Sunday, September 16, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

This week's letter addresses the topic of the Western Tradition, one of the central things that we deeply love as an Academy.

Six Loves
  • The Virtues: Moral, Intellectual, and Athletic Excellence
  • The Western Tradition
  • Human Dignity and Freedom
  • Philosophical Realism
  • Conversation and Community
  • Humility

At North Phoenix Prep, we love the Western Tradition.  One way to briefly summarize what we mean by the West is to consider three ancient cities: Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome.  Athens is the fountainhead of philosophy, science, and democracy; Jerusalem, the source of Western monotheism and faith in a personal God; Rome gives us unique notions of law and statesmanship.  Another way to understand the Western Tradition is through the Great Books.  These works of literature, science, mathematics, philosophy, theology, and history form a conversation across the centuries.  This conversation is one that we invite all our students to enter into.

It's important to realize that the Western Tradition is a conversation among people of varied ideas and beliefs.  Plato and Aristotle disagreed about the philosophy of universal forms.  The American Founders doubted whether the Athenian vision of a purely democratic regime would work in the vast new world.  Pagan Greece and Rome was polytheistic; the Judeo-Christian heritage is monotheistic; and many Enlightenment thinkers were atheistic.  In short, the Western Tradition is a coherent conversation, not a monolith.  Particularly in the Humane Letters seminar, we encourage our students to engage in that conversation with genuine humility and curiosity.  That engagement prepares them to become good citizens who possess a greater context for the ideas, beliefs, laws, and norms of our nation.  Even more importantly, it prepares them to become good human beings who can enter authentically into dialogue with others.

As I continue this series on our Six Loves, please reach out with whatever questions you have. It's important that we engage together in coming to understand these vital aspects of our Academy culture.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Impressive Week for Gladiators HS Cross Country





The past week of our Gladiators HS Cross Country team has been a mix of team bonding, learning, and racing.  It was a long week but one that has produced a multitude of impressive results.  They started things off last Friday by heading out of town to Mingus Mountain for the AZ Distance Camp that is put on annually by James Bonnett (Professional Ultra-Runner and Coach).  At the camp they learned about the sport of running from those that have been part of high school, collegiate, Olympic, and professional programs.  It was a great learning experience and a time for the team to bond with each other.  As part of the camp, they had the opportunity to take part in the Jerome Hill Climb which is hosted by the Arizona Road Racers.  The Jerome Hill climb is a 4.4 mile uphill challenge.  Our athletes performed at a very high level with Jordan Black winning his age group and coming in 6th overall, Thomas Koska winning his age group and coming in 7th overall, and Juliana Baltram also winning her age group and coming in 46th overall.  Full Results are posted here and here.
Once they returned to school after the holiday weekend, the team had their first official meet of the season; Northwest Christian Multi.  The meet took place on Wednesday at 4pm in 100 degree plus heat which is part of the appeal of this meet.  The purpose is to measure whether your summer training is working and how the athletes can handle the elements.  Our team had in incredible meet.  Our boys team won their race coming in 1st (Jordan Black), 3rd (Richie Johnston), 4th (Thomas Koska), 7th (Rocco Berbetti), 8th (Sammy Johnston), and 13th (Aidan Davis).  NPX 23, Northwest Christian 32, Arizona Lutheran 100.  Scoring is based on each teams top 5 runners finish placement in the race.  In the girls race, we did not have a full 5 person team competing but those that ran all performed really well.  Juliana Baltram placed 3rd, Sabrina Kloft 15th, Alina Boorse 24th, and Dagny McCrory 40th (first 5k race).  Results posted here.
The week continued with another meet on Saturday, the Fountain Hills Invitational.  This was the first opportunity for a few of our athletes to compete this season as they were not able to make it to the Wednesday meet.  Three of our athletes competed in their first ever HS XC meet; Cora Moore, Katie Herrington, and Dae Han Youn.  The Fountain Hills Invitational was another big showcase for our team as the athletes ran in either the Freshman/Sophomore Race or the Junior/Senior Race.  To start things off in the Boys Junior/Senior Race, Jordan Black took first in 16:31,  Rocco Berbetti 2nd in 17:45, and Aden Webb 9th in 18:55.  In the Girls Junior/Senior Race, Katie Herrington placed 15th in 25:38 and Sabrina Kloft 18th in 25:51.  In the Boys Freshman/Sophomore Race we had 5 entries which allowed us to score as a team.  The team placed 3rd with Richie Johnston winning the race in 17:31, Thomas Koska 4th in 18:12, Sammy Johnston 12th in 18:59, Aidan Davis 18th in 19:11, and Dae Han Youn in 154th in 25:24.  In the Girls Freshman/Sophomore Race we had Alina Boorse finish in 40th at 26:32, Cora Moore 79th in 29:32, and Dagny McCrory 141st in 37:04 (2:28 improvement in her 2nd race).  Overall we had 10 of our 13 athletes receive medals for the race.  Current race results are posted here and will be here in the future.

