1. When was Immaculata Classical Academy founded?
Immaculata Classical Academy began in 2010 with approximately 19 students in grades K-8. It was founded by Michael and Penny Michalak who saw a great need for high quality Catholic education that could serve typical children and children with special needs alike. In five years, Immaculata has grown to a student body of over 150 students from preschool through high school. The school is entrusted to Our Lady, the Immaculata, as well as St. Maximilian Kolbe, and St. Joan of Arc. Students are known as the Knights of the Immaculata. Our motto is Beauty, Truth, Goodness.
2. Is Immaculata an Archdiocesan school?
At present our work has been blessed by Archbishop Kurtz and we have a strong relationship with the diocesan superintendent. We are currently working to become an independent Catholic school recognized by the Archdiocese of Louisville within two years, in time for our first graduating class. As of now, we are a private, independent classical school in the Catholic tradition.
3. How do you develop the sacramental and spiritual life of the Academy?
The Catholic Church teaches us that our primary vocation is to become saints. Therefore, the spiritual and sacramental formation of our students is very important. We have Holy Mass every week, daily prayers, and annual retreats. It is the prayer and hope of the Founders and the Board of Directors to find a full-time chaplain to increase opportunities for the sacramental and spiritual formation of the students.
4. Are you accredited?
We are fully accredited with the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS).
5. What is your teacher-student ratio?
We are committed to a teacher-student ratio of approximately 1:15. With the help of volunteer tutors, the student-teacher ratio is reduced even more.
6. How do you teach enough in a four day week and shortened school year?
The school week is from Tuesday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. There is no school on Mondays to allow families the freedom of spending additional time together or scheduling doctor appointments on that day. This reduces student absenteeism during the week. However, parents agree to take a direct part in their child’s education by overseeing instructional hours at home on Monday which includes completing additional homework assigned over the long weekend. The academic year begins on the Tuesday following Labor day and concludes the Friday before Memorial day. The total hours spent in class, along with the extra hours completed at home on Mondays, meet state requirements for instructional hours.
7. What is your ideal student body size?
Our maximum student body will be about 250 students in grades preschool through 12th.
8. What do you do for lunch?
At this time, children bring their own sack lunches with them to school. One day a week, we offer a pizza lunch for students. It is our intention to provide a hot lunch program sometime in the future.
9. To what religious order do your Sisters belong?
The Sisters of the Fiat are an aspiring contemplative/active community of religious sisters whose apostolic works flow from the richness and depth of their interior life. They began in late 2012 with the blessing of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, with the unique purpose of bringing the “fiat” of Jesus and Mary to the world, believing and desiring to teach souls that, “to live the will of God is the key to heaven.” In addition to taking the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience taken by all religious communities, they also take a special fourth vow, to seek out and serve the most vulnerable among us, those with special needs.
ACADEMICS AND EXTRACURRICULAR
10. What is a Classical Education?
A classical education consists of a study of the cultures and languages of the Greco-Roman world and of the liberal arts as organized and developed by the ancients, especially the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric. Its pursuit is a love of wisdom and a passion for truth. Moreover, a Catholic classical education is one in which the perennial principles of human education that typify the classical approach are elevated, imbued and baptized by the Truth of the Gospel as expressed in the Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Such a course of study aims not only toward the natural good and development of the student but seeks to form faithful disciples of Christ as sons and daughters of the Church whose supernatural end is to be with God in eternity. As such, a Catholic classical curriculum is authentic human education.
11. How demanding is your curriculum?
Our curriculum aims to bring about the best intellectual formation of our students. We are an honors school and all our classes are considered to be at the honors level. Our goal is to form students to critically analyze and understand various subject matters and express themselves eloquently both in speech and in writing. Homework load tends to be a little heavier than traditional public or parochial schools.
12. What will the homework load be for my child?
The homework load depends on the grade level and can fluctuates some during the year for each grade. However, teachers strive to keep the daily homework load within the following standards: Lower School grades 1-4 at less than 45 minutes; grades 5-6 at roughly one hour; 7-8 at roughly 1.5 hours; 9-12 at roughly 2 hours. Homework over the weekend is slightly heavier because we don’t have school on Mondays.
13. Why do students study so much Latin?
The Latin language is a crucial component of a classical education. It forms the mind to learn the structure and etymology of language (it is the mother language of most Western European languages including our own), forms critical thinking skills, prepares students for a variety of professions (e.g. law, medicine) and most importantly, opens wide the doors to experiencing the rich heritage of our culture and Catholic faith. Our curriculum is different than most because it goes beyond rote memorization and instills a deeper understanding of Latin as a living and spoken language in order to rebuild the language of our Church one student at a time.
