High School Academics - SLO Classical Academy
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San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

SLO classical academy high school


What makes a fire burn is space between the logs.

– Judy Brown

At SLOCAHS we believe that less is sometimes more--that there should be some “space between the logs” so that the fire of learning can burn. We are aware of the unfortunate tendency of many private schools to over-schedule their students, packing every spare moment of the day (and sometimes night!) with assignments and activities. While our classical curriculum is rigorous, demanding, and fully accredited, we also want to allow our students time to ruminate upon these great books and ideas. We hope that they will develop rich interior lives through their personal engagement with our meaningful curriculum. Ours is a learning culture, not an achievement culture.

college + life prep

97% of our graduates attend college, and we offer robust college and career advising resources and accredited A-G certified university-level courses. But when it comes to life plans, not all students are the same! Maybe you want to go to a selective college. Maybe you want to attend community college first. Maybe you’d prefer to take a gap year to travel or jump straight into a career. 

And while we value and encourage college, our true strength is preparing students for life and shaping the person they are becoming. Wherever our students have headed, our graduates reflect on their high school experience as a time that was meaningful, memorable and prepared them for their lives beyond. 

Canon vs. Honors

CANON refers to classically inspired, A-G certified college preparatory (CP) courses that meet all the academic standards of a core high school curriculum, but at a reduced pace, reading schedule, and workload than offered in the past.

HONORS refers to the most rigorous and advanced versions of our courses. The HONORS course designation will showcase this higher level of rigor on transcripts. In some cases, this honors designation may improve students’ admissions standings at U.S. colleges.


Rather than two 17-week semesters of six classes each, we have moved to two 14.5-week semesters with five classes each followed by two 2.5 week specialty terms with a one class concentration. These speciality terms will be known as Winter Immersives and Spring Immersives. This new schedule gives students fewer classes at a time, allowing them more time to focus on each subject without loss of class opportunities. In fact, this structure allows SLOCAHS to offer more experiential learning options like Astronomy, Ancient Art History (with an overnight field trip to the Getty Villa), and Theater.

STEM at a Liberal arts school

One question parents often have about classical education is whether it adequately prepares students for careers in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The answer is an unequivocal Yes! Because our math and science curriculum emphasizes (1) deep thinking about first principles, (2) engagement with primary source documents, and (3) connections with everyday life, students do more than merely memorize formulas and to go through the motions of scientific experiments—they actually learn how to think like mathematicians and scientists, approaching these disciplines rigorously and creatively as tools for solving human problems. There is no either/or choice to be made between the humanities and the sciences; these modes of inquiry mutually support and invigorate one another. We offer a full suite of fully accredited math and science courses up to the Calculus 2 level and computer science electives. We have several students go on to study STEM subjects in college, including mathematics, computer science, engineering, architecture, biology, marine biology, neurobiology, nursing, medicine, nutrition science, environmental science, geology, chemistry, physics, molecular cell biology & physiology.

What makes a fire burn is space between the logs.

Senior Projects

Senior Projects are the culmination of academic and personal interests students have gained at SLOCAHS. Seniors select a question of a scholarly, personal, or practical nature, and explore it under the guidance of an academic advisor, learning a key skill that will serve them well in college and beyond: how to conduct sustained research and work one-on-one with a mentor. Previous senior projects have been translations of Anglo-Saxon poetry, research on music’s impact on brain development, pedagogy methods in the instruction of hearing impaired children, and the memetic nature of Medieval European folk tales. Each spring seniors formally present their findings to the community, partaking in a time-honored ritual of sharing knowledge that dates back to the thesis defense in Medieval universities.

“Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.”

– Thomas Aquinas

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