Our next meet will be in Flagstaff, Buffalo Park this coming Saturday, September 15th at the Four Corners Invitational.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

As you may already know, I have put forward the theme of unconditional love as a rallying cry for our community this year.  This particular kind of love is not merely a cotton candy, feel-good, rose-colored kind of love.  It is intentionally willing the good of another person.  That is the sense in which it is unconditional.  No matter what, we will the good of others at our Academy.

But this theme raises a related question: what kinds of things do we view as good at North Phoenix Prep?  Or, to put it another way, what kinds of things do we love?

I'd like to introduce you to six of the things that we love at North Phoenix Prep, and I'll write about each of them in the coming weeks.  At our Academy, we love:

  • The Virtues: Moral, Intellectual, and Athletic Excellence
  • The Western Tradition
  • Human Dignity and Freedom
  • Philosophical Realism
  • Conversation and Community
  • Humility
Virtue (Latin virtus, Greek arete) is not simply a single act, but rather a lived habit of excellence.  We believe that we ought to cultivate universally recognized moral habits such as justice, moderation, courage, and prudence.  We also ought to foster intellectual excellence, which involves not only the knowledge of facts but also the wisdom and understanding necessary to draw those facts into a coherent whole, as well as the acquisition of particular skills.  Furthermore, excellence extends to our physical bodies in the arena of athletic competition.  Whether our virtues are moral, intellectual, or athletic, we seek above all the virtue of magnanimity, or greatness of soul.  In other words, we seek to possess all of the virtues and to do so without arrogance.  

Our love of the virtues means that we think differently about human excellence.  We don't think about it in terms of performance or results alone.  A virtuous person does more than merely produce a certain output; he or she has become a person of truly excellent character.  Neither do we think about excellence in therapeutic or emotivist terms.  Becoming good can actually feel bad at first, just as becoming physically fit is painful at the beginning.  We thus believe that we can aid each other in the pursuit of excellence just like a coach or a personal trainer: through encouragement, accountability, and trust.

As I continue this series on our Six Loves, please reach out with whatever questions you have.  It's important that we engage together in coming to understand these vital aspects of our Academy culture. 

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Monday, September 3, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for Curriculum Night this past Thursday!  It's always enjoyable for me to speak with our families.  In fact, I like to say that the family-school partnership is the "secret sauce" that's key to our success.  When parents, teachers, and administrators are all in cahoots, the students are sure to follow. 

That's why it was so important for me to share our school's commitment to loving the students unconditionally.  On the first day of school, I told the students that our job as teachers and staff is to love them, and that their job is to love one another.  And I meant every word.  Unconditional love means actively willing the good of others at all times, no matter what.  Love of this kind is not something that our students earn or achieve.  It's a gift that we offer generously and freely--just as you do in your own families.

As we launch into the second half of the quarter, let's deepen our partnership by actively seeking goodness in each moment.  Let's look for small ways together.  What if we put down our devices and had conversations instead?  What if we asked, "How are you?" and really listened to the answer?  Let's commit to willing the good in all circumstances, no matter what, and especially in the small things. 

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Curriculum Night is August 30th


North Phoenix Prep will be hosting its annual Curriculum Night on Thursday, August 30th from 6-8 pm.

This special evening is your opportunity to walk through a day in the life of your student and to meet your student’s teachers.  You are encouraged to arrive early in order to pick up your schedule.

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Over the past week, I have engaged in many conversations with our faculty, families, and students about homework.  The time spent on daily assignments also has been, I am quite aware, a perennial topic around your family dinner tables.  Particularly in the high school, daily homework has been a challenge for our students, with the daily target being about three hours.  

Certainly, nobody in our community objects to challenging students with the rich content of a classical education.  That's why our families send their students here, and that's why our teachers want to teach here.  At the same time, we also want our students to wonder, to express their curiosity, and truly to enjoy the pursuit of wisdom and virtue at our Academy.  We want to challenge our students while maintaining their capacity for a challenge.  Furthermore, we want our students to take real delight in their studies. 

At the beginning of the school year, I said that our job is to love the students unconditionally, which means that we will their good in all things.  The decisions that I've made about homework are driven by that principle of willing their good:  
  • Our overall target for high school daily homework will now be 2 hours.  I am defining homework as deliberate practice of/preparation for the day’s lesson, not as studying for tests/essays/projects, which may take additional time.  This means I’m committing to a 1/3 reduction from the old model, in which the target was 3 hours for high school. Or, to put it another way, if high school homework was 30 minutes per class, it’s now 20 minutes per class (with HL thus getting 40 minutes). 
  • All faculty will now use a uniform template for collecting self-reported data from the students about homework times.  This is so that our faculty can consistently track whether they are meeting the target, discover any relevant patterns, and address any inconsistencies that may arise.
Students have differing abilities, and teachers sometimes miss the target on an assignment.  Thus, some students may spend less time than the target, others more.  We're only human, and so I am certain that we will encounter nuances or complexities that we cannot see yet.  Know that I am 100% committed to supporting our whole community in fleshing out further issues, and addressing them so that the new target that I have set becomes the norm far more often than not.  I believe that this will deepen our students' engagement and help them become the best versions of themselves.  