14. Do you teach other languages besides Latin?
Latin is the sole language taught in the lower school where, beginning in third grade, students gradually learn vocabulary and the basics of grammar. Upper school students (grades 7-12) must take four years of Latin.
15. Do you teach the Common Core Curriculum?
Common Core is not currently, nor ever will be, part of our curriculum.
16. What sports programs do you have? What are the fees?
We have many sports programs including: co-ed Soccer, Cross Country and girls Volleyball in the Fall; girls and boys Basketball in the Winter; Tennis, Golf, and Track in the Spring. Families pay $60 per student to participate in any number of sports they wish, with a $350 cap per family. We participate in the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association League.
17. What if our family is not Catholic?
The spirit and heart of the Catholic Faith permeates not only the curriculum at Immaculata, but more importantly, is at the core of our identity and mission which we seek to joyfully live out. Non-Catholic families who desire the education and formation we offer at Immaculata must understand that the Catholic Faith is core to any experience at Immaculata and not just one subject in our curriculum. With this in mind, we do accept families of non-Catholic backgrounds on the condition that the student participates in all of the school’s Catholic services (e.g. Mass, daily prayers, etc), Religion/Theology classes and that the values and virtues the family tries to foster at home are in line with those we seek to teach the children at Immaculata.
18. Are there entrance exams?
We do not have entrance exams. We do have a placement exam for Math.
19. Can students enroll in the middle of the school year?
As a four day a week school, classroom time is spent very efficiently and much material is covered throughly by the teacher each day. It is therefore very difficult for a student to enter into our rigorous program during the middle of the school. Nevertheless, should the administration, along with the teacher and with the input of the parents seeking their child’s admittance, discern the child could still be successful, it may be possible to join after the school year starts. However, each student will be accepted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the teacher and administration.
20. Can students enroll on a part-time basis?
Our preschool program has a half-day option. Lower school students can only enroll full-time. Upper School students are encouraged to enroll as full-time students, but it is possible to enroll for a few courses at the discretion of the teachers and administration and dependent upon student enrollment.
21. When will your first graduating class be?
Our first graduating class will be in 2016.
22. Is tuition assistance available?
We do offer tuition assistance for families in need. There is a limited amount of scholarship funds available each year. We utilize an independent financial aid assessment tool (F.A.C.T.S.) to assess and verify need. A Board of Advisors examines the results and assists as many families as possible. All families who receive financial assistance are asked to give of their time by volunteering at the school. Please ask to see our Tuition Assistance Form to apply.
23. Can I pay tuition electronically?
Electronic payments are recommended for all famalies.
INTEGRATION OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
24. Is Immaculata a “Special Needs” school like De Paul, Pitt Academy, or Meredith Dunn?
No. We are a classical academy with a rigorous academic curriculum for typical children, while at the same time providing academic and/or social integration for some children with special needs. Recognizing the acute need of many families and desiring to respond generously to the Church’s call of service to all, we do admit, on a limited basis, students with special needs, particularly those with Down Syndrome. We follow the philosophy that classrooms should reflect natural proportion guidelines, with classrooms generally having 1-2 children with special needs, or about 15% of our total student body.
25. Do you only accept children with Down syndrome?
At Immaculata Classical Academy, children with special needs are joyfully welcomed and appreciated as children of God. However, because of the wide spectrum of special needs, we are necessarily limited in the range of children with special needs we can serve. We want to become the best at what we do and therefore necessarily need to narrow our scope of service at this time. We have served children with Aspergers, Prader-Willi and severe mental delays among others, and are always very open to meet with any families of children with special needs. Nevertheless, our specialty is to serve children with Down syndrome.
26. How do you incorporate children with special needs?
Firstly, from grades preschool through sixth grade, our focus is both academic and social integration. In our upper school, where the academic content becomes more difficult, we focus on social integration of our children with special needs, along with academic integration where possible. If a student can no longer keep up with course content even with accommodations, we offer one on one tutoring to focus on those core skills the student and his family are wanting to develop.
Secondly, in order to properly integrate children with special needs within our model in the lower school, a child must be able to spend most of the day in the regular classroom- at Immaculata, curriculum accommodations within the classroom are most often used. After deliberating with the parents, a family individual education plan is drawn for the student. This way, they receive personal instruction from their teacher, our Special Needs Coordinator or Assistant to review or improve their understanding of the material. Our combination of small class sizes, low student-teacher ratios, dedicated teachers, full-time Special Needs Coordinator and Assistant along with our zealous hearts, equips us to successfully challenge our children with special needs to meet their own personal potential while at the same time maintaining our high academic standards.
27. Can a family apply even if they don’t have a child with special needs in their family?
Absolutely. Our mission is to provide the highest quality education and formation for children of all families.