Saturday, January 20, 2018

University Professor Visits NPX

Joseph Clair

On this Friday, North Phoenix Prep will host Dr. Joseph Clair, who is visiting our campus to learn more about our classical liberal arts curriculum, as well as the Socratic teaching techniques that our faculty use to provide a truly transformative education for our students.  
Dr. Clair serves as director of the William Penn Honors Program and as an assistant professor of religious studies. Before joining the George Fox faculty in 2013, he earned his PhD in the religion, ethics and politics program at Princeton University while also working as an assistant in instruction. His efforts were rewarded with a Department of Religion Teaching Award (2011-12) and a Graduate Prize Fellowship from Princeton’s Center for Human Values (2012-13).

Prior to Princeton, Clair earned an MPhil at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He also holds master’s degrees from Fordham and Duke University as well as a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College. His research and teaching interests include Christian thought and ethics and the role of religion in public life. He is the author of Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine (Oxford UP, 2016) and Reading Augustine: On Education, Salvation, Happiness, and the Gift of Reading (Bloomsbury, 2018).

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

The semester is in full swing as we returned to regular classes this week.  I had the pleasure of joining the Juniors as they began studying Plato's Republic, a highly treasured text in our curriculum.  As I observed their conversation, I was impressed with just how thoughtful and intellectually curious these students are, and I was reminded of the intentional way that our Humane Letters curriculum matches the intellectual development of adolescents.

The sequence of our readings in Humane Letters is not precisely chronological.  Instead, we begin with what is closest to our young scholars, so we teach them the literature and history of America.  In this first Humane Letters course, our students gain proficiency in basic seminar habits such as speaking to their classmates rather than the teacher, or noticing the difference between a textually-based comment and one based on mere personal opinion.  These habits of mind continue to develop in the 10th grade Humane Letters course, which expands the students' horizons through a study of Modern European history and literature.  In their study of history, students learn to see the American Revolution in light of the French, thus making their understanding of both more rich and complex.  They also encounter many of the underlying philosophical ideas that influenced the American Founders through the writings of John Locke.  Their studies are, at this point, still fundamentally based in the concrete, not abstract ideas.  They tend to employ large concepts like freedom or goodness naively and without real reflection.  Literary characters, not concepts, are the appropriate focus for Sophomores and Freshmen.

But the works that our students encounter in their Junior and Senior years raise them to new heights and delve them more deeply into the world of ideas.  Particularly in their study of Plato and Aristotle, our scholars begin to consider the ideas themselves, for Plato's Socrates vigorously investigates the underlying definitions of justice and the good life.  By the time they are Juniors, our students are well-prepared, better than many university students, to engage with a challenging and incredibly rewarding book like the Republic.  It warms my heart to witness our Juniors reading and discussing this great book!

In the coming week, I am excited to host Dr. Joseph Clair from George Fox University, who is visiting our campus to learn more about the great conversations that we are having at North Phoenix Prep!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

An Evening in the Alps - High School Dance on 2/2!

NPX Senate Proudly Presents

An Evening in the Alps High School Dance

When: Friday, February 2 from 7:30-10pm 
Where: Archway MPR
Attire: Casual, cold-weather clothing 
Think boots, jeans, sweaters, scarves, gloves, ski goggles, beanies! 
See more attire guidelines at the bottom. 
Cost: $20 prepay/$25 at the door 
Purchase your ticket HERE
Activities: DJ, photographer, s'mores, fondue, and hot cocoa! 
Other: High school students may bring pre-approved guests! Please pick up a guest form from Ms. Harris. Guest forms are due Wednesday, January 31st by 3:30pm. 

Attire Guidelines: Students are encouraged to wear: jeans, pants (no leggings or shorts allowed) boots, sweaters, t-shirts (no sleeveless or spaghetti straps allowed), scarves, beanies, mittens, gloves, ski goggles, etc. Dresses and skirts must be the same length as the uniform. 

ALL shoes must be closed-toe. No heels may be over 2 inches. All students must keep shoes on for the entirety of the dance. 
All clothing must be free of logos. 

Please email or see Ms. Harris if you have any questions. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

A thousand thanks for a fantastic first week back!  Our teachers and students were truly joyful as they participated in their projects, and our student-led conferences were a fruitful time of reflection and goal-setting.  Thanks to all the families who have reached out to me with words of gratitude and support.  I am so incredibly proud of our whole community for the positive and joyful way that we've begun 2018!

Student-led conferences are particularly well-suited to a classical liberal arts academy such as ours.  Central to our approach is a way of life modeled by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, who famously said that the unexamined life is not worth living.  We teach our students to live Socratically through student-led conferences by encouraging them to examine their past behaviors & habits, to submit those to the standard of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, and to set goals that bring them closer to those ideals.  In short, we ask them to live the examined life. Engaging in this kind of liberal arts dialogue is not always easy, but it is incredibly rewarding and worthwhile.

In fact, a recent conversation with Hillsdale graduate, Dr. Ben Rogers, reveals that the liberal arts prepares you for a career in medicine.

I am so proud to be a Gladiator, and to engage in the life-transforming activity of educating young people together with our faculty.  They, too, deserve our praise for their compassionate, humane approach to our students.  They are truly mentors and coaches to the tender souls in their charge.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold