Charis Classical Academy began as the dream of three families. One family had been on the founding team of Oak Grove Classical Academy, a Christian, Classical, University-Model School® in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They loved the model, but found nothing like it in Madison and didn’t think it possible to start a new school at that point in their lives. Another family always had the desire to found a Classical school, but their kids were young, their lives too busy, and it seemed like just a dream. The third family had been homeschooling their children for years with the classical model, loved teaching and training them, but often felt alone and disconnected.
As these three families met and started to get to know one another, they discovered an affinity of vision, passion, and dreams. Could God be doing something? Could He be calling them to form a school incorporating classical methodology, a gospel-centered focus, and the university-model of education in Madison? It seemed a little crazy, but they started praying, meeting together, and talking to others. They discovered that they were not alone; God was stirring something in the lives of others in the community as well. It became clear that this model of education would not only bless their own families, but could also be a blessing to many others in the community and beyond.
Therefore, during the summer of 2011, plans began to solidify for a Christian, Classical, University-Model School (UMS)® to open in the fall of 2012. Weaving grace into the very fabric of the school was one of the most important characteristics the families discussed. What better way to do this than to name the school “grace”. Since Charis means grace in Greek, Charis Classical Academy was born.
The group quickly connected with The National Association of University-Model Schools (NAUMS) as a developing school, contacted other classical and UM schools for resources and wisdom, and started discussing the vision and mission of the fledgling school. They wanted not only the academic excellence that classical education brings, but also the opportunity to train the whole child through the building up of character, developing joy in learning, and seeing a heart for service in their students. They wanted to encourage and support parents in their God given responsibility and privilege, and above all to live out the gospel in every facet of the school.
Charis was officially incorporated in August of 2011 and began holding informational meetings and accepting applications for students and teachers. It began to see a community of families and individuals with a like vision develop. The school opened its doors in the fall of 2012 with K-4th grade, adding one grade per year through 12th grade. There is much history yet to be written for Charis, but we feel privileged to be part of the journey in seeing young lives shaped by this model of education.
The Founding Board of Charis Classical Academy