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

GreatHearts North Phoenix Prep Women’s Self Defense




Great Hearts North Phoenix Prep Women’s Self Defense


Women’s Self Defense

A Weekend Enrichment Activity
for the
GreatHearts North Phoenix Prep Community
The program will be conducted by Master Kaneen and a corps of certified instructors at the facilities of 9 Dragons Kung Fu in three, two-hour classes. Sessions will be held on Saturday afternoons in September and October.

GreatHearts North Phoenix Preparatory Academy, in partnership with Master Michael Kaneen and 9 Dragons Kung Fu, is pleased to present a practical course in self-defense for our female students. This course focuses on the key aspects of self-defense for women, including knowledge, instinct, preparation, situational awareness, and specific techniques for repelling a physical attack.


The Second Annual NPX Women’s Self Defense series, and NPX Weekend Enrichment activity, will be held over four weekends in September and October. Beginning September 1, this fun activity is open to all women Prep students (grades 7 to 12) as well as moms and dads and female NPX teachers and staff. Have fun with your friends while learning important skills and techniques from Master Michael Kaneen, leading consultant to businesses and government and member of the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Regardless of whether you participated last year, join us for a remarkable event. 


Please consult the documents linked below to register 



Sunday, August 19, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

At our Academy, we do more than simply deliver intellectual content within the confines of the classroom.  Our goal is to shape the souls of young people morally so that they become persons of character.  We do not try to do this in cheesy, programmed ways.  We do not have a character curriculum or a character course at North Phoenix Prep.  Rather, the whole form of our school, which consists of each small interaction among students and between students and faculty, is infused with the principle of love--and love is willing the good of others.  This occurs in the classroom, of course, but also in the hallways, the courtyard, the field of athletic competition, and during special events like last week's Freshman Retreat.

A contemporary author who has really shaped my thinking lately is David Brooks.  His book, The Road to Character, asks what it means to be a person of character.  Brooks explores the answer to that question by sketching the divergent biographies of historical figures such as George Eliot, St. Augustine, Dwight Eisenhower, and Frances Perkins. Taken as a whole, these lives illustrate Brooks’ belief that true character is forged through an interior moral drama that subordinates the self, and that elevates what he calls “eulogy virtues” above the merely utilitarian “resume virtues.” Brooks' book is an important one that inspires his readers to turn away from the toxic culture of narcissism and self-promotion that plagues us in 21st century America.

If you're looking for a good book (or audiobook), then I highly recommend Brooks' thoughtful and convicting volume.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Friday, August 17, 2018

Freshman Retreat -- Day Three

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

I am sitting in the game room with our freshmen as they play ping pong, foosball, air hockey, and pool.  It's the last bit of free time before we head back to Phoenix, and they are soaking it up!

Last night we held a bonfire where we sang songs, made s'mores, and danced with team-colored glow sticks!  It was truly a memorable evening that was capped off with a surprise ice cream sundae station & a later bedtime. 

With our bags packed and our rooms cleaned out, we are nearly ready to load up into the buses & head back!  We'll see you soon. 

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Freshman Retreat -- Day Two

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Today has been simply amazing!  This morning, our students competed well in the second tournament of games, and they read & discussed a short story by Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find."  In the afternoon, all of us enjoyed the pool & water slides, zip line, climbing wall, and a giant swing called "the Heist." 

In about an hour, we will have s'mores by a bonfire, and we're giving the students a special treat that they don't know about yet: a late night ice cream bar!

Most importantly, this retreat is making beautiful memories and building friendships among the freshmen.  Out students are pushing their tables together at meals and inviting each other to join them in shared activities.  When talking with one table at lunch, they told me that they feel like family now.  How great is that?!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Freshman Retreat -- Day One

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Day one of the freshman retreat is nearly in the books.  As I type this post, our students and their faculty team leaders are reading and discussing a short story, "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

Our first day at camp went smoothly & the students are having great fun.  After a morning full of team-building activities on campus, we loaded up the buses & traveled to Lost Canyon.  Then a brief welcome and introduction by yours truly, and the students received their camp t-shirts.  We then decorated the shirts with team-colored fabric paint and gladiator helmet stencils!  Following that creative activity, we enjoyed a tournament of games, including ultimate frisbee, human knot, and crab-walk soccer.  After a short free time, we went to the Elk Horn dining hall & consumed a delicious meal of fajitas, chips and salsa, and (my favorite) churros. 

I am so grateful for this opportunity to share this special experience with our freshman as they laugh, play, and even sing together.  They are truly thriving.  It's also a true joy to share this time with our faculty and alumni chaperones, together with our valiant parent work crew, who are making this opportunity possible for our students,

Stay tuned for another update tomorrow.  It's a big day!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold