these courses. Here are some of the options students will have to choose from this Winter/Spring:


In this course, students will be taught basic skills in CAD drawings and designs. These skills will be used to create 3D printable objects. The software used will be SolidWorks,  which “shows students the process involved in creating a physical object from an abstract concept. Through projects, students will practice the skills to transform an idea into a design and then convert it into a physical, 3-dimensional prototype of the product.”


In this course, we will cover the basics of coding using robotics, circuits, and game design. Students will be expected to learn how to code and then produce a final project that is interactive and can be used either for a function or as a game. This class will have a heavy Makerspace component, meaning along with coding students will be expected to build structures that bring their creations to life. The skills we will learn will begin with basic block coding and will end with students writing their own Java Script codes. This class is designed for true beginners. It will start from the basics and build as we progress through the class. A major component of the final project will also require a basic understanding of wiring and circuits.


In this course, students will be introduced to basic welding concepts and techniques. We will cover different types of welding, including SMAW (“stick”), MIG, TIG and Oxyacetylene welding, as time allows. We will also try metal cutting using oxy-acetylene and plasma arc cutting technique.  We will cover proper equipment, operation and safety. Students will have hands-on time to practice basic welds in the different techniques.

WOODWORKING (back by high demand)

This course aims to build basic woodworking skills through a series of projects. Students will gain experience with a variety of tools large and small as they craft their work. This will be an opportunity to explore an art form with many technical components that will have both everyday and artistic applications. Students will learn the pride and satisfaction that comes from creating something with your hands.


Ag science
Small engine repair
Airplane design
…and more!

We are leasing the building next to our high school so we can accommodate all this new growth. This summer we’ll put our renovation powers to work to create the following spaces for our students and staff:

  • Weight room
  • Darkroom
  • Art room
  • Office (or two)
  • Storage

Our Interim HS Director is sticking around! Chuck will serve part-time as our Assistant HS Director and part-time as our HS Athletics point person while also coaching Football, Track and Field, and Women’s Basketball. His presence and experience will not only provide additional support administratively, but will help us invest and focus on strengthening our athletics program—Go Grizzlies!

“Serving this year as the HS Interim director was not only a privilege, but proved to be a tremendous learning experience that far exceeded my expectations. I look forward to continuing to serve in my new capacity as assistant director. I am also excited about being in a position to continue to support all SLOCA staffers as well as coach boys and girls athletics as I teach, encourage, and develop their character and skills in every aspect of their lives.”